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Cheap! Is that a bad thing?

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Georgetown
3/19/2009 at 7:18:58 PM

Lets start the fire!

There are really great contractors out there that will charge a fortune for a simple project and other great contractors out there that will charge half the price for a bigger project. When should you really gouge the client? If he/she is rich? If they are uneducated? or never should you bend the client over?

REPLIES (18)
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Abba's Service in Huntsville
Date/Time3/20/2009 at 3:27:57 PM

I think you should treat ever client the same as the next. Try and help the ones that you are sure that need the help. Give deals when you know that it will break there bank. At least you will get the job and have a friend that will pass your name on. As rich people go and they can afford it you should never cut them a break ok you might get a whack of jobs if you do but they have money and they don't even need any more breaks then they already had. How do you think they already got that money anyway. I did just get the contract I got because I am a nice guy or anything like that it was because I am a smart business man to. I get dirty on every job even if I don't have to. That is why I email you for jobs I don't like doing or jobs that I will not have time for. I have you in mind and you seem like a good guy.

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Shawn from Arrow Contracting in Vaughan
Date/Time3/21/2009 at 5:36:56 PM

Hi Brad, Traci from Arrow Contracting. I will put my two cents in. In my opinion, it is unethical to ever gauge a client especially based on an assumption of their financial status. I know so many people who appear to be loaded at first glance. When you dig a little deeper, they don't have two nickels to rub together. I once knew a guy many years ago who drove a Ferrari, dressed to the nines and always had a wad of cash in his pocket.........he lived with his parents! On the flip side, I know tons of people who are wealthy beyond comprehension and you would never, ever know it. Most of them had to work very hard to achieve financial success taking chances, working long hard hours, and making as many sacrifices as you or me. No one desearves to get ripped off and nothing makes people more angry than finding out they were gauged. Instead of referring your company, they will pass your company name on as theives and a company to avoid. I beleive people need to exercise good judgement, and most importantly business ethics. You are not going to become a millionare off one job so be reasonable and fair and as they say "don't judge a book by it's cover".

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Tradesmen in Georgetown
Date/Time3/21/2009 at 8:29:20 PM

Hi Michael & Shawn,

that is the way I feel for sure. I personally under price and lower my prices just a little at times when my gut feeling kicks in, I would rather have repeat customers then a one time score where my rep gets tarnished.

I know we all have to make a living however, the distance we get by gouging clients will be short lived. These hot heads that go around over charging make a bad name for themselves, instead of blaming others for stealing their work. Last month I was called to a warehouse to give a quote for board install, plaster, tape, primer and painting...I was told that my price to complete the mentioned tasks from start to finish was less then the price he received a week ago by almost 3 times lower. I thought there was a mistake, the manager of the warehouse pulled out of his drawer the paper work with detailed work quoted on, which was exactly what I was also quoting on,

It actually made me second guess myself for a few minutes, I go over everything for a second time but there was no mistake, in fact the client was being ripped and I told him so straight up.

I got the job no doubt and no wonder why.

I knew this contractor well once I seen the paper work, the same bozo that goes around bitching and bragging about his own self worth.

In my opinion this clown will hit the wall one day, what goes around will surely come around.

What happens from here I am sure e all know, this bozo is just one of many crooks that end up going around making bad judgments and spreading bad rumor of any other contractor that bids cheaper then he did. Like I truly believe, Its all about personality, his really sucks and I am sure it also shows in his personal life without a doubt.

Sorry for writing a book guys. lol Take care.

Brad

Tradesmen

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Tradesmen in Georgetown
Date/Time3/21/2009 at 8:56:42 PM

Sorry Traci,

my mistake.

Brad

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Shawn from Arrow Contracting in Vaughan
Date/Time3/22/2009 at 9:04:22 AM

No worries Brad. We personally don't underprice because what is the point of doing a job that you are not making any money on? The whole concept of fair pricing is to price a job so that your making a decent buck. Underpricing can lead to you working for nothing, or worse costing you to do the work. The alternative is to have to go back to the customer for more money which I believe is unprofessional, makes customers angry and is the butt of alot of horror stories we all read about. We never go back to our customers for more money, our quote price is firm and we stick by it unless there are changes the customer makes that were not included in the original quote. Everyone has a different method of pricing, buying materials, paying trades etc. which is why everyone's quotes are unique to each other. The greedy guys I suspect are sitting at home alot. People are not stupid and most often would not simply take one quote and just overpay like morons. What I am saying is that gauging is wrong. Underpricing a job is a waste of your time so why would you? There is always a happy medium where you are making a reasonable amount of money that is fair and respectable. Customers do understand that this is our business and we are in business to make money. We have families and need to make a living too.

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Date/Time3/22/2009 at 11:28:43 AM

Hi folks- sorry, can't resist this one!

You guys may call it gauging or gouging but whatever you call it- it's just plain wrong.

On the other hand........you guys have all had pain in the ass clients who are so obsessive about some things that they border on creepy, so you know that to cover your ass, you pad your quote- because you know you'll never get out of there clean, no matter how good the work is. This happens to me about once a year- a gut feeling I get as I talk to the client thet their elevator does not quite reach the top floor. I don't mean outright gouge the client, but by padding a little you can cover the extra time you'll need for the job. 1 example is if the client is a 'talker'. If you generally work a 10 hour day but end up talking to the client for 2 or 3 of them hours, are you getting paid for that? & if it's a $100,000 job, you can't just tell the client to piss off- they might take offense. By padding a little you can cover some of these particulars.

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Tradesmen in Georgetown
Date/Time3/22/2009 at 9:22:13 PM

Hey Bill,

I read you loud and clear. I agree with what you are saying as well. I do add some extra but for me its important to stay steady and eat for one more day or two. lol

Drop by the new post Bill when you get time, add something or just join in on what ever is going on if anything, its pretty new so feel free to get it started. No Pickle stories. lol

Brad

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Abba's Service in Huntsville
Date/Time3/24/2009 at 5:54:54 PM

Ha ha ha I guess i will never live that pickle down! My 2 cents is just like bills. maybe you should pad a little. I tired that lower the cost thing and that doesn't always work neither. It will bite you in the ass someday! Trust me I know I tried it and I did go and ask fore more money and the customer was not happy but because they heard good things about me they gave me the extra after a good explanation never again I said. I did not like the feeling. I am starting to think as this site grows maybe it will be time for another place. 30 emails to one customer and then they have to choose what is the chance you get a job like that. I have lost a couple of jobs because i wanted to see how serious they are and pushed to hard big mistake. I was not busy at that time and i told them I have limited time openings and bookings are first come first serve in fact I got an email back saying They removed me from race and I was in the top for so how much to push and how much not to is another problem.

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Tradesmen in Georgetown
Date/Time3/24/2009 at 6:10:19 PM

Yes, for sure. We all try to please the never ending crowd that only looks for the cheaper deal, in the end we have to make a choice of keeping steady and or working for free for some penny pinching freak to tell you how to do your job. To hell with that crap, if he/she wants it for nothing then do it yourself I`d say.

I will still lower when I can if I have to, but yes it is all about business and business is all about the buck too, maybe those cheap and complaining people should consider going to work for free themselves, if not then PISS OFF to them! lol

Damn this should get a rise out of someone. :)

Brad

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Date/Time3/28/2009 at 9:52:18 AM

lol you guys know potential clients read these boards right?

I don't see anything wrong with telling a chatty client, gently, that it's costing them money to talk to you about anything else other than the scope of the project.

As far as cheap is concerned that is not a word you should be using. When you're calculating a project's costs I would assume they would include any overhead that you have on a day to day basis (business and vehicle insurance, rental of shop or store front if you have one, the cost to pay not only your help but yourselves for the hours worked on the site) PLUS your profit. Not all businesses come with the same overhead which is where the difference in pricing should come from as well as the different qualities of products used. We are all going to shave here and there, especially during these tough economic times but there is no point in costing out a job that you are not going to make money on just to get the job. It just isn't good business sense. If you're going to be constantly running at a loss, you'll soon be out of business.

Mary Dancey

Mary Dancey Interiors

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Tradesmen in Georgetown
Date/Time3/28/2009 at 12:08:30 PM

Good morning Mary,

You do make sense and I am agreeing with all you are saying.

Speaking for myself I will say that when I price a job, I do include all of my own costs from fuel to laborers aside from the profit, however I know my pricing strategy allows me some flexibility to shave when I need to in order to get the job, as part of being competitive, pricing goes along way along with other incentives to attract the customer. I always quote on a job knowing all too well the tactics of bargaining clients, this way they feel they got a better deal and I`m also happy to have gained another client. I could be a right out pr and tell the potential client no way, I will not drop a penny and he/she should go elsewhere if not happy with my pricing...but tell me, where is the potential in that. There are times that I don`t have to bargain but they are few and far in between.

I am certain that even Donald Trump adjusts his pricing when developing his own buildings and dealing with all kinds of contractors.

My belief is simple, judge your project well, make your decisions not on money alone, but look at the whole picture from the clients financial situation, to

what you may gain or loose by taking on this client and so on.

We all need the dollar but hell why not try to be helpful to the customer/client in the meantime.

By the way, I am ok if potentials are reading the posts on HC because it is for them and us, to mingle and network. I see it as a way to reach clients and clients to reach us, not everyone will like or agree with my thoughts and personality but hey, no matter where you are in the world it`s the same.

I agree we are in business to be independent enough to create our own lifestyles and to have some left over for our next generation.

I am just a true believer that talk is cheap, cheap is better when attached to quality and who said you can`t have both in the same sentence, ask any client what cheap is and it will all depend on their financial status. Cheap my dear is not a dirty word and I would invite any client and other contractors to comment otherwise. Take care

and have a great weekend Mary.

Brad

Tradesmen

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Abba's Service in Huntsville
Date/Time3/28/2009 at 12:25:28 PM

well i do add my expenses in all the time right from day one I give people prompt and fast estimates and I hear so many clients tell me that Mine was the only one they received in a timely fashion. My quickbooks pr program I have set prices that are padded a little for each product or service and it makes it easier for me and some time I will do the estimate in front of the customer on the spot. So at least they know i am serious. I bring my debit visa mastercard machine with me also and if there is a hint of interest I tell them That I will need a deposit in order to start this job. Sometimes they pull the visa out right away just because I look so professional. It does help. By caring a debit machine with you they know you are serious and it is better not to waste your time! I also tell people that when I am going fare that they need pay deposit if they are having trouble getting contractors where they live and I can get $100 dollars deposit every time. I also explain that money will be giving back if they choose my company to do the work I hope this helps. When you do these things people know you are serious.

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Date/Time3/28/2009 at 2:34:43 PM

Bravo Brad- couldn't have said it better. If you have been around this business long enough, you know what you need out of a job. Bottom line is everybody has to eat & we all have a comfort level with each job. Brad & Michael have both stated that they prefer to help people out as opposed to overcharging them- I believe this too because if you help these people out & show them you care, work a little cheaper for them (cheap IS NOT a bad word) they will remember that. And when they need something else done or have a friend that needs work done or another family member, or a co-worker--you see where I'm going.........the pay-off can be huge.

Also Mary, we know potential clients read these post, thats why we keep it light & airy.

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Tradesmen in Georgetown
Date/Time3/29/2009 at 8:28:55 PM

Thanks Bill for the support, that`s another thing that is few and far in between, lol.

I guess my way of thinking is hard to swallow for most, it makes their eyes water and it creates a warning in my email.

All I tried to say was that client care was equally if not more important then the dollar people, forgive me for being so foolish.

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Shawn from Arrow Contracting in Vaughan
Date/Time4/3/2009 at 1:58:27 PM

Cheap is not a bad word but is often associated with a level of quality and I beleive that is what Mary was trying to say.

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Tradesmen in Georgetown
Date/Time4/3/2009 at 8:04:39 PM

I do get her point and I agree to a point, but my friend you, I and everybody out there knows that you can have quality and cheap in the same box, shotty workmanship truly comes from shotty people, cheap products can freely be a choice for clients, it still stands in my opinion that you can have both. If we were talking luxury then i would entertain the thought for sure, luxury is just plain expensive and enjoyable, quality is beautiful and affordable.

Brad

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Date/Time4/8/2009 at 3:57:06 PM

Hi there, I agree with Michael's comment at the start. All clients need to be treated equally and with respect. If you have the knowledge and skill, along with professionalism and you stand behind your work, you will always stand apart from those who don't.

If you give someone a small break on the price in order to make their dream become reality, then good for you. It will always come back to you ten-fold. Just like it says in The Secret.

Take care,

-Bryan

Norris Custom Homes Ltd.

Courtice, ON

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Tradesmen in Georgetown
Date/Time4/8/2009 at 7:17:21 PM

Well said Bryan.

Brad

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