Author Topic: If You Need a Laugh--Signs the Bubble is Here in Contractor Pricing?  (Read 2999 times)

Evie

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So I recently had to get two painting bids.  One for a 640 sq foot one bedroom apartment we were turning over, and one for the exterior of our 1750 sq foot duplex.

I got what I found to be a totally insane bid for the interior one bedroom apartment. Painting company wanted $2000.  When I had my husband call them back to point out this was significantly higher than we anticipated, and was way more than an entire months rent on the unit, they offered to come down a hundred dollars.  Nope.  We had our handy man do the job instead.  They genuinely seemed surprised we said no.

Fast forward a few weeks and we had a second set of painters that my realtor recommended come over to give the estimate on the exterior job for the duplex. It's a 1750 sq foot single family house that was legally split ten years ago.  So think basic, one story stucco box with wood trim. Granted, the two decks are wood, 6 of the windows are wood , there is a carport and the wood is not in great shape, but we also told them we wanted to do basic repair and use compound to fix the issues, not do a full restore.  We're not exactly in the fanciest neighborhood. The quote?

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---$25,000.  Did you fall out of your chair? I actually laughed when I opened the bid. Then I studied it.  It was nearly $7k just to paint the stucco, and $14+k for the trim.  I think we could probably rebuild both porches and replace the trim for cheaper.

I asked a couple of friends and coworkers. They all couldn't believe it.  I thought, hey, maybe they messed up the decimal point.  Maybe the trim was only $1.4k and they typed $14k.  That seemed kind of rude to ask, so I couched in my response that I was concerned there was a typo. 

A day later the email came back.  Nope, 25k was totally accurate.  They could maybe come down a few hundred or even a thousand dollars. I told them I would pass.

In my area (Coastal So Cal) the estimate I was expecting (and that I have had verified from others who recently had similarly sized homes painted) was between $8-10k, maybe $10-$14k depending on which company I went with and how fancy a job they wanted to do. Keep in mind this is for a one story stucco house that with a crew of three to four guys should take them a week to knock out, and the high demand spring/summer painting season is over.

The last time I saw this kind of crazy was in the lead up to the housing bubble crash. I think the contractors are just busy and demanding a premium. We decided to sit on our cash and wait until spring.  I will no longer be pregnant, though I really don't want to do the job ourselves, and we may have the handy man do some of the minor repairs and painting of the windows to extend the life of the current job.  Assuming the Trump tax plan goes as well as all his other attempts at Congressional legislation, the talk of bubbles in real estate, rentals, tech stocks, the market, even zinc, as well as the fact that there is some major uncertainty around North Korea, European politics etc. we're ok waiting to see how things shake out. 

In the mean time I've told my husband to stop joking that he will go work at Starbucks as a back up career if things go to shit--after all, apparently he can make a killing as a painter in this town.
 

dandarc

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Re: If You Need a Laugh--Signs the Bubble is Here in Contractor Pricing?
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2017, 03:33:45 PM »
New plan - move to California and paint houses.

tralfamadorian

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Re: If You Need a Laugh--Signs the Bubble is Here in Contractor Pricing?
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2017, 06:24:06 PM »
New plan - move to California and paint houses.
+1

o_O  That is quite a quote!  I just had a similarly sized rental in a MCOL east coast area painted for $2k with some minor repairs and this and that's thrown in. 

Dave1442397

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Re: If You Need a Laugh--Signs the Bubble is Here in Contractor Pricing?
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2017, 05:38:39 AM »
New plan - move to California and paint houses.

Lol, no kidding!

We had our exterior painted a couple of years ago, and it cost $4700. It's not something I would have done myself, as it required either very long ladders and a lot of time or renting some special equipment - the painter used a cherry picker to do the front of the house. Between prep and painting, it took them four days.

Penelope Vandergast

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Re: If You Need a Laugh--Signs the Bubble is Here in Contractor Pricing?
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2017, 10:57:58 AM »
I recently had a contractor in Boston give me an estimate to paint the interior of an 8-room, 1200 sf house for: $14,000. Yes. $1750 per room.

I was pretty much rendered speechless. There wasn't that much prep to do either. He got really mad at me when I hired someone else who did a perfectly decent job for $250/room.

dandarc

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Re: If You Need a Laugh--Signs the Bubble is Here in Contractor Pricing?
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2017, 10:59:42 AM »
I recently had a contractor in Boston give me an estimate to paint the interior of an 8-room, 1200 sf house for: $14,000. Yes. $1750 per room.

I was pretty much rendered speechless. There wasn't that much prep to do either. He got really mad at me when I hired someone else who did a perfectly decent job for $250/room.
Gave you a "I don't want this job" price and then got mad at you when you didn't hire him?  That's really odd.

Penelope Vandergast

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Re: If You Need a Laugh--Signs the Bubble is Here in Contractor Pricing?
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2017, 02:13:46 PM »
He was doing other work in the house at the same time. Painting wasn't his main thing so maybe he really didn't know what it cost?? I do think he felt like he was going to get a much bigger job out of it and was not happy when I made it smaller. He also was used to working with people who had way more money than we did...

surfhb

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Re: If You Need a Laugh--Signs the Bubble is Here in Contractor Pricing?
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2017, 05:57:34 PM »
Its simply a contractor who surely doesn't care for your business or is too busy.   No big deal, this happens all the time.

Jon Bon

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Re: If You Need a Laugh--Signs the Bubble is Here in Contractor Pricing?
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2017, 07:22:42 AM »
I feel like this totally could be it's own tread. This too has totally happened to me. 150-250k for a basic 800 sqft addition. Note I paid 225k for the entire house in 2012.

Hypothesis: The Mustache community lives in much fancier  houses then our income would lead you to believe. So I might live in a house that most folks would buy on a 250k salary, but in fact I only make 100k? Living in a fancy neighborhood but living on a regular salary leads contractors to bid up jobs because they think we can afford it?

Evie,  I will fly out there and paint your entire house for a mere $20,000. Maybe even $18,000 with the 10% MMM discount!


sokoloff

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Re: If You Need a Laugh--Signs the Bubble is Here in Contractor Pricing?
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2017, 07:05:07 AM »
I had a contractor out to bid on some HVAC work. He walked around the house, gushing about "what a nice area this is!", "how great old houses like were!", etc. DW liked him; I told her, "You won't when you see his bid."

Sure enough, he emailed a one-line bid with a half-sentence of explanation, for $52K for a boiler replacement.

I'm quite sure that he skipped the Manual J calculation and went straight to the "Manual Z" (Zillow) calculation to craft his bid.

Zamboni

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Re: If You Need a Laugh--Signs the Bubble is Here in Contractor Pricing?
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2017, 09:50:14 AM »
Wow! That's an eye opener.

Always go with the 3 estimates policy, though.

Kroaler

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Re: If You Need a Laugh--Signs the Bubble is Here in Contractor Pricing?
« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2017, 08:23:24 AM »
Just the chime in. 

I bought a house to remodel, read every book about real estate and thought I was prepared. . .


The contractors absolutely threw me for an unexpected loop.  They dont want work right now. Everyone (if you can even get them to look at your job) has insane prices.


Ive had contractors show up, find out im getting bid from 3 people and say they dont have time to bid against other people and leave.

KCM5

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Re: If You Need a Laugh--Signs the Bubble is Here in Contractor Pricing?
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2017, 08:43:55 AM »
Hypothesis: The Mustache community lives in much fancier  houses then our income would lead you to believe. So I might live in a house that most folks would buy on a 250k salary, but in fact I only make 100k? Living in a fancy neighborhood but living on a regular salary leads contractors to bid up jobs because they think we can afford it?

I doubt that's true. Maybe once you're pretty much FIRE? The best way to save lots of money is to minimize large expenses (house, transportation).

My spouse and I make what I would consider average income in our social circle. We definitely have the smallest, cheapest house.

My own hypothesis is that the MMM community doesn't want to overpay for anything, so keeps these ridiculous quotes in mind to share on a thread.

Marley09

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Re: If You Need a Laugh--Signs the Bubble is Here in Contractor Pricing?
« Reply #13 on: October 31, 2017, 10:09:02 AM »
Perfect timing for this thread...

I had a contractor come out to do an estimate on our master bathroom remodel.  We told them that we would do the demolition beforehand and that the would just need to come in a install the toilet, shower, vanity and tile.  We could do it and we have in the past, but with two kids under two, it is just too much for us at this time.  I told that him that I don't need or want top of the line pieces and I had even priced out the toilet, tile and vanity that I had wanted (less than $5k for everything).  The contactor gave us every reason why he could not do the floor plan that I had designed and then called back a few days later to tell us that the bathroom remodel would cost $60,000!!!  I told him not to bother coming back for our follow up meeting. 

mghjuno

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Re: If You Need a Laugh--Signs the Bubble is Here in Contractor Pricing?
« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2017, 04:38:25 PM »
My husband and I were just talking about this.  We live in an incredibly hot area real estate wise and we have been trying to hire people to do various things: replace all of our gutters, do a big yard clean up, and replace our deck/possibly build a screened porch.  The only thing we've been able to do was having the gutters replaced and I'm starting to feel lucky that we got that much accomplished!

I had a guy out to give us an estimate on building a screened porch last week.  Haven't heard back from him and he said he'd have the estimate in a couple of days, this past Monday at the latest.  Besides that we can't even get any landscapers to call us back.  We have decided that no one around here needs the work and they're only accepting big, expensive jobs.  If the porch guy ever does give me his estimate I'm expecting it to be absurdly high.  We're resigned to cleaning up the yard ourselves which we really should do anyway I suppose since we can, but we had a very stressful year and are exhausted and would be happy to throw some money at the problem of our messy yard. 

Oh well... the bubble will pop eventually and until then we'll hang on to our $ and hopefully have the work done for non-bubble prices.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2017, 04:41:24 PM by mghjuno »

Rufus.T.Firefly

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Re: If You Need a Laugh--Signs the Bubble is Here in Contractor Pricing?
« Reply #15 on: November 02, 2017, 04:48:57 PM »
Wow.

I just got an exterior house paint quote for $4,750. 2,000 sq ft house, two story. Price includes trim and replacement boards for some damaged siding. Geography matters a lot for this I guess.

Blindsquirrel

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Re: If You Need a Laugh--Signs the Bubble is Here in Contractor Pricing?
« Reply #16 on: November 05, 2017, 06:04:47 PM »
     I love this thread! Have renovated a house for 25k and not swung a hammer on it. Crack is whack is what I say to those bids.

clarkfan1979

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Re: If You Need a Laugh--Signs the Bubble is Here in Contractor Pricing?
« Reply #17 on: November 10, 2017, 09:36:29 AM »
Maybe they were busy and intentionally quoted high because they didn't really want the business. 

Capt j-rod

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Re: If You Need a Laugh--Signs the Bubble is Here in Contractor Pricing?
« Reply #18 on: November 12, 2017, 06:35:49 PM »
I was just talking to my other buddies that play in real estate and rentals. We all three looked at a house that literally needed a bulldozer. We swing our own hammers and do 98% of the work ourselves. The house needed everything and had a bowed wall in the foundation. It needed electrical service, re-wire, furnace, A/C, hot water heater, plumbing, 2 bathrooms, a kitchen, a roof, windows, and a new garage door. This was the obvious stuff and we all know about the hidden gems once you peel back a layer. It needed to sell for $30-35K to even come close to feasible with the 1% rule. In one week it sold for $51.5K. The neighborhood wasn't great either. If it were perfect it is worth $90k. How did it happen? We concluded that the cost of new construction, the bank is giving away money with shady appraisals, Everyone that wants a job has one, and finally we have a whole group of buyers that have no idea what the bubble even was. 10 years flies by when you're having fun. The property needs $25k minimum in materials.... Generally if you multiply the materials by 2.5 then that's what you'd pay to get the work done. If they pay anyone a dime then they are upside down. Finally the bank isn't going to give them the cash because there is no equity. Sadly I wouldn't even offer the $35k because I was afraid they'd take it. The kicker? The asking price was $50k and their realtor got them to offer in "a little extra" to "lock it in". WTF?

GrayGhost

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Re: If You Need a Laugh--Signs the Bubble is Here in Contractor Pricing?
« Reply #19 on: November 12, 2017, 09:45:13 PM »
Yeah, this is why we're not buying RE right now. The good deals have all dried up and people are getting insanely greedy with prices for reno jobs and RE for sale. This is absolutely a seller's market, at least in the small handful of areas I'm concerned with.

rockeTree

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Re: If You Need a Laugh--Signs the Bubble is Here in Contractor Pricing?
« Reply #20 on: November 13, 2017, 04:55:24 AM »
A roofer quoted me a labor rate of $250/hr in a mcol city two weeks ago- imagine!


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Capt j-rod

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Re: If You Need a Laugh--Signs the Bubble is Here in Contractor Pricing?
« Reply #21 on: November 13, 2017, 02:56:42 PM »
Every time I work on one of my properties I have people ask me for pricing on something. I did two decks and replaced a front door for a guy last summer. I made it worth my while but didn't gouge. I was happy with the $$$ and he told me when I was done that I was 1/2 the price of the other bids. Make no mistake, I made damn good money on these projects. I have a full kitchen remodel coming up after the holidays for the same guy. He flipped me an extra $500 this summer he was so happy. The bids are just stupid right now. I usually only work on my own property, but the money is too good. Since I am building my barn right now, the extra cash is welcomed for wire and materials. I wasn't going to insulate and do my interior until next year, but these little windfalls are really nice.