How many professionals sick of "chuck with a truck" fly-by nighters?

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Posted by: from Edmonton
9/16/2012 at 9:00:00 PM

Hi...I am sick and tired of all these "fools with tools" who advertise to do work and have no legal licences, do not hire professionals to do the work, are mostly jack-of-all trades and basically do everything themselves at vastly undercut prices to what the rest of us charge to do it right. They get half the available work and then we get the negative press about contractors from all the unhappy pissed off clients who got ripped off by the "price that seemed too good".

Another beef is these stupid tv shows which make it look like anybody can do work it takes the rest of us 5 years or more min. In the trade to learn properly or tell people that they can hire professionals at rates that are half what it really costs?

Hiring the right people with credentials will cost the current trades rates and construction materials just keep getting more expensive.

I would really like to see better monitoring of the industry by the authorities and way better public education of the provincial requirements for Contractors instead of just taking my money for more and more expensive licencing which I find half my Clients do not even know I am supposed to have!!

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Date/Time9/16/2012 at 10:11:27 PM

It will never change and there is nothing you can do about it.

For my company it just gives us more things to fix after hacks screw something up. Its up to customers to verify that the people they hire know what they are doing. If they don't call references or even go see some of their work, they are at fault when things go sideways. It sucks but thats reality.

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Date/Time9/16/2012 at 10:32:16 PM

While it's unfortunate and extremely frustrating for the customer that our industry is like this, we at Mr. Handyman see these "Chuck's in a Truck" as opportunity to provide these customers with an exceptional customer experience. We should all focus our energy on the 'value' of our services and educate the customer(s) as to why we are higher priced.


Steve Soper, Owner

Mr. Handyman of Richmond Hill and Southwest Markham

Phone: 289-203-1150

Fax: 289-203-1151

346 Newkirk Road., Unit 9

Richmond Hill, ON., L4C 0A9

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Date/Time9/16/2012 at 11:31:45 PM

Unfortunately with all the expenses of running a business and the government getting more than we can give ourselves not to mention WSIB and employee training, rising costs and charging the same rates as 15 years ago to stay competitive.

It is becoming more of a problem with the underground trades and I agree that cracking down and delivering fines would help, but I think our country needs to help our Canadian businesses instead of robbing us.

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Pavel from Lutcor Homes Inc in Kelowna
Date/Time9/17/2012 at 1:07:20 AM

I haven't met a potential client/customer yet that doesn't go for the lowest price. That includes Government (on all levels), General Contractors (when I sub to them) and the average person wanting a house built for them or a renovation. Of course that means I lose out on a lot of jobs but I usually get called when the above mentioned clients want to do a second project.

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Date/Time9/17/2012 at 10:00:35 AM

I totally agree.....there seems to be more and more bargain "handyman" trucks around that do it all. We have been in business for 38 years and over the past few years have seen an increase in poor workmanship. The frustrating part is being called in after someone has paid "cash" for these jobs and, at this point, are almost out of money but still want us to make it right....which usually means taking out work that has not been done to code then doing the double the work.

I would like to see the government bring back the rebate for renovations done by compliant companies. This might help the situation somewhat.

Here's to quality work!

Pat Koets

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Date/Time9/17/2012 at 10:48:35 AM

There are what I call trunk slammers in all the trades. In Ontario (although I don't necessarily agree with the whole ECRA implementation) ESA has made good strides in the education portion of hiring qualified persons through the Plug in Safely program. They are also pretty good about the follow-up on charges, fines, etc. Unfortunately I am not sure if anybody else has this type of support.

It continues to be a problem, but seems to be less and less. What I think we have now more if is people DIYing it. Just as bad, but allowed.

To the OP, if your business plan is good and you can accurately determine your costs, you can bid competitively. The question is, is your business plan competitive? Many companies are reducing overhead and fixed costs to stay competitive. As a business person, you cannot charge what everyone else charges . You have to charge what makes you money. In that plan you need to include the value of Value for the client. That is a service or product that the client is paying for. If they don't want that Value (and many don't or not aware of the importance of it), that product needs to be removed from the equation. Now you as the owner decide if you want the job based on the inclusion of the Value component or not. I generally walk away but other may be more hungry and will consider it.



John Kuehnl-Cadwell

Master Electrician

Datawise Solutions Inc

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Dave from 360renos in Navan
Date/Time9/17/2012 at 9:14:59 PM

Your last paragraph is very well said John and I totally agree.



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Syed Painting & Handyman Services in Brampton
Date/Time9/19/2012 at 11:32:46 PM

You will find goods and bads everywhere. You cant do anything about it. qualified professionals cost a lot so people look for cheap and there are people working for lot less. Someone have experience and qualification doest mean he or she knows all.

Do you think that you are loosing your business because of DIY tv shows and youtube videos and few contractors who are offering lower price than yours? I dont think this is right thinking.

Same is the problem with companies too. they look for experienced people and other dont get the chance. You earn credentials. you dont get them in gift.

Please dont discourage new people in the field. There is so much competition, if you know how to do the business then you shouldnt be worried about this.

Everyone in this country have different background and different problem and different reasons of getting into this business. There are "fools with tools" but if you think they are fools then why are you worried?

This is like asking government to close walmart stores so the other businesses can grow! But people go to walmart because of price difference. If other business want to compete then they better bring their prices down.

I am sorry but I am totally disagree with you and you way of thinking.

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Syed Painting & Handyman Services in Brampton
Date/Time9/19/2012 at 11:39:24 PM

Also every client has different definition if "right people". For some clients right person is who look professional, talk professional, has atleast 5 or 10 years of experience. And for some the right person is the one who offer them the price they are looking for. So everyone has a chance to be successfull.

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Gregory from Multi Reno in Gatineau
Date/Time11/30/2012 at 8:07:03 AM

Hello Gentlemen (tradesmen),

Until cash is removed from circulation cash jobs will be in circulation.

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Date/Time12/17/2012 at 8:40:52 PM

The only thing that helped us a little bit here in Calgary was when the government offered renovation cash back for the owners if they did renovations with licensed contractors, but this was only for one year.

I think that if the government would offer some rebates to our customers for using only licensed contractors (even if we will have to pay some of the money back like we pay GST...) it could help a lot.

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Audio Authority in Vaughan
Date/Time6/24/2013 at 8:29:40 PM

I agree that there are many who are practicing a trade or trades for which they have no business being in. However, cash is not the only reason for them to be cheaper. Most of these people know that cash or not, the homeowner will ultimately go with the cheaper quote regardless of value and qualifications. How else can you explain someone coming in at 50% less than a proper quote? They know that project will either not be finished (take the money and run) or they will hold the homeowners ransom for the "extras" which the have encountered.

I'm tired of coming up with very detailed quotes which clearly show the homeowners what they are paying for and what they getting for their hard earned money, just to have some Joe blow come by and drop his pants by 50% and get the job. Of course (he) never presented a quote, but was shown mine and said "don't worry, I can do that for much less, TRUST !Me).

Homeowners, when are you going to wake up. A (2x4) cost the same for all, fuel cost is the same for all, and we can't do it as in a 30 minute show. Quality takes time and time is money. Short cuts are just that, CUTS. Enough said.

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