Paying a contractor

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What should you pay a contractor?

It really amazed me to see what some people think they should pay a contractor. The times have changed. The price at which a contractor performs work has also change.

Some beleive that a contractor should charge a 20% upcharge for his work. This means that if you have $1000 in materials than the contractor should charge $200 for labor. On certain things this might be true. Although if you are building a deck for that price, a contractor has overhead.

In a normal job the contractor must go out and look at the job. Bid the job. Possibly go back and pick up a check for materials. Go pick up materials, and deliver to the job site. Perform specified work. And finally submit bill for finished work.

Often times I can have 5-10 hours invested into bidding a job. By the time I drive to location to look at job, drive home, sit at computer and figure materials and cost, and this is just for a bid. Then the time I take to go get materials and deliver, get my crew prepped for job at hand and the fuel I use.

Any contractor that bids a job on 20% upcharge is setting himself for failure. This contractor isn’t making profits, or often times even covering cost. This is a contractor that isn’t able to ensure he will be in business long enough to finish the job let alone warranty it.

Most free Lance contractors will charge at least a 50% labor. Even at this price you are not covering much to keep the business alive. A good contractor who is reputable and will be in business to warranty your product is most likely gonna double the material cost to get labor cost. So a deck with $1000 material is gonna cost somewhere around $2000 total.

Now keep in mind if I have $1500 worth of railing that will take 2 hours to install, I would be a fool to charge you $750 in labor for that. On that job I would need an hourly rate with an estimate of time. At $75 a man hour, with 2 man crew, and 2 hour install, it would cost $300 to put up that railing.

All contractors want to give you the cheapest bid we can so that we get work. Knowing your expenses and wanting to stay in business to warranty your product means not underbidding just to get work. If a contractor sounds unreasonable cheap, he probably won’t stay in business long. Remember you get what you pay for. If you are constantly searching for the cheapest bid, you are gonna get the contractors who will be out of business soon, and their work will show it. Most of these are in a hurry to get done, and get to the next one because they really aren’t making money. This gives crappy quality work, and drives the price down for anyone else who wants to give you quality work, and stay in business to warranty your product, and future business with you.

Hope this helps with choosing someone to do your work.

God bless and be safe

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