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This Is My Situation

 
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Old 02-24-2009, 12:15 PM   #1
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This Is My Situation


I don't want to change but I think I may have to face that reality very soon . I've been installing cabinets and doing interior trim on new homes for over 12 years self employed . I sub the cabinet installs from a kitchen showroom and the trim through 3 small time local builders . I really had a nice work setup . Low stress and working with people I like . Decent money.

Well the builders I have are about out of business. Haven't trimmed a new house in over a year as they didn't build any . One of them started doing additions and I still did his trimwork but after 5 of them he said he just can't stay afloat . He threw in the towel taking an hourly job to save his own house . The others are at a standstill . The cabinet installs have been enough for me to live on but thats about it .Just staying in neutral at the moment but I'm not complaining . I know here in S. Md some wish they were at least getting by without going backwards .

The showroom I install for is down to 3 employees from 9 a year ago but they have a bunch of the large builder accounts in my area .Those guys aren't doing much but they aren't shutting their doors either . We've hit on some commmercial work lately , I supply the labor bids and the installations and they do the rest . I am hoping this spring will bring at least a slight uptick in New Home contsruction and with a little luck some more commercial work will allow me to keep the staus quo .

Part of my brain is screaming to make some changes soon as this may get much worse . I do not look foward to dealing with homeowners . ( I respect the hell outta you remodel guys ) It hurts to think of doing production trimwork again. Being pressured to slam it in since 1 extra day on trim is going to kill the whole job and I'm sure for less money than it used to pay .
I'd be back to where I started out .

I'n not looking for someone to tell me what to do . I'll figure that out eventually . We all have options . I would like to hear how others are handling this type of situation and how it is working out for them . Are most already exercising their options ? Or holding on and hoping ? Have you already picked a point where if you reach it you will start making major changes ? Optimisim is certainly welcomed .lol
Sorry for rambling , I've had some extra time .
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Old 02-24-2009, 01:30 PM   #2
 
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Re: This Is My Situation


I'm guessing this entire year will suck. Hope you have enough money saved for the rainy day (year). If so, go to some conferences and learn new things. If not, swallow that thar pride and do work for HO's. Money is money.

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Old 02-24-2009, 01:38 PM   #3
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Re: This Is My Situation


Cabinet runner, I am in this area and think we will see an upswing starting this summer.

I think you will have to expand and work. DC/MD/VA. and cater more to homeowners. Maybe do a bit of handyman stuff to supplement the other stuff you have.

I have seen the upswing in calls. Yeah some of the budgets are unrealistic or seem that way. But the phones have been ringing again consistently enough to give me hope that summer time will be ok

The builder stuff is dead. Look for a few remodelers and see if they will sub you some work
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Old 02-24-2009, 02:11 PM   #4
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Re: This Is My Situation


same story here in minnesota. biz almost non existant! mabe storm season will help...
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Old 02-24-2009, 03:04 PM   #5
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Re: This Is My Situation


The work is slowing down everywhere, and if we lucky,it will pickup in the spring, but I doubt it.
Why you don't want to do work for homeowners? It is a job and you make better money then working for builders or showrooms. They shouldn't be telling you what to do, they should be telling you what they want done and you charge them what your rate is. Can not pick and chose during a slowdown, work is work.

Good luck.
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Old 02-24-2009, 03:17 PM   #6
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Re: This Is My Situation


I am with you guys, I lucky enough have built up a cash reserve to last me a year or two(pushing it). I hope things start to pick up late Spring / Early Summer. But right now, spend money on what you need, not what you want.
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Old 02-24-2009, 04:54 PM   #7
 
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Re: This Is My Situation


sorry to hear this cabinet runner ...


me, personally - in contracting you're sort of always wondering where that next job is going to come from. What I do know though ... is that if you cannot manage that fear ... it can seriously undermine the work that you do have.

it's as simple as deciding -

a) do you want to own a business
b) do you want to be a self-employed laborer
c) do you want to work for someone else

im a strong proponent of "if it aint workin out, fix it"



i refuse to spend any savings, personally. My guage is a 90-day cash flow projection. If I can't see any coming within 90 days ... then I know that it's perhaps a reality that I'll need to find a new line of work.


but to sit around for 2-3 months without any work ... you're just wasting precious time
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Old 02-24-2009, 06:21 PM   #8
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Re: This Is My Situation


I have been fortunate enough to still be working in new construction, but I never let go of my weekend small jobs either. I always found a way to squeeze in a kitchen cabinet remodel, or a small deck and so on.This has paid off as of late, because the remodeling contractors that had sparse work available during the building boom are picking up a lot more reno work and I've kinda kept them in my back pocket. The phone is ringing more often now for the small jobs. I'm hoping for a smooth transition. Also many of the hos from sub-work I've done are recommending me directly to there friends and family. Payoff for small favors during their projects, and keeping on a happy face.
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Old 02-24-2009, 07:53 PM   #9
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Re: This Is My Situation


for the responses .

Cdat I have a little over a years bill money put away and I would like to keep it that way .

Greg my expeirences have taught me quite some time ago that new construction is my niche . I did homeowner work for a living years ago and as soon as I lined up enough new construction work I quickly gave it up and never looked back .
Yes there is more money but it takes more effort IMO . Both have pros and cons but for me I thrive in the new construction game . The only homeowner work I've done in the last 8 years is for people I know or if I met them while working on their new house . This was for very brief periods of fill in work . I beleive that is the opposite approach most remodelers take from what I have read on this board .


Dirt I agree with what you said and yes I fall under the category of a self employed laborer , though I consider myself very skilled labor . After 12+ years I also have had the luxury of weeding out people who try and take advantage . The companies I sub from are run by great/fair people .
This setup has worked great for me . Scheduling faxed over , someone else selling the work , no issues getting my money , little overhead , and when I get home my job is done other than maybe faxing over a punch item list or doing my billing . Where there has been a dispute over changes from the original bid it has been handled with class on both sides with a compromise that left no feelings hurt .

I cannot go 90 days without working . I am concerned with what I would call the bleeding out effect . Doing some new work each month but having to hit the bank a little by little until I am truely going backwards . I think I'll go another month and see how it goes . I hope RBS is correct and at least a slght upswing is coming for our area .

Loneframer I may follow your thinking and start to put feelers out sooner rather than later . Mixing in a few HO jobs would make a much easier transition rather than waiting until I have NO more new work . Ofcourse I will have to get a home improvement license and invest in things like business cards . Haven't had cards in 10 years . lol
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Old 02-24-2009, 08:19 PM   #10
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Re: This Is My Situation


Quote:
Originally Posted by cabinet runner View Post
for the responses .


Greg my expeirences have taught me quite some time ago that new construction is my niche . I did homeowner work for a living years ago and as soon as I lined up enough new construction work I quickly gave it up and never looked back .
Yes there is more money but it takes more effort IMO . Both have pros and cons but for me I thrive in the new construction game . The only homeowner work I've done in the last 8 years is for people I know or if I met them while working on their new house . This was for very brief periods of fill in work . I beleive that is the opposite approach most remodelers take from what I have read on this board .
I hear what you saying. My brother and me we use to do all new construction, trim and cabinets for builders and cabinet distributors. The volume was there and the cash flow was there, but at the same time we busted our ass, while someone else was making all the money. I started concentrate on building New Homes, I do one house a year, and my brother started to concentrate on doing more custom work. Some bigger remodeling jobs like additions, decks, basements, custom kitchens, etc we do it together and we started to make more money and working less at the same time. We never do more then one job at the time, and our customer satisfaction hit 100% rate. We do not have callbacks, all jobs now completed from the begining to the end on time, we get great feedback from our customers, and we see a dramatic cost reduction in our overhead. This is not telling you how to run your business, just something from my personal expirience I wanted to share with you.

Good luck in all that you do and I hope things will pick up.

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