Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Society & CultureCultures & GroupsSenior Citizens · 2 months ago

Why are old people so cheap?

I am a painter. I have to charge the same rate I did in 2009, $45 per hour for painters, $35 per hour for helpers. In 2009, it pained me to still be charging the same as I did in 2005, but we had a bad recession. My peak labor rate was in 2015, $50 per hour for painters, $37.50 per hour for helpers. A year later, I had to back off.

It is winter. It is slow. We offer a senior discount for interior jobs December - March. I calculate labor at 2/3's my normal rate. This is insanely cheap.

My ads will not show unless you are in the 40th percentile or greater for income. They don't show in large numbers unless you are in the 30th or better. Think about it, this person is retired and earns more than 70 percent of the people in this country. That is good.

So he probably paid $100k for this house in 1975 when it was new. It is well used 45 years later, but still worth easily $400k. The interior painting works out to about $4,500 for this 3,000+ sf house. Should be closer to $7,000. A lot of 12' scaffolding going to be used. This is a complex job, not a DIY job.

He moved to Florida last fall. He doesn't need this house anymore. He can't get the $400k asking because it is a bit out of date. He figures a paint job is going to do it. He knows the outside trim and doors will have to wait a few weeks.

My quote is so low it hurts. He kicks me out of his house and calls me a "con man" when I hand him the estimate. This happens more often than not with people over 75.

14 Answers

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  • drip
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Many older people haven’t had any work done in a long time and are shocked by prices.  Most senior citizen have a much lower income than they ever did before.  

    Just let it roll off your back. Tell them get 3 or 4 estimates. They will see your prices are the norm.  Or they will get someone who is lower than you and doesn’t do as good of a job. 

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  • P.L.
    Lv 6
    1 month ago

    Prices don't stand still and never will, because people continually ask for wage increases and, as soon as they get them, the employer has to put up his/her prices to compensate and then those customers want a pay rise also to cover the increased price of the cost of living - - - and so it goes on, year after year after year.  We never become any better of so we all might just as well have stayed with the wages and prices we had decades ago.  It will never change so just expect it to happen periodically.

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  • 1 month ago

    THEY HAVE TO BE CAREFUL WITH MONEY...not all companies have retirement plans.

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  • Ann
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Many old people live on a fixed income, which is about half or less of what they received when they were in the workforce.  It's very hard to budget for "extras" such as painting, when buying groceries or medication is a struggle.

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  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    Cost of livings goes up so rates goes up.

    When on SS it is hard to get by.

    If you need more money try getting a part time job at Walmart etc, I see a lot of Seniors working, they saved up for vacations, home repairs or remodeling, or a new car etc

    There are families who have to go cheap too, its not just the seniors.

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  • 2 months ago

    Two reasons ma y old people are cheap.

    ---Many aren't working any more, at least not full time.-

    ---We spend more on health care than the younger people do.

    Source(s): You may just have has one or two bad expierence with home owners.
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  • 2 months ago

    I wouldn't know. Here in Texas, older folks can't get anything done because nobody will show up to do anything. You call them on the phone and they give you a price, then you never hear from them again! I talked to an electrician about checking something out and he said I will be there Thursday. He never showed! Called him again, said he was coming, never showed! I called a wrecker service to tow my car to a shop, he never showed! I called a roofer to fix my roof, he never showed! I called another roofer, he never showed either! It's not about prices, it's about getting them to do it! If I called you, would I end up painting the house myself?

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  • 2 months ago

    They didn't get to have more money, in retirement, than 60-70 percent of the country by being generous. They don't live there anymore. They know $4,500 is a very good price for the job. They don't care if it is all that great. That will be the next owner's problem. They have time to find a more hungry, less skilled hack who will be happy to do it for $3,000 and save $1,500. A working couple with a family, at the same income level would jump on such a bargain because they will live there, it does matter if it is a quality job and the don't have as much time as the retired guy does. They will pay more, if it is done right. Older people, whether poor, middle class, upper middle class or wealthy can be some lousy clients. This person is well into the area of upper middle class, perhaps just touching the point of being wealthy. That is probably the most difficult income, the $100-175k people, nouveau riche and cheap as can be. Try doing work for an Indian, Haitian or other 3rd world immigrant doctor. He just barely made it as a family practice or internal medicine practitioner , not a specialist like a cardiologist earning double or triple that. He makes many times what every person he knows or is related to from the old country combined. His ego is out of control.

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  • 2 months ago

    The people you used to charge those rates 11 years ago are retired now and are barely scraping by with 1/4 to 1/3 of their previous income. Evidently, you've been self-employed for so long you've forgotten what it's like to be a business's hourly employee -- and these days, thanks to Social Security regulations, most retired folks aren't allowed to have an hourly job they know they can depend on.

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  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    I can understand it with indigent old people, but not with people who have money. If you've explained that your prices are the going rate now and not what they were 30 or 40 years ago, I don't know what else you can do but give an estimate as quickly as possible. Old people want things to be static and are resistant to change. 

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