Lesson Learned

7 Replies

I had a funny yet expensive lesson I learned a couple weeks back. Hopefully others might be able to learn at my expense.

So we closed on a 3 family that was a short sale in Feb. 2 units were rented and the 3rd was vacant. It needed about 5K of work to get it back to par. Everything was pretty much done and as I was doing the final walk through I thought a nice fresh coat of paint in the unit would be a good finishing touch.

Now, I value my time so by no means was I going to paint it myself, especially on a weekend. So I made mistake # 1 and hired a friend of the family because they needed work and we could get the work done the next day. The best part was I was told they would do the work for cheap. Normally, I would get a professional but for such a small job and short notice I figured why not help out?

I use all the same paint for our units so I had the paint, brushes and equipment they needed. The next day the two friends of the family came over and painted the unit. They finished in about 5 hours and my wife even bought them lunch since she stopped by to show the units to potential tenants.

Now comes mistake # 2, not talking money upfront. So not only did I use non licensed, un-insured people but I heard it would be cheap, so I didn't talk money at all.

At the end of the day my wife asked what we owed them and it came to $500 dollars.....

That's 50 dollars an hour per person. I value my time but I could be persuaded to paint and get a free meal for $50 an hour.

My wife was in such shock she wrote them the check...Once I found out I was obviously a little upset and called and we talked through it. But, I learned a couple great lessons and will certainly not make that mistake again.

What other mistakes have people made like this that we might be able to learn from?

I don't understand. This doesn't seem like a very expensive lesson. Maybe I value my handyman hourly rate at around $40/hr as reasonable, so your "lesson" costed you $100 in my eyes. I still see this as a positive where you sacrificed some of your budget to support family members and they actually came through with the job. It could have been a more interesting lesson if they really didn't actually know how to paint, charged you $500, then you had to pay someone else $$$ + new paint supplies to redo everything that they had previously done. But in general, you are right that hiring family can be riskier than hiring professionals.

Sounds like you paid them what a painter would have charged in my area . They could have worked slower made the job 2 days and charged a thousand dollars . I have to agree with Jeff Bridges , you may have paid $ 100 extra .

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Definitely doesn't seem like a horrible price. Most of the guys in my area would have been high $300s/low $400s. I definitely agree with you making a mistake by not talking price upfront. Just out of curiosity what were you expecting to pay?

@Chris K. I was figuring it would be in the 20/hour hour range since we were providing the paint and supplies. @Jeff Bridges The cost was not overall that expensive your right. I was more looking at the pay per hour. Probably should of mentioned they painted 3 bedrooms not the entire unit.

Did they do a nice paint job?

I decided to help out a couple (family members)who overcharged me and I think they were the worst painters on the planet.

I had worked them by the hour in the past doing odd jobs I could have did the paint job with a One Haired Brush in half the time they said it took.

:)

Originally posted by @Rob L. :
@Chris K. I was figuring it would be in the 20/hour hour range since we were providing the paint and supplies. @Jeff Bridges The cost was not overall that expensive your right. I was more looking at the pay per hour. Probably should of mentioned they painted 3 bedrooms not the entire unit.

I think your wife's initial reaction was VALID. Most handymen/tradesmen have some form of overhead/liability/reputation which is built into their price.

$50/hour/person to for labor alone for interior painting is ridiculous and is by no stretch of the imagination "cheap". If someone is doing me a favor by throwing me some work, supplying the materials, insurance, and free food- I am not going to charge them a rate above what an experienced tradesman would charge. They made out better than a professional painter. I can't see how anyone could argue this as marginal.

Sebastian