Bastards In Our Industry

By: Dave Wright, Craftsman Republic®

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Did you ever wonder how some companies got in your industry? Retailers, lead generators, franchise sellers, even Craftsman Republic®, most of these do not directly manage Craftsman.

What’s more confusing is that they never took trade courses, never learned the basics of the trade, yet they want to tell you what you should charge, when you should work, how you should charge, and even how to do the job you spent years learning to do!

Well the truth is business just got very complex, and while Craftsmen just want to do a great job every day, they are not always working every day.

Unless you want to take business classes, learn how to survey, take advertising, human psychology, and become a financial advisor, you should listen and be aware of what is going on.


Franchisers are often built on a solid foundation from a single greatly successful business. They want you to conform exactly to this specific model. Things often move so quickly in industries that they can become outdated before you even learn how to execute them.

I do not mean to say franchisers are never good, but if you look at franchise success rates, you will always find failures. This often comes as a result of poor execution, and in most cases, it’s a result of failing to change with the times. They often target individuals outside the industry, “No experience required.”

Franchises do this to perpetuate growth and thus have extensive training included in their new employee packages. If you are already in the industry, some of the training material can be time wasting. The market model’s purpose is to create a successful franchise and never a failing one.

McDonalds is a successful franchise because it assures that you will get the same food, same treatment, in every case. These franchises tend to avoid jobs that take extra time or extra skill to perform, but waste no time requiring you to purchase a truck and inventory that matches their branding needs.

While some franchises are great, many are not. You need an attorney and an accountant to review the terms before signing up. Franchisers make money selling you franchise-branded products and inventory at retail prices, never at bargain rates.

Lead Generators

The days where the Yellow Pages were king are gone, so here comes a massive group of lead generators. They are skilled in targeting specific groups of people who are the most likely to be interested in your trade.

They will use age, race, religion, political views, sex, and living circumstances to determine who is most likely to be interested in your Product. They will obtain the information through many different channels.

Keep in mind that lead generators are not mind readers, you will still be required to sell the job. The Consumer they sell you are interested not sold. They sell you their information, which they also sell to others. You must call quickly, and the close rates are not that great.

We are all aware of Customer acquisition cost, and if you are starting out, you may have no choice but to use lead generators. I have used them out of curiosity and was referred to a good tech. I got the service I desired, a lead.

When I called the tech back, I was ignored. They were too busy chasing the 20 dollar leads to get a larger job than what I intended to offer. Goodwill wasted.

Online and Big Box Retailers

These guys get in the business naturally; their Customers keep asking them for installation. They recruit installers for each of their Products. Big Box Retailers eventually want larger firms that manage themselves and handle issues for them. Online and Big Box Retailers see installation as a profit opportunity. They will protect these profits at all costs. For this reason, you should never put all your eggs in their baskets. They will always pay you less than market price because they need to add their profit into the equation. They make a lot of promises to their Customer that they expect you to keep.

The good thing is that their goodwill will get you past a lot of issues. The sale is easier and that is worth something. The only problem is that they are constantly reminding you, while you are losing money, that you will make it up in volume.

What? Lose money faster?

I had many people realize, after 10 years of working for a Retailer, that they had done so at a net loss. I know of two national bankruptcies fostered solely by Big Box Retailers, who then had to bail out their Customers.

Online and Big Box Retailers always want to warrant a product longer than the Manufacturer recommends, as if the Manufacturer is not the expert on their own Product. These programs are best when your business stays small and you are able to keep track of every job.

National Service Organizations

Only one national service organization has survived the test of time, Sears. They have done so by crosstraining between Products with different demand curves and selling maintenance agreements.

Individuals in this industry can do well by staying independent and attending regular training classes for specific Manufacturers.

National service organizations spend too much money on oversight.

Brand building is extremely difficult. Factory training does not require apprenticeship or trade skills that may be needed in situations such as refrigeration repairs.

Online Advertisers

Some online advertisers get leads from multiple sources, others like Google, are pay-per-click. All in all, online advertising is an ever-changing and confusing marketplace. Be careful to read the terms before signing up.

So, if you have a trade degree, served an apprenticeship, learned from others, and took the Contractor’s license exam, you might feel like online advertisers got into the business backwards and unfairly, or simply serve exploitational purposes.

It is true that online advertisers are getting to consumers before you have the chance, that some expect you to work for less, that some dictate to you how to work, and some even tell you what hours to keep.

That is why Craftsman Republic® provides real jobs, with a basic scope of labor, and we count on you and your skills as a Craftsman to provide a complete service to our Consumers.

Our automated system allows you to sell your services directly though our Buy It Installed button®. All you need to know how to do is what you were trained to do, install product. Our system allows us to operate on a smaller margin than others. We also look at every detail of the offering and ask ourselves, “Is it Scalable?” Scalability is another common cause of failure in our industry.

We understand that you may just want to fill some down time, and that is okay with us. We want the best, and like at good restaurants, you need reservations or must wait for a table.

Sign up on our website and take as little work as you wish, or as much work as you need.