Doing a good job has to be the first priority regardless of how poorly you priced a job to win it. Your good reputation demands this like every good craftsman. Life does throw dud jobs at us all from time to time (you should see some of the tools we get in) but it’s all part of the game and as time goes by and your good reputation builds those ‘dog of jobs’ are quickly recognised for what they are and you can price them accordingly.
It’s always harder when someone starts out, winning countless jobs that no-one else wants for the lowest rates with the worse paying customers but we have all been there, without exception, it’s all part of our education in the workplace.
After running at what seems 100 miles an hour and covering a lot less distance you will start to question what needs to change, as anyone can work for very little financial reward.
I’ve always asked myself a series of questions after every job I undertake, regardless of how large or small it is.
I ask, would I be happy to pay for this?
- If the answer is Yes, but would I be happy to do it again for the same price? If the answer is No, then the only reason is that you undercharged for the work.
- If the answer is No, it’s likely you overcharged for what you did.
I ask would I do a similar job again?
- It may depend on the client type
- It may depend on location or distance
- The type of work may not be suitable for your character
- The work may have been too laborious or strenuous.
Somewhere in there lies the true pricing structure and this only comes with experience of regular work which when you start will be underpaid. Never though try to tackle more challenging jobs until you have enough experience and knowledge, those challenging jobs are best left to those who can handle them, their prices usually reflects this as they know what work is needed. Customers may like a cheap quote but gaining these cheap quotes often results in disappointment and why so many projects go over their unrealistic budgets.
You are only as good as your last job and damaged reputations are very hard to repair.
Unfortunately in recent years, more experienced tradesmen are targeted at ‘problem jobs’ companies or private customers face which restricts their earning potential. This explains the resentment often seen in an industry and I personally felt when making the decision to stop taking on ‘in progress’ contracts in the past. If companies or clients make the foolish mistake of buying cheap they shouldn’t be helped, they did not value my skills until it was too late, I stopped working for foolish customers.
With building Tooltique my trade is on hold, that is until the boys can be trusted to work without me here, this is probably an old fashioned way of training but they learn in mini steps, under supervision, just like old companies used to do with apprenticeships. They are my sons but this type of training was common place years back and companies trained for their future, this is not a practice seen today in the same way.
Even without guidance it’s important to understand limitations as well as pushing ambitiously but excellence only comes when parts of the job become second nature and comes back to the adage, ‘practice makes perfect’. I guess the most valuable skill is experience as the approach is different.
This is a joke I tell all my lads when they start getting to grips with their jobs.
Two bulls get put into a field with lots of cows, the young bull say’s to the older bull “hurry up, lets run over there and hump one of those cows”. The older bull say’s “No, let’s walk over and hump them all”.
Of course in a politically correct world with animal rights, these bulls would have obtained verbal permission from all the the cows involved and the farmer would have written a detailed risk assessment and obtained a licence before any breeding commences.