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Workmen and their vehicles....
Old 09-10-2016, 06:09 AM   #1
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Workmen and their vehicles....

Wow, this just amazed me. We're having some work done around the house by two guys that started their own handyman business in our area. We had them add a gate to the fence (could have done it myself, but it's still too darn hot here) and they're coating the concrete patio.

Here's the amazing part.

First guy shows up to talk to us, he has something in the car to show me. I walk out and he's driving a Jaguar. Wow.

Second guy does the heavy lifting and he's here in a 'beater' pickup. Then he shows up to drop off samples for us. He's obviously not in work mode. Wearing a pair of (maybe) $1000 ostrich boots and driving a Lexus with dealer tags on it. Now, he did tell me that he was laid off from the oil fields in South Texas awhile back.

Here I am driving a 12 year old vehicle, which is still perfectly sound, and I'm FIRE'd with a nice net worth and no debt that I can't manage. I'd guess that both guys are in debt up to their eyeballs.
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Old 09-10-2016, 06:43 AM   #2
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Don't pay these guys anything until the work is done, properly.
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Old 09-10-2016, 06:43 AM   #3
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...............
Here I am driving a 12 year old vehicle, which is still perfectly sound, and I'm FIRE'd with a nice net worth and no debt that I can't manage.............. .
Just think of the stories your CPA tells about you.
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Old 09-10-2016, 07:59 AM   #4
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sounds like Houston is turning into Dallas: the land of the $80,000 a year millionaire
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Old 09-10-2016, 09:45 AM   #5
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Don't pay these guys anything until the work is done, properly.
+1

I have never seen a workman driving a jaguar or wearing ostrich boots. Around here they normally seem to go for whatever is practical, generally an old beat up pick-up truck and old, average cost boots or shoes.

Now, out of town workmen sometimes charge a lot, do not do the work right, and then disappear. I suppose they could afford jaguars and ostrich boots, but I never hire them. I only hire workmen with a long time, strong local reputation.
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Old 09-10-2016, 10:04 AM   #6
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The guy that shows up first and last - gives the initial estimate and takes(same guy) payment check usually drives the nicer pickup. In the last three years - roofing, bathroom remodel and kitchen redo. Now the young men doing the plaster and lath and repaint work had an older Subaru(as befits Rock Climbing hobby when not working).

As an aside observing the yardwork/landscape guys in the neighorhood - the tech toys on the trailers look newer than the pickups. The blowers, mowers and weedwackers.

heh heh heh - And yes the 'good' ones are quite successful. One told us he can pull in as many as twenty carpenters, painters, plumbers, electricians, tile setters, etc. if business is good like this year.
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Old 09-10-2016, 10:12 AM   #7
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Wow, this just amazed me. We're having some work done around the house by two guys that started their own handyman business in our area. We had them add a gate to the fence (could have done it myself, but it's still too darn hot here) and they're coating the concrete patio.

Here's the amazing part.

First guy shows up to talk to us, he has something in the car to show me. I walk out and he's driving a Jaguar. Wow.

Second guy does the heavy lifting and he's here in a 'beater' pickup. Then he shows up to drop off samples for us. He's obviously not in work mode. Wearing a pair of (maybe) $1000 ostrich boots and driving a Lexus with dealer tags on it. Now, he did tell me that he was laid off from the oil fields in South Texas awhile back.

Here I am driving a 12 year old vehicle, which is still perfectly sound, and I'm FIRE'd with a nice net worth and no debt that I can't manage. I'd guess that both guys are in debt up to their eyeballs.
Sounds like you are paying too much for the job.
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Old 09-10-2016, 11:19 AM   #8
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A bit more information.....

They were recommended. They did good work, so far. I never pay in advance, unless there's enough material in the job that it's appropriate

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Old 09-10-2016, 12:28 PM   #9
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The workmen around here show up in crappy trucks that I don't let park in my driveway because I don't want oil drips on the pavers. The only people driving beemers and such are the tourists and lawyers. However, down in FL where we also live there are plenty of 80+ y.o. men driving Bentleys and Maseratis at 30 mph (in a 55 zone), usually in the left hand lane with a perpetual turn signal. But even there the workmen drive trucks or vans.
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Old 09-10-2016, 01:15 PM   #10
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Here I am driving a 12 year old vehicle, which is still perfectly sound, and I'm FIRE'd with a nice net worth and no debt that I can't manage. I'd guess that both guys are in debt up to their eyeballs.
As you sway, you'd guess. Maybe correctly, maybe incorrectly.

Ha
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Old 09-10-2016, 06:12 PM   #11
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There is a reason they are willing to work in the heat, for a small fee.
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Old 09-10-2016, 07:41 PM   #12
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How long did it take for the jobs divided by what you paid them. That's your answer. I would guess that the average handyman makes $100 -$300/hr.


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Old 09-11-2016, 06:22 PM   #13
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How long did it take for the jobs divided by what you paid them. That's your answer. I would guess that the average handyman makes $100 -$300/hr.


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There is a bit more involved. Parts, materials, transport, tools, know how, and of course the labor to actually get the job done - in the heat of the day.
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Old 09-11-2016, 07:44 PM   #14
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I know but I could see a handyman making a good living with a full workload.


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Old 09-12-2016, 05:54 AM   #15
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Money-Laundering front for their "real business"?
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Old 09-12-2016, 10:20 PM   #16
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I am wondering why you were amazed at the materialistic items that a blue collar worker had. Would it be more acceptable to you if a professional white collar type had these items? Or would they be perceived to be in debt up to their eyeballs as well?

I work for all walks of life and one thing I have learned is to never judge a book by its cover. I could go on for pages and pages about stories of how people have fooled me. For instance I recently finished a project for a doctor who owns a specialty clinic. He owes me $6600.00 and wont admit it directly but all but says he cant afford to pay me all at once. He has been making $500.00 a month payments to me. He lives in the biggest house I have ever seen. there are turrets on all four corners, in door waterfalls, 22' high ceilings and of course a tennis court among many other things. He puts on the show with his brand new BMW, his wife's Lexus and a Denali Suburban just to pull the twin engine boat to the 6500 sqft. lake cabin. I am not into shoes like the original poster so I would have no idea about what designer shoes he wears but I am sure there are plenty in his closet. This guy had me fooled. I thought he would be able to afford to pay me upon completion. I think his money is tied up in fancy material things that impress his buddies along with private schools for his kids and of course every electronic doodad ever made. He is basically broke but I bet no one looks at him and says "he must be in debt up to his eyeballs".

The two handymen you are dealing with probably work their tails off and learned to save their money. Maybe they don't like expensive travel/ meals, photo equipment, guitars, golf or whatever else people here seem to enjoy. Maybe they have a fantastic year going and needed some tax deductions and bought some new "company" vehicles and "work" clothes to minimize their tax impact. Maybe they do a lot of work for a car dealership and work out trades on new cars who knows. You cant just assume these poor dumb workers are in debt up to their eyeballs.

They probably look at you with your 12 year old car and your manageable debt and think to themselves "if this guy would have worked a little harder and been a little smarter and not so lazy maybe he could have installed this gate in the hot sun himself and taken the money he gave us and paid down some of his manageable debt and possibly upgraded that 12 year old clunker he drives"..... Just sayin.
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Old 09-13-2016, 07:17 AM   #17
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They probably look at you with your 12 year old car and your manageable debt and think to themselves "if this guy would have worked a little harder and been a little smarter and not so lazy maybe he could have installed this gate in the hot sun himself and taken the money he gave us and paid down some of his manageable debt and possibly upgraded that 12 year old clunker he drives"..... Just sayin.
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Old 09-13-2016, 08:41 AM   #18
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Money-Laundering front for their "real business"?
I'm thinking leased cars!

When times are hard you can live in your car but you can't drive your house!
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Old 09-13-2016, 08:49 AM   #19
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Well, coming from a blue collar family and living in a fairly affluent area I can say that you just DON'T KNOW and to guess otherwise is being a fool. You know what they say about assumptions!

My comment isn't aimed at the OP, but a generalization of how many on this board seem to KNOW what someones financial picture really looks like.

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I have never seen a workman driving a jaguar or wearing ostrich boots. Around here they normally seem to go for whatever is practical, generally an old beat up pick-up truck and old, average cost boots or shoes.
Well, you have never met my FIL. He owns several businesses but the "big" business is a concrete business. It's not a "we will replace your driveway" kind of concrete business, it's a "we will pour 24 bases for your wind farm" kind of business. He drives a top of the line GMC pickup truck, has a showroom new 1963 Corvette in his shop garage and most certainly has ostrich boots. He also spends about $200,000 a year in his global hunting expeditions. BUT..everyday he gets up at 5 AM to go to the worksites and he isn't home until after 8 PM most days and considers himself a "workman". I will also say that since he's a second generation Mexican there is a lot of judgement about how he "affords" his boots and nice truck..he must be in SO MUCH DEBT!!! It's quite laughable, really. People don't know what they don't know.
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Old 09-14-2016, 08:52 PM   #20
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Money-Laundering front for their "real business"?

Walter White's Construction Co.

Most service folks around these parts drive F150/250/350 or equivalent, often pulling a trailer. Cargo vans are big as well. Not many luxury cars...
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