Tradesmen not wanting to earn money

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  • Tradesmen not wanting to earn money
  • Premier Icon franksinatra
    Subscriber

    Not really a rant, more of a rantette.

    Last year we wanted a new kitchen. 10yr old house, job involved taking down partition wall, ripping out old kitchen fitting new one, usual pastering, plumbing and electrical work. Easy job, happy for it to be down whilst we were on holiday and straight forward kitchen design from Howdens. Phoned six local kitchen fitters / all trades firms. Only three bothered to come out, only two actually returned a quote.

    Now in the process of getting a wood burning stove, again, nice easy job. Phoned 5 stove companies, only two bothered to return calls or come out to site survey, only one of those actually supplied a quote.

    We are not asking for a favour, we have real money to spend! I thought there is a recession on, do people not want to earn money? I just don’t understand why these people are so apathetic about business.

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    Depends where you are, I phoned a local stove company and he was booked solid for months, so it wasn’t that he didn’t want the business, just wasn’t able to take it.

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    I just don’t understand why these people are so apathetic about business.

    I sometimes wonder how many random enquiries turn into paid work for a lot of these guys?

    If they can get enough work by getting the low hanging fruit of recommendations and existing contacts then why respond to every enquiry unless you’re going through a lean patch?

    vanilla83
    Member

    Maybe its you? Maybe they don’t want to do work for you.

    Premier Icon franksinatra
    Subscriber

    I phoned a local stove company and he was booked solid for months, so it wasn’t that he didn’t want the business, just wasn’t able to take it.

    That is fair enough, at least he told you the reason!

    In the Scottish Borders by the way

    Premier Icon franksinatra
    Subscriber

    Maybe its you? Maybe they don’t want to do work for you.

    it is starting to feel that way!

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    On the flip side, I had someone cost up a quote for my workshop and then didn’t take him up on it, so that cost him time (and lost income) to do. So I can see why people would be fussy about who they quote / work for as probably only 30% of offers turn into income esp if everyone gets three quotes for every job.

    Premier Icon ransos
    Subscriber

    I sometimes wonder how many random enquiries turn into paid work for a lot of these guys?

    If they’re not interested, they should say so. One thing’s for sure, I don’t bother chasing anyone who doesn’t reply to an initial enquiry.

    phil.w
    Member

    Depends where you are. Trades men round here are busy.

    My electrician won’t come round just to quote, if you want him to price the job fine, but if it’s one of three quotes type thing it’s a waste of time where he could be earning.

    ski
    Member

    Both those trade if they are good will be booked up and busy, still no excuse for calling you back though.

    Premier Icon weeksy
    Subscriber

    i see this a lot in all walks of life like buying motorbikes/pushibikes too.

    Premier Icon cb
    Subscriber

    I’ve been through the same recently for replacement windows and a stove. The guy for the stove came out and told me straight up that it would be X time before he could do the job – then quoted. He’ll get the work over all the others that say call back in three months when I’m less busy! If I were qualified (or even had the aptitude to become qualified) I’d be making hay if I were in their shoes. I guess a lot of these guys like the simple 9-5 life and have no ambition to grow their businesses…

    Premier Icon BoardinBob
    Subscriber

    On the flip side, I had someone cost up a quote for my workshop and then didn’t take him up on it, so that cost him time (and lost income) to do. So I can see why people would be fussy about who they quote / work for as probably only 30% of offers turn into income esp if everyone gets three quotes for every job

    I’d kill for a 30% close ratio in my job. If I secure 10% of sales activity then it’s a real achievement.

    boblo
    Member

    [sigh] low hanging fruit [/sigh]

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    [sigh] low hanging fruit [/sigh]

    I wondered if anyone would spot that 🙂

    STATO
    Member

    If I were qualified (or even had the aptitude to become qualified) I’d be making hay if I were in their shoes. I guess a lot of these guys like the simple 9-5 life and have no ambition to grow their businesses…

    I think thats a bit unfair, how exactly do they grow their business if they are already working flat out? If they hire someone how can they be sure that person will work as hard and maintain a good reputation for the company, afteral if that person was any good why wouldnt they have their own business?

    Example, local gardener has done really well the last 3 years and now employs 3 people to help, 2 of which have just got done for drink driving in the last month so can no longer drive the company van. How is he supposed to grow the business with staff he cant rely on?

    Premier Icon franksinatra
    Subscriber

    They just need to be honest. If would rather wait and use a busy person. If somebody was flat out and couldn’t do the job for three months then fine. Not returning call, not turning up or not returning quotes after coming out is just silly.

    Helios
    Member

    footflaps – Member

    Depends where you are, I phoned a local stove company and he was booked solid for months, so it wasn’t that he didn’t want the business, just wasn’t able to take it.

    ^ This. The guy who installed our woodburner was round to sweep it a week ago – he told me he’d started working 7 days a week on installs in September, was fully booked until after Christmas by October, and had only just started quoting again in January. I booked him in to sweep ours back in early November, and mid Jan was the first date he had available…

    Premier Icon kayak23
    Subscriber

    I’ve just spent quite a lot of my time doing a quote to make a kitchen for someone(started a thread about it one here)

    After trying to get it as low as possible, doing a work schedule and drawings, I get a simple email telling me that he’s decided to go with another quote…

    Yeah, they should have called you back but I can see why a lot of companies get worried about wasting their time and money.

    Premier Icon totalshell
    Subscriber

    frankly i naively used to go to every job i was asked to view.. what a fool.. all that happens is you get tapped up for every bit of info and then when you put together something on paper all its used for is a bargaining tool with someone else..

    so i dont quote for work i wont be getting, i dont pop round to look at your ‘easy’ job that wont take 5 minutes i dont come out out at 9 at night to look at your broken boiler that i wont be able to get the parts for until after the weekend.

    time has a value, its not about money if i come and ‘quote’ for a job tonight at your convienance when you ve finiahed work and had your tea.. it means my kid and i miss out on swimming or athletics.

    its a free country i can choose what and where and how i spend my time so if i dont fancy the work or arent keen on you i wont be doing it..

    i m not here to grow my business i m here to earn a living doing what i enjoy and i m happy with what i earn and i dont want any more..

    so a few tips for prospective employers.. be polite, be honest, dont tell me how easy a job is dont tell me how long it will take get your three quotes etc if you must but frankly the work from reccomendations is the juicest fruit. i know that its valued i know they understand how much it will be i know the standard they expect..

    and yes i m sat at home at 2.30 feet up. ive done a good days work well and being rewarded so tools down till 9am weds

    b45her
    Member

    as mentioned earlier it could just be a vibe you give off to tradesmen, i’m self employed and now and again i will go and price a job and know i don’t want anything to do with that customer.
    there are some people you know are going to be trouble no matter how good a job is done.

    i’m not saying you fir into this category but its a possibility.

    Premier Icon cb
    Subscriber

    Totalshell – fair enough that you value time with your kids rather than money but whatever you do there will be many that do the same – some young, some old. Point being that surely some tradesmen must be keen to earn while the demand is there? Not just one bloke outfits either – our local window companies were all crap.

    Aidy
    Member

    I wondered if I was the only one with this problem.

    I think I called/email-ed upwards of 15 plumbers; I wanted a shower pump and appropriate pipework installing. Of those, I think 3 replied saying they’d come and give quotes, and of those 3, 1 of those turned up.

    The one that turned up decided it would be more lucrative to quote for remodelling the entire bathroom, and made it clear he wasn’t interested in installing the pump/pipework alone.

    Premier Icon FuzzyWuzzy
    Subscriber

    How do you tell who just wants you for a quote though? Surely no one commits to a job without a quote first and I’d have thought most want at least one other quote to compare it with, unless you’re a family friend or something?

    chewkw
    Member

    totalshell – Member

    so a few tips for prospective employers.. be polite, be honest, dont tell me how easy a job is dont tell me how long it will take get your three quotes etc if you must but frankly the work from reccomendations is the juicest fruit. i know that its valued i know they understand how much it will be i know the standard they expect..

    Fair enough but what do you do when you meet honest polite employers/potential customers?

    Do you …

    A. Be honest to them and deliver extra value?

    B. Be honest to them but charge a premium because you can?

    C. Be honest to them but under deliver because you can?

    D. Charge them an arm and a leg because you are being polite/honest?

    E. Or simply try to squeeze as much as you can out of them because they are honest polite people?

    F. Dictate your terms to them because you can. i.e. bully them because they are honest and polite/kind.

    So from the above which one represent you? Be honest and be polite. I am.

    😀

    marcus
    Member

    Added to what has already been said – Most tradesdmen will have a good idea (or know because they drink with them / play football with them) who the other 5 people are who have been asked to quote for a particular job. They will know how busy their competition are and take a view on what others will bid. No point pricing something youknow you wont win.

    Premier Icon franksinatra
    Subscriber

    as mentioned earlier it could just be a vibe you give off to tradesmen, i’m self employed and now and again i will go and price a job and know i don’t want anything to do with that customer.
    there are some people you know are going to be trouble no matter how good a job is done.

    Maybe but I would be surprised if they get that vibe from a 10sec answerphone message requesting a call back regarding a job.

    All of the stuff about choosing customers is, in my view, pretty short sighted and doesn’t show good business sense. Within the next year or so we would like to get an extension, this will be a pretty big job. I now have a list of builders who I will not phone becuase they don’t seem very proactive.

    All arguments aside, I see no reason why trades can’t be honest, tell the potential customer that they are flat out and actually talk to them. If somebody told me they were too busy I would think great, they guy must me good, will keep him in mind for next time I have work that needs doing.

    I don’t want to waste anybodies time but if I am spending thousands of pounds, I’m going to get more than one quote.

    Premier Icon franksinatra
    Subscriber

    a few tips for prospective employers.. be polite….

    Is being patronising included in your quote or do you add that on at the end with VAT?

    marcus
    Member

    Just out of interest Frank, would go out of your way to call back the ‘unsuccessfull’ trades who quoted to advise that they werent to be commissioned ? If you would fair play, but in my experience the general public arent that polite.

    IHN
    Member

    it could just be a vibe you give off to tradesmen

    Is being patronising included in your quote or do you add that on at the end with VAT?

    Ahem.

    Premier Icon franksinatra
    Subscriber

    Yep. I do call them back and tell them the honest reason why. Seems only fair after they have put the time in to provide a quote.

    Travis
    Member

    I have a friend who went from an Editor of a Professional Magazine to tradesman and he has people knocking at the door, for silly prices.
    Not because he is good (which he may well be, I’m not qualified to prove), just because he returns the phone call.
    Even if it’s to say he can’t do it, because xxxxx but he replies to anyone who calls.

    Also, he earns more money as a tradesman, then he does as an Editor.

    atlaz
    Member

    The amount of “sales” people I’ve encountered who can’t be bothered to do the bare minimum is shocking. I was (briefly) put in charge of a sales team while they were recruiting a new manager and their lack of interest in chasing warm (or sometimes hot) leads was atrocious.

    I recently put some work out for quote and the people who said they’d get me a quote in 5 days got it to me in 25 days in the end. Never followed up either. I’d never use them in the future.

    So I’d say some people are complacent and lazy and can’t be bothered about their reputation. If someone says they’re too busy then fine, but at least respond.

    marcus
    Member

    You are certainly the exception Frank.

    They must have just thought you sounded like a **** 🙂

    I can see both sides of this but some tradesmen really don’t help themselves. The best ones to get answers from are those with a secretary – usually the wife.

    It’s a good indicator that the economy must be doing better than the media would have us believe if all the tradesmen are so busy, else they would just be doing emergency work.

    alpin
    Member

    Fair enough but what do you do when you meet honest polite employers/potential customers?

    Do you …

    A. Be honest to them and deliver extra value?

    B. Be honest to them but charge a premium because you can?

    C. Be honest to them but under deliver because you can?

    D. Charge them an arm and a leg because you are being polite/honest?

    E. Or simply try to squeeze as much as you can out of them because they are honest polite people?

    F. Dictate your terms to them because you can. i.e. bully them because they are honest and polite/kind.

    So from the above which one represent you? Be honest and be polite. I am.

    probably “B”.

    i used to get the arse-ache with people asking for me to come around and quote. generally if it was a small job such as fitting a door i could quote over the phone, if it was bigger then the travel, the calculating, printing and delivering the quote would be costing me time.

    it is one of the reasons i ended up working on new builds as there were no customers to deal with, no time wasters and (usually) no hidden surprises and no wrangling about why the cost for the job had gone up….

    Premier Icon totalshell
    Subscriber

    be polite is a good tip.
    ive put the phone down more than once without even speaking when someone call to say theyve the easiest job ever that needs doing and i should have it done in 20 minutes.. or there first words at 10.30 on a saturday night are we ve had a leak all week from the boiler and now the heatings gone off can you come now and fix it… can you come now at 2 in the morning to LOOK at the really bad leak from the radiator, will you charge us?

    as for getting quotes.. frankly 50% of folk dont even ask how much it might be untill presented with the bill. i ve a strong local reputation within my core market for keen pricing and honest work.. its not a business model its how i am. if a jobs worth 50 quid thats how much it costs if i say 200 thats because thats what it was..

    my mates call me the ‘cat man’.. after one very extended morning helping an old and clearly skint elderly lady i asked her for just 20 quid as a token .. ( doing my bit for the community etc ) .. out she pulls a wad of notes..
    ”fantastic,, 20 pound for you and the cats protection league can have the other 180” shes says

    chewkw
    Member

    totalshell – Member
    my mates call me the ‘cat man’.. after one very extended morning helping an old and clearly skint elderly lady i asked her for just 20 quid as a token .. ( doing my bit for the community etc ) .. out she pulls a wad of notes.. ”fantastic,, 20 pound for you and the cats protection league can have the other 180” shes says

    Damn! Burn her alive … 😈

    It works both ways I guess otherwise it’s just a pain in the backside.

    jekkyl
    Member

    I never employ trademen who are fat. I am far from thin myself and my weight has been up and down and I know from personal experience than people who are fatter are lazier, it takes longer to stand up/move about etc and it’s a mental thing too. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to lose wieght and I reckon people are fat simply because they can’t be arsed to lose weight, I don’t want these people doing me a new kitchen.

    Premier Icon geoffj
    Subscriber

    We had 80k worth of work done on the house 3 years ago. I approached 10 local builders about getting a quote. I provided building warrant spec plans, and a list of what work needed to be done and how I wanted the quotes broken down.

    Out of 10, after numerous visits, follow up calls and promises which didn’t materialise I ended up with 1 quote which answered the questions asked. That quote was from a Polish guy who’d set up on his own and was in his second year of trading.

    He did the work on budget and according to spec, his workers were efficient tidy and turned up when he said they would. The guy is now one of my best friends and I wouldn’t contemplate approaching anyone else for any building/plumbing/roofing/decorating work.

    The local tradesmen were absolutely **** useless. If they couldn’t keep an appointment to come and quote for the work, how the hell could I trust them to take my house to bits and put it back together 🙄

    To the OP, I feel your pain.

    elzorillo
    Member

    I never employ trademen who are fat. I am far from thin myself and my weight has been up and down and I know from personal experience than people who are fatter are lazier, it takes longer to stand up/move about etc and it’s a mental thing too. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to lose wieght and I reckon people are fat simply because they can’t be arsed to lose weight, I don’t want these people doing me a new kitchen.

    Nearly spat my tea out reading that hehehe 😆

    Premier Icon geoffj
    Subscriber

    jekkyl – Member
    I never employ trademen who are fat. I am far from thin myself and my weight has been up and down and I know from personal experience than people who are fatter are lazier, it takes longer to stand up/move about etc and it’s a mental thing too. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to lose wieght and I reckon people are fat simply because they can’t be arsed to lose weight, I don’t want these people doing me a new kitchen.

    b r
    Member

    Frank – you’re in the Borders, that apparently is how it is… 😉

    On a more serious note we had a stove put in before Christmas, looked at 3 companies, got 2 in to quote – so 1 made less than nothing (he took time out to visit and verbal quote).

    All seemed busy though, but no idea whether they were profitable.

    Also with VAT at 20% now householders are really focusing on non-VAT tradesmen, so to keep below the threshold these guys are often only looking at supplying labour.

    teenrat
    Member

    Where i am from its called the ‘Pembrokeshire Promise’ie they promise to come round and don’t. It happens so much that tradesmen now have it written on their vans.

    Premier Icon franksinatra
    Subscriber

    Frank – you’re in the Borders, that apparently is how it is…

    So true.

    B.R, We have gone with the guy in Jedburgh by the way. He is a nice guy, seems reliable, keen price and Hetas registered. Reputation seems good as well. Followed your reconmendation and got Ian round. Nice guy (not actually returned a quote yet though)but the Hetas thing tipped it for me.

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