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Advice On General Contracting

 
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Old 01-21-2010, 07:41 PM   #1
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Advice On General Contracting


Im looking for advice on the proper steps to take when GC'ing a job. I've only taken on jobs that i could handle myself. No major electrical, or plumbing work. I am currently "bidding" on a basement job thats going to need an electrician and a drywall contractor. I can handle the framing work and the floors and trim. Is there a proper way to handle this job? I've already looked at the job, took measurements, wrote down exactly what the customer wants and so forth. Is there a protocol as to how i contact subs. I've never used any before so should i just get a referral from someone i know? Then what do I do? I assume Im going to have to take them to look at the job, or can they bid it out from what i tell them? I think Im ready to take the next step and start doing bigger jobs. I just need some guidance. Would it be unprofessional to call another well known contractor and ask him to go over a few things? Any advice would be nice. thanks

Jason
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Old 01-21-2010, 08:03 PM   #2
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Re: Advice On General Contracting


Quote:
Originally Posted by Addon Builders View Post
Im looking for advice on the proper steps to take when GC'ing a job. I've only taken on jobs that i could handle myself. No major electrical, or plumbing work. I am currently "bidding" on a basement job thats going to need an electrician and a drywall contractor. I can handle the framing work and the floors and trim. Is there a proper way to handle this job? I've already looked at the job, took measurements, wrote down exactly what the customer wants and so forth. Is there a protocol as to how i contact subs. I've never used any before so should i just get a referral from someone i know? Then what do I do? I assume Im going to have to take them to look at the job, or can they bid it out from what i tell them? I think Im ready to take the next step and start doing bigger jobs. I just need some guidance. Would it be unprofessional to call another well known contractor and ask him to go over a few things? Any advice would be nice. thanks

Jason
Jason, how fast do you need to do this? Based on the above, I don't think you're ready for "Prime Time". Your post requires dozens of books and the experience of 100 years to answer. I was pretty hard on you on the last thread you started - guess I'm in a better mood today.

Here's what you need to do:

1. Look at my profile - go to my website - read!
2. If you're still interested in being a GC send me an email from the website - you can't send a PM yet.
3. We'll make arrangements to get you some one-on-one counseling either mental or construction.

Fair enough?

We will now call you "Little Wing"

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Old 01-21-2010, 08:04 PM   #3
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Re: Advice On General Contracting


If this is a sizable job, you might want to think about taking it to a larger GC and offering it to them in exchange for a finders fee and the understanding that you would get the carpentry subcontract. There is a lot that can trip you up when it comes to subcontracting, subcontractor insurance, scheduling etc.

A mismanaged sub can ruin your tranquility.
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Old 01-21-2010, 09:29 PM   #4
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Re: Advice On General Contracting


dozens of books??? hundred years??? c'mon man the op said basement remodel/ drywall, elec... imhho you are blowing this way out of proportion. This is in fact a perfect opportunity for the op to get his feet wet. if you want to expand your opportunities you gotta go out and start testing yourself. keep networking til you find the subs that you feel will help YOU succeed. If you do in fact get the job, take nothing for granted, educate yourself as to exactly what your subs are expected to do and check'em every step of the way. if you wanna be a successful contractor your gonna need a set: nows' a perfect time to start growin'em!
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Old 01-21-2010, 09:49 PM   #5
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Re: Advice On General Contracting


Davinci, thanks alot for your help. I'll be contacting you very soon.

Jason
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Old 01-21-2010, 10:16 PM   #6
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Re: Advice On General Contracting


Don't forget the insurance aspect. Subs can reak havoc with the GL insurance policy you should have.

Most policies get very particular about what percentage of your business is sub-contracted, and they almost always want your subs to have the same policy as you do. The days of them simply auditing and charging you premium additions are about over, they now simply refuse to cover you if you don't comply.

WC will act the same way if you have any.
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Old 01-21-2010, 10:35 PM   #7
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Re: Advice On General Contracting


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dozens of books??? hundred years??? c'mon man the op said basement remodel/ drywall, elec... imhho you are blowing this way out of proportion. This is in fact a perfect opportunity for the op to get his feet wet. if you want to expand your opportunities you gotta go out and start testing yourself. keep networking til you find the subs that you feel will help YOU succeed. If you do in fact get the job, take nothing for granted, educate yourself as to exactly what your subs are expected to do and check'em every step of the way. if you wanna be a successful contractor your gonna need a set: nows' a perfect time to start growin'em!
parker, where did you learn? Did you read the OP? Did you read his other posts? It sounds like the perfect opportunity to get his feet wet and possibly drown.

The OP said Basement - we,ve done basements for over $500k. What makes you think the OP has a little job on his hands. And even if he does - what is your problem with me offering to help! What's your problem with me helping him possibly get the job?

"keep networking til you find the subs" I asked the question up front "how much time do you have?" How much time do you think he has - do you care to know?

"educate yourself" - is that not what I said? I'm offering to expedite that - why is that so offensive to you. No one has asked you for anything.

"if you wanna be a successful contractor your going to need a set: nows' a perfect time to start growin'em!" The most successful remodeling contractor I know is a woman - she doesn't have a set is is not trying to grow em.

Your post speaks for itself.
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Old 01-21-2010, 11:18 PM   #8
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Re: Advice On General Contracting


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Originally Posted by parkers5150 View Post
dozens of books??? hundred years??? c'mon man the op said basement remodel/ drywall, elec... imhho you are blowing this way out of proportion. This is in fact a perfect opportunity for the op to get his feet wet. if you want to expand your opportunities you gotta go out and start testing yourself. keep networking til you find the subs that you feel will help YOU succeed. If you do in fact get the job, take nothing for granted, educate yourself as to exactly what your subs are expected to do and check'em every step of the way. if you wanna be a successful contractor your gonna need a set: nows' a perfect time to start growin'em!

Easy big boy. No need to get all lathered up.

We all know the passion you have is an asset. But you are coming across in a way that will inspire nothing but a pissing match.
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Old 01-21-2010, 11:56 PM   #9
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Re: Advice On General Contracting


addon, there is a guy you need to meet and develope a relationship with. He manages the outside sales/contractor sales department at your local building supply store. (not home depot) He probably does all the bidding packs for the contractors in your locality and probably sells millions of dollars in construction materials annually. He knows most of the contractors, sub-contractors and has relationships with anyone that's anybody in the business. He works hard and you will know him when you meet him because he'll put in extra effort to make your jobs easier and more productive. He'll have a cell phone and will answer it just about anytime you call. He returns your calls and treats you like he wants your business. You should find him and be as interested in his business as he is yours. Maybe send him a card on appropriate holidays. Learn to network because today it isn't only what you know...but whom you know.
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Old 01-22-2010, 09:39 AM   #10
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Re: Advice On General Contracting


first of all sorry if my lack of computer prowess led you all to believe that my feathers where ruffled or that i was being codescending, in fact i made a point to add the letter H (humble) in front of my opinion. as for the rest of this reply, its not geared towards a pissing match. according to the op, he had everything handled except drywall and electrical. now i don't want to beat on any trades here but that pretty much leaves electrical. again,imhHo unless the op left a lot of things out of the job description this would be a great opportunity to gain exp. without becoming overwhelmed. PS in typing this reply im pretty sure that i left out the second H in my first reply
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Old 01-22-2010, 10:31 AM   #11
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Re: Advice On General Contracting


Do you currently hold a license that will allow you to do General Contracting in your state? That would be the first hurdle.

I suspect you may not since you said in another post that your insurance won't allow you to have subs.
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Old 01-22-2010, 10:40 AM   #12
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Re: Advice On General Contracting


Subcontractor relationships will be one of your biggest challenges as long as you are in this business.

Real quickly, you can start with a simple "Subcontractor Agreement" that you read together and you both sign. Put this in your own words without all the legal mumbo jumbo. It will make it clear that you are in charge and you both have an understanding about expectations.

Example:

Scope of project
Schedule
Cleanup
Payment
Smoking policy
Client / sub policy

Just put the concerns you have in writing so they don't become assumptions that turn into disagreements later.

The subs will always work better with you when your expectations are clear.

Good luck
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Old 01-22-2010, 10:48 AM   #13
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Re: Advice On General Contracting


Quote:
Originally Posted by parkers5150 View Post
first of all sorry if my lack of computer prowess led you all to believe that my feathers where ruffled or that i was being codescending, in fact i made a point to add the letter H (humble) in front of my opinion. as for the rest of this reply, its not geared towards a pissing match. according to the op, he had everything handled except drywall and electrical. now i don't want to beat on any trades here but that pretty much leaves electrical. again,imhHo unless the op left a lot of things out of the job description this would be a great opportunity to gain exp. without becoming overwhelmed. PS in typing this reply im pretty sure that i left out the second H in my first reply
just because drywall is not a licensed trade, doesn't mean anybody can do it. when all is said and done, if the board is not hung and finished properly and in a timely manner, your job will look like ****e and it will take forever to complete. doesn't look good to HO either..
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Old 01-22-2010, 11:27 AM   #14
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Re: Advice On General Contracting


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just because drywall is not a licensed trade, doesn't mean anybody can do it. when all is said and done, if the board is not hung and finished properly and in a timely manner, your job will look like ****e and it will take forever to complete. doesn't look good to HO either..
I'm going to back D-rock up on this point. There has been some bashing of drywall guys around here recently. I have been behind many a guy that thought they could hang, tape, and mud that couldn't. It takes a touch and years of practice to learn to tape and finish in a manner that is both cost efficient and professional. While most good carpenters can hang it with little trouble the average guy usually butchers the hang job. If you have no experience doing it a basement is not a good place to start learning it unless your willing to lose money on that portion of the job.
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Old 01-22-2010, 12:01 PM   #15
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Re: Advice On General Contracting


Quote:
Originally Posted by Addon Builders View Post
Im looking for advice on the proper steps to take when GC'ing a job. I've only taken on jobs that i could handle myself. No major electrical, or plumbing work. I am currently "bidding" on a basement job thats going to need an electrician and a drywall contractor. I can handle the framing work and the floors and trim. Is there a proper way to handle this job? I've already looked at the job, took measurements, wrote down exactly what the customer wants and so forth. Is there a protocol as to how i contact subs. I've never used any before so should i just get a referral from someone i know? Then what do I do? I assume Im going to have to take them to look at the job, or can they bid it out from what i tell them? I think Im ready to take the next step and start doing bigger jobs. I just need some guidance. Would it be unprofessional to call another well known contractor and ask him to go over a few things? Any advice would be nice. thanks

Jason
1) Make sure you have the appropriate licensure in place to operate as a GC.
2) Have both prime contracts and sub-contractor agreements done up by your attorney.
3) Speak with your insurance agent and make the necessary changes to your policy so you will be covered. Find out what insurance will be required by your carrier for your subs to carry to be in compliance.
4) Make sure your subs list you as additional insured.
5) Make sure your subs are licensed appropriately.
6) Have plenty of financial resources at your disposal.
7) Make sure the work descriptions are detailed including amounts of materials supplied, kinds of materials, grade of work when applicable, time line to complete, etc.
8) Try to go over every possible problem that may arise in your head and account for them.
9) Make sure all the necessary permits are pulled and inspections completed.
10) Understand lien laws and procedures.
11) Develop relationships with your suppliers.
12) Always get at least three bids don't necessarily go with the low bidder.
13) Read extensively on how to bid projects.
14) Always get fixed rates from your subs no hourly contracts.
15) Do not supply any tools to your subs.
16) Understand tax laws regarding subs and who qualifies as such.
17) Always leave yourself some wiggle room within the time line you present to your client just in case.
18) Document everything on paper and be as specific as possible.
19) Remember if you are the GC ultimately you are responsible for everything on the job including compliance of OSHA regulations by subs, faulty workmanship, delays, and so on.
20) Develop good relationships with your subs, always pay on time or early, and try to help them grow when you can.
21) Don't over commit yourself.
22) Don't dive in head first into areas you have no experience. Always research first.
23) Understand it is usually more profitable to have subs do the work you are not experienced in and stick with what you know and grow with in those areas. If you want to expand your in house activities do so when you can afford to hire somebody that is well versed in the area you want to expand to.

There are many other lessons you will learn as you go and some you will only remember in certain situations. It takes many years and lots of continuous education to stay adept. Do not stay stagnant but don't try to grow to fast. I can't stress enough that you must constantly educate yourself in all aspects of the business and stay up to date on new laws, technologies, and practices. Don't be a guinea pig for new products let someone else test them out and find out if they work or not but know what they are.

I hope this helps.
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Old 01-22-2010, 12:08 PM   #16
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Re: Advice On General Contracting


we are not required to have a specific licence for general contracting. Basically anyone can be a GC, as long as you have the proper insurance to cover it. When i got my liability insurance policy they asked me if I had any subs. I told them no, that i only took on jobs that i could do myself. I assume because i dont use subs that my policy is at a lower premium. Heres a little more info on the job. I plan to stud out all the walls, instead of using furring strips attached to pour walls. I find it easier myself. There is already an egress window installed. She wants to add a closet so that it could count for a bedroom, but also for storage. HO also wants a laminate floor. I figured I would fur out the floor and install 3/4" rigid insulation between furring strips. Top that with 3/4" subfloor, then install flooring. I need an electrician to install outlets, and recessed lights. After all that, sheet rock, trim and paint. I can handle the framing, flooring, trim, and paint. I merely started this thread to get some advice on the best way to go out the process of hiring subs. Are there some general contractor packets out there with the nessecary forms? I feel this is the perfect opportunity to get my feet wet. Im the first to admit that my drywall and hanging and taping skills are far less than someone that does it everyday. If time is not an issue i will hang it and tape it. But for a job of this size i will sub it out. Any more advice?

Jason
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Old 01-22-2010, 12:25 PM   #17
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Re: Advice On General Contracting


One more thing about the Subcontractor Agreement.

Make sure the Sub is carrying his own insurance and that all his workers are covered while they are on your jobsite.
If you don't, YOUR insurance company will charge YOU for their coverage while they were working for you.

I had this happen to me when I was just starting out and my Ins co audited me and started out with a liability for $80,000 that they wanted me to pay.
I back-tracked and got the subs to give me copies but it took a lot of time & a lot of effort. Don't make that mistake.

Sheetrock if you must...............
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Old 01-22-2010, 12:46 PM   #18
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Re: Advice On General Contracting


You can use AIA contracts but you should still consult an attorney to make sure they will hold up in your area. They are not valid in all states. If you don't know any subs you will need to open the phone book and call some. On small jobs you can sometimes just describe it over the phone and get a ballpark. Most will prefer either a set of plans or to see the job. Don't rely on anyone else to price the job. If you don't know your numbers then this job is to big for you. Showing it to another contractor to go over your numbers is asking for trouble. Referrals are good if you can trust the source. Most important remember this: Your only as good as your last job. A happy client will tell 3 or 4 friends while a disgruntled client will tell 20 or more.
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Old 01-22-2010, 01:05 PM   #19
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Re: Advice On General Contracting


http://revenue.delaware.gov/services...ms/TIM93-5.pdf

Pages 2 and 3 might be of interest to you.
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Old 01-22-2010, 03:17 PM   #20
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Re: Advice On General Contracting


if you read the post, there was no bashing of trades. the point being made was that it doesn't take as much to get your head around a correct drywall job vs electrical. i was not suggesting that the op do it himself nor was i assuming that he could not

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