‘Mates rates?’ or ‘fools with tools?’

When a friend asks for ‘Mates Rates’ what they are actually saying is “can you do a building job really cheap for me and make no profit?”. Perhaps you have overheard the BBQ conversation when someone is gloating how they got some fantastic building job done “at mates rates”. How clever do they think they are!

Well let me tell you, as a licensed and insured builder…I FIND IT REALLY INSULTING AND OFFENSIVE. I have years of experience, I did a long hard apprenticeship and I have to pay insurances, licenses, do annual CPD training before I pay my mortgage, the car lease, buy food, pay the school fees and uniforms etc etc. It offends me that you think my time is less valuable than other professionals (did you ask the doctor for mates rates?). And let me tell you, it really angers my wife.

So my first comment to all licensed builders and carpenters is; there are no mates rates. Ever. You are running a business, not a friendship club.

Second, if you need a response to such a tricky request you are welcome to use the following response; “Oh, sounds like you are looking for fools with tools. I don’t work in that area”.

Third, YOU are increasing the value of their asset and improving their lifestyle, neither of which you are going to benefit from.

Remember, they asked you to do the work because they recognise you have a very valuable skill. They didn’t ask you because you are hopeless at carpentry and building. Given they have recognised your skills, given all the above, customers should pay appropriately for them.

Finally, when you are quoting and estimating in BuildManager, please note that a feature of BuildManager is the ability to have different rates for residential, strata and commercial building works. We do not have a place for ‘mates rates’. Remove the term ‘mates rates’ from your work life and make every decision a business decision.

How do you feel when someone asks for mates rates and how have you responded in the past?

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