The only thing I can figure out is that there must be a salesman out there selling a course on how to be a plumbing contractor or builder and as a zinger of a sales pitch he tells prospective clients: Become A Plumbing Contractor….. Beat Up Your Subs For Fun and Profit!!! Now that sounds like the career for me!
Ok, that is obviously an overstatement but if you are an electrician, heating and air contractor painter, drywall contractor or any other type of trade involved in the construction industry this has to be a familiar feeling! And by the way, I do mean to financially beat up not physically (although that can happen… I have been threatened at gunpoint after putting a lien on a property!) Do you ever wonder if the only strategy the plumbing builder or contractor has is to beat your price down to its, lowest level through scams, lies and tricks?
If you are really wondering what I mean, let me give you a little rundown on the tricks in the plumbing contractor’s bag that are meant to separate you from your money. After you read this you really will wonder if they all go to the same school!
PROFIT SCHEME #1 – “THAT GUY SAID HE COULD DO IT FOR #%^$!”
If you have heard this from a potential plumbing customer, 7 times out of 10 he is lying or is, at the very least exaggerating the supposed low price of the other subcontrator. That is the game they play. How do I know this? I have the audacity to contact the other subcontractors after the bidding is done and the job has been awarded. I simply show them my actual bid that I did for the job, whether I won or not and then ask them to do the same. You would be amazed at how many times I lowered my bid far below what the other guy had bid, getting down to my lowest profitable margin, when the guy I was bidding against was nowhere near my price! It is the oldest scam in the book. It has to be a contractor’s first class because they all do it!
PROFIT SCHEME #2 – “I WOULD NEVER SHOW YOUR QUOTE TO ANOTHER COMPETITOR”?
This is a classic line thrown out by every scammer out there. Dishonest contractors always show your bid to other trades people. Technically it is called “bid shopping” and is illegal but a lot of them do it. Many times they will even have preferred subs that get their work, but they will call in new guys to bid for them occasionally and then show them to their preferred plumber or tradesman in the hopes it will lead to cheaper prices. A good way to spot this is if you bid a few jobs without getting any from that builder, and he does not tell you to lower your prices. He is keeping you in the pool so that his preferred provider looks better to the customer and again he can control his prices better with his trusted sub.
PROFIT SCHEME #3 – ” I SWEAR THAT WAS ON THE PLANS, YOU JUST MISSED IT”!
Many builders or contractors are very vague in the details and plans that they give you when bidding a job. With some do this is on purpose. If they leave out a sink or a faucet when you bid the job, their price is lower for the customer. When they add back that sink later, they force you to do it for free so that they do not look bad in front of the customer, or because you missed it you need to do it for free, or they will just promise you more work if you eat the cost of it this time.
All of these reasons are bogus! They manipulate you into a few hundred dollars of profit for themselves or get a job that is based on being profitable because of your free labor! If you are not doing very explicit bids and covering yourself with language in the contract to prevent this you are what they love… a true sucker!
Well, there you have 3 of the most common tricks that plumbing builders and contractors learn in “builder-b” 101. These tricks are designed to strip you of your profit in the interest of giving it to the builder.