People in the service trades like remodeling, plumbing, roofing, lawn maintenance, and many other folks who would go under a title like contractor have been through the following scenario, and more often than one might think. No one wants to overpay, but what is a fair price in the consumer’s eyes often isn’t close to what is actually fair. The following conversation (author unknown) spells out that when you hire a handyman of most any type, remember that you are hiring a lot more than just their time on the job.
CLIENT – How much will it cost to do this job?
CONTRACTOR – $2,800 dollars.
CLIENT – That’s too expensive for this job!
CONTRACTOR – How much do you think it should cost?
CLIENT – $800 max! It’s a simple job!
CONTRACTOR – I can’t do the job for so little.
CLIENT – People in your line of work want to make a huge profit!
CONTRACTOR – I’m sorry you feel this way. Why don’t you do the job?
CLIENT – But, but, I don’t know how to do any of that.
CONTRACTOR – For $900, I can teach you everything you need to know to do the job. You can then use $800 to do the job, and you’re still saving $1,100. Also, you will obtain all the knowledge and the experience for the next time you need to do this job.
CLIENT – Deal!
CONTRACTOR – Great! To start, you need to buy tools. You will need a chipping hammer, a nail gun, a laser, a drill, a mixer machine, PPE, and some other things.
CLIENT – But, I don’t have any of those tools and I can’t buy all that for just one job!
CONTRACTOR – Ok. I can rent you my tools for another $300. You’re still saving $800.
CLIENT – That’s cutting my savings, but I will rent your tools.
CONTRACTOR – Perfect! I’ll be back Saturday and we can start.
CLIENT – Wait! I can’t Saturday. I only have time today.
CONTRACTOR – I’m sorry, I only teach others on Saturdays. I have to prioritize my time and my tools needs to be in other jobs I have during the week.
CLIENT – Ok then. I will sacrifice my family’s plans on Saturday.
CONTRACTOR – Right, me too! Oh, I forgot. If you’re going to do the job yourself, you need to buy the materials. There’s a high demand nowadays, so your best bet is to get a truck and be at the hardware store by 6am before other contractors get there.
CLIENT – AT SIX IN THE MORNING? On Saturday? That’s too early for me. I don’t even have a truck!
CONTRACTOR – I guess you’ll have to rent one. By the way, do you have some helpers to help you load the truck?
CLIENT – You know what? I’ve been thinking. Probably is better for you to do the job. It’s better to pay you to do the job right and not having to go through all that hassle.
CONTRACTOR – Good thinking. Sign here and let me get to work.
This is the truth.
People are not just paying for a job, they are paying for knowledge, experience, tools, time, family sacrifices, and other things you bring to the table.
Of course, that doesn’t mean the client or customer should just let themselves be raked over the coals. Get the estimates in writing. Find out how much variance the final price can be vs the estimate. Get multiple bids. Do due diligence where appropriate. There are unscrupulous contractors out there. But also realize you are paying for much more than the hours on the job. And unless you have the ability and tools to do that job, don’t undervalue the people who do.