Last week I discussed what a homeowner should look for when hiring a contractor. Today I would like to discuss what an honest contractor has to consider in running his business. When I first started out, I was gung ho like any contractor all full of spit and vinegar.
I would put on my polo shirt with my company name proudly displayed. I would make sure the boots were clean and the jeans were wrinkle free. Another day of going out and conquering the world. Well one day I landed the “big one”, I was elated! I just got my foot in the door of a sizable job and all I had to do was close. I mean c’mon I was going to be rich! The job was like 20 grand! (Step out of the way Howard Hughes). Well I scheduled the meeting and promptly showed.
I do not think my feet even touched the ground as I walked into the homeowner’s house. I had all my figures on me and was loaded for bear. That is when the clouds started accumulating and the vultures were ready to pick my bones. I had made a presentation that would have made my mom proud.
However, reality came in the voice of the homeowner as if it was in slow motion. “I called you here,” he said. “To ask you if you could beat this price”. Wait a minute! I thought. There is another price? He hands the quote to me and my legs go weak. “This isn’t a quote for this job,” I thought to myself. “This is the tab for picking up the dinner!
‘How can a contractor give such a price? I asked the person “Is this quote for the project that I looked at? “ Yes” he said. “And not only that he will do this extra” Well there I was young and naïve he got the drop on me. So what did I do? Before I could think I said “Sure I can do this job” Heck and I can even do the extra that someone out of his mind promised!” Well I got the job and yeah I paid the price.
A lesson learned in all of this is if you are an honest contractor and want to survive in this field, you had better be ready to lose some jobs or lose your business. Because there are contractors and customers out there that don’t care about your overhead and in the end most of the under priced jobs cost both the contractor and homeowner alike.
That is where all of the horror stories come from. In addition, I know that the most “seasoned” contractors will not consider taking these jobs. However, realize this. These contractors are your competition and customers need to know this. An honest price for the job will make the contractor and homeowner’s project a positive experience. The overhead for contractors on the level is very high and there is a reason for their pricing.