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Old 03-29-2013, 12:53 PM   #106
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What's funny about the Homeowners' naivete?


Quote:
Originally Posted by JulieMor View Post
If I was thinking about going out on my own to make a living and came here and read this thread first, I'd steer clear of working for homeowners. Many contractors do because of the increased costs involved in doing that type of work.

As to the value of a tradesman, I can think of many times I thought I was grossly underpaid because my life was on the line. When there's 7200 volts just inches from your head and you know one little mistake and you're instant barbecue, that hourly rate you're getting seems pretty dismal.

I know plenty of electricians who have been seriously injured and two who were killed doing their job. I've never heard of a doctor, a lawyer, an IT pro, a business person, or any of the other "white collar" workers I've known in my life, talk about the dangerous conditions they put up with at work but I've heard plenty of them say construction workers are overpaid.
Which says a lot about career choices. Chose wisely or have the gumption to change when a path you're on isn't the right one.

Those other professions are not without their risks, granted probably not the same as imminent risks from high voltage, but they've still got a lot to lose if they make mistakes. You can complain about close calls or other risks because they're just your mistakes, not much else is on the line for anyone else. That other pro would be an idiot to likewise rant about their mistakes because that sort of talk would very likely come back to bite them should a lawsuit or other liability claim be made. Perhaps you're lucky being able to vent about it, eh?

It doesn't help much to claim someone else's position is any better or worse, they're still there and you're still where you are. But sometimes it sure feels good to ***** about it though!

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Old 03-29-2013, 03:29 PM   #107
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What's funny about the Homeowners' naivete?


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You said the report mentioned how many honest companies there were. There's no invention there. Claims of fraud need evidence and they showed it like they should. There was no misinformation there, but the one I linked to was a little misleading.
They showed it in a manor to simply raise their ratings. Had they shown the honest contractors. Then they would have had to taken more air time, and would have made less money. And heaven forbid. gave the honest contractors free advertising.


The link you posted was completely misleading, and self serving. Disguises as a service to people. It was a for profit broadcast. Gotta get/keep those ratings up.
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Old 03-29-2013, 04:54 PM   #108
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What's funny about the Homeowners' naivete?


It shows that government isn't doing a good enough job regulating fraud when you see so many AC repair business in one area ripping people off. If the media could discover this, so could regulatory agencies. The difference between 6 out of 6 doing it (which was probably a more misleading than average report) and just 30% doing it isn't that big a deal to me. Either way, if my AC breaks, I'll be more likely to get a new one knowing of such widespread fraud, and more likely to check reviews and avoid small businesses that post ads on lamp posts and slip fliers under my door. Even in the report that I think was misleading about the scale of the fraud they mentioned some companies that they used to check out the ACs before the sting. That's useful information too. I'd probably choose one of those companies if they were in the area.

About the cost of advertising and bookkeeping, some people operate on word of mouth alone. I know less about bookkeeping, but how much bookkeeping would the owner of a small sole proprietorship have to do per 24 hours worth of projects?
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Old 03-29-2013, 05:16 PM   #109
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What's funny about the Homeowners' naivete?


[QUOTE=Dorado;1148551
About the cost of advertising and bookkeeping, some people operate on word of mouth alone. I know less about bookkeeping, but how much bookkeeping would the owner of a small sole proprietorship have to do per 24 hours worth of projects?[/QUOTE]

Varying with the project. You can have 20 invoices from vendors/suppliers for just 3 invoices to the customer. 24 hours worth of billable time for me doing only diagnostic and minor repair service is 2 to 3 hours of paper work/book keeping. Sometimes more, sometimes less. All depends on the type of work I was doing.
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Old 03-29-2013, 05:22 PM   #110
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What's funny about the Homeowners' naivete?


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Originally Posted by Dorado View Post
It shows that government isn't doing a good enough job regulating fraud when you see so many AC repair business in one area ripping people off. If the media could discover this, so could regulatory agencies. The difference between 6 out of 6 doing it (which was probably a more misleading than average report) and just 30% doing it isn't that big a deal to me. Either way, if my AC breaks, I'll be more likely to get a new one knowing of such widespread fraud, and more likely to check reviews and avoid small businesses that post ads on lamp posts and slip fliers under my door. Even in the report that I think was misleading about the scale of the fraud they mentioned some companies that they used to check out the ACs before the sting. That's useful information too. I'd probably choose one of those companies if they were in the area.

About the cost of advertising and bookkeeping, some people operate on word of mouth alone. I know less about bookkeeping, but how much bookkeeping would the owner of a small sole proprietorship have to do per 24 hours worth of projects?
First. They didn't actually show a single company that was dishonest. Or atleast they didn't prove any of the companies that ent someone out were dishonest. They showed 6 people that were taking advantage of a female customer.

Had it been man there, and that man looked like he was in some type of mechanical or construction trade. They would have had a different diagnostic given by those guys.

They blew that show by not reporting what they actually saw. They only wanted ratings. And a show on how woman can\are taken advantage of by some. Would have taken longer to prep for and to do. So no, they failed, as bad as you think the gov did.

Funny thing is. if the gov policed the HVAC industry more. We would have to charge more yet.
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Old 03-29-2013, 10:02 PM   #111
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What's funny about the Homeowners' naivete?


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Originally Posted by wkearney99 View Post
Which says a lot about career choices. Chose wisely or have the gumption to change when a path you're on isn't the right one.

Those other professions are not without their risks, granted probably not the same as imminent risks from high voltage, but they've still got a lot to lose if they make mistakes. You can complain about close calls or other risks because they're just your mistakes, not much else is on the line for anyone else. That other pro would be an idiot to likewise rant about their mistakes because that sort of talk would very likely come back to bite them should a lawsuit or other liability claim be made. Perhaps you're lucky being able to vent about it, eh?

It doesn't help much to claim someone else's position is any better or worse, they're still there and you're still where you are. But sometimes it sure feels good to ***** about it though!
The point is when making complaints about what someone makes, remember, "Everyone is overpaid but me. I'm underpaid." So rather than griping about how much someone charges for their work, just move on and find someone else to do it or pay the man and keep quiet.
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Old 04-03-2013, 12:02 PM   #112
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What's funny about the Homeowners' naivete?


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On another forum. One of the members was called on a truly random sting/check. He found the problem right a way. Fixed it, and informed the lady of what was wrong and presented his bill. He was paid and informed that it was a sting operation. He was congratulated on his honesty. And when the show aired. He wasn't shown. They did say at the end of the show, that 3 contractors fixed the problem only, and didn't try to add on extra charges. Took them about 10 seconds to say that. Gee, wonder why honesty wasn't worth air time. Guess because it doesn't increase the ratings so they can charge their sponsors more money.
I would think it's probably because people doing what they're supposed to is not news. At least, I hope it still isn't.
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Old 04-03-2013, 03:00 PM   #113
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What's funny about the Homeowners' naivete?


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Ever have a job with a company vehicle?
No, and I'd say "most people" do not fall into such a category. The fact that some positions may get perks is irrelevant to this discussion.

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You may work at an office. Entirely different then driving to 4 appointments in a day in various locations. You wouldn't be able to constantly afford that bill I bet.
And you'd lose that bet. IT contractor for 20 yrs here that's made an honest living from customers that won't let me go because I charge a fair price and provide a valueable resource. I survived the "dot com bust" by having a solid understanding of how to treat customers. I have never gouged a customer, never tried to.

Look, you're being deliberately silly in your exaggerations. Point was, a contractor offered to do a job for $500, for which the known cost of supplies was $60, and for which the actual job takes no more than two hours.

This is not rocket science. AS the customer in this case, one is fully entitled to decide what he or she is willing to pay, to come up w a ballpark based on forums, advice, research and some elbow grease -- then decide if that is reasonable or not. That is what this thread was about... that a homeowner SHOULD come up w what he thinks he should pay, whether it is the closet example that permeates this thread or a wall crack or a furnace repair.

I don't CARE what he makes. I have nothing against him (well, besides lying to me and using scare tactics). I do the math purely to make a sensible decision. How else should one decide if $500 should just be paid or not? Magic 8-ball? No -- you think it out.

Now my lawyer who went to law school? Yes I'll pay him $220 per hour. It has absolutely nothing to do w covering his costs, his gas, his "employability" like taxes, liability, school loans, etc.

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Take my advice my friend, and never become self employed. Because if you don't price things out at least along the lines of what I said, bankruptcy would be in your near future.
Assumptions are great aren't they.
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Old 04-03-2013, 03:05 PM   #114
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What's funny about the Homeowners' naivete?


That is where you are wrong.

If a lawyer in private practice doesn't meet their costs then they will go out of business in short order.

By the way, 220 and hour is a cheap lawyer today....
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Old 04-03-2013, 03:21 PM   #115
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What's funny about the Homeowners' naivete?


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As to the value of a tradesman, I can think of many times I thought I was grossly underpaid because my life was on the line. When there's 7200 volts just inches from your head and you know one little mistake and you're instant barbecue, that hourly rate you're getting seems pretty dismal.
Heh. In general, everyone likes to believe that what they do is more important and more dangerous than the average job. When in reality, we all drive to work. And we are 1000x more likely to die driving to work and getting hit by a drunk driver than we are to die by getting electricuted. I'll guess an electrician is less likely to die while doing electrical work (which he's trained to do) than when he's getting to work, and an electrician doing electrical work is actually a pretty safe thing because again of the training and focus on the work at hand. Given this, I think we're all about equally likely to be hurt (or worse) on the job by the things that are most likely to actually be harmful or deathly (trivial things like driving or using a ladder).

Personally, I would say the health risks a doctor or nurse faces far exceed the health risks that an electrician faces. No research behind this tho...
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Old 04-03-2013, 03:28 PM   #116
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What's funny about the Homeowners' naivete?


As long as we are talking about risk takers lets applaud the law enforcement and firefighters who put their lives at risk every damn day to save your fat anonymous asses.
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Old 04-03-2013, 03:32 PM   #117
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http://finance.yahoo.com/news/pf_article_109579.html

And that.
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Old 04-03-2013, 04:55 PM   #118
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What's funny about the Homeowners' naivete?


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A huge problem with how the world works in general is bad communication/lack of knowledge. People should know that some contractors could charge $40 and hour and less and make a good, honest living and get the job done well, and even build the closet I was talking about for $560 - $700 rather than the $2000 quoted on the other forum.
You know, having just built some rooms... and in reading this thread... I've been trying to think about what it would cost if a friend came to me and said "hey can you build me a closet"... And I think even to a friend, it would cost me more than $560.

Thing is... every time I go to the store, I don't walk out of there for less than $100 even if I go in thinking I'm just getting one thing or group of things. Last trip - to drywall one small room, over $100. ($6x14+$9x3). That's just for the drywall. Add mud, tape, corner bead, etc. 2 hours of labor with my wife helping to get to the store and get the drywall into the house and down the stairs.

Lumber
Electrical... wire... switch... fixture... how far is the nearest circuit?
Nails, Screws
Insulation (?)
Drywall, tape, mud, blades, trays, mixer, drill
Primer, paint, rollers, brushes, plastic pour toppers, all the little stuff.
Baseboard Trim
Casing
Jamb (bifold or slider closet doors require a custom jamb)
Doors (cheap slab bifolds cuz a mirror slider can run $300 itself)
Door hardware
Flooring (?) unmentioned what's needed here
Finish the trim? Stain? Paint?
Wooden shelves, closet rod
Disposing of the bulk trash

The little things get ya too. Like gloves. Knee pads. Drill bits. Screwdrivers. Saw blades. Electrical tape. General consumables that you dont think about when you decide to do a project. Yet you inevitably break a drill bit or saw blade.

There's a lot of time involved in that list, including finicky detail work.

Maybe 3 days if I could spend them pretty much full time. Could I do this in 2 days? i.e. a weekend, from tear-out to finished product? No, I'm not that good. I think I could get to "rough finished" in a weekend... leaving the floor, trim, door install, priming and painting for a 2nd weekend. And that's if I had my "friend" (or whoever) helping me to run to the store to pick stuff up so I could keep working.

Anyways... I think $2000 is high, but $560 is low. I'd probly go somewhere in between -- maybe $1500. That's $750 labor and $750 mtls. (The specific door would affect this a lot)

I dunno if that's fair as it's about $250/day of labor (7 hours) -- works out to about $35/hr... but it's a start...

But I don't think it's possible to build a rough-to-finished closet for $560 even if the labor was donated.
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Old 04-03-2013, 07:34 PM   #119
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What's funny about the Homeowners' naivete?


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The point is when making complaints about what someone makes, remember, "Everyone is overpaid but me. I'm underpaid." So rather than griping about how much someone charges for their work, just move on and find someone else to do it or pay the man and keep quiet.
I kind of saw this first hand today- A GC (house flipper) called me to plumb a bath addition. The drains are in a crawl space- cast iron drains and galv water.
We discussed the scope of the work, etc. He tells me HE is supplying all material including pipe, fixtures and permit. So I'm into it for labor only. I told him 750.
"Well my budget is only 500", he says. "Hmm- Can you get to 700?"
I said "OK" Then he says he wants it done by Friday PM so he can meet the draw deadline Why didn't he start plumbing last week instead of waiting till the last minute? I guess I need to reschedule some other projects....
I left him a quote and said "call me tonight" because he wanted to get another bid- which I have no problem with BTW.
So, he calls a couple hrs later and gives me the go ahead. But wait-- he calls again and tells me he just got a price for $325! Less then 1/2 my number- go figure. Now I'm out 60 miles round trip fuel, windshield time, lost wages from another project that I could have been on, etc..... Oh well, cost of doing business I guess
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Old 04-03-2013, 07:40 PM   #120
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