Many years ago I used to have a sideline business selling and installing
storm doors and windows. typical aluminum door was less than an hour, but
I've done jobs that were three or four hours. Not seeing what was involved,
neither of us can say if the time was fair or not. Being out of the
business for many years, what I sold then could easily translate to $300 or
more today for a quality product.
Billing dollars do not equate with earnings. While an unskilled laborer may
earn $10 an hour, his company is billing $30 or more to cover costs,
overhead, insurance, taxes, workman's comp. etc. I bill my help (unskilled)
at $50 an hour.
Get or bill? It varies in different parts of the country, but my
electrician bills $65, my plumber $55, boiler technician $90, welders, $60.
computer network guy $100. All of these bill travel time also, sometimes at
a lower rate. These guys also have a couple of weeks backlog of work because
they are good at what they do and are fair in pricing.
George E. Cawthon wrote:
> As for labor costs, realize that $75 and hour translates into $150,000
$75/hr does NOT translate to a $150,000 salary. People need to quit
equating a charged rate with hourly wages. They aren't equivalent. I
don't do home repair, but am self-employed.
1. It's fairly difficult for someone doing work onsite to get a full
2000 hours directly billable to customers/clients. You can work
"full-time" and still not get 2000 hours on invoices, especially if jobs
are running 2 hours each. If you think you're going to get four 2-hour
jobs into 8 hours, you're dreaming.
2. Self-employed people and business owners get to pay for things that
an hourly wage employee do not and that all comes out of the gross. I
get to pay for *both* sides of Social Security and Medicare (the
matching portion of that deduction on the paycheck) or pay the 15%
self-employment tax. I have to pay an accountant, lawyer, etc. for
business-specific services that I never needed doing the same work as an
employee. I also get to pay for health care directly, with no employer
subsidization or group rates.
3. Self-employed people get to deal with the ups and downs of economic
cycles and seasons FAR more directly than employees do. How many screen
doors does a handyman install in January in Minnesota? How about July?
If the work is seasonal (deck staining, personal income taxes, etc.),
there may only be 5-6 months out of the year to earn money to keep going
the rest of the year. There's no unemployment the rest of the year when
One of the biggest mistakes people make when going from employee to
self-employed is to just take their currently salary x 2000 hours and
that's their new rate. They then find out, that for their industry,
November to February is completely dead and they only make 25% of what
they make in "normal" months. Suddenly, they've taken a paycut even
though they're "making" what they did as an employee.
Last, and most importantly, price is not a function of cost (what it
cost the handyman to do the work), but rather of demand. If he's busy
enough (and his definition applies, not yours) at $75/hr, then that's in
perfect balance with supply and demand. If not, he'll end up lowering
his rates to get enough work.
Recently, I had more work than I had time, so I raised my rates. I
raised them again when there wasn't any change. Eventually, I raised
them until I had the right amount of work to match my "supply" of time.
If I decide to cut back to half-time or any other supply reduction, the
same thing will apply.
That's all wonderful basic economics but everyone
pays taxes. When you calculate how much a person
makes, you don't figure how many deductions they
make, their gambling debts, etc. Note that I also
said if working full time. I'm glad for you that
you can keep increasing your fees and still have
plenty of employment. Those less fortunate have
to reduce their fees to maintain full employment.
All of which has nothing to do with a guy
spending 2-1/2 hours at a cost of $150, which
without more information, should have taken way
less time and way less cost in many parts of the
He helped your husband? Or did your husband help him?
If I as a tradesman showed up on a job & the homeowner wanted to help,
I'd have to charge them 30% more than usual. <G>
Seriouusly though, you didn't say where you're at. But it sounds
Reminds me of a sign in a mechanics shop.
If you watch- $60/hour
If you help- $70/hour
If you worked on it first- $80/hour
No. You should have asked how much to install the
door before you hired the handyman. Realize that
a handyman may be just as qualified as anyone
else, but cannot command the wage of a full time
specialist. $150 to install a screen door is in
the same league as a $75 dinner. If you are in
that league, then $150 for the door is fine.
There are 2 kinds of "handymen". The semi-homeless ones that show up on an
old Schwinn 10 speed bike and may or may not return later and attempt to
abduct your children, and the the guys who are actually trying to make a
profession of it (advertising, insurance, vehicle, taxes, etc.) If your
handyman was in the latter category - 150.00 sounds pretty reasonable.
Maybe more than two kinds since "Handyman" doesn't
really mean much. To me it means a person working
for himself. OTOH, there are companies that
specialize in a variety of contract work and
"handyman" is just part of the company name for a
Still, I might take 2-1/2 hours or even longer to
ponder my way through hanging a door if the
opening was really out of square. But a person
that has done it several times shouldn't take that
long, no matter what he charges per hour. Heck,
my father could have done it in less time even if
he used only hand tools to make custom frame and
molding from 8" wide stock.
What did you agree to pay before the job was done ? That works out to $
No it doesnt seem "fair", in fact no "handyman" should be getting that rate
but if you didnt specify in advance, he can ask for anything.
Whether you pay it is up to you if theres no pre agreed price or contract,
written or oral.
Would you walk into a store and buy something if you had no idea what the
price was ? I dont think so.
Handyman - a person who does repairs for a specific hourly rate. If at any
time, either party is dissatisfied, they can end the deal. Handymen should
be licensed in their city/county where they are doing the work.
Contractor - a person who does specified repairs/construction for a
preagreed price. If either party is dissatisfied, they can agree a
compromise, or turn it over to the State Contractor's Board. A person who
contracts is required to have a State Contractor's license.
This includes almost any work where anything permanent is attatched to a
house or property.
If a person says, "I'll hang doors for $25 per hour," they are a handyman.
If a person says, "I'll hang two doors for $150, they are contracting," and
depending on the state, may be committing a felony. In some states, even
OFFERING to do specified work for a specified amount is contracting without
I would request a price adjustment from the men who reamed you on the doors.
If you don't get it, file a complaint with the proper authorities so that
they are not allowed to run amok among the populace and do this to more
When hiring a handyman, if you don't know someone who is moral and honest,
or can't find one through a referral from a friend, use handymen services.
They cost more, but you are more confident you will get a qualified worker,
and if there is a problem, you call them and they take care of it.
Actually, I'd strongly advise you to always pay the bill first.
This is likely a home improvement and as such the handyman is entitled
to place a mechanics lien on your property and cloud the title and
posssible even sell your property at a non-judicial foreclosure on the
court house steps.
So pay the bill and then complain bitterely to him and the powers
that be such as the BBB, Attorney General, etc.
In my state, Nevada, the mere offer of doing a specific job for a specific
price constitutes contracting, and is subject to all the laws EVEN IF THE
JOB IS NEVER STARTED.
That would be an easy thing to handle. In the first place, they probably
won't do that unless they are licensed and reputable and 100% in the right.
In order for someone to sell your property, notice must be given, affadavits
of mailings, all sorts of things. It is not as easy as you intone.
An inflated baloon has more force than the BBB. Now, the AG, or
Contractor's Board is a different thing.
I do it all the time. And when price comes up, I still have the option to
take it or refuse it.
was it worth it to you?
personally, for 150$ i wouldnt want 'help'. i'd want to sit back and shout
orders from a lawn chair with a cold beer in my hand.
as a side note, its funny to me how quick people (americans in particular)
are to comment that someone else is 'overcharging' or 'making too much
money' and how this makes them a jerk. yet i expect these same people, in
the same situation with the roles reversed, would call themselves a genius
for making so much money.
all things in this world are negotiable. if you dont know how to negotiate,
thats YOUR problem.
america is going to bury itself alive just to prove it can handle a shovel.
We didn't even ask the cost because the same man had stayed at the house an
entire day doing something else and charged $100. Perhaps he felt he
under-charged and wanted to make it up by charging $150 for a couple hours
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.