Yes, the project has to be at least 20 hours worth of work, otherwise, it’s not cost-effective for us. For smaller projects, we would charge 20 hours of work, no matter if it takes less. The only exception for this is for some of the previous customers we had a good relationship with, for whom we’d do these small projects at no charge and when our calendar allows it in the hope they’d use us again in the future for a larger project.
The reasoning for this is very simple: for every 2 persons in our team, there’s a van with tools & common materials ready for them. If we send someone for a project, we would have to send a van with 2 persons; even if it takes a few hours to complete the job, the chances are that we won’t be able to do anything else that day since to this we’d have to add commute times as well. We would have to pay the team members for that day even if it’s not a full day of work.
No matter if it’s a 10 hours project or 100 hours, the clerical work is pretty much the same: pay a visit to offer a quote, send a breakdown of the quote, discuss any details of the project, arrange a time/date, send a full VAT invoice and so on. Sometimes this part takes more than the actual work and the people doing this must be paid as well. This also explains why we’d rather do the project for free for some of our previous customers, it’s more cost-effective to us this way since we avoid all the clerical work.
So our costs are the same, no matter if it’s a 4 hours project or 20 hours one. There are a lot of handymen out there that struggle to fill their calendar and are more than happy to take small jobs, they actually advertise that ‘No job is too small’. For us filling the calendar was almost never an issue, so we can be picky in this aspect.