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Did tradesman always lie/steal? Login/Join 
The Ice Cream Man
posted
I've noticed this more, now that I'm living in an area, mostly, where we do not have the plant.

I keep getting quotes/estimates, which are, IMO, lies.

EG, "$XYZT for a unit, plus $PGR for the labor" - and I call our supplier, and the price of the unit is 1/3 that on the quote - so the tradesman is putting a bunch of padding on both ends.

Or, including "time driving around trying to find parts/making phone calls to do a job", to the extent that it would be less time to rip it out, and replaced it.

Or, giving a high, but not outrageous bid for doing a repair properly, then half-ass it, get called on it, and agree to going back to do the repair properly, for a cut-rate price.

Its becoming systemic. Some of this could be an issue with a loss of trust in society, but it almost seems like its being taught. We use a fair amount of tradesmen - and I keep the same ones, for years - and all of the ones I keep, bid straight. I cannot be the only company who does this. (And, I don't buy "cheap" work. I don't believe in it. Never met an experienced fellow who did.)
 
Posts: 4043 | Location: Republic of Ice Cream, Myrtle Beach, SC | Registered: May 24, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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There are crooks in every profession. Best to ask around for someone reputable. They are out there, you just need to do some digging.


-c1steve
 
Posts: 3122 | Location: West coast | Registered: March 31, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I got a bid on a backyard project that was $16k from one company and $83k from another.

I couldn’t believe it.
 
Posts: 1971 | Registered: January 25, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Hop head
Picture of lyman
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quote:
Originally posted by 1s1k:
I got a bid on a backyard project that was $16k from one company and $83k from another.

I couldn’t believe it.



did the same for a garage at my house,

simple 28x32, trussed roof, and a shell, as in I would insulate, wire and finish the sheetrock,,, poured concrete pad with apron, and a gravel driveway maybe 100 feet long across a level cleared area


quotes from 28K to 68K



www.chesterfieldarmament.com
 
Posts: 8518 | Location: Beach VA,not VA Beach | Registered: July 17, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I am a retired Ironworker. So I am a tradesman. I am curious what you do for a living? I am trying to think of an occupation that I could not say anything negative about. Be cause I am sure that what ever kind of work you do, I will be able to think of a few negatives.
 
Posts: 477 | Location: northern VA. | Registered: August 18, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of smlsig
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^^^This!

Do you think that the tradesman should go to the vendor buy the item(s) and bring it to your job site for free?

Having said that I understand your comments. In fact it was a real issue for us when quoting custom homes, particularly with my plumber. I finally took him aside and told him to up his cost to me on labor and general material, but show the fixtures at his cost. He would still make the same money but the client wouldn’t drive us crazy with their online shopping sprees. The other issue is that when a client buys a fixture online and the fixture is missing a part who is responsible for getting the missing part and the extra trips that the plumber has to make?? If a client chooses to supply ANY fixtures then we put a clause in the contract that makes them solely responsible for any extra time and material associated with correcting the situation as well as any time delays...After they read the clause most people realize that my subs time is as valuable as their own.

Also, since I’m on my high horse let me comment on the seemingly wide differences in quotes. I had always believed that it is better to give our clients more information than most of my competitors. If they choose to just skim over it then that’s their fault. I have had clients tell me that company X quoted the home $50,000 less than what we quoted and that I should reduce my cost accordingly. I politely told them that there was no way we were building the same home as the other company. Our reputation was for building a stellar home and we received many awards and accolades.

The bottom line is that you get what you pay for in 95% of the situations..if you can’t see the difference in the quotes that’s your problem!


------------------
Eddie

Our Founding Fathers were men who understood that the right thing is not necessarily the written thing. -kkina
 
Posts: 4667 | Location: SML & OBX | Registered: February 19, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Oriental Redneck
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Generalization. Stop and think before posting.
 
Posts: 20263 | Location: TEXAS | Registered: September 04, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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There are some liars, cheats and thieves in every profession. If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. That being said, I am very fair to my customers.

BUT-
Sometimes you get into a project and realize you need a different fitting or some $5 adapter and have to drive and get it. OF COURSE you have to bill for your time. A. It's time you can't work on another customers equipment and bill for it. B. Sometimes retrofitting a different brand just doesn't work in your application. C. You cannot forsee every little part and piece you might happen to need on 1 in 1000 jobs.

2. Parts- I buy my parts from a local reputable dealer, who if I have an issue with it I can return it or get it warrantied out, not a part that's been on someone's back shelf for 10 years and they decided to sell it on Amazon. Yes I am marking the part up but generally charge customers about 5-10% below what they can buy it in the store for. BUT, if it is defective or fails, I eat the labor not the customer. I've had customers supply parts and one was defective that took 3 hours to install, I had to then get another one from a local vendor and guess who got charged drive time (I would've had the part with me, had he not supplied it and not charged drive time) and an additional 3 hours of labor.

If you leave your house and are at work for 8 hours at an office, you really probably only put in 5 hours of actual work, but surely you get paid for 8. The other 3 hours are spent roaming the office, bathroom breaks, texting, personal phone calls, goofing off with co-workers etc......but 8 hours is 8 hours.

Drive time- Do you think a contractor should drive a $30-50k truck, insure it, maintain it, fuel it, and give you their time for FREE?

I'm very lucky in the fact that in my profession, all of my customers are ultra wealthy and very generous. They do not pinch pennies and most of the time tip on top of the bill because they realize when someone is good, fair, and responsible.

As for the really high estimates, I used to do that on yachts that were just a real bear to work on, or it was just a really crappy job, and I didn't want the job.......But, 90% of the time people would hire me to do it anyways. So now, I just flat out decline the job or sub-contract it to someone else, if I don't want to do it.
 
Posts: 20222 | Registered: June 12, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
The guy behind the guy
Picture of esdunbar
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Can you be more specific? I own and run a contracting business and will shoot you straight on the answer.

As for a quote from one company that is $25k and another that is $68k, this is simple, they didn't quote the same project. Self performing specialty contractors (commercial/industrial) range in annual net profits from say 1.5% to 8% ish, with the 2-4% mark truly an average.

So, the variance in those quotes is not profit. People think it is, but it's not. Are they both insured? Are they both pulling permits? Are they both following OSHA? Are they using the same quality of labor and materials? Are they cutting any corners? Will they beat you up on changes when they realize they made a mistake and quoted too low? All that stuff matters and has costs. Wide ranges in estimates are not profit. 5% or so in pricing sure maybe at most, but not huge numbers like that.

As for the markup on a piece of equipment, if you tell me what it is, I'll give you an idea of how I'd price it. I can tell you this, when an owner buys/furnishes anything themselves, I still include a markup on the value of it in my quotes...and add more because it invariably will be a total cluster fuck and cost me more time (see smlsig's post).


E.S. Dunbar
________________________________
I'm confused...wait, maybe I'm not.
 
Posts: 7521 | Location: Toledo, Ohio | Registered: April 19, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
To all of you who are serving or have served our country, Thank You
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Blanket statements much? Roll Eyes

There is a reason you get estimates. Perhaps you are coming off the wrong way when getting an estimate so they are multiplying the X factor in.


....Shredding lead both barrels
 
Posts: 2005 | Registered: March 15, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Muzzle flash
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With that wide range in estimates I'm guessing you either are not specific enough in what you are asking for or not checking closely enough what they are bidding to do.

flashguy




Texan by choice, not accident of birth
 
Posts: 24130 | Location: Dallas, TX | Registered: May 08, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
The Unmanned Writer
Picture of LS1 GTO
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quote:
Originally posted by XLT:
Yes we are all liars, cheats and thieves. I get up every morning trying to figure out a way to steal your money. There is a special underground training facility us tradesman loser get into. it's not easy though you have to become an alcoholic wife beater first. Roll Eyes

It's cool that your above us lowlifes.


Done, boom, PROOF!!

Now the cat's out of the bag. Wink lol









Only in an insane world are the sane considered insane.


 
Posts: 11989 | Location: It was Lat: 33.xxxx Lon: 44.xxxx now it's CA :( | Registered: March 22, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Corgis Rock
Picture of Icabod
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My daughter sought bids to replace the windows in her house. The range was $38,000 to $10,000.

The high bid came when she met with the salesman.
The middle bid came when I was with her but said nothing.
The lowest was when I met the salesman alone.



“ The work of destruction is quick, easy and exhilarating; the work of creation is slow, laborious and dull.
 
Posts: 5809 | Location: Outside Seattle | Registered: November 29, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Drill Here, Drill Now
Picture of tatortodd
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There is two other explanations nobody has covered, the guy who is 3x as much:
  • is insanely busy but they're willing to work you in for a price.
  • got a weird vibe off you and put a "hassle multiplier" in his quote.



    Ego is the anesthesia that deadens the pain of stupidity

    DISCLAIMER: These are the author's own personal views and do not represent the views of the author's employer.
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    Posts: 19313 | Location: N. Houston, TX | Registered: November 14, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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    Do you really expect a contractor to do a job for cost?

    What do you think their time is worth? How about if something's missing...or you change your mind...or something's wrong behind the drywall that they can't see? Can they not charge for that?

    It's much easier to build that into the cost in advance instead of quoting X when it really ends up being Z. If they quote Z and it ends up being X, a lot of contractors adjust accordingly - and homeowners are happy because it came in under the quoted cost.

    But if it goes the other way, homeowners are PISSED because it cost them more than the initial quote.


    Sig P226 .40 S&W
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    Posts: 579 | Location: Maryland | Registered: April 30, 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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    I called a tradesman company and told them what was going on. They said they would send their man out. the company is about 6 miles away.
    He came and gave me an estimate and left.
    Got the bill and they charged me a 45 min trip charge because the guy was doing another job 40 miles away. I asked if they gave free estimates and they said yes. They took the bill back after I recalled.


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    Posts: 2710 | Location: Ohio | Registered: December 18, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
    Telling cops where to go for over 25 years
    Picture of 911Boss
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    I get people should expect to make a profit and a living. There is point though where it becomes taking advantage of someone.

    In regards to fixtures/appliances, I guess what I don’t understand is the rationalization for a “tradesman” who buys item “X” at a discounted (installer rate) cost of $750 with no sales tax (it’s for resale).

    Then charge me $1250 PLUS tax, for the same item I could have gotten from the same source for $1000 or less plus tax.

    I get paying the going rate for labor, but I believe the mark up many put on materials/fixtures is excessive and simply because they can get away with it. I don’t expect them to donate their time picking it up, but there is a limit to the value of that “service”.

    Over the years I imagine I have saved tens of thousands of dollars by being able to handle basic plumbing, electrical, and appliance install myself instead of putting those jobs out to contractors. Not too mention having the jobs done on time, under budget, and to expectations.

    Not saying ALL the trades folk are like that, but certainly enough of them to generate the reputation held by the OP.






    What part of "...Shall not be infringed" don't you understand???



     
    Posts: 9324 | Location: Western WA state for just a few more years... | Registered: February 17, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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    quote:
    Originally posted by tatortodd:
    There is two other explanations nobody has covered, the guy who is 3x as much:
  • is insanely busy but they're willing to work you in for a price.
  • got a weird vibe off you and put a "hassle multiplier" in his quote.


  • Nobody wants to believe they are the second one. The other way to take care of this one is to give a long lead time. We might be able to fit you in 10-12 weeks...


    quote:
    Originally posted by smlsig:
    Also, since I’m on my high horse let me comment on the seemingly wide differences in quotes. I had always believed that it is better to give our clients more information than most of my competitors. If they choose to just skim over it then that’s their fault. I have had clients tell me that company X quoted the home $50,000 less than what we quoted and that I should reduce my cost accordingly. I politely told them that there was no way we were building the same home as the other company. Our reputation was for building a stellar home and we received many awards and accolades.


    And then they are surprised when the other company gives them 50k+ in change orders to get what they want. All of the extra hassle they could have avoided.




    "I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them." Thomas Jefferson


    "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is that good men have insurance." JALLEN
     
    Posts: 868 | Location: PDX | Registered: December 28, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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    quote:
    Originally posted by 911Boss:
    I get people should expect to make a profit and a living. There is point though where it becomes taking advantage of someone.

    In regards to fixtures/appliances, I guess what I don’t understand is the rationalization for a “tradesman” who buys item “X” at a discounted (installer rate) cost of $750 with no sales tax (it’s for resale).

    Then charge me $1250 PLUS tax, for the same item I could have gotten from the same source for $1000 or less plus tax.

    I get paying the going rate for labor, but I believe the mark up many put on materials/fixtures is excessive and simply because they can get away with it. I don’t expect them to donate their time picking it up, but there is a limit to the value of that “service”.



    When I buy a part "tax exempt", I then have to charge the customer sales tax, I then have to pay all of the sales tax to the State as required by law, that's how it works so the end user isn't taxed several times on the same item.

    Let's say we're talking about a 50 gallon water heater (for example) As for the pricing difference. Sometimes, there's overnight shipping involved and that's included in the price. Perhaps the place with the $1000 part does not have it in stock or even stock it, but if you want to wait 2-3 weeks until it comes in AND pay the shipping on it. Whereas the other place has it in stock at a higher price (including the shipping). With some, the extra price includes having to warranty it with free labor for X amount of years, whereas if you go buy the part for $1000 and it breaks, you have to remove it, return it, and sometimes wait weeks for a replacement, then install the new one for free. I can't tell you how many new parts I have sitting on the shelf, Thousands of dollars worth, because the vendor that is warrantying out the bad part (under warranty) but won't have it for 1-2-3 weeks because it has to ship to the manufacturer and I've had to buy a brand new one from another vendor and install it that day because the customer needs it fixed right now and to keep the customer happy........all of that costs money. Now imagine having a brand new water heater (the replacement) taking up space in your shop and eventually you'll have a customer to buy it......maybe next month......maybe next year........maybe not and you end up selling it at half your cost to a buddy in the business just because it's getting old and in the way.......
     
    Posts: 20222 | Registered: June 12, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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    taxes, lots of taxes
    fees, and other government surcharges
    insurance
    freight
    vehicle expenses
    small tools
    advertising
    benefit expense
    rent for office
    training expense for employees
    safety equipment
    wages for workers
    taxes on wages
    workman's comp
    uniform expenses
    cost of materials
    subcontractor costs (they have everything on this list as well)
    Permit costs
    accounting fees
    legal fees
    owner profit

    the list goes on and on actualy a little more than a single spaced page on my P&L, these are just off the top of my head and some are actually quite a few line items

    If you think all of the tradesmen in your area are crooks, then you owe it to your community to start your own firm and run the crooks out of business. My bet is the guy that runs the local plumbing shop is not living the lifestyles of the rich and famous life. Everything is expensive, and it just going to get worse, prices are just going up from here.
     
    Posts: 1539 | Location: Spokane, WA | Registered: June 23, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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