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Seeking Advice From The Experienced

 
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Old 10-09-2013, 11:18 AM   #1
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Seeking Advice From The Experienced


Hi guys,

I'm new to this site and I am looking for advice. I want to start my own contracting company. I would want to start off doing small jobs on my own and the hopefully some major renovations and hire one or two workers. I am 27 years old. I have always worked in construction. My father has been a construction supervisor for over 25 years. Right out of high school I worked in demolition for a couple years. After that I worked as a painter for a year and another year for a contractor. I then worked for a home builder where I worked as a labour for 2 years and worked my way up to handyman and did that for another 3 years. For the last 6 months I have been working for a large contracting company doing everything involved in the finishing of a home excluding electrical and plumbing. I have done a few of my own side jobs. I was wondering if I am ready to start my own general contracting company and maybe get some advice. Thank you
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Old 10-09-2013, 11:31 AM   #2
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Re: Seeking Advice From The Experienced


Quote:
Originally Posted by Matteo View Post
Hi guys,

I'm new to this site and I am looking for advice. I want to start my own contracting company. I would want to start off doing small jobs on my own and the hopefully some major renovations and hire one or two workers. I am 27 years old. I have always worked in construction. My father has been a construction supervisor for over 25 years. Right out of high school I worked in demolition for a couple years. After that I worked as a painter for a year and another year for a contractor. I then worked for a home builder where I worked as a labour for 2 years and worked my way up to handyman and did that for another 3 years. For the last 6 months I have been working for a large contracting company doing everything involved in the finishing of a home excluding electrical and plumbing. I have done a few of my own side jobs. I was wondering if I am ready to start my own general contracting company and maybe get some advice. Thank you
Sure, in order to be successful, one must be sufficiently familiar with the technical aspects of building/remodeling/etc. (whatever it is you're offering), but this skill level (or lack thereof), however, isn't what typically makes or breaks a contracting business. It's the business side of things.

I would highly recommend you become exceptionally familiar with the business aspects involved in starting and running a construction company. There is so very much to learn and properly implement that will absolutely dictate the success or failure of your endeavor. I would highly recommend finding your local chapter of SCORE, as they have an unbelievable amount of resources, and even mentors, to help you out, all for free! They frequently have many different types of free webnars that address everything from business start-up, to marketing, to incorporating/llc/sole proprietorship, building your own website, and everything in between.

Here is their main website: http://www.score.org/

Also, I forgot to add, get plenty of books on the subject as well, such as: Mark up and Profit Revisited by Micheal Stone. Or, Running a Successful Construction Company by David Gertel. There are also many other great books on the subject.

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Last edited by Jeff G; 10-09-2013 at 11:38 AM.
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Old 10-09-2013, 11:34 AM   #3
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Re: Seeking Advice From The Experienced


Sounds like you have had a good start, but I might offer a little advice.

Doesnt look like you have had much experience in supervision, organizing trades, scheduling, ect... that is a major part of the being a GC. The big part, other than job and trade knowledge. Do you feel you have been exposed to quality project management?

Another thing id be concerned with, much more than the above stuff, do you have much experience with structure? Framing, concrete, steel? This is a big deal.

There is a ton of stuff to learn about business, but you really just need the basics to begin with as you will likely start small. Read Running a Successful Construction Company by David Gerstal. Its not perfect, but its pretty good. Very good for a beginner. Also, Mark Up and Profit.

If you havent framed much, id start with a framing crew if possible and save your money for a while. You will need a good nest egg, if you already have what you believe you will need, you can always use more, trust me. Lol. You wont regret learning to frame if you become a GC.
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Old 10-09-2013, 03:51 PM   #4
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Re: Seeking Advice From The Experienced


Thank you guys, i really appreciate your help. I would definitely educate myself on the business aspect of a GC company before getting into it. Also two of my uncles own the construction company I currently work for. One controls the office part of the company and the other the on site part of the company. I have made them aware that I would like to start my own GC company and they are both supportive and offered to help me get started and give me a hand along the way. Also like I said earlier my father has been a construction supervisor for over 25 years and would be helping me along the way.
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Old 10-09-2013, 05:17 PM   #5
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Re: Seeking Advice From The Experienced


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Originally Posted by Matteo View Post
Thank you guys, i really appreciate your help. I would definitely educate myself on the business aspect of a GC company before getting into it. Also two of my uncles own the construction company I currently work for. One controls the office part of the company and the other the on site part of the company. I have made them aware that I would like to start my own GC company and they are both supportive and offered to help me get started and give me a hand along the way. Also like I said earlier my father has been a construction supervisor for over 25 years and would be helping me along the way.
That's great!

By the way, given you have not listed in your profile your location: Where are you located?
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Old 10-09-2013, 09:50 PM   #6
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Re: Seeking Advice From The Experienced


I am located in toronto
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Old 10-10-2013, 07:41 AM   #7
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Re: Seeking Advice From The Experienced


Quote:
Originally Posted by Matteo View Post
Hi guys,

I'm new to this site and I am looking for advice. I want to start my own contracting company. I would want to start off doing small jobs on my own and the hopefully some major renovations and hire one or two workers. I am 27 years old. I have always worked in construction. My father has been a construction supervisor for over 25 years. Right out of high school I worked in demolition for a couple years. After that I worked as a painter for a year and another year for a contractor. I then worked for a home builder where I worked as a labour for 2 years and worked my way up to handyman and did that for another 3 years. For the last 6 months I have been working for a large contracting company doing everything involved in the finishing of a home excluding electrical and plumbing. I have done a few of my own side jobs. I was wondering if I am ready to start my own general contracting company and maybe get some advice. Thank you
If you don't try it, you will never know you're ready or not, and nobody can tell you you can or you can't. Go with your gut feeling and go for it. Take small jobs like you said, you can handle and take it from there. In this business if you don't have the OO and if you don't take chances, you will get nowhere.

I remember when I was starting out, I got my first 2 lots in a bad neighborhood, I borrowed money from everyone, including my wifes grandmothers funeral money she was saving... When I started building, the economy dropped, I remember my wife was worried what if her grandmother goes, how we will pay for the funeral... and I used to joke, telling her I will put her under the house. Before you know I was doing 20 home developments.

Good luck with your new venture
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Old 10-10-2013, 04:58 PM   #8
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Re: Seeking Advice From The Experienced


I am in the same boat more or less. 27, with a mortgage and a kido on the way though...my advice would be to take all the side work you can , get the name out there. Well rounded experience is a plus, frame to finish.. Chat up other subs on site , sometimes the mason or electrician will throw ya a small job (something your boss wouldn't want or need.... I have also hedged myself with a second career path, I'm an emt. I work a couple nights a week, and could pick up more if times got tough ...get the license , get insurance. If your not roofing, a policy is usually reasonable
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Old 10-10-2013, 05:11 PM   #9
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Re: Seeking Advice From The Experienced


Quote:
Originally Posted by greg24k
If you don't try it, you will never know you're ready or not, and nobody can tell you you can or you can't. Go with your gut feeling and go for it. Take small jobs like you said, you can handle and take it from there. In this business if you don't have the OO and if you don't take chances, you will get nowhere. I remember when I was starting out, I got my first 2 lots in a bad neighborhood, I borrowed money from everyone, including my wifes grandmothers funeral money she was saving... When I started building, the economy dropped, I remember my wife was worried what if her grandmother goes, how we will pay for the funeral... and I used to joke, telling her I will put her under the house. Before you know I was doing 20 home developments. Good luck with your new venture

...

Last edited by Calidecks; 10-10-2013 at 05:15 PM.
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Old 10-10-2013, 10:38 PM   #10
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Re: Seeking Advice From The Experienced


Thank you all so much, I really appreciate all of your help. I have done some framing but not enough that I am comfortable with it. I definitely need more experience with the framing. Before going head first into a buisness I will educate myself on the business aspect. I'm in no rush. A few months ago I got some cheap cards made that say handyman with my name, phone number and email address. Iv got a couple jobs from them. I plan on doing as much side jobs as I can over the winter and further educate myself.
Thanks again
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Old 10-10-2013, 10:42 PM   #11
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Re: Seeking Advice From The Experienced


Save yourself a lot of grief and marry a rich girl...














on second thought....
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Old 10-10-2013, 10:45 PM   #12
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Hell, just marry an educated professional. It works for me. Even if she's just a third grade teacher.

The greatest thing about being self employed is the ability to only take what your comfortable with. As time goes on you will gain the confidence to take on more complicated projects. With the right business model you can make a good living doing the small stuff. Good luck
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Old 10-10-2013, 11:06 PM   #13
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Re: Seeking Advice From The Experienced


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Originally Posted by Californiadecks View Post
Hell, just marry an educated professional. It works for me. Even if she's just a third grade teacher.

The greatest thing about being self employed is the ability to only take what your comfortable with. As time goes on you will gain the confidence to take on more complicated projects. With the right business model you can make a good living doing the small stuff. Good luck
Your right on the small stuff

Its important to know how to frame because it involves every trade. I thanked god three years ago I became an accomplished carpenter before going GC. Got to be making a living, alone or with 15 guys.

Trim is a good way to make a living on alone if you are slow, or to keep some dough on your GC projects if you are slow.

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