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"The unions are… lobbying the government to create rules to put us out of business," roofer says

Independent roofing contractor Larry Rouse says that, with the HST, the WSIB, the College of Trades, and other government taxes, he "goes to work every day feeling like a criminal as I have to deal with mnistry this and ministry that."


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December 20, 2013 by Steve Payne

London, ON roofer Larry Rouse posted this on our site yesterday. He says “ministry this and ministry that” (he was responding to posts about Ontario’s HST, WSIB, College of Trades, etc.) mean that “every year I make less money but do more work.”

“I know of a contractor who has done just what you said. He now lives in a million dollar home with an outbuilding to die for. 80×120 with heated floors, transport doors, second level is for entertainment. He undercuts everyone and for some reason never gets caught. You wonder how he makes money being so cheap but once you see how much in taxes and fees he saves it becomes clear.

This guy is 75% Cash and makes a fortune. Now lets take the 100% Cash guy what does he make as he pays nothing at all to the government.

I have been a contractor for 28 years now. Every year I make less money but do more work. I live in an area of high unemployment and cut throat prices. I try to put my prices up but loyal customers call you up and think you are trying to rip them off. You try to explain the problem but truly most clients don’t understand the challenges we face. Also most clients hate the HST and are willing to take the contractor who does it for cash. I go to work every day feeling like a criminal as I have to deal with ministry this ministry that.

So what do I do? I’m beat up, worn out, and heading towards my goal of retirement. The only problem: my retirement goal consists of meeting with my family and friends and a lot of flowers. They will talk about how hard of a worker I was never slowing down and always busy. Duh, no $#%%! I didn’t belong to no union, I didn’t have the nice cushy pensions, I damn well couldn’t afford to put away enough to retire. Stat holidays for me were just another way to blow a few thousands dollars with no way of recouping the costs. And still I hear it time and time again on the radio: “We’re on strike, we need better working conditions, we need a raise, we push a button all day and have no idea what our job really is but we need more to push that button.” Nothing against the button pushers but for crying out loud give your head a shake. The thing you don’t realize is the company you are striking against is secretly talking to their headquarters in China and you will be out of a job within 5 years.

The unions are trying to do the same to us by lobbying the government to create rules that put us out of business. The only problem is we don’t a headquarters in China to talk to. So we just bend over and take it.

Wish I could see a light at the end of the tunnel, but I was always told to stay away from the light unless I was retiring.

Signed, tired and worn out.”

Edited version of Larry Rouse’s post on Dec. 19th


Steve Payne

Steve Payne

Steve Payne is the editor of Canadian Contractor magazine
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4 Comments » for "The unions are… lobbying the government to create rules to put us out of business," roofer says
  1. Dave says:

    I believe it boils down to Salesmanship. You must take the time to educate all potential customers on what’s the right and wrong way to do things. Today so many contractors are either E-mailing or Faxing quotes or worst leaving a quote in the mailbox and wondering why they didn’t get the job.

    How can anyone sell to a mailbox, fax machine or over the internet unless your the cheap price. Take the time to educate your customers so they can make an Informed, intelligent buying decision one based on knowledge and not price alone. Yes there will always be those who buy price alone, this has not changed in a 100 years. But you don’t want that customer, you want the one who cares enough to sit down and be educated.

    Good luck!

  2. harry veenstra says:

    the cash underground market is very strong
    we just had a business ask for CASH because its hard to make out an invoice
    I could not believe it!
    if its hard to make out invoices you should not be business to start with
    MERRY CHRISTMAS

  3. Michael says:

    Dave you cannot be serious.It is not used cars we are selling,your potential customer cares nothing about what is right or wrong.
    I did not stay in school very long before I started in the trade and dealing with various government agencies, simple mathematics such as
    13% hst +10% wsib +7% discount for cash adds up to a whopping 30% disadvantage that we legitimate contractors face.
    Larry is correct in his opinion of what the unions want, just for curiosity has anybody ever taken the time to find out how many union leaders are involved with the Ontario College and Trades Board within their specific trade?You would be very surprised I know I was. My 40yrs within my trade has taught me that many unionized government employees rely on our taxes to cover their wages,pensions and bonuses. In closing I ask you in all honesty would you be able to sell a new $ 50,000 truck when your competition down the street is selling the same truck for $15,000 less,that would take one hell of a salesman.

  4. Sean Keane says:

    Larry you are 100% correct. The unions and association like them were and are behind a lot of the legislation we deal with. Bill 119 the records clearly show that influence. Any institution like OHBA and CFIB were completely ignored, in fact the liberals tried to get this legislation in place a minimum of 4 times continually changing the Minister of labor until finally they acheived their goal. MPP fonceca was their ace. Where is he now. To add to Michael he to is correct however originally the unions were involved with promoting the CoT but realized the joke that it was began to back away. Right now they simply work with and watch them. I have heard rumours the COT is running a deficit. Headed up by people who simply put could not find a job anywhere else, but the liberals must protect their buddies. The same as the WSIB headed up by Marshal who would not know what an injury was unless he cut his finger.
    All of this using the propaganda of curbing the underground economy, finding those who cheat and work fir cash. So the governments way of achieving that goal is to add more tax to the people who already been saddled with the burden. So in other words force the people who already pay, pay more. They think we are all idiots. What does buying a license from COT do, where is their college, where can I send a young person to be educated. There is no building, there are no teachers and no students. In regards to bill 119 and the WSIB I asked for any proponent of this crap to explain how paying WSIB makes me safer, I still await the response. I have also asked what the difference is between my 24/7 great west coverage is compared to this fraudulent institution the Goverment calks WSIB. I still await that response.
    I can go in for hours but I am sure we make the point to David. Check out http://www.wsibdefence.ca you can all learn about what happens when you fight back. Research the stories about alleged suicides by injured workers and others who have faced the wrath of the extortion perpetrated against people by this institution. When will politicians look at that. What is the value of life. Where is the OPP or RCMP when you look at what these people have done. The blood is on the hands of theses mpp,s that sit an do nothing