Secret password for hiring a plumber?

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Thank you. Finally someone gets it.
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True, then he needs a better contractor, but not all are like that.

But he said: "No, what I resent is when they charge 3 or 4 times what it costs to actually do the job, and that is including paying the labor and the materials. That's just downright ridiculous. I'm happy to pay them for their time and the materials they use. But at the rate a lot of them charge, you are paying a day or two of work to people who don't even go out to your job site. That just doesn't seem right to me."
My interpretation of this is that he resents paying overhead costs no matter how needed it is. Yes, thee will be people that do not show up at the job site. Buyers, accountants, schedulers, etc. All depends on the size of the company. Yes, they do perform a needed function.
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Actually, no, he only sort of gets it. That was a comment on a particular plumber. It doesn't represent how all plumbers will operate. My major complaint was that I can't get someone to actually show up, quote the job, and do the work. If I finally find a couple more whose math is faulty, I'll come back here and adjust these comments.
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Doug Kanter wrote:

This is boring so I quit.
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Your rate was high....for what? You have no materials, unless you print out your code for reference purposes. If that's the case, what's a case of 500 sheets of paper? $25.00? Your expertise is worthless. Unless you print out your code, you should work for free. Since it's nobody's business how much money you need to pay your mortgage and other expenses, or what your education cost, you're certainly not going to reveal that to them. So, you have no way of justifying anything other than pro bono work.
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Doug Kanter wrote:

I didn't set my rate. My company did.
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User Example wrote:

And yes, it was a ripoff...
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User Example wrote:

So it's okay for you to work for a company that gouges but you won't hire companies that charge more than straight materials and labor. Right. R
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I'm getting dizzy. You too? :-)
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"That's not the same. They are paying for a product and they are have to pay for R&D. That goes for anything you buy off the shelf whether it is software, a toilet valve, or an A/C. I am not complaining about the price of building supplies, now. "
Software purchases also normally require a purchase of maintenance in order to receive support when bugs are found, additional resources to test the software (because it rarely works as advertised), training, and (sometimes) additional hardware. Whether I buy that in the initial license or on the back end, software/technology is generally a bad comparison because the license models are very bloated.
I didn't read through all the posts, but sometimes the quote is based on other factors that may not be apparent to the purchaser (i.e., I was going to go fishing tomorrwow, but if you pay me enough I'll work for you instead).
I like to save money as much as the next person and I try to learn to do things myself (I'm not necessarily handy, but I'm inquisitive and like to learn new things), but there are also times when I'm willing to pay the premium to have someone else do it. It's rarely a black/white issue. I had some insulation work done last year...sure, I could have done it myself, but it was worth it to me to pay someone to a) get it done while I was at work, b) not have to deal with the attic heat, the itching and the crawlspaces, and c) it was actually cheaper than if I rented the equipment, bought the materials at non-contractor rates.
When it comes time to rewire some of the electric, I know what I can do and/or what I should probably contract out.
Dave
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Did your employers pay you enough to put your kids through college? That would be foolish of them.
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OK now you're being more reasonable.
So, I say - sure, I agree with what you're saying! I'd wager most folks do as far as this - it's simple really, because you're substituting your own labor for paid labor. I think just about everyone here knows that they can save money by substituting their own labor for it.
But, then, it comes right down to what value one puts on one's own time. Especially considering that, when *I* do, say, a simple plumbing repair, I'll be spending a morning stumbling through it (BTDT), while a pro would stroll in and do it in 15 min. Now for a small plumbing job, the overhead they'd charge still makes that reasonable.
But for my upcoming kitchen remod? No way Jose, a pro will be doing that.
The painting/staining followup to that? That will be me :) The wallpapering? When I grow a third arm, I'll be taking that over from the pros.. (I've gotten a friend to help me - warning! - friends dont' always have the standards a person has.)
But here's the other reason I go with a pro when I go with a pro - EXPERIENCE. An experienced contractor has seen hundreds of jobs, can look at my job and anticipate the problems (I'll be knocking out what used to be an exterior wall for this kitchen remod, fer instance, don't want house to go splat...), KNOWS the tools, HAS the tools, KNOWS the materials, and has the experience and knack to go through the work smoothly. While I go and make my living in the meantime.
See - about your time - have you considered that that time is time that you might be spending with family and friends? Or getting a notch or two further up your career ladder? I'm not saying what you're doing is a bad use of your time - I don't know the particulars and, like I said in another post, that you get a lot of satisfaction (evidently) and probably ENJOY doing the DIY counts in the plus-column for you. But it's not so simple as how you present it - how you present it is basically, you're putting ZERO value on your time. Then, berating US for puttng an actual $$$ value on our time.
THe other thing is - you seem to go far beyond just pointing out that contractors are making a living doing what they do (living, yes, means colleges for their kids and Expeditions should they choose). You seem to resent them for it. To me, it's a duh - OF COURSE they're putting their kids through college and having their friends over for a few drinks with the money I pay them. My firm has been doing the same for me for 28 years! Jees.
Banty
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No, what I resent is when they charge 3 or 4 times what it costs to actually do the job, and that is including paying the labor and the materials. That's just downright ridiculous. I'm happy to pay them for their time and the materials they use. But at the rate a lot of them charge, you are paying a day or two of work to people who don't even go out to your job site. That just doesn't seem right to me.
I don't mind paying a high price for some work if it is done to perfection but so far just about all the work I have hired out has been full of mistakes or ugly work. For instance, I had my chimney resided because it is too high for me to do. Well, they left Tyvec hanging out from under the siding boards... the painters just painted over the Tyvec. The caulk had all kinds of gaps in it. And I paid a lot for the job because I expected they would do good work.
Until the quality of work goes up I will complain about it.
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User Example wrote:

I've noticed that there is a direct correlation between a poster that cuts out the identitifying information of the post that they're responding to and an ego problem. It's also discourteous.

resent, ridiculous, doesn't seem right... You're on a mission, aren't you? To fight the wrongs of the world. Unfortunately one of the wrongs you're fighting is a pretty standard state of affairs. Google keystoning and pricing. For smaller projects tripling the direct construction cost is standard operating procedure. If a contractor doesn't do that, they're cutting corners somewhere and won't be in business for very long. You don't have to like it. You don't even have to participate.
Those vegetables and fruit you have on the table are grown in your garden because their free, right? A sewing machine is really cheap. You must sew your own clothes. Big savings right there. Obviously you draw the line somewhere...unless you're living in a shack in Montana and writing diatribes against the unfairness of the world.

Done to perfection? What is this, a steak? You may feel you're paying for perfection, but you obviously aren't. "I expected they would do good work" is a rallying cry for the clueless. Your "expectations" don't matter. You need a written contract with everything spelled out. You also obviously don't know how to vet and hire a contractor. Your inability is the cause of your dissatisfaction.
The people you would want to hire probably wouldn't want to work for you. I can feel the mistrust and unrealistic expectations coming off of you in waves. I can only imagine what a contractor would feel talking to you face to face.

Until you learn a new skill or two (people skills and how to deal with contractors) you will continue to complain. It is your right to complain. Just don't expect everyone to agree with your way of doing things.
If I seem hard on you it's because you are totally out of line with your viewpoint...let me correct that - you're totally out of line with trying to foist your viewpoint on others. In your own words you berate people who don't do things themselves. What's that to you? If you had said that you feel sorry for people who don't do things for themselves because they won't know the satisfaction of fixing something, that would be one thing. Instead you write things like, "Well, you don't need a plumber to replace a faucet unless you are an idiot. You can take the $100 you saved an(d) go out to dinner and a movie and whatever. That's just being smart."
That's your definition of being smart. My brother-in-law picks up the phone for everything. His best tool is one of those little toy hammers that has the screwdriver set nested in the handle. Of course he's not in your situation. He's a real estate developer in NYC. He also knows how to talk to people and knows how to hire a contractor. I don't see anything wrong with the choices he's making for himself.
In another post you mentioned you're a software engineer and worked in the nuclear industry. Both are highly technical and there's a definite way to do things. Anything else is _wrong_. Garbage in, garbage out, right? You're input in this instance is garbage in. You're outcome will not change until you correct your input.
R
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What a guy, with your payment they can actually stay in business for a few days.
What about associated costs of running a business such as: liability insurance, workman's comp insurance, vehicle insurance, SS and Medicare taxes, office expenses, rent, and on and on?
Do you know how much you earn? No, really, do you know what it costs your employer to keep you on the payroll? Health insurance can add $5 or more per hour. You probably get paid holidays and vacation that is figured in. Event though you have a safe office job, he still has to pay workman's comp insurance, albeit at a lower rate than a foundry worker. He may be paying property taxes on the desk and computer you use. Measure your office space and check out rental costs.
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Luckily there are people like you who glady will pay all of that and more.
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Yep, or your ass would be on welfare instead of gainfully employed. If we don't pay a fair price for things, the employers would be out of business and we'd be paying tax dollars so the ex employees can sit on their asses and collect from the government. Funny how it works.
Nothing wrong with saving money by DIY and if you do contract, you deserve good quality work. But there is a cost to it.
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User Example wrote:

So since you get yours you begrudge some else theirs?
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<snip>

The DIY'ers already know that. You're just going to catch shit from the 'pros' who don't want the homeowners cutting them out of the equation.
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Actually, he's also catching shit from DIY'ers who know their limitations, which is a sign of maturity and wisdom. Now, I'm off to install my new kitchen faucet.
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