How much do I charge?
I have read so many posts here since I joined and have learned a lot. There is something about learning "tricks of the trade" from the pros and its great that you folks offer free advice to the forum.
The biggest problem I faced since I started being a hired handyman only 3 months ago is.....How much do I charge for a job???
I thought I might share what I have gone through in such a short time.
I never know what to charge for a job. I always tried to compare three things when quoting...
1) What would a professional charge
2) Am I not making as much as I could.
3) How much is my competetion charging.
My first job was simple. Paint one bedroom, a hall and a bathroom. I was confident about my work but I wanted to know what everybody else was charging to make the right kind of money. The customer asked me for an estimate on the spot. In panic mode, and to get the job, I bid $ 225+paint.
She previously had quotes of $450 + paint and I thought "ok, I underestimated", but I stuck to it because I felt it was a fair price for me. I am still doing work there...from appliance installation to cable re-routes. She has also referred me to her friends and now I am busier than ever.
I suppose my point is that, its not the cost that matters but more the quality of work one provides. I am not a journeyman in any of the trades which I do, but I perform all work as if I were I had one staring down my back. As I go along, my prices may rise in time but in the meantime I found that the best reward for a job well done is the acknowlegement of a job well done.
I have never been happier than I am now meeting new and different people and making their day by a simple twist of talent. My feeling is that if you leave a house and they were happy you were there, that is worth a lot more than an initial charge. The rest will come later.
Usually, I have underquoted, not for undermining competition but for lack of standard pricing, but usually, if the job is done right and you get a good rapport with the customer, they will tell you the other quotes..thats how I learn.
Just my point of view, but its working for me :)
Do you carry liability insurance? Workers comp?
Do you pay taxes on your income? Do you have overhead?
Look at all those things, and then look at the $225 labor you charged for painting a bedroom, hall, and bathroom. After taking out the cost of doing business, you probably made about $4.00 an hour.
Welcome to the world of contracting. You definitely need to take some lessons in accounting, and pricing techniques.
I agree with you ProWall. My situation is unique whereas the income goes to my existing business and I was able to add home repairs to the list of liabilities on my business insurance. So, while the income may be somewhat low, my thought was that before I start doing residential work 'full time' I need to be "known" in the marketplace.
As I go along, I learn how to price more effectively through the experience but my point was that I had to start somewhere. The area I am in has more handymen than coffee shops:) so I needed to prove to people my abilities. The higher costs I estimate now are more in line with the norm, but now I have the confidence to sell myself easier because of the word of mouth references.
It's a fact that when anyone starts out on their own....even the pros....they often make mistakes by underbidding jobs. It's a fact of life when you start doing jobs for yourself...
..so when that happens, don't kick yourself.... learn from the mistakes ... we all have made them and tried to learn from them ...
Congratulations on your own business.
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