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Contractor
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4,764 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
this happens occasionally-I'm working on my home which is on a well traveled road-have the box truck out front and obviously working hard. a older woman stops by and starts asking questions about their house-not looking for me to do the work, rather how they can do it.

yesterday it was a woman who starts drawing a picture of her kitchen cabinets and dilema of having 1" too little space for a fridge. She actually wanted to take an inch off the width of stock cabinets in a trailer :no:.

does this happen to anyone else-people stopping out of the blue looking for free advice? Before that it was a woman who wanted to know where she could get a really cheap patio door. she didn't want me to install it, just a cheap door :rolleyes:
 

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semi-skilled laborer
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2,075 Posts
All the time. People want to know what paint I use. Is it important to pressure wash. Things like that.
The funny thing is I tell them that it all starts with good equipment, then I tell them that a decent brush will cost $12 and up, they almost always say " I wouldnt pay that much for a paintbrush" I try to explain to them that I have been doing it for 16 years and even I cant make something
look nice with a cheap paintbrush, they dont listen .........
 

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I own stock in FotoMat!
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12,985 Posts
I've never had a 'drive-by DIY' question. It's always someone in another trade that asks.
 

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Head Grunt
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3,270 Posts
Only a couple times but it also turned into more work too. I always offer to stop by and look at it myself and then throw a number at them of how much i could do it for them. Usually after some hemming and hawing they ask when can i do it. Obviously if they are asking then they dont know, offering a little of your time to show them you are there for them and can help out will often net you the job.
 

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Registered
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18 Posts
There may be opportunity in this if you put some thought into it. Provide the help and you could become known as the "go to guy". I think it could lead to work. Once people learn what all may be involved in doing the work, they may opt out of doing it themselves and hire you.

Years ago there used to be a big box home center called H.O.W. - Home Owners Warehouse, and they had a go-to-guy there that they called "Mr. HOW", as in "how to". This guy got all kinds of side jobs because of this position.

Also, this would be good practice for you in giving people "How To" advice. Aren't there people on TV and the radio that make good money doing this very thing? You could do the same thing on a local level. Your local AM radio station personalities might would like to have a small segment where people can call in to ask various home repair questions. This could also work in your local newspaper.

Do you have a website? You could answer people's questions there as well.

I wouldn't be so quick to shrug this off. There may be money in it for you.
 

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83 Posts
had another contractor stop by the job asking to buy 2 pieces of foam insulating board

had the siding brake setup in front of a house and two different people stopped and asked to use it with their material

both those happened on the same job within 3 days

installing windows in a nursing home a guy who we had given an estimate to about a year earlier just happened to be there, he wanted me to train him how to install windows as I worked, that was about 5 years ago, went by the other day and he still hasnt changed them

siding job I just finished 2 weeks ago the neighbor was in the middle of siding his house, he wandered over looking at everything, asking questions

Generally I try to answer questions without going into detail and taking all the work out of it for them. Nothing wrong with being good guys who know their stuff in a HOs eyes imo when thay need somone to fix what they've done or their next project comes up.
 

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Nothing wrong with being good guys who know their stuff in a HOs eyes imo when thay need somone to fix what they've done or their next project comes up.
Right, and always have business cards at the ready to hand out. Business cards with your website on it.
 

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Banned
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846 Posts
"Hey, you got a weed whacker I can borrow for like 20 minutes?"

Most common one. I've also had complete strangers ask to borrow my walk behind, my ZTR, skidsteer (rented), mini ex (rented), MT55 (rented), hedge clippers, tiller, pretty much everything. No shame. The best is when they get all entitled and pissy when I say no.
 

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Most people find me approachable and likeable.
 

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Mickey
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105 Posts
I was residing a house and a guy comes over and asks me to put steel roofing on for him. Told him I couldn't get to it for three to four weeks and about how long it would take to do his roof. He told me that steel roofing is easy to put on and that it shouldn't take that long to do. So I told him that if it was so easy and quick why didn't he go buy the materials and start putting it on himself. He left. :) Another time this same guy comes over to the house where I'm putting some replacement windows in, says he needs new windows in his house as well. How much? Told him the price for the windows I was installing (and added an aggravation factor) and told him that since his windows were larger they would be more. Again he left. :)
 

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Century Man
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134 Posts
How about by email.

"I'm selecting materials for my upstairs bathroom. For the tub I had
intended enamel clad steel as is currently in place, but my contractor
advises that the stock in at Home Depot and Lowes chips easier than the
older tubs did. My options are:

- Ignore their advice and go with the steel anyway
- Go with the enamel clad cast iron and hop nobody dies trying to get it
upstairs (and I'm not sure if it's better...)
- Pay a different vendor -- say, Ferguson's -- for a slightly shallower tub
that might or might not chip just as easily
- Go fiberglass, or whatever the modern substitute is

What would you recommend?"
 

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petey c thanks for the offer but no thanks:no::no::no: for me one is plenty id rather take the power tools personally at least they perform a useful function and when ur done using them you just put them back in the garage and dont have to look at them til next time:thumbsup:
 
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