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  • Writer's pictureRupert Harding

Serving industry

A customer asks a contractor how much will it cost to do a project? A contractor quotes him, £4500. The customer responds, that seems really high.

The contractor asked: What do you think is a reasonable price for this job? The customer answered: £2500 max. The contractor responded: Ok, then I invite you to do it yourself.

The customer answered: I don't know how to. The contractor said: For £2500, I'll teach you how to. So, besides saving you £2000, you'll learn valuable skills that will benefit you in the future. The customer answered: Sounds good! Let’s do it!

The contractor responded: To get started, you will need some tools - a chop saw, table saw, cordless drill, bit set, router, skill saw, jig saw, tool belt, hammer, etc.

The customer answered: But I don't have any of those tools - I can't justify buying all of these for one job. The contractor responded: Ok, for an additional £300, I can rent my tools to you for this project. The customer answered: Okay. That’s fair.

The contractor responded: Great! We will start the project on Monday. The customer answered: I work Monday to Friday. I’m only available on the weekends. The contractor responded: If you want to learn from me then you will need to work when I work. This project will take 3 days so you will need to take 3 days off work. The customer answered: That means I’m going to have to sacrifice my pay for 3 days or use my vacation time!

The contractor responded: That’s true. Remember, when you do a job yourself, you need to account for unproductive factors. The customer answered: What do you mean?

The contractor responded: Doing a job completely from start to finish includes time spent to plan the project, pick up materials, travel time, gas, set up time, clean up, and waste disposal amongst other things. That’s all in addition to the actual project itself. And speaking of materials, can you meet me at the lumberyard at 6:00am Monday?

The customer answered: At 6am?! My work day doesn’t usually start until 8am!

The contractor responded: Well then you’re in luck! My plan is to start on the deck build by 8am. But, to do so, we have to start at 6am to pick up materials, load and deliver to your site.

The customer answered: I’m realizing that a lot more goes in to a job than a customer sees in the finished project. Your quote of £4500 is very reasonable. I would like you to handle the project.

So, when one gets a quote for a job to be done, especially a custom one, you pay not only for the materials and the work to be completed. You also pay for:

Knowledge, Experience, Custom, Skills, Tools, Time to plan, Time to prepare, Professionalism, Work Ethic, Excellence, Discipline, Commitment, Integrity, Taxes, Licenses, Sacrifices, Liabilities, Insurance etc.

This is especially true within the property world where the short time taken to deliver important advice can create a very large saving. This short delivery time might have over 30 years experience and training behind it!

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