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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Am I the only contractor who gets annoyed by this kind of thing? Why do they do it? where does it come from?

What can I say to deter them from doing it? What do you guys think when they suggest it to you?


-joe
 

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I'm a fairly new startup and I've been thinking about the same thing. I am considering telling them if they buy their own materials from someone other than my supplier, that I will charge 25% of the cost of materials in additional labor, simply because I don't know what I'm getting into (poor selection, poor materials, etc.), and I may add 10% even if they get it from my supplier because, lets face it, if you buy $2000/month worth of materials, you (we...the contractors) will get better selection and more care loading, etc. than a homeowner that spends $300 one time a year.

I suppose if they get a good enough deal to offset the 25%, then I'm OK with charging more labor for the CHANCE of a little unnecessary work. :cheesygri
 

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I don't have a problem with this if I am involved in the process. Problems arise when they have already bought the supplies or materials. Quite often they are the wrong size or of substandard quality, many times bought "as is" because they were heavily discounted. That's why they bought it in the first place.


Rich
 

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Joe, what part of this is bothering you? Is it the problem of missing the mark-up if they supply, the problem of them slowing the job down or the start date because they haven't gotten their stuff yet, the part of them getting the wrong supplies? All facets of it can be dealt with, but they are all a bit different.

-- I just got done with a job for a guy who for certain believed he was saving money by everytime he wanted to add something to the job he wanted to supply me with the material. He didn't save anything because I just took the lost mark-up and added it into the labor charges.

-- When a morning arrived and I found his latest new stuff to install with a note telling me what he wanted. I called him at work and asked him if he was able to leave work and go back and get another size of the product since his wouldn't install correctly? When he couldn't leave to do it I asked him if he wanted me to go and let him know that this would involve me going at $60 an hour to drive there and back? He ended up forgoing the new toy. The next day he showed up with a sample of molding (with pricing and sku numbers hand written on the back) instead of actual molding which he now wanted installed - see the learning curve he was on? He was told that I don't install that type of molding, I only install MDF for this situation, could I have installed his selection? Of course, but school was in session and he was getting educated. He could either go educate himself on what MDF was and try again or I would supply it for him and save him the time. By the end of the job he had began to figure out that supplying materials here and there was not any fun and not worth it. (As contractors we all know the logical reasons why a customer is better off not trying to supply materials, however trying to explain these to a customer is often futile and results in the customer being resentful and thinking you are trying to take advantage of him no matter how you explain it to him- that's when the above methods are more effective.)

-- As far as slowing down the job or the start date, you need a cluase in your contract that addresses that and addresses penalties or rescheduling due to homeowner mis-supplied items.

I have nothing against customers supplying some materials, in fact I encourage it for some items such as sink faucets and such which involve such personal attention and depend on their style. I just give them boundaries and they usually end up with something that works just fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Mike Finley said:
Joe, what part of this is bothering you? Is it the problem of missing the mark-up if they supply, the problem of them slowing the job down or the start date because they haven't gotten their stuff yet, the part of them getting the wrong supplies? All facets of it can be dealt with, but they are all a bit different.
Yes all of those things. The mark-up not so much because if I don't have to spend my own time researching and supplying the materials I am not losing anything by not charging for that service. The problem I see is home owners buying crap. I know what I am going to need right away wether it be a masonry primer for some part of the job, a rust inhibitor, low temp high end paint etc. The customer I am talking about wants to buy Mautz... I don't like Mautz... I don't think it as good a quality as the paint I would buy. I don't like the feel of it, the coverage, anything.

I have decided that if a customer won't let me buy the materials I am going to state in the contract that supplying your own materials voids any warranty I would normally extend. Sound fair?

Mike Finley said:
-- I just got done with a job for a guy who for certain believed he was saving money by everytime he wanted to add something to the job he wanted to supply me with the material. He didn't save anything because I just took the lost mark-up and added it into the labor charges.

-- When a morning arrived and I found his latest new stuff to install with a note telling me what he wanted. I called him at work and asked him if he was able to leave work and go back and get another size of the product since his wouldn't install correctly? When he couldn't leave to do it I asked him if he wanted me to go and let him know that this would involve me going at $60 an hour to drive there and back? He ended up forgoing the new toy. The next day he showed up with a sample of molding (with pricing and sku numbers hand written on the back) instead of actual molding which he now wanted installed - see the learning curve he was on? He was told that I don't install that type of molding, I only install MDF for this situation, could I have installed his selection? Of course, but school was in session and he was getting educated. He could either go educate himself on what MDF was and try again or I would supply it for him and save him the time. By the end of the job he had began to figure out that supplying materials here and there was not any fun and not worth it. (As contractors we all know the logical reasons why a customer is better off not trying to supply materials, however trying to explain these to a customer is often futile and results in the customer being resentful and thinking you are trying to take advantage of him no matter how you explain it to him- that's when the above methods are more effective.)
That whole scenario would really really pi$$ me off, and I would definently charge for it. Am I over reacting?

Mike Finley said:
I have nothing against customers supplying some materials, in fact I encourage it for some items such as sink faucets and such which involve such personal attention and depend on their style. I just give them boundaries and they usually end up with something that works just fine.
I agree with you on that. But paint? I am supposed to be the professional, if you think you know better than me on choosing the right paint... paint it yourself...
 

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I don't like jobs where the customer supplies the materials, except wallcovering. We supply that if its commercial, but not residential. As for paint, I let the customer know:
A) I get the best paint usually cheaper than they can get mid-grade paint
B) They can pick any color they want, and my paint guy can match it in our product
C) If I use yours, my warrantee is null & void. If I see Behr paint, I just plain bail on the whole job. Cya
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
ProWallGuy said:
I don't like jobs where the customer supplies the materials, except wallcovering. We supply that if its commercial, but not residential. As for paint, I let the customer know:
A) I get the best paint usually cheaper than they can get mid-grade paint
B) They can pick any color they want, and my paint guy can match it in our product
C) If I use yours, my warrantee is null & void. If I see Behr paint, I just plain bail on the whole job. Cya
So I'm not crazy then? I havn't liked it since the very first customer mentioned it to me...
 

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LOL! That's a good one Bob!

Joe, you should have no qualms about letting them know that you don't warranty anything you don't supply, nothing wrong with that.

Man o' man! I certainly see your point about paint! That would drive me crazy, I don't think it would be too far from reality seeing myself passing on any job where they wanted to supply the paint if it wasn't something I was comfortable using.

How about this scenario. You show up and the home owner comes running all googly-eyed and excited. "Mister painter, mister painter! I got the paint already! Over the weekend me and the wife was down at the Home Depot and we found this great rack of paints, they were all $5.00 each! They called it oops paint or something like that. Paint that was returned or a mistake was made I guesss So here are 20 different cans I got, can you mix some of them together and make a nice color and paint my house with them? Just take the paint you were bringing off the bill. Thanks..."

LOL
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Mike Finley said:
How about this scenario. You show up and the home owner comes running all googly-eyed and excited. "Mister painter, mister painter! I got the paint already! Over the weekend me and the wife was down at the Home Depot and we found this great rack of paints, they were all $5.00 each! They called it oops paint or something like that. Paint that was returned or a mistake was made I guesss So here are 20 different cans I got, can you mix some of them together and make a nice color and paint my house with them? Just take the paint you were bringing off the bill. Thanks..."

LOL
lol yea I would look around for the cameras!
 

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Humble Abode said:
The customer I am talking about wants to buy Mautz... I don't like Mautz... I don't think it as good a quality as the paint I would buy. I don't like the feel of it, the coverage, anything.
Joe,

Just out of curiousity, what Mautz product are you talking about and what paint do you usually buy? I used to love Mautz' products, now three years after SW buying them out I'm getting a bit indifferent. I haven't switched yet though.

hack
 

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I recently had a customer get really ticked off because I told her that she had bought latex paint for a job that required oil based. She also thought that the paint guy at HD was God.
I drive by her house a few times a day in my travels and saw a soup kitchen guy with a bicycle for transpo slopping the stuff on. All my best, lady.
 

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What really gets me going is when they buy the "Glacia Bay" products for us to install. They leak withen weeks and want us to repair or replace them for no charge.

Twice this week alone I have had to tell 2 defferant home owner that I do not warrantee products no supplied by myself.

And I have to agree the nitwits at home depot that sell this junk as the best.

Plastic faucets and trip wastes are such a pain to explain to HO that they suck, and will not last.

BJD
 

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I had a lady buy 2 gallons of paint for her living room, I used every last drop and it was just barely enough. She was so happy with the job she had me bid the exterior for work in the spring. A week or so later she called me and told me she had one touch up spot from hanging a picture, I told her I used every drop and I'm sorry. she then called me a thief and demanded I bring her paint back. I actually went and bought a quart but of course it was satin so it did not touch up so I was now a thief and a liar because I bought the "wrong" paint, that was a nightmare, but with resonable people and a good game plan I'm only mildly annoyed if they want to buy thier own.
 

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Trey said:
I had a lady buy 2 gallons of paint for her living room, I used every last drop and it was just barely enough. She was so happy with the job she had me bid the exterior for work in the spring. A week or so later she called me and told me she had one touch up spot from hanging a picture, I told her I used every drop and I'm sorry. she then called me a thief and demanded I bring her paint back. I actually went and bought a quart but of course it was satin so it did not touch up so I was now a thief and a liar because I bought the "wrong" paint, that was a nightmare, but with resonable people and a good game plan I'm only mildly annoyed if they want to buy thier own.
Trey, do you think there is a coorelation between people who want to supply thier own materials to save money and people who turn out to be PITAs in the end? I think there certainly is. :(
 

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Teetorbilt said:
I recently had a customer get really ticked off because I told her that she had bought latex paint for a job that required oil based. She also thought that the paint guy at HD was God.
I drive by her house a few times a day in my travels and saw a soup kitchen guy with a bicycle for transpo slopping the stuff on. All my best, lady.
Was he slopping it on using his hands or was he a step above the rest of his peers and using his t-shirt? :cheesygri
 

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Mike Finley said:
You show up and the home owner comes running all googly-eyed and excited. "Mister painter, mister painter! I got the paint already! Over the weekend me and the wife was down at the Home Depot and we found this great rack of paints, they were all $5.00 each! They called it oops paint or something like that. Paint that was returned or a mistake was made I guesss So here are 20 different cans I got, can you mix some of them together and make a nice color and paint my house with them? Just take the paint you were bringing off the bill. Thanks..."

LOL
"Oh my gosh! What a weird coincidence. I was bringing the same exact paint. Well, I guess you already know how much to take off the bill then."

I had a GC customer a few years back that went along with the owners desire to buy direct various items for the job (to save money). Fortunately I keep my feathers numbered for just such an emergency (details) - the subcontract agreement included all the neccesary CYA verbage. When all was said and done the change orders associated with that mess escalated my $500K subcontract amount more than 3%. I think the same held true for several other subs on the job. I know for a fact the owner couldn't have purcased the material for the amount of the deduct alternate in my subcontract. Go figure. I've worked for the GC since and the idea of supplying the materials has never come up again.
 

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Mike Finley said:
Trey, do you think there is a coorelation between people who want to supply thier own materials to save money and people who turn out to be PITAs in the end? I think there certainly is. :(

Mike, You are so right. I just thought of another example. A remodeler I work for got a job, a 100 year old house. Well the new home owner is a purchasing manager for a commercial firm and thier prices from SW are alot better than mine, but he didn't buy the right materials. I really wanted to use oil on the rtrim, Plus the old plaster walls were in good shape but I suggested flat because there were plenty of imperfections of course he bought satin and then told me to sand the walls smooth, but I can't sand lead paint. It was an awful job I made no money on, the remodeler made no money, the house turned out beautiful, but the homeowner didn't think so. Oh and he bought superpaint for the ext. instead of duration lol.
 
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