Thursday, June 26, 2008

Why can’t I get my contractor to call me back?

Contractors tend to be creative types so part of the artistic personality just doesn’t jive with a rigid schedule. Combined with the majority of clients making changes and adding to the job before it is finished and you find a few days of unscheduled work on a typical project.
Good contractors will call you back eventually if you have had past dealings with them. This being mid June—this is the busiest time of the year for outdoor specialists. Everyone wants their job done this summer, and if you were prudent in your planning you would have been shopping the job in December and January.

I heard another panicked announcement by a government think-tank the other day. They say we are heading for a trades shortage. I don’t know whether that is just hot air or whether that is actually a factor. I don’t see a shortage presently… our builders are booked about 2 months on average.

When it comes to small jobs like 3 sections of fence, or a 4x8 deck you will certainly have a rough time getting a contractor to commit.

Small jobs like these are the least efficient and least profitable. Think about it. When you build any fence you need to:

Travel to Visit the Site and chat with the potential client and return. (2 hours + Fuel)
Draw up the contract and sketch the job (1 Hour)
Do the Material Take off (15 mins)
Order materials (15 mins)
Organize your tools and go to the site (1 hour)
Mark the post locations (1 hour)
Have the posts dug and set (15 mins + Charge for post installation)
Drive to the site ( 30 mins)
Set up your tools (15 mins)
“Build” (3 hours)
Clean up your tools (15 mins)
Dispose of the garbage (1 hour+ Tip Fee)
Return to the shop (15 mins)

If the job is only 3 hours on site… that leaves a half-day inactive—because it is not very often two small jobs are close enough to do 2 in a day. The builder needs to be paid for the whole day to make the job happen. (+4 hours)

Now, if the job only takes 3 hours… what should the job be priced at to make it “Worth Doing”.

To do this 3 hour job the builder has spent 15 hours and likely $100 in fuel + materials
So, if you are wondering why that 3-hour job you are trying to get done has contractors asking for more than $1000 – You now understand why!


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