Ask The Contractor: Don’t forget to factor in ‘cost-of-doing business’

Materials not the only cost when it comes to hiring someone to do home repairs

A homeowner called last week with a “sharing of information” and wanted to make me aware of a quoted price for work. The homeowner called a local plumber to have two faucets repaired and they were quoted a price of $300 for both. The homeowner thought this was excessive.

There is a cost-of-doing business and that is the money spent or cost incurred in an organization’s efforts to generate revenue, representing the cost-of-doing business.

Expenses may be in the form of actual cash payments (such as wages and salaries), a computed expired portion (depreciation) of an asset. The cost-of-doing business includes employees, insurance, vehicles, license fees, building rent or mortgage, advertising/marketing, professional affiliations, utilities and all other expense or expenditure outlay for the business. Cost-of-doing business is money spent or cost incurred in an organization’s efforts to generate revenue.

If you can fix stuff yourself, you’ll pay only for the cost of materials and save money on labor and the “cost-of-doing business.”

Following are HouseLogic typical costs for some services along with three quoted prices from local contractors to compare the cost of doing business.

Replace Toilet Fill Valves — the annoying sound of water continually filling and draining from your toilet tank is often caused by leaky fill valve, which a plumber can replace, stopping water waste and restoring quiet.

HouseLogic cost including parts/labor — $61 to $223 per toilet;

Local plumbers cost including parts/labor — $65 to $100 per toilet.

Repair a Leaky Faucet — the water torture drip-drip-drip from a leaky faucet. Depending on the type of faucet you have, fixes typically involve replacing damaged rubber washers

HouseLogic cost including parts/labor — $97 to $330 per faucet;

Local plumbers cost including parts/labor — $175 per faucet.

Replace Ceiling Fan — sooner or later the ceiling fan motor will burn out or styles will change and you will want to have the fan replaced. Replacing isn’t a big deal, because upgraded wiring, a reinforced ceiling box, and a light switch with ceiling fan controls are already in place. What you’re paying for is the electrician’s time — you purchase the fan.

HouseLogic cost labor only — Labor: $50 to $200;

Local electrician cost labor only — $75 to $150.

Repair Drywall — patching drywall from a drywall contractor — patching filling blemishes, then sanding, priming.

HouseLogic cost material/labor — $97 to $286;

Local drywall contractors cost material/labor — $75 to $250.

Replace Caulk around Tubs, Sinks, and Showers — caulk is important in tubs and showers and prevents moisture from seeping through gaps and onto drywall and flooring.

HouseLogic cost labor/material — $31 to $354;

Local Tile Contractors cost labor/material — $100 to 350.

Fix Gutters — should there be gutter work such as cleaning, replacing or reinstalling supportive hardware and hangers or to restore the correct pitch.

HouseLogic cost labor/material — $143 to $301;

Local Gutter Companies cost labor/material — $150 to $300.

Fix Out-of-Alignment Doors — we see a lot of door movement where the doorframes shift slightly, and doors to not shut properly.

HouseLogic cost labor/material — $35 to $355;

Local door contractor cost labor/material — $85 to $350.

The other important component to the cost-of-doing business is the warranty component. Management of warranty-related expenses and call backs are traditionally viewed by companies as a cost-of-doing business.

The cost of warranty management is just that — providing customer satisfaction and is also an opportunity to build customer relationships. There is a huge underlying value that can be realized in warranty by using local contractors. Warranty management is a statement of assurance or undertaking issued by the local contractor standing behind the performance of the product and parts and workmanship by the employees.

We have seen out-of-area contractors or new startup companies that try to absorb the cost-of-doing business in order to get the job. This business practice will eventually catch up with them and could force them out of business leaving you without a warranty.

If you receive unbalanced price differences when gathering bids there is usually a reason for both the low or high prices. The challenge homeowners face is determining those reasons. We have always said, “You get what you pay for,” so it is important to keep in mind buying on the low end is dangerous while the investment may be low, one seldom gets their money’s worth.

However, “being uninformed” puts one at risk regardless whether they choose the lowest or highest bid. Do your homework, understand the cost-of-doing business and you will be able to make an informed decision.

Remember to tune in to YCCA’s Hammer Time every Saturday and Sunday morning at 7 a.m. on KQNA 1130 AM, 99.9 FM or 95.5 FM or on the web at kqna.com. Listen to Sandy and Mike talk about the construction industry, meet your local community partners and so much more.