Carpenter Compensation Packages Comparison

 
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Old 11-03-2017, 08:47 AM   #1
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Carpenter Compensation Packages Comparison


We have lost a few nice projects recently to the competition by a very large margin and wanted to get a feel for what those of you who have employees offer as compensation.

I offer the following:

1. Hourly Wages:
-Apprentice - $15- $20 (1 week vacation + 12 days PTO (paid time off))
-Carpenter $20-$30 (2-3 weeks vacation + 12 days PTO)
-Lead Carpenter $30-$40 (4 weeks vacation + 12 days PTO + cell phone + van w/fuel to be taken home)

2. Health Insurance: 100% company paid health insurance for employee only. They pay for any additional insured such as spouse or children.

3. Retirement Plan: Simple IRA with company match up to 3% of salary.

4. All power and hand tools.

I run a tight ship, have no debt and like to treat my men well but have no where left to lower our expenses. I just don't understand how others can work so cheap and remain in business.
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Old 11-03-2017, 11:26 AM   #2
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Re: Carpenter Compensation Packages Comparison


How long have you been in business, and how long have you been offering this type of compensation package? Are you strictly residential?


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Old 11-03-2017, 11:31 AM   #3
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Re: Carpenter Compensation Packages Comparison


Are the companies you lost the bids to really your competition? Do they provide the same quality of service?
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Old 11-03-2017, 11:56 AM   #4
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Re: Carpenter Compensation Packages Comparison


Maybe your competition is from this thread:

http://www.contractortalk.com/f16/am...rectly-369001/
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Old 11-03-2017, 12:12 PM   #5
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Re: Carpenter Compensation Packages Comparison


Maybe their overhead is less, they could be subbing more to save on WC costs.

When I was let go at the end of Jan, I was at 28/hr with 2 weeks vacation. Insurance was offered but i am covered through my wife's employer. We were based out of Monmouth County


Had I known what you offer, I might not have started my own company lol

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Old 11-03-2017, 12:41 PM   #6
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Re: Carpenter Compensation Packages Comparison


There are all kinds of reasons for losing, by wide margins, to competitors, could be any of the following, and, of course I am just guessing:

They don't offer any of the benefits that you do.

Lower wages

Using people as subs rather than employees

Less overhead, as in working out of their house, sharing office/warehouse with other contractors.

Larger companies will break even or lose money on select projects just to get the work. They make up for it on other projects that are more profitable.

I have usually found that when we lose a project to someone, or , some company is is one of those reasons I listed above. Right now, in my area, all the legitimate contractors as a busy as they can be, and, aren't taking on too many projects. So that leaves the "not so legitimate" ones to take up the slack.

I also found that people I lose out to:
  • Are usually doing something illegal or gray area
  • A lot of workers getting paid cash - no payrolls, no legit subs
  • God awful work and performance. Once they squeak some payments, they are gone
  • POS materials and equipment
  • Change order city, they simply change order up the project to make their money
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Old 11-03-2017, 02:49 PM   #7
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Re: Carpenter Compensation Packages Comparison


Quote:
Originally Posted by gbruzze1 View Post
How long have you been in business, and how long have you been offering this type of compensation package? Are you strictly residential?


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20 years. High End Residential. I am not losing to bottom feeders but other legit companies with more office staff, office space, etc...
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Old 11-03-2017, 02:50 PM   #8
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Re: Carpenter Compensation Packages Comparison


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Are the companies you lost the bids to really your competition? Do they provide the same quality of service?
I like to think not but they have solid reputations and do nice work.
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Old 11-03-2017, 02:53 PM   #9
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Re: Carpenter Compensation Packages Comparison


Quote:
Originally Posted by rblakes1 View Post
Maybe their overhead is less, they could be subbing more to save on WC costs.

When I was let go at the end of Jan, I was at 28/hr with 2 weeks vacation. Insurance was offered but i am covered through my wife's employer. We were based out of Monmouth County


Had I known what you offer, I might not have started my own company lol

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I tried subbing more but every time I have issues with quality and scheduling. It's bad enough with the plumbers, painters, etc...

In North Jersey you cannot find a quality lead carpenter that will work for $28 per hour. If you want to make the drive send me a resume or info on your company if you are interested in subcontract work.

Last edited by NJ Contractor; 11-03-2017 at 02:56 PM.
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Old 11-03-2017, 03:23 PM   #10
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Re: Carpenter Compensation Packages Comparison


Quote:
Originally Posted by cwatbay View Post
There are all kinds of reasons for losing, by wide margins, to competitors, could be any of the following, and, of course I am just guessing:

They don't offer any of the benefits that you do.

Lower wages

Using people as subs rather than employees

Less overhead, as in working out of their house, sharing office/warehouse with other contractors.

Larger companies will break even or lose money on select projects just to get the work. They make up for it on other projects that are more profitable.

I have usually found that when we lose a project to someone, or , some company is is one of those reasons I listed above. Right now, in my area, all the legitimate contractors as a busy as they can be, and, aren't taking on too many projects. So that leaves the "not so legitimate" ones to take up the slack.

I also found that people I lose out to:
  • Are usually doing something illegal or gray area
  • A lot of workers getting paid cash - no payrolls, no legit subs
  • God awful work and performance. Once they squeak some payments, they are gone
  • POS materials and equipment
  • Change order city, they simply change order up the project to make their money
Cwatboy, I am also a licensed electrical contractor and all of our electrical work has been for the projects we build, as I never had the time to devote to growing that side of the business, but lately I have been considering switching from being a GC to an EC. I am growing tired of being a cat wrangler and think it would be slightly easier to estimate and manage single trade projects. Any thoughts?
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Old 11-03-2017, 04:17 PM   #11
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Re: Carpenter Compensation Packages Comparison


Quote:
Originally Posted by NJ Contractor View Post
Cwatboy, I am also a licensed electrical contractor and all of our electrical work has been for the projects we build, as I never had the time to devote to growing that side of the business, but lately I have been considering switching from being a GC to an EC. I am growing tired of being a cat wrangler and think it would be slightly easier to estimate and manage single trade projects. Any thoughts?
Sure. I have transitioned out of the field (about 80% out), and, spend my time in the office doing estimates, billing, scheduling, filing, writing contracts, and, other office work. Plus, I am now the gopher: picking up materials and delivering them, site walks, stocking the warehouse, developing the websites, customer relations, interacting with GC's and PM's.

So what this means is that I have expanded the business so that we have 4-6 projects going on at any time, plus daily service calls, and, the occasional warranty or follow up work. And, don't forget, I have to go deal with cities and counties, to pull the permits and get the licenses.

Also got to make sure the techs and installers are working 40 hours a week. Plus future planning to get more work and hopefully hire more guys.

So I have a slightly different group of cats to wrangle. I am wrangling several different projects of different types: Electrical (mostly residential with about 20% commercial); Low Voltage - about 80% of our business, both for ourselves and as sub-contractors (alarms, networks, surveillance, access control, intercom).

If it was just commercial work, as in working on a 6 month or longer project that was just electrical, that would be different. But we just aren't up to that category yet. I do get about 2 commercial inquiries per day for bidding on electrical projects - retail stores, commercial buildings, schools, etc. But we just don't have the "band-width" to deal with those right now.

Most of the good, and, knowledgeable electrician around here are all union, And we aren't a Union Shop.

Don't know if all that helps or not.
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Old 11-03-2017, 04:41 PM   #12
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Re: Carpenter Compensation Packages Comparison


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Sure. I have transitioned out of the field (about 80% out), and, spend my time in the office doing estimates, billing, scheduling, filing, writing contracts, and, other office work. Plus, I am now the gopher: picking up materials and delivering them, site walks, stocking the warehouse, developing the websites, customer relations, interacting with GC's and PM's.

So what this means is that I have expanded the business so that we have 4-6 projects going on at any time, plus daily service calls, and, the occasional warranty or follow up work. And, don't forget, I have to go deal with cities and counties, to pull the permits and get the licenses.

Also got to make sure the techs and installers are working 40 hours a week. Plus future planning to get more work and hopefully hire more guys.

So I have a slightly different group of cats to wrangle. I am wrangling several different projects of different types: Electrical (mostly residential with about 20% commercial); Low Voltage - about 80% of our business, both for ourselves and as sub-contractors (alarms, networks, surveillance, access control, intercom).

If it was just commercial work, as in working on a 6 month or longer project that was just electrical, that would be different. But we just aren't up to that category yet. I do get about 2 commercial inquiries per day for bidding on electrical projects - retail stores, commercial buildings, schools, etc. But we just don't have the "band-width" to deal with those right now.

Most of the good, and, knowledgeable electrician around here are all union, And we aren't a Union Shop.

Don't know if all that helps or not.
I think it's the lack of skilled labor and the subs that I am tired of most. I like to think that if I was only managing my own employees they could be trained or terminated. But every time I bring subs into a project, it's like starting from square one all over again, no matter how many times I tell them how we like things done.

Last edited by NJ Contractor; 11-03-2017 at 04:43 PM.
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Old 11-03-2017, 08:14 PM   #13
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Re: Carpenter Compensation Packages Comparison


Quote:
Originally Posted by NJ Contractor View Post
I think it's the lack of skilled labor and the subs that I am tired of most. I like to think that if I was only managing my own employees they could be trained or terminated. But every time I bring subs into a project, it's like starting from square one all over again, no matter how many times I tell them how we like things done.
I can see where that can be extremely frustrating on your end. Yes, If you are only dealing with your employees, that is a lot less intense than trying to find multiple trades that know what they are doing.

It is near impossible to find decent people for my trade, at least out here. If you are good, your'e employed full time. If you are ok, your'e fully employed. If you are semi skilled or an apprentice....fully employed. If your'e a hack, drugged out flake....your'e available.
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Old 11-03-2017, 08:24 PM   #14
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Re: Carpenter Compensation Packages Comparison


I've found that when I don't get a job because of a large price difference, there is something missing in the scope of work.

There are a lot of slick salesmen around this area who will come in with bare minimums to get them signed up, and then completely bend them over and screw them with change orders for "unforeseen" things.

I wonder if your competitors are using this tactic. The only way to really know is if one of your lost clients is willing to share the original proposal with you including the scope of work originally proposed.
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Old 11-03-2017, 10:53 PM   #15
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Re: Carpenter Compensation Packages Comparison


Quote:
Originally Posted by NJ Contractor View Post
I tried subbing more but every time I have issues with quality and scheduling. It's bad enough with the plumbers, painters, etc...

In North Jersey you cannot find a quality lead carpenter that will work for $28 per hour. If you want to make the drive send me a resume or info on your company if you are interested in subcontract work.
I hear you, I was in charge of scheduling subs a lot with my previous employer. They loved not showing up when they were supposed to abs showing up unannounced.

Where about in North Jersey do you operate? I'm down in Ewing now, so it's probably too far unless you ever work more central

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Old 11-04-2017, 12:00 AM   #16
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Re: Carpenter Compensation Packages Comparison


It's almost certain you're not bidding apples to apples. There are many companies that will intentionally miss something to get the price down, then slam the HO with an extra. How I handle this is to school the HO at the initial meeting.


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Old 11-04-2017, 12:02 AM   #17
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Re: Carpenter Compensation Packages Comparison


EDIT: I see rselectric basically covered this.





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Old 11-04-2017, 07:49 AM   #18
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Re: Carpenter Compensation Packages Comparison


Quote:
Originally Posted by cwatbay View Post
I can see where that can be extremely frustrating on your end. Yes, If you are only dealing with your employees, that is a lot less intense than trying to find multiple trades that know what they are doing.

It is near impossible to find decent people for my trade, at least out here. If you are good, your'e employed full time. If you are ok, your'e fully employed. If you are semi skilled or an apprentice....fully employed. If your'e a hack, drugged out flake....your'e available.
Amazing! It's such a shame to see tradesmen who are proud of what they are doing so rare.
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Old 11-04-2017, 07:53 AM   #19
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Re: Carpenter Compensation Packages Comparison


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I've found that when I don't get a job because of a large price difference, there is something missing in the scope of work.

There are a lot of slick salesmen around this area who will come in with bare minimums to get them signed up, and then completely bend them over and screw them with change orders for "unforeseen" things.

I wonder if your competitors are using this tactic. The only way to really know is if one of your lost clients is willing to share the original proposal with you including the scope of work originally proposed.
There are drawings for these projects that detail the scope. One client shared a proposal that was more than 20% less than mine and asked if I would match their price. In a 100+ year old house, no thank you. The other contractor doesn't appear to have that sort of a reputation based on online reviews but one never knows how the project actually goes or how much money that company is actually making or losing. It is just a trend I have been seeing more of lately.
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Old 11-04-2017, 07:57 AM   #20
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Re: Carpenter Compensation Packages Comparison


Quote:
Originally Posted by Californiadecks View Post
It's almost certain you're not bidding apples to apples. There are many companies that will intentionally miss something to get the price down, then slam the HO with an extra. How I handle this is to school the HO at the initial meeting.


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Last edited by NJ Contractor; 11-04-2017 at 07:59 AM.
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