Huh? A customer doesn't need to know that this guy just got his license, is
going to use illegal alien subs with no industrial insurance, and has
underbid the next contractor by $235,000 to build your house.
Customers like that deserve (like you) to get whatever befalls them and
their "best price" mentality.
Who's talking about over-charging?
Were talking about customers who complain about legitimate prices.
Something wrong with getting rich by choosing to step away from the
comfortable, secure, cheque-for-life union job, and putting your home and
family life in a precarious position in order to take a chance for a better
Word-of-mouth is great, but even established companies like McDonalds, Home
Depot, Wal Mart, etc...still advertise.
Think maybe they know something about marketing??
I care! Please post pictures of the one you're plonking!
The salesman for a a local radio station was making a call on a hardware
store owner. The owner said he had been in the same place for fifteen
years and he didn't think he needed to advertise. The Salesman asked
him if the church at the end of the block was there when he opened the
church being over two hundred years old. The owner said of course it
was. Salesman asked why do you suppose they still ring their bell every
Marketing can be over rated. I think I would still go to McDonalds if they
did NO advertising.
It all depends on your market niche. I was a steel erection contractor. I
had the smallest yellow page ad you could get. I was AAA Welding, but they
still messed up the alphabet and put me farther back in the listings rather
at the first a few times over the years.
I targeted the businesses I wanted to have as customers. I realized the
size I wanted to grow to. I achieved that, and upon selling the business
had 275 apartment projects and companies as steady clients. I can remember
getting only one good contact from the yellow pages, that one being U-Haul
that I went on to do all their carport repair work for.
Most people who called me from the yellow pages were tirekickers, and
homeowners who cried when I told them how much I wanted to send a truck, two
experienced men and $25,000 worth of equipment to their house for a couple
of hours to fix their problems. And their conversation usually started
with, "I need you to come finish a job that some unlicensed person flaked
Referrals were the best. Good customers referring other good customers.
And managers that transferred from property to property, and called me from
I did a good job. I was on time. I didn't overcharge. I guaranteed my
work 100%, and if there was a problem, it was put to the top of the list,
and I didn't tell people they had to wait a week.
The last year in business myself and one helper had a gross intake of $334k.
The man who bought the business went out into all directions of
modifications and new services and new things, bigger building, new car for
wifey, new trucks, and lasted three years before going bankrupt. He drove a
new truck every year, and advertised on TV, something I never considered.
Marketing is a great thing if you're selling advertising.
Different goals. Mcdonalds is prepared to grow infinately.
Many contractors are perfectly happy with a 3-year backlog
of jobs for them and whatever size crew they're comfortable
managing. Not everyone wants to be multinational.
McDonalds' 2006 4th Quarter Report showed a 22% Net Profit **AFTER TAXES**
on 5.6 BILLION dollars sales for 3 months. What contractor of any size does
22% net profit? No, better yet who in the fuck does 22% net profit **AFTER
See it for yourself at:
You make a good point. It is the business of the contractor and no one here
should ever want to better understand what they are paying for and why they
are paying. We should never question authority or contractors. We should
never try to gain knowledge. I also thing we should take some of the TV
shows off the air that tell us how to do things on our own. Education is
Yep, I agree that the costs of running a professional business are
That factor along with the fact that the field has an ample percentage
of conmen and hacks has given rise to the DIY option.
New online HVAC sites are popping up left and right. Some even
promote a co-op arrangement where the homeowner does the rough in and
they find you a tech. for final connections/checkout. (just like
buying your tires at Tire Rack and taking them to the shop for
installation and in the process save a bundle).
R410A is making this easier by not requiring EPA licenses. (yes
venting is still illegal but most systems come precharged). New
refrigerant developments with no ODP and no greenhouse gas effect
could really accelerate this shift.
When you can buy and install the components for $2500 that a
contractor normally charges over $10,000 for then the economics will
shift an increasing portion of HVAC to DIY. (Throw in $1000 for misc.
tools and supplies and it's still a huge savings).
The next phase will be when a manufacturer steps up and offers simple
lineset connections and strikes a deal with Home Depot and Lowes. (ie
precharged/no brazing needed)
Yer an idiot. Conmen and hacks are in every profession.
You havent checked out fully how the co-op arrangement works.
The online co. sells you equipment and "tells" you they will help you
contact a company to help install it or just start it up for you.
What they dont tell you is that all they do is send out letters asking
companies like mine if I would call you and give you a free estimate
for your little furnace party. I havent found a company yet that will
work for labor only. The only ones that will are the ones you dont
want in your home. Otherwise, I charge you for the estimate, I figure
in my labor I add in the equipment profit just as if Id bought it and
I give you one price. Once its finished you have no warranty because I
dont provide it if I dont purchase the equipment and the Goodman
equipment you bought has no warranty if purchased over the internet.
Its listed right on their website.
Pre-charged lines sets have already been thought up. Most of them
disappeared. They leak at the connections.
Thats why we braze shit.
Hope you have/had fun with your project.
In this thread contrractors do indeed need to make a living and what
they charge is the going rate. As a consumer I try to do as much as I
can as my income was always modest and every dollar counts. This NG
is an excellent forum to discuss and to evaluate if I can do the job
myself. The only subject I won't DIY is gas installations. But
anything that doesn't require fiddling with the gas supply and
connections itself is easy enough to do.
The argument here is its a natural conflict between the consumer and
the contractor that each needs to get the best bang for his buck. As
manufacturers improve their products for DIY consumers (1) contractors
will have to raise their prices for what work there remains. No one
should get hot under the collar when a contractor quotes a price way
out of what the consumer thinks it is worth. The alternative is
learn to do it yourself or get a friend to help out. If its something
that you cannot do, for example pour concrete, then you have to pay
the going rate.
(1) A excellent example of changing economics is computers and their
peripherals which are fairly big ticket items. But who repairs them
any more? Just a very few such business are left and their bread and
butter is mostly board and parts swapping for which they have to
charge rates that often make it worthwhile to just buy a new and
The reason that I had an attitude from the beginning was that I read posts
from contractors that seemed to have big chips on their shoulders.
What kind of loser is going to say something like they will never shop at a
store that gives their contractor discount to regular customers. What do
you care about how a company decides to do business. Perhaps those losers
like to be subsidized by the customer.
Why do some contractors make false bills and get fake receipts from supply
stores? HUH, they are looking for ways to charge their customers more
money. Just tell the truth. Bill honestly. Say that parts cost X and
labor costs Y and possibly that overhead costs Z. Then the customers can
compare the different proposals. You could also throw in one more column
that gives likely buffers for problems that shoddy workmanship created. If
you start to work and find problems that were hidden, then charge the
customer that extra amount. If there are no hidden surprises, then tell the
customers that they will get a discount. I think people would like that.
Then, if you're so smart, what in the world are you doing working for a
living? Seems someone as smart as you would already have things figured
out, and have the world working for HIM.
I have money. Last P&L statement was $3.2 million. And that's not counting
the living trust where most of the family money rests. I am 58, and have
been retired for two and a half years now. I own property and real estate
in three states. The stock market is a sucker bet, so, I am content to get
from 12% to 25% on first trust deeds, placed through a CFP I know from high
school days. I netted $72k on that last year. Then, with income
properties, pension, and other income streams, it runs about $180k a year
with HEFTY business deductions.
Last year, I had to pay the big total of $7800 income tax. I drive a $38k
new Dodge truck, which I was allowed to totally deduct last year as a
business expense. Almost every lunch I eat, all the gas I buy, and every
meal I eat at a restaurant goes down as a business expense.
I travel a lot. I go to Mazatlan, Maui, Cabo, and fishing a couple of times
a year on the Kenai. I sleep until I am ready to get up. I own ATVs,
boats, and so many guns I don't have count. I have a fully equipped 1500 sf
shop. I camp and fish and do photography. Life is good.
How you doing?
We can all talk about what we're GOING to do. I'm only interested in what's
You're not going to believe this, but then, I really don't give a shit about
clueless twits like you.
With your attitude, you'll smart off to the wrong fellow, and you'll be worm
food. I doubt if you live to be thirty.
tsk, tsk, tsk...such an attitude. Sounds like you are doing good...why are
you getting so upset when I am pointing out common knowledge? Anyone that I
have asked about contractors has the same complaints as me, so it seems to
be a pervasive problem. Perhaps someone should pass some truth in
advertising type laws for contractors so everything can be compared
apples-to-apples. I was complaining about my bad luck with contractors. I
am stating logical facts and my observations. It seems like I have touched
a nerve. Perhaps you are haunted by nightmares of ripping people off?
That's because you think the building code requires something it
doesn't. Mostly, a house just has to not be actually dangerous.
Since yours hasn't killed anyone, it's probably ok.
There is, in the US, no upper limit on the number of receptacles
you can have one one circut. There is a lower limit
on the number of available amps you can have in a room, but
that's something trivial like 3 watts/sqft.
Why should circuts and rooms correspond? It makes
far more sense to me to have WALLS and circuts
From a homeowner point of view, it would be nice to be able to shut off
the "left bedroom" breaker and not interfere with other stuff.
In my house, for instance, I have to remember that "these two outlets
are on that circuit, but the other one on that wall is this other
circuit, while that one over there shares a circuit with the outside
plugs and is thus GFCI-protected, while the lights are on this other
circuit altogether". One room, five circuits.
It made things really interesting when I wanted to replace the outlets,
as it involved basically mapping out the entire house. I can't just
label the breakers, I need a floorplan with outlets and matching
circuits marked on it.
Take a few minutes to remove all of your receptical/switch covers .. ..
.. trace them back to their appropriate breaker, then write the breaker
number on the back of the cover plate & put it back on .. .. .. you'll
never again have to trace back an outlet. Just look on the back .. ..
.. very simple.
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