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Project Manager HFH..
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3,711 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok,things have been testy around here for the last week or three.Myself and others have been getting into pissing matches left and right.
For me I am getting tired of loosing jobs to unlicensed "contractors".
Here in California the law is "Handymen" (You don't need a license to be a Handyman) can do jobs 500.00 and under including materials..I know lots of legit guys that make a nice living doing this...

On the other hand there are a lot of guys that do any and all work they can get around to.Kitchen and bath full remodels...They will even do room additions if they can...

For instance I know a guy a "handyman",he has a full time job working for Trader Joe's,a grocery store...He just did a bath remod for less that half of what I would have been able to do it....He has no insurance to pay,no bonds,no license,pull's no permits so yeah,he can charge less....And he does good work...But it is illegal.Period..Why should I suffer because I play by the rules?

When I do a job that requires a trade I don't do I hire a licensed sub contractor.I don't go down to HD and pick up a guy out front and pay him 10.00 an hour. Which is what most of "them" do.

I know some will say "You need to work on selling yourself and your company better"...Trust me I still get jobs but to many,many people it is all about the $$$.And on small jobs it just does not seem to matter what I say.

So yeah I have been a little bitter lately.....Sorry....
 

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Jeff
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1,485 Posts
I can understand that completely. To start the summer we were hurting for work bid on a small addition remodel came in at 55k. Hack crew comes in at 23k. That barely covered materials. The person this was for works for the city as well, go figure. Job was supposed to be done by mid june, i drove by today still rocking the OSB siding and i see a different contractor is in there. But the majority of the time it all comes down to $$$$, only so much you can sell.
 

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Project Manager HFH..
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3,711 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I can understand that completely. To start the summer we were hurting for work bid on a small addition remodel came in at 55k. Hack crew comes in at 23k. That barely covered materials. The person this was for works for the city as well, go figure. Job was supposed to be done by mid june, i drove by today still rocking the OSB siding and i see a different contractor is in there. But the majority of the time it all comes down to $$$$, only so much you can sell.
So true....:sad:
 

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It's a problem thats as bad in UK as it is here. Whilst doing plumbing in the UK we was finding it hard to get any work because of the price we had to charge to cover the over heads. If we done a simple boiler change we would need to be corgi registered that was a fortune alone each year and insurance was a complete rip off, we could no longer use a ladder to get to the flu at the top of the house so we had to either erect scaffold or use a cheery picker, when boiler was installed we had to contact corgi and tell them we just installed a boiler and had to pay them to tell them this information! It was getting to the point where a unlicensed guy with zero insurance could do the work for 1/3rd a qualified and insured guy could.
 

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Jeff
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1,485 Posts
I was hoping this home improvement protection act in PA would change **** but nah. Everyday i see a new beat up truck with racks and a magentic sign in town. We need that license number to pull a permit but if theres a way to get around something and save a buck ppl will do it. The state of pennsylvania got my $50 thats all they care about.
 

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I was hoping this home improvement protection act in PA would change **** but nah. Everyday i see a new beat up truck with racks and a magentic sign in town. We need that license number to pull a permit but if theres a way to get around something and save a buck ppl will do it. The state of pennsylvania got my $50 thats all they care about.

Same here in Jersey.

Everytime they put new regulation($) on us legitimate contractors, - - we have to raise prices to make up for it, - - which is just making the fly-by-nights (proportionally) even cheaper.

It all sounds good on paper.

Now if they'd just enforce something.

Anything.
 

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440 Posts
Is it a problem because a license is hard to get?

In Idaho it's real easy to get a contractors registration. $300,000 in liability insurance, a money order for $30 and you're in business. Most guys are licensed in trades other than landscaping. There's a lot of unlicensed "landscapers", but they're mainly mow blow and go.

Most suppliers will give you a discount if you have a registration number. So that $30 a year and $XXX in insurance is offset real quick.

If testing was required here I could see a lot of guys going illegal. Some of them are great craftsman, but lousy with tests.
 

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Jeff
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1,485 Posts
Yeah all we need is insurance and $50 to get a license. And the amount of insurance you need someone could pick up dirt cheap. Would it cover anything?? Probably not. Its the guys not paying taxes, paying guys 10 an hour cash and no workers comp, these are the ones hurting all of us, atleast around here anyhow.
 

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Service & Repairs
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4,001 Posts
Ok,things have been testy around here for the last week or three.Myself and others have been getting into pissing matches left and right.
For me I am getting tired of loosing jobs to unlicensed "contractors".
Here in California the law is "Handymen" (You don't need a license to be a Handyman) can do jobs 500.00 and under including materials..I know lots of legit guys that make a nice living doing this...

On the other hand there are a lot of guys that do any and all work they can get around to.Kitchen and bath full remodels...They will even do room additions if they can...

For instance I know a guy a "handyman",he has a full time job working for Trader Joe's,a grocery store...He just did a bath remod for less that half of what I would have been able to do it....He has no insurance to pay,no bonds,no license,pull's no permits so yeah,he can charge less....And he does good work...But it is illegal.Period..Why should I suffer because I play by the rules?

When I do a job that requires a trade I don't do I hire a licensed sub contractor.I don't go down to HD and pick up a guy out front and pay him 10.00 an hour. Which is what most of "them" do.

I know some will say "You need to work on selling yourself and your company better"...Trust me I still get jobs but to many,many people it is all about the $$$.And on small jobs it just does not seem to matter what I say.

So yeah I have been a little bitter lately.....Sorry....

Dude, as you know I'm just starting out on my own after 19 years. I know now more than ever exactly how you feel, and I'm sure a lot of people in the trades feel just like you do.

Keep plugging away, it'll get better.
 

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DavidC
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2,550 Posts
It's a sad story for sure, but I don't think licensing is the problem. None required here except for plumbers in the city and we have the same complaints. It is the guys that fly under the radar and the people that hire them. Times are tough, so they say, and people are looking for ways to save some $$$ even if it means cutting corners.

As expected, it means working on selling yourself better. Cliche or not, it is the truth. You sell yourself and your business to the customers that are closer to your moral standing. You can't work for everybody and you don't want to work for some. It's a tough time and you work through it.

Just like clockwork things will eventually turn around and we will be in a boom time again. The guys your complaining about will still be there, or their replacements, working under the radar and cutting corners. Even in boom times they will find people that would rather hire them and save a few bucks short term.

Good Luck
Dave
 

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Moderator
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4,617 Posts
The squeaky wheel will always get the grease, and in the land of major budget deficits, how do you expect your elected officials to spend your money? I mean, do you want them to increase the number of city/county/state employees to monitor and enforce contracting laws or would you rather see that money put into education or law enforcement?

Tell your elected officials how you feel and how they are creating and hosting these fly-by-night contractors. They create the environment that allows these folks to operate, not you and I. Tell them so. Explain how it screws up your bottom line, and how that ripples out to the folks that you employ, buy from, and sell to. Hold your elected officials responsible. If you don't, then don't hold the hacks responsible for your situation.

It's like Mike says, "Control your destiny, or someone else will."
 

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wannabe
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2,283 Posts
I work for a good legit GC...I'm doing my parents 55 sq. roof, tear off etc...I'm not liscensed and insured, but this is the ONE project I could do and had the GC's blessing (and should be ethical to any contractor...your son is a carpenter, that's a perk of the biz!!) I was to pay cash to a few of my fellow workers on the side and save my folks some $$. Had a crew lined up and everything.

Last second my Dad wants liability, and comp on anyone who steps on the roof!!!!! WTF....yeah, can't argue with a HO covering their bases, and no threat of lawsuit...smart, but WTF.

Luckily, one of our subs agreed to help me after he finished his project....as of today I've stripped, repaired, and dried in 40sq by myself!....Thanks Dad!

I don't mean to go off topic, but just wanted you to know there ARE clients out there that respect professionalism and are happy to torture their son to demand it!
 

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Service & Repairs
Joined
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4,001 Posts
The squeaky wheel will always get the grease, and in the land of major budget deficits, how do you expect your elected officials to spend your money? I mean, do you want them to increase the number of city/county/state employees to monitor and enforce contracting laws or would you rather see that money put into education or law enforcement?

Tell your elected officials how you feel and how they are creating and hosting these fly-by-night contractors. They create the environment that allows these folks to operate, not you and I. Tell them so. Explain how it screws up your bottom line, and how that ripples out to the folks that you employ, buy from, and sell to. Hold your elected officials responsible. If you don't, then don't hold the hacks responsible for your situation.

It's like Mike says, "Control your destiny, or someone else will."


I would do that but they all think I'm an ANGRY MOBSTER.
 

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Moderator
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4,617 Posts
Luckily, one of our subs agreed to help me after he finished his project....as of today I've stripped, repaired, and dried in 40sq by myself!....Thanks Dad!

I don't mean to go off topic, but just wanted you to know there ARE clients out there that respect professionalism and are happy to torture their son to demand it!
I think you're misreading his intentions... I think this had more to do with the big ugly scratch on his car you borrow for prom night than his need to be an enlightened and cautious consumer. :w00t:
 

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I would do that but they all think I'm an ANGRY MOBSTER.
That's because you always start every conversation with, "You come to my house and ask this thing of me on the day of my daughter's wedding...":blink:
 

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wannabe
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2,283 Posts
I think you're misreading his intentions... I think this had more to do with the big ugly scratch on his car you borrow for prom night than his need to be an enlightened and cautious consumer. :w00t:
Was more than that...:whistling Damn...I thought after 15 years on my own and making a decent living he'd forget.

That's why I'm working for my normal take home pay. since I'm taking off work to save them $.

I couldn't live with myself if I didn't do the work....can't stomach someone proffiting off my folks when I do it for a living....just never planned to do it solo. When my help arrives, I'll be near the point of pride to say " F it, and say I did it all alone."

It's such a big roof:sad:
 

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Jack I hear you, Here in Michigan they changed all the Laws for Contractors making it so that if you work in construction you have to have a License to bid on any jobs, well when you check guy's companys out on the State website most of these guys do not have a license. most of these contractor here work under the Laws. the thing is the State isn't doing anything to stop them. Cause the dumbazz Governor has cut funding:whistling
Like I said everyone is a Jack of all trades, which most don't have Insurance or a License:thumbsup:
So this is why you see guys Low Balling:laughing: Just can't win on Reputation anymore you have to Low Ball the price to get the job.
Like the Roof who took the stucco and paint out from under me, I was at $3,800 the house is 4,500 sqft. since he's doing the roof he gave the HO a deal on the stucco and paint for 1,800. But like I told the HO you get what you pay for, Good Luck:w00t:
So it's all about the Bottom Line:whistling
 

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I don't know if it will get to the point of competing with "handymen" around here.

Oklahoma at this time does not license contractors, only the mechanical and electrical trades. When they catch a person doing plumbing, hvac, or electrical without a license, it is painful....like $10k after one warning. This stops some people....but in the cities, I imagine hacks get by.

In my area, it seems like weekly that another truck with a ladder rack shows up, or step ladders handing on the back, and stick on signs proclaiming "general contractor" or carpenter....painter, whatever....and it kills the legitimate guys, who carry insurance and play by the rules. I posted this picture in another thread, but people will hire hacks like this:
 

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Head Grunt
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3,270 Posts
Well here in NY you dont need to be licensed so i am not. I do however pay insurance just like you do and have most of my work inspected whether i need to or not. Do you think that if everyone is licensed then there wont be any cut throats??? Here where no one needs to be licensed there are still cut throats so making everyone become licensed will not stop it, you will just drive up the cost of labor. I will give you an example: A good friend of mine is a licensed electrical contractor who just had to close his doors for the second time in the last 5yrs due to no work. I however am still very busy and have hired one of his employee's " who was layed off" part time. I have picked up several of his jobs because his estimates are averaging 3-4 times what my estimate is. I am not trying to be a cut throat to him either as he is a friend of mine and has been for over 30yrs. I am making a good profit and my work is inspected so it is done right. So how can he justify his high fee's and high estimates??? Is it because he is licensed and i am not?? I realize you folks spend alot of time, money and devotion to become licensed and i wont take that from anyone but does this mean you can charge higher rates and be upset that no one wants to hire you over someone who may be competant yet cheaper to pay. Even here we have alot of hacks and if anything it is worse here because there is no control at all.
 
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