Labour prices

Discussion in 'Carpenters' Talk' started by Chippie mac chipface, Oct 14, 2021.

  1. quasar9

    quasar9 Screwfix Select

    1. The millennials have largely rejected this, as part of the reason perhaps, owning own property has become largely unaffordable. Plus they would rather do something else with their time .
    2. Large open browse cathedrals to DIY have all but gone. Remember Texas, Do it all, focus ? are all gone, Homebase shrinking at a rate not seen in a chain and the last survivor B&Q reinventing itself as tiny high street shops. Likes of Screwfix and tool stations have emerged where you need to know what you want ( much like the old days of brown coated employees of hardware shop )
    3. Current homeowners now demand fit and finish they cannot hope to achieve themselves. Gone are the days when we had to make do with what we could afford or what was available.
    chillimonster likes this.
  2. Adamfya

    Adamfya Active Member

    Regardless of what others think or charge, if you have the knowledge, kit and customer base with the added bonus of a constant demand for your skill set, then really you can charge how you see fit.
    Suppose if work backs off a bit or demand shrinks, you can always reduce your rate a bit. 36 years later, you should know what you want in your **** pocket at the end of the week!
    Good testamant and a long career-rarely seen these days...
    Dont let yourself get too worked up over white collar workers pay-thats a totally different way of charging out time which will never make sense-no matter how long you try and work it out.
    Chippie mac chipface and Zed1001 like this.
  3. Jord86

    Jord86 Screwfix Select

    Trades have been undercharging for years, all the way back to the 2008 recession that only now we're seeing the last cobwebs blown off. There's also been a shortage of skilled blokes since the recession finished thousands, coupled with a woefully inadequate apprenticeship scheme preventing the voids being filled. Supply and demand, fewer trades means more picking and choosing, and the fact that the industry is always the hardest hit whenever a recession, pandemic, interest rates etc flares up means we damn well should be charging far more than what we have been to cover the lean times.

    Also, as Quasar pointed out, today's younger homeowners want/demand/expect a level of finish that requires use of copious amounts of power tools to achieve said finish, especially within a timescale that makes the tradesman competitive with other trades in the area, those tools along with the years of knowledge on how to use them don't come cheap.
    Chippie mac chipface and Wayners like this.
  4. Wayners

    Wayners Screwfix Select

    This covers us trades

    chillimonster likes this.
  5. quasar9

    quasar9 Screwfix Select

    Make hay while the sun shines as the old adage goes! But overdoing the price increase does have its nasty side effects. The rich end of the market is only tiny and more tradesmen/women will be chasing an ever decreasing market while the majority are frozen out.

    Also sharp increase in price can cause seismic shift in the makeup of the industry.

    already, the makers of autonomous driving vehicles are strongly lobbying the govt hard and many reservations are being set aside as the shortage of lorry drivers bites ever harder. It may not be long before we see automated convoys on our motorway and faster A roads. Once successful, the entire vocation dies. Along the way there will be other casualties like fryup trailers in lay-by.
  6. Adamfya

    Adamfya Active Member

    Lets hope we are years away from that!
  7. longboat

    longboat Screwfix Select

    Horses for courses, some go into the industry driven by the want of roads paved in gold, others (the majority) just want to earn a decent living doing something they enjoy.
  8. devnull10

    devnull10 Member

    Ok, so as a "customer" here, my point of view would be that if I'd previously used a tradesperson and knew they charged X say last year, then suddenly because they were busy in the pandemic they were charging X+30%, I'd probably not book them again. Sure prices rise naturally over time, but increasing labour charges by 30% just because you think people are desperate and you can get away with it isn't really good form.

    In terms of calculating a day rate, I'm totally fine with factoring in the price of tools etc. Though i think some take it to the extreme by factoring in travel time to the job. PAYE staff don't get paid for traveling their job, and also have similar "time overheads". For example, most people on PAYE in a half decent job ain't getting paid anything for any overtime. Plus company pension for most of the UK is only a few grand a year max. So if you're charging £250/300 a day, you really are earning a lot more take home pay than the majority of employed UK people.
  9. Jord86

    Jord86 Screwfix Select

    PAYE workers don't generally drive from prospective job to prospective job several times a week, spend hours of their own time in evenings or weekends or even a day off collecting material costs and labour prices to then contact said prospective clients with a quotation for the work, to have a roughly speaking 1 in 5 chance of securing the job, they normally just drive to their workplace, do eight hours, then drive home. No self employed sole trading tradesman earns £300 every day, there is an enormous difference between charging/quoting £300 a day to earning £300 a day.
    longboat likes this.
  10. Truckcab79

    Truckcab79 Active Member

    I used to charge £200 a day. Now charge £250 and am booked until beyond March next year. Mostly Herts and London. Could probably charge more to be honest. All recommendation, mostly affluent clients. None of my clients shops around and I never compete on price as there is always some numpty off Facebook doing it cheaper. I also make 20% on materials. I’m a landscaper, build bespoke pergolas, wood-fired ovens, decorator, handyman. Ignore the old ‘master of none’ nonsense. Clients love to find a tradesman who can cover multiple trades. They never look anywhere else again and so long as you’re not taking the proverbial, price isn’t really an issue. Charge what you can if you’re good at what you do.

    As a client of mine told me once ‘Don’t be a busy fool’. He puts his prices up every year. Occasionally loses a client but mostly just gets paid more for doing less, for clients who value him.
  11. devnull10

    devnull10 Member

    Sure, if you've come out to price up a job then I'd expect that time be factored into the day rate of the final job, as well as time you spend ordering materials for me. However I wouldn't expect to be paying a proportion of the time you've spent pricing up jobs for four other people who said no... That's your problem, not mine.

    If you're doing multiple jobs a day then it's not day rate, and I'd of course not expect it to be day rate pro rated for the time it takes.
  12. Adamfya

    Adamfya Active Member

    Its the day rate charge...2nd day, oh by the way were finished see you later. Its 12 oclock....that gets me
  13. woodbutcherbower

    woodbutcherbower Well-Known Member

    That isn’t what I said. I only factor in travel time when it’s an extreme case = 4 hours per day for a fortnight. I also said nothing about factoring in time to visit customers or price up jobs - that was listed under ‘nonprofit time’. Most PAYE people live within striking distance of where they work. And I didn’t even slightly suggest that I was taking advantage of current circumstances to fleece people. The point I was making was the fact that I’ve invested close to £50k in a vehicle and equipment so I can generate the kind of quality result my customers expect. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect some form of return on that investment. And in any case - my day rate doesn’t even get mentioned in 95% of cases - I provide customers with a 100% fixed upfront quote for the job, with absolutely everything included. I’d also point you in the direction of Jord’s response. He’s right in every respect, including points that I already made in my first post.

    I fully appreciate that customers want value for money - we all do. But in my experience, standing back and looking at your dream kitchen which has been installed to an utterly flawless level of perfection will very quickly mean much, much more than the price - especially when it’s been completed by a reliable, honest, trustworthy and quality-focused professional who strives to build a proper working relationship with you, and who is nice to your kids and your dog.

    And when I do work on day rate, it’s exactly that. A day - between 8 and 10 hours. A quick 4-hour day generates a bill for half a day.

    I’d also mention that if I’m stupid enough to fall off a ladder and break my leg - I’m stuffed for many weeks. No sick pay. And since you mentioned a pension, we also have to provide for that as well. Plus everything else I didn’t mention - public liability insurance, the epidemic of van breakins and tool thefts (just try getting insurance against that), income tax …. yet another endless list. We don’t have these safety nets of corporate support, so we have to constantly generate a contingency to cover them ourselves.

    But as with everything in life, yours is the choice to make. You can always find someone else who will do it a little cheaper, and a little worse.
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2021
    longboat, Max22 and Adamfya like this.
  14. Adamfya

    Adamfya Active Member

    Ive been both employed and self employed. I can honestly say that being on the books is way easier in every respect.

    There are pros and cons as with everything

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