Mike Colon

From the Desk of Mike Colon, Blue Collar Black Book Founder

Who puts the "CON" in Contracting. Newsflash: It isn't the Contractor

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99% (that's a made up stat but I'm guessing it's within + or - .9%) of all learning on the job consists of trade skills. Unless you grew up around some sketchy people or witnessed a lot of people “hustling” other people you are probably under prepared for the shenanigans (by shenanigans I mean: throat slitting, back stabbing, step on your back as your drowning in a puddle of water games) that get played in the contracting business.

People joke around and cast dispersions about Contractors and Subcontractors being Con Men but who is REALLY doing the CON'ing? Put your wallets, keys and phone in your front pockets, take off all your valuables and look tough. We are going walking through a rough neighborhood on a dark and stormy night.

No doubt you've heard of Trickle Down Economics, well in the contracting business there is trickle down Bull Sh ... nanigans!

It's starts with my personal favorite “I'LL MAKE IT UP TO YOU ON THE NEXT ONE”. Or as I like to call it chasing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. SPOILER ALERT... It never gets “made up” on the next one.
This game usually starts with the client. There is a  few reasons they play this game. a) They don't want to pay you what your worth. Or b) They didn't do their homework so they didn't know what to expect for costs and they don't have the money or didn't get enough financing. NEWS FLASH. The quality of the project will not be sacrificed at their expense.

So in comes General Contractor #1. Maybe he knows the situation maybe he doesn't. He puts in all his work, puts the plans out to all his subcontractors, little do they know all of their time and efforts are being wasted. The Client wants top notch stuff and we are going to give it to them at a fair price. That client is not going to be satisfied with your fair price because they don't care about you or your livelihood.

Pause one second - Do you know anybody that got rich off one job and retired right after? Because I don't.

Continuing on: So numbers come in. That's too high says the customer. Now they know what the project should cost. We want multiple bids so they send it out to a few more contractors and somehow those contractors now know your numbers. UH OH! Now everybody is getting scammed. So now a lot of people are wasting a lot of time and the money is quickly dwindling from the job. We all know how this situation turns out so lets fast forward.

So one “Lucky” crew got the job. Time for a celebration. WRONG! This client, who had no problem beating up a dozen or two contractors, subcontractors included, on the price, doesn't stop there because they don't care about you. You're now into the job and we all know that there is always unexpected issues and problems and those cost money, sometimes lots of it. Maybe the client plays it cool at first with a “oh no problem just get it done” or maybe they start playing the pity game right away. “oh we don't have the money for that, you should have known, how could you do this to us, blah blah blah.”

What really get's me really riled up is when they wait to the end of the job and every excuse in the book comes out. I didn't tell you to do that. That was supposed to be included. I'm not paying for that. On and on and on. Basically this type of job all boils down to, are you willing to spend time and money, to fight for what you are owed, by pursuing legal action. I know a lot of guys don't. Who has time for that? We have work to do. It's a number game and a lot of clients take that gamble and win.

Now to be fair I have seen General Contractors do the same thing and I have seen Subs beat their guys up on their wages  like they are somehow to blame. Some of that activity is a result of dealing with Clients like we talked about above. BUT IT IS NO EXCUSE and completely unacceptable.

A good Con will develop a game or a “trick” to exploit a weakness. Make no mistake we are the mark. Don't let your ego convince you otherwise. You are not smarter than the Con or the game. All you can do is use information to your advantage. If things seem to good to be true or you get a suspicious feeling, trust your instincts.

Blue Collar Black Book was designed to give you the ability to shed light on the individual games your customers play. That information you post in your Customer Review may save another tradesmen from a nightmare. Likewise when your fellow tradesmen POSTS A REVIEW of their client, it may be the information that saves you day.

Let's work together and expose whatever games our customers want to play, whether they be Clients, Businesses, Contractors or Subcontractors.

REMEMBER: Like Kenny Rogers said “You got to know when to hold 'em. Know when to fold 'em. Know when to walk away. Know when to run.”

PS “You never count your money while your sitting at the table” Kenny Rogers aka "The Gambler"

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