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Not Sure About A Job

 
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Old 08-31-2006, 07:54 PM   #1
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Not Sure About A Job


Hey guys,
I got a call from a contractor buddy of mine today that landed a big job downtown highrise. He wants me to install 166 hollow metal doors and frames. I have never worked with these before. I have removed a few in my day but never installed one. He says its easy the hardest part is the hardware. I only have a two man crew and our rate is $500 a day.
My question is are these hollow metal doors hard to install ( am I being set up here?)
Do I need a contract to work for him or do I just do it for what he tells me it's worth? I have never reallly been a sub yet. In bus for 2 years mostly residential.
Murph
Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 08-31-2006, 10:36 PM   #2
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Re: Not Sure About A Job


Danger! Danger!

FWIW, I would not take on a job that big without having any experience.

Never, ever allow someone else to dictate how much YOU are paid.

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Old 08-31-2006, 11:22 PM   #3
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Re: Not Sure About A Job


So tel him you'll do it on a T&M basis. You get to learn with very little risk and he gets to pal around with his bud for a while.
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Old 09-01-2006, 04:01 AM   #4
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Re: Not Sure About A Job


Murph

I too am in 2 yrs.

Back in the spring I took on a job that I really had hardly any clue of how to do it (though I thought I did). It actually appeared to be a small job too. I didn't even really look at what had to be done --- mainly because I, again, had hardly any clue of how to do it. But I wanted the work

I got a contract signed --- countin the cash before it was even there

How stupid of me. Luckily, I knew enough about what I was doing that 10 minutes into the job, on the first day --- I realized I was in over my head. I even considered telling the clients that I was not skilled enough to do this project.

That feeling is worse that being in debt, in my opinion.

Took me 3 weeks to complete this "small, in-and-out job." Worked on it 10-12 hrs a day straight. You can imagine the impact this had, taking nearly an entire month to earn what was supposed to be made in 3 days!!!

HOWEVER ... I finished and it looked darn good. It really bumped me up a notch and gave me a good bit more confidence. The client was so impressed, not only with the work, but the fact that I "stuck it out"

So me taking the risk on a job that I really should not have been doing ... and completing it successfully, was worth it.

I'm not saying to just blindly run into things --- you really need to be realistic and truthful to yourself about your abilities. But at the same time, don't be afraid to try things

Last edited by dirt diggler; 09-01-2006 at 04:04 AM.
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Old 09-01-2006, 04:45 AM   #5
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Re: Not Sure About A Job


Murph,
Proceed with caution! Are there old doors to remove? Do what Pipe mentioned, T & M . Or you can tell your friend you need to get 5 under your belt in order to give him a price that will be fair to the both of you. Are there self closing hardware in the mix? I've hung dozens of these over the years, they do go pretty quick once you get the routine down and barring no problems. If you have to hump these things around from a central location, I'd be looking at an estimate of around 3 hrs./ door and getting some production you could probably get that down closer to 2 without. But definitly put whatever you decide in writing.
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Old 09-01-2006, 06:09 AM   #6
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Re: Not Sure About A Job


I would see if I could do one or two...just try them out...one thing for sure, after the first few, you will get speedy on the installs...but still, 166 doors is a bunch.

IMO, they may go in like a breeze, and you would hit a home run if you did the installs for say $150 a door...but what if several were nightmares? If left to me, I would do T&M.
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Old 09-01-2006, 07:43 AM   #7
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Re: Not Sure About A Job


Murphy

Installation and hardware are not a problem. The problems with downtown, highrise work are the logistics. I have done a few of those and now, as a rule, I avoid them.

If you choose to proceed, insist on the following:

- a reserved parking area
- reserved, secure area to keep the doors and frames.
- exclusive elevator use.
- building super on site at all times you are working, must have keys to acces all apartments or offices
-GC to notify all tenants a day ahead
- do not schedule more than 3 doors per day
- if removing old doors, dumpster on site

DO NOT TAKE THE JOB IF THEY SAY THE FOLLOWING:

Parking should not be a problem.
Here are the keys
Talk to the tenants
Share the elevator
It will work out

Do not accept their pricing. I charge $350 per door, adjustable frame, passage handle, deadbolt, closer, three hinges included. Not included are peepholes, doorbell buttons, plastering, painting, threshold modifications or numbers

MAKE SURE YOU GET PAID EVERY MORNING FOR PREVIOUS DAY's WORK


Mark

Last edited by MarkNoV; 09-01-2006 at 07:49 AM.
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Old 09-01-2006, 09:20 AM   #8
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Re: Not Sure About A Job


Thanks for all the replies. I was counting on going down to look at a few of his existing carpenters do some next week. Apparently he has 926 of these to do in the next year and a half.

No doors to remove new construction, doors on site. I was figuring $150 a door too.

He said something about using washers to plumb these things??
Hammerdrill installed into cement or cinder block I assume.

My question is if I hammer drill my hole and fasten how do I plumb? Do the casings rotate on the fastener or something?

I guess I will check it out and see I just wanted to get an Idea how hard they are to install.
Thanks again Murph
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Old 09-01-2006, 09:25 AM   #9
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Re: Not Sure About A Job


If you do decide to tackle these, forget the level for plumbing them. Use a plumb bob and measure to the side jambs. Goes so much faster.



Now, as for how you fasten them once they are plumb? Beats me, I've never installed one that wasn't roughed-in in wood or metal stud framing.

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Old 09-01-2006, 09:27 AM   #10
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Re: Not Sure About A Job


Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkNoV

MAKE SURE YOU GET PAID EVERY MORNING FOR PREVIOUS DAY's WORK


Mark
Does that actually work? If I subbed out work, there is no way I would/could pay on a day-to-day basis. Weekly draws would be fine though, but every day?
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Old 09-01-2006, 09:32 AM   #11
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Re: Not Sure About A Job


Murphy... keep in mind your laws and make sure you charge accordingly.

When doing something that youve never done before dont be hasty to get them a price. Just like dirt I had a job I thought would take 2 weeks... it took 6 weeks and material went over budget. But in the end they got a nice deck and got me thier neighbors deck too. Shoot even just a week ago I had a job get out of control and take 2 days longer than it should. Most of that was my own fault I did not look at everything going on and make sure I had it all figured out ahead of time. So there I was running to the store 3 more times instead of sitting down and figuring it out.

DONT bid too low... if he has 900+ more of these and you under bid the first set he wont let you raise your price for the rest.
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Old 09-01-2006, 09:46 AM   #12
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Re: Not Sure About A Job


Washers are placed under the legs in order to level the head.
We used to Hilti the doors legs down, but now we use 1/4 '' mushroom anchors.
Plumbing the door shouldn't be that hard to figure out. Go buy a magnetic Stabila level and a plumb bob to help out.
If you screw up installing the frame, then it will show after you install the door which by that time, it could be horrible to repair.
I have seen a job where all 40 frames were installed incorrectly. They didn't know that there was a problem until the doors were hung.
A lot of things happen from the time the frame is installed to the time the door is installed.
There are a dozen or steps to go through to properly install a metal frame, and also ways to shim butt hinges to correct the errors made from the installation.

If you were telling me it was a job with 10 doors, I would tell you to run like hell.
But since there are so many, my vote will be to go for it.
If I never took risks, I would still be working for another contractor, instead of sitting at my desk.
Go for it

Last edited by Peladu; 09-01-2006 at 09:49 AM.
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Old 09-01-2006, 11:48 AM   #13
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Re: Not Sure About A Job


Quote:
Originally Posted by Murphy
Thanks for all the replies. I was counting on going down to look at a few of his existing carpenters do some next week. Apparently he has 926 of these to do in the next year and a half.

No doors to remove new construction, doors on site. I was figuring $150 a door too.

He said something about using washers to plumb these things??
Hammerdrill installed into cement or cinder block I assume.

My question is if I hammer drill my hole and fasten how do I plumb? Do the casings rotate on the fastener or something?

I guess I will check it out and see I just wanted to get an Idea how hard they are to install.
Thanks again Murph

You will lose your shirt at those prices with that install technique.
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Old 09-01-2006, 01:52 PM   #14
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Re: Not Sure About A Job


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Last edited by widco; 06-05-2007 at 09:46 PM.
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Old 09-01-2006, 03:15 PM   #15
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Re: Not Sure About A Job


The miters I believe are welded but I dont know about the rest of your questions. I am a little overwhelmed. I will go down and watch a couple get installed and then think about whether I want to get into it or not. Thanks Murph
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Old 09-01-2006, 03:59 PM   #16
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Re: Not Sure About A Job


If they're welded frames, you've got to set them prior to the walls being framed, and either frame the wall immediately or brace the frames in place, wait for the walls to be framed and rocked, and then come back to hang the door and do the hardware. If this is a reno job, you've got to demolish the wall around the existing frame, set the new frame, and then re-frame and rock around it.

Sounds like a job you're better off passing on if you haven't done commercial door installs before. The hardware alone is completely different than conventional residential hardware, and it'll take you a while to get used to working with it.

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Old 09-01-2006, 08:10 PM   #17
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Re: Not Sure About A Job


Ive done lots of commercial door installs but this is the first with these type of doors and concrete door frames.
I am really getting set off now with so much bad info.

Are these that tough or am I just not qualified.

Granted I am not qualified for half I have to do but I have bills coming in contstantly and I have never had an unhappy customer. I will burn unearned hours rather have a poor reputation. Murph
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Old 09-02-2006, 09:52 AM   #18
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Re: Not Sure About A Job


Maybe you should charge $250.00 per door?


Over the years, I have tried MANY installations that I have never, ever installed before. these always seemed to be in Commercial areas of work. And, yes, some involved steel doors. All, in all, The first few installs are the learning curve, after that, it always got easier. My goal was to take what ever time it took to make the install look 'professionally done'. I also benefited from the experience, and as was written earlier in this thread, it always gave me a boost of self confidence in my abilities.

I'd suggest that you go ahead and observe the installation process and humbly really 'pick' some minds.

As suggested, maybe you could start off doing a few without signing onto the whole amount. Then make your final decision.

Last: We use several magnetic levels for steel doors: 6', 4' and 2'. We lug around an organizer (sometimes a small cart of tools) with every fastener you could possibly need for adjustments and installations.


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Old 09-02-2006, 11:06 AM   #19
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Re: Not Sure About A Job


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Old 09-02-2006, 07:16 PM   #20
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Re: Not Sure About A Job


You've got a lot of info coming at ya, only thing I'd add is you mentioned concrete walls and high rise. That prolly means three part metal frames. They go in fairly easy and have a little adjustment screw to fine plumb the frame. I always used to set the header and hinge leg first, then slide the latch frame in.. they connect with a little tab, sorta like slot A and tab B. Just remember to watch your floor clearance, depends on what type of floor is going in, you can temp shim with a kicker, you'll need one anyhow to lift the doors into place for installation of the hinges. It's fairly easy, i've done 5 to 6 per day by myself but.. that was when I was young and thought I was superman. Charge about 350 or more, or T&M, you'll be fine, just get that hinge side plumb, the latch will work itself out. I used a 2X4 cut to the finished size of the door to help get the openings right btw. Oh, and those little clips that go behind the frame will lock in place, just gotta mess with em a little to figure that part out.

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