Am I Calculating This Correctly?

 
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Old 10-30-2017, 10:12 PM   #81
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Re: Am I Calculating This Correctly?


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........... if we do 3 bids a week and they are all too high and the customers pass, then we have zero Income. ..........

Again.... you are in a race to the bottom.

EVERYBODY AND THEIR UNCLE USES THIS SAME BUSINESS MODEL.


E V E R Y B O D Y.


Well, not everybody. But 99.9% of start-ups always want to be the Low Price Leader. Cheap cheap cheap. You've got to lose this employee mentality.

Working ≠ making money.

Knowing how to properly price your work based on your costs, and being a good sales closer = making money.
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Old 10-30-2017, 10:15 PM   #82
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Re: Am I Calculating This Correctly?


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Well, that's a little rude. I'm trying to figure it out. I am in no way wealthy. We are 29 and 33 with 2 children, an 80k home just trying to make something for ourselves.

I have ran alot of the suggestion past my husband, and have a list of things to discuss with the partner.

The partner wants to raise costs. But we have the mindset that we don't want to charge alot more, because being a new business, if we do 3 bids a week and they are all too high and the customers pass, then we have zero Income. And now there is zero to pay expenses for the business, or our personal bills. We would rather get $500 in our pocket to support ourselves with cheap prices vs 0 because we charged "too much".
OK Ken, I read her wrong, you were correct. Just trying to give the benefit of the doubt.
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Old 10-30-2017, 10:17 PM   #83
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Re: Am I Calculating This Correctly?


And if we were being "rude" you wouldn't have come back after what we can do with other types of contractors who ask questions and refuse to accept answers. Contracting can be harsh because you are working in reality.
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Old 10-30-2017, 10:20 PM   #84
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Re: Am I Calculating This Correctly?


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And if we were being "rude" you wouldn't have come back after what we can do with other types of contractors who ask questions and refuse to accept answers. Contracting can be harsh because you are working in reality.
Yep. I think the OP is getting the 1,000-grit treatment here.

Some get 40-grit.
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Old 10-30-2017, 11:44 PM   #85
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Re: Am I Calculating This Correctly?


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Well, that's a little rude. I'm trying to figure it out. I am in no way wealthy. We are 29 and 33 with 2 children, an 80k home just trying to make something for ourselves.

I have ran alot of the suggestion past my husband, and have a list of things to discuss with the partner.

The partner wants to raise costs. But we have the mindset that we don't want to charge alot more, because being a new business, if we do 3 bids a week and they are all too high and the customers pass, then we have zero Income. And now there is zero to pay expenses for the business, or our personal bills. We would rather get $500 in our pocket to support ourselves with cheap prices vs 0 because we charged "too much".
Let's try to look at it another way... would you rather be in a position that you just laid out where the difference between you being able to pay your business and personal bills are solely reliant on you being the "cheapest" as an everyday business practice...

...OR...

...would you rather, as a business practice, charge enough and find customers to support your business so you can develop 3-6 months of Capital Reserves and Emergency Funds so that rather than relying on the cheapest prices to keep you afloat, the cheapest price model you're currently using becomes the exception instead of the rule?...

It should be pretty obvious that not only have most of been where you are at, but we've seen this time and time and again... some will listen, absorb it, learn from it and implement it only to find that they wasted so much time before doing so...
Our own story was we go to the point YEARS AGO where we were ready to throw in the towel because we found ourselves in constant robbing Peter to pay Paul cycles... So we said we were either going to charge more and get compensated as professionals, or go work for someone else who figured it out... So we tentatively raised our prices (like I'm suggesting you START to do so you can get paid) and guess what happened? NOTHING... it didn't affect our close ratio at all... so we raised them again, and a couple more times until we realized the money we were leaving on the table was STOPPING US from operating our business properly...
You are showing ALL the signs of not charging enough to run a business... it's up to you where you go from here...
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Old 10-30-2017, 11:50 PM   #86
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Re: Am I Calculating This Correctly?


How about this. You say you need 50K to be comfortable.

What if you could make that and only work 1/2 as much? More "me" time.
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Old 10-30-2017, 11:58 PM   #87
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Re: Am I Calculating This Correctly?


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..........Our own story was we go to the point YEARS AGO where we were ready to throw in the towel because we found ourselves in constant robbing Peter to pay Paul cycles... So we said we were either going to charge more and get compensated as professionals, or go work for someone else who figured it out... So we tentatively raised our prices (like I'm suggesting you START to do so you can get paid) and guess what happened? NOTHING... it didn't affect our close ratio at all... so we raised them again, and a couple more times until we realized the money we were leaving on the table was STOPPING US from operating our business properly.............
Ben there, done that.

I, too, started out charging far too little. After 4 years of struggling, I finally upped my rates.

Net result: I was working less for the same annual income.


A few years later, I increased them again. Net result: Working less, yet making even MORE money.

Three years later, another increase. And guess what? I actually ended up working more!


If I could kick myself in the arse for not charging what I should have in the beginning, I'd kick myself all the way to the moon.



One more kibble for the OP:

There's YEARS (nay....... DECADES) of experience here at CT. We didn't come here to brag or pat ourselves on the backs, high-five each other or sit back and start a good-ol-boys club.

We're here because we want to help folks like YOU succeed. But we can only go so far. We've guided you to the edge of the nest. Now it's time for you to spread your wings and take flight.
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Old 10-31-2017, 12:25 AM   #88
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Re: Am I Calculating This Correctly?


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Originally Posted by Zkmconstruction View Post

The partner wants to raise costs. But we have the mindset that we don't want to charge alot more, because being a new business, if we do 3 bids a week and they are all too high and the customers pass, then we have zero Income.".

Try raising your prices on some (1/4) of your bids. Nothing says you need to raise all your prices to everybody simultaneously.


Just Because you wouldn't pay $500 for something does that mean no one else would?

Who would buy a $15 hamburger from Red Robin when you can get a burger off the value menu at McDonald's?

Lots of people would. Which restaurant is busier on Saturday nights? The $15 price of the hamburger is determined by the business, not the customer. That's what it sells for.


I would never buy a $50,000 truck, but plenty of people do. That's what they sell for, and the price is not determined by the customer.


I would never buy a $1 million home, but plenty of people do. That's what they sell ffor and the price is not determined by the customer.

Nobody you associate with will advocate for you to make more money. You have to do that yourself. Not to say that money is everything. But do you really want to be poor for making a living doing things for people that they can't or won't do themselves?









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Old 10-31-2017, 10:05 AM   #89
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Re: Am I Calculating This Correctly?


Don't look a gift horse in the mouth

How often do we get to see the workings of bottom feeder "contractor", I use the word contractor loosely. And, not offense to the OP, but this is how most of us describe contractor/handymen who chase after the "lowest price around" title.

As we have seen in this thread, the mentality of the OP, her husband and their partner is not going to change. There is always an excuse or a reason to be chasing after low dollar clients. Their comfort zone is simply getting jobs----not profitability. The possibility of getting better paying clients, preparation for worst case scenarios, growth planning, retirement, expansion and so forth.......is simply not in the cards, it's not even in the thought process.

This helps explain why the OP type of businesses come and go. They may lurk in the background of this forum, or, occasionally, as in this case, they come out with some questions on basic business operations...get a bunch of feedback (much of it sincere and helpful), then disappear again. Not taking any of the suggestions to heart, but just going back to business as usual.

A lot of us started small, but we either had a plan, or, developed a plan for getting ahead and staying ahead. Preparing for the future, retirement, dealing with slowdowns or increases in business, paying for healthcare, insurance and all the other overhead expenses of running a legitimate and profitable business is something most of use have in common. And, it is what differentiates us from that whole other sector of the trade that the OP represents.
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Old 11-01-2017, 01:25 AM   #90
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Re: Am I Calculating This Correctly?


What scares me the most from the OP, is the fact that 3 adult American citizens are so poorly educated that none of the three can reverse percentages.....percentages they are using to price their services....

Crappy public schools are undermining our Nations Republic,

~250.000.00$ for K-12 per student average across the USA for public school districts.....
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Old 11-01-2017, 08:03 AM   #91
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Re: Am I Calculating This Correctly?


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What scares me the most from the OP, is the fact that 3 adult American citizens are so poorly educated that none of the three can reverse percentages.....percentages they are using to price their services....

Crappy public schools are undermining our Nations Republic,

~250.000.00$ for K-12 per student average across the USA for public school districts.....
You just gave me ajida reading that...
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Old 11-02-2017, 03:24 PM   #92
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Re: Am I Calculating This Correctly?


To the original poster, I highly recommend that you read the following book, maybe even read it twice to grasp everything. Then have your husband read it. Then I think you guys/gal will be able to have a better talk about your pricing, profit/ loss, etc.

1. Markup & Profit by Michael Stone ( https://www.amazon.com/Markup-Profit...40_&dpSrc=srch)

Or you could get the newer, more expensive version (https://www.amazon.com/Markup-Profit...ofit+revisited)
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Old 11-02-2017, 05:29 PM   #93
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Re: Am I Calculating This Correctly?


Kap @ 91: "agita" Italian for heartburn or a pain...? US English 'slang' or dialect.....

"OJIDO" some kind of Psycho-babble manure system of personality labels....
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Old 11-02-2017, 06:29 PM   #94
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Re: Am I Calculating This Correctly?


I don't know if the Young Lady will be back, or if we scared her off, but I'll say this.

I've never been in a Mall-Wart in my life and never will, but millions of folks love the chit outta that place. I would never let a customer buy their own water heater and then install it for them, but evidently there are folks who are looking for that handyman-type "contractor", and there's evidently plenty of folks willing to fill that roll. They work for a little less that wages, but feel they have freedom because "they own their own business". And generally don't know until it's too late that they are working for less than wages.

But if that is someones niche, and they're happy with it, more power to them.

I think someone looking to buy their own tile or water heater or front door, and then pay someone a few bucks to install it, and they don't care about warranties, disposal, codes, permits, or someone with the knowledge to know that you can't use flexible dryer vent to attach to the B vent (yes, I've seen that) they're never going to hire me, and there will always be someone willing to do that work.


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Old 11-02-2017, 08:09 PM   #95
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Re: Am I Calculating This Correctly?


I'm impressed by her stamina. She has enough stuff to work on for a few months.

FWIW, I know plumbers that don't care if the HO buys the water heater or not, just one less thing for him to wrestle around.
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Old 11-02-2017, 08:46 PM   #96
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Re: Am I Calculating This Correctly?


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I don't know if the Young Lady will be back, or if we scared her off, but I'll say this.

I've never been in a Mall-Wart in my life and never will, but millions of folks love the chit outta that place. I would never let a customer buy their own water heater and then install it for them, but evidently there are folks who are looking for that handyman-type "contractor", and there's evidently plenty of folks willing to fill that roll. They work for a little less that wages, but feel they have freedom because "they own their own business". And generally don't know until it's too late that they are working for less than wages.

But if that is someones niche, and they're happy with it, more power to them.

I think someone looking to buy their own tile or water heater or front door, and then pay someone a few bucks to install it, and they don't care about warranties, disposal, codes, permits, or someone with the knowledge to know that you can't use flexible dryer vent to attach to the B vent (yes, I've seen that) they're never going to hire me, and there will always be someone willing to do that work.


Delta
I am never going to be scared off for criticism! I want to better our company, so all this advice has been taken in. My husband and I talked and have worked out a few things, we have broke down jobs and seen the loss and hourly wage per job, and it is disappointing.

One issue we are finding is a partnership is not the way to go. Since I have started this thread, our "partner" has not showed up once to discuss anything. Basically a "draw it up and I'll review" type of thing.

We have a "non formal" trial partnership agreement right now, not yet filed with state, but sat with an attorney to draw up something simple to start. It's not working. My husband is working 60+ hours, plus going to half the bids alone, and doing more than half the proposals alone. So hopefully, removal will be helpful.

Also, we have added 20% for profit to alot of our prior jobs (just to see price difference) and its really not as high as we thought.

We do worry about permits, codes, etc. My husband worked as a project super for over 5 years at the Veterans Hospital in our area, he worries about something happening to us due to a violation. Maybe it's a change from government work to residential... I'm not sure.
I'm still a little shocked at the hourly prices you all were throwing out. Prevailing wage at the VA here is $30.31. Which we were very comfortable at $50k a year. So we are only charging $30 per hour.

On that note, we have a room addition we are bidding. Instead of per job, we are attempting to bid this per labor hours. 4 men at $30 an hr each. We came up with 195 hoursX4. My question is, 2 of the guys are actually only being paid $15 an hour. So do we still add profit? Or will our estimated profit be the other half of the $30? Plus the additional for material procurement and usual 10% we add for company expenses.

Adding it hourly, the job estimated around $26k. And adding it how we usually do only added job to $13k. Which is a BIG DIFFERENCE that really opened our eyes.

So to everyone on here, Thank you.
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Old 11-02-2017, 08:54 PM   #97
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Re: Am I Calculating This Correctly?


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Ben there, done that.

I, too, started out charging far too little. After 4 years of struggling, I finally upped my rates.

Net result: I was working less for the same annual income.

Yep, same here.

However, I'm not sure I would have the client and referral base I do now without years of having to do crappy jobs in the beginning to get established.

Slowly but surely I worked my way away from that class of clientele by meeting other subs and GC's on jobs over the years who liked my work and attention to detail and gave me a shot here and there.

I met one GC (who still gives me a lot of work) who was amazed when I announced to the jobsite loudly that I was going to Home Depot..does anyone need me to pick something up for them?...

The plumber needed ONE drop el and gave me cash. Brought it back to him with change. I still get referrals from him as well.

To the OP, do what you need to in order to keep the cash flowing for now with your eye on the prize, but take every opportunity to meet other tradespeople when you happen upon them on jobs you are on and make friends with them.

If you're dealing with low end customers to pay the bills for a year or two, that's probably normal. It was for me when I first started out. But staying there would be sad unless that's where your services belong, in which case it's probably going to be less stressful to just go work at Walmart.

From what I've read in this thread, it sounds like you are the only one who can convince them of this.

Good luck.
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Old 11-02-2017, 09:06 PM   #98
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Re: Am I Calculating This Correctly?


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On that note, we have a room addition we are bidding. Instead of per job, we are attempting to bid this per labor hours..
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Save yourself if it's truly an addition. Figure out what trades you need and might need, set up a walk through for them with plans in hand that you can give to them, and get quotes.

Whatever total hours you have figured.....forget it. It's always more.

Are you trying to do all trades "in house" not meaning in the house but one person attempting to perform all the trades needed?

BTW-lose the lazy leach partner asap.
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Old 11-02-2017, 09:08 PM   #99
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Re: Am I Calculating This Correctly?


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I'm still a little shocked at the hourly prices you all were throwing out. Prevailing wage at the VA here is $30.31. Which we were very comfortable at $50k a year. So we are only charging $30 per hour.
That's fine, but this is what everyone is trying to explain to you.

If you want to "make" 30 dollars an hour, which is fine, then you can't charge your customer 30 dollars an hour.

You must add labour burden, which you have to figure out. For me, it's somewhere around 30-50%. No, that's not a mis-print. Taxes, SSI, Workers Comp. Note that none of this comes out of "profit". Profit is not used to pay expenses.

So now labour is up to about 45 an hour.

But wait.

Now there is an amount for license, insurance, truck, tools, fuel, telephone, etc. This does not get paid for out of profit, either.

So if your fixed overhead is $6,000 per year, for example, and you plan to work 2,000 hours, ( a standard 40 hour week, more or less) then you divide 6,000 by 2,000 hours. Now you're up to 48 an hour.

Now you have variable overhead, that will fluctuate with the job. Now you add a few more dollars per hour.


Now, if you want 20% profit, you add 20% to your, say 55 dollars an hour, now you're at 68.75 an hour.

This is a very simplified version, and there is still more that goes into it, but this gives you an idea of why a guy starting out and charging 40 bucks an hour when he was making 25 for his old boss, begins by thinking that he's rolling in the dough, and finds himself spiraling out of business a year later.

If you want 30 an hour, you need to charge a hell of a lot more than 30 an hour.


Good luck.



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Old 11-02-2017, 09:17 PM   #100
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Re: Am I Calculating This Correctly?


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Wow! I told my husband that and he almost crapped his pants! We charge $150 for painting a room (12x12 standard room sizes in this area), Stomping a ceiling is $100 And we charge $85 per sheet of drywall. Includes hanging, mudding and sanding. That's no materials included.


Depending on HOW comfortably you cushion yourself, we feel like 50K a year is perfect. We do not live above our means.
First off, you are to be commended for trying to educate yourself on business matters, as well as staying part of this thread where it could seem as if everyone is jumping on you. You are receiving some solid advice.

If you want to be a business, you must calculate all the costs associated with being a business, which means you have to know those costs.

Start with your husband's and his partners yearly desired salary, add all overhead expenses (which 480 provided a good list) and your profit margin. Remember profit is not extra money, it's a necessity. Divide that number by the hours that will be billable. Dont forget to figure in holidays and vacation time. For me, I deduct 6 holidays and 2 weeks vacation, plus in an 8 hour day, only 5.5 hours are actually "billable".

Best of luck to yall.

As far as your husband nearly crapping his pants, I do not like to waste money, but I would sooner pay someone what I did than hire someone that had quoted me your price. I had a good feel for the amout of time they would spend on site, and a knowledge of the costs and time off site. A happy and profitable company is more likely to perform to my standards than someone who was worried they weren't making any money.
Thank you. We are trying to learn everything we can. I am realizing there is a big difference from the work my husband did prior (VA hospital, Construction super) and I was a receptionist for a different commercial GC. All jobs were already bid and accepted by the time we even had prints hit our desks.

I understand what you are saying about the work you had done, and not making an excuse at all, but i still think its partly the location difference. I mean, you paid $1600 for that work. Our personal monthly bills are a little over $1800. Thats with a mortgage, utilities, car/life insurance, truck payment on a 2014 truck, and other small things..phones,cable, ect... so, yes to us, that is crazy.

I am going to assume by your user name, you are in fact an electrican. If you don't mind me asking, how much would you charge to upgrade a 100amp seruvice to 200? We have done a few and charged $1250. Labor and materials. On our first one, I thought it was too cheap, and actually called other local companies for a price and 4 out of 6 I called, charged under $1000, labor and materials.

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