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Starting Out Part Time, Framing Basements?

 
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Old 02-08-2013, 03:31 PM   #1
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Starting Out Part Time, Framing Basements?


Hey guys,

As the title says, I'm starting out part time like so many others here have done. My idea was to get some decks or frame basements, stuff like that that I can knock out in a weekend with an experienced friend of mine. Yes I have insurance and no I don't need a contractor license because I am not in the metro Toronto area.

My region is rapidly expanding, being close to Toronto and there are a lot of brand new to recently new subdivisions. I would love to get some basements lined up.

However, there are also a lot of other guys out there doing basements renovations, etc, advertising all over the place. I have bought and read the E-myth contractor, and am well aware that I am trying to cut into the competition pie instead of creating my own pie (sounds funny saying), but as it is only part time, I don't have time to create some new fancy service, just do what I know how to do.

I want to know if homeowners ever look to get just the framing done in their basement, or if they 100% of the time hire GC's to do the whole basement. With my boss, all the basements we have framed were for a GC or the builder. Never a homeowner directly (not that my boss would do that anyway).

I have a business name, nice logo I designed myself, business cards, pricing formulas, tools, but no decals on my van.

My plan is to do up some nice doorhangers and take them around or get them delivered by a local company here and target the neighbourhoods that are 1-5 years old. Then depending on how many calls/jobs I get, maybe do another wave a couple months later.

But is this feasible? Getting a basements ONLY framed is giving me doubts. If I were to get my own basement done I would obviously do it myself, but if I didn't know how I would probably hire someone to do the whole thing.

Anyways, would love to hear your thoughts, because I'm ready to go and can't wait to get some weekend work!
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Old 02-08-2013, 04:30 PM   #2
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Re: Starting Out Part Time, Framing Basements?


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Originally Posted by heavy_d
Hey guys,

As the title says, I'm starting out part time like so many others here have done. My idea was to get some decks or frame basements, stuff like that that I can knock out in a weekend with an experienced friend of mine. Yes I have insurance and no I don't need a contractor license because I am not in the metro Toronto area.

My region is rapidly expanding, being close to Toronto and there are a lot of brand new to recently new subdivisions. I would love to get some basements lined up.

However, there are also a lot of other guys out there doing basements renovations, etc, advertising all over the place. I have bought and read the E-myth contractor, and am well aware that I am trying to cut into the competition pie instead of creating my own pie (sounds funny saying), but as it is only part time, I don't have time to create some new fancy service, just do what I know how to do.

I want to know if homeowners ever look to get just the framing done in their basement, or if they 100% of the time hire GC's to do the whole basement. With my boss, all the basements we have framed were for a GC or the builder. Never a homeowner directly (not that my boss would do that anyway).

I have a business name, nice logo I designed myself, business cards, pricing formulas, tools, but no decals on my van.

My plan is to do up some nice doorhangers and take them around or get them delivered by a local company here and target the neighbourhoods that are 1-5 years old. Then depending on how many calls/jobs I get, maybe do another wave a couple months later.

But is this feasible? Getting a basements ONLY framed is giving me doubts. If I were to get my own basement done I would obviously do it myself, but if I didn't know how I would probably hire someone to do the whole thing.

Anyways, would love to hear your thoughts, because I'm ready to go and can't wait to get some weekend work!
I frame basements all the time and do decks,but im pritty sure you still need a metro licience to work anywhere in ontario or something similar,that's if you want to be legit

How much do you want a day,I'm alway busy and need guys

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Old 02-08-2013, 07:58 PM   #3
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Re: Starting Out Part Time, Framing Basements?


Quote:
Originally Posted by heavy_d
Hey guys,

As the title says, I'm starting out part time like so many others here have done. My idea was to get some decks or frame basements, stuff like that that I can knock out in a weekend with an experienced friend of mine. Yes I have insurance and no I don't need a contractor license because I am not in the metro Toronto area.

My region is rapidly expanding, being close to Toronto and there are a lot of brand new to recently new subdivisions. I would love to get some basements lined up.

However, there are also a lot of other guys out there doing basements renovations, etc, advertising all over the place. I have bought and read the E-myth contractor, and am well aware that I am trying to cut into the competition pie instead of creating my own pie (sounds funny saying), but as it is only part time, I don't have time to create some new fancy service, just do what I know how to do.

I want to know if homeowners ever look to get just the framing done in their basement, or if they 100% of the time hire GC's to do the whole basement. With my boss, all the basements we have framed were for a GC or the builder. Never a homeowner directly (not that my boss would do that anyway).

I have a business name, nice logo I designed myself, business cards, pricing formulas, tools, but no decals on my van.

My plan is to do up some nice doorhangers and take them around or get them delivered by a local company here and target the neighbourhoods that are 1-5 years old. Then depending on how many calls/jobs I get, maybe do another wave a couple months later.

But is this feasible? Getting a basements ONLY framed is giving me doubts. If I were to get my own basement done I would obviously do it myself, but if I didn't know how I would probably hire someone to do the whole thing.

Anyways, would love to hear your thoughts, because I'm ready to go and can't wait to get some weekend work!
Not sure what kijiji is like in Toronto but it was worked great for me here in getting decks. The majority of homeowners I've talked about basements do want kind of a one stop shop.

If you do advertise using kijiji I recommend paying for your ad as well as making sure framer and spelling is correct along with some pictures of stuff you've done in the past.

For just framing I would recommend getting in contact with a GC or a builder. And see if you can get any work from them. Even if they just supply you with frostwalls a cookie cutter builder can give you steady work.
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Old 02-09-2013, 10:34 AM   #4
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Re: Starting Out Part Time, Framing Basements?


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Originally Posted by bbgcarpentry View Post
I frame basements all the time and do decks,but im pritty sure you still need a metro licience to work anywhere in ontario or something similar,that's if you want to be legit
No, we don't need a metro license outside of the metro area.

Quote:
Originally Posted by C2projects
Not sure what kijiji is like in Toronto but it was worked great for me here in getting decks. The majority of homeowners I've talked about basements do want kind of a one stop shop.

If you do advertise using kijiji I recommend paying for your ad as well as making sure framer and spelling is correct along with some pictures of stuff you've done in the past.

For just framing I would recommend getting in contact with a GC or a builder. And see if you can get any work from them. Even if they just supply you with frostwalls a cookie cutter builder can give you steady work.
Thanks C2. I did put one ad up on Kijiji as a Top Ad for 3 days, I got one guy about a deck but turned out to just be a time waster. (After I prepared the estimate and contract he tells me his wife doesn't want it built in the winter).

I will see if I can do any networking but it won't be easy, my boss keeps me pretty busy.

I bought the domain for my business name and plan on building a website when I can get some jobs going for photos etc.

Thanks for your insightful response. What do you think about the door hangers?
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Old 02-09-2013, 11:05 AM   #5
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Re: Starting Out Part Time, Framing Basements?


I have never tried them yet but i think the door hangers would be a wise investment. You need to make sure they look professional. You would be amazed by how many jobs you will get if your ads look professional. When I go to a quote I will always dress in some nice clothes and I try to give the customer the feeling that I genuinely want to have the job and I want to build them the best deck money can buy. Even if its only a 10x10 PT deck.

There are plenty of tradesmen who have tainted the look of the industry. I've sent off quotes where people will say I'm trying to screw them with the price but you need to realize you can't please everyone. You need to be confident in your price and your ability. Don't ever drop your price so much that you will be making less money than you would workin for someone at an hourly rate. When I get people like that I will alway just say this is how much it will cost for me to build this particular deck/fence and then I'll give them a few options to drop the price.

Don't think of the quote as a waste of time. I would send them a email and say that's fine and ask that they consider you when they are ready to build it.
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Old 02-10-2013, 10:19 AM   #6
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Re: Starting Out Part Time, Framing Basements?


Quote:
Originally Posted by heavy_d

No, we don't need a metro license outside of the metro area.

Thanks C2. I did put one ad up on Kijiji as a Top Ad for 3 days, I got one guy about a deck but turned out to just be a time waster. (After I prepared the estimate and contract he tells me his wife doesn't want it built in the winter).

I will see if I can do any networking but it won't be easy, my boss keeps me pretty busy.

I bought the domain for my business name and plan on building a website when I can get some jobs going for photos etc.

Thanks for your insightful response. What do you think about the door hangers?
Well how much do you want a day ?
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Old 02-10-2013, 07:44 PM   #7
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Re: Starting Out Part Time, Framing Basements?


You do need a master business license though
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Old 02-10-2013, 08:46 PM   #8
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Re: Starting Out Part Time, Framing Basements?


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You do need a master business license though
It's hanging on my white board above my desk
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Old 02-10-2013, 10:09 PM   #9
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Re: Starting Out Part Time, Framing Basements?


The guy who doesn't want a deck now is exactly what you're looking for. You need a steady stream of work from a steady stream of advertising. That is how you fill the schedule instead of starving from one job to the next.
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Old 02-10-2013, 10:37 PM   #10
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Re: Starting Out Part Time, Framing Basements?


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I want to know if homeowners ever look to get just the framing done in their basement, or if they 100% of the time hire GC's to do the whole basement.
I have never had a homeowner request framing only, for any type of project. A one-weekend deck is a pretty rare bird also; that's small enough to be DIY in many cases.

You would probably be better off looking for sub work for a GC. Only problem there is, they don't usually want to wait for a part-timer to get around to it on a weekend.
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Old 02-10-2013, 11:15 PM   #11
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Re: Starting Out Part Time, Framing Basements?


Allright, well those of you that did part time work before you went fulltime, what kind of stuff did you do, and how did you get the word out?
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Old 02-10-2013, 11:26 PM   #12
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Re: Starting Out Part Time, Framing Basements?


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Allright, well those of you that did part time work before you went fulltime, what kind of stuff did you do, and how did you get the word out?
I did jobs that the GC I worked for wasn't interested in, usually requested by his clients. When I cut the cord, since he was folding the business I had no ethical problem with contacting past clients to let them know I was on the market.

Additionally or perhaps primarily, I contacted everyone I had worked with in the past, many of them former subs of that GC. That's where much of my work came from in the beginning--they knew me and the quality of my work.

Networking is the secret, not only when starting out, but ongoing as well.
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Old 02-10-2013, 11:30 PM   #13
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Re: Starting Out Part Time, Framing Basements?


Decks, trim, welding.

Got the word out by word of mouth. A lot of my work when I was doing commercial was in occupied high rises. We got asked if we did side work pretty regular
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Old 02-10-2013, 11:32 PM   #14
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Re: Starting Out Part Time, Framing Basements?


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I did jobs that the GC I worked for wasn't interested in, usually requested by his clients. When I cut the cord, since he was folding the business I had no ethical problem with contacting past clients to let them know I was on the market.

Additionally or perhaps primarily, I contacted everyone I had worked with in the past, many of them former subs of that GC. That's where much of my work came from in the beginning--they knew me and the quality of my work.

Networking is the secret, not only when starting out, but ongoing as well.
Networking never stops or you stop, generally
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Old 02-11-2013, 12:15 PM   #15
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Re: Starting Out Part Time, Framing Basements?


E-Myth contractor is a piece of c**p. He does address common issues a contractor will experience, but offers no answers or suggestions how to avoid.
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Old 02-12-2013, 02:13 PM   #16
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Re: Starting Out Part Time, Framing Basements?


You are already leaps and bounds ahead of where I was when I first started. I was naive and ignorant. A lot of my friends who have their own business seemed to have had a pretty easy start. They did a few jobs and then via word of mouth the work kept on coming.

I have had the opposite experience. Word of mouth is just starting to get around now for me. I have tried handing out fliers door to door, talking to other people in trades to get my name out and I spent $2500.00 to advertise for a year in coffee news that goes to Tim hortons, second cup, booster juice and other stores and I got 1 phone call.

Its not easy but its worth it. You will have people screw you over, change their minds at the worst time and expect to pay the same amount of money for the change. And the most frustrating for me is that you will have people come to you with an opportunity that seems like it will work, and it would have worked if all parties did what they said they would do. ( this happened to me yesterday)

Opportunities will come your way. Some will work and some will leave you discouraged and angry. If you can follow through with what you say you're going to do that will go a long way.
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Old 02-13-2013, 03:17 PM   #17
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Re: Starting Out Part Time, Framing Basements?


You could say my business is still in the on the side / evenings weekends phase. I waterproof basements as my regular job and through the network of clients from that we have multiple basement finishing projects lined up. We do more than finish basements, but that's been our big money maker overall. It's a blessing and a curse though. It's endless leads for my company, but I make more working for myself. That's why I'm hesitant to get off the tit so to speak.

As far as wanting framing only, that would be hard to sell with most companies offering total completion. Starting as a sub might be your best bet.

Starting out you'll have to do whatever it takes to keep costs down and land work. Once you get some jobs and references under your belt you can adjust your prices and start to show people what you're worth.

It's not easy, and there will be plenty of rough patches ahead, but stick with it and be persistent and you'll end up where you want to be.
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Old 02-13-2013, 06:15 PM   #18
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Re: Starting Out Part Time, Framing Basements?


Allright thanks for your replies guys. I already ordered 1000 door hangers that I designed for framing only. After I get them and have them delivered I will let you know if I get any leads/jobs.

I did a year or so of electrical apprenticeship so I am very familiar with that. I'm in the process of learning drywall, among other things. I already can do flooring. Who knows, maybe basement finishing is in my future as well!
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Old 02-16-2013, 03:53 AM   #19
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Re: Starting Out Part Time, Framing Basements?


frame the basement/ sub the drywall,painting & electric /finish up the trim over the following weekend(s).

I have a full time job and find that there are customers who don't mind having things done on the weekend if you explain this situation. Usually "Iam so busy i wolnt be able to get to it for a few months, unless you dont mind me working on weekends" works for me.
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Old 02-18-2013, 04:55 PM   #20
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frame the basement/ sub the drywall,painting & electric /finish up the trim over the following weekend(s).

I have a full time job and find that there are customers who don't mind having things done on the weekend if you explain this situation. Usually "Iam so busy i wolnt be able to get to it for a few months, unless you dont mind me working on weekends" works for me.
I would love to do this. My business I have created is Such n Such Carpentry. Do you think it would be a problem landing full basement jobs based on my business being "carpentry"? I assume it all depends on how well I can sell, regardless of what my business name is.

I feel I could very well push myself and make this move to being able to do full basements. Those things you have mentioned subbing out, is that based on your own experience that they are things that are not cost/time effective for you to do yourself? Obviously the electric you need a license but the others?

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