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  1. Default Re: Why is it so hard to get a tradesman to do anything?

    My son tried the traditional college route at UCO for a year and it just wasn't for him. He enrolled in welding school in Tulsa and he's making about $80K/annually now, only a few years out, building wind towers. He likes knowing he could move just about anywhere and get good paying work with benefits.

    We've been Angie's List members for years. Every time we cancel we get lured back with a low membership rate. Honestly, I don't know how much we get for our membership. I've called a couple of companies, but it seems we always settle on someone who came recommended from a friend or the NextDoor app, etc.

    A for Home Warranties. I think they are great in some situations. When we bought out home we got one. It was a 1964 house and we had no idea how well it had or had not been maintained. The first year the warrant way more than paid for itself; new water heater, leaking plumbing, electrical panel was shot, toilets that needed new parts, etc. We pretty much got everything fixed in the first year so we didn't renew.

    Neighbor used their's so much that the warranty company WOULDN'T renew them! Also when I've sold properties by owner, I've always included a home warranty to put the buyer's mind at ease. I'd buy one again in a heart beat if I was buying an older home.

    I prefer smaller service providers where the owner is often the one making the call or at least follows up personally. Our electrician is Richard Turko with HIS Electric. Really great owner operator who has done everything from light switches to having our OG&E overhead lines buried and a new electrical circuit box installed for our heavy outside needs. He also donates a lot of time to my favorite non-profit NBI. As for a plumber, we really like Steve Olson. Does what he says he's gonna do and for a very fair price. He came over to do a list of things my wife wanted done while I was bedridden in my cancer treatment and he refused to charge us for the services performed. Great work ethic and moral character. For our sprinklers we use Ted. We found him on Craigslist. Older guy whose has been doing this forever. He has shown up on a Sunday with little notice to fix heads that have been run over and even the time I severed the main line and he didn't want us to be without water for the day. It's people like those three I really love to do business with.

  2. #27

    Default Re: Why is it so hard to get a tradesman to do anything?

    Not to bag on 'younger generations' but it seems many younger people don't want to work with their hands.

    And at least part of this comes from that fact that teenagers don't ever do that sort of work in the first place.

    I cut grass, did painting, worked as a maintenance man at a motel... All while in high school.

    You don't even see high school kids working in food service these days, and that used to be the norm. I went to a school in the 70's that was middle and upper-middle class and virtually everyone I knew there worked a parttime job, and the large majority in restaurants of some type.


    This is what many don't understand about immigration. There are tons of jobs that Americans just won't do anymore.

  3. Default Re: Why is it so hard to get a tradesman to do anything?

    Great post, turnpup! I'm an IT guy, but have always liked to work with my hands, just got into IT in college (junior year, co-op education program with TAFB) and went down that fork of the career path. Have wished over the years many times that I would've gotten into the trades, as there are always jobs for tradespeople, not always the case for a UNIX administrator. It is a shame the trades have a negative stigma, more people should fully respect what it takes to get the training and then do the hard work that some of them do, it's just as valuable as moving bits around by waggling fingers on a keyboard. And as you mentioned, some folks in the trades can make as much or more as a very skilled/experienced white-collar job, easily, so yeah, if somebody likes the trades, they should go that way, we need more, more, more... And your guy does the right thing - declining instead of just ghosting people.

  4. Default Re: Why is it so hard to get a tradesman to do anything?

    FACT Pete

    BIG difference between older buyers and younger buyers when it comes to post inspection TRR (treatments, repairs, and replacements).

    Younger buyers want and ask for EVERYTHING to be fixed. They want everything to be done before they move in, with no disregard that the house was priced for those repairs in the first place. With the repair cap gone in our contracts this has let to some real tedious situations. I've sent over repair lists to other realtors and had to apologize in advance. Older buyers just want some repair money and go down there road (I'm 35 and this was my route when I bought my own homes home and rentals). I guess I just trust my own people to do the work rather then the seller rushing to have anyone do it just to get it done before closing and it might not be done right.

  5. #30

    Default Re: Why is it so hard to get a tradesman to do anything?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    Not to bag on 'younger generations' but it seems many younger people don't want to work with their hands.

    And at least part of this comes from that fact that teenagers don't ever do that sort of work in the first place.

    I cut grass, did painting, worked as a maintenance man at a motel... All while in high school.

    You don't even see high school kids working in food service these days, and that used to be the norm. I went to a school in the 70's that was middle and upper-middle class and virtually everyone I knew there worked a parttime job, and the large majority in restaurants of some type.


    This is what many don't understand about immigration. There are tons of jobs that Americans just won't do anymore.
    Don't know if this is everywhere, but it's not necessarily the fault of the high school kids that they're not working these jobs. My youngest has spent the last year or so applying at fast food places, grocery stores, etc. No call backs, no interviews, nothing. I thought it might have been something he was doing wrong on the applications, but I checked over them myself to make sure, and they just don't seem interested. He finally gave up, started tutoring, and will be doing stuff through the college next year.

  6. #31

    Default Re: Why is it so hard to get a tradesman to do anything?

    ^

    I'm sure there are a lot of reasons for younger people no longer working in hands-on jobs, but I strongly believe their lack of exposure to the same is tied into them not wanting to work with their hands for a living.

    You usually become adept and interested in things by being exposed to them at a young age, and for whatever reason that just doesn't happen much anymore.

  7. Default Re: Why is it so hard to get a tradesman to do anything?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    ^

    I'm sure there are a lot of reasons for younger people no longer working in hands-on jobs, but I strongly believe their lack of exposure to the same is tied into them not wanting to work with their hands for a living.

    You usually become adept and interested in things by being exposed to them at a young age, and for whatever reason that just doesn't happen much anymore.
    Bingo. I worked with my dad when he built a family room addition onto our house way back in the 70s, was probably 10 or so, did all kinds of things on that job, and yes, got me into doing as much as I could construction-wise (not so much electrical or plumbing) for the rest of my life.

  8. #33

    Default Re: Why is it so hard to get a tradesman to do anything?

    A big part of this cycle (which now seems to be largely broken) is directly related to our absurdly high standard of living.

    Few people even cut their own grass anymore, so certainly kids don't grow up pushing a mower, let alone painting the house or helping dad while he cranked out all types of household projects.

    I still cut my own grass... I don't fault those who don't but the mentality has changed from, "Don't pay anyone to do something you can do yourself" to "Why do anything you can pay someone else to do?"

    And that's because people can afford to pay someone else, where for the longest time you either did the work yourself or it didn't get done.

  9. Default Re: Why is it so hard to get a tradesman to do anything?

    Quote Originally Posted by jerrywall View Post
    Don't know if this is everywhere, but it's not necessarily the fault of the high school kids that they're not working these jobs. My youngest has spent the last year or so applying at fast food places, grocery stores, etc. No call backs, no interviews, nothing. I thought it might have been something he was doing wrong on the applications, but I checked over them myself to make sure, and they just don't seem interested. He finally gave up, started tutoring, and will be doing stuff through the college next year.
    I can echo that sentiment for my own son back when he was coming out of high school and into his early college years. He went out seemingly days at a time filling out applications at all the "Now Hiring" places; grocery stores, dept stores, you name it, and he *never* heard back, not a decline, no "no thanks," no interview, nothing. Nothing. How did he finally land a job? By going to a job fair at OCCC one day and the manager of a store that was getting ready to open needed to staff up, and he hired him on the spot. He worked there off and on for about three or four years. But what if he hadn't happened to stumble onto that job fair??

  10. #35

    Default Re: Why is it so hard to get a tradesman to do anything?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    Not to bag on 'younger generations' but it seems many younger people don't want to work with their hands.

    And at least part of this comes from that fact that teenagers don't ever do that sort of work in the first place.

    I cut grass, did painting, worked as a maintenance man at a motel... All while in high school.

    You don't even see high school kids working in food service these days, and that used to be the norm. I went to a school in the 70's that was middle and upper-middle class and virtually everyone I knew there worked a parttime job, and the large majority in restaurants of some type.


    This is what many don't understand about immigration. There are tons of jobs that Americans just won't do anymore.
    The thing with immigration is the labor supply works on the same laws of supply and demand like everything else does.

    Food is cheap because of immigrants, building is cheaper because of immigrants, yard work is cheap because of immigrants.

    However, if the supply of immigrants gets constricted or cut off, wages in those jobs will rise until they get filled. Employers will take more chances on people with checkered pasts because thereís no one else.

    Americans donít want those jobs....at those wages. Wages go up and itís a different

  11. Default Re: Why is it so hard to get a tradesman to do anything?

    I have the same problem with swimming pool related things. It's like pulling teeth to get someone to come out to do anything less than a major job. I had a in-ground liner to replace and in March I called six different pool people/shops (some well-known, some referrals from friends). Only three showed up and only two of those actually got back with me with a quote. The guy that we chose said he does a lot of liner replacements for the larger shops because they make more money from doing new installs and pass on liner replacements. Mine was his 8th liner replaced since February and he had a growing list.

  12. Default Re: Why is it so hard to get a tradesman to do anything?

    Quote Originally Posted by worthy cook View Post
    I want to add don't use Air Comfort Solutions. For anything. Have too many clients get hosed and had to learn the hard way. AVOID!

    Travellers, congrats with the home warranty. My experience with buyers is that they usually aren't worth the paper they are printed on. Glad someone broke the mold.
    I'll second both of these. I've heard *nothing* good about ACS. And, despite a few success stories here and there, the overwhelming feedback I observe on "home warranties" is that they have staggering exceptions, deductibles, and exclusions. In that vein, they're a nice "feel good" thing to sell along with a property, but as a buyer, caveat emptor. Yeah, you may be the one who cashes in and outstrips the warranty, but I think there's a much greater chance you'll never get back what you put in. That's one of those things that has to be up to the individual and the circumstance and the warranty company. I could never in good conscience recommend them to anyone. If you buy one, you have to do so with your eyes wide open.

  13. #38

    Default Re: Why is it so hard to get a tradesman to do anything?

    Quote Originally Posted by gopokes88 View Post
    Americans don’t want those jobs....at those wages. Wages go up and it’s a different
    1) Long before immigration became a hot-button, the food service industry was having a terrible time with staffing. I did consulting projects in that industry in the 90's and it bascially was causing many chains to stall expansion due directly to this issue. (And consider the explosion in this industry of late.)

    2) With much higher wages come much higher prices, which is the most important part of this equation.

    3) Americans want things cheap, and don't really care how that happens. Which is why Walmart is by far the biggest retailer, paying their employees poorly and buying almost everything from China.


    And all this is related to a meteoric increase in quality of life for Americans in just 1 or 2 generations. Which, in turn, a big part of why young people don't want to work with their hands.

  14. Default Re: Why is it so hard to get a tradesman to do anything?

    Quote Originally Posted by worthy cook View Post
    I want to add don't use Air Comfort Solutions. For anything. Have too many clients get hosed and had to learn the hard way. AVOID!

    Travellers, congrats with the home warranty. My experience with buyers is that they usually aren't worth the paper they are printed on. Glad someone broke the mold.
    Ha, yeah, our realtor just included it and said "Don't argue, you'll thank me for it later, especially on a 1950 house", and we've used it for some electrical work, twice for A/C work (one of which I had to fix myself after they "fixed" it, but the other time was good), and replaced a dishwasher, all in the first year. Second year, the oven died and it was a nightmare to get it replaced, but at least it was dual-fuel and we had the gas burners to cook with. They raised the price a bit for the third year, but still worthwhile for a few more years. Just for reference, the company is First American, and all the contractors that have come out for them have said they're pretty much the best around. $400-500/year, $75 per service call, no deductible, and there are exemptions for what they cover, but all are fairly reasonable.

  15. Default Re: Why is it so hard to get a tradesman to do anything?

    Quote Originally Posted by MadMonk View Post
    I have the same problem with swimming pool related things. It's like pulling teeth to get someone to come out to do anything less than a major job. I had a in-ground liner to replace and in March I called six different pool people/shops (some well-known, some referrals from friends). Only three showed up and only two of those actually got back with me with a quote. The guy that we chose said he does a lot of liner replacements for the larger shops because they make more money from doing new installs and pass on liner replacements. Mine was his 8th liner replaced since February and he had a growing list.
    And swimming pools, particularly in-ground ones, are a fading luxury I think. The best lesson I ever learned for *not* getting one was *growing up* with one. They're a nightmare of maintenance and support expense. Chemicals, cleaning, repairing, insuring, fixing, makes the "cost per dive" ridiculous. If I had so much money that I could literally tell a pool co to "make it ready" and throw a bunch of $$$ at it every month, maybe, but even then, the cost-to-benefit is awfully high. Real Estate folks will tell you that pools can actually be a detriment to a home's resale value because people don't want them. You couldn't pay me to put one in now. My mom mothballed her own pool years ago; covered it up and what she saves in chemicals, electricity, and related maintenance more than makes up for the cost of a nice, permanent cover.

  16. #41

    Default Re: Why is it so hard to get a tradesman to do anything?

    Quote Originally Posted by worthy cook View Post
    I want to add don't use Air Comfort Solutions. For anything. Have too many clients get hosed and had to learn the hard way. AVOID!

    Travellers, congrats with the home warranty. My experience with buyers is that they usually aren't worth the paper they are printed on. Glad someone broke the mold.
    Funny. That's that evil Corp that bought out my usual AC company. I immediately switched, and so did my mother. I can't figure out how they're still growing and doing well.

  17. Default Re: Why is it so hard to get a tradesman to do anything?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheTravellers View Post
    Ha, yeah, our realtor just included it and said "Don't argue, you'll thank me for it later, especially on a 1950 house", and we've used it for some electrical work, twice for A/C work (one of which I had to fix myself after they "fixed" it, but the other time was good), and replaced a dishwasher, all in the first year. Second year, the oven died and it was a nightmare to get it replaced, but at least it was dual-fuel and we had the gas burners to cook with. They raised the price a bit for the third year, but still worthwhile for a few more years. Just for reference, the company is First American, and all the contractors that have come out for them have said they're pretty much the best around. $400-500/year, $75 per service call, no deductible, and there are exemptions for what they cover, but all are fairly reasonable.
    When I do have a buyer who insists I always recommend First American. They have solid local representatives and seem to be overwhelmingly favorable to deal with.

  18. Default Re: Why is it so hard to get a tradesman to do anything?

    Quote Originally Posted by jerrywall View Post
    Funny. That's that evil Corp that bought out my usual AC company. I immediately switched, and so did my mother. I can't figure out how they're still growing and doing well.
    They are still growing because they take advantage of people that don't know any better. Kudos to their marketing department.

    Two of many instances:

    Friend called them out cause he didn't know any better. Unit wasn't very old but the guy tells them they need a whole new system (Apparently they get big bonuses for selling them) and gave them a quote for ~$12,500 for one HVAC system. Told him that was ludicrous. Had him call my guy and he did it for $4500.

    Second instance was a family member friend had them come look at thier fairly new AC unit that was blowing out lukewarm air. Said the whole thing needed to be replace for $6,000 for just the outside unit. Gave them number of another hvac guy and it was just a capacitor. $150 fix and it was good as new.

  19. Default Re: Why is it so hard to get a tradesman to do anything?

    Quote Originally Posted by worthy cook View Post
    They are still growing because they take advantage of people that don't know any better. Kudos to their marketing department.

    Two of many instances:

    Friend called them out cause he didn't know any better. Unit wasn't very old but the guy tells them they need a whole new system (Apparently they get big bonuses for selling them) and gave them a quote for ~$12,500 for one HVAC system. Told him that was ludicrous. Had him call my guy and he did it for $4500.

    Second instance was a family member friend had them come look at thier fairly new AC unit that was blowing out lukewarm air. Said the whole thing needed to be replace for $6,000 for just the outside unit. Gave them number of another hvac guy and it was just a capacitor. $150 fix and it was good as new.
    Sadly, that is *precisely* consistent with the stories I've heard about ACS. *HEAVY* sales pressure, "put it in NOW or you're gonna DIE from HEAT" and *staggering* expense. I've heard second-hand that they really target seniors in many of their sales tactics, which is really deplorable if its true. My respect level for ol' former Sooner Jason White hasn't exactly improved since he put his face with that company.

  20. #45

    Default Re: Why is it so hard to get a tradesman to do anything?

    Good thread.

    I am on a HOA board. We have to get brickwork repaired and finding a brick worker is not easy. No call backs and no follow up on quotes.

    One issue as been discussed is business management. Trade workers that go into business for themselves may not have business sense and is an issue. A trade can do quite well when the business is managed properly as word of mouth is the best advertisement.

    For example, my HVAC company owner has employees that do the installs and major work. Each year, when I do my yearly check he does it. I asked him about why he does the checks. He said instead of sitting in the office as overhead, he makes some money for the company.

    I always do through checks on a business before I even ask for a quote. I found the google reviews are accurate and of course word of mouth. Trade work around the house is getting pricey. Which I believe is Lower supply and high demand of skilled workers. My eyes usually pop out of my head on quotes and then resigned to do it my self. I ended up tiling my floor by watching YouTube. I had he sense of accomplishment and saved some bucks.

    I got lucky on the re do of my shower. I got a word of mouth of a guy who has no internet presence and only took cash. I was in no way attempting to do this myself. When he showed up, I could tell he was legit and did fine work.

    I think the market will take care of the trade industry. With rising prices and work to be done, the younger generation will replace the old. It is necessary work that need to be done and technology cannot eliminate it like switch board workers at the phone company.

  21. #46

    Default Re: Why is it so hard to get a tradesman to do anything?

    I love their latest commercials where they say they will match any price on "service". Yeah yeah, you can charge a buck for "service" if you charge a thousand in "fees".

  22. #47

    Default Re: Why is it so hard to get a tradesman to do anything?

    I think one thing to consider is a lot of younger people don't buy homes like older generations. No reason to learn how to mow a lawn or replace an electrical outlet if you rent for your whole life.

  23. #48

    Default Re: Why is it so hard to get a tradesman to do anything?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    1) Long before immigration became a hot-button, the food service industry was having a terrible time with staffing. I did consulting projects in that industry in the 90's and it bascially was causing many chains to stall expansion due directly to this issue. (And consider the explosion in this industry of late.)

    2) With much higher wages come much higher prices, which is the most important part of this equation.

    3) Americans want things cheap, and don't really care how that happens. Which is why Walmart is by far the biggest retailer, paying their employees poorly and buying almost everything from China.


    And all this is related to a meteoric increase in quality of life for Americans in just 1 or 2 generations. Which, in turn, a big part of why young people don't want to work with their hands.
    Oh I agree completely. It’s funny how many people are anti-immigrant but pro cheap things. It’s kinda an either or type deal.

  24. #49

    Default Re: Why is it so hard to get a tradesman to do anything?

    Quote Originally Posted by SoonerDave View Post
    My respect level for ol' former Sooner Jason White hasn't exactly improved since he put his face with that company.
    Same goes for Gary England. Does he really need to associate his name with that outfit?

  25. #50

    Default Re: Why is it so hard to get a tradesman to do anything?

    BTW, I just checked my first pay stub at the old Crosswinds Motel in 1976 when I was 16.

    I was paid $2.25 / hour which equates to $10.11 in 2019 money.

    I doubt you could find many who would do that job today for $10/hour. It was hard work (lawn, painting, and maintenance all outdoors) and all day Saturday and Sunday were required.

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