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How much have you lowered your price just to get a job? Any regrets?

Let’s put it this way: The drywall industry is so cutthroat, if we would all stay within certain price ranges, we all could make some profit margins. But we all know it: Someone is always going to undercut you, not just by a little amount—it’s usually by thousands, depending on the size of the project. So to answer the question, how much have we lowered prices, we’ve lowered them down to breaking even.
—David Marty, President, First Choice Drywall, Inc., Waunakee, Wisconsin

66.6% reduction on every job. Any regrets? Well, I’m on my third year of paying zero estimated taxes. My deadline is fast approaching to pay them in full prior to a tax lien and foreclosure sale of my home to satisfy the debt. We are losing the home due to my inability to be fairly compensated for my 31 years of industry experience. I have regrets by the hour.


Quality, service, price—pick two of the three. You can’t have all three.

For a company with a reputation for quality and service to the customer, maintaining that reputation is critical to our landing jobs. We, therefore, cannot be the cheap price. If we lose our reputation, we’re sunk. We simply cannot compete with the low price, the bottom feeders. For us to cut corners on quality, on service, on safety, on paying our suppliers in a timely way, on having all our employees on the payroll, on paying our taxes, is simply not in our corporate culture.

Yes, we’ve tightened our belts on costs and cut out some fluff (which is oftentimes needed for the unexpected delays and costs encountered on jobs) and looked hard at our price without cutting our throats, but our prices are pretty much what they were before this economic downturn.

There are companies taking work for less than it will cost them to do it. That’s suicidal. And the daily closings of companies—including longstanding, well-regarded contractors and suppliers—is a reflection of that mistaken mentality.

—Robert A. Aird, President, Robert A. Aird, Inc., Frederick, Maryland,/i>

Is saying “down to the bare bones” explicit enough??? We are working harder and longer than a couple of years ago with a lot less profit and overhead, just to keep busy. And yes, we regret every day being in the construction business, since our so-called government just completely disregarded the construction industry and everything associated with it. It’s time for a major change in Washington!!!!


None … no. That is not our policy!

—Dale Tucker, Owner, Acoustics, Boise, Idaho

Sure lowered quite a bit in the last two years. Two years ago price was almost too high, now we’re down to survival. The hope is we’ll still be one of the survivors if and when the economy gets going again. But it certainly is not fun.


We are in a constantly bitterly competitive market. Fortunately, we have a 30-plus–year cost history, so we feel confident that if we aren’t the lowest responsible bidder, that entity that “beats” us will probably lose any return to overhead. We know what our overhead costs are and therefore have a reasonable sense of how low we can go on given projects. We have been operating at return to overhead values without a mark-up for profit for the past four years and have generated the highest earned revenues during that time period—in one of those years, we realized the largest profit we’d heretofore (and since) ever had. So, there are no regrets from our experience!


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