How To … Know I’m Getting a Good Price

A gal called me this afternoon about a wallpaper project, and I was not able to get to her job on her time frame, so I offered to give her the names of some friends of mine who are usually not as busy as I am. She thanked me, and then asked, “How will I know if I’m getting a good price?” I replied that I thought it was better to be concerned about getting a good job, rather than price.

Then I realized I forgot to explain to her some of the things that make up a “good job.”

Here is a quick summary:
-The installer should do wallpaper work (and maybe painting) ONLY – not general handyman stuff
-The installer should remove any old paper
-Alternately, if it’s a painted wall, he should remove texture, so the surface is smooth
-He should prime the surface
-He should allow sufficient time – not rush off to another job the same day
-He should have proper equipment
-He should have proper adhesive for the material you are using
-He should have adequate experience with the material you are using
-Will he remove and replace towel bars and light fixtures – or “hang around them”?
-How will he protect your floors and furnishings while he is working
-Does he communicate well?
-Is he organized? Will he give you a definite date, or will he “call you when there’s an opening”?
-Is this someone you are comfortable with, and feel OK about having in your home?

A couple of stories … One client wanted to know why my price was “so high” compared to another installer’s. I went through the steps I was going to take to smooth her wall, prime, and hang the paper, and how I was going to keep her home clean during the process. It turned out that the other installer was just going to hang the paper – the homeowners were expected to do all the prep.

I know a guy here in Houston who does good work. He charges about half of what I do. Sounds great, right? Well, I know of two instances where I got feedback that the guy agreed to hang the paper on a certain date, but never showed up. Nor did he return calls, e-mails, or texts. How would you feel if you had taken a day off work, moved all your furniture, and planned a big party for the next evening, and then found out that the “lower price guy” was undependable?

“When you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.”

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