Why You Should Never Do Side Work

By: Dave Wright, Craftsman Republic®

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When I was working (really), I used to cringe when my friends told me they had side jobs. Let me explain why…

Honestly, I did a few side jobs, once installing shower doors with a glazier friend. He ordered the doors at cost and we installed and split the profits under the table.

Who did we hurt, the IRS?

The answer is: we hurt all glaziers, and all legitimate businesses that did customer bath and shower doors.

We worked overtime for less than normal pay, charged less than the shower doors were worth, risked injury, and had no benefits while working. We did this for a short-term gain.

We had, in effect, discounted the shower door value along with our own labor costs. Because we had no business, no rent, no lights, and drove our own trucks with no compensation, we had consequently undercut the fair market price of the door.

At the time, I was going to school and taking economics. I realized that my friend and I had, at best, exchanged regular pay with benefits for discounted pay with no benefits. At worst, we had exchanged our work for possible overtime pay. I stopped doing the side work, but he did not.

We had set a bad example for others. While no one wanted only shower door jobs because they were smaller, at least some others did what we had done.

Like a snowball rolling downhill, a stupid idea was catching hold and side work became a common discussion. Not only were Craftsman doing it for Grandma and Mom, now the exception applied to friends, guys on the softball team, neighbors, and others. In exchange, fence installers, cement workers, carpet installers, and others joined in. Often with rescued or even stolen materials.

One friend had his entire house carpeted with scraps pieced together in random patterns, hand sewn in a carpet layer’s spare time. Everyone who saw it wanted it (you tripped a lot due to the different heights, know what shag is?).

My point is that the person doing the work was not being honored. We should never discount ourselves or our work. Our fathers worked, went on strike and suffered to get a five-day workweek, and we are undoing this each weekend by doing side work.

This now happens every weekend and in every town. Just look at all the construction trucks on the road seven days a week. Many Craftsmen work to avoid paying for permits, allowing them to cut corners on the Consumer because no inspections need to take place. Yet, Consumers are often thrilled because they will not be reassessed with new taxes.

Do we really expect the quality of side work to be the same as normal workday work?

Who will warranty this work?

When there is a recession, side work becomes even more common. Desperate for work, ready to leave the trades, sometimes subsidized by unemployment, workers continue to undercut their own best interest.

If not for doing side work, would you have that work at least? What would you do for ten more days of work during a recession, assuming you previously did ten days of “side jobs”?

At Craftsman Republic®, we honor the Craftsmen who can do the small jobs with professional flair and who are proud of all the work they do. While we sometimes need to charge an average price for simplicity, we do not lose sight of your need to obtain a fair price for your work.

Join us and we will support you as best we can. We provide real jobs that you get to sell and control though our Installed Sales Ecosystem™