Are tradesmen trying to rip me off?

That’s a great question and one we’ve heard dozens of times.


The answer could be yes depending on who you talk to; ‘tradesmen are overpriced and you gotta watch them or they’ll do a shoddy job’,

‘They come from the mines and think they can charge whatever they like’ ….

However, on the whole, I’d say the answer is NO, they are not trying to rip the client off. Sometimes it’s a case of ‘is the client being unreasonable’ or more to the point ‘is the client educated in what a tradesperson does?’


A tradesperson with his/her own business is trying to earn a buck like anyone else. They advertise their business with flyers into your letterbox and adverts in newspapers trying to catch your attention. They provide the client with a quote to do the job and if the tradesperson is good, the quote will be fair and an accurate reflection of the workmanship they’ll provide.

Honestly, how much would you charge to:

1) Pay at least $1,400.00 to print a months worth of flyers and have them delivered into letterboxes of prospective clients?2)Commute to a clients house in your own time (not getting paid at this point)?
3) Spend time with the client talking about problem solving for their particular needs (not getting paid for this free advice)?
4) Drive back to the office (again not getting paid for this or the petrol being used)?
5) Spend considerable time working out the details of the job, drawing plans or sketches, chasing suppliers for prices, then generating the quote and sending it to the client. Depending on the job, this could take 1/2 hour or 3 hours plus?
6) Follow up with the client a week later to find if they are successful in winning the clients’ job?
7) Handle a ton of rejection with clients not ringing you back or never responding to your emails or abusing you for charging what they think is unreasonable or copping a lot of abuse when accidentally receiving your “junk mail” into their letterbox?

Now …. if the tradesperson gets the job, they then have to collect the material and take it to the clients house ready for use. This could take 2 or more trips. Again, this is something they don’t get paid for. They also don’t get paid fully upfront by the client so they have to spend their own money to buy materials.
A tradesperson with their own business does A LOT of work without being paid.
A tradesperson has also spent time doing an apprenticeship (possibly up to 4 years), been to trades school to learn theory of their craft and spent years working in their industry to refine their skill. How is that any different from a professional university graduate?

So, is your tradesperson trying to rip you off? Take as much money from you as they can get?
Well … I’m afraid it depends on who you are engaging in to do your project. The old saying, you get what you pay for is true. You go for a cheap, unprofessional tradesperson, you get a cheap, bad job. You engage in a tradesperson with a proven work history, professional and personal high work ethic and you’ll get a great job.

When you think you are being ripped off, consider this factor – fair exchange.
Has your tradesperson provided a written quote, done the hard yards (considering the 6 points above) and do you actually like the tradesperson? Then, give the exchange that is fair.

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