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TSJHD1
05-15-2011, 01:01 AM
Or expecting you to do more work than was in your scope, so they don't end up with a punch list?

I just did a trim job for a builder. Existing townhouse, water damage job. 70% of drywall was damaged, so trim was removed and needed to be replaced. Also 3 interior doors.

So I walk the job with the builder before giving a price, asking various questions about what I'm responsible for, writing down each item I need to do in each room.

I'm told to reinstall the cabinets and microwave and back panel, but flooring guy will handle shoe. I'm to just set bath vanities in place, with fillers attached, but don't screw vanity to wall or set the top. I'm to swap doorknobs and doorstops off old doors. Couple pieces of crown is still installed, he tells me it stays...new crown will match the old.


I eventually get the job done, as parts and pieces arrive at various times... I ask over and over to get the new vanities there so I can install the upstairs one while I'm still on that floor. I run short on base and casing (he supplied), and I told him I would need more well before I ran out. He gets the crown there 3 days after he promised it, and it does not match the old, so that's 2 extra pieces with returns I now have to install.


Then I get a call about items I didn't finish: Doorknobs, bifold doors not hung, toe kicks on base cabs not installed. I tell him I did install the doorknobs, painters must have removed them. Bifolds were never mentioned when we walked the job, and I never even thought about it further. (The floor bracket had to be screwed down after the carpet was installed, then simply put the bifolds back in the existing tracks.) Toe-kicks? Ok, I did leave them go, figuring his guys could put them on (they'd be there at the end finishing odds and ends--ceiling fans, mount TV, mirrors, some tile, etc)...I didn't have a pinner gun...no big deal in exchange for the multiple hold-ups I had to deal with from him...

So all we're really talking about is 10 minutes hanging some bifolds and maybe 20 for the toe kicks. But he's really pissed, and tells me he was really considering giving the next trim job (similar job, more involved, for which I already gave a price and he accepted) to someone else..., none of his subs do that to him..., if I do a trim job for him he expects me to have it all covered..., he's tired of punch lists at the end of jobs...

So I don't argue with him...I apologize and tell him it won't happen in the future. But, I then tell him my side. His holding me up by not having items there when needed and when promised, which caused me around 4 times the amount of time that he had in dealing with the items I didn't do, and I didn't say anything about it. But if he was going to expect me to handle "whatever needs to be done," then he better have everything there I need so my time won't be wasted, especially since on the next job I'll have a helper working with me.


What is it with builders who can only see what you did to them, but not see how their poor management wasted your time?

And how do you see this?

Tom

Alaskan Son
05-15-2011, 01:49 AM
As a general and a sub I can see both sides. Sounds like there should have a been a little more clear communication. I will say that you should be careful not to give him any excuses. As a trim contractor you probably should have thought of the bifolds, and the 20 min. toe kick job could take a lot longer than 20 minutes if you have to go get all the necessary tools and fasteners, hook them up, install the trim, then roll all the tools back up (simply not having the pin nailer stopped you from doing it).

A good sub in my opinion shouldn't only do what is asked of him, but what needs to be done, and what may have been overlooked. If you have any doubt, ask even if it may be an extra charge. If you feel you should leave something undone in exchange for the troubles he caused, tell him before he finds out. From a general's point of view its extremely frustrating to find something out without being told (you also start wondering "what else did they not tell me"). Communication is a major key to maintaining a good relationship.

Next time, do everything you're asked to do and he won't have any excuse to be upset. I know when things start to add up, all it takes is one little thing to put it over the edge sometimes. Don't give him that one little thing.

Bob Kovacs
05-15-2011, 07:30 AM
Now you know for the next job you price that you have to add $$ for all the time you'll waste and for "handling everything".

GaryJR
05-15-2011, 07:50 AM
What Are Your Thoughts Regarding Contractors Expecting You To Not Charge Extra?

that's why you will only have a job working for contractors (most not all) and never really run a successful money making business.

and I bet this guy was not on site most of the time.

Overbuilders
05-15-2011, 08:44 AM
Learning curve flattened. Fool me once, shame on you. But, fool me twice...

tucker
05-15-2011, 09:27 AM
But, I then tell him my side. His holding me up by not having items there when needed and when promised, which caused me around 4 times the amount of time that he had in dealing with the items I didn't do, and I didn't say anything about it. Tom

Sounds like this should have been brought up as soon as it became an issue.

I am not saying my situation is like yours, maybe entirely different, but I had a large job last year where one sub came in and did some sub par work before going out of town. I had known and used the sub a long time and never had a problem before. I had to fix the issue myself on my own time. When the sub came back in town I called them to the site to discuss the issue and all the sudden the sub came at me with "well when you identified the scope I didn't know their was going to be a delay, a this, a that etc...it cost me more time and I had to rush to finish". To me it was more of an issue that the sub could not let me know immediately when there was a problem with our working relationship and instead kept it to themselves and their work needed touching up. I would not have minded an extra charge if the reasoning was discussed when things became above and beyond, but to use it as an excuse afterwords left a sour taste.

If I have to touch up after a new or infrequent sub I have a conversation about expectations the first time, and if there is a second time on the same issue there is no third time.

Allan Edwards
05-15-2011, 09:28 AM
Of course I expect subs to take care of punchout within their contract. As to extra work, it just depends on what it is. If a flooring sub contracts to install 2,000 ft of flooring, and he installs an extra 200 sq ft, I expect to be charged for it. If a trim carpenter contracts to trim a house, and we add a small amount of trim or cabinetry, I don't want to be charged. If I ask a framer to move a door opening after it is framed, I don't expect that to be charged to me. I don't like to be nickel and dimed, and of course I try not to do the same to my subs.

Tom, if I reading correctly the extra work was on 30 minutes or so, I would not have even brought that up. I think long term relationships where you give subs all or most of your work, tends to make these non-issues.

jimAKAblue
05-15-2011, 09:29 AM
I'm a GC but I've lived a long life as a sub.

In this scenario, the sub screwed up. Yes, the GC also failed in several ways too.

As a sub, you can only control one half of the equation and the only question that matters is: did I do my job to perfection? The answer is no. You left the toe kicks off. That would be like leaving the caps off a roof for me.

As a sub, I always made it my business to be proactive. I tried to be the kind of sub that would be helpful to the GC. As I worked a job, I would be much more intimate with the overall jobsite than the GC was and I used that knowledge to solidify my worth. How? It was simple; I'd keep tabs on things THAT WEREN'T MY BUSINESS and give him a heads up. The GC was always thankful, even if they didn't properly act on the information.

So, how would I have differently worked your deal? First, I would have installed the toe kicks. That would not have been an issue. I would have noticed that there were bifold door hardware missing or un-installed and asked if I should include that in my scope. We used to set our brackets on small pieces of 3/4" ply and the carpet guys cut around them.

The issues of back orders, slow orders, and mis matched crown would be an annoyance but it would not be a reason why the builder would be unhappy with my services. It would be the other way around. I would be unhappy with his supervision. You have your choice on how to deal with it. You could invoice for some extra compensation. You could mention it without asking for extra. You could just include the extra compensation in your next bid because you know things will be the same. You could spell out the game plan on you next bid and forewarn what the delays will cost.

Of course the biggest option is your walking shoes. In this economy, it might be better to be a good sub, don't leave any punchlist that you can be blamed for, be proactive about possible extra work, and forewarn (and get an agreement about the cost) the gc about the extra charges that you will be charging for delays.

Ottoman
05-15-2011, 09:41 AM
It seems to me the simple solutions is to have written scop of work with ending with a statement such as any additional work will be preformed at what ever your hourly rate is.

Andrew R.
05-15-2011, 09:51 AM
Tom,
Sounds like a job for an in-house carpenter. I would bid an hourly rate on that stuff and handle picking up the trim and materials you need on the clock. You're a great organizer, probably a couple hours and you would have had everything in your truck and back at the job to knock it out.

Dancing Dan
05-15-2011, 09:52 AM
My thought as well. Tom, it sounds like you're much better organized than the GC. So I'd take the bull by the horns, write up a scope, call out items NOT included, how you'll handle delays, etc.

Tom Bainbridge
05-15-2011, 09:58 AM
seem to me that it is failure to communicate in all cases

and in all cases it is the subbie that always "cops" it. i work as a subbie most of the time

as i see it................. the main contractor is taking the piss most of the time

David Meiland
05-15-2011, 10:00 AM
Tom, I think what the builder is assuming is that you'll pick up a few extra pieces of work without charging for it. He needs that, because he's not that good at scoping, scheduling, or dealing with shifting costs. I do not do that to my subs, but on my jobs, I usually end up doing a few freebies for owners, sometimes because I want to throw something in instead of nickel-and-diming, sometimes because I should have more clearly figured the scope. I just finished a job with 60 hours of labor in it, and threw in about 1-1/2 hours. If I added those hours to the bill the owner would pay them but tacking on a bunch of little tiny charges is like mosquito bites.

If something big comes up that is clearly not my problem, I explain it to the owner and give a price for it. Then it's their call.

Lavrans
05-15-2011, 10:53 AM
If you do work that's in addition to scope, the GC owes you for that work, and it's not a case of nickle and dime. I've never had a GC, or anyone else, reduce the scope and not reduce what they were going to pay me.

If it works both ways- that you'll get paid the same if you have to do a little more or a little less work, but it's as regularly less work as it is more work, then fine. But that's never happened, it's always adding work, and I've found if you don't charge for extras, the amount of extras grows. Most who complains about getting "nickle & dimed" when getting charged for extra work they requested are people who think it's their right to nickle and dime other people. Allan's subs might know that he always has a certain number of changes and additions and build that into the pricing.

But- communication breakdown is what happened on your job, Tom. You both made bad assumptions- him in the scope of work, and you that you could also arbitrarily not do some things to equal out an imagined tally of rights & wrongs. This is a case where two wrongs don't make a right.

Bring up issues as they occur, let the GC know that the scope was off immediately and that his delays are making it difficult to finish the job. Don't make it personal, I try to take a "pro-active" approach; "hey, we're short on this, I could pick it up on the way in" or something like that. It can be tough. Sometimes you do just suck it up and call it a learning experience that gets charged to the next several jobs.

I don't know much about your area, but I rarely wait for a GC to get material to me. Most GC's are really, really bad at knowing their product and amounts. I always add a part in the contract about materials and wait time- often it's more efficient for me to pick it up, but I'm also close to where all the suppliers are so it's easy for me to pick it up on the way to or from the jobs.

m beezo
05-15-2011, 01:03 PM
I have often heard that "it only takes a few minutes to do that job or you are already here" If the job is scoped out well, things are specific, then extra are just that. Extra money. Maybe I am just a little aggravated about it at this time but just came off a job like that with the extras.

It is a resturant with an area for the band. Contract and plans show how many outlets we are supposed to install in the area that the band plays in. The band sound guy comes in and says we need more outlets to plug stuff in, as in 10 more outlets. This demands a new home run or two, new breakers to be bought, another several hours of work especially since the acoustic ceiling grid is installed and we have to work up in the ceiling. When I mentioned to the owner that there would be an upcharge she was quite livid that that should not be so since I was here, had electricians on the jobsite, she saw rolls of wire and outlets in boxes laying around. It was a bit of a struggle to make sure she understood the reasoning.

Other thing about communications. When someone is under the gun to finish a job, get it done on budget, get it done to everyone's expectations, I think reasoning can sometimes go out the door. This can happen to the GC, the sub, the homeowner. No one likes to be nickel and dimed but nickels and dimes add up to dollars and sometimes to hundreds of dollars.

Other thing I have to tell you from my point of view as both a sub and as a GC. If I get charged for an extra I charge someone else. It is not usually coming out of my pocket. So if the sub charges the GC he then has to charge the owner. No one likes to be the bad guy and in this case the GC becomes the bad guy to the owner.

jimAKAblue
05-15-2011, 01:14 PM
"When I mentioned to the owner that there would be an upcharge she was quite livid that that should not be so since I was here, had electricians on the jobsite, she saw rolls of wire and outlets in boxes laying around. It was a bit of a struggle to make sure she understood the reasoning."

You could have replied "if I'm at your restuarant eating a meal, do you give me a free desert just because you're here, and the cook is here and the food is here"?

Tom Bainbridge
05-15-2011, 01:29 PM
when it comes down to it, none of us will charge for an extra hour on 2 week job

its the piss takers...... the ones who complain the most (see the original post)

the sooner you get other work. the sooner they learn you wont take the sh..t they give

the guy i used to work for a lot is now calling me to ask if i have a slot for him

he's now being "nice" because he forgot something.............

i maybe a small subbie but i run 3 or 4 man crews for him as well as doing my job

seamingly seamless
05-15-2011, 01:41 PM
I'm totaly with you on this one Tom.
Here's a thought: Include in your scope of work write up language to the effect of "This price assumes that all material will be on site when work begins and that the project will be ready for installation. I will return to the site one time at no additonal cost to complete missing items or complete work that was not ready for installation."
I've only used this or similar language for larger general contractors that I dont have a long term working relationship with. The few times I have used a clause like this I found the gc has been quite attentive to be sure he has what I need to complete the scope of my work. Then when it comes time for me to go back my one time for no cost, (door knobs, missing trim, piece of kitchen crown, cabinet toe kick, toilet paper holder, whatever...)he's very sure he's got what is needed to complete the job or he waits to call me untill he does. After that one time return to complete work...the meter is running. But everyone knows the ground rules before the game starts.

David Meiland
05-15-2011, 02:07 PM
When someone is under the gun to finish a job, get it done on budget, get it done to everyone's expectations, I think reasoning can sometimes go out the door. This can happen to the GC, the sub, the homeowner.

I think this is often a factor. Someone opening a restaurant is probably leveraged up to the hilt and nervous as a poodle at Michael Vick's place. The idea of a few hundred or thousand more could hurt, after they've already been back to the loan officer twice to try to get increases, tapped all their credit cards, and then had to ask their brother-in-law to start helping.

jimAKAblue
05-15-2011, 06:12 PM
I'm totaly with you on this one Tom.
Here's a thought: Include in your scope of work write up language to the effect of "This price assumes that all material will be on site when work begins and that the project will be ready for installation. I will return to the site one time at no additonal cost to complete missing items or complete work that was not ready for installation."
I've only used this or similar language for larger general contractors that I dont have a long term working relationship with. The few times I have used a clause like this I found the gc has been quite attentive to be sure he has what I need to complete the scope of my work. Then when it comes time for me to go back my one time for no cost, (door knobs, missing trim, piece of kitchen crown, cabinet toe kick, toilet paper holder, whatever...)he's very sure he's got what is needed to complete the job or he waits to call me untill he does. After that one time return to complete work...the meter is running. But everyone knows the ground rules before the game starts.

When I was in the framing business as a sub, I used to include several similar clauses with the proposal that were similar to what your are proposing. Our issues were trusses on site, electricity on site, lumber on site and within a specific distance, basement backfilled, garage foundation completed and ready, and windows on site. So, we would insert specific clauses with specific additional charges if we were asked to start with any of these elements missing or delayed. I think most charges were $250 for each item. The builders knew up front that if they wanted us to start the job without any of our conditions met, then the contract was automatically increased. It worked wonders and we rarely encountered any of those issues after we started including those clauses.

e hilton
05-15-2011, 11:51 PM
If I ask a framer to move a door opening after it is framed, I don't expect that to be charged to me. .

Of course not. After all, the framer should have been able to read your mind and just know that you really wanted it over here rather than where it was shown on the plans ... pay the man.

TWhite
05-16-2011, 07:47 AM
Of course not. After all, the framer should have been able to read your mind and just know that you really wanted it over here rather than where it was shown on the plans ... pay the man.

I used to be a framer and I have to agree! One door, two windows, add a pocket door, etc.....

Overbuilders
05-16-2011, 08:04 AM
It's bad enough to be paid low ball piece prices, but to then be expected to remodel already completed work on the fly and built to plan for free is BS.

Allan Edwards
05-16-2011, 08:16 AM
Of course not. After all, the framer should have been able to read your mind and just know that you really wanted it over here rather than where it was shown on the plans ... pay the man.

He absolutely would not be paid extra for move a door opening, or adding AC chases not shown on the plans, or other minor items. After 20 years of working for me, he knows it, maybe he works this into his bid price, I'm not sure. I also would not charge a homeowner who asked me to move a door way, or move a small wall. This is custom building.

Overbuilders
05-16-2011, 08:24 AM
I also would not charge a homeowner who asked me to move a door way, or move a small wall. This is custom building.

I wouldn't charge the homeowner either, but my markup as a GC should cover the subcontractor change order for moving a single door. My subs provide freebies all the time - I just don't expect them to.

jimAKAblue
05-16-2011, 09:36 AM
He absolutely would not be paid extra for move a door opening, or adding AC chases not shown on the plans, or other minor items. After 20 years of working for me, he knows it, maybe he works this into his bid price, I'm not sure. I also would not charge a homeowner who asked me to move a door way, or move a small wall. This is custom building.

Allan, the sub will get his pay one way or the other.

I was also taken back by your cavalier attitude about not paying the sub for changes. As a sub, it galls me to have to take that type of condescending abuse. The funny thing is that you've never struck me as having that attitude.

Back in the day, I worked with a partner who was always happy and never grumpy. I was always grumpy and bitchin' about the numerous ways that the builders chiseled us. I asked him how he managed to keep his composure when we were coerced into spending some of our hard earned time or capital. His answer startled me "It's simple; I get even before I get behind."

A little background is required here to help you understand. The guy used to load up his truck with lumber starting on day one of the job. It wasn't much but it was consistent. He'd whack stuff into 8' sections and load it into his pickup and shut the cap. It bothered me but I didn't judge him for that and I figured that it was his karma that he was ruining. I figured he'd get his due some day.

Story continued: He said: "It's simple; I get even before I get behind. Have you ever noticed that I load up a couple hundred dollars of lumber on each job?" I said yes. He continued: " The facts are that I know the builder is going to screw me out of a couple hundred dollars of something, some how, on each job so I get my pay first. That way, when the builder comes and asks me do do something for nothing, I can happily accommodate him."

I started watching. He was right LOL!

I think the theory for his approach was "Do Unto Others...."

Lavrans
05-16-2011, 10:25 AM
He absolutely would not be paid extra for move a door opening, or adding AC chases not shown on the plans, or other minor items. After 20 years of working for me, he knows it, maybe he works this into his bid price, I'm not sure. I also would not charge a homeowner who asked me to move a door way, or move a small wall. This is custom building.

Which is all very well and good for you because it doesn't cost you a dime, Allan.

After 20 years, I'm quite sure that he's got that worked into his price, but the simple fact of the matter here is that you are regularly taking advantage of someone else. It really doesn't matter that he expects it- you are expecting to get something for free, something that benefits you, that costs you nothing, but that does cost that other person real time and money.

That should come out of your profit, if you choose to build that way. After all, this is custom building where it is expected that plans change, and the client expects to pay for changes after it's built. Your customers may be happy to not have to pay, but if they are successful businessmen, they know that they are getting something of value that is costing someone else. They are assuming that you are absorbing the cost, and should be concerned if they find out that you are being cavalier with your subs time and labor.

It's one thing to get freebies- and every sub I know gives them (including me), but entirely another to expect it as a rule. That is wrong to expect, it's no different than theft.

MarkMc
05-16-2011, 11:00 AM
I started watching. He was right LOL!

I think the theory for his approach was "Do Unto Others...."

I gotta ask, are you waiting for your share of the Karmic lightning bolt to strike?

Cavalier attitude perhaps, but if relationship[s] is good then there is no need for a preemptive theft to keep the score even. If the GC didn't ask for those extras, did your partner give the lumber back? Maybe theGC knew you boys were going to be stealing material and figured y'all were reliable enough and did good enough work that for a couple hundred in material it wasn't worth the hassle and paperwork to prosecute when he could just take it out in a bit of added sweat, and help keep taxes and prison populations lower. Just a thought.

David Meiland
05-16-2011, 11:23 AM
I'm having a hard time feeling sorry for Allan or his framer. Anyone who has built a custom house or two knows that the owner is going to walk through during framing and realize a few things need tweaking. If the contractor has to ring them up for a nickel or a dime every time a small change happens, relationships get strained... so everyone assumes a few freebies and builds it into their price. I bet 98% of you guys do something similar when pricing your jobs. Hell, I can't be bothered to keep track of a bunch of little changes and then generate itemized pricing for all of them.

Alaskan Son
05-16-2011, 11:32 AM
Getting extras for free is one thing. Expecting them is another.

David Meiland
05-16-2011, 11:34 AM
I don't think they're free in Allan's example. They are priced into the deal by the sub from day one.

dgbldr
05-16-2011, 11:37 AM
Holy crap! I understood everything McCryptic said. And I agree with him. I must be losing my mind!

Overbuilders
05-16-2011, 11:39 AM
I'm guessing 99% of the posters here don't build anything close in size or scope to what Allan does, start to finish. The smaller the project, the more those little extras add up. I track all freebies, and if the client has been easy to work with the list stays in the job file. If the client steps over that invisible line, an itemized invoice is delivered without hesitation.

Overbuilders
05-16-2011, 11:40 AM
Holy crap! I understood everything McCryptic said. And I agree with him. I must be losing my mind!

Yeah, well who are the Bensons?

David Meiland
05-16-2011, 11:40 AM
Richie, that's perfect, you are choosing the straightest line to the most appropriate finish.

Lavrans
05-16-2011, 11:55 AM
The problem with what Allan said- which may be in how he said it- is that he got to arbitrarily decide that he wouldn't pay for additions/changes to the scope of work that directly benefit him and directly hurt his sub.

It doesn't matter if his sub has learned to accept it, or any other implicit agreement. The basis of his statement is that he can pass extra costs do his subs without paying for them as a central tenet of his business. That's unilateral and unfair- it requires an implicit lie on both parties (that the sub inflate his prices to cover expected changes and Allan accepts the inflated price) without informing the client. Or it requires Allan to hire subs at a cost that he knows is below what the actual, eventual scope will be- that's deception no matter which scenario is used.

Bluewoodrock
05-16-2011, 12:54 PM
I used to be a framer and I have to agree! One door, two windows, add a pocket door, etc.....

+1 one one that- I used to be a framer also and gave away to may freebies until I smartened up about such things. I'm sure it doesn't apply to Allen, but with most builders give 'em an inch...

parkwest
05-16-2011, 02:39 PM
...Back in the day, I worked with a partner who was always happy and never grumpy. I was always grumpy and bitchin' about the numerous ways that the builders chiseled us. I asked him how he managed to keep his composure when we were coerced into spending some of our hard earned time or capital. His answer startled me "It's simple; I get even before I get behind."

A little background is required here to help you understand. The guy used to load up his truck with lumber starting on day one of the job. It wasn't much but it was consistent. He'd whack stuff into 8' sections and load it into his pickup and shut the cap. It bothered me but I didn't judge him for that and I figured that it was his karma that he was ruining. I figured he'd get his due some day.

Story continued: He said: "It's simple; I get even before I get behind. Have you ever noticed that I load up a couple hundred dollars of lumber on each job?" I said yes. He continued: " The facts are that I know the builder is going to screw me out of a couple hundred dollars of something, some how, on each job so I get my pay first. That way, when the builder comes and asks me do do something for nothing, I can happily accommodate him."

I started watching. He was right LOL!

I think the theory for his approach was "Do Unto Others...."

I had a new framing contractor try to pull this on me when I was younger. He made the mistake of calling me to tell me we were short a bunk of studs on a floorplan we had built many times before. I told him to meet me at the jobsite. He finally admitted to me that he wasn't charging me enough so that was his justification for stealing my lumber. (seems they were building those barn shaped storage sheds on the side with my lumber)

After the sheriff got there when I called to report a theft, the sub admitted to the sheriff the "justification" for his stealing my lumber.

I told the sheriff, when he asked me if I wanted to press charges, not if the perp would pay for the stolen lumber.

Sheriff went to the framer to discuss this and then came back to me saying the framer agreed to pay for the lumber he stole if I didn't press charges.

I said Great! he stole about $10,000 worth. The sheriff said that sounded like some expensive lumber but understood what I was doing.

The sheriff, myself and the framing contractor all went to the framer's bank and he paid me $10,000 for the stolen lumber.


As for the OP: If I hire a trim sub to do a trim job for me and then I have to hire another trim sub to finish the work of the first sub, there won't be a second time for the original sub.

MarkMc
05-16-2011, 02:41 PM
Holy crap! I understood everything McCryptic said. And I agree with him. I must be losing my mind!

Or, finally, finding it. Stranger things have happened.

MarkMc
05-16-2011, 02:48 PM
Getting extras for free is one thing. Expecting them is another.

The tricky word[s] getting bandied about here is "free." Number two is "expectations," from both sides.

Bob Kovacs
05-16-2011, 02:50 PM
I think alot has to do with how the original contract negotiations take place. I've had projects that I knew were going to have a lot of changes, but that we weren't going to be able to hit the owner for every little thing, and I made sure the subs knew it before signing on.

We recently had a scope review with a concrete sub we hadn't used before, and he was significantly lower than the other subs that we'd worked with in the past. We walked through the project, talked about all of the coordination meetings, the aggressive schedule, the expectations of the field staff, and the fact that the owner was not going to be receptive to changes. We also identified some gaps in his scope, and gave him the opportunity to go back to review his numbers, after taking into account everything we discussed. He came back with about a $40,000 add, including what was probably $20,000 of missed scope- the balance was to cover all the "stuff" we discussed, and to ensure that he could deal with our expectations. He was still slightly lower than the next sub, so we gave him the job, and haven't heard a peep about changes, delays, etc. since.

Now, if we had written a contract based on his bid as originally submitted, and then tried to get him to deal with the issues that came up in the field, I'd fully expect that he would be writing change orders, and I wouldn't blame him one bit. It's all in how you set and manage expectations.

e hilton
05-16-2011, 08:04 PM
After 20 years of working for me, he knows it, maybe he works this into his bid price, I'm not sure.

There's your answer ... he's been used to your habit of scope creep for 20 years, the first year probably cost him, and he's been on the good side for the other 19.

e hilton
05-16-2011, 08:11 PM
I'm guessing 99% of the posters here don't build anything close in size or scope to what Allan does, start to finish. .

io'm the owners rep for building branch banks. New buildings are about 1.2 mil not including equipment and furnishings, remodels are 200k to 500k and the branch stays open the whole time. I'm used to changes, especially when remodeling. But I make one thing very clear to my gc: I expect him to include every nail and screw shown on the drawings, and I expect to be billed for anything and everything asked for that's not on the plans.

Right now I'm going around with the electrical sub on a new branch who used the wrong clamp on a ground rod. He used some kind of fancy copper crimp, which is code acceptable, but the plans clearly called for a cadweld. All I want is what's on the plans, nothing more, niothing less.

Allan Edwards
05-16-2011, 08:24 PM
I was also taken back by your cavalier attitude about not paying the sub for changes. As a sub, it galls me to have to take that type of condescending abuse. The funny thing is that you've never struck me as having that attitude.

Jim, I do not abuse my subs, I have the utmost respect and appreciation for them, I consider many of them some of the best craftsmen in the industry. I am lucky to have such skilled people working for me. Many are personal friends and as mentioned have worked for me for decades. They’re big boys (and some girls) and they know how to manage their businesses. They understand fully the nature of custom building and know I don’t want to be charged for minor changes. If they are large or become excessive, then I understand. By the way, I am pretty sure I have a reputation for being extremely fair and a builder subs want to work for.

Lavrans
05-16-2011, 08:24 PM
I'm guessing 99% of the posters here don't build anything close in size or scope to what Allan does, start to finish.

This is sorta funny.

No, I don't build those homes start to finish, but I have been on those projects. I've also worked with plenty of people who work on homes of that quality and size, and also plenty of people who work on custom commercial buildings that are several orders of magnitude more complex and expensive.

And ya know what? This whole idea about getting "nickle & dimed" is pretty much limited to residential, and even there only some residential. You know about commercial, Rick- nothing happens without paperwork, and pretty much anything that generates paperwork generates billing one way or another.

That, after all, is the GC's job- to reduce or eliminate the chance or amount of those annoying changes or additions, no matter whether they are missed details (soffits- that's the GC's responsibility to make sure are included on the plan; if they aren't drawn in, the GC has the architect draw them in or makes sure the framer knows they are going to be added), changes (Oh, we want the door over there, after all) or additions (yeah, we decided we need another 2 car garage with living space over there).

We all expect some changes. But we also expect to get paid for the ones that aren't our fault, and certainly don't plan on paying for the GC's mistakes.

TSJHD1
05-16-2011, 09:15 PM
Thanks very much for all the replies! I didn't expect that much response, and it looks like everyone I know gave me something to think about.

Here's what I learned:

I'm not as proactive when doing trim as I am with framing. (In my framing contract I have every scenario I've dealt with spelled out: Ex: The front door not on the site while I'm there installing windows... If ductwork needs to be framed around, but it is not shown on the plans, etc.)

So yes, I should have included the toe-kicks, instead of justifying it in my mind because of several other items costing me more time, and the fact that he did not tell me to include them. (I was kinda thinking of them like the shoe molding, which he said would be done by someone else.) In retrospect, I too would have wanted a sub to tell me of issues that are causing him to lose time, and not use it as an excuse after the fact.

I honestly never even considered the bifolds, and looking back, I'm sure that subconsciously I thought of them like doors that you have to pop off for the carpet to be installed, so my installing them was not necessary. And since it was not mentioned at walk-through, I just didn't think about the floor brackets. If I did more trim, I'm sure I would have been more proactive.


Just as a side note, and probably some additional "subconscious justification" in my mind..., The reveal at the front door was not very good, so I added shims to the jamb and corrected it. The jamb extensions on half of the windows were proud of the drywall, so I planed them flush. I called the builder and let him know type X drywall was not used on one of the party walls in a bedroom. And I dug up some strike plates from my house from when I upgraded my doorknobs, so he would not have had to buy new doorknobs (since his demo guys discarded them when the removed the old door frames).


I always do stuff like this, and I don't charge for it. They're the "little above-and-beyonds" that I try to build good relationships with. I should have let him know about these things I did, and then asked him if he wouldn't mind putting the toe-kicks on for me.

I think I will suggest in the future I pick up the materials myself. That's definitely a good idea.

Tom

tucker
05-16-2011, 09:25 PM
There's your answer ... he's been used to your habit of scope creep for 20 years, the first year probably cost him, and he's been on the good side for the other 19.

sounds like win/win if the numbers work

TSJHD1
05-16-2011, 09:26 PM
Oh, and I just met with him about framing a screen porch addition. I will make sure I cover everything that could possibly be considered part of my scope, such as replacing siding that needs to be removed, and I will write this one out in clear detail. (Which I should have done in the first place!)

Tom

TSJHD1
05-16-2011, 09:34 PM
As a sub, I always made it my business to be proactive. I tried to be the kind of sub that would be helpful to the GC. As I worked a job, I would be much more intimate with the overall jobsite than the GC was and I used that knowledge to solidify my worth. How? It was simple; I'd keep tabs on things THAT WEREN'T MY BUSINESS and give him a heads up. The GC was always thankful, even if they didn't properly act on the information.


Great response Jim. (The whole post; not just what I quoted.) The thing is, I've always been that sub. The framing job I'm doing right now..., the builder just today thanked me for once again mentioning an important detail (about getting a thickened slab under a basement partition that the truss co wants to break floor trusses over) to him.

I think I'm just a bit rusty as a trim sub. But I'll get it back!

Tom

TSJHD1
05-16-2011, 09:54 PM
If you do work that's in addition to scope, the GC owes you for that work, and it's not a case of nickle and dime. I've never had a GC, or anyone else, reduce the scope and not reduce what they were going to pay me.

If it works both ways- that you'll get paid the same if you have to do a little more or a little less work, but it's as regularly less work as it is more work, then fine. But that's never happened, it's always adding work, and I've found if you don't charge for extras, the amount of extras grows. Most who complains about getting "nickle & dimed" when getting charged for extra work they requested are people who think it's their right to nickle and dime other people. Allan's subs might know that he always has a certain number of changes and additions and build that into the pricing.

That's key. If you know a GC has certain habits that will cost you, then build it in to your price. I just hate needing a crystal ball. Lol

And I don't have a minimum extra charge, because nickels and dimes add up to dollars. When I was new to contracting, I billed a builder for an extra that was something like $20. (There were several extras on the invoice, so it wasn't like this was the only one I was billing for, and adding 20 bucks to the bill...) He complained, and used the ole "nickel-and-dime" line, adding that he gave me a lot of work. I told him, first off, you don't give me anything, since I have to provide a price for every job I do for you. And I sincerely believe you use me because I do a good job for you, at a fair price. (And the fact was, I did a better job for him than any other framer he had!)

So I told him, I don't think of it as nickels and dimes, but if you really think so, then reach into your wallet and give me twenty dollars!

This is how I decide whether an extra gets billed: If I kept track of the time it took, it's a 95% chance it's getting billed. If I can clip out a wall and move it over, and it's done quickly, then no big deal.

But generally speaking, I just keep time on all the "little" changes/extras, then list them all out on one line item on the invoice, with the total time, rate, and charge.

Tom

Builders need to realize there's many times a sub will take his time just discussing stuff with the builder, owner, architect, and other subs..., and none of that gets billed. And I'm talking about stuff that should have been on the plans in the first place.

TSJHD1
05-16-2011, 10:02 PM
...its the piss takers...... the ones who complain the most (see the original post)...

I don't think I understand this comment Tom. We're all "piss takers"... I take a piss, you take a piss..., And I'm quite certain we all already saw the original post, so I don't think that needs to be said, however, you can always quote a specific part of a post to make your point understandable... Yes, maybe that's what you should do...

Tom

TSJHD1
05-16-2011, 10:11 PM
... Maybe theGC knew you boys were going to be stealing material and figured...

It's the old, "Radar Detector Detector..., Detector........, Detector................, Detector................."

Tom

TSJHD1
05-16-2011, 10:38 PM
...They understand fully the nature of custom building and know I don’t want to be charged for minor changes. If they are large or become excessive, then I understand.

Allan, I'm sure this method is practically implied and understood by all, since you have relationships in place.

But with this approach, somewhere a "line" must be drawn. Anything below that line is considered "minor", and above is "large" and/or "excessive."

A problem can easily arise if one party places that line at a different location than the other party.

I'm sure that both parties would agree on a "low-end" placement of that line, and a "high-end" placement. But there is no way you will both agree on the exact location. So the way to avoid a disagreement is to simply pay for any extras that the sub feels should be paid for.

My original issue in this thread was not really about extras, and whether they should all be charged for or not, but I titled it that way because the two are closely related.

I am on the side that everything extra should be paid for, because it is not about the dollar amount at all. It is about the fact that it is EXTRA.

If I had an employee use his truck to go get something at the hardware store, and he came to me and wanted gas money, I would NOT say, "It was only a short trip!" I would ask him how much he thinks it cost him. And I'd pay him.

Fair is fair, and it doesn't change because the amount in question is low (to you!)


You know, I would rather have someone give me an actual price, and not need to charge for extras because I ran the job well enough that there were none, as opposed to someone building unnecessary extras into their price.

Tom

jimAKAblue
05-16-2011, 11:05 PM
I gotta ask, are you waiting for your share of the Karmic lightning bolt to strike?

Cavalier attitude perhaps, but if relationship[s] is good then there is no need for a preemptive theft to keep the score even. If the GC didn't ask for those extras, did your partner give the lumber back? Maybe theGC knew you boys were going to be stealing material and figured y'all were reliable enough and did good enough work that for a couple hundred in material it wasn't worth the hassle and paperwork to prosecute when he could just take it out in a bit of added sweat, and help keep taxes and prison populations lower. Just a thought.

Yes, I was looking for my Karma bolt to strike. I musta missed it though. I'm not feeling it.

I think the important thing to understand is that respect and honor are a two way street. If the top dog on the totem pole thinks it's okay to steal from the little guy; I don't think he should be surprised if it comes back at him.

Personally, I've lost a fortune on changes that the builder's thought were trivial. When you add in the amount of money that I lost due to material shortages, mis management, in sufficient detail, etc, I'd expect the number to add up to more than a million dollars given historical rates of monetary appreciation. So, you might say that the door change cost me a million dollars.

I used to prove, using real numbers, how my apprentices would cost themselves a few dozen houses in their lifetime by putting in one extra spike in a partition buck. When you work so hard to achieve maximum efficiency, delivering a high quality product in a timely manner, the idea of giving back one door change just doesn't seem so right.

If the amount of money is so trivial, why wouldn't the builder just pay it? Either it's trivial or it's not. The builder can't have it both ways.

The other issue is that the builder will make $20 to 60k true profit on that house while the framers true profit is non existent. W$hy should a framer donate that extra $25 or $50 to the builders retirement while he isn't funding his own?

jimAKAblue
05-16-2011, 11:22 PM
"We all expect some changes. But we also expect to get paid for the ones that aren't our fault, and certainly don't plan on paying for the GC's mistakes."

That's the other big issue.

When we framed, we got blamed, and charged for everything! Every mistake we made, we paid for it our selves. Every mistake that the builder made, he wanted us to pay for it, one way or another.

Heres the most blatant screwing that we took from a corporate type project manager.

We framed a house according to the plans. A month later the site supe calls and tells us we forgot to put on a two story cantilevered bay window on the front of the house. He says it was on our plans. We were smart enough to keep our plans for at least a year (or until they faded away)

We bring our plans and show him. He says "oops, I screwed up. Can you put that bay on and put it on fast?". Yep, we go out of our way, send a couple guys over and put the bay on. We turn in our bill; probably $500 or something like that. The check never comes.

A month later, he calls and tells us we have to come over and tear off the bay and it's a rush job. We say, "cut us the check for building it and we'll be there tomorrow". He says " I can't pay you: the bay wasn't supposed to be there." We argue a bit and he says "If you don't come over immediately to tear it off for free, I'm going to pay the other carpenter in the sub to do it and I'll have to BACKCHARGE YOU". Of course he got a hearty F U!

They owed us money on another build. They did in fact backcharge us for using the other crew to tear it off and they got paid!

How f'ed is that? Do you think I would feel any sort of remorse hauling a ton of lumber out of that site?!!! They didn't have anything I wanted except my money but I sure as hell would have grabbed something if I saw something of value.

Now this is bringing up a ton of bad memories. I gotta stop thinking about it.

jimAKAblue
05-16-2011, 11:35 PM
Alan, I hope you don't take too much of this personally. I'm not judging you. I don't know enough about you that I could make it personal. When you tell me that you treat your guys right and they build it into their price, I believe you. I worked with builders that took care of my minor things and in exchange we overlooked some of their minor things. It all comes out in the wash. Hopefully.

I've also worked for builders that chiseled every penny they could out of me every chance they could. Those guys got the bill for a ten minute change order. I wouldn't move a stud for them for free.

jimAKAblue
05-16-2011, 11:41 PM
One more rant about getting screwed as a sub.

We did some work for a builder and he owed us money and he wouldn't/couldn't pay. My partner (this was a different guy) got fed up. The builder was hard to track down. Finally, he found the builder at his shop and he walked in and demanded pay. The builder said he didn't have any money and couldn't pay. My partner told him he'd have to give up something so he started looking around. He eventually spotted a nice commmercial landscaper's lanwmower and opened the garage doors, started it up. As the builder was stuttering, he rode the thing up onto his trailer and hauled it away!

The builder could have called the police but I think he knew it was probably better just to let the equipment go and call it even.

We still laugh about that and a few other things when we talk. I gotta give him a call now that I'm thinking about him again.

jimAKAblue
05-16-2011, 11:54 PM
One more funny one.

After the financial meltdown started back in MI, we were in a sub with a builder that was struggling. We were always very worried about getting paid and we used every trick in the book to get him to keep us current. We actually got all our money from him but we were the only trade that wasn't bitchin'.

The subdivision ground to a halt as the banks were tightening up credit. Eventually, the builder started losing lots. He still had a model and he would hide in it when any trade came looking for him. Then, in a bit of ironic luck (we needed the work), we got hired by a different builder to frame a house on the lot next door to the model. The bank was speccing a house just to sell the lot!

Anyways, my partner met up with the plumber in a bar and they got to telling war stories. The subject of getting paid came up and the plumber was really peeved. When he found out that we had gotten every penny, he was double peeved and kept up the complainin' all night. Finally, Frank gave him a little advice. He said "Look, you might as well stop your complaining. You're never going to get paid. The guy is broke and he's going through bankruptcy. If you want to feel better about it, why don't you ram your truck through his garage doors on the model?".

Frank was just joking around with him. Monday morning, he just about died laughing when he went to work and saw that BOTH GARAGE DOORS WERE RAMMED AND SMASHED on the model!

No one knows who did it but I have a strong suspicion that it might be the plumber?

MarkMc
05-17-2011, 02:25 AM
Yes, I was looking for my Karma bolt to strike. I musta missed it though. I'm not feeling it.

I think the important thing to understand is that respect and honor are a two way street.

The lightning bolt is apparently coming this weekend or something. GOt a white horse by any chance?

Stealin is stealin, no two ways around that one. Tom in his most crude and cryptic way way way pointed out the problem, most likely w/o knowing it.

[Sorry Tom, but Dorian is gonna pitch a fit over that one...]

Richard Birch
05-17-2011, 10:34 AM
Tom,

The 'I's have it. I, I, I....

I believe the key to a clear understanding is a complete and clear set of plans and specs. I shy away from folks that are too cheap to plan things properly.

I had to add “Consultant” to my biz cards and letterhead to keep from being leaned on for advice at every given chance. I add my policy on extras to all proposals and invoices; “If the Extra changes made are not at Richard Birch’s expense, there will be no Extra charges.” I also always include the plan approval dates on my proposals to keep the bids and plans current.

I never talk to the Builder’s customer about changes. If they try, I politely tell them the proper protocol is to get any extras approved through their builder.

I don’t quibble over minor changes; i.e. add or eliminate a door or window. But additional footage, raising ceilings, adding built-ins, dormers, fireplaces, changing window suppliers or changing door heights on every single opening, new house remodeling, etc. are not free.

I once had a builder tell me I could not charge him for the bonus room that was shown on the plans because it was “unfinished space”. I responded, “You know, that’s kind of funny because all I frame is unfinished space.” I don’t quote footage prices, I just bid the job.

R

Top Notch
05-17-2011, 12:18 PM
A GC should be on the job wrapping up the final punch list. As I am on my projects. I remember battling GC's when I did lots of roof and siding over things like roof vents or plumbing collars after the roof is done or light blocks through siding after wiring tails are exposed.
Excuse me but when I was done working dirt cheap I wasnt about to go back a month later to do these things unless that was paid extra.
Now I GC my own jobs so I clearly dont expect the spackler to come back and touch up all the drywall nicks after flooring or trim unless its a projected cost. There are little things all over that I take care of as the job closes.
My tile guy tried pulling this crap last job. 4 phone calls requesting a quote with the type of tile being installed, how its being sealed and installed and a picture. Never found the time till the job was done and he tried charging 400 more than I allowed. Go scratch! In my eyes he was very well informed to what I needed from him. How can I possibly bid anything if every sub changed the price after the job. Thats my job now, to plan out the needs of the job not lump sum and wing it as I go.

TSJHD1
05-17-2011, 07:13 PM
The thing about this entire discussion is whether or not both parties agree to deal with extras in the same manner.

If a GC does not charge the customer for extras, even if they add up to a large sum of money, that's his CHOICE!! And if he chooses not to bill for them in an effort to create a better relationship with the customer, fine. But that does not mean he has the right to insist his subs do the same.

But I still say that at some point the dollar amount could become high enough that he would change his mind.

When I was primarily a framer in the 90's, and worked mostly for one builder for over 5 years, I charged for everything I felt I was definitely entitled to get paid for. Change to the floor plan, even if it was small... Change unfinished attic space to living..., Return trips to install missing items..., Picking up materials even if it's on my way to the site, if it means I have to pay my 4 guys for 15 minutes while they waited for me..., etc.

And I had some sort of extras on most every house I framed. I got paid for all of them, even though other framers didn't.

I did 3 things that helped out:


First, I looked out for the builder in many ways. I would check the lumber list before I started, and make minor changes that saved him money. Like reducing the length of common rafters from 16's to 14's if that length would work. Using plywood off-cuts for stair treads and risers instead of cutting up new sheets. (We site-built stairs) I kept very good track of lumber that went back for credit, and gave the list to the builder so he could check it against the invoices. I would work out my work with the mech subs without involving the super. Take the leftover plywood clips to the next job.... And I would note these things on my invoices, with a "No Charge."

Second, I was fair with charges. If an attic over the garage got changed to a bonus room, and I had already given him a price to frame the house, or the attic was already done, I only charged him for my extra time to add the knee-walls and ceiling joists, drywall nailers, stairs to the room, etc, instead of billing for the difference in square-foot price. (Unfinished areas like this paid $1/SF; If it was heated living space it paid ~$3/Sf. So it could be the difference between an extra $2/SF, and the price for mine and my crew's time, which was always lower.)

But fair worked both ways. I was fair to myself also. If he screwed up and I had to fix it (like when he hired a hack framer for a complex house who got his first check and took off...and that house was supposed to be my next one, but he couldn't wait 2 weeks for me to get there)..., I would not give him a break on my rates, and if it involved overtime, I charged my markup on that as well.

And Third, I did great work. I was his top framer, sometimes out of as many as 6. New customers began to get tipped off from past clients to ask for me to frame their house. I made it a point to know the workmanship of the other framers he used, and I made sure my work was the best. I paid attention to the things that he mentioned as important to him as the builder, and I did them, even though they weren't as important to me. A clean job site was always important to him, but most of the other subs would complain that he didn't pay enough for them to keep the job clean!


And any time he questioned my billing for extras (which only happened in the beginning), I could always point to something that I did that benefited him.


And after writing this response, I could have easily handled the trim job punch out items in a way that would have been much more professional.


Tom

aerieandy
05-17-2011, 07:34 PM
You just touched on a point I was waiting to see if anyone else mentioned Tom. Like a lot of folks here I'm somewhere in the middle with extras and changes. In general I do as Richie does and keep the change orders and invoices on file. Depending on how things shake out at the end I will charge for them or not, but I always submit them. wether it's a GC or a HO they always see on my invoices work that was done even if there was no charge. I find that by the end of a job people sometimes forget all the "nickle and dime" stuff, especially if they didn't have to pay for it. When they see it on invoices with $0.00 next to it I think it helps them appreciate the fact that it didn't HAVE to be free. I guess it's just following through with communication.

TSJHD1
05-17-2011, 07:43 PM
I'm doing another trim job for this builder. Same kind of job: Townhouse with water damage. 2/3 of drywall removed and replaced, along with affected trim. Re-install the kitchen cabs.

Things I did differently:
I did a more thorough walk-through, listing every possible item he might want me to do.
I wrote all items in a scope of work, which accompanied my bid.
I have been communicating with the drywall sub directly (easy, since he's the builder I'm framing the house for!!) so I can make it easier on the GC-- less phone calls for him.
I will pick up the casing and make up the picture-frame interior window trims ahead of time, which will help get the job finished sooner, and thus, get the displaced customer back in their house a little sooner.

Now...., I missed something in my walk-through: I never looked up when I was in the 2nd floor bedroom. So I didn't see the pull-down attic stair that not only needs casing installed, but needs the whole unit replaced, as there is no door or stair, just the frame.

I know he expects me to handle this, but I didn't include it in my bid, and it's not listed in my scope either. And I don't want to do it for free, even though I've already given the price.

Honestly, I don't like it when subs give a bid and itemize what their price includes, because it means I have to go over it carefully to make sure they didn't miss anything. In fact, I will insist they write something in their quote that mentions the work they are doing, and has language that tells me their work will be complete. Like, The complete interior trim.

So I can see this one from both sides. So I call him and ask if he's in a generous mood. Lol. I tell him I simply never thought to look up, and missed the attic stair. But I remind him that I gave him a detailed scope with my bid. But I would agree to include the trim without increasing my bid, but the whole stair needs replacing, which is a bit more work. I ask him what he thinks.

He isn't all that concerned...asks how much extra...I say 80 dollars...he says no problem.


Good honest communication: 2 Minutes. Detailed bid: 25 minutes. Humble attitude combined with a willingness to absorb some of the cost: 4 minutes. No surprises at the end of the job for the GC, and no "justifications" from the sub: Priceless!

Tom

Overbuilders
05-17-2011, 07:44 PM
When they see it on invoices with $0.00 next to it I think it helps them appreciate the fact that it didn't HAVE to be free.

I do the same as well.

Tom Bainbridge
05-17-2011, 07:57 PM
having re read one of tsjd's posts on a reply i made about his original post

it is VERY clear that i need to explain the english english, vernacular that i used

"piss taker"

from what i read. tsjd asked for the additional crown he needed in good time. the gc didnt do it and when he eventually got round to it. it was a different size/shape

the gc was taking the piss out of tsjd, and i do not approve

the gc made tsjd wait (at his cost) then supplied the wrong material

AND then the gc expected tom to do the work a second time............ also at tom's expense

as far as im concerned the gc was an effing wanker and a piss taker to boot

REAL gc's (and subbies also) should act like men and accept when theyve effed up and take the cost on the chin

tsjd, is right, his gc was an *******


and while im "at it"

and "all fired up"


if the drawing shows a door 4 feet from the end of the wall and i frame it in that position

i aint going to move it to a new position at my expense........... guess what the gc who wants you to move it for "free"

i bet you eggs are eggs that the gc will charge the customer big time for the change

and then DEMANDS his subbie does it for nothing.......................

Richard Birch
05-17-2011, 08:15 PM
I did 3 things that helped out:


First, I looked out for the builder ..... And I would note these things on my invoices, with a "No Charge."

Second, I was fair with charges. ......


And Third, I did great work. A clean job site ..... keep the job clean!


Tom



Tom,

That is Salesmanship.

If you show your GC customer that you are doing things that help them sell, your efforts will reflect in his volume of business. That benifits everyone.

R

Tom Bainbridge
05-17-2011, 08:16 PM
tsjd, please clear your pm box

Robert Z
05-17-2011, 08:22 PM
Hey there Tom (from MD), check out the online British slang dictionary the next time Tom (from England) posts.Then you'll know all the variations of "piss" from "on the piss" to "take the piss" and everything in between!


http://www.peevish.co.uk/slang/t.htm

Did you get your MHIC?

TSJHD1
05-17-2011, 08:26 PM
Hey Tom,
Thanks for clearing that up!

I think the crown issue might have gotten a little misunderstood...

When I initially walked the job, there were 2 pieces of crown still installed, that met at an inside corner, and each piece had a return on the end. So I call that "4 pieces." (That's how I price trim- by the piece.)

I specifically asked him if that crown was to remain, and he said "Yes, the new crown is to match the existing."

When I told him I needed the crown, he said he'd pick it up at Lowe's that day. That didn't happen, because they didn't stock that profile. So when he did get me the crown a couple days later, it was from Lowe's!! He had tried a different vendor, and they too didn't stock it. So the story then became: "Yeah, she's getting an upgrade crown. I told you that!!"

I'm gonna start taking my voice recorder with me!!

So, I didn't have to "re-do" anything. Just R&R 4 pieces that I had not accounted for in my bid, and jump around more than I would have liked.


A bit more background info: He told me up front the job was on a tight budget...insurance job only pays so much...he needed to sub it b/c his guys are too inefficient... So I priced it tight, like production trim. But it ended up being like I was an employee of a custom GC who had too many balls in the air.

I learned a great deal, so that's a good thing.

Tom

ThingOfBeauty
05-17-2011, 08:30 PM
it is VERY clear that i need to explain the english english, vernacular that i used

"piss taker"



I knew I didn't understand what you meant first time around! thanks for the english lesson for those of us who don't know how to speak it!

TSJHD1
05-17-2011, 08:31 PM
tsjd, please clear your pm box

Sorry. Done.

Yes Robert.

Tom

TSJHD1
05-17-2011, 08:32 PM
The thing with Tom's slang made me wonder how much of our slang he doesn't get?

Tom

Robert Z
05-17-2011, 08:34 PM
Hey Tom-congrats!

I got the DC license last year, and I'll never complain again about anything I have to do in VA and MD. It was a royal PITA dealing with the whole DC process.

Andrew R.
05-17-2011, 08:57 PM
I'm adding in to some Brits house now.. the cooker, the luge, I hardly jolly well know what they're talking about half the time..

Alaskan Son
05-18-2011, 01:40 AM
I do the same as well.

Me three. It helps the GC or client to know when they're getting extras free of charge, and it can also help get it off my mind so to speak. Once I say its no charge, I don't have to worry about "should I charge, should I not charge". No more stress:)

Allan Edwards
05-18-2011, 07:07 AM
I never talk to the Builder’s customer about changes. If they try, I politely tell them the proper protocol is to get any extras approved through their builder.

I don’t quibble over minor changes; i.e. add or eliminate a door or window. But additional footage, raising ceilings, adding built-ins, dormers, fireplaces, changing window suppliers or changing door heights on every single opening, new house remodeling, etc. are not free.

Very well put.

What I've noticed is with the down market those who have work to offer to subs and vendors are in a position to negotiate favorable terms and conditions for themselves. I think this happens every 15 years :)

jimAKAblue
05-18-2011, 08:12 AM
"A bit more background info: He told me up front the job was on a tight budget...insurance job only pays so much...''

If this was an insurance job and he had to replace those two extra pieces of crown because he couldn't find a suitable match, he could file a supplement request and get compensated for them.

We love finding things that were left out on our insurance jobs. It ALWAYS means we will make more money. So, the GC was being a bit greedy by not willingly paying you for the extra crown. He'll supplement for the materials and labor on that crown and pocket all of it.

Hmmmm.

Tell me again why subs should toss in freebees?

Overbuilders
05-18-2011, 08:33 AM
A bit more background info: He told me up front the job was on a tight budget...insurance job only pays so much...he needed to sub it b/c his guys are too inefficient... So I priced it tight, like production trim. But it ended up being like I was an employee of a custom GC who had too many balls in the air.

Hold on - insurance work only pays so much, his guys are inefficient and knows he'll lose money using them, so he needs to find a sucker who'll risk losing money instead of him? Tom, Tom, Tom...

jimAKAblue
05-18-2011, 08:53 AM
Hold on - insurance work only pays so much, his guys are inefficient and knows he'll lose money using them, so he needs to find a sucker who'll risk losing money instead of him? Tom, Tom, Tom...

That's not necessarily a correct conclusion. You are assuming that both crews produce equally.

I often did jobs for a GC that also had their own carpenters on payroll. We were significantly more efficient and could turn a profit whereas his guys would cause him to lose big time.

Overbuilders
05-18-2011, 08:57 AM
I often did jobs for a GC that also had their own carpenters on payroll. We were significantly more efficient and could turn a profit whereas his guys would cause him to lose big time.

So they employ carpenters because...?

Tom Bainbridge
05-18-2011, 02:12 PM
i agree with richard birch but go a step further

when working as a subbie, NEVER ever talk about costs for extras (not even time) and being obvious, NEVER EVER give your business card to your main contractor's client

there is only ever one exception.... when the main contractor invites/allows you to talk to the client

two contractors i work for tell me its ok to talk about possible extras, but only if approached. i treat it with the same caution, no money or time line talk

Lavrans
05-18-2011, 03:28 PM
Working as a sub the GC has to pay me to not give my card out to anyone who asks for it. Certainly anyone who wants me to work for cheap- and that means anyone who asks me to drop my price- isn't paying me well enough for me to not look at everyone as potential clients.

It's at least another 20-30% to buy my right to sell my business & services.

Tom Bainbridge
05-18-2011, 03:50 PM
lav

altough my post sounded like it

i didnt mean to say dont ever give your card out

edit....... you dont always need a card

as a subbie your van might be sign written..................

jimAKAblue
05-18-2011, 04:28 PM
So they employ carpenters because...?

Their carpenters were better suited for commercial tenant type work. When a big job came up where they needed to get something done, they would bring in us as a sub. Sometimes they'd want us to work alongside their guys in an hourly billing system. We would do that. I can attest that their carpenters were useless. I wouldn't have hired any of them at apprentice wages and yet they were getting full journeymen wages.

Every business has their own style. It worked for them because the vast majority of their contracts were cost plus. I operated on a fixed bid basis. The difference between the two business models is substantial. Often, when I was working along side one particular foreman, he would slow me down. He had a quota in his mind to meet and he wouldn't allow any of us to surpass it. His reasoning was that if we could produce that much on this day, he'd be required to produce it every day.

jimAKAblue
05-18-2011, 04:32 PM
Working as a sub the GC has to pay me to not give my card out to anyone who asks for it. Certainly anyone who wants me to work for cheap- and that means anyone who asks me to drop my price- isn't paying me well enough for me to not look at everyone as potential clients.

It's at least another 20-30% to buy my right to sell my business & services.

As a GC, you sound like the kind of sub that I would never want to work with.

If you didn't like the price you agreed to, and you think it is "working cheap", why did you offer or agree to the price?

Lavrans
05-18-2011, 05:23 PM
What I'm saying is that a GC is going to have to pay a premium if I'm supposed to become invisible.

If you work with me a lot, pay me to be "exclusive", etc, then we get along swimmingly. I don't do production work in large part because it makes me a de facto employee of the GC(s). Then if work with the GC(s) dries up you're sitting there with no work and no clients.

I can't be held captive to the GC and his work stream unless they're paying for that. I think most GC's don't pay for exclusivity, and furthermore most don't deserve it.

In the homes I tend to work in and the few GC's I do work with this hasn't been a problem. But then, I'm also fair with their clients- if they call me up to GC a big project I will talk to the original contractor before agreeing to the job. Most of the time the clients assume that I will be more expensive than that other GC, so if they're calling me it's because he doesn't have time for the job or messed up in someday so that they don't trust Jim anymore.

I don't call and try to steal customers. Most customers like me and my work. A production GC, or some guy I've never worked with who wants me to do framing, trim, cabinets and wants it done cheap- he hasn't earned anything more than satisfactory completion of the job- and that's all he's paid for.

Mike864
05-18-2011, 05:27 PM
Robert,

Piece of advice for ya'....don't EVER let your DC license expire. You only want that special reaming once....well, you don't really WANT it, but you know what I mean. DC is a bitch and a half!

Mike

Lavrans
05-18-2011, 05:28 PM
And why do you assume that your subs don't have a right to talk to the client and, if the client wants, to give them a card.

BTW- when I GC a job, the client gets a folder with the names and business cards of all the subs who work on that job. I think they deserve recognition. They pretty much always call me to let me know if the client contacts them even though I don't ask them to. The clients who start using them or, more often, other contractors are clients who I knew I wouldn't be working with again.

Robert Z
05-18-2011, 10:44 PM
Robert,

Piece of advice for ya'....don't EVER let your DC license expire. You only want that special reaming once....well, you don't really WANT it, but you know what I mean. DC is a bitch and a half!

Mike

Hi Mike, It cost a staggering amount of money to get fully legal in DC. I'm not sure it was worth it. I'll have to decide in another year, when it's time to fork over the big cash for the bond renewal.

It's been quite an experience.

Alaskan Son
05-19-2011, 01:42 AM
As a GC, you sound like the kind of sub that I would never want to work with.



I agree.

Lavrans,

This is actually a major concern I would have. Most of us spend a lot of time finding good subs, knowing who to call, etc. and its a big part of what we get paid for. How would you feel if one of your employees started giving their name and number to your clients and started doing their work himself taking the work from you? Basically the same thing. I think the only exception is if the GC gives you his permission. It is your right, but I think its unprofessional and immoral. Just my opinion.

Lavrans
05-19-2011, 02:37 AM
I agree.

Lavrans,

This is actually a major concern I would have. Most of us spend a lot of time finding good subs, knowing who to call, etc. and its a big part of what we get paid for. How would you feel if one of your employees started giving their name and number to your clients and started doing their work himself taking the work from you? Basically the same thing. I think the only exception is if the GC gives you his permission. It is your right, but I think its unprofessional and immoral. Just my opinion.

How is it immoral?

Sorry, but I've been in business long enough to know the game. I've got clients, I know the whole rigamarole. I don't solicit work, but if the client wants my name and number, they will get it.

I don't care if my subs are giving away their numbers. Not even a little bit- it's not a concern of mine in the least. Why? Because my customers are with me because of the work I do- if one of my subs can "take" them away, then I'm not doing my job well enough or the work isn't what normally do. I have had employees give their numbers to clients- no employee has ever "taken work" from me. One went on to do some work for that client; it wasn't work I would have done, the client learned how much work it was to manage that employee and they are still clients.

If that's really a concern of yours, then perhaps you should work more on your customer relations. Anyone who can have their clients "stolen" doesn't have a good relationship with their clients. It's as simple as that.

And I do work as a GC. I have a number of subs I use. I know how to get clients and how to get work. None of that's a mystery, and I know exactly how hard you and others work to get their subs and their clients.

I stand by what I say- if you want exclusivity, you have to pay for it. You don't get it, and certainly haven't earned it merely by "being the GC". To earn that respect and deference you have to be very good at what you do, you have to sell the client on why they should pay me and the other subs a premium, with the understanding that they will be getting a job that's worth more still than what they pay for, even though it's more expensive. You do that and you are really acting as a GC and have earned deference.

Until and unless you're doing that- you don't deserve anything more than to have the job completed to the specs. Anything else- nope. I don't believe in royalty, this is a capitalist country- you want those benefits, you have to pay for them.

Richard Birch
05-19-2011, 08:40 AM
How is it immoral?



Ethics!

It is universally understood that subs don’t steal clients and clients don’t steal subs. It is an unethical breach of trust to do so either way. While clients are free to shop around, they are not free to solicit services in your place of business from your subs or employees in an attempt to get better pricing. And from the other view, your subs and employees are not supposed to sneak behind your back thinking they could possibly make a little more doing the same exact job without including you in the transaction.

“Dirty back biters”, is what I call them.

It’s kind of funny but my subs and employees never do the same quality work under their own supervision as they do under mine thus the clients do not receive the same quality service. It happens all too often and they both deserve what they get, unemployed and trouble.

R

jimAKAblue
05-19-2011, 09:29 AM
"It is universally understood that subs don’t steal clients and clients don’t steal subs. It is an unethical breach of trust to do so either way."

I'd also like to mention that we didn't steal each other's employees.

It's really not a matter of "Anyone who can have their clients "stolen" doesn't have a good relationship with their clients. It's as simple as that.". It's more a matter of presenting a unified front to the client. A unified front gives the client confidence that the "team" is working together with one unified goal; the client's best interests.

As a sub, I always told inquisitors that they could hire me through the GC for any project. In fact, I turned down many homeowner's requests to "look at their plans" or to give them "bids". The GC kept me busy. I didn't have any "on the side" time.

Now I'm the GC. I don't hire subs that do GC work. If you want to play on my team, you can refer the GC work to me. That will make our "team" stronger and help us all to prosper.

dave_k
05-19-2011, 09:56 AM
I agree.

Lavrans,

This is actually a major concern I would have. Most of us spend a lot of time finding good subs, knowing who to call, etc. and its a big part of what we get paid for. How would you feel if one of your employees started giving their name and number to your clients and started doing their work himself taking the work from you? Basically the same thing. I think the only exception is if the GC gives you his permission. It is your right, but I think its unprofessional and immoral. Just my opinion.

This attitude is just petty. I've heard this before and in every case the GC was small, petty and insecure in their business. They have an air of superiority and a condescending attitude toward their subs and employees.

A subcontractor has an agreement with a GC and is bound by the terms of that agreement. I would never talk to a client about work or extras done under my sub-contract agreement. I would never render my opinions about the GC or their employees to a client. It is important for all parties under the agreement to act professionally and honour the terms of the agreement. That's the extent of it though

I have no problem at all soliciting work outside the sub contract agreement though. I have worked for a lot of large very successful contractors who have recommended me or otherwise directed me to work with their clients outside of our agreement. It's never hurt their business or my relationship with the GC in fact it's made our relationship stronger.

I've also regularly referred my own employees and subs to work for clients outside our agreement. If they are spending my time chasing down work on my time or cutting me down to get work then we have a problem. I have no problem at all with guys that have ambition and drive who want to make some money or better themselves outside of our agreement

If you don't have enough to offer a client that you're worried about subs using you as a stepping stone on the way to the top then maybe the sub should be doing your job.

The days of indentured servitude are long gone. What's next... getting paid in company script and spending it at the company store?

MarkMc
05-19-2011, 10:26 AM
It is funny how we went from stealing units of lumber to the ethics/morality of 'stealing' employee's/clients. One is an actual theft the later is what's been done since there were third parties to do it.

Allan Edwards
05-19-2011, 10:35 AM
I don't lose a lot of sleep over subs doing work for clients. Most wouldn't do it without asking me first, just doesn't seem to come up very much.

I have seen in about 1 in a 1,000 houses a potential client try to hire a project manager to build their house. I've seen this occur 3-4 times with other builders, primarily when the builder was in trouble and about to go under. This is something else I don't lose sleep over.

Lavrans
05-19-2011, 11:03 AM
Ethics!

It is universally understood that subs don’t steal clients and clients don’t steal subs. It is an unethical breach of trust to do so either way. While clients are free to shop around, they are not free to solicit services in your place of business from your subs or employees in an attempt to get better pricing. And from the other view, your subs and employees are not supposed to sneak behind your back thinking they could possibly make a little more doing the same exact job without including you in the transaction.

BS. Ethics requires RECIPROCITY. What you're describing isn't reciprocal and only benefits the GC. It is both immoral and unethical.

If you're beating me down on price, you aren't being ethical and don't deserve anything. If you accept my price, then you get that reciprocity, if you have outlined that as a term of the contract.

Alaskan Son
05-19-2011, 11:47 AM
I have worked for a lot of large very successful contractors who have recommended me or otherwise directed me to work with their clients outside of our agreement. It's never hurt their business or my relationship with the GC in fact it's made our relationship stronger.

I've also regularly referred my own employees and subs to work for clients outside our agreement.

Dave,
In both of these cases there was mutual consent.

Allen Edwards,
I agree, this rarely happens. Its because most people understand its wrong.

To the rest of you who think its okay to solicit your own business on someone elses job,
If your such great contractors why do you need to do such a thing? What if both parties do a good job? All you do is add a problem.

What if the GC does specialty work as well sometimes? Take trimwork for example. He does good trimwork but usually has a sub take care of it. That sub gives his card to the GC's client and the client hires the sub to trim out another job while the GC maybe has no work. Is that okay in your mind?

I just don't think you guys have thought through all the consequences of what you're doing.

I don't think its petty. Its not okay anywhere else in the business world for one business to walk onto another businesses property and start soliciting without consent.

dave_k
05-19-2011, 12:06 PM
Dave,
In both of these cases there was mutual consent.

I used those as examples. The consent doesn't matter.

Subcontractors are tied to a general contract by a sub-contract agreement and nothing else. There is nothing contractually or ethically binding him or the client to the GC outside of that agreement. The only thing that I see that's unethical about this whole scenario is that a GC thinks he can have some sort of control of how a sub does business out outside of a specific agreement.

Put the shoe on the other foot. Is it unethical if you decide to use a different sub on another job or do the subs work in house? If that subs bid was the difference between getting a job and losing a job would you carry him anyway or lose money or lose the job out of "ethics" or loyalty?

parkwest
05-19-2011, 12:15 PM
In some states you are required by law to furnish the client with the name, number and address of all subs and vendors upon completion of work.

One time, long ago, I heard that the client was planning on building the same house we were building for him, for his sister on a lot just down the road. I heard about it from my subs.

Richard Birch
05-19-2011, 12:21 PM
BS. Ethics requires RECIPROCITY. What you're describing isn't reciprocal and only benefits the GC. It is both immoral and unethical.

If you're beating me down on price, you aren't being ethical and don't deserve anything. If you accept my price, then you get that reciprocity, if you have outlined that as a term of the contract.

BS?

RECIPROCITY?

Is that like Mutual respect? Or The Golden Rule? Or maybe Honor amongst thieves? Karma?

I don’t understand what you think I said that is unethical or immoral? (And I won’t lose any sleep over it either.)

Are you saying that agreeing to take a job at a lower negotiated price than you originally quoted gives you the right to yank the rug out from under me and take a over a steady business relationship with my client? I got your RECIPROCITY number now. Get Lost!

*Also, on the subject of theft; If anything that anyone took as compensation for an unpaid debt was not reported to the police as a theft, then it wasn’t a theft. You can recover it if you dare, but not with the help of the law (legally) unless a report is filed.

Richard Birch
05-19-2011, 12:23 PM
I don't lose a lot of sleep over subs doing work for clients. Most wouldn't do it without asking me first, just doesn't seem to come up very much.


I don't sweat the little stuff either. That's Not what I'm about.

MarkMc
05-19-2011, 12:24 PM
One time, long ago, I heard that the client was planning on building the same house we were building for him, for his sister on a lot just down the road. I heard about it from my subs.

Was that a problem for you? If so, how?

dave_k
05-19-2011, 12:50 PM
I

One time, long ago, I heard that the client was planning on building the same house we were building for him, for his sister on a lot just down the road. I heard about it from my subs.

I was surprised one to find what was essentially one of my plans being built by a competitor for a client I was working with 20 lots away from the lot I was trying to sell the client.

he built it for a couple of $k less than my price and the client had the gall to complain to me after she moved in about the quality of construction she got.

it was pretty common for clients to come through the model and walk away with the cut sheet of a model and shop it around the subdivision if they liked it.

Lavrans
05-19-2011, 02:29 PM
BS?

RECIPROCITY?

Is that like Mutual respect? Or The Golden Rule? Or maybe Honor amongst thieves? Karma?

I don’t understand what you think I said that is unethical or immoral? (And I won’t lose any sleep over it either.)

Are you saying that agreeing to take a job at a lower negotiated price than you originally quoted gives you the right to yank the rug out from under me and take a over a steady business relationship with my client? I got your RECIPROCITY number now. Get Lost!

*Also, on the subject of theft; If anything that anyone took as compensation for an unpaid debt was not reported to the police as a theft, then it wasn’t a theft. You can recover it if you dare, but not with the help of the law (legally) unless a report is filed.

Wow- so, in your world all a sub has to do to "yank the rug" and take over a steady business relationship is to give your client a card if asked?

It's fascinating how some assume that giving your card to the homeowner is the equivalent of theft but have no problem with asking for lower prices and shopping bids.

Obviously you do "sweat the small stuff".

jimAKAblue
05-19-2011, 03:36 PM
LOL! I think this thread pretty much sums up the construction business in general. We'll cannibalize each other until we've beaten the price down so low that NO ONE CAN SURVIVE.

"If you're beating me down on price, you aren't being ethical and don't deserve anything. If you accept my price, then you get that reciprocity, if you have outlined that as a term of the contract."

I've been "beaten down in price" many, many times as a sub but I've always had a choice to walk. No one ever forced me to take their lower offer so I did so willingly with the proper spirit.
I never felt like he had stolen anything from me because I understood that negotiations are part of business.

Once we started doing business together, I immediately assumed the proper role in the team. I recognized the GC as the alpha and worked on the team with the proper team spirit. My goal was to make that GC look good in any way I could. I took pride in my work and also went about my business knowing that if I helped him get more business, I'd have more work.

Is it too hard to understand that if we are on a GC's job and we offer our services direct that we are suddenly competing with the guy that is feeding us? I always lived by the adage "Don't bite the hand that feeds you."

In my early years, I was young and dumb and willing to do work, as a sub, for homeowners. But, I wouldn't steal any from the builder. I had homeowners come up and ask me to do add ons to their existing houses in their subs. I would typically defer to the builder and tell the homeowner that I would have to ask the GC for permission to "do some work on the side". After I had the GC tell me that I shouldn't agree to work "on the side", I gave it some thought, saw their point and simply pointed all future work to them.

Funny thing...often, when I'd point the work to the GC, I'd end up doing the job anyways!

jimAKAblue
05-19-2011, 03:43 PM
I was surprised one to find what was essentially one of my plans being built by a competitor for a client I was working with 20 lots away from the lot I was trying to sell the client.

he built it for a couple of $k less than my price and the client had the gall to complain to me after she moved in about the quality of construction she got.

it was pretty common for clients to come through the model and walk away with the cut sheet of a model and shop it around the subdivision if they liked it.

If the subs were properly selling their services at retail prices direct to homeowners, the homeowner wouldn't have been able to save any money.

I think this discussion explains why most construction really isn't a viable business. It's more or less a glorified job, complete with more hours, lower pay and zero pension.

dave_k
05-19-2011, 04:14 PM
I think this thread pretty much sums up the construction business in general. We'll cannibalize each other until we've beaten the price down so low that NO ONE CAN SURVIVE.
I remember back in 1987 or so, building boom going on, the drywallers had enough of getting shafted on the piece rate and decided to get together and set prices among themselves. These guys were the "subs" who worked for subs, the board crews and tapers.

The going rate ranged rate for tapers was .09 - .12 cents/ SF The tapers got together and set their price at .12 cents/ft. You could go over that rate but no one works below it. So they go back to work and in no time someone sees an opening to get a townhouse project and undercuts everyone at .10 cents. A couple of weeks later they were all working for .08 to .10 cents/sf.

Fast forward to 2005, another construction boom in full swing. I'm installing millwork in a golf clubhouse and one morning all the tapers get in their trucks and take off. I ask what's up and someone says "they're meeting to set the piece rate" "they're tired of everybody undercutting each other". What do you want to bet the outcome of that meeting was?



I think this discussion explains why most construction really isn't a viable business. It's more or less a glorified job, complete with more hours, lower pay and zero pension. for a lot of guys it's a lifestyle. I have a UBC pension. Even if I didn't have the cash to pay myself a wage I always paid into the pension and put the max away for retirement. it's tax free income

Lavrans
05-19-2011, 06:13 PM
I see that you guys are very confused about what I've written.

1. I didn't say I make sales pitches on someone else's job- that's the confused inference of some who didn't want to read the words on the screen and chose to put in your own interpretation.

2. To repeat- I don't see a problem with giving a card to a homeowner if they request it. That's not stealing or even interfering with anyone's relationships. That's the person's prerogative and my right- if the GC doesn't want that to be acceptable they need to make it clear and they have to do something in return in order for it to be equitable.

3. Price problems for subs come entirely from the GC's, but are accepted and bolstered by subs.

4. Nothing in the world is really very difficult to learn to do except for getting past the fear of the unknown. Well, and getting past your own prejudices.

aerieandy
05-19-2011, 09:39 PM
Lavrans, I totally agree. I key word I saw in a post (somewhere back there) was solicit. Giving someone a card or info after having been asked is much different than approaching the client and offering said card. I'll agree that to run around on someone else's jobsite hustling work is pretty underhanded, but if asked about future work I would provide the card and not lose a wink of sleep either.

jimAKAblue
05-19-2011, 10:34 PM
Lavrans, I totally agree. I key word I saw in a post (somewhere back there) was solicit. Giving someone a card or info after having been asked is much different than approaching the client and offering said card. I'll agree that to run around on someone else's jobsite hustling work is pretty underhanded, but if asked about future work I would provide the card and not lose a wink of sleep either.

Yum Yum, eat um up!

Tom Bainbridge
05-20-2011, 06:29 PM
jimAKA

if i understood "yum yum eat em up" id give an answer

altough i suspect it aint no endorsement

topcoatfinishes
05-21-2011, 12:27 PM
My thoughts on the topic are that it depends in a situation.

If it is a contractor that I have built a long term relationship with (we have some 5-10 yr relationships), then it should be a two way street. We should be sitting on the same side of the table, solving problems together, as the solutions should be in both of our best interest.

That's the minority by far. Often the experience is more that you are just expected to eat it. I'm not into that kind of eating. If the contractor wants my service, and I think the relationship has long term potential and is a good fit both ways, then I consider it somewhat my reosonsibility to educate him on what it's going to take for us to work together, in terms of work conditions, reasonable scheduling, timely payment etc.

No one wants to be a nickel and dimer, and no one wants to be nickel and dimed. It's a communication issue.

jimAKAblue
05-21-2011, 01:22 PM
jimAKA

if i understood "yum yum eat em up" id give an answer

altough i suspect it aint no endorsement

I'll repeat: "We'll cannibalize each other until we've beaten the price down so low that NO ONE CAN SURVIVE.
"

aerieandy
05-24-2011, 12:32 PM
Since when is competition in a free market "cannibalism"? Competition is what drives innovation, efficiency and quality. While price is a large aspect of competition and sadly a determining factor for many people and company's it doesn't have to be. If a company is competing on price alone, than I can maybe see your analogy, but that company is in trouble anyway and already racing to the bottom. Choose to compete on higher ground like quality, dependability, durability or originality and a little competition is a good thing.

David Meiland
05-24-2011, 12:48 PM
"Cannibalize" is definitely a harsh word. Competition is what sets prices.Construction has a lot of very short-term thinkers, guys whose main question is how they can get a few dollars today to pay for what they spent yesterday, or last week or last month. There are a lot of people out there (tradesmen included) who can only afford housing if it's priced at the very bottom--if it's higher than that they need to become renters instead, or start inter-generational households (i.e. move back in with Mom). There is barely any money to be made in residential construction. We are a nation of very financially un-savvy people. For that matter, we're collectively quite dumb on a lot of issues.

jimAKAblue
06-09-2011, 12:45 PM
Spam Alert

David Meiland
06-09-2011, 12:50 PM
Jim, push the little red triangle to the right of the post # and report spam. It will get removed fairly quickly

jimAKAblue
06-09-2011, 10:05 PM
Thanks David. I never noticed that before.

Does it work for trolls too?

David Meiland
06-09-2011, 10:47 PM
Probably not. A live person has to review your tag and decide what to do. I don't know of anyone who has been banned, but spam is deleted.

TWhite
06-10-2011, 07:42 AM
I think several have been banned for spamming.