Are You a Stupid Contractor or a Craftsman?

August 09, 2011
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If you follow me on C.T., you know that I have a reputation for picking on the “stupid contractors” so the rest of us good contractors can have a good laugh. But the truth is (at least over here in Connecticut) many homeowners, business owners, and our potential clients fear that they will be stuck working with a stupid contractor.

We have all heard the contractor horror stories; the roofer showed up drunk, the remodeler smoked in the house, the painter spilled paint on the rug, the contractor ran away with the down payment, etc. I hate to say this but contractors, in general, have a bad reputation. Stupid contractors we laugh at kill the positive reputation of the true craftsmen, such as Sir Mixalot, Warren, and KCBasements.

As a true craftsman, when someone calls you a contractor, do you feel like you’re being thrown into a tub of idiot contractors? Do you feel undermined or looked down upon? Do you think “contractor” is an adequate label for the type of quality work you create?

When working with professional contractors, I encourage them to stand apart from the rest of the competition. True craftsmen should be recognized by more than a title (contractor) that is used by many that harm it. This can be done a few ways:

  1. Create and represent a title that supports your quality of work.

Determine what really separates you from the low-balling competition, what makes YOU a good contractor, a successful contractor, then start marketing it! If you’re Bob the Contractor, guess what, so is everyone else. But if you’re Bob the Home Building Specialist, it just might put you a few steps ahead of the game.

      2. Have a 3rd party (homeowner or another business) recommend you

Word of mouth is important. People are more apt to do business with contractors if they have a positive reputation than if there isn’t a reputation at all.

      3. Invite a 3rd party to qualify you

There are businesses and websites that check the qualifications of contractors. These websites allow people to review your qualifications before they even call you, and they save you time and energy.

It’s difficult being a professional contractor in the mix of all the stupid ones. But following the three steps will separate you from the nonsense. Yes, it’s lonely at the top of the mountain, but the view sure is great from up there!



Comments (19)

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Displaying 1–19 of 19
  • Thumb_0701111819
    mike86about 8 years ago


  • Thumb_john_wayne
    Kent Whittenabout 8 years ago

    Isn't spilling paint on the carpet just an accident? I don't see how that is a prerequisite for being stupid. I've tipped over paint, does that now make me stupid?

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    WildWillabout 8 years ago

    I used to be a remodeler, from here on out I am going to be a Custom Remodeling Specialist.

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    jhark123about 8 years ago

    A "Wood Molding Engineer"?

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    jmillerabout 8 years ago

    Let me guess- you've never been a contractor.

  • Thumb_0701111819
    mike86about 8 years ago

    "It’s difficult being a professional contractor in the mix of all the stupid ones. But following the three steps will separate you from the nonsense. Yes, it’s lonely at the top of the mountain, but the view sure is great from up there!"

    How do we know your not a stupid contractor?

  • Thumb_dsc00010
    Beanfacekillaabout 8 years ago

    It is a decent blog. Most of you are picking it apart though.

    I like Brian's paticipation in the forum. I think he is alright.

    And I love that picture of a video camera behind an exit sign. Priceless. Who was the "genius" who masterminded that hair-brained operation? LOL.


  • Thumb_avatar6885_1
    BreyerConstructabout 8 years ago

    Good points.

    We've turned to using GuildQuality to do 3rd party customer satisfaction surveys with our past clients.

    It's affordable and honest, so it gives us great feedback and lets our future clients know what our past ones have been saying about us.

    Simple solution...

  • Thumb_bryanonsaw
    valleytileabout 8 years ago

    I just want to warn people about service magic. They are not a friend of ours.

    They steal from us all. They just drive up our costs, without any additional support to our industry for their profits.
    They are giving leads to the highest bidder, not the best guy.

  • Thumb_bryanonsaw
    valleytileabout 8 years ago

    I would also like to congratulate anyone still contracting.
    After what the banks on wall street have done to the housing industry,... I am happy to see that no bankers were beaten up by construction workers. just the unlicensed hacks got a beating so far that i know about...
    Give yourselves a pat on the back. It has been more challenging these last few years than it should have been, or will be again in the future.
    Stand up with me for our industry, and our way of life, and let those that would harm american builders for fast profits know they had better look elsewhere FOR PATSIES from now on! We built this country, as did our fathers, and grandfathers before us, and so on.
    We will have our day once again. And do unto those that have done harm unto us... It has been written in ancient texts, and documented throughout history that the strong builders will rise up for justice, and what is righteous, and what is lawful will be once more.

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    John Hyattabout 8 years ago

    Construscion has been good to me over the years. In fact I have never worked for anyone over two years and that was for the military. I have always found a way to have my own business.

    The last two years my Deck building business has gone way down hill, this year is the worst. I have a great contact for South American lumber that no one can beat,cool ways to steam bend it,and a lot of happy Wallets.

    Even though I do dumb things sometimes, My outfit puts out some good work. Nothing is working this year the low ball is working. I have severaly ways to check up on the jobs I bid so I know this.

    Angies List is my third party. With an A + rating going back 10 years I give the potential $50 off the last draw to check into and see how happy those customers are. This has worked up till this year.

    Last week I got a repair call on a 16' x 16' composite deck with cedar rail held up by 4 cedar posts stuck in the ground. 9 / 10 people got on it and the thing fell in,only 2 ' or so,but down it went. They paid $4080 for the thing done in two days I had bid it for $ 6500.The " builder " could not be found.

    I ask myself " why dont I just build that way and make some money for a change " This being a Craftsmen stuff is geting a little old. 2x10 joists spanning 16' with no hangers just gun nailed thru the ends.... Why Not !!!!

    I am damm near that point! ghessssssssssss


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    thomasjmarinoabout 8 years ago

    Differentiating yourself from your competition whether qualified or "stupid" is a good idea. But, realistically, the only thing that will matter in the end is you yourself. Who you are, how you work, how you present yourself, how you treat others including your clients, how your demeanor is around others, and most of all the quality of work that you do.
    It gets frustrating many times, especially in todays economy where guys are working for food money, but the important thing is to stay focused. Somehow you have to stay in the moment, remain calm, slow down and just continue to focus on what you are doing and why you are there.
    Take the time to do the best quality work and that, in the end, will bring you to where you are trying to go. Forget about the other contractors who may be busy doing numerous jobs at the same time. All that is is ego. Trying to be the big builder. The headaches associated with that are so not worth it.
    Take each project on one at a time. Respect the owners home as if it was your own. Take the time to do your work as a top notch professional. As long as you are recognized as a quality person who does quality work, the work will continue to come your way and you will stay busy and live your life the way you want to.

  • Thumb_1%20(10)
    PrestigeR&Dabout 8 years ago

    Throwing mud is not my idea of being an adult or professional....we all make mistakes...

    B, triping over my vocabulary one word at a time....

  • No-avatar-62
    Engineer54about 8 years ago

    In the United States we have unlimited power to contract — yes, even contract our freedom away, either knowingly or unwittingly. That means that at some point in our lives, we're ALL contractors. A homeowner planning a remodeling job becomes the prime contractor, the firm he hires is a sub-contractor, and the tradesmen hired by him, in turn are sub-sub-contractors, and so on. If the homeowner is a Stupid Contractor, he'll be lucky if the people he hires are smarter than he is!

  • No-avatar-62
    shamrocktnabout 8 years ago

    I listen everyday to guys(contractors) setting around the supply houses, be it Lowes or Home Depot or our local lumber yards talking about "low ball bids" or "such and such is out there cutting our *** off doing work way to cheap"

    Well, while they are setting around shooting the bull and waiting on the phone to ring I have more work than I can handle. Yes I work cheap, but making a little is better than making nothing. If I have to make half as much profit and it means I still pay my bills and keep my guys working, well thats what I'am going to do.

    The way that the economy is we all have to make concessions in order to keep a steady cash flow going.

    I am not advocating that we should to sub par work. but if it means that I make 1000 on a job instead of making 2000 then that just means we have to harder and more efficiently. Some money is better than none and work is better than setting and watching everyone else work.

    Contractor, in general, are endanger of pricing ourselves out of work just like US Auto Makers. Case in point I have had a guy that is a roofer calling me and begging me to put him on a roof, "please Lee I have not worked in a month, I have been looking for a job and cant find anything, Please......" and so on. To make a long story short I got a contract on a roofing job, so i call Fred and said come look at it. He looked at it and said that he would do it for 95 a square. ( thats just labor) I Said look I can give you 60, he got pi**ed and said that he would rather set at home and do nothing before he did a roof for 60 dollars. so my Mexican crew that I use all the time said that they would do do it for 45 and I gave them 60.

    It is this type of thinking that puts people in the well fare line.

  • No-avatar-62
    J. Greyabout 8 years ago

    Posted by: shamrocktn

    so my Mexican crew that I use all the time said that they would do do it for 45 and I gave them 60.

    It is this type of thinking that puts people in the well fare line.

    Are these "Mexicans" Legal? If not you are doing our Industry a disservice by assisting the decline in value of services our industry sells.

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    GreenTechSystemabout 8 years ago

    When I first started in the construction business.. I got my boots stuck in some type of epoxy compound.. I was carrying a tool bag, got to where I was going, set my bag on the epoxy, and stood in it for about 10 mins holding up some duct work.. when i came to walk away, i found out that my boots and my tool bag where now permanent fixtures of the property.. lesson learned, watch where your stepping on a job site.. later on i found out it was my coworkers doing and so i got back at him by super gluing his nut driver to his hand =)

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    ohiohomedoctorabout 8 years ago

    This might be the worst blog posting I have ever read. This guy speaks with arrogance and ignorance. I would bet he has never contracted much of anything in his life. If you do not separate yourself naturally through the way you conduct yourself then concentrating on separation will do little to no good. By the way, Thomas's post provided three times the klnowledge compared to the OP and should be moved to the main blof post. Good luck OP your going to need it. Stupid Blogger!

  • No-avatar-62
    Datacomalmost 8 years ago

    Its breath taking, I thought I was the only Managing Contractor who is stuck hiring stupid Contractors. People just dont get it.

Displaying 1–19 of 19
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