Someone messaged me a few days ago and asked me whether I thought cheap Decorators are destroying the industry. Apparently, he’d quoted for redecorating a hall, stairs, and landing, but missed out to a cheap Decorator who’s price was £350 including materials.
I see similar comments regularly on social media. Or I read things like “you couldn’t charge that round here. There are too many Gardeners working for nothing”.
I also see other Decorators saying they can’t charge more than £150 per day. Just to break that down; take your running costs out, cover your time quoting or organising the van, and have a few weeks paid holiday a year. Those £150 a day Decorators are working less than minimum wage!!
Why do so Many Decorators Struggle to Make a Good Living?
So, what gives? Are cheap Decorators destroying the industry? Is it localised poverty around the UK that keeps prices down? Or is it something else?
I want to try and do this in a respectful way because it’s evident that a lot of Decorators struggle. However, I don’t think cheap Decorators are to blame. In fact, if you’re a Decorator and you’re competing for that type of work, then that’s on you.
If you go and quote every time you have an enquiry, regardless of the job, then a portion of the jobs you go and see will be clients looking for cheap labour. Stop wasting your time. Start screening your potential clients.
Ask them what they’re thinking about having done. Ask them if they’re seeking other quotes. You can even say something like, “we’re not the cheapest, but we try to be the best” to see if that puts them off. Make sure they’re happy with your waiting time before you commit to an appointment.
If the homeowner starts talking about being on a budget, or they want a “quick freshen up”, then you know they’re looking for the cheapest Decorator.
When you do go, you should turn up looking clean and tidy, talk through the job in detail, recommend premium products, and never send a quote over text. If you don’t do these things, then the only thing you have to compete with other Decorators on is price, and that’s it. The only other way to win work is to be a cheap Decorator.
The Shortage of Decorators in the UK
If you are a cheap Decorator, then this may surprise you, but there is a shortage of Decorators in the UK. We are in demand, and a lot of us have waiting lists that exceed 6-months.
Most homeowners struggle to find a Decorator at all. Others get let down in one way or another. Ask any of them and they’ll tell you stories about asking a few Decorators for a price, one not bothering to turn up, and the others failing to come back with quotes.
These homeowners just want someone professional who they can trust. Someone who isn’t going to let them down. Be that guy, and they won’t mind paying a premium for you.
So, stop worrying about being undercut on the odd job, who cares. You can walk into a subby type role and earn £180 a day, so if you can’t run a business and charge £200 a day, then don’t run a business.
I hope this blog has helped someone. Cheap Decorators aren’t destroying the industry at all. I just think we need to up our game and stop coming out with stuff like “there are too many Gardeners round here”.
Now, go and charge your worth.
Are Cheap Decorators Destroying the Industry? – by Mike Cupit