Submitted by sim_BLISS_ity t3_xx8q6h in newhampshire

Just moved from out of state into a house in central NH. It needed a lot of TLC so I made a list of contractors to call: Plumber, electrician, foundation specialist, chimney sweep, door replacement, window repair, locksmith, trash pickup, septic pump, appliance installs, etc. Here are my takeaways - are they outliers or typical in this area? I would not have made this post if it were just one or two companies I had a bad experience with. These takeaways were across the board:

  • Wait times for all of the above were typically 3 weeks to a couple of months (or longer), even to come by for an estimate
  • Hourly rates in general per worker regardless of trade were at least $100, $150, or more
  • Some estimates were outrageous ($3800 to replace a standard exterior door for example)
  • Communication across the board was poor (missed appointment windows by many hours with no call until I called them, no apologies or explanation, lackadaisical attitudes, poor customer service, calls go to voicemail all day during business hours, no return calls when leaving voicemails, etc.)
  • Shopping around for appointment dates did not help - everyone is booked for weeks or longer.

Admittedly, I ended up going with Home Depot and Lowes for some of the services which were much quicker and a fraction of the cost, and DIY for some as well. I initially wanted to support local tradesfolk rather than line the pockets of big corporations, but it seems everyone is already flush with work, can charge whatever they want, and can set their own hours.

Seems like if you want to make some good money and are in central NH, learning a trade is an attractive option at the moment. I think Home Depot/Lowes subcontracts local licensed companies anyway - something about their process is more expedient than calling companies directly, at least for services they support.



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Lumpyyyyy t1_iraq0or wrote

I’ve owned in NH for 10+ years, I frequently skip or DIY a lot of maintenance and improvements because of how terrible of an experience it is to find tradespeople. I’m sure they are fine people, but generally horrendous businesspeople. Your experience listed above is 100% in line with my typical experience trying to find someone to do anything.


[deleted] t1_irb1r8v wrote

Agree! I know its easy for me to armchair quarterback it but if they just used perhaps a Google calendar to schedule out projects. Maybe set aside an hour a day to bust through phonecalls and texts with clients? Raise prices if you have too many clients.

What really I do not get is they are busy so don't respond and are annoyed people keep calling them. What do they think the customer is thinking? They aren't mindreaders, so the only thing they can do is keep calling or find someone else.


lellololes t1_iratrfm wrote

I don't think your experience is unique to central new Hampshire. We need more tradespeople, period.

I recently scheduled an electrician... For late November.

Everyone is booked.


[deleted] t1_iravfkw wrote

I try to empathize with the tradespeople in nh but sorry I just can't.

They seem to think they are the only ones who work and are busy, and that justifies them ghosting clients or just never responding in the first place.

Almost every profession you need to deal with phones calls and emails, and almost all of them you'd get fired for flat out ignoring them.

For example theres a handful of plumbers in my region. I have been trying to get my plumber to so much as respond for roughly the past month. Nothing.

I'm sure it's because he's busy. But aren't we all?


Kyle_Smiles t1_irbgh94 wrote

I've worked in the service industry and I work seasonal trades now. I can tell you it's not the same. Most guys in my field are working 60-70 hours a week and that income has to offset the loss of income in the winter time. We still work but it's much less so the wages even out immensely. Customers are often unreasonable with thier expectations as well. A small job is not going to be a priorty especially if you have employees and overhead to juggle. For example a small job like fixing a door for $3800, that time is time you could have spent doing a bigger project that will make more money and make getting through the winter less stressful. Thanks for coming to my Ted talk.


[deleted] t1_irbi5vs wrote

Then why don't people just pick up the phone or call back and say "sorry we aren't taking small jobs right now ". Or, "we will take small job but we'd have to charge you x more, up to you". Or if you have a website say simply "we only do mid-large scale projects".

Point is I'm not saying anyone owes it to work with me on fixing something. It's common decency just to spend 2 minutes to say "we aren't taking clients right now".

Its just treating people like shit for no reason other than you think no one understands and you can get away with it.


Kyle_Smiles t1_irbkecp wrote

Spoken from a place of regulatory scheduled hours and normal work weeks. I've worked both and the reality is that sometimes jobs go long things happen and again the little guy isn't financially viable. I always give a number to people even for small jobs and you know the reaction I get? Customers throw a fit over the number which reeks of entitlement to me, but that's the number we can do the job for without losing money. On the side of communication, a lot of times it's a mom and pop shop working insane hours who can't afford to hire an office worker to take calls and emails. All of that said, this isn't true for every company out there and being in trades I 100% agree that there are definitely scum bags. But the majority are just hard working small operations, lower your expectations we aren't amazon.


[deleted] t1_irbl4c8 wrote

I think that's what a lot of you in the trade business need to do, and I say it in these threads all the time, is raise your prices. The price of your labor is what people are willing to pay for it. Everything is going up, so naturally your prices should be going up.

Eventually either people will pay those prices or more skilled workers will come to the area because the pay is so well and it will all even itself out over time.

The problem is now I think many of you are under charging and working your ass off and should be charging more. That's burning you all out and creating issues.


GregorVDub t1_irhdmet wrote

Cause there's probably ten other people they have to tell the same thing. They have plenty of work to do why waste time to call twenty people back every week.


[deleted] t1_irhj8d2 wrote

if they were treated the way they treat others they would be bothered by it as well. everyone has other things to do, it's just the appropriate thing to do, especially if you own a business, to communicate with your customers. when they call their bank do they expect to talk to someone? after all the bank has other customers, why talk to the little guy?

why do you think half of the reviews you see online are either "he was prompt and communicated well" or "he wasnt responsive and i couldnt get a hold of him". it matters if you are running a business. if you dont want people calling you dont set up a business where people call you to hire you.


GregorVDub t1_iri5ktf wrote

I don't disagree with you. I'm telling you as someone in the trades, this is how it is right now.


JS-PROPERTY-SERVICES t1_ircp1ko wrote

Here is your real answer. It's really hard to find good tradesmen and good businessmen in the same person. Thatvis not a knock. Each is a unique skill set. It's really easy to offend a lot of tradesmen too. Many have sensitive egos. It's very easy for one to dismiss customers for petty reasons, and for them to never even perceive the potential loss.

It's also hard for customers to really know how to get a tradesmen to work. What plumbing issue are you having exactly? I can get someone there within a week. Just give me the zip code and the specifics.

The answering the phone thing is frustrating. But do you want your guy answering his phone all day when he is billing you 150 an hour? How many calls do you think that guy gets in a day? Is it poor time management and poor business practice? Maybe, depends on the guys goals. It could be an accepted part of his model. He isn't the only high demand business that may choose to just not pick up the customers phone calls. I can think of a lot of businesses where there is not even a number to call.

So a guy gets home after a long day of dealing with drug addict workers, burdemsome red tape, and grumpy customers. He has a family and all those issues going on. And the guy probably has 15 missed calls and all sorts of texts. It's not that he is ignoring YOU, it's just that he is busy.

Everybody is busy but it is not in the same way trades people are right now. I'm completely overwhelmed with work and haven't even put up a google listing yet. I can't imagine what that will be like when it happens. A website and google listing have been a plan since February. I keep trying to expand to justify it but then I just keep adding clients and work.

I don't know anyone's business or situation but hopefully this clears up the why side of things for you. No licensing needed in New Hampshire hardly. I could probably teach most people how to make more money than they do right now in about 2-3 months. I have several ideas on how to make millions in the trades with phone calls and the internet. But finding trustworthy people willing to show up on time are rare traits these days. Anyone can stsrt a moving company and be a multimillionaire in a few short years.

There aren't many more easy ways to guarantee to be a millionaire quickly besides the trades. There are so many repeatable models, franchises, and opportunities out there it is insane.


[deleted] t1_ircqnl4 wrote

Really appreciate the post this makes a lot of sense.

I may take you up on that offer about a plumber but I'm trying to stick with my main plumber since hes familiar with my place, although at times he's not making it easy.

I agree though. If you have a website, an office manager, and reliable workers you can make a killing in trades these days.


GregorVDub t1_irhdgkm wrote

The trades are decimated right now. There are probably multiple people a day they aren't calling back. They can pick and choose the jobs they want.


[deleted] t1_irhdyhf wrote

I agree they are slammed but I'll never understand how they just flat out ignore people, even someone who is their long time customer.

I just couldn't imagine being in a job where one of my customers is calling/texting for weeks and I just get home and look at it and ignore it.

At least say "find a new tradesman I'm too busy". Don't just leave people hanging


petrified_eel4615 t1_iravk0h wrote

As a surveyor, I regularly tell people we are 8-10 week out. And if I wanted to, we could take on more jobs, but we're struggling to keep up as is.


TheMobyDicks t1_iraqqjt wrote

Think that's bad, try living in the Seacoast. Prices are insane and wait times are longer.


[deleted] t1_irb5gwj wrote

Prices maybe I don't know about wait times. At least in the seacoast region there may be more options than up in Central nh


Quirky_Butterfly_946 t1_irbi6nf wrote

This is why people are DIY for most things. I do my own lawn and seasonal cleanup, I do projects like repainting/staining my deck, my own home snow removal in winter.

It has not only become a long wait, but the cost is prohibitive. Good old Yankee hard work, independence, and enough piss & vinegar to get us through the winter


RelationshipJust9556 t1_irdbpkr wrote

just wait till the boomers die off, then it will be really bad.

Christ My dads still goes out working he's near 80 climbing ladders hammering nails. rans own buisness, last 10 years unable to find help at all. guys show up 1-2 days a week


Oh and drugs drugs have really torn up the trades, from doc prescribed to self medicated. addiction and abuse is rampant.


a1234321 t1_irdi5bh wrote

Gen X is gonna be the last one before meaningful change, not boomers imo.

I'm 32 and my parents are in their mid 50s. All of my father's friends are around his age and are in trades.

My generation was sold on college being the way to "break the cycle." Definitely felt that way in NH. Go to college, don't become a townie. That was the vibe.

Now we're adults and Gen Z / Gen A are using us as a guiding light similar to how we used Gen X and Boomers. But that's not trades.

GenZ/GenA are pushing back pretty damn hard on what work looks like, and they don't really seem to give a shit what older people think (more power to them).

You don't swim after a boat that's already sailed. You build a new boat.

GI Generation and the Silent Generation built the boat. Boomers got on the boat. Gen X and Millennials swam after it.


SadSecurityGaurd t1_is2t7jt wrote

This is the best I have ever seen this written out, also 33 years old from NH


Crazy_Hick_in_NH t1_iraoevf wrote

Not shocking...can't tell you how many times I've gone the way of Home Depot and Lowes for the same exact reasons. It's a shame HD and L don't do paving and septic.


JS-PROPERTY-SERVICES t1_ircqbb2 wrote

They hire local people too. Most of the time people just don't know where to look. What do you need done? I'll have someone right out for you.


Glucose12 t1_irav2hl wrote

Brother is a locksmith. If you're starting from scratch instead of buying out somebody's business when they retire(including their customer database) it takes time(a decade or more) to build up a customer base, and until then you're living in your parents house, eating ramen. If you're mobile, fuel/oil/maintenance for your vehicles. He's just beginning to do well now after moving back here in 2003-ish from the San Jose area, but there's still no way he could afford to buy a house on his own, or have wife/kids/etc.

For small companies, it's a chore hiring responsible workers who want to stay with you(once they've acquired skills and can go solo). The ones who do stay may not be the best workers in the world - but they're better than not having any employees.

He was living like a king in San Jose, plenty of high-rolling customers(banks, tech companies, etc). Obviously had to rebuild a customer list from scratch coming here. The money is not in residential in locksmithing - it's in corporate/business customers, and those are a lot thinner on the ground here in NH, obviously, than in San Jose.

Whatever. Not sure what I was trying to say, other than: the environment may actually not support the population of tradespeople that you'd like to see.

They want to have a house, spouse, kids, send their kids to college, etc., so they will be charging what the market will bear.


sim_BLISS_ity OP t1_irbfnxw wrote

When the demand far outweighs the supply, you don't need a decade-long rolodex - the customers will find you.

Sure, NH wouldn't be anywhere near the money from San Jose, but things are way cheaper here for sure. If you're charging $100-150+ an hour in NH just in labor, the workers have to be making at least $50-75 an hour after profits and overhead, especially when these companies are so small. If you're making $50-75 an hour in NH and are eating ramen in your parent's house, that's a whole different topic.

The revolving door of apprentices going to do their own thing is prevalent in just about every job in society. The key of course is to keep that revolving door filled with more people.


littleirishmaid t1_irbnbb4 wrote

That makes no sense at all. If the owner of the business charges $150 per hour, there is no way they could pay their workers those wages. What would be left over for him? Materials have skyrocketed, supply chain issues galore, etc. The majority of these businesses are very small with a family member doing the paperwork on the weekend. They have no office staff to field calls and emails. They work with the customers through their cell phones. Not in an office. Pretty hard to answer your call when you are up on a ladder.


extravertedhomebody t1_irbpiaz wrote

I think the person above you was specifically speaking of labor rates, meaning any parts would be separate


HowardNelsonJr t1_irenrr1 wrote

I’d be going for these trades but it looks like you need 5~ years as an apprentice getting paid shit. I can’t take a pay cut at this point. Sucks


overdoing_it t1_ire2rcb wrote

You're not kidding, it's very tough to get any work done. I called 4 electricians for estimates and only one showed up and gave one so I just took it even though it was expensive it's not work I can safely do myself. Youtube videos and DIY go a long way but it takes me a lot longer and with messier results than a pro.


baxterstate t1_iricrgf wrote

If I were a contractor or builder I’d be working on a lakefront home or a Mountain View mansion. There’s so few contractors and builders that they all can get enough of the high end work to keep themselves busy.

Too bad, because NH needs more entry level housing and as the boomers die or retire, the younger generations aren’t going into the trades.


thread100 t1_irawofw wrote

I misread your title at first. I thought it said that central NH needed more “trans people”. I was waiting for how that was going to help the long lead times for trades people. Laughed when I went back to reread the title.


billcurl t1_irei5w4 wrote

Let's not forget that it takes time from the jobs chasing money for the jobs completed. It seems like people don't think they have to pay for the work completed. seems like people don't think they have to pay for the work completed.completed.It seems like people don't think they have to pay for the work completed.