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  • Job pricing in tough times.

    I got a estimate from a local contractor to do some work around my mother-in-laws house.

    I felt it was high so I offered him 80% of what he bid. He looked at me like I was crazy and
    laughed as he walked away.

    I felt like his price was unfair. These are tough times and I can't afford to pay what he wants
    but I want him to do the work. There is little if any new construction around here. He should
    be taking any work he can even if he will just be getting by until times improve don't you think?
    Unemployment is higher here than the rest of the country, I believe on the News last night they
    said its over 10%.

    So was my counter-offer to low? Should I have offered 85 or 90% or should he have taken the
    job for 80% and just be glad he has some work to keep him from starving?
    ---------------
    Light is faster than sound. That's why some people seem really bright until you hear them speak.
    ---------------
    “If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.” - Albert Einstein
    ---------
    "Its a table saw.... Do you know where your fingers are?"
    ---------
    sigpic http://www.helmetstohardhats.com/

  • #2
    Re: Job pricing in tough times.

    I also decline when people ask or offer less. If they can't pay me my price they are welcome to find another for less.

    If you want only him to do the work he must be worth the price ???

    Is this guy starving ???

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Job pricing in tough times.

      I also walk. My prices are in-line with what the other plumbers are charging for the most part. If they want a licensed professional plumber they'll pay what I'm worth. If they want cheap they can find an illegal handyhack and after he's done I'll wait for the call to fix his mess. 80% of a 200 dollar job is 160 if I'm doing my math right. To me that would be an insult. Also If you give in now they'll expect it later, no thank you.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Job pricing in tough times.

        I respectfully decline and tell them to get a few others to look at it and bid it as well. And whatever prices they get will not alter mine.

        Tell them I hope we can work together & call if they have any questions. Nice as I can be about it. If they show any negative attitude, the price goes up 10%.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Job pricing in tough times.

          I sometimes can wiggle 10% off my price and sometimes not. Anymore and it looks to the customer like you where over charging in the first place. As for the recession when it was first hitting America Yes prices where adjusted back and forth but now most of the ones that where going to go out of business are gone and the ones that are left are not going to move 20% off of a bid.
          Seattle Drain Service

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Job pricing in tough times.

            Originally posted by ironranger View Post
            Also If you give in now they'll expect it later, no thank you.
            I think train of thought is what them twinkie workers were thinking.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Job pricing in tough times.

              Business exists to make a profit. In order to make a profit, you must know your operating costs.
              And for a licensed professional those costs have significantly increased.
              We know that competition is fierce for new construction, but we (at least I) don't want to "get by"
              until, if and when, things get better. There are only three options when you set prices.
              1. Charge so little that you lose money.
              2. Charge just enough to break even.
              3. Charge enough to cover your expenses and make the reasonable profit that you deserve for providing excellent service.
              Obviously the first two are undesirable options, yet there are so many contractors that fall into the trap of doing just that.
              You can't base your prices on what the other guy is charging. Your must base them on your cost of doing business.
              If you cave in to the pressure to be the cheapest, then you won't make enough money to survive the long haul.
              The key is being able to provide quality workmanship and excellent service.
              If you want this guy to do your work, there must be another reason besides the money.
              And that's the way it should be. There's no such thing as a good price for poor quality.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Job pricing in tough times.

                Originally posted by Frankiarmz View Post
                I think train of thought is what them twinkie workers were thinking.
                was i that obvious?

                funny how when the shoe is on the other foot the story changes.
                ---------------
                Light is faster than sound. That's why some people seem really bright until you hear them speak.
                ---------------
                “If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.” - Albert Einstein
                ---------
                "Its a table saw.... Do you know where your fingers are?"
                ---------
                sigpic http://www.helmetstohardhats.com/

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Job pricing in tough times.

                  Originally posted by Big Jim View Post
                  Business exists to make a profit. In order to make a profit, you must know your operating costs.
                  And for a licensed professional those costs have significantly increased.
                  We know that competition is fierce for new construction, but we (at least I) don't want to "get by"
                  until, if and when, things get better. There are only three options when you set prices.
                  1. Charge so little that you lose money.
                  2. Charge just enough to break even.
                  3. Charge enough to cover your expenses and make the reasonable profit that you deserve for providing excellent service.
                  Obviously the first two are undesirable options, yet there are so many contractors that fall into the trap of doing just that.
                  You can't base your prices on what the other guy is charging. Your must base them on your cost of doing business.
                  If you cave in to the pressure to be the cheapest, then you won't make enough money to survive the long haul.
                  The key is being able to provide quality workmanship and excellent service.
                  If you want this guy to do your work, there must be another reason besides the money.
                  And that's the way it should be. There's no such thing as a good price for poor quality.

                  well a household runs like a business in a manner of speaking.
                  you trade a skill or knowledge for money that becomes your operating budget.
                  you feed your employees (family), maintain your place of business (home) and transportation,
                  you provide health care for your employees(family), and maybe some training (school). uniforms (clothing).
                  you also want to expand your business (family), so you have children, and like any expansion it costs
                  money to expand or grow your organization. until that new part of your business can pay its own way you have to
                  infuse some capital into it, probably more than it is producing for a while, but eventually it will pay back. well kids
                  are the same way.

                  so in your business you don't want to just 'get by', but it's OK to say that someone who works for someone should do just that
                  ( 'he should be glad he even has a job and take what he can get, and look for something else that pays better' is about how one
                  person put it in another thread. Families have expenses too, and the cost of those expenses has not gone down. The only way to
                  even stay where you are, to tread water so to speak, is to get a cost of living increase (not a cut) in your pay.

                  why is it OK for you to 'walk' on a job when i don't want to pay what you ask but not the guy who doesn't own his own business,
                  who works for another, and has already taken one pay cut to try to save the company? When he says 'enough!' and walks, you
                  think he is greedy. You need to look in a mirror a little harder I think, and remember what it was like before you were in charge
                  of your own destiny by being self-employed or to when you were first starting out in life.
                  ---------------
                  Light is faster than sound. That's why some people seem really bright until you hear them speak.
                  ---------------
                  “If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.” - Albert Einstein
                  ---------
                  "Its a table saw.... Do you know where your fingers are?"
                  ---------
                  sigpic http://www.helmetstohardhats.com/

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Job pricing in tough times.

                    Well..put I see where your coming from to expect some one to drop bye 20% is insulting there integrity if anyone knocks 20% off a bid without changing the materials or lowering the scope of work, is either charging to much ..or cutting corners some where. Go to your local car dealership and ask for 20% off your new vehicle see where it gets you or dentist for that matter I give deals when I feel like doing so not when someone demands it. I know the cost of living is high buy being self employed is not a right or make money quick sceme. I feel like you would be better off bartering with home depot or building supply for a brake before your contractor. But that's just my opinion. No disrepect intended.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Job pricing in tough times.

                      When you go to the grocery store do you ask them to give you a 20% discount? How about when you go out to eat, go to the doctor? When you get gas do you ask them to give you a 20% discount? Why do you think it's ok to ask the professional licensed plumber for a 20% discount? Most of us who are still around set our rates based on what it costs to be in business and there is no room to hand out large discounts. I'm not in the "feel sorry" business, I would rather shut my doors than to give it away. We've all been through hard times at one time or another and I'll be the first one to help out someone that truly needs it, I do it all the time.
                      Bob D. you didn't say what kind of work it was? Was it an emergency, something that had to be done because it was causing damage? Or not being able to use fixtures? Or was it a remodel or an upgrade? Big difference. If it was the latter (please don't take this the wrong way) I would have looked at you like you were crazy too, and yes I would have walked.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Job pricing in tough times.

                        I'll leave you guys with a story from one of my old lineman pals. He took a couple pair of his work boots to an old fashioned shoe maker for repair. The shoemaker was an older Italian American guy who spoke with an accent, and did a real fine job of disassembling the boots and rebuilding them like new. He charged around $50 for his services and my friend was happy to get a like new boot in return. One day another phone guy tagged along as he was picking up his boots and this guy asked how much to fix his boots? The shoemaker gave him a price of $50 dollars to which he asked if he would take $25 for the job? The shoemaker said no and when this guy left the store the shoemaker said to my friend, let me ask you something, if I get a telephone bill for $80 dollars and say to them how about you take $40, what do you think they will tell me? He then said, do me a favor, don't ever bring that guy in my store again! I don't think there is any harm in trying to save some money if done in a respectful manner. Insisting working people either accept less and less pay for their work or branding them as "greedy" is not very respectful in my opinion.Frank

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Job pricing in tough times.

                          Originally posted by Bob D. View Post
                          I got a estimate from a local contractor to do some work around my mother-in-laws house.

                          I felt it was high so I offered him 80% of what he bid. He looked at me like I was crazy and
                          laughed as he walked away.

                          I felt like his price was unfair. These are tough times and I can't afford to pay what he wants
                          but I want him to do the work. There is little if any new construction around here. He should
                          be taking any work he can even if he will just be getting by until times improve don't you think?
                          Unemployment is higher here than the rest of the country, I believe on the News last night they
                          said its over 10%.

                          So was my counter-offer to low? Should I have offered 85 or 90% or should he have taken the
                          job for 80% and just be glad he has some work to keep him from starving?
                          Bob...to be totally serious with you, and to use the Union as an example, when my buddy was in the Local 690 he was sent to a job for 3 days to look around and write up the job for materials and what not. His boss sent that company a bill for $15,000...was that fair? Should that company have counter offered that Plumbing company? The only reason why I know this, is because my buddy saw the invoice and he wasn't suppose to see it as it was an accident.

                          Everything in life is not a negotiation. I would honestly walk out of someone's home if they even tried to negotiate with me...as I'm not Monty Hall. I understand what you're trying to say, but the problem is with our politicians...not the person trying to make ends meet by owning a business.
                          Last edited by Flux; 11-17-2012, 01:09 AM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Job pricing in tough times.

                            Originally posted by Bob D. View Post
                            was i that obvious?

                            funny how when the shoe is on the other foot the story changes.
                            No, the story does not change at all to me. I offer something, you decline. You offer something, I decline. We both get what we deserve with the refusals.

                            Same with the current Hostess situation.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Job pricing in tough times.

                              You know Bob this is what happens when you deal with a person who treats you fair and gives you an honest price from the get go because if that guy would have known you were going to cut down his quote he probably would have up'd it by %20 so when you countered to bring it down by %20 than he could have given you the "illusion" you bargained with him and got a great deal . Most likely though the guy played it straight up as to not waste your time and gave you the price he wanted right from the beginning.

                              For me, when I give a client a quote and they counter offer I take items or task off the job to reduce the cost and I tell them so. If they wanted 3 items at $100 each and they offered $250 than I would tell them that pays for two items or that pays for two items and the third will be of less quality. If they push it than I'll even offer to break up the quote so the job can be done in a few parts so the upfront fee doesn't seem so overwhelming. In some cases I also offer a pre-payment plans where I will guarantee the price if they book now and make payments over say three months and schedule the work to be done on the last payment. I also use a paypal business account and let them gp online and pay with their credit cards in case they do not have the upfront cash.


                              Originally posted by BobsPlumbing View Post
                              No, the story does not change at all to me. I offer something, you decline. You offer something, I decline. We both get what we deserve with the refusals.

                              Same with the current Hostess situation.

                              Comment

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