I’m hearing far too often from both contractors and clients about contractors deliberately underpricing jobs so they can come back later and write change work orders at inflated prices. They do this so they can sell the job by having the lowest price, and use the change work orders to recoup some of the money left on the table by their original bid.
This practice isn’t new. My grandfather related to me many times that this practice was prevelant when he owned a contracting business years ago. Same song, different verse. Same unethical and dishonest approach to business that has been going on for ages.
Can you change this practice by trying to change the flakes (that’s what the right word) who use this method of contracting? Yes, you can try, but don’t hold your breath. Your complaints won’t be an incentive for them to revamp their deceitful way of doing business.
When you are working on an estimate, with a little thought you can often predict where the shaving or low-balling will occur. For example, during a kitchen remodel, companies will often quote low grade, cheap cabinets. Other examples on kitchen remodels are plastic laminate countertops, low grade flooring, no paint on the walls, cheap appliances, you get the idea. Bathrooms are quoted with low-grade plumbing fixtures, cheap accessories, low cost cabinets, countertops, flooring, etc.
When you meet with your potential client to talk about your proposal, make darned sure you point out these items and what the price differences can be between your quote and the flakes who are busy with their mischief. If you do a good job of presenting your case, it will be easy for your potential client to understand that price is not the way to pick a contractor. I am very quick to tell home and building owners that they get exactly what they deserve when they choose a contractor based on price. You should tell them the exact same thing and don’t be shy about it.
Another thing that the flakes will often tell potential clients needs to be pointed out as well. They will claim they operate on very low overhead and are willing to make a little less profit on their work because. . . !
Remind your potential client that the price of their job is dictated by the design of their job and the selections that they make. Contractors have about the same overhead percents and if they don’t make a profit, they will go away. If they go away, they won’t be around to handle problems in the future. The O & P thing is a minor consideration in the overall sales price of any given job.
Will you get your potential clients attention so they understand that when they are looking at low price, they won’t get the quality and value they say they want on their project? Not every time. But, if one in three understands, the effort is worthwhile. It takes a little effort to pinpoint the difference in your quote and those of the flakes, but it is worth the effort.