Pricing Demons

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Forum topic by 404 - Not Found posted 10-07-2013 07:44 PM 2374 views 0 times favorited 40 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 3205 days

10-07-2013 07:44 PM

OK, so it’s not strictly woodworking, but I’m in a bit of a quandary here. A woman I did some work for a couple of years ago got in touch to ask if I could renovate her Mother in Law’s bathroom. Total rip out and refit. The job is now done apart from a bit of grouting, getting rid of the rubbish and giving her the bill.

This job has taken two weeks, but all the time, her husband has been like a wasp in my ear “me Mother’s getting anxious, she wants to move back in, when can she move back in?” – checking in at lunch time, checking in in the evening “when can me Mother move back in?”. So to expedite the return of this guy’s ancient mother, I have absolutely busted my nuts to get this done, 11, 12, 14, 15 hour days. Of course, it wasn’t an easy job, it was an old house of dubious construction, with unexpected surprises. The whole floor was rotten, the concrete subfloor had a tar dampcourse that had a layer of water underneath, pipes had to be channelled into the floor (under a shower tray) and tiling on uneven walls. You get the picture. 130 hours of dust and hard graft.

So now I’ve worked out the bill, labour only, and even if I only charge what everyone else charges here, it still comes to a lot. But it’s not like I’ve spent hours drinking tea and smoking fags and talking about the state of the nation.

Everything that needed to be done has been done – and done properly, and neatly – and it was hard and I was focused on it all the time. And with the end now in sight it’s like I have an Angel on one shoulder saying “she’s an elderly widow, don’t charge that much, give her a discount” and a demon on the other shoulder saying “Don’t be a sap, you earned that money, midnight finishes? take it, take it all”

So who would you listen to?

40 replies so far

View DKV's profile


3940 posts in 2740 days

#1 posted 10-07-2013 07:52 PM

renners, charge what you agreed upon plus all changes and surprises.

-- This is a Troll Free zone.

View hobby1's profile


344 posts in 2534 days

#2 posted 10-07-2013 08:00 PM

Maybe this would help,

Since your labeling in your mind, that an angel is saying one thing and a demon is saying another,
shows right there that you have a concious of what is right and what is wrong,
so let your concious be your guide,
and if you are a Christian, than you can hear what God says about it, and what He says, will be the very best deal for you, and her both, to benefit from, that way you recieve your recompence reward, that fully meets all the work that God enabled you to do for her, plus enough to give back to God the tithe (tenth of income), necessary to have God provide more work for you, when you need it.

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404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 3205 days

#3 posted 10-07-2013 08:01 PM

What would Jesus do Deek?

View AlaskaGuy's profile


4986 posts in 2545 days

#4 posted 10-07-2013 08:12 PM

Shouldn’t have this all been agreed to before the job began?

Doesn’t say somewhere in the bible ” an honest days work for an honest days pay”, something like that.

Do you not have a family to support.

No advice here, just some thoughts.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 3205 days

#5 posted 10-07-2013 08:17 PM

Did I mention my angle grinder made the ultimate sacrifice also…

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12463 posts in 2616 days

#6 posted 10-07-2013 09:54 PM

Now you see why Jesus gave up carpentry.

Don’t be a sap, charge them a fair price + a PITA surcharge for the husband.

I hired a guy last year to do a similar job and it was all on paper, time estimate, his rate, who was paying for materials, that he would clean up and haul away debris, starting time each day, each day would not exceed 8 work hours + lunch, when payments were due, etc. and the understanding that tearing into a house can reveal unforeseen problems that may exceed the original estimate. We had to pay the first day’s labor upfront + materials. When he got a little behind he brought in his son to help; didn’t cost me a dime extra. The guy was awesome, also he was a Buddhist.

-- Rick M,

View DKV's profile


3940 posts in 2740 days

#7 posted 10-07-2013 09:58 PM

renners, The Jesus gave free advice but never free woodwork. Follow The Jesus example…

-- This is a Troll Free zone.

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile


1294 posts in 2308 days

#8 posted 10-07-2013 10:07 PM

+1 to Rick M’s description… My simple remodel contract is 4.5 pages long. There should be no surprises at the end, if it was taken care of in the beginning…

Indecently, I first used that contract years ago when a lady in her 90’s hired me, based on reputation, but demanded no work could happen until she saw a contract. I owe her for that one, and she gave me all her husbands tools as a tip. (he had passed some time ago)

This is what it looks like for me… if this helps.. By the time work starts a client has signed a quote, a proposal, any drawings or finish samples, a contract, and has given a deposit.

To give confidence.. don’t feel bad for charging what you are worth. I see something like this happening. She wanted to do this, and pay someone. The husband probably tried to talk the family out of it, and thinks it is worthless for an old lady to renovate anything, and anyone will just be a hack trying to rip an old lady off. Ignore him, the way it is described, he was not your client.

-- Who is John Galt?

View 69BBNova's profile


341 posts in 2452 days

#9 posted 10-07-2013 10:17 PM

Just because their an older couple don’t assume they cant afford to make the payment…

Their are plenty of people I know that cry about how they can’t afford this or that…

The last years of my stepdads life when I had to take him to a doctor just because suddenly he’d want to go he quote the price of gas at the pump…

Meanwhile I was driving his crazy expensive Mercedes of which he bought 2 the same day…

So just be aware is my advise.

View GOOD LUCK TO ALL's profile


418 posts in 1964 days

#10 posted 10-07-2013 10:20 PM

Seems like everytime I give somebody a break, the next thing I hear is how there importing some 12,000 dollar rug from Spain to go in the room.
It’s OK to give them a break, but you should at least charge enough to make it worthwhile.
Remember, you can always lower the price if they are shocked, but it’s hard to add.
I would start out with what you want and go from there.

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404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 3205 days

#11 posted 10-07-2013 10:28 PM

It was a dirty, horrible, shitty job, that many people would have walked away from.

They wanted me to do it instead of relying on and coordinating all different trades to come in so it could be done more quickly.

I put in the hours to get it done as quickly as possible, everything is done right, I am not charging a premium for working into the night.

Nobody could have known how bad the floor was until the tiles came off.

Even the guy delivering the tiles said to get it done in a week you’d need three people.

I have done nothing wrong. Why do I feel almost guilty about the cost?

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418 posts in 1964 days

#12 posted 10-07-2013 10:36 PM

Because you have a good heart!

View DKV's profile


3940 posts in 2740 days

#13 posted 10-07-2013 10:42 PM

renners, give me their number…I’ll call them.

-- This is a Troll Free zone.

View Tooch's profile


1856 posts in 2112 days

#14 posted 10-07-2013 11:17 PM

I’m reminded of a parable about people who were hired to work. The first group was hired to work all day for a gold coin. upon seeing the work wasn’t going to be finished, the land owner hired a second group to work Half a day for the same, a gold coin. Getting into the evening, the land owner noticed he still needed some help, so hired a few men to work an hour or two for a gold coin.

The men who had worked all day complained about the men who had worked only an hour and got paid the same amount. The land owner said ”’Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?”

Charge them what you agreed upon, what you earned. You know what it should be. Don’t be greedy, don’t be foolish…. a tough task in this situation.

Good luck

-- "Well, the world needs ditch-diggers too..." - Judge Smails

View Jorge G.'s profile

Jorge G.

1537 posts in 2711 days

#15 posted 10-08-2013 12:30 AM

What the hell?!?...Looks like you do this for a living, why the second thoughts? If you are hesitant because you think the future word of mouth will be that you are “too expensive” don’t be! This is a good thing, you get rid of the tire kickers and people who want you to fix stuff for a few bucks, after all it is only woodwork, all you need is a few nails and a hammer.

If you did this without a contract, then you are a fool. As they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Now you probably won’t get paid for even your costs. The job you did is a nightmare job and you should have known this and give at least an estimate to your former client.

Sorry renners, but I get the feeling you are going to get the short end of the stick on this one. Let us know what happened.

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

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