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  #21  
Old 26.05.2016, 00:10
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Re: Hour rate

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Aww, Thanks. Nothing to do with being a mod, just my personal opinion.

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...The point here is that some clients wants to hire professionals at price for apprentice...
That is often the case, I think. When I hear the word "handyman" I don't think of a person with a certificate or qualifications. I think of an extra set of (strong) hands that can help me do my DIY tasks. If you're a certified professional, maybe you're selling yourself short by calling yourself a handyman?

I think it also very much depends on the client. I can do most things around the house myself and only need another set of hands to help with the weight or size. In the case of the bathroom cabinet, I'd give it a go myself but need some extra hands - so for me 25-35 still holds as a reasonable price.

Fun but OT story to demonstrate my point - One night when I lived in the U.S., I came home to find my toilet tank had cracked and I decided I might as well replace the whole unit not just the tank. I threw down some towels, turned off the water, and drove to the DIY store. I bought the toilet, ring, caulking, etc., brought it home, and did the entire job of removing and installing new - by myself, still in my work suit and heels, before making dinner. So perhaps I'm not your average call-a-handyman type.
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  #22  
Old 26.05.2016, 00:13
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Re: Hour rate

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The short answer; just wish your potential client well and walk away.

I presume you have worked out your costs and the profit you need to make the living you desire.

If your price really is reasonable then you will get other clients easily. If it is deemed too high, you will struggle to get work until your price is competitive or you add value in some other way.

It's basic business.

Whether your pricing is high or low, however, it's never a good idea to send potential clients a condescending and insulting mail. That's bad business.
Would just like to add that in the right circumstances and with a good business insight / attitude, you could have created yourself a client basis here .

Unfortunately that boat may now have sailed...
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Old 26.05.2016, 00:14
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The short answer; just wish your potential client well and walk away.

I presume you have worked out your costs and the profit you need to make the living you desire.

If your price really is reasonable then you will get other clients easily. If it is deemed too high, you will struggle to get work until your price is competitive or you add value in some other way.

It's basic business.

Whether your pricing is high or low, however, it's never a good idea to send potential clients a condescending and insulting mail. That's bad business.
I now that a bad opinion runs fast, but really sometimes a man loses the head.

I can't complain about the work I have, normally I don't lose works because price.

I don't like to discard works, or increase the prices for don't do the works. It's a bad policie.

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If you're a certified professional, maybe you're selling yourself short by calling yourself a handyman?
In fact I'm electrician, and do also handyman works.

That normally requeries machines, Lader, and knowledge that so often the clients don't have or they don't want to do.

In my advert is electrician / handyman.

So I'm not selling as a handyman.

Last edited by 3Wishes; 26.05.2016 at 20:40. Reason: merging consecutive replies
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Old 26.05.2016, 00:25
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Re: Hour rate

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I now that a bad opinion runs fast, but really sometimes a man loses the head.

I can't complain about the work I have, normally I don't lose works because price.

I don't like to discard works, or increase the prices for don't do the works. It's a bad policie.
Hey, where would we be if we don't learn from past experiences.
You received some good input here this evening - a one man show can be really difficult if you don't get some feedback.

So why not take a step back now, absorb the mostly constructive input - and start planning. You certainly have the temperament for it!

Good luck!
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Old 26.05.2016, 00:31
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Re: Hour rate

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Hey, where would we be if we don't learn from past experiences.
You received some good input here this evening - a one man show can be really difficult if you don't get some feedback.

So why not take a step back now, absorb the mostly constructive input - and start planning. You certainly have the temperament for it!

Good luck!
We learn every with everybody , I truly believe in this.

I read some points of view and for sure o will change what I should change, specifically the impulse for send not so correct emails.
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Old 26.05.2016, 00:39
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Re: Hour rate

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I now that a bad opinion runs fast, but really sometimes a man loses the head.

I can't complain about the work I have, normally I don't lose works because price.

I don't like to discard works, or increase the prices for don't do the works. It's a bad policie.
You've compared once in this thread your salary to banking salaries. Do you really believe that we, working for banks, are happy and feeling justified for the commitment we make?

Think again - and the stuff you see published is usually only attributable to higher management, who are usually fired within the next year anyway.

I understand fully that you may be getting crazy but believe me it's not only in your profession.
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Old 26.05.2016, 00:47
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Re: Hour rate

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In fact I'm electrician, and do also handyman works.

That normally requeries machines, Lader, and knowledge that so often the clients don't have or they don't want to do.

In my advert is electrician / handyman.

So I'm not selling as a handyman.
The job you applied for was not an electrician job. It was the job of a handyman. I believe your prices are too high as well.

IMO, 65 francs max for electrician. 45 francs max for a handyman if you want everything 'on the books'.

But I've hired people to help me out and they usually charge 25-35 an hour, all off the books.
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Old 26.05.2016, 02:18
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Re: Hour rate

I have been doing this type of work here for a while, setting up my einzelfirma in 2009, and I only ever work on an hourly rate. My rate is my rate, and that rate only changes if I have to work at the weekend when it goes up, and it doesn't vary with the type of work. I can say it's less that what the OP charges from what he posted above, but I'm stunned some people think CHF25 is acceptable for a legal and registered guy..... regardless of what they earn, but thats just me.

I have come across a few people working for CHF 25-35 per hour, and often they are unskilled, sometimes unregistered, or working on the black, and as such really skew things on the hourly rate front, not to mention the quality and I regularly get contacted to put things right or finish a job properly.

Personally, I give an estimate of how long I think it will take and my rate, how long to get there to know if there will be any additional travel time, and any materials (which I charge at cost). The customer then will accept this or not, and I can count on 1 hand the number of times I have lost work on price, but it has happened. When it does, well you have to accept that some competitors will be cheaper, some more expensive, and just not stress about it. Getting into email wars with potential customers is something I would not do, just simply read their mail, thanks them for the opportunity to price, and move on.
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Old 26.05.2016, 08:46
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Re: Hour rate

The price and the value are diferents things. If you want to get a 80-100chf/h rate for a handyman service you need to offer a correct value for it ( expertise, quality, especific machines, etc...) .

There are a lot of people, students, etc.. Who can offer a low rate ( for low value) , so you can not compete with them.

IMO the letter about the living cost in Swiss is a mistake. Pay your bills is your problem do not try to translate it to your costumers. If you want 100chf per hour, you have to justify the reason of your price/value.







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Old 26.05.2016, 08:48
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I feel your pain, you had a bad day but just walk away from clients like that. I am self employed in a similar field.

Fact - 90% of expats are tight asses, the other 10% use Swiss companies and pay the Swiss prices. The cost of living here is near or at the top of anywhere in the world so by default regardless of salary it seems expensive compared to "home" ( where ever that is). Traditionally prices here have been based on what the market will stand rather than actual cost of the product or service, this is changing, so most foreigners are used to shopping around to get the best deal. Travel time is also universally charged here but not in a lot of countries. Given that your client base is mostly in this 90% you are dealing with clients who maybe uneducated about "normal" practices, prices or costs here if they were to use a Swiss company, I am not saying that these prices are justified, they are what they are.

The term "handyman" generally means someone not formally trained but can do most things so is cheaper than a tradesperson. Day rates for tradespersons in the rest of Europe have been quoted to me as low as 25 to 100 Euro depending on the country so coming here and charging Chf30 hour seems like a bonanza until they realise the actual cost of living and overheads of their business (providing they are not working black). This destroys and distorts the price for handyman services making it unrealistically cheap and unsustainable in the long term for themselves.

So what to do regarding hourly rate prices? The best thing would be for EF handymen to get together and form a cartel to fix prices - you are in Switzerland and that is what the Swiss would do!
Like any business you will have success providing "value" rather than the cheapest price, upsell your service by asking/expanding the work scope in conjunction with a minimum price e.g. Chf200 for the first 2 hours incl travel time, then your hourly rate depending on what your are doing. This hourly rate will have to vary depending on what you are doing. Clearly communicate your prices to form an estimate on the telephone to see if you are both on similar pages to avoid wasting time with on site consultations which will lead no where. The hard thing is to realise is that not every enquiry can be converted to a job and it is better to walk away than work for nothing, most people will respect this and you do not want to deal with the ones that don't. They might even come back to you when they realise their cheap price was not good "value". Good luck and chin up, today is another day!

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The job you applied for was not an electrician job. It was the job of a handyman. I believe your prices are too high as well.

IMO, 65 francs max for electrician. 45 francs max for a handyman if you want everything 'on the books'.

But I've hired people to help me out and they usually charge 25-35 an hour, all off the books.
Rates vary by region but I think you are on the cheap side. IMO, Chf60 for basic stuff to Chf80 for electrical work (or man/van transportation) is fair, it also depends if travel time is charged separately or is included in the hourly rate time on site. Travel and consultation time for small (1-2hr) jobs reduces their rate considerably when you compare chargeable hours to actual hours per week.

Last edited by 3Wishes; 26.05.2016 at 20:41. Reason: merging consecutive replies
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Old 26.05.2016, 09:26
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Re: Hour rate

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Rates vary by region but I think you are on the cheap side. IMO, Chf60 for basic stuff to Chf80 for electrical work (or man/van transportation) is fair, it also depends if travel time is charged separately or is included in the hourly rate time on site. Travel and consultation time for small (1-2hr) jobs reduces their rate considerably when you compare chargeable hours to actual hours per week.
It is also worth noting that a "small Swiss company" will also need to generate sufficient revenue to support an apprentice - or 2, so that the next generation of skilled tradesman will also exist.

There is a difference in getting a competitive quote to genuine wage dumping. A handyman for 25-35/hr isn't that far above a Migros checkout employee - and although I am not disrespecting that job - I am convinced a "good" handyman should expect to receive a wage substantially above that. After all they are skilled at what they do and will be providing their own tools.

I have access to a cheap race mechanic but he is cheap because he is well-established in a small Swiss village and has plenty of work - and has amortized pretty much everything he needs for the business.

A skilled carpenter will cost 80chf per hour in the boonies and 100chf+ in Zurich. A skilled handyman can charge 500chf per day for a full day of general housing maintenance work.
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Old 26.05.2016, 10:24
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Re: Hour rate

Why do we accept that 35 CHF is perfecty ok price for a cleaning lady but then argue it is too low for a handy man? Is there an element of gender gap here?

Yes, a trained electrician or carpenter can and will charge more but if I see handy man I automatically assume untrained and for me it then falls in the same category as cleaning lady. I.e. price range 30-35 CHF depending on region.

If you are a sterilisation expert who sells yourself as cleaning lady, dont be surprised if your clients expects to pay you as a cleaning lady.
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Old 26.05.2016, 10:34
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Re: Hour rate

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Why do we accept that 35 CHF is perfecty ok price for a cleaning lady but then argue it is too low for a handy man? Is there an element of gender gap here?

Yes, a trained electrician or carpenter can and will charge more but if I see handy man I automatically assume untrained and for me it then falls in the same category as cleaning lady. I.e. price range 30-35 CHF depending on region.

If you are a sterilisation expert who sells yourself as cleaning lady, dont be surprised if your clients expects to pay you as a cleaning lady.
Cleaners tend to be some of the lowest paid in society - men or women - so I'm not sure you want to pull the gender gap on that one.

It is important to distinguish between trained and untrained handyman - and the job to be completed. I don't need a trained handyman to brush leaves from the driveway - or carry building rubble from the back garden into a skip. I do need one to properly weed a garden bed, or fit shelving that is level and secure, or safely wire in a new light fitting. They are not difficult tasks and often can be performed by somebody with a competent practical mind - who understands precision/accuracy and has worked with their hands. (Typically ex-forces people - specifically from logistics/mechanics. Ex-merchant navy tend to be very good at these sort of things too).

While there continues to be an influx of people willing to work at the very lowest level then "we" will continue to consider a decent wage to be too high
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Old 26.05.2016, 10:39
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Re: Hour rate

+1 (to dk's post)

In many ways 500/day is a bargain. A normal specialized tradesman can usually operate his business out of a small van - carpenter, painter, plasterer, electrician, plumber, roofer, mobile mechanic, etc. You see these guys all over CH.

A proficient handyman has the skills and experience to do professional quality work and repairs in each of these trades and more - and the wherewithal to juggle it all in one's head at the same time. Then there's the tools that go along with it. Imagine a storage area that is like a mini version of Hornbach or Bauhaus and then some. Not many painters, for example, also own, store, and maintain CHF 10,000+ in drills, saws, routers, sanders, tile/stone saws, grinders, mechanic tools, gardening and landscaping equipment, diamond drills, dollys, jacks, electrician tools, etc. etc. etc. Plus the deluge of random supplies and materials...

Then there's the liability insurance to cover all of this various work...

If anyone thinks a handyman is charging too much for a day's work, consider what it would cost you in time, money, and hassle to have 4 or 5 normal Swiss tradesmen come out and each do an hour or 2 of work and compare accordingly. Also, don't expect that foreigners shouldn't charge 'silly Swiss prices' as if ausländers get discounts on everything in CH and can somehow live/run a business for less than the locals
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Old 26.05.2016, 10:41
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Re: Hour rate

Of course you dont want to pull the gender gap. Men never do. From where men are standing it is always a matter of skillset :-)

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Cleaners tend to be some of the lowest paid in society - men or women - so I'm not sure you want to pull the gender gap on that one.
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Old 26.05.2016, 10:52
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Re: Hour rate

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Of course you dont want to pull the gender gap. Men never do. From where men are standing it is always a matter of skillset :-)
Is this going to be yet another gender gap discussion??

There is a skillset required to perform any job - whether it be checkout operator, cleaner, bank CEO, handyperson, firefighter, nurse etc etc. There is a requirement to develop/learn that skillset and a level of responsibility in performing the work for which they are paid.

Where there are issues is when a resource enters the market without the required skillset, markets themselves to perform a job - and disappears when they fail to deliver and take responsibility for the job.

If we are looking at private cleaning - there is a ready supply of labour willing to work for such low wages (often working "Black").

So back to the gender gap, you can't compare a woman working as a cleaner to a man working as a bank CEO and use that to define a gender gap. You also can't compare the same woman to a skilled handyman - as the skill sets are different. If you wish to address skill gaps then that is another matter.

One thing that I have noticed is that one of better small breweries that has hit the market in the last few years is run by a woman and she is the braumeister. And the beer is no cheaper than the ones produced by men.
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Old 26.05.2016, 10:52
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Re: Hour rate

Interestingly in the film business pretty much the lowest day rate is around 500, on top of that is holiday pay & social costs so roughly 600 a day from 08.00-1800 with 1 hours lunch break. 4 hours or less is chargeable at 65% of the day rate. The big question is how many days a month do they actually get work? 3 - 12 being the 'normal month' range.
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Old 26.05.2016, 10:53
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Re: Hour rate

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Why do we accept that 35 CHF is perfecty ok price for a cleaning lady but then argue it is too low for a handy man? Is there an element of gender gap here?
It's a matter of affordability too when it's an ongoing cost. We pay about 40 CHF/Hour for a cleaner (we don't specify male or female, but realistically it's nearly always going to be a female). If that were doubled, then we just couldn't justify the cost on a regular basis, so wouldn't have one (in much the same way as we manage without a cook or a butler (yeah, I know; life's hard))

If you compare cleaning as a one off job, though, the prices are much more comparable with (or higher than) what is being mentioned for a handyman. 500 CHF per day would be bloody cheap for an apartment handover clean.
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Old 26.05.2016, 10:58
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Re: Hour rate

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Why do we accept that 35 CHF is perfecty ok price for a cleaning lady but then argue it is too low for a handy man? Is there an element of gender gap here?

Yes, a trained electrician or carpenter can and will charge more but if I see handy man I automatically assume untrained and for me it then falls in the same category as cleaning lady. I.e. price range 30-35 CHF depending on region.

If you are a sterilisation expert who sells yourself as cleaning lady, dont be surprised if your clients expects to pay you as a cleaning lady.
I see the different rates as more task specific rather than gender specific.

In the case of a cleaning person, they have more security over hours and less risk of something going wrong, again the rate is what the market will accept maybe it is too low for a cleaner? If you guaranteed a handyman a certain amount of hour per week (similar to a cleaner) I am sure this would be reflected in the rate. Both maybe formally untrained but both require skills in their respective areas although maybe anyone could do this work. Having searched for cleaning ladies the good ones are generally fully booked up to the amount of hours per week they desire, the same can not be said of handymen who are always searching work.

Last edited by RTN; 26.05.2016 at 11:06. Reason: Tidy up
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Old 26.05.2016, 10:59
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Re: Hour rate

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After i send my price to the client (<200 chf for +/- 2 hours working with driving included).

Hi have a few emails, that i post here:

Answer from my possible client:

...TL/DR...I don't want to pay your rate...

Then my answer:

...TL/DR....long justification...
Keep it simple, don't get into an argument. You should have just replied "If you want me to do the work, the rate is CHF175 per hour, including travelling time. Please let me know if you accept these terms and we can arrange an appointment".

If your potential customer knows someone who'll do it for 5 rappen and a cup of tea, then they're absolutely free to get that person in.
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