Frustration with clients! Due to this recession our industry is experiencing a lack of respect for the trade.

It seems as though I am experiencing alot of calls from people who are misled in their beliefs of what make a great craftsman. I MYSELF did not go to a school or just one day decide to be a carpenter.I am disgusted with the new idea that the cheapest bidder gets the job nowadays.These trades are good at what they do not due to their prices,but due to their experience.I hear somany complaints fvrom customers about the workmanship of the last crew.In my mind ,as they are speaking,I am thinking ,"yes,and the next question outta their mouth is going to be price".It's like they think they are going to trick me into doing it for next to nothing to prove I'm not one of those slack contractors.
I guess what I want to say to all you prospective clients is that I can build it perfect,I can build it right,up to standard,below standard,or completely wrong. You get what you pay for just like anything else.Please respect these trades and keep the standards up.I used to always say back in the framing days,these people are paying for perfection and thats what they are going to get. I rarely say that anymore.
  14 answers
  • Designs by BSB Designs by BSB on Dec 30, 2011
    I have been in the remodeling business for 22 years, I very much understand your pain and complaint here. It affects just about every trade (including design) .. goodness, down to what we buy at any store. You pay for what you get! What comes out of China is just not going to be good or long lasting.. ok, sorry.. won't jump on that soap box :) It is our jobs as professionals to educate our clients on what their money is buying them. Quality of your work is comparable to my challenge in showing value with my design services. The only way I know how to is to a) give references b) portfolio c) display credibility with website, professional associations, and education (including CEU's = continuing education!). d) YEARS of experience. Its harder than ever while we are in a recession. Many people do not want to spend any money, and when they do, they go for price. All too often I am seeing they are not giving consideration to what that dollar is really buying and what it will mean to them .. down the road.
  • Lesley L Lesley L on Dec 30, 2011
    My dad had been building homes and doing remodels most of his life. Like you, he did not go to school and isn't always able to offer the lowest prices, but my father is honest and fair and it has built him a reputation larger than one based on low prices. My dad NEVER leaves a job half assed, always doing it right the first time. Being cheap or expensive, college educated or not, does not prove how good you are at what you do. People who have never really been exposed to the remodeling business and the craftsmen do not fully understand the business, even if they think they do. It takes a special person to remodel or build a house. I'd like to see your clients and my dad's do it. My family knows how you are feeling. My only suggestion is keep doing what you do with honestly and give it your best. It will come back to you.
  • 3po3 3po3 on Dec 30, 2011
    Unfortunately, many people think they can get everything at bargain prices, but some things have more value. I think there are a couple of things going on: People see a lot of door-to-door salespeople or fly-by-night operations advertising cheap rates (and almost certainly shoddy work). Also, with the Internet, people look up estimates for jobs and become convinced they should be able to get the lowest price some random person quotes. Clients should try to get detailed estimates so they can see what they are paying for. Also, get referrals and ask them if the work was worth the cost.
  • Its all about ethics and old school thinking. And yes even new start up companies can benefit from this theory. I have been in the trades my whole life starting from being in middle school working with my dad on weekends and during the summer. So for the past 45 years I have learned a lot about people as a result. What has happened to this industry is that the internet exploded with all sorts of "experts" and un-fortunately people fall into the trap of the fancy wording and so called expert analysis that these people ( I refuse to call them contractors) claim to have in their particular trade. What most of the general public does not understand or perhaps does not want to understand is that all contractors purchase the same materials for almost the exact amount of money. So that part is taken out of the price that is provided to the consumer. So what is left? Its the overhead costs such as insurance, trucks, workman's comp, phone, tools etc. you get the picture. Those companies that come and go that offer deep discounted prices are doing this because they simply do not understand a proper business model. Sure they can do it for less, but more often then not they are working from pay check to pay check leaving them desperate at the end of each month to get another job to survive. As a result they discount their prices in order to get more work and when that happens they try to cut corners anywhere the client cannot see and the result is sub-par workmanship. This happens in all businesses regardless of being a contractor or shoe salesman. You need to learn from these people and use their so called expertise against them. When I am selling a homeowner my services I tell them right off unless I have no way of telling exactly what they should expect to pay for the job I am there for. I explain that my overhead cost are high and going up every time I do another job. That I do not cut prices to get a job, only to tell the client that they need to pay more later on because it was not included in my contract. And I often, even if it takes me more time and I do not get the job. I write out exactly what my job includes and what it does not. With that I have a pre-printed form explaining how to choose a contractor and what to look for in their agreement/proposal that they get from those I am competing against to get the job. Wrote this in such a manner that it does not look bias in anyway towards me. I cannot tell you how many times I do contract review for clients that the one guy they are thinking about did not included things such as permits, set amounts of insulation, type of material being used. I tell them sure he or she is including insulation, but when the time comes they tell you that they only included four inches of the stuff and that they need 14 inches. Bringing the price up to now that they are there up to or above the cost of several other contractors that the owner really wanted to go with only to be turned off by the higher price that they were charging. The bottom line its all about teaching your client about the project that they are going to be involved in. By teaching them about the price structure and why your proposal is more and then showing them on paper the numbers along with a very detailed proposal they tend to spend that money. Its very hard in the beginning to work this way and as you develop your business you will learn that those who are willing to pay and those who have the money to pay will always call and recommend you and your company. Until you have a good reputation for doing the right thing, and not surprise people with "oh by the way's" are are willing to EAT it once and a while when you forgot to add something in the estimate, your company will end up being something that you can hand down to your kids or sell for a good profit. In any case I feel your pain on this. Bob
  • Stone B Stone B on Dec 30, 2011
    I would have to agree with you coolingwood ,,the kicker is that after some customers go with the cheapest price,and then get shooty,bad work,I have gotten calls back from the same customers that call us back to fix the work that has been put in terrible,for guys like us to come back &try to fix a bigger problem,and they have to pay twice for the same job.You get what you pay for.Always try do get it right the 1st time,in the long run it's cheaper 100% of the time.
  • It is even worse that after you have tweaked your price to suit the needs of the budget your client goes and splurges on 3 large TV's each for a bedroom in the same home you helped remodeled because they were having a BUDGET!!!
  • This doesn't only apply to the residential market. I have one GC that I do work for that had another (read "cheaper") guy come in and sort of steal my work away. Well, for about 5 jobs, I followed around behind that guy fixing all the stuff he had screwed up. Needless to say, the GC just calls me in the first place once again.
  • Peace Painting Co., Inc. Peace Painting Co., Inc. on Dec 30, 2011
    You are so right Yamini, and with a new BMW in the garage! It's only their house /-;
  • Sherrie S Sherrie S on Dec 30, 2011
    Some of the vendors can't produce liability or w/c insurance verification or even a license # from the State. I'm very sure they can do the job cheaper because there is nothing protecting their employees or their customers and that could be very, very costly to their customer.
  • I am working for my business and helping a friend get started too.He's framing and it's just a paycheck for me .I put in about 30aweek. I feel this is the only way to stay safe right now.I gotta keep my house lol!!I know this time is cutting into potential future job hunting,but I just spent everything on an addition myself and a reroof that the insurance would only pay to do a shotty job for. Hay what doesnt kill us makes us stronger.I plan to still be standing when and if it ever breaks off again.GIMME SOME WOOD TO BEAT ON !!!! SAWDUST
  • SawHorse Design Build SawHorse Design Build on Dec 30, 2011
    Sawdust- howdy from SawHorse! It is a tough market, but stay focused and get a good support group like the people on hometalk to get your through it and things will get better. As far as experience is concerned, we do hire graduates from local trade school called GA Tech. I hate to discriminate, but the only interns that work our for us are the ones that had construction experience through osmosis or actually tried to build before they went to school. As an employer, we do require a degree for certain positions, however experience is what I look at for more of our skilled positions in the field.
  • Joe R Joe R on Dec 30, 2011
    I recently had over $20,000.00 in improvements made to the roof of my house, including the installation of a dormer. Now I know that being a Machinist that close to me is .0001", but when I came home one day and saw 3/4" of extra plywood sticking out from a corner and they said it was "CLOSE ENOUGH", I almost threw the whole crew off of mt property. There were also 1/2" gaps between the hacked up boards they used for the sheathing. So, while you may do good work, not everyone does! Even if they think its good.
  • Peace Painting Co., Inc. Peace Painting Co., Inc. on Dec 31, 2011
    Our family was able to go to Switzerland over Christmas and stay with friends. Many there go into the trades. Formal training starts at 15 years old for your chosen field. I didn't figure out that I wanted to be a marketing major until the third year of college and then went back to painting anyway, which I had done through high school. I could afford to bloom late when dad was paying for schooling (: I wonder what I would have done in Switzerland where education is also provided. Anyway, book learning can only take you a part of the way. CP
  • my uncle is a ga tech grad. and a hell of an engineer!!Love ga . Used to live in douglasville.Graduated high school sort of there
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