Five well-kept secrets of contractors — and why PreFix is different.

Google “Do contractors work on commission?” You won’t find much. In fact, that may be the case with every bit of information you’re about to read. Because these unspoken norms have long benefited contractors and builders, they’ve been carefully covered up, systematically obscured. Until now. Our Home Managers tell all in an exposé that dares to put plainly what no one else in the industry will.

1. They mark up parts.

Markup is the amount added to the cost of a product in order for the contractor to cover all costs and make a hefty profit. While there’s no industry standard, it’s common to see a 1.25 to 1.5 markup. That means you could be footing the bill for upwards of 150% of the actual cost of the part.

To be frank, this estimate is conservative. It’s not unusual to see markups as high as 300 to 500%, especially on smaller jobs. Sure, you would notice a water heater priced at thousands more dollars than it should be. But a faucet? Not a big-ticket item in the overall bill, even when that faucet costs five times its face value.

At PreFix, we pass along the wholesale price of parts to our clients. Because our business model doesn’t rely on markup, you pay what we pay, no matter the size of the job.

2. They work on commission.

When technicians come to your house, they’re typically paid a small hourly salary plus commission on service and parts. That means their paycheck largely depends on how much extra stuff they can sell you. Inflating the severity of an issue or encouraging unnecessary repairs is a given in this service model. It’s not personal — it spells out survival in an inherently exploitative system. Work done in November will likely be more extensive (and expensive) than other times of year, since late-in-the-year commission means more money for the holidays.

Repair companies may even agree to the following deal with appliance providers: The company receives a large discount on units in exchange for pushing that particular brand to customers. But the money saved in this transaction is pocketed by the repair company — the customer pays full price for the unit. There’s no guarantee, either, that the appliance brand is the best on the market.

Our service model is different. Our Home Managers are paid competitive, consistent, full-time wages, which gives them no incentive to upsell or persuade you. Our sole objective is to help you save money on products we genuinely stand behind.

3. They cut corners.

Less reputable contractors will take advantage of their clients’ inability to judge the quality of their work. Maybe they’ll use subpar materials, employ unqualified labor, or paper over structural problems that will take time to fix. And once they’ve been paid, they have no incentive to fix shoddy workmanship.

This is true, in part, due to overly ambitious scheduling. If a technician or team runs into a time-consuming snag, their company loses money on other jobs it could be working. Contractors are expected to move quickly and complete a job by whatever means possible.

That’s never the case with PreFix. As a trusted local business, we make the most of your resources while demonstrating the highest level of craftsmanship and integrity. Because Home Managers maintain a personal relationship with you, they become a part of your life. They visit every few months, at least. To cut corners would be bad business practice — and would go against everything we stand for.

4. Just because they’re licensed doesn’t mean they’re good.

There are plenty of people out there with a pickup truck and a tape measure. There are also plenty of people with a license. When it comes to electricians, plumbers, and HVAC technicians, the journey to licensure looks like this: apprentice, journeyman, and, finally, master. To make it to the next level, candidates must accrue a certain number of hours on the job and take a credentialing test.

Although this, in theory, is a great system — one born alongside the noble guilds of the 11th century — impatient trainers can easily modify timesheets to look like their apprentice has more experience than they do. All that’s to say, “licensed” does not mean reputable, scrupulous, or knowledgeable.

Even when dealing with licensed pros, homeowners should seek referrals from past and current clients. Beyond PreFix’s excellent reputation, our comprehensive training program ensures each and every one of our Home Managers has the expertise to not just do the job, but to do it well.

5. The money you pay goes to the company, not the worker.

If a technician is working under a larger-name company, he’ll owe them a huge percentage of his payout for the honor. Even if the person or team who visits your home does exceptional work, they still won’t earn the lion’s share of the check. More likely, though, your contractor won’t do his best work knowing it’s not his name or profit on the line.

On the flipside, PreFix Home Managers are paid competitive W-2 wages. You’ll be working with an expert Home Manager Team made up of full-time PreFix employees — not random craftsmen hired on the cheap and lightly vetted. Plus, everyone is a part owner in PreFix, meaning they have a personal interest in the company’s reputation and endurance.