Craft businesses are sounding the alarm. Because young people and applicants are missing, consumers have to wait longer for important repairs. To make matters worse, the costs are also increasing. FOCUS online makes the price check. This is how much you have to pay for simple jobs at home.
If you want to lay a new roof, do minor painting work or install a satellite dish on the balcony, you need a lot of time, patience and money. Jörg Dittrich, President of the Central Association of German Crafts, warned at the beginning of the year that craftsmen could become unaffordable for many people in the foreseeable future.
“We have to be careful that handicraft services do not become unaffordable for large parts of the population,” said Dittrich in an interview. “We are just getting closer to this limit.” The expert even goes one step further and warns of a split in society. In Germany there will soon be people “who can afford to go to the hairdresser, for example, and others who can no longer do it.”
FOCUS online does the price check, asked several craft businesses what you charge for simple work. Almost all the companies contacted emphasize that the prices given are a guideline. The exact price can only be determined after an on-site inspection and a cost estimate.
Clogged drain: tradespeople in Cologne, Munich and Stuttgart randomly asked for “roughly” between 90 and 120 euros for a simple pipe cleaning. The arrival is exclusive. The craftsman would be on site within five days.
New washbasin in the bathroom: If a washbasin is damaged and needs to be replaced, it costs an average of 100 euros or more in Munich, Stuttgart and Cologne. Craft businesses charge hourly rates from 60 euros. The most expensive company in Munich asked “roughly” 80 euros (including VAT). The exchange takes about 80 minutes.
Similar price expectations call for companies to replace mixer taps or shower systems. Here are also due from 120 euros. It is a “rough” estimate of “small”, “simple” and “quick” craftsman’s jobs. Materials such as sealing rings, pipes, screws or dowels are included in the price.
Consumers have to pay extra for the sink, mixer taps or other fittings. At least, households can choose between “cheap”, “medium-priced” and “expensive”. The journey and the respective taxes cost extra. Three craftsmen in Munich even charged parking fees.
Paint the door: Consumers must expect costs of 200 euros or more to paint a smooth door. If doors are slightly damaged or glazed, it costs from 280 euros. In the case of major damage to the door, this can amount to over 350 euros. All relevant work is included in the price. Underneath, for example, dismantling the door, sanding, varnishing, painting and reassembling. Travel and taxes are listed separately.
Repairing the roof: Specialist companies estimate a simple roof renovation from 19 euros per square meter, depending on the effort, material and provider, emphasizes the industry service “DasHaus.de”. If the roof tiles are to be cleaned, those affected must expect costs of five to ten euros per square meter of roof area.
Painting walls: As a rule, companies charge per square meter for painting work. A master painter in Munich explained that it was “cheaper” if those affected “cover the room themselves and clear the walls”. If the company has to do the preparatory work, the hourly rate of 60 euros applies.
Materials must also be paid for. The prices for the actual painting vary depending on the company or city, and are between 35 euros and 70 euros per square meter. It is expensive if the previous wall paint has to be painted over. Households pay extra for the paint. The waiting time in Munich would be more than five weeks. Express services almost double the final price.
Wallpapering is similarly expensive. It is striking that not all master painters that FOCUS contacted online offered this service. For an area of 50 square meters, a craftsman in Hamburg asked “roughly” 800 euros via “MyHammer”. The company only comes with tools and not with materials.
If things need to be done quickly, two employees would wallpaper the rooms. The express service would also cost 1400 euros. Households have to pay extra for the wallpaper and the glue.
Assembling furniture: If you want to assemble a bed, a cupboard or other furniture, you have to expect prices from 35 euros per hour or part thereof on average. If the construction is “urgent” or “complicated”, the hourly price increases to up to 200 euros.
Also read: Price pressure and staff shortages – why the trades are becoming more expensive
ask for an estimate
Whether assembling furniture or painting a wall: Even for small jobs, consumers should always ask for a binding cost estimate from the craftsman. This clearly fixes the price and saves you possible trouble afterwards, explains the builders’ protection association. This also applies to the “hydraulic balance”, which is mandatory for many houses.
However, estimates are not always free. “Customers should definitely ask beforehand whether and how much they cost,” advises Josina Starke, legal expert at the Lower Saxony consumer advice center. They must also ensure that all necessary items such as the description of services, working hours, material costs, price and any travel expenses are included.
The craftsman’s written offer should contain an exact description of the service and the necessary material as well as dates for the start of work and completion. In general, all orders should be agreed in writing.
In the case of non-binding cost estimates, on the other hand, the price can ultimately be up to 25 percent higher than calculated, according to the Schutzbund. The prerequisite for this, however, is that the craftsman can plausibly justify the increase.
Relying solely on the asking price is not a good idea. “Entrepreneurs know that customers often make the award of the contract solely dependent on the offer price. The description of services is often not read carefully, assuming that the offer includes all the necessary services,” says Michael Sattler, specialist lawyer for construction and architecture law at the Association of Residential Owners in Bonn. “These expectations are often disappointed.”
It can be worthwhile to inquire about different companies. Be sure to clarify which items you have to pay extra for and what surcharges you have to reckon with.
Beware of craftsman emergency services
“Consumers should take a close look at the websites of the handyman emergency services,” recommends the Berlin consumer center. If the imprint is missing or incomplete, for example only the name and a cell phone number are given, consumers should not contact the provider. “The imprint also provides information as to whether the provider is actually in the vicinity,” explains Frithjof Jönsson, a lawyer at the Berlin consumer advice center.
Not all companies that offer their services on the Internet are reputable. There are also scammers or moonlighters on the move. “If you want to be sure, you can ask the Chamber of Crafts whether the selected company is a registered business,” advises the Berlin Chamber of Crafts.