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General question to contractors

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Posted by: from Maple
5/21/2020 at 3:29:39 PM

It is so difficult to find a contractor to do a mini job, medium size job or a major job for a house.

They could quote a low price, then they could revise the price during the life of the project or they could delay the job or do an incomplete job.

What a headache for the man in the street!

REPLIES (4)
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Date/Time5/21/2020 at 5:08:57 PM

I agree with your comment. I have many years experience in this industry and two of my issues from many contractors is not sticking to an agreed price unless an issue comes up. We always do two things.

One we have our client sign an agreed to contract stipulating price and work related. We also use signed agreements to change orders before any extra work is done.

Secondly not showing up for jobs from start to completion is another. Many contractors take on to many jobs at once and it becomes a juggling act to chase the money.

We only take two jobs at once. This way we can manage our employees and subs much easier.

Sorry to hear about your issues but not all contractors fit into that scenario.

Unfortunately one bad apple can spoil the barrel.

All the best

Gardco Reno & Design

Burlington

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Bryan from HP Group Inc in Toronto
Date/Time5/21/2020 at 6:47:07 PM

What you have to do make sure they give you 3 references. Call those references. Also make sure everything is on the paper and both parties are going to sign it. Always keep some portion of the payment at the end and make sure everything has been done before you pay the trade. Don't go for the cheap price. Always there is an issue. Either they can't finish the job since they give you low price or they will finish the job poorly.

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Date/Time5/21/2020 at 9:19:07 PM

Gardco again with another comment. We are a semi large contractor who takes pride in their work. We have firemen who work for us weekly. What we have found with these small jobs is that if we quote 20 of them most people are upset that the prices are to high. They do not seem to get that we r a business with costs. So out of 20 we get one. It becomes difficult when u take the time to look at 20 and get one. So most contractors stay away from those jobs due to a lack of return.

But I agree how frustrating it can be for homeowners. Thanks feel free to respond. We at Gardco are open to understand and solve these issues. All the best

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Date/Time5/27/2020 at 12:30:27 PM

I do agree with John..

We started off like another a small Contracting company.

We did lots and lots of small jobs (1-7 days jobs and etc). It was just me and my partner in 1 truck with all our tools..

It was easier to do those job cheaply and help out client and have a decent profit because there is no expenses except the truck and insurances.

As we continue to grow and takes on bigger job, have more tools, more storage requirements, more staff, more expense insurances and more other expenses, we find it extremely hard to do smaller job at the same rate again.

It don't make sense for us to send staff out to a small job, while we have jobs that tie us up for months.. It is harder for staff to have carry around tools all the time and the margin isn't there for the trades..

Beyond the problem with lots more fallen through quotes is the there are lots of downtime for each trade and therefore the job overhead get higher and the job get more expensive. Also any u expected problem could reflect heavily on the price (at least proportionally ex. $100 on a $1000 job is 10%, while $100 on a $50k job is nothing and contractor could absorb that easily).

The good experience contractor could list you out a lot the potential issue a job could run into before they start.. Those are questions you should ask your contractor. So at least you are have an idea.. Almost no jobs in the renovation size that there isn't at least 1 or 2 potential issue)

Think of it this way.

Let say you wanted to a small job to revamp a bedroom.

You wanted to take out wainscoting, add crown moulding, repaint room and trim, change a ceiling light, a few outlets / switch to decor style.

Here is just a few unknown that could drive the price up. (what's behind the wainscoting), is the wiring / ceiling light mount correct and ok to begin with.. Is the wall drywall or plaster (plaster wall could crumble and crack as we work on it)

So for a contractor do some work but also use some special trade for other work.. This is their labor expense

1. Demolition

2. Finish trim guy for crown moulding

3. Drywall guy (base on what behind wainscoting, usually will be quoted as 99% of the time is needed)

4. Painter

5. Electrician

So here is the issue, each trade will charge you at least a truck charge just to come out for their non-working hour (ex. shopping or driving). In addition, some trade charge by half day or per day as they lose at least half day worth of work if they have to drive 45min each way and then 3hr at the job. Also drywall have to be done almost always 3 visit for small job. And painting small area have more down time due to drying time. So all this adds up.

So say each different trades accumulated a total of 35%-50% downtime related expenses, how much more the job will cost?

For larger job, jobs are grouped to minimize downtime expense so it could be like 3-5% only.

So if you have a good handyman that could do everything.. You will be better off with him doing the project himself.

But then again it is also a luck of the draw with handyman and their skill level.

Over the years we still do a lot of small job for existing clients, investor clients and referral clients (but we don't really advertise it). Our full-time crews consist of both specific trade staff and handyman. Over the year we geared towards hiring people that have a strong skill or two on specific trade but also like to learn other stuff along the way.. That's the only we could still provide some of our client small job at affordable rate.

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