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  #21  
Old 10-11-2013
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Re: Hiring Contractors - Are component/part prices typically higher than online?

There are no hard and fast rules. It's up to the business person to make their own choices.

In my marine business "stuff" falls into one of four categories:

1. Customer purchases - I'll point them to the best value (price and customer service) I am aware of. I'll accept delivery (big help to cruisers) and bench test at my regular rate.

2. I purchase - I'll get the best price I can and charge retail. I don't charge separately for my time tracking things down, ordering, receiving, and bench testing.

3. I stock - I get my best price and charge retail.

4. Odds & ends - This covers adhesive shrink connectors and terminals, wire ties, tape, and other small odds and ends. I charge a subjective shop fee, usually somewhere between $5 and $50. Any customer that wants an actually count can have one, but I charge my labor rate to count and tabulate. Once I spend the time to count the shop fee is off the table.

I don't charge for tools or consumables like drill bits and Fein blades. I don't charge for research. I don't charge when I make a mistake and have to fix it.

I don't charge for after service e-mail support.

None of these are rules - just how I do business. Other tradespeople make other choices.
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  #22  
Old 10-11-2013
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Re: Hiring Contractors - Are component/part prices typically higher than online?

I just had a surveyor come by and do some probing and poking for me. He drove maybe .5 hours each way, maybe a hour each way. He spent from 1:30 to 3:30 here on site, and is still going to generate a written report.

He said 4 hours, I paid 4 hours, no complaint.

Man's got to eat and pay his bills.

I'm a contractor (work for one company, bill another) - my company gets 30% off the top of my bill rate. That's how business works. If you want to go cheap you'll get what you pay for. Better to find less expensive (and that means something entirely different than cheaper).
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Re: Hiring Contractors - Are component/part prices typically higher than online?

Perhaps I have just been fortunate, but in my experience, the contractors we have used for work on the yacht have saved me money. Two small examples:

My (much) better half insisted we install a generator so we could use the air conditioning while at anchor during the summer in Southwest Florida. We subsequently visited the Miami Boat Show and were quoted a Boat Show price for a 4.2KW generator of $9,800 USD (at the time), the unit to be drop shipped, at my expense, to our boatyard for installation. That seemed pretty good until I discussed the deal with the manager of our yard, a designated service station for the brand. Through the yard, the cost for the same machine was $7,900 with the labor costs of installation the same.

Similarly, we upgraded from a manual to electric windlass. Purchased through our electrics contractor, the unit was 15% less costly than the best price I was quoted via the Internet or over the phone. And, when the Gypsy proved to be the wrong size (we had specified 3/8" BBB), our contractor handled the exchange at no charge, with no inconvenience, with one phone call.

We have had similar experience with other equipment but, in summary, our contractors have saved us money on equipment and ensured that installations were done properly, often while I was in attendance and taking time to instruct me should I need to effect repairs while we were/are traveling.

FWIW...
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  #24  
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Re: Hiring Contractors - Are component/part prices typically higher than online?

I have a very good relationship w/ my yard. I don't have them do much work but when I do, I don't mind paying the bill.

A little off topic but what really gets my goat is the garage door contractor that charged me for driving to AND from my house based on their shop distance. I wouldn't have a problem if I was the only customer of that trip but they consolidate service calls by area and the guy even told me he was going to another customer a few miles away. WTF? You know they were going to charge that customer to/from also.

And the plumber that did the same. Same plumber also TRIED to charge me for the half hour it took to stock their truck that morning because "we don't know what we might have to do at your house". Excuse me? Keeping stock on your truck is part of the job, not by responsibility to pay for.
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Re: Hiring Contractors - Are component/part prices typically higher than online?

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Originally Posted by sailordave View Post
I have a very good relationship w/ my yard. I don't have them do much work but when I do, I don't mind paying the bill.

A little off topic but what really gets my goat is the garage door contractor that charged me for driving to AND from my house based on their shop distance. I wouldn't have a problem if I was the only customer of that trip but they consolidate service calls by area and the guy even told me he was going to another customer a few miles away. WTF? You know they were going to charge that customer to/from also.

And the plumber that did the same. Same plumber also TRIED to charge me for the half hour it took to stock their truck that morning because "we don't know what we might have to do at your house". Excuse me? Keeping stock on your truck is part of the job, not by responsibility to pay for.
I'll see your plumber and raise you an Air Conditioning contractor that wanted to charge us for a round trip back to his shop because he forgot to bring his tank of compressed refrigerant with him when he drove out to our house the first time to deal with a low freon warning indicator!
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Re: Hiring Contractors - Are component/part prices typically higher than online?

Generally, a contractor has to order, pickup, stockpile, carry, sometimes return whatever they are getting for you. So they'll order it at the best price they can get, and generally sell it to you at full MSRP. Just like every auto repair shop you've ever been to. Or they may charge you the price the store charged them--but also the time they spent going to get it.

Of course contractors can be negotiable, like everyone else. the question is not what he's charging you for a gizmo, but what his overall cost to you will be. The guy who charges you $100 an hour may be cheaper than they guy who charges $75, but bills for 50% more hours.

Ask 'em up front, what's the total cost going to be. Some will tell you to feel free to supply your own parts--but they won't warranty your parts. If it doesn't work, that's your problem. Sometimes when they supply the parts, they'll also absorb any time replacing a DOA one, etc. Or ask for a price cap ("not to exceed") to the whole job.
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Re: Hiring Contractors - Are component/part prices typically higher than online?

I just had a major service done on my motorcycle. The shop picked it up and called about 48 hrs later with a complete estimate of what it needed. They called again, while working on it to give me a status report and fill me in on a heavily corroded fuel pump they noticed. No pressure to get a new one, but wanted me to know and were fully prepared with exactly what a new one would cost, if I wanted them to replace it.

I have the bike back already.

By comparison, I put a request for an estimate on equally routine work with my boat yard about a week before I sent the bike in. I still don't have the estimate. I'm telling you, service standards in marine contracting are horrible on comparison to every there industry I deal with.
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  #28  
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Re: Hiring Contractors - Are component/part prices typically higher than online?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
I just had a major service done on my motorcycle. The shop picked it up and called about 48 hrs later with a complete estimate of what it needed. They called again, while working on it to give me a status report and fill me in on a heavily corroded fuel pump they noticed. No pressure to get a new one, but wanted me to know and were fully prepared with exactly what a new one would cost, if I wanted them to replace it.

I have the bike back already.

By comparison, I put a request for an estimate on equally routine work with my boat yard about a week before I sent the bike in. I still don't have the estimate. I'm telling you, service standards in marine contracting are horrible on comparison to every there industry I deal with.
Minnewaska--

I hate to say this but your experience may be regional and symptomatic of the northeast. We're originally from San Francisco and the only times we've had serious difficulty with marine contractors was while traveling in the northeast. New Jersey seemed particularly bad with New York, Conn and Mass not far behind. As I say, perhaps it was just a fluke, but...I'm glad we're where we are, rather than there. Good luck old son.
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Re: Hiring Contractors - Are component/part prices typically higher than online?

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Originally Posted by svHyLyte View Post
Minnewaska--

I hate to say this but your experience may be regional and symptomatic of the northeast. ......
That may be exactly right. Maybe not the entire northeast, but many parts of it. I suspect Maine has more reliable yards. The Bay and nearby coast has some of the most outstanding sailing anywhere and countless destinations. The marina staff can be very friendly, including ours!! Its just the quality and organization of the tradesman that are awful. Maybe the best of the best are all building custom one-use boats for the next Bermuda race. I may not be too far off on that one.
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Re: Hiring Contractors - Are component/part prices typically higher than online?

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Originally Posted by SVAuspicious View Post
I don't charge for tools or consumables like drill bits and Fein blades. - just how I do business. Other tradespeople make other choices.
You are gentle. Fein blades add up fast.
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