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Sub. Meeting GC For First Time

 
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Old 10-11-2014, 12:14 AM   #1
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Sub. Meeting GC For First Time


This thread is for the general contractors for the most part on here. When you meet a new sub for the first time that you are going to possibly do business with in the future within their trade what is it you look for in that person? Besides the obvious insurance and licensing whatnot I'm talking more on a personal and business level. Does having a portfolio of photos and what not carry any weight? What do you want to see and hear from the sub in order for you to pick them up as your go to tradesman for there field? Obviously price has a lot to do with it and that is different region to region so let's put that aside and focus on other areas. Reason I ask is I've been approached by a very high-end builder in my area and wants to have a sit down office meeting with me in a couple weeks to discuss picking me up as his main wood floor installation and refinishing tradesman. I just want to be ready for anything he may want to see or ask me about and I want to impress him but obviously not lie to him. I just want to be prepared for anything. Thanks for your help.

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Old 10-11-2014, 07:59 AM   #2
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Re: Sub. Meeting GC For First Time


Chris, try not to overthink it and psyche yourself out... while I commend you wanting to be prepared, you're not the first flooring guy he's ever hired, so I would encourage you to just be yourself and play to your strengths, as most GC's can smell BS having to deal with many subs. Consider... He wouldn't have asked to meet with you if he didn't hear good things... keep that in the back of your head and indeed find out how he heard of you and what prompted him to call if he doesn't offer it and build from there...

Just don't make the mistake of over-promising in the excitement to get the account and end up under-delivering... funny, when I hear the phrase "no problem" as an answer to a question I expected a more realistic answer to, it's a flashing red flag...

That's one area most GC's are focused on because it can have serious affects on other parts of your schedule and actually costs them money...

Personality-wise... just like with employees we look for can-do attitude and work ethic... but here's a hint, he's going to expect to hear that... instead tell him I am sure he hears that a lot, and that you're more of a doer than a talker as he'll find out on the first job...

Best of luck... 8^)

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Old 10-11-2014, 09:34 AM   #3
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Re: Sub. Meeting GC For First Time


I'm going to speak from my own experience here.

Don't get heartburn over this meeting, it's not the determining factor when it comes to whether or not you're going to be his new 'go-to' guy.

Obviously you need to be professional, on time, and competent when you meet. Be yourself and don't give him any BS.

But it usually takes me 3 or 4 projects working with a new sub-contractor to know if they have what my clients and I expect. Performance, competitiveness, how you handle diversity, and your professionalism around this high-end contractors high-end clients is what is going to make him call you back when hes going down that list making his phone calls bidding the next one.

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Old 10-11-2014, 10:19 AM   #4
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Re: Sub. Meeting GC For First Time


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Originally Posted by KAP View Post
Chris, try not to overthink it and psyche yourself out... while I commend you wanting to be prepared, you're not the first flooring guy he's ever hired, so I would encourage you to just be yourself and play to your strengths, as most GC's can smell BS having to deal with many subs. Consider... He wouldn't have asked to meet with you if he didn't hear good things... keep that in the back of your head and indeed find out how he heard of you and what prompted him to call if he doesn't offer it and build from there...

Just don't make the mistake of over-promising in the excitement to get the account and end up under-delivering... funny, when I hear the phrase "no problem" as an answer to a question I expected a more realistic answer to, it's a flashing red flag...

That's one area most GC's are focused on because it can have serious affects on other parts of your schedule and actually costs them money...

Personality-wise... just like with employees we look for can-do attitude and work ethic... but here's a hint, he's going to expect to hear that... instead tell him I am sure he hears that a lot, and that you're more of a doer than a talker as he'll find out on the first job...

Best of luck... 8^)
What KAP said is some outstanding advice.

If I had called you I have already done my homework. Probably nothing you are going to be able to tell me that I already don't know.

Just be yourself and don't put any BS out there. Also don't show up in a dirty T-shirt with a wad of chew. Being sober helps also.

I'd rather spend a few minutes just talking to you about whatever. Hunting, fishing last nights ball game... How you talk, interact, body language can tell me a great deal about you.

Good Luck...
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Old 10-11-2014, 11:48 AM   #5
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Re: Sub. Meeting GC For First Time


One thing not talked about is financial stability. If you have cash on hand and are not living paycheck to paycheck it may help a bit. I never have full trust with a sub if they are broke because it gives them a huge reason to cut corners.
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Old 10-11-2014, 05:06 PM   #6
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Re: Sub. Meeting GC For First Time


What they said, with the caution that if you haven't worked for the guy before, I don't know how he can discuss putting you on the first-call list, unless ....

Most likely, the meeting will primarily be about you meeting his price point.

Don't forget that you're interviewing him, too. Keep your BS alarm turned on. Ask him what happened to his last go-to flooring guy.
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Old 10-11-2014, 07:06 PM   #7
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Re: Sub. Meeting GC For First Time


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Originally Posted by griz View Post
What KAP said is some outstanding advice.

If I had called you I have already done my homework. Probably nothing you are going to be able to tell me that I already don't know.

Just be yourself and don't put any BS out there. Also don't show up in a dirty T-shirt with a wad of chew. Being sober helps also.

I'd rather spend a few minutes just talking to you about whatever. Hunting, fishing last nights ball game... How you talk, interact, body language can tell me a great deal about you.

Good Luck...
sober, that lets me out, thank god medical weed, i mean medical mararanana is ok dude, failed spelling out getting my script filled
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Old 10-11-2014, 07:59 PM   #8
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Re: Sub. Meeting GC For First Time


Quote:
Originally Posted by KAP View Post
Chris, try not to overthink it and psyche yourself out... while I commend you wanting to be prepared, you're not the first flooring guy he's ever hired, so I would encourage you to just be yourself and play to your strengths, as most GC's can smell BS having to deal with many subs. Consider... He wouldn't have asked to meet with you if he didn't hear good things... keep that in the back of your head and indeed find out how he heard of you and what prompted him to call if he doesn't offer it and build from there...

Just don't make the mistake of over-promising in the excitement to get the account and end up under-delivering... funny, when I hear the phrase "no problem" as an answer to a question I expected a more realistic answer to, it's a flashing red flag...

That's one area most GC's are focused on because it can have serious affects on other parts of your schedule and actually costs them money...

Personality-wise... just like with employees we look for can-do attitude and work ethic... but here's a hint, he's going to expect to hear that... instead tell him I am sure he hears that a lot, and that you're more of a doer than a talker as he'll find out on the first job...

Best of luck... 8^)
Nailed it.
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Old 10-11-2014, 10:00 PM   #9
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Re: Sub. Meeting GC For First Time


Go commando and make sure the GC knows it
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Old 10-11-2014, 11:34 PM   #10
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Re: Sub. Meeting GC For First Time


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Go commando and make sure the GC knows it
LOL... that would show he's got balls, but no place to sit during the meeting...
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Old 10-12-2014, 07:07 AM   #11
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Re: Sub. Meeting GC For First Time


Where are you located in Maine, Chris? I might have few floors to sub out in the next several months, mostly in the Portland area.
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Old 10-12-2014, 02:40 PM   #12
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Re: Sub. Meeting GC For First Time


Also discuss your preferred types and brands of finishes and flooring products with the understanding that it's your decision on which brands to use, unless it's mutually agreed upon beforehand. I'm mostly speaking of finishes, since everybody has personal favorites they feel most comfortable using, but also flooring to an extent. There are brands of prefinished I will not install unless the install price is significantly increased, and some I flat out refuse to install.

And keep in mind that YOU are interviewing HIM, too. Just because he calls himself a 'Builder' doesn't automatically mean he knows WTF he's doing.
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Old 10-12-2014, 04:10 PM   #13
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Re: Sub. Meeting GC For First Time


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Where are you located in Maine, Chris? I might have few floors to sub out in the next several months, mostly in the Portland area.
Im in Gardiner. About 45 min from Portland. I service Portland often. Give me a ring anytime and we can chat. Thanks bud could always use more work.

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Old 10-13-2014, 09:23 AM   #14
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Re: Sub. Meeting GC For First Time


You might take msds and tds sheets on the products you typically use. Offer them for his files. Also when I talk to a supplier or sub I want to understand why and how I can sell their product to the end user. Be ready to explain the why and how of what you do.
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Old 10-13-2014, 03:35 PM   #15
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Re: Sub. Meeting GC For First Time


Maybe I'm crazy, but If I'm meeting a new contractor most times I will try to pull my trailer with me, just to show that we have a good setup and take our business seriously.

I go to the meeting with the attitude of interviewing and finding out as much as I can about the builder and his method of scheduling etc.
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Old 10-13-2014, 05:29 PM   #16
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Re: Sub. Meeting GC For First Time


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Originally Posted by Buckeye Don
Maybe I'm crazy, but If I'm meeting a new contractor most times I will try to pull my trailer with me, just to show that we have a good setup and take our business seriously. I go to the meeting with the attitude of interviewing and finding out as much as I can about the builder and his method of scheduling etc.
I don't think you're crazy. I like when I can have my truck-bed full of big shiny tools and boxes. I don't pull a trailer yet.

And I make sure I have my handy-man kit, because you never know when your new reno client will want some handy work done on the spot. (That kind of thing probably wouldn't come up at a meeting with a GC though.)

I'd like a new client to think that I could make their dreams come true at that very moment...if it weren't for all my other satisfied clients.

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Old 10-15-2014, 09:05 AM   #17
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Re: Sub. Meeting GC For First Time


Thanks for all the great advice guys hopefully the meeting goes well. I have talked to him for a few minutes over the phone on one occasion and have discovered he has about 10 houses being built in the next 8 months. He owns quite a large business of housing remodeling and new building. ...fingers crossed.

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Old 10-15-2014, 09:20 AM   #18
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Re: Sub. Meeting GC For First Time


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Thanks for all the great advice guys hopefully the meeting goes well. I have talked to him for a few minutes over the phone on one occasion and have discovered he has about 10 houses being built in the next 8 months. He owns quite a large business of housing remodeling and new building. ...fingers crossed.

Christopher Wood Floors
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[email protected]
Just be sure not to fall for the old "if you give me a good price on the first one, I'll give you more business"...

If he wants to "try you out", it's at regular rates, as you're not in business to lose money. If he goes under contract for all 8-10 at one time, that's a different story because your costs go down (i.e. - marketing to get client, time spent on non-labor work, etc.) and he will rightfully expect your pricing to reflect that... but don't go nuts...

Best of luck... 8^)
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Old 10-17-2014, 03:21 PM   #19
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Re: Sub. Meeting GC For First Time


Call me cockey but I try to look at it from the other point of view. You should be going there to interview him to see if you even want to work for him. I would be asking about his scheduling habits, if he is typically ready when he calls for the next trade to come in, will he typically have other trades working in your way, anything that affects your output and income, How long does it take to get paid those types of things. In my mind With those types of questions you seem more confident in your ability to do the work and you want to make sure he is up to your expectations

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Old 10-17-2014, 06:24 PM   #20
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Re: Sub. Meeting GC For First Time


I agree with taken, you should be qualifying him. Just because he is doing big volume doesn't mean anything. I big company here supposedly had a couple million dollars signed for the coming year and out of nowhere they shut her down and were out of business. Make sure the financials are on the up and up.

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