Several years ago I was doing a small job in a home not far from here. The man was telling me he was recently retired from a local prison where he had been employed as a shop teacher of sorts. He taught plumbing, electrical and trim carpentry.
Now that he was retired, he was going to work as a trim carpenter. Apparently he was not licensed for electrical or plumbing. He told me he did not think it was fair that plumbers and electricians charged about $100 -125.00 per hour, but as a trim carpenter all he could get was about $25.00 per hour.
I did not say anything, but it reminded me of what I had been taught a few years earlier by a wise man. He said the economy of money is like a river flowing through life. In the center of the river it is deep and like a raging torrent but on the edges it is shallow and very slow moving. Each of us come to the river with our bucket expecting to fill it with money.
No one tells us where to stand in the river to fill our buckets. Some stand in the middle where the buckets fill quickly and some struggle to fill their buckets in the shallow edges.
The man could have put in the time to become licensed as a plumber or an electrician, but he chose to be a trim carpenter.
If you don’t like the part of the river you are in, CHANGE PLACES. Go study what the successful people do, and stand where they do.
Think about it.
If you work in homes, here is something to consider: Many people, especially women, find it disturbing to have strangers working in their home, some to a greater degree and some lesser. Or even if you know them, it is difficult to have their home torn up for remodeling or even to have a garbage disposal installed. It is their home. It disrupts their routine. Most detest the mess even if you clean up somewhat. It is just disconcerting to them even if they say nothing. They can be uncomfortable. What helps is to be dressed well, use tarps, be polite and be on time. Get the job done and leave.
One of the very successful companies here in the City a few years ago advertised that their guys were well dressed and polite, even though they were PLUMBERS. Dirty plumbers with grease on them and muddy boots are almost a proverb. It is accepted as the norm many times.
Well, this company charge $25 -30 extra per hour because of the way they presented their employees at the door and on the job, and people were happy to pay.
Think about it.
#13 Tell them what to expect
I have found that you prevent a lot of trouble during and after a job by telling people what to expect during the job — noise, dust, delays, etc. I also tell them what to expect the job to look like when it is completed. Explain everything up front even the objectionable things.
Then when those things come up, they will feel more like you were being honest with them. If they have to ask about those things when they see them and don’t like them, then any explanation you give will seem like you are schmoozing (bullsh…ing) them or feeding them a line to get away with poor workmanship.
Think about it.
Rule #47 We don’t give discounts.
Today I found this rule that I had written under a file called Rules for Contractors. I had written it many years ago. A friend of mine and I were having an online discussion with another female contractor that was being asked to discount her work. We were both in agreement that we never discount our work. The reasoning here is the same as some of the other rules. If you discount your work, you fall into the category of contractors that “need” the work. I have had new builders that said, “I am building my own home first, then I will have several more for you to work in, so I need a builder’s discount.” I told them we price our work the same to everyone. Then you can add whatever statement you want after that. For example:
- It takes us just as long to do one job as another, and our overhead is the same no matter what the price.
- Our pricing is to the bone already, and we just can’t.
- My boss would fire me if I gave you a discount without consulting her first. Yes, my wife is my boss, and she is mean. I would like to stay married so I just can’t.
- Whatever it takes. If possible, price their work higher. You probably don’t want to work for them anyway.
That person that you give the discount to will most likely be one of your hardest clients to work for. But if you stick to your guns, that same client will most likely leave you to your work if they hire you.
Think about it.
Lastly, to end this series of blogs I wanted to take a minute and talk about money. When I looked at the number of rules that dealt with money: how to set up your payments – jobs, how to collect, the attitude you need, that you need to be determined to get paid and you need to have a confident backbone. It almost seemed as if maybe I had money on the brain – greedy.
But consider what God has to say about dealing with people in His Word.
Jeremiah 22:13 Woe unto him that buildeth his house by unrighteousness, and his chambers by wrong; that useth his neighbour’s service without wages, and giveth him not for his work;
Apparently, contractors not getting paid has been a problem for thousands of years. It is not a new thing. God says, “Woe to him that does not pay.”
Why do people not want to pay? Not good quality work. They should have investigated the contractor before they hired them. Notice: God makes no exceptions for not paying. Some people always find something wrong with the job so that they feel justified in not paying the full amount. So this is why many of the rules work together to give you a greater percentage of jobs that pay with no question. Then we have rules for the ones that are left that are difficult. Many people just don’t like parting with their money.
- Dress well.
- Be on time.
- Explain the pricing up front and don’t budge from it.
- Get used to confrontation.
- Settle the question of payment up front.
- Never back up on a bid.
There are many more things I could list, but they all work together to get you paid. Because the nature of some people is to let you work for free!
Think about it.
I trust you have found these blogs helpful. Look for Roger’s Rules for Contractors on Amazon in the near future. But in the mean time, try the book Poverty vs Wealth. It will amaze you.
Always remember, ask God for knowledge, understanding and wisdom. He will not disappoint you.
Collect good rules and put them into practice.
- Proverbs 14:24 The wise accumulate wisdom; fools get stupider by the day. (The Message)
- Proverbs 2:7 He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.
Accumulating rules that govern life are all part of The Prosperous Life.