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The cost of being self-employed and what charge...

Discussion in 'off topic' started by gavreid, Aug 28, 2019.

  1. gavreid

    gavreid pfm Member

    I think that this is really illuminating. We often get the how much should I expect to pay for x job question here, is this a rip off etc. The example is of a one-man joiner running out of the tiniest workspace in Newcastle, but it's easy to see the scaling.

  2. blossomchris

    blossomchris I feel better than James Brown

    I have known a few, A1 joiners who have gone bust, shame this video was not around for them. One of them did not know anything about VAT and he got caught for a couple of years worth, with no hope of invoicing the customers to get the missing VAT back.

    gavreid likes this.
  3. Bob McC

    Bob McC Living the life of Riley

    What a plank.
  4. stevec67

    stevec67 pfm Member

    It depends upon your overheads. Mine are minimal, I ran my business as Sole Trader for a few years, now Ltd, minimal costs. A few hundred to the accountant every year, £250 for PI/PL insurance. Costs are billed to my clients, a joiner can't do this and has to absorb van/machinery/premises into his hourly rate, which obviously then goes up.
  5. mikemusic

    mikemusic pfm Member

    What a helpful guy
  6. matt j

    matt j pfm Member

    In my experience I think it depends who your core customer base is, if it's domestic then people just don't want to pay the going rate, they'd rather a cowboy do it cheap and spend the next 18 months moaning about the shoddy quality, than pay someone to do it right in the first place.

    If you serve mainly commercial customers (the bigger the better) then the potential is far greater for charging a proper rate, some of the repairs we do for larger commercial customers would never get the go ahead in a million years from a much smaller outfit, who just want you to turn up and tie wrap it back together until it breaks again in two weeks time.
  7. djftw

    djftw Heterodox Member

    Not to be controversial or anything, but joiners are ducking worthless to a homeowner unless...

    A) They are a mechanically incompetent arse who should not be allowed out in public without a helmet and a carer.
    B) They are severely physically disabled (I say severely as I know at least one lower body paralysed person who still does most of his own joinery.)
    C) They are so wealthy/their own time is so valuable to them that they would not think twice about paying a tradesman properly.

    If you want your domestic joinery business to be a success I'd recommend targeting option C as your customer base! :D
  8. gavreid

    gavreid pfm Member

    It needn't be joinery of course, any business that requires the rent of small premises, a van, some tools etc. If it's only a van and the garage at home then some of the costs drop obviously
  9. Guest432

    Guest432 Guest

    The big change to self employed or contractors will be when IR35 is rolled out to the private sector in April.
  10. cutting42

    cutting42 Arrived at B4 Hacker Erg \o/

    Not sure you are correct. There are millions who are not practically minded who use joiners or odd job men all the time. I have several friends who make a nice living out of being a joiner - one who makes probably more money than 99% on this forum knocking together kitchens, bedrooms and study custom cabinets https://armstrongjordan.co.uk/ I also know a fine cabinet maker who ends up doing basic joinery as that what everyone wants and he keeps raising prices but still they come. He is in rural Norfolk as well not anywhere exotic.

    Just because you (and me for that matter) can and in my case enjoy, home joinery/woodwork does not mean everyone else can.
    Dozey likes this.
  11. Bob McC

    Bob McC Living the life of Riley

    As above.

    Anyone would think everyone has a garage stuffed with exotic tools, benches, etc..
  12. djftw

    djftw Heterodox Member

    That's "mechanically incompetent arse" in my book, if they can easily afford to use joiners and odd job men all the time they also overlap with C! :D
  13. djftw

    djftw Heterodox Member

    Absolutely, any business that fails to target customers that will pay a price that enables them to make a profit will fail. Artists are the absolute worst at this, I have regular 'conversations' with a friend who is an award winning wildlife artist about this; to the effect that networking exclusively with unemployed environmental activists is not a good plan for someone trying to sell works that take 100s or 1000s of hours and that she needs to build connections with the sort of tweed wearing people she doesn't like very much because they are the people who will drop a few grand on a painting of a stag or a commission of their dog/horse etc. etc.
  14. russel

    russel ./_dazed_and_confused

    Depends whether you can be bothered or interested, I design my own amplifiers, design the circuit boards, assemble and test them, the mechanics side gets hidden, I don't like doing it, I don't have the tools or the space, much rather pay someone to do it for me.
  15. jay

    jay built for speed

    IR35 is already in the private sector. What’s changed is that the public auth is responsible for determining tax status so it treats everyone as employees because it’s the low risk option (to them). Not sure how much HMRC have benefited but it must have been huge...

    Private contractors should define themselves as employees, if they are effectively employees.
  16. cooky1257

    cooky1257 pfm Member

    I know a few extremely talented artists who were making good money 10 years ago (one is a now cabinet maker/joiner funnily enough) who have faced a collapsing market for their work despite all the right connections-those £2k commissions have got so far apart you cant make a living above min wage. Then there's the undercutting, you can send a photo of a subject and a photo of the artist's style to a painting farm in china/hong kong and get the work done for a tenth of the uk rate.
  17. TomF

    TomF pfm Member

    I saw the thread title and clicked on it to link to that very video..!

    I’m a bit fan of his videos - well made and interesting if you’re into woodwork.

    Note that prior to becoming a joiner he did own an IT business, so he’s had some great experiences which he is able to articulate in an accessible way.

    Along with Peter Millard (10minuteworkshop on YouTube), another one man commercial joiner, they run a podcast called Measuring Up. It’s discussed a lot if these things. In fact in one episode they talk about the Mumsnet influence (“Am I being unreasonable to think a handyman shouldn’t charge more than a cup of tea for a days’s work...”).

    I am neither a joiner nor self employed but I agree with the OP that it gives great insight into why we should be prepared to pay for work at an appropriate rate.
    gavreid likes this.
  18. matt j

    matt j pfm Member

    Or D) don't have all the tools, benches, a massive wood store and the shed/garage to do the work in.

    Which in this day and age is quite a lot of younger people who have to own/rent tiny places.

    I'd be happy to tackle most joinery jobs, if someone was paying me. Could I be arsed or interested in the hassle of doing it for myself? f**k no.
  19. gavreid

    gavreid pfm Member

    Absolutely! Those videos about the kid's bed from earlier in the year are a real eye-opener, it's impossible to believe that they can match the relevant standards.
  20. cctaylor

    cctaylor pfm Member

    I for one don't have the skills or tools to do any joinery that is on show. The same applies to a number of other trades. I am happy do plumbing and electrical repairs. Major work is always put out to skilled trades people.

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