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Old 03-23-2013, 12:15 PM   #16
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What's funny about the Homeowners' naivete?


One thing many homeowners can't wrap their heads around is our time giving them estimates for free means lost revenue if the homeowner is just trying to see if they can afford the work they want done. I've also heard homeowners complain about paying for travel time. Time is money. If someone came up to the homeowner and asked them to do their job for free, most would say, "NO WAY!"

About the closet...
  • What kind of demolition has to be done before the closet installation can begin?
  • What kind of closet is this? One with a lot of shelves? One just for hanging clothes? Or one with slide out shelves and drawers?
  • What kind of materials do you want used? Metal or wood? Laminated MDF or finished mahogany?
  • Do you want the paint on the exterior to match exactly the rest of the walls in the room?
  • Do you want a self-taught DIYer to do the installation or a seasoned professional who learned his or her craft under another seasoned professional?

Sure, a closet could cost you $560 or ten times that much. It all depends on what you want in the finished product.

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Old 03-23-2013, 01:53 PM   #17
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What's funny about the Homeowners' naivete?


The $2000 cost for a closet came from this post on another forum. The specs look like it's a simple closet. Maybe lower cost than an average bedroom closet. So, if I'm the home owner and specify the relevant things for a simple closet like that, the cost would be almost four times what I would have expected. Even a rough estimate would likely be much higher than what I expected and would be helpful. I might wonder "how can that be" and look for a handyman who charges something closer to $560, or do it myself.
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Old 03-23-2013, 02:03 PM   #18
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What's funny about the Homeowners' naivete?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dorado View Post
I'm glad a few of you give estimates over the phone or at least after a free visit. There are jobs that I would have guessed cost a few hundred dollars but they're much more in every case, and it's good to know that ahead of time. I recently read that building a typical bedroom closet costs about $2000. I would have figured about $100 for drywall and drywall supplies, $50 for framing, $50 for wooden shelves and rails, $200 for doors, $40 an hour for four hours work for one man. That's $560. If I had three times that amount I'd feel more than confident that was enough but it wouldn't be.
Four hours of work to demo, frame, hang/finish drywall, paint/stain, install base/doors/casings?

Not reasonable at all. I suppost you think this would all be accomplished in half a day also?
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Old 03-23-2013, 02:17 PM   #19
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What's funny about the Homeowners' naivete?


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Originally Posted by sixeightten View Post
Four hours of work to demo, frame, hang/finish drywall, paint/stain, install base/doors/casings?

Not reasonable at all. I suppost you think this would all be accomplished in half a day also?
No demo. In an existing corner, but I tried calculated cost for three walls plus doors. If I'm off by 4 hours, that's still only a $160 difference.
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Old 03-23-2013, 04:17 PM   #20
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What's funny about the Homeowners' naivete?


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Originally Posted by Dave88LX View Post
I noticed ContractorTalk redirects you to this site if you click that you are a homeowner. Perhaps the sites are related/co-owned. I'm too new to know.

I'm glad this forum here exists though.
Yes, contractor talk is a sister site.
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Old 03-23-2013, 04:21 PM   #21
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What's funny about the Homeowners' naivete?


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Originally Posted by Dorado View Post
No demo. In an existing corner, but I tried calculated cost for three walls plus doors. If I'm off by 4 hours, that's still only a $160 difference.
Ain't gonna mud and finish drywall in 4 hours.
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Old 03-23-2013, 06:01 PM   #22
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What's funny about the Homeowners' naivete?


Someone that has no idea what is involved in a job told me I was crazy for my bid. Which was on the low side. Very easily I could make an 1/8 of an inch mistake and I would be eating a few hundred dollars only in materials. I had to lay everything out, set everything, measure a few times. Make absolute sure I was dead on, make all my cuts, put everything bad together, make more marks, tear everything back apart, re cut, re install. This is not my first time doing these things. Get someone else that will do a hundred dollar job for you.
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Old 03-23-2013, 07:03 PM   #23
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What's funny about the Homeowners' naivete?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dorado View Post
I'm glad a few of you give estimates over the phone or at least after a free visit. There are jobs that I would have guessed cost a few hundred dollars but they're much more in every case, and it's good to know that ahead of time. I recently read that building a typical bedroom closet costs about $2000. I would have figured about $100 for drywall and drywall supplies, $50 for framing, $50 for wooden shelves and rails, $200 for doors, $40 an hour for four hours work for one man. That's $560. If I had three times that amount I'd feel more than confident that was enough but it wouldn't be.

This here is exactly why HO's get the attitude from professionals. Here, you are assuming you know what the professional's time is worth. $40/hr will get you a run of the mill craigslist hack.

I've stopped working for HO's for exactly the sentiments you posted. They go to Menard's and buy all the stuff they think is required to do a job, only to beat me up when it takes longer than they think it should (how they are suddenly experts on my trade?) or they didn't have the right materials, missing parts, etc.

I've been to jobs where it takes me a long time to dig into a wiring issue and solve it. I've also been to jobs where the issue is so apparent I'm in and out in under 10 minutes. The customers get billed the same usually. It took me 12 years to be able to solve a wiring issue in 10 minutes, good on me. Don't give me grief that your bill was $189, it would've been the same if it took me 2 hours.
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Old 03-23-2013, 07:17 PM   #24
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What's funny about the Homeowners' naivete?


i feel a ballpark estimate should be free. a detailed estimate with a line by line brake down, and more time spent on it should have a reasonable cost. you say you have X amount of years doing this job you should be able to say $to$$$ based on the what you have said about the project, but if you want a detailed estimate, i will need to come and see, and that will cost, but it will be more detailed. That's just how i feel about this whole issue. And when i start making calls for estimates i hope i can convey this to the people i talk to, and if they understand and agree i think it will point out who is a better contractor.
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Old 03-23-2013, 07:46 PM   #25
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What's funny about the Homeowners' naivete?


Quote:
Originally Posted by halfamp View Post
$40/hr will get you a run of the mill craigslist hack.
In the forum post that I linked to, pros are saying building a closet is a handyman's job and not worth their time. I see now that people are saying $40/hr is in the handyman range. That seems high for a handyman, but I guess that's the price and that's who to go to for a job like this. If it takes 8 hours instead of my initial guess of four, that's $720 for the total cost to a home owner to get a closet built (by my estimation). A "real" contractor would give a $2000 estimate based on the posts in the other forum. That's a crazy difference for construction of a simple closet and I wouldn't want to be surprised with a bill that's more than double what I estimated (even with twice the hours I originally figured!). If the "real" contractor (I don't really know the difference between a handyman and whatever those people on the other forum consider themselves...I think both are contractors) is charging that much, he's either charging more than $100/hr or he's charging $100/hr and multiplying the cost of supplies by something. I read on this forum that some contractors double the cost of materials. I can see charging for gas but doubling the price of materials is deceptive. If you look at the net income per hour of someone who does that, it would be higher than most home owners would consider fair, and probably more than $100/hr in some cases. I'd like to have an idea of the costs ahead of time so I'd know to head for the handymen.
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Old 03-23-2013, 07:51 PM   #26
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What's funny about the Homeowners' naivete?


when it comes to materials there a calculators out there to help with finding out how much of everything you need. just takes home work. then some leg work or key strokes to put together a list on some place like home depot or lowes. that will give you a ball park on the cost of meterials, then you just need to find the guy that will charge what you feel is fair for his time and effort.
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Old 03-23-2013, 08:00 PM   #27
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What's funny about the Homeowners' naivete?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dorado View Post
The $2000 cost for a closet came from this post on another forum. The specs look like it's a simple closet. Maybe lower cost than an average bedroom closet. So, if I'm the home owner and specify the relevant things for a simple closet like that, the cost would be almost four times what I would have expected. Even a rough estimate would likely be much higher than what I expected and would be helpful. I might wonder "how can that be" and look for a handyman who charges something closer to $560, or do it myself.
Seems most estimates consider this a 2 day job. The multiple trips are required because of the drying time for the drywall mud and the fact there is virtually no work to be done while the mud drys. Extra trips increase overhead. $40.00/hr. may seem like a good living, but when it takes you 1 hr to put the mud on, then you have to load your tools, go to another job; well no pay for that down time.

Last edited by packer_rich; 03-23-2013 at 08:02 PM.
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Old 03-24-2013, 04:19 AM   #28
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What's funny about the Homeowners' naivete?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dorado View Post
In the forum post that I linked to, pros are saying building a closet is a handyman's job and not worth their time. I see now that people are saying $40/hr is in the handyman range. That seems high for a handyman, but I guess that's the price and that's who to go to for a job like this. If it takes 8 hours instead of my initial guess of four, that's $720 for the total cost to a home owner to get a closet built (by my estimation). A "real" contractor would give a $2000 estimate based on the posts in the other forum. That's a crazy difference for construction of a simple closet and I wouldn't want to be surprised with a bill that's more than double what I estimated (even with twice the hours I originally figured!). If the "real" contractor (I don't really know the difference between a handyman and whatever those people on the other forum consider themselves...I think both are contractors) is charging that much, he's either charging more than $100/hr or he's charging $100/hr and multiplying the cost of supplies by something. I read on this forum that some contractors double the cost of materials. I can see charging for gas but doubling the price of materials is deceptive. If you look at the net income per hour of someone who does that, it would be higher than most home owners would consider fair, and probably more than $100/hr in some cases. I'd like to have an idea of the costs ahead of time so I'd know to head for the handymen.
Hanymen basically work for labor only. Contractors charge mark up for parts and materials. plus charge a labor rate to cover all operating cost and turn a profit on labor.

You do know that Lowes/HD sell their drywall for more then they pay for it. They don't just add the cost of employee labor to it.
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Old 03-24-2013, 07:54 AM   #29
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What's funny about the Homeowners' naivete?


This is an interesting discussion-----I also see that many folks are not aware of the current labor rates for legitimate contractors.

$40 an hour ? The workmans comp insurance--liability--vacation pay--health insurance--truck and travel-tools and other overhead makes that number rather out dated----

a carpenter in this area can expect the boss to pay $32 to $36 per hour. add the above costs plus overhead and profit-----plus his portion of the selling costs and you will see that a higher number is needed.
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Old 03-24-2013, 08:54 AM   #30
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What's funny about the Homeowners' naivete?


I base a lot of my decisions on contractors/specialists from my initial conversations with them.

Sometimes not even my initial conversation, but my attempts to have a conversation.

For me, It is almost always true that the ease at which I can get a contractor to respond to an email, take a call, come for an estimate, etc... has a direct correlation to the quality of the whole experience.

In the past, If I heard about a guy who charges $30 an hour to do a task, while everyone else charges $60, I might have called or sent an inquiry email. Typically this guy will put me off, not return an email, not be able to come out until next Thursday, etc. It has gotten to the point where I just know someone who doesn't price themselves to the market price will not be a great person to do business with. Even if they are, they won't be in business for long without raising their rates.

I am always shocked at how many guys will have an email address to reach them, and then it becomes clear they never check or return emails. This is a red flag for me, because in 2013 a credible email is certainly the same as a credible phone call.

My only point in posting to his forum is not to criticize trade specialists for what they charge, but just to point out how important it is to watch how they run the rest of their business. It will usually tell you all you need to know.

I worked in automotive retail marketing for over 20 years. Most of the great salespeople I have encountered know that people who come to them are likely to have had a bad experience along the way. The great salespeople understand this and go out of their way with each customer to try and right the wrongs of an entire industry. In doing so they earn the confidence of the customer. Sadly, yet importantly, the salespeople just know they have to do this, it is a huge part of their job.

The same can be said of the great contractors who get called on a job, one thing that makes them great is their desire to educate you in layman's terms as to why you should choose them.

Just my thoughts.

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