Moving To Massachusetts - General Discussion - Contractor Talk

Moving To Massachusetts

 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 02-28-2020, 07:00 PM   #1
Registered User
 
godelescher's Avatar
 
Trade: GC
Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 6
Rewards Points: 30

Moving To Massachusetts


*My apologies in advance, this is a long story.

I'm a cabinet maker and general contractor specializing in kitchen and bath remodels in Pennsylvania. I'm thriving here and I've put a lot of effort into developing a very good reputation that I'm proud to maintain.

I'm (mostly) a one man show, with the exception a couple of specialized subs who I've worked with for years, I do everything myself; the reframing, plumbing, electrical, all the finish work, and all the cabinetry. My subs are countertops, HVAC, and tying electric into panels (that's my limit). I don't want to sound snobby, but I've had a long run of bad luck with anyone who isn't me working on my jobs and I just won't do it anymore unless I've known a sub for years.

I pre-build all the cabinetry and pre-order all materials so I never have to wait while I'm on a job. I just finished a kitchen in three weeks which I'm thrilled about. There were no hiccups and no corners cut. Demo, new floor, new cabinets, new lighting, new countertop and fixtures, new plumbing, new backsplash, new paint... in and out in three weeks (plus three weeks to build the cabinets and get everything ordered ahead of time).

The home owners are thrilled. I added a basement bath to their home last year and up next is remodeling their upstairs bath (which should be another two to three week job). They are super social people and, since their bathroom addition, They've been swamped with friends asking for my number, and even more so now.

I only do one job at a time. It's a conscious decision because I've seen too many contractors get themselves into trouble by taking on additional jobs and then all the jobs suffer because the contractor is spread too thin. I avoid that. My clients love it because they see me every day and it's easy for them to only deal with a single person. Also, it keeps my cost down and I know the work is done right.

Long story short, I'm at a point where I could be non stop busy for a couple of years if I don't change anything, BUT...

We're moving to Massachusetts. I don't want to, but my wife's sister lives there and she has a special needs child and my wife wants to be closer to her family to help out. Our kids just went off to college so this is the right time to do it. As a matter of fact, my wife is already there. She got offered a good job so she went ahead of me so I can stay here, finish up my jobs, and get our house ready to list in the Spring. I should be up there around May or June.

Here's my problem (if you haven't already figured it out), I'm leaving a place where I have a good reputation, steady work, and an established cabinet shop to go to a place where not only will I be starting from square one, but it's a state that is notorious for over regulating every aspect of home improvement.

I will no longer be able to run my own electric or plumbing. For that I will have to have a state licensed electrician or plumber to do things I am eminently qualified to do. I will need a construction supervisors license to hang cabinets (which is absurd, but ok, whatever...) I won't know anyone, I won't have any local references, I won't have any commercial accounts with suppliers, I don't know where to get rough sawn lumber, and I'll have to build a whole new cabinet shop from scratch.

My question is, should I just divorce my wife and stay here where I can reap the benefits of years of hard work, or, at 50 years old, should I start all over again? That question is only half joking. I'm exhausted at the thought of starting all over again.

Can anyone give me advice on cabinet making/kitchen and bath remodeling in Massachusetts? Can anyone point me to hardwood, plywood, and tile suppliers in Western Massachusetts (Amherst area). Can anyone give me advice on getting reliable subs for electric and plumbing? I'm going in there totally blind.

Last edited by godelescher; 02-28-2020 at 07:29 PM.
godelescher 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 02-28-2020, 08:46 PM   #2
Talking Head
 
EthanB's Avatar
 
Trade: Poking Things With Sticks
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Rhode Island
Posts: 5,388
Rewards Points: 438

Re: Moving To Massachusetts


I'm not very close to Amherst but the market is very strong up here. My advice would be to look for a position with another company that would play to your strengths and that wouldn't drive you crazy. Almost everyone is hiring.

Ideally a PM or lead position with a company the meets your quality criteria. If you decide you can't work for someone else after a year or two then you will have a much better network for that area. Frankly, you'll make great money as an employee or lose your butt starting from scratch without a real network built up so it's a no brainer in my eyes.

The other alternative would be to start out as a sub so you only need to find a couple GC's to work for rather than build up a stable of customers.

Advertisement

__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaws View Post
Planer.....
EthanB is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to EthanB For This Useful Post:
concretemasonry (03-04-2020), mrcat (02-28-2020)
Old 02-28-2020, 09:03 PM   #3
Pro
 
tjbnwi's Avatar
 
Trade: Remodeling
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Cedar Tucky, Indiana
Posts: 11,444
Rewards Points: 4,772

Re: Moving To Massachusetts


Real question is---the kids that just went off to college---you going to tell them you moved?????

(got nothing else, good luck, I'm finalizing a 1000 mile move)

Tom
tjbnwi is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 02-28-2020, 09:29 PM   #4
Pro
 
KAP's Avatar
 
Trade: Custom
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 12,319
Rewards Points: 40,208

Re: Moving To Massachusetts


You did it once, you can do it again... in fact, you're ahead of the game the last time you did it because you have the experience and what to look for which will help expedite things...

Finding suppliers is much easier on the internet nowadays... from there, developing sub contacts can be as easy as starting a conversation with your suppliers or local AHJ, let them know you're new in town and looking for pro's to work with and do they have anyone they'd recommend... at the same time, you can give them a quick preview into your background during the conversation...

Some things you can do to maximize your time in preparation of the move while selling the house...
1) Use this time while still in your hot market to build your Capital Reserves / Emergency & Equipment Fund if you don't have it in preparation of the move...

2) Only take the tools/equipment that makes sense to move and sell the rest to put towards new equipment as you're re-establishing...

3) While you're looking for a new shop, find a local source or reputable/reliable company that has good lead times for cabinets, and instead of taking three weeks to build/order you can add another 3-4 jobs in the same time frame over the year to increase your NET income while re-establishing... there's LOTS of sources for such... and if local, can also be a source to become a sub for installs...

4) Don't stop working while making the move... activity begets activity... hit the ground running... if you don't have any business to start into (get the in-laws talking about your talent coming to town with their warm market to create anticipation - family helps family right?), that's your job 100% of the time until you do... then under-promise and over-deliver... word spreads faster when they hear about someone they live up to the hype...

5) Talk to your accountant in the state you're currently in to maximize filing and take time to find a new one in the state you're moving to do the same...

6) Use the off-time you're away from your spouse to lay the ground work for the move as opposed to just arriving and starting from scratch... easy to fall into the trap of coming home and vegging without your usual source of affection, contact and entertainment there... but this way, your mind remains active and you're not starting from ground zero when you arrive...

7) Don't know when you plan to retire, but you're only 50... you've still got some working years ahead of you if you want it and consider it only takes about a year or two to establish yourself locally, and will be helped by the strong market right now in your new home state... capitalize on it while you can...

8) Get a website going NOW so you're getting ready to hit the market... When you've sold a job, get permission from the customers to post pics of the job-site progress on-line as you go... Put a yard sign-up when working that lists you're website with a line stating passer-by's can follow the progress of the job by visiting your website... The day you set the sign, go to the surrounding neighbors to let the know you're working at their neighbors but you want to be respectful of the start and end times and noise and should they have any concerns or interested in their own project to give you a call and if they're interested (they will) tell them if they're interested in following the progress your website is listed on the sign... very quick introduction, and not a sales pitch... at the end of the project, be sure to post on your website "Just Finished" and show the final before/after pics that also shows a testimonial from your customer... list the start and end date, along with what was done and a link to the jobsite progression pics...

9) Also use some of your off-time to look at your processes and refine them to increase productivity and find more ways to extract more PROFIT for your business in anticipation of retirement...

10) If you're so inclined, Kiss your wife and in this new adventure starting out again (for both of you) try to remember and focus on all the good times you've had together over the years, and just like with the business, you're not starting out from scratch but with the benefit of life's experience, kids on their way and time for you two to have again as a couple that's the depth in life... you're both going to need each other...
There's more but this is a starting point...

Best of luck with the move... 8^)

Last edited by KAP; 02-28-2020 at 10:34 PM.
KAP is offline  
Old 02-28-2020, 09:34 PM   #5
Registered User
 
godelescher's Avatar
 
Trade: GC
Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 6
Rewards Points: 30

Re: Moving To Massachusetts


Ethan,


Your advice is sound, but it's not going to happen. If I were 20 years younger it would be an option, but I'm far past that point.


I know that sounds arrogant and I apologize for that. I'm sure there are plenty of fine GCs in Western MA, but one thing I won't do is be an employee.


After 30 years in this industry, I've learned nuances of contractor/client relations that can't be taught. I will be the contractor and I will take the jobs that I know to be in my best interest. Working for someone else opens the door to a host of potential catastrophes I have already outgrown.


Again, It's good advice for someone younger, but I'm at the sweet spot of where experience and ability meet, and these are my prime earning years as an experienced and independent contractor. Hitching my wagon to someone else's horse isn't an option for me.


You should remember this for your own future. I'm sure plenty of contractors in my age bracket will agree with me.
godelescher is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to godelescher For This Useful Post:
cedarboarder (03-02-2020), Joasis (02-29-2020)
Old 02-28-2020, 09:53 PM   #6
Registered User
 
godelescher's Avatar
 
Trade: GC
Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 6
Rewards Points: 30

Re: Moving To Massachusetts


Things to think about

Last edited by godelescher; 02-28-2020 at 10:11 PM.
godelescher is offline  
Old 02-29-2020, 06:14 AM   #7
Pro
 
MarkJames's Avatar
 
Trade: Essential Handyman Services
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Arlington, VA
Posts: 10,497
Rewards Points: 19,505

Re: Moving To Massachusetts


Quote:
Originally Posted by godelescher View Post
Ethan,


Your advice is sound, but it's not going to happen. If I were 20 years younger it would be an option, but I'm far past that point.


I know that sounds arrogant and I apologize for that. I'm sure there are plenty of fine GCs in Western MA, but one thing I won't do is be an employee.


After 30 years in this industry, I've learned nuances of contractor/client relations that can't be taught. I will be the contractor and I will take the jobs that I know to be in my best interest. Working for someone else opens the door to a host of potential catastrophes I have already outgrown.


Again, It's good advice for someone younger, but I'm at the sweet spot of where experience and ability meet, and these are my prime earning years as an experienced and independent contractor. Hitching my wagon to someone else's horse isn't an option for me.


You should remember this for your own future. I'm sure plenty of contractors in my age bracket will agree with me.
Ethan is a seasoned pro who made the leap successfully, fyi.

(Not sure of his age.)
MarkJames is offline  
Old 02-29-2020, 06:17 AM   #8
Pro
 
Joasis's Avatar
 
Trade: General Contractor
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Hennessey, Oklahoma
Posts: 9,741
Rewards Points: 1,952

Re: Moving To Massachusetts


Why can't you maintain two homes? At least, until the special needs child is older, then your wife can return. How far could it be to commute a few times a month?

Short of luck, it would take you a few years to establish your business in Mass, and you would be giving up what you have......I know what I would do. Marriage is a partnership, not a one way street. Your wife can make this temporary at her end, you can visit.
__________________
Ladwig Construction
Hennessey, Oklahoma
405 853 1563

Insulated Concrete Homes / ICF's
My Facebook Page
Joasis is offline  
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Joasis For This Useful Post:
Frank Castle (02-29-2020), tgeb (02-29-2020), TimNJ (02-29-2020)
Old 02-29-2020, 07:34 AM   #9
Pro
 
TimNJ's Avatar
 
Trade: Remodeler
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 6,923
Rewards Points: 6,838

Re: Moving To Massachusetts


Quote:
Originally Posted by Joasis View Post
Why can't you maintain two homes? At least, until the special needs child is older, then your wife can return. How far could it be to commute a few times a month?

Short of luck, it would take you a few years to establish your business in Mass, and you would be giving up what you have......I know what I would do. Marriage is a partnership, not a one way street. Your wife can make this temporary at her end, you can visit.


Exactly.

OP already said he wasn't planning on leaving until June.
That's four months right there.

My sister lives in Boston. 5hr drive for me or little over an hr plane flight. Or take the train.
__________________
Trump-The "Con Man's" Con Man.
TimNJ is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to TimNJ For This Useful Post:
Joasis (02-29-2020)
Old 02-29-2020, 12:45 PM   #10
Kowboy
 
Kowboy's Avatar
 
Trade: Countertops
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Sarasota, FL
Posts: 1,793
Rewards Points: 8,944

Re: Moving To Massachusetts


You could get a new wife a hell of a lot easier than starting a new shop, believe me. And a younger model too. I'm 64 and dated a gorgeous 29-year old Cuban after my wife moved out. Of course it was doomed, but damn, what a couple weeks.
Kowboy is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to Kowboy For This Useful Post:
Jimmy Cabinet (03-01-2020)
Old 02-29-2020, 01:44 PM   #11
Pro
 
avenge's Avatar
 
Trade: Remodeling
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Not here
Posts: 3,212
Rewards Points: 304

Re: Moving To Massachusetts


Over the years my wife has mentioned moving out of state or doing something else for a living. Neither was going to happen it's the only thing I've done all my life and my business was already established.

Maybe if I was younger but if I was younger I wouldn't get married nor have kids problem solved.

I wouldn't move, divorce maybe but doubtful, I've known married people with long distance relationships only spending time together on weekends. Heck I know people that live locally that barely see one another. Probably why they're still married.
avenge is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to avenge For This Useful Post:
Jimmy Cabinet (03-01-2020), Joasis (03-01-2020)
Old 02-29-2020, 09:01 PM   #12
Talking Head
 
EthanB's Avatar
 
Trade: Poking Things With Sticks
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Rhode Island
Posts: 5,388
Rewards Points: 438

Re: Moving To Massachusetts


Quote:
Originally Posted by godelescher View Post
Ethan,


Your advice is sound, but it's not going to happen. If I were 20 years younger it would be an option, but I'm far past that point.


I know that sounds arrogant and I apologize for that. I'm sure there are plenty of fine GCs in Western MA, but one thing I won't do is be an employee.


After 30 years in this industry, I've learned nuances of contractor/client relations that can't be taught. I will be the contractor and I will take the jobs that I know to be in my best interest. Working for someone else opens the door to a host of potential catastrophes I have already outgrown.


Again, It's good advice for someone younger, but I'm at the sweet spot of where experience and ability meet, and these are my prime earning years as an experienced and independent contractor. Hitching my wagon to someone else's horse isn't an option for me.


You should remember this for your own future. I'm sure plenty of contractors in my age bracket will agree with me.
I appreciate that. I think most of the contractors I know fall in that same mindset. Personally, I've been an employee, then I did my own thing for 15 years and now I've been an employee for almost 5 years again. If you can't imagine taking orders from someone else then it definitely isn't the right move.

For me, I was able to say "Here is what I love to do, here is what I don't want to do any more" and find a good company that allows me to do just that and get paid pretty well. Frankly, I make more per hour now than I ever did on my own. I only work 40 a week and make a bit less than my best years but I worked a heck of a lot more in my best years. I've also used my free time to buy and work on some properties so my total income is higher than ever.

I only say that for other readers that may be on the fence. It's an employees market right now to get a good job and a good wage and labor shortages indicate that could easily last another 10-15 years. I'm 40 now so that's all I want.
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaws View Post
Planer.....
EthanB is offline  
Old 03-01-2020, 09:59 AM   #13
Contractor
 
AustinDB's Avatar
 
Trade: Remodeling & Home Additions
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 4,541
Rewards Points: 1,582

Re: Moving To Massachusetts


are you moving b/c of a troubled marriage and this is an attempt to save? I moved to Texas b/c of a similar situation: the marriage didn't last and the business took 3 years to get going at a good pace. Two stressor's at the same time may be difficult to pull off.
AustinDB is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to AustinDB For This Useful Post:
Jimmy Cabinet (03-01-2020)
Old 03-01-2020, 10:42 AM   #14
PCI
 
PCI's Avatar
 
Trade: contractor
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: MN
Posts: 647
Rewards Points: 848

Re: Moving To Massachusetts


I'm sorry that I may be "slightly retarded-from merriums Webster " that I am to infer it is acceptable practice for you to practice plumbing, electrical and GC ing with no license of any sort?

I'm not complaining, I'm envious. OP states his desired limits at the electrical panel.

MA law seems very overreaching as he describes it. (Land of I only take cash at bars- and proud to announce it[ avoiding the IRS]) . Why would you move.

Send your wife every 2 weeks out of the month to live with her sister.
More economical. You are not getting it that often anyway. This may give the impression of absence of the heart grows stronger!

If it's a marriage on the rocks , bumb, see ya.
PCI is offline  
Old 03-01-2020, 12:16 PM   #15
Pro
 
hdavis's Avatar
 
Trade: remodeling
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: CoastalME
Posts: 25,549
Rewards Points: 2,236

Re: Moving To Massachusetts


I wouldn't move.
hdavis is offline  
Old 03-01-2020, 01:28 PM   #16
Registered User
 
sdaniels7114's Avatar
 
Trade: flooring
Join Date: Mar 2020
Posts: 3
Rewards Points: 6

Re: Moving To Massachusetts


There's plenty of money to be made up here, I'm just outside Boston. I'm surprised you're reticent about even using licensed guys for electric and plumbing work. I've always found that unlicensed electricians in particular bring lots and lots of entertainment to the jobsite but the licensed ones just do their job correctly and leave.

On an unrelated note: Gritty is ok, but otherwise the PA sports culture will have to stay behind. This is Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins and Celtics territory.
sdaniels7114 is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to sdaniels7114 For This Useful Post:
Jimmy Cabinet (03-01-2020), Pearce Services (03-01-2020)
Old 03-01-2020, 01:35 PM   #17
Registered User
 
sdaniels7114's Avatar
 
Trade: flooring
Join Date: Mar 2020
Posts: 3
Rewards Points: 6

Re: Moving To Massachusetts


Also medical insurance is a breeze up here for contractors. I pay $250/month for health and dental and have little out of pocket expenses. You do have to have it though. Obamacare's no insurance penalty got dropped to $0; but the penalty here in MA still exists and they will hit you with it if you're uninsured.
sdaniels7114 is offline  
Old 03-01-2020, 05:46 PM   #18
Pro
 
fred54's Avatar
 
Trade: contractor
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: nashville
Posts: 182
Rewards Points: 298

Re: Moving To Massachusetts


relocated a year and a half ago from NJ to Nashville as my wife got a job offer she couldn't refuse.
I'm in my mid 50's and had a great business. One man show but had 6 great subs-plumbers, framers, masons, tile, electrician, roofer, etc that I kept steadily busy and we all worked great together.

I haven't gone back to work yet. Bought a fixer upper that is keeping me busy. Was going to go the home inspector route but that seems frustrating. Nashville is a boom town and I have people offering me work all the time but it took me years to really get in a groove with my subs and I'm really struggling with starting over again finding guys I can rely on.

I'm lucky I can afford to stay home for awhile but I'm going a little stir crazy. If you're not in a rush and you're good at what you do work will come in.

I'm still soul searching. Best of luck to you and Bless your wife for wanting to help out with her niece.
fred54 is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to fred54 For This Useful Post:
Jimmy Cabinet (03-01-2020), Joasis (03-01-2020)
Old 03-01-2020, 06:47 PM   #19
TKO-TotalKitchenObsessed
 
Jimmy Cabinet's Avatar
 
Trade: Kitchen and bath design
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Houston
Posts: 1,024
Rewards Points: 522

Re: Moving To Massachusetts


The OP poster's dilemma is interesting to me. I did it several times. Each time I moved....from New Jersey, to Virginia, to Las Vegas I restarted my cabinet business very successfully. But my final move to Houston where I am mostly retired today, Houston, it failed or I failed. It is not a stranger friendly city. I did end up working for a few clowns down here until I retired almost 2 years ago. But ya can't keep a good cabinet guy down, especially after 38 years in the biz. So I now have a part time very very successful storage solution biz in Houston, and I get to stay involved in the cabinet industry till I can't walk anymore.
__________________
If you don't push to be perfect in everything you do, then you will always remain just average.
Jimmy Cabinet is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to Jimmy Cabinet For This Useful Post:
hdavis (03-01-2020)
Old 03-01-2020, 06:51 PM   #20
TKO-TotalKitchenObsessed
 
Jimmy Cabinet's Avatar
 
Trade: Kitchen and bath design
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Houston
Posts: 1,024
Rewards Points: 522

Re: Moving To Massachusetts


Quote:
Originally Posted by sdaniels7114 View Post
There's plenty of money to be made up here, I'm just outside Boston. I'm surprised you're reticent about even using licensed guys for electric and plumbing work. I've always found that unlicensed electricians in particular bring lots and lots of entertainment to the jobsite but the licensed ones just do their job correctly and leave.

On an unrelated note: Gritty is ok, but otherwise the PA sports culture will have to stay behind. This is Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins and Celtics territory.
For the record my friend, I never lived in Massachusetts, but I am a die hard Red Sox fan since 1967, you may remember that year's events. I took the trip to Fenway many times when I lived in NJ among all those blankity Yankee fans. $2 got me a bleacher seat for day games and we'd walk up close to the players.

Advertisement

__________________
If you don't push to be perfect in everything you do, then you will always remain just average.
Jimmy Cabinet is offline  



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


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?