“Mates” in the industry… we’ve all got them… big deal

When a client says they have “mates” in the industry, it sends a shiver down my spine. They tell me they’ll save a fortune on their project – but the reality, I feel, is that it saves very little… and, causes some nuisance.

These ‘mates’ are usually professionals, sub-contractors, tradies or suppliers, and so they are in business as well and really can’t do anything for free … And often their mark-ups or profit on materials are slim (3-10% maybe on some products, like timber) so doing work at ‘cost’ delivers only slight savings.

The other problem is then putting these “mates” into the Building Contract.

How will this be done?

  • Are they going to be nominated as preferred suppliers? And what happens if they’re not that cheap anyway?
  • Do they really want to be in the Building Contract, and be managed and controlled and scheduled… if there’s no profit in it for them?

The one time it may work well is when you’re an owner-builder (and not in too much of a hurry) and you pop on a barbecue and get your mates to do some small items of work for beer‘n’sausages … on the weekend.

Or maybe if you’re prepared to buy second-hand goods, or pay cash for some things … Once again, it’s not something you can easily put into the documents, or into a building contract … and besides, you can’t pay for new fridges, sinks and plasterboard with beer‘n’sausages.

Also, owner-builders are, in my view, very low in the pecking order. In other words, if one of your mates is lined up to work for free or cheap or supply something at rock-bottom prices for you, you should consider that all of their other PAYING clients most probably will come first – as they’re paying the right price and probably offering more follow up work.

And so these mates can actually hold up the progress and become a bit of a nuisance to the program if they don’t turn up or deliver on time… After all, when someone’s doing you a favour, it’s hard to be too tough on them.

We’ve all got ‘mates’ in the industry who will do something for us ‘cheap’… Big deal!

It just may be better (and more economical and effective) in the long run to pay the right price for the right product and install it the right way first time.

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