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Still Looking For Advice, Apparently I Need To Ask The Question In A Different Way

 
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Old 03-04-2018, 05:05 PM   #1
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Still Looking For Advice, Apparently I Need To Ask The Question In A Different Way


So the mods shut me down on my prior thread. Apparently they thought it was "marketing research by a service provider" which is disallowed. What I am is really a starting out GC that has formed a business and is starting to realize that the value I bring really isn't my construction expertise, but really I'm trying to figure out if I should stay a GC or flip around and just close sales for other contractors (that, realistically, I'd be farming the work out to anyway).

I think this is a valuable discussion. Let's see if the mods shut me down again, I would really prefer that they didn't. KAP and Sparehair had some good input before we were shut down.

So, to pick up the prior thread (if it is allowed), I realized at some point in this process that GC's basically aren't good at marketing. For the most part they're terrible at it. Which is why I wanted to become a GC in the first place -- I have a LOT of leads, and a history of sales and marketing. I can swing a hammer, but I make more money on the telephone and with a pen and paper. But I'm just not a construction guy, I'm a business guy, so I'm sub'ing out all the work and hoping that my subs can get the job done, and taking all the liability on myself.

So, again, the business question is, if I can change my business model around so that I'm just feeding other GC's orders instead, what is that worth, what can I charge for that, and it this worthwhile? I can repost the original thread and discussion if this thread survives, but the short story is that I get leads daily for 10-15k jobs and I can close way more than I can work. I know the general pricing, I can confirm that it is within the client's budget, take pictures, and do everything to get a deal done that is 90% closed. I just can't handle the volume. I want to hand this stuff off, but I also want to get paid for my work handing over a 90% sold deal.

And please, mods, I didn't see any complaints about my question. I think this is a valid question for the Marketing and Sales forum, and if someone doesn't want to participate, then so be it. But if you can leave the thread open, then maybe we can all learn a little. Shut the thread down if the general public gets annoyed, but it's not like I'm Angies List advertising that I can make them money.
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Old 03-04-2018, 05:21 PM   #2
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Re: Still Looking For Advice, Apparently I Need To Ask The Question In A Different Way


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Originally Posted by dovehunter View Post
So the mods shut me down on my prior thread. Apparently they thought it was "marketing research by a service provider" which is disallowed. What I am is really a starting out GC that has formed a business and is starting to realize that the value I bring really isn't my construction expertise, but really I'm trying to figure out if I should stay a GC or flip around and just close sales for other contractors (that, realistically, I'd be farming the work out to anyway).

I think this is a valuable discussion. Let's see if the mods shut me down again, I would really prefer that they didn't. KAP and Sparehair had some good input before we were shut down.

So, to pick up the prior thread (if it is allowed), I realized at some point in this process that GC's basically aren't good at marketing. For the most part they're terrible at it. Which is why I wanted to become a GC in the first place -- I have a LOT of leads, and a history of sales and marketing. I can swing a hammer, but I make more money on the telephone and with a pen and paper. But I'm just not a construction guy, I'm a business guy, so I'm sub'ing out all the work and hoping that my subs can get the job done, and taking all the liability on myself.

So, again, the business question is, if I can change my business model around so that I'm just feeding other GC's orders instead, what is that worth, what can I charge for that, and it this worthwhile? I can repost the original thread and discussion if this thread survives, but the short story is that I get leads daily for 10-15k jobs and I can close way more than I can work. I know the general pricing, I can confirm that it is within the client's budget, take pictures, and do everything to get a deal done that is 90% closed. I just can't handle the volume. I want to hand this stuff off, but I also want to get paid for my work handing over a 90% sold deal.

And please, mods, I didn't see any complaints about my question. I think this is a valid question for the Marketing and Sales forum, and if someone doesn't want to participate, then so be it. But if you can leave the thread open, then maybe we can all learn a little. Shut the thread down if the general public gets annoyed, but it's not like I'm Angies List advertising that I can make them money.
General contractor does everything and is also used for contractors that use subcontractors.

You will have problems if you write ball park bids. The gcs will think the price is too low and the clients will think the ball park was a lie when the gc comes in higher.

It's is possible that you have a new model that will work. It is far more probable that existing businesses have already identified the most profitable, consistent and lowest risk ways to operate.

I would recommend you either build websites and use that to pimp seo for residual income, gc with subs performing all work, or run your on gc business.

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Old 03-04-2018, 06:03 PM   #3
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Re: Still Looking For Advice, Apparently I Need To Ask The Question In A Different Way


Line up subs, hire project managers, and take all the business you can.

If you want to sell prequalified leads, the value varies widely.
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Old 03-04-2018, 06:10 PM   #4
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Re: Still Looking For Advice, Apparently I Need To Ask The Question In A Different Way


There is another possibility here. Work with a GC to get his estimating method, then have a sales commission agreement with him. He'll actually be approving the estimate and signing the contract, you get a sales commission. You'll have to have a formal agreement with the GC and a process to follow that works for you both.

Obviously, you could do this with multiple GCs.
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Old 03-04-2018, 06:17 PM   #5
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Re: Still Looking For Advice, Apparently I Need To Ask The Question In A Different Way


Roofers, Gutters, Insulation, other sub trades around here have used a "Sales" guy approach to good effect.

Basically, you sell the job on their behalf, and get a flat fee. My roofing sub offered me a $500 per roof finders fee for every roof replacement I could bring to him. I never took him up on it, but that kind of work is out there.
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Old 03-04-2018, 06:43 PM   #6
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Re: Still Looking For Advice, Apparently I Need To Ask The Question In A Different Way


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So, again, the business question is, if I can change my business model around so that I'm just feeding other GC's orders
Gosh, such hard question.

Wait, except for Home Depot, Menards, Lowes, and about 20,000 other huckster TV advertising paper contractors - No, never heard of such a thing.
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Old 03-04-2018, 06:49 PM   #7
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Re: Still Looking For Advice, Apparently I Need To Ask The Question In A Different Way


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Originally Posted by dovehunter View Post
So the mods shut me down on my prior thread. Apparently they thought it was "marketing research by a service provider" which is disallowed. What I am is really a starting out GC that has formed a business and is starting to realize that the value I bring really isn't my construction expertise, but really I'm trying to figure out if I should stay a GC or flip around and just close sales for other contractors (that, realistically, I'd be farming the work out to anyway).

I think this is a valuable discussion. Let's see if the mods shut me down again, I would really prefer that they didn't. KAP and Sparehair had some good input before we were shut down.

So, to pick up the prior thread (if it is allowed), I realized at some point in this process that GC's basically aren't good at marketing. For the most part they're terrible at it. Which is why I wanted to become a GC in the first place -- I have a LOT of leads, and a history of sales and marketing. I can swing a hammer, but I make more money on the telephone and with a pen and paper. But I'm just not a construction guy, I'm a business guy, so I'm sub'ing out all the work and hoping that my subs can get the job done, and taking all the liability on myself.

So, again, the business question is, if I can change my business model around so that I'm just feeding other GC's orders instead, what is that worth, what can I charge for that, and it this worthwhile? I can repost the original thread and discussion if this thread survives, but the short story is that I get leads daily for 10-15k jobs and I can close way more than I can work. I know the general pricing, I can confirm that it is within the client's budget, take pictures, and do everything to get a deal done that is 90% closed. I just can't handle the volume. I want to hand this stuff off, but I also want to get paid for my work handing over a 90% sold deal.

And please, mods, I didn't see any complaints about my question. I think this is a valid question for the Marketing and Sales forum, and if someone doesn't want to participate, then so be it. But if you can leave the thread open, then maybe we can all learn a little. Shut the thread down if the general public gets annoyed, but it's not like I'm Angies List advertising that I can make them money.
how is that not market research?
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Old 03-04-2018, 07:24 PM   #8
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Re: Still Looking For Advice, Apparently I Need To Ask The Question In A Different Way


Okay, I'll let the thread stay open for a bit so that you can respond to Bull Trout's question above.

As for closing threads with no member complaints, we try to be proactive here. If it gets to the point of people having to complain for action to take place, that's an indication we've been slacking.
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Old 03-04-2018, 08:53 PM   #9
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Re: Still Looking For Advice, Apparently I Need To Ask The Question In A Different Way


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...but the short story is that I get leads daily for 10-15k jobs and I can close way more than I can work. I know the general pricing, I can confirm that it is within the client's budget, take pictures, and do everything to get a deal done that is 90% closed. I just can't handle the volume. I want to hand this stuff off, but I also want to get paid for my work handing over a 90% sold deal.
Can you explain how you not only know the "general pricing" of multiple companies you have no current relationship with, but how it's "90% closed" when they still have to meet with the customer to verify the info you provided and be sure nothing was missed, establish a working relationship, sign contracts, drawings/permits, etc...

I think you're misunderstanding what the word "closed" encompasses...
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Old 03-05-2018, 05:44 AM   #10
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Re: Still Looking For Advice, Apparently I Need To Ask The Question In A Different Way


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Can you explain how you not only know the "general pricing" of multiple companies you have no current relationship with, but how it's "90% closed" when they still have to meet with the customer to verify the info you provided and be sure nothing was missed, establish a working relationship, sign contracts, drawings/permits, etc...

I think you're misunderstanding what the word "closed" encompasses...
Well Duh.... That's why he started a new thread!
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Old 03-05-2018, 09:01 AM   #11
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Re: Still Looking For Advice, Apparently I Need To Ask The Question In A Different Way


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Well Duh.... That's why he started a new thread!
I see what you did there...
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Old 03-05-2018, 09:18 AM   #12
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Re: Still Looking For Advice, Apparently I Need To Ask The Question In A Different Way


Tinstaafl, thanks for letting the discussion continue for the time being. I think it's fair to say that I'm asking questions about marketing, so, yeah, that is marketing research. I think it's also fair to say that 90%+ of the threads in the marketing and sales forum are also asking questions about marketing, so yeah, those are probably marketing research as well. Not sure the difference. Seems like everything on this forum is marketing research.

Am I a service provider? Definitely not at the moment. Heck, I'm sorta nothing right now. I'm a guy sitting a a pile of leads that sometimes works side jobs for extra cash, trying to figure out a way to turn it into a full-time business. I guess that makes me a "contractor" but I don't do it full-time. I have no plans to solicit people on this forum for business, I'm no AL or HA or anything like that, and don't want to be. I'm just trying to figure out a plan to put food on the table, I don't know if I should GC or try to just sell for GC's, and looking for advice. So, if that violates the terms of the board, OK, it's your board, not mine, and you can close the thread and I'll move along.
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Old 03-05-2018, 09:43 AM   #13
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Re: Still Looking For Advice, Apparently I Need To Ask The Question In A Different Way


hdavis, yep, that was pretty much my thought. Sure, I could GC full-time but my value is that on the leads and the sales/marketing side. My thought was that I could work out something with multiple GC's, knowing what kind of work they do and don't like to do, and their estimating method. On something I'm not familiar with, in this day and age, it's pretty easy to text over a few pictures and describe the job, and we have a pretty darn good ballpark estimate. (done that before, can do it again)

KAP, you're correct on a few items. Pulling permits stinks, and there are GC's out there that have people that do that full-time, and that's part of the reason I want to just let them do it. They're better at it than I am. Contracts, yup, that is the GC and the client. As for the general pricing, we're not talking about building a second story onto a house, we're talking about fairly simple bathroom, kitchen, and doorway work. After doing a walk-through, I'd be pretty willing to bet that I can give an "estimate" (not a formal bid) that is +/- 20% of the total cost, ie., you tell them $8000-$12000 on what you think is a $9000 job. The whole point of that is to see if the client has any clue of how much this is going to cost, and if they have the money to pay for it. This weeds out a LOT of people.

We've all had cruddy leads where someone thinks that a $10,000 job is only going to cost $1000, and you totally wasted an hour of your time driving out there. I also know that Home Depot etc., will quote a final bid price without ever walking the house. AL, HA, etc. will spam you with tire-kickers who will just waste your time with people who just want to know how much it will cost to re-do their kitchen "some day". Maybe. You know, once they have the money.

So assign whatever %age you want to, to how "closed" this is. Basically, I have a relationship with you (the GC), I generally know your pricing method, I've walked the house, I took pictures, and the client has agreed that they have the money and know the realistic price range. The GC can either choose to walk it as well, or not, and provide a formal bid. I can close it myself with the contract on their behalf, or they can. Their choice. They don't need to build a relationship any more than your subs have to build a relationship. We're just hashing out the exact final number and putting ink on paper.

If that doesn't sound right, then how do y'all do it with salespeople? Isn't this kind of the same thing? You have a guy on the payroll, he qualifies it, gives a solid estimate, and then you come in and do the work. The only difference I see is that I'm not on the payroll, I'm not asking for benefits or a company car, and I'm highly motivated to hand my contractors very qualified leads and help them close deals and follow up afterwards for more referral business.
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Old 03-05-2018, 10:23 AM   #14
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Re: Still Looking For Advice, Apparently I Need To Ask The Question In A Different Way


Aren't you intentionally leaving money on the table as the third party? If you legitimately have access to as many leads as you think you do, then hire a guy to help you and just GC the jobs yourself using all subs. If your market is that full of leads, then there's no reason to cut yourself out of any of the (potential) profit.
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Old 03-05-2018, 01:24 PM   #15
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Re: Still Looking For Advice, Apparently I Need To Ask The Question In A Different Way


If you are good sales guy and a bad general contractor then for certain you should go get a job in sales. There are lots of commission only business opportunities out there that would take you on I am sure. Being a general contractor is a LOT more than swinging a hammer or "just sub contracting" everything out. If you don't understand that then you probably should just be in sales. I know for my excavating business sales is an important part of the business but reputation and execution account for a whole lot more.

Good luck with your market research,

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Old 03-05-2018, 03:27 PM   #16
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Re: Still Looking For Advice, Apparently I Need To Ask The Question In A Different Way


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I think it's fair to say that I'm asking questions about marketing, so, yeah, that is marketing research. I think it's also fair to say that 90%+ of the threads in the marketing and sales forum are also asking questions about marketing, so yeah, those are probably marketing research as well. Not sure the difference. Seems like everything on this forum is marketing research.
The difference is that the guys asking those questions are contractors who want to do a better job of selling their services. Your goal is apparently to do that selling for them, or at least set up the beginning of the deal.

In that role, there is no way you can be considered a contractor as we define it here. You would be providing a service to actual contractors--therefore considered to be a Service Provider. And our policy is that SPs are not allowed to conduct surveys, do marketing research or whatever you want to call it.

Read the pertinent section in our Community Rules.
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Old 03-05-2018, 03:47 PM   #17
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Re: Still Looking For Advice, Apparently I Need To Ask The Question In A Different Way


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hdavis, yep, that was pretty much my thought. Sure, I could GC full-time but my value is that on the leads and the sales/marketing side. My thought was that I could work out something with multiple GC's, knowing what kind of work they do and don't like to do, and their estimating method. On something I'm not familiar with, in this day and age, it's pretty easy to text over a few pictures and describe the job, and we have a pretty darn good ballpark estimate. (done that before, can do it again)

KAP, you're correct on a few items. Pulling permits stinks, and there are GC's out there that have people that do that full-time, and that's part of the reason I want to just let them do it. They're better at it than I am. Contracts, yup, that is the GC and the client. As for the general pricing, we're not talking about building a second story onto a house, we're talking about fairly simple bathroom, kitchen, and doorway work. After doing a walk-through, I'd be pretty willing to bet that I can give an "estimate" (not a formal bid) that is +/- 20% of the total cost, ie., you tell them $8000-$12000 on what you think is a $9000 job. The whole point of that is to see if the client has any clue of how much this is going to cost, and if they have the money to pay for it. This weeds out a LOT of people.

We've all had cruddy leads where someone thinks that a $10,000 job is only going to cost $1000, and you totally wasted an hour of your time driving out there. I also know that Home Depot etc., will quote a final bid price without ever walking the house. AL, HA, etc. will spam you with tire-kickers who will just waste your time with people who just want to know how much it will cost to re-do their kitchen "some day". Maybe. You know, once they have the money.

So assign whatever %age you want to, to how "closed" this is. Basically, I have a relationship with you (the GC), I generally know your pricing method, I've walked the house, I took pictures, and the client has agreed that they have the money and know the realistic price range. The GC can either choose to walk it as well, or not, and provide a formal bid. I can close it myself with the contract on their behalf, or they can. Their choice. They don't need to build a relationship any more than your subs have to build a relationship. We're just hashing out the exact final number and putting ink on paper.

If that doesn't sound right, then how do y'all do it with salespeople? Isn't this kind of the same thing? You have a guy on the payroll, he qualifies it, gives a solid estimate, and then you come in and do the work. The only difference I see is that I'm not on the payroll, I'm not asking for benefits or a company car, and I'm highly motivated to hand my contractors very qualified leads and help them close deals and follow up afterwards for more referral business.
Putting aside I think you'd have a hard time "selling" GC's on the concept of them providing you with their pricing method when they know in advance that you have the same relationship with other GC's (i.e. - their pricing on hand), as that's a big disincentive to have such info co-mingled with one source...

Instead, since you seemed to have come across a way to generate leads that no-one else has, that has you flush with leads that you are convinced will convert to sales, you might want to consider that most sales companies have "spiffs" for what are called "self-gen" closed deals (self-generated) that is in addition to whatever commission they pay and is usually either a flat fee or 1-2%... with the numbers you have referred to a few times (i.e. - $10-$15K), at 1-2%, that would work out to a $100-$200 spiff on top of the commission...

If you've truly found a unique avenue for lead generation that is leaving you flush with leads, I guess my question would be why wouldn't you want to find a reputable GC to work for as a salesperson (since that's the essence of what you're offering) and get all the benefits you listed above (i.e. - benefits, company car, etc.) and get the commission and spiff without all the added costs to yourself thereby actually making more?

Last edited by KAP; 03-05-2018 at 05:06 PM.
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Old 03-05-2018, 03:48 PM   #18
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Re: Still Looking For Advice, Apparently I Need To Ask The Question In A Different Way


Just go sell cars


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Old 03-05-2018, 05:33 PM   #19
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Re: Still Looking For Advice, Apparently I Need To Ask The Question In A Different Way


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Just go sell cars


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Or better yet sell leads to customers who are 90% sure they are going to buy a car to a bunch of car salesman. The fun part will be ball parking how much the car will cost!

You have to get your thinking to the 'next' level.

Next!

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Old 03-05-2018, 06:03 PM   #20
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Re: Still Looking For Advice, Apparently I Need To Ask The Question In A Different Way


KAP, short answer is that I am tired of working for other people. I'd rather set my own hours, make my own decisions about how to run my business, and "eat what I kill". I don't need benefits (wife's employer has good insurance), and I was really trying to figure out if I just go full-time as a GC and try to sub out as much as possible, or full-time as a salesperson/mercenary and go land deals for people.

XJCraver, my thought process is this -- right now, if I went full-time GC, I'd *maybe* get 2-3 jobs done per week. I don't think I can manage more than that. But if I dropped trying to do the work myself or manage subs, then I can probably close 10 deals per week. So ultimately, this becomes a math problem. Can I make 4 times the money being the GC on the projects than I can just selling the project for another GC?

Tinstaafl, thanks for being patient on this topic. You're right, I'm considering becoming a service provider. I am also considering quitting my full-time job and turning my side job into being a full-blown GC.
You obviously can shut this topic down at any time, but I appreciate the discussion we've been able to have. By the way, are you a Heinlein fan or Milton Friedman? Sci-fi fan here, so recognized it as such. If you shut down the topic, let me know as a parting gift, I'm curious. Not a lot of sci-fi fans or economists in the contractor community.

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