Builder Bruce Robson.
Builder Bruce Robson. Allan Reinikka ROK140218abuilder

Lack of work forces tradies to drop prices in CQ

A LACK of demand for renovation services in Queensland in the second quarter of the 2018 financial year have left some tradies charging less in their hourly rate.

Carpenters, landscapers, electricians and plumbers have been forced to drop two to five per cent below the industry national level. On the flip side, painters and tilers are charging 22 per cent more than last quarter while plasterers are charging 10 per cent more and builders have increased by seven per cent more.

Rockhampton builder Bruce Robson of Bruce Robson Builders said work has been a bit scarce.

"This year is the first time I have been a bit quiet to start the year off," he said.


Tradie table
Tradie table Centro

"We haven't run out of work but normally I start the year off and I have four or five months of work lined up and it didn't happen this year."

Off to a rocky start, Mr Robson wasn't feeling confident.

"You do worry, I was a bit worried at the start of the year but now I've picked up some work, it's better," he said.

In mid-January Mr Robson picked up "two reasonable jobs that will keep us going for four to five months and we have work to do in the meantime."

The feeling is the same across the board of Rocky builders.

"I've spoken to other builders and of the ones I have spoken to, they have said the same, it is quieter," Mr Robson said.

"Last year we were flat out the whole year.

"It just comes and goes."


Builder Bruce Robson.
Builder Bruce Robson. Allan Reinikka ROK140218abuilder

As for pricing, Mr Robson said he likes to stick to a regular margin - whether he is busy or quiet.

"I know I am priced against other builders and other builders are quiet and they lower their prices," he said.

"If you start cutting prices, you still have to make money somehow and it will come back to bite you.

"People cutting prices has always been around."

Mr Robson said he finds sometimes other builders can charge extra if they are busy and it gives builders a bad name.

"People talk and say they got prices from such and such and it makes you look silly if your price changes," he said.

Mr Robson has had his business since 1993 and said in this time he said competition has gotten a lot bigger which also affects prices. He said he used to travel across the region but now he stays local from Yeppoon to Mount Morgan.

"There is a lot more builders in the country areas now, you never used to be able to get builders out there and now there is people living out in those areas," Mr Robson said.

There is also a lot of carpenters to compete against now.

"We used to get a lot more enquires for smaller jobs but it just doesn't happen anymore," Mr Robson said, "They get a carpenters license and they are entitled to do it and they don't have the overheads."

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