1, 2, 3 Or More Jobs At The Same Time?! - General Discussion - Contractor Talk

1, 2, 3 Or More Jobs At The Same Time?!

 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 12-03-2009, 06:17 PM   #1
Pro
 
healthyhomes's Avatar
 
Trade: GC/Carpenter
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada
Posts: 120
Rewards Points: 75

1, 2, 3 Or More Jobs At The Same Time?!


We have had a pretty busy 2009. That being said, it came with ALOT of stress for me.

I employ one journeyman carpenter, and one apprentice. All specialties are subs. And then myself who runs the business, deals with customers, deals with bills helps on site etc etc etc!

My question is: How many jobs do you guys prefer to take on at one time, and why?

Up until now I see 2-3 at a time as a neccesity to keep the cash flow up, and so I dont have guys standing around when the tapers an painters are at it, but its alot of stress, and even more hours. Need some advice, please.
healthyhomes is offline  

Warning: The topics covered on this site include activities in which there exists the potential for serious injury or death. ContractorTalk.com DOES NOT guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any information contained on this site. Always use proper safety precaution and reference reliable outside sources before attempting any construction or remodeling task!

   

Advertisement

 

Old 12-03-2009, 06:26 PM   #2
JumboJack for president!
 
XanadooLTD's Avatar
 
Trade: Hilti walking billboard
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Ohio
Posts: 747
Rewards Points: 500

Re: 1, 2, 3 Or More Jobs At The Same Time?!


id bring in more people to help. You need to spread the responsibility. if you can not afford that then you need to cut back employees to only subs. Or raise your prices so you will make it through the slow times.

Advertisement

XanadooLTD is offline  
Old 12-03-2009, 06:33 PM   #3
Pro
 
katoman's Avatar
 
Trade: carpenter
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Kirkfield,Ontario, Canada
Posts: 6,102
Rewards Points: 2,000

Re: 1, 2, 3 Or More Jobs At The Same Time?!


At one time my partner and I had 10-14 jobs on the go at one time, ranging from $20,000 to $1,000,000 in scope. Burned us both out, cost us our wives, etc.

Now I work with one man, can control all aspects of the business, have customers waiting for me, and most of all am happy.

The thing of it is, you need to find out what makes you happy, and tailor your business to satisfy yourself. Believe it or not, there are more important things in life than money.
katoman is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to katoman For This Useful Post:
healthyhomes (12-03-2009), Wolfgang (12-04-2009)
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 12-03-2009, 08:33 PM   #4
Member
 
atrawlings's Avatar
 
Trade: Remodeling Contractor
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Ithaca, NY
Posts: 92
Rewards Points: 75

Re: 1, 2, 3 Or More Jobs At The Same Time?!


Good Question. Consider turning over more responsibility of the project management to your lead carpenter. If you haven't already...allow him more freedom to interact with the client as a step to help alleviate all the stress on you.

A good businessman is one that can DELEGATE! Maybe you should consider a production manager... What you are looking for is time management. Take a log of your typical day...your typical week. Where is the bulk of your time? What portion of that week can you delegate or hire another to do? For example...do you spend a lot of your time in the truck picking up supplies and delivering them? Consider hiring an entry guy to drive around and grease the skids on the projects.

Too often we like to feel that we are SO important that we have to do everything...it ain't true. We need to spend our time doing the things that have the largest return and allow another to do the rest.

Consider reading the book The Lead Carpenter Handbook by Timothy Faller for some good ideas.

Best of luck.
atrawlings is offline  
Old 12-03-2009, 09:56 PM   #5
 
TulsaRemodeler's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 154
Rewards Points: 150

Re: 1, 2, 3 Or More Jobs At The Same Time?!


Quote:
Originally Posted by atrawlings View Post
A good businessman is one that can DELEGATE!
Yep, DELEGATE. D*mn this business is tough now. Prices and stuff.
TulsaRemodeler is offline  
Old 12-03-2009, 09:59 PM   #6
General Contractor
 
Willie T's Avatar
 
Trade: General Contractor
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: St. Petersburg, FL Minds of moderate caliber ordinarily condemn everything which is beyond their range.
Posts: 3,444
Rewards Points: 12

Re: 1, 2, 3 Or More Jobs At The Same Time?!


I've had as many as 46 houses going at once. Truthfully, I think that's too much. I felt most comfortable at right around 15. That's a reasonable number to keep track of.
__________________
"True eloquence consists in saying all that is necessary, and only that which is."
François Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Bill Everett - St. Petersburg, FL
Willie T is offline  
Old 12-03-2009, 10:14 PM   #7
 
TulsaRemodeler's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 154
Rewards Points: 150

Re: 1, 2, 3 Or More Jobs At The Same Time?!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Willie T View Post
I've had as many as 46 houses going at once. Truthfully, I think that's too much. I felt most comfortable at right around 15. That's a reasonable number to keep track of.
I could not do that.
TulsaRemodeler is offline  
Old 12-03-2009, 10:21 PM   #8
Pro
 
plazaman's Avatar
 
Trade: Remodeling Contractor
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: NYC
Posts: 2,283
Rewards Points: 1,228

Re: 1, 2, 3 Or More Jobs At The Same Time?!


3-6 at peak, sometimes i prefer to 1 @ a time, but it isnt possible @ times. Times are very slow now, i dont even have work anymore.
plazaman is offline  
Old 12-03-2009, 10:22 PM   #9
General Contractor
 
Willie T's Avatar
 
Trade: General Contractor
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: St. Petersburg, FL Minds of moderate caliber ordinarily condemn everything which is beyond their range.
Posts: 3,444
Rewards Points: 12

Re: 1, 2, 3 Or More Jobs At The Same Time?!


Quote:
Originally Posted by TulsaRemodeler View Post
I could not do that.
I'll admit to not doing it anyway near as well as I should have. 'Bout drove me crazy.
__________________
"True eloquence consists in saying all that is necessary, and only that which is."
François Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Bill Everett - St. Petersburg, FL
Willie T is offline  
Old 12-03-2009, 10:35 PM   #10
 
TulsaRemodeler's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 154
Rewards Points: 150

Re: 1, 2, 3 Or More Jobs At The Same Time?!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Willie T View Post
I'll admit to not doing it anyway near as well as I should have. 'Bout drove me crazy.
I'm sure, thats on a whole nother level. You must know a thing or two about delegation, and alcohol
TulsaRemodeler is offline  
Old 12-03-2009, 11:04 PM   #11
General Contractor
 
Willie T's Avatar
 
Trade: General Contractor
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: St. Petersburg, FL Minds of moderate caliber ordinarily condemn everything which is beyond their range.
Posts: 3,444
Rewards Points: 12

Re: 1, 2, 3 Or More Jobs At The Same Time?!


You actually learn to compartmentalize the specific progress and phase of each house in your mind. Sort of like knowing where 46 different friends and relatives live, and who their kids are, and how old everyone is, and all the names, and sometimes even the birthdays.

See...? You already do it to an extent in your everyday life. Just a matter of expanding your awareness.
__________________
"True eloquence consists in saying all that is necessary, and only that which is."
François Duc de La Rochefoucauld
Bill Everett - St. Petersburg, FL
Willie T is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to Willie T For This Useful Post:
Magnettica (12-04-2009)
Old 12-04-2009, 06:42 AM   #12
Pro
 
KennMacMoragh's Avatar
 
Trade: Repair/Remodel
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 3,917
Rewards Points: 3,314

Re: 1, 2, 3 Or More Jobs At The Same Time?!


What's the source of your stress? More specifically, besides just from running multiple jobs. If we know what the problem is, maybe we can help you narrow it down. If you stay on top of everything with daily lists, your scheduling, bids, contracts, quality control, book keeping. It should keep your stress to a minimum.
KennMacMoragh is offline  
Old 12-04-2009, 06:57 AM   #13
Nest Home Improvement
 
carolinahandyma's Avatar
 
Trade: Home improvement simplified!
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 890
Rewards Points: 518

Re: 1, 2, 3 Or More Jobs At The Same Time?!


It really depends on the systems that you have developed with your business. If you have solid systems in place, you should be able to scale up, stay organized and on task and not be stressed. If you haven't already read the E-myth Contractor by Michael Gerber do so. You can get a used copy on Amazon for less than $10 and it's a quick read. It will help you put your business in perspective.
carolinahandyma is offline  
Old 12-04-2009, 07:26 AM   #14
Pro
 
IHI's Avatar
 
Trade: General construction and remodeling
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Waterloo, IA.
Posts: 2,408
Rewards Points: 1,040

Re: 1, 2, 3 Or More Jobs At The Same Time?!


How long have ya been going at it? I think a good background and history really makes a difference. When i first got started and was hiring guys it took me a bit to grasp the necessity of having to operate multiple jobs at any given time to keep the cash flow generating to keep the business and bills sustainable, it was hard to grasp initally since i was used to starting/finishing one job and moving to the next in line...great for 1 guy and a helper, not great for a crew on payroll and subs LOL!! So i eased into it and found it's not really the quantity of jobs, but the type of job and what you keep in house and what you sub out. It's ALOT easier to handle 10-20 jobs if your subbing all the work, vs actually being on site trying to work/job jump 10-20 jobs since that just pizzes off the customers as they see you for a lil bit and then you leave for awhile.

But i also found that during my peak of having a good sized crew and running multiple jobs, i honestly could not be on site wearing bags, my roll shifted expodentially from the guy on site getting dirty and barking orders, to the guy who now had to hunt down work, line up everything to keep a nice smooth flow of work to feed the guys so they would'nt be standing around...there is just no way to effeciently handle ALL aspects (including doing the feild work) along with all the administrative duties and still EFFICENTLY keep multiple jobs rolling IMO. That's alot to ask of any one man...it can be done, but at the expsense of no personal life which then adds yet another dimension of stress to your life that impedes practical decsion making and effeicency on your part since your mind wanders.

So there is no right answer, it boils down to personal preference and company set up IMO. Alot easier to manage many jobs when your not burdened with all the other asundry of responsibilites alot of typical smaller shops must endure since the main guy already wears about 10 different hats as it is. I always thought if i could find a secretary and s salesman to take care of all the stuff i hate doing, i could focus on being in the feild doing what i love being hands on. But i just cant find a salespuke that wants to work for anything under 50% of net profit, and i'm sorry, that's way out of line IMO unless they were positive they could sell a job for 150% more than i could in the first place.

Good luck
IHI is offline  
Old 12-04-2009, 04:28 PM   #15
Ciaos mitigator
 
chris klee's Avatar
 
Trade: Carpentry
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Delaware
Posts: 1,943
Rewards Points: 1,290

Re: 1, 2, 3 Or More Jobs At The Same Time?!


you need a superintendent. some one who keeps the employees busy, schedules subs, get the inspections done, ect. all the day to day busy stuff. then you can work on getting the work, meeting the clients to keep them happy, and keeping the money flowing properly.
or you can do it the otherway around. get a project manager to deal with the customers, money, schedules, ect and you can do the day to day busy work.
i have found when you try to be onsite and do the office end of the job, it get to be too much and stuff gets messed up. its best to keep it in 2 parts when you have that many jobs at once.
chris klee is offline  
Old 12-04-2009, 04:51 PM   #16
Pro
 
healthyhomes's Avatar
 
Trade: GC/Carpenter
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada
Posts: 120
Rewards Points: 75

Re: 1, 2, 3 Or More Jobs At The Same Time?!


Thanks for all the advice thus far.

I guess an example would be this:


At one time right now, I am working on a large 2 storey addition, a kitchen and bathroom reno, and a basement reno. I am running around like a chicken with my head cut off. I have my journeyman working on the kitchen bath, my helper at the addition cleaning up after the god damn subs, and doing punch list items, and trying to pick away at the basement. Im CONSTANTLY (probably 3-4 hours a day, picking up materials for everyone. My taper never shows up or even calls back, likewise with some other subs. I am dealing with a very picky needy customer constantly (addition), and am all the while barely scraping by financially.

I have tried keeping myself better scheduled and organized, but all the construction software I have tried has been very hard for me to use and understand. I have read countless books, but everyone seems to have a different opinion on how to profitably run a contracting company.

I am going into my 3rd year of being in business for myself. Our name is becoming recognized, and I am getting many referrals. Problem is I am so busy, I am not returning my customers calls as promptly as I should be, and not completing my estimates in a timely fashion.

I feel as though things are falling apart all around me, and I dont know what to do!

I thought of maybe just taking one larger job at a time (additions, new builds, major renos) and then to supplement, marketing and establishing a company that does ONE THING specifically (roofs, foundation waterproofing) to keep the cash flow coming, not to mention its an in and out thing that is easier to break down into a science.

Man I miss bangin nails sometimes. Hopefully this gives some more insight into my situation. Thanks for listening to me complain!
healthyhomes is offline  
Old 12-04-2009, 09:21 PM   #17
Pro
 
DaVinciRemodel's Avatar
 
Trade: Design/Build Remodeler
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Denver
Posts: 5,730
Rewards Points: 8

Re: 1, 2, 3 Or More Jobs At The Same Time?!


Quote:
Originally Posted by healthyhomes View Post
We have had a pretty busy 2009. That being said, it came with ALOT of stress for me.

I employ one journeyman carpenter, and one apprentice. All specialties are subs. And then myself who runs the business, deals with customers, deals with bills helps on site etc etc etc!

My question is: How many jobs do you guys prefer to take on at one time, and why?

Up until now I see 2-3 at a time as a neccesity to keep the cash flow up, and so I dont have guys standing around when the tapers an painters are at it, but its alot of stress, and even more hours. Need some advice, please.
My best advice is "Be careful what you wish for..."

We're a company that went from 2 employees ($97k in gross) 1993 - to 18 employees ($4.7 mil in gross) 2001 - to 2 employees ($1.0 mil) in 2005.

We went from 1 project at a time (average project $10K) to 6 projects at a time (average project $210K) to one project at a time (average project $200K).

Your question can be changed to 1 million $1 jobs or 1 job for a $1 million?

You may be the person who likes to go 100 miles an hour with your hair on fire or you might be the person who likes it slow and easy enjoying other things.

Take some time and ask yourself - who you are? Ask your family what they want.

You can configure the biz to anything you want - it is only you alter ego.

We personally made more money from 2001 to 2005 - we hated it! We then had the option (when we reinvented ourselves in 2005) to do lots of projects at a lower rate or do few projects at a much higher rate. We choose to become a boutique service provider - few customers - very high end - lots of golf between jobs (sometimes months).

The number of jobs is not the important question - what you want from your short time on this earth is!

I hope this helps.
__________________
I love what I do and I'm very good at it!

Da Vinci on the web or Da Vinci On Facebook
DaVinciRemodel is offline  
The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to DaVinciRemodel For This Useful Post:
angus242 (12-04-2009), cexcavation (12-04-2009), katoman (12-04-2009), rselectric1 (12-04-2009), Wolfgang (12-05-2009)
Old 12-04-2009, 09:25 PM   #18
Carpe Diem
 
angus242's Avatar
 
Trade: Smile 4 Tile
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 20,533
Rewards Points: 1,114

Re: 1, 2, 3 Or More Jobs At The Same Time?!


Quote:
Originally Posted by DaVinciRemodel View Post
or 1 job for a $1 million?
Yes, please!
__________________
Angus
angus242 is offline  
Old 12-04-2009, 09:33 PM   #19
Pro
 
DaVinciRemodel's Avatar
 
Trade: Design/Build Remodeler
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Denver
Posts: 5,730
Rewards Points: 8

Re: 1, 2, 3 Or More Jobs At The Same Time?!


Quote:
Originally Posted by angus242 View Post
Yes, please!
I told you - I'll come sell for you - Do you play golf?
__________________
I love what I do and I'm very good at it!

Da Vinci on the web or Da Vinci On Facebook
DaVinciRemodel is offline  
Old 12-04-2009, 09:35 PM   #20
Carpe Diem
 
angus242's Avatar
 
Trade: Smile 4 Tile
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 20,533
Rewards Points: 1,114

Re: 1, 2, 3 Or More Jobs At The Same Time?!


Quote:
Originally Posted by DaVinciRemodel View Post
I told you - I'll come sell for you - Do you play golf?
Actually that was RS that asked you to sell but if you're gonna be in the neighborhood, let's tee it up! FOREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.

Although I don't think either of us will have the weather for a good round anytime soon.

Advertisement

__________________
Angus
angus242 is offline  


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Time cards WNYcarpenter General Discussion 0 11-25-2009 12:16 AM
Long time listener, first time caller JR&R New Member Introductions 4 09-20-2009 07:37 AM
bill for setup and cleanup time woodworkbykirk General Discussion 15 07-22-2009 09:57 PM
How do you price jobs? johnny_b01 Business 11 08-05-2007 09:58 PM
In answer to a closed thread. AAPaint donb1959 Painting & Finish Work 42 08-27-2006 12:36 AM

Join Now... It's Fast and FREE!

I am a professional contractor
I am a DIY Homeowner
Drywall Talk is for
PROFESSIONAL CONTRACTORS ONLY!

At DrywallTalk.com we cater exlusivly to professional contractors who make their living as a contractor. Knowing that many homeowners and DIYers are looking for a community to call home, we've created www.DIYChatroom.com DIY Chatroom is full of helpful advices and perfect for DIY homeowners.

Redirecing in 10 seconds
No Thanks
terms of service

Already Have an Account?