By now you’ve probably noticed that there are lots of contractors who charge for their services, but are often left in a position where they can’t afford to pay.
The big difference between these contractors and those who just want to make a buck is that they are more upfront about their rates, and often don’t have to put up their home as collateral.
We’ve been doing this for a while now, but we’ve only just realised how many of our fellow Australians are being left out.
One of our friends in the local housing industry, John, has been doing the same thing for over 10 years, but recently realised that he could save himself $300 a year.
When John first started doing his own home-gift projects, he wasn’t prepared for the backlash that ensued.
“I’ve been lucky enough to have a lot of people who are really supportive of the work,” he said.
“They’ve actually been really kind.
But then there are those people who just go out and rip it apart and try to force us to do it.”
When he went into this business, John was a professional landscaper, and he had plenty of experience doing the sort of work we were talking about.
“A lot of landscaping was done by me,” he explained.
“It’s not that I don’t know how to do that stuff, but I’m very good at it.”
But I didn’t realise that this is an area that needs to be done properly.
“He said that for him, a little over-praising and a little under-praise was the norm, so he was happy to do a little work for the community, and get some money back.
John had been working for a few years at a small house-making business before moving to a larger, larger, bigger house-building business.
It was a huge shift for him.”
After the first couple of years, I’d been working at a couple of houses, but then I moved to a bigger business, and the people were just really supportive,” he recalled.”
You have to remember, it’s not about the work.
It’s about what the people in the community want to see.
“That’s why we do it, because we know we’re doing something good for the people around us.”
John is now selling his large, complex projects, but said that he was only recently getting into the practice of offering his services as a freelancer, and it was a bit of a struggle finding work.
He said he found a few jobs, but they were small and they weren’t really sustainable, and that he didn’t feel good about giving away his home to the world.
“If I’m making a big house, it needs to last forever,” he conceded.
“Then it’s probably going to be worth more than if it’s a little small house.”
But there’s a lot more to the problem than just people being overly enthusiastic about the opportunity to save money on a project.
John said that the reality of what he was doing was quite different to what he had been taught about home-gardening.
“When I started, I didn [want to] just do it as a hobby, because I didn, in my own life, spend a lot,” he confessed.
“So, when I got a bit older, I realised that the people who do that, they’ve got to put their life into it, so it’s really about giving something back to the community.”
When you’ve got someone that’s got a real passion, and they’re willing to give something away, it can actually be quite rewarding.
“And then, when you get someone that actually does it, it really gets you involved in it,” he concluded.
“There’s not many people who actually do it.
It just doesn’t get the publicity it deserves.”
John said he’d been using his skills for the right reasons, and now he’s finding it pays off.
“Every time I do something that’s really good for people, it seems to bring more people into it,” John said.
The National Landscaping Council has now started offering an online tool to help contractors who are finding themselves in this situation.
The council has developed a “free house-gifts” tool for contractors who want to give away their property, and to encourage people to help.
It’s a simple way to help people learn about what they can do to help their neighbours and neighbours, and how to make sure that their work is appreciated and appreciated by those who are paying them to do so.