Craigslist and crazy homeowners

I’ve been checkin on this forum for some time now, just haven’t posted anything cause most of the time any ???'s I have, have already been answered at some point. BUT… recently, I have had dealings with contractors and home owners that are trying to tell me that I should be working for 1/2 to 2/3 of the going rate! (chicago area) and craigslist seems to be the culprit! “well i can just go to CL and get someone for cheaper”. “do what ya gotta do” I say. People think I’m crazy when I quote them 240.00 a square for a tear off! (everything included - wood extra) been doing this stuff over 15 years and each year the profit margins keep shrinking, at least in my neck of the woods. Mabye i’ll just drop my license and insurance and work out of the back of my pick up truck and go back across the border at the end of the season… it seems to work for those guys! is 240.00 really too much for a licensed contractor in the chicago area? I don’t have to do my books to answer that question, just had to get it off my chest. Take it easy guys.

Everyone is feeling the crunch but hopefully you will recooperate your losses in repairs.Immigrants are very smart and hard workers.

They come to this country and work cheap until they learn enough to move into sub-contracting and the next thing you know they are contractors and bidding against you.

I don’t have all the answers,but I find the quality of workmanship to be poor because so much inexperienced help is used,your repair business should be booming in the near future.


go work in the western burbs and stay out of the city.

Over half of my home owners this year asked who my sub/crew were. Some came straight out and asked if I used immigrant roofers. Some even went as far as to say they didn’t want Mexicans on their roof.

Home owners know they get what they pay for and if the money is tight in your market they have to do what they have to do.

There was a few roofs this year I got underbid on but the home owners know they won’t be able to call me for repairs. Instead they’ll try and try to get through with the storm chaser who will have to get an interpreter to figure out why the roof is leaking.

The illegals have put a hurt on new construction here in MN but on tear offs most of my leads come from people who shrew those type of contractors away from their homes.

My prices for single layer tear offs with shingles this year have ranged from $260-530 a square.

That’s why i don’t support selling or looking to hire home services on those sites. Why don’t we all post warnings and alerts for homeowners on the sites and give them examples of scams and shotty work being done at cheap prices. And how in 1to 5 years they will spend hundreds and possibly thousands to repair and replace.

site yet? (click me, I’m a link)THIS


Frank, have you been to THIS site yet? (click me, I’m a link)[/quote]

I don’t mean this iste I’m talking about sites such as craigslist and so forth. They are great sites and a great way to network, however they do tend to drive cost’s down. In this case in the home services arena. I feel as though it is ok when your selling a standard item with no service such as ebay does. but when your dealing with home services there are just way to many people with out a job who by default is trying to make some $$$. those sites give these people an oppurtunity to advertise for free. everything they make is profit to them they have no overhead. Example i occassionaly post help wanted ads on craigslist. I interviewed a guy who advertised on craigs for roofing and siding. he was currently laidoff from an automaker supplier. He told me he has the customer pay for materials and he charges $130. - $150 per day for his labor. No contractor can compete with that. now since he isn’t busy everyday he is looking for a job to fill in the days he doesnt have work.

Most people that are totally outside the entire construction industry really have no idea how to find competent contractors.
They simply don’t know how to find the “right company” for the job.
People that have no idea about construction don’t know what is needed.
How can they intelligently diasect a bid?
All they can really do is compare prices…

For these customers, we as contractors have a responsibility to explain what is needed and why.
If you present yourself as a professional these people will listen to you.
It is the process of building trust.
They may not hire you for the job…
But when they go with the cheaper bid and are not happy, they will remember you in a good light.
Because you already explained all of this to them.
Now they see was was skipped or looked over…
This person or someone they know may be a future customer.
Because you educated them…
It is part of building trust.
If you plan on being in business for the long term, community trust is essential.

Educate your prospect and your competitors deficiencies will stand out without having to say anything about the work they do.

The closest I come to mentioning the competition is by saying “Some roofers might do this ________, but what I prefer to do is __________ because it will ___________ & _____________ if not done correctly.”

Oh, & when asked if I use subs I explain what the market is like in Texas & say “Ever seen _________ Roofing’s commercials on TV?” (they advertise more than anyone else here in town). “On their ad it states ‘All jobs are employee supervised.’ Notice how it never says all the people on your roof are employees? Only the guy who comes back out to pick up your check.”

(Texas is a 99% subcontractor labor state, however I’m lucky in that I’ve had a good crew - the same one - for about 4 years now).

A good and loyal crew is hard to find Ranch keep them at all cost’s.