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Becoming A More Efficient Deck Builder

 
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Old 12-31-2016, 04:51 PM   #101
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Re: Becoming A More Efficient Deck Builder


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Originally Posted by Californiadecks View Post
I can tell you get it! I've seen the transformation of Eric over the years!
I even drive a Cadillac and watch CNBC now
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Old 12-31-2016, 05:34 PM   #102
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Re: Becoming A More Efficient Deck Builder


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Location would definitely alter vehicle choices. For me, I don't work in cities and I hardly ever work on a house that's on less than 2 acres of property. My driveway has a circle in my front yard so that I can just pull through so I'm not stuck backing down 400'. This was part of the criteria for selecting my lot. 1) capable of supporting driveway loop, 2) full walk out basement. I still just have a 6x10 which can pretty much get in anywhere I need it to. When I upgrade to a 7x14 or 16 in the future, it will add a little bit of complication, but still nothing I'm worried about.

If I worked in a city everyday, I'd much rather be in a Sprinter or Transit. If I add a dedicated work only Truck, it will be a single cab, longbed, 3/4 ton with a plow and full racks. This would allow me to keep a shorter vehicle overall for when I need to plow or haul materials in the bed. Currently, if I'm hauling materials it's because of poor planning on may part regarding ordering and delivery.

There's no doubt that an 8' bed has more utility than a 6' bed. But other life factors may not make that possible.
wow ,that is different . I am not actually in the city .Narrow twisty back country roads .I even bailed on the idea of a dully box truck . Yeah location dictates alot .Must be more then that ,look around and check out what others use .Maybe personal preferance out weighs function sometimes .
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Old 12-31-2016, 07:13 PM   #103
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Re: Becoming A More Efficient Deck Builder


Back in my framing days we always joked it took more tools to build the deck than the damn house. Boxes with tools for each stage, framing, decking, railing would be my suggestion. It's amazing the break down and clean up on decks.

As far as selling, you have to sell yourself. I'm a horrible salesman, but I love building cool stuff the absolute best I can. My customers buy my enthusiasm and product knowledge. They love when you are more excited about the project than them.

Truck, you can make anything work. I have an 8ft bed and my lead has a 6.5. He has way more tools than I ever do. I have a 14ft trailer, transit connect and 2 guys with trucks setup to work alone and my truck. Preparation is far more important than truck size.

Do great work, clear communication, honesty & keep learning. I'm 10 yrs on my own and it's almost like stealing because my competition is so bad.
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Old 12-31-2016, 07:19 PM   #104
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Re: Becoming A More Efficient Deck Builder


I have read the thread and I love it.

I could tell you what to do to become a very efficient, occupied residential tile setter but the best I can do here the bit of drivel underneath

As a 1 man operation you are only getting paid for what you bid. So if it is a necessary but non paid element; Such as, picking and delivering material, hauling trash, moving dirt from footings, ect. find someone else to do it or find the fastest way to get through it.

The first thing I see is Material handling.

I would consider a powered lawn cart one with a 400-600 capacity.
Build a tool box/work table that will house all your tools in one to two kits.

Chop saw w/ extensions, table saw, compressor, charging stations, dust extractor and hoses, power. . . everything you need on 1,2 or 3 kits that can come together into a work station

Make them so they can be transported on your cart.

The ability to deploy in one or two trips will be a HUGE boost to efficiency.

A lumber rack for the cart. If you can triple or even double the amount of lumber you can comfortably take per trip. Your Efficiency again bumps up .

Best practices for the build.

I do not know the fastest method to consistently frame plumb, level and square decks, but I do know one exists. From my trade I know the methods that are the most efficient while producing installations that meet industry standards are employed by very few installers.

MAKE SURE THE METHODS YOU USE ARE, THE BEST AND RIGOROUSLY REFINE THEM.

Make the pursuit of this quest your hobby and passion for the next couple years.

Read "The Goal" and apply it to deck building, after some "theory of constraints" and some "lean" philosophy you will start seeing waste in your processes. I do not want to get all pie in the sky but this is how you become efficient.
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Old 12-31-2016, 08:03 PM   #105
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Re: Becoming A More Efficient Deck Builder


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Originally Posted by charimon View Post
I have read the thread and I love it.



I could tell you what to do to become a very efficient, occupied residential tile setter but the best I can do here the bit of drivel underneath



As a 1 man operation you are only getting paid for what you bid. So if it is a necessary but non paid element; Such as, picking and delivering material, hauling trash, moving dirt from footings, ect. find someone else to do it or find the fastest way to get through it.



The first thing I see is Material handling.



I would consider a powered lawn cart one with a 400-600 capacity.

Build a tool box/work table that will house all your tools in one to two kits.



Chop saw w/ extensions, table saw, compressor, charging stations, dust extractor and hoses, power. . . everything you need on 1,2 or 3 kits that can come together into a work station



Make them so they can be transported on your cart.



The ability to deploy in one or two trips will be a HUGE boost to efficiency.



A lumber rack for the cart. If you can triple or even double the amount of lumber you can comfortably take per trip. Your Efficiency again bumps up .



Best practices for the build.



I do not know the fastest method to consistently frame plumb, level and square decks, but I do know one exists. From my trade I know the methods that are the most efficient while producing installations that meet industry standards are employed by very few installers.



MAKE SURE THE METHODS YOU USE ARE, THE BEST AND RIGOROUSLY REFINE THEM.



Make the pursuit of this quest your hobby and passion for the next couple years.



Read "The Goal" and apply it to deck building, after some "theory of constraints" and some "lean" philosophy you will start seeing waste in your processes. I do not want to get all pie in the sky but this is how you become efficient.


I would like to add to this, because it brings up a good point about material handling.

I'm often in backyards where the only access is a 3' gate. I bought a drywall cart and put 4 swivel casters on it. It will hold 3000lbs. With a 2x12 on it my guys can move 20 boards at a time to the back.


Last edited by Calidecks; 12-31-2016 at 08:11 PM.
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Old 12-31-2016, 08:07 PM   #106
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Re: Becoming A More Efficient Deck Builder


I went through some of my photos and pulled some of my favorites as far as equipment that has shown to be priceless!
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Old 12-31-2016, 08:08 PM   #107
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Old 12-31-2016, 08:09 PM   #108
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Re: Becoming A More Efficient Deck Builder


Make sure to get an awesome personnel assistant!
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Old 12-31-2016, 08:18 PM   #109
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Remember, always pump when you can!
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Old 12-31-2016, 08:40 PM   #110
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Re: Becoming A More Efficient Deck Builder


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Remember, always pump when you can!
you do have an impressive operation . How well do you do with getting help ? You are in an area where there are clients that will pay for your quality . Seems like you have done well seperating your self from the pack .
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Old 12-31-2016, 08:52 PM   #111
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you do have an impressive operation . How well do you do with getting help ? You are in an area where there are clients that will pay for your quality . Seems like you have done well seperating your self from the pack .


A deck around these parts is a luxury. Similar to a pool. I've always operated on the philosophy that my clients own 100k cars and million dollar homes because they are charging exorbitant prices for their services, whatever that might be. There's zero reason I can't do the same. I've got a lot of years invested and tons of sweat equity including some broken bones. I've seen the other guys work there's a reason he's working out of a Corolla. (Nothing against Toyota)

Once you get to this point you get to be picky. I won't work for anyone. The trick is to get enough calls where a 30% or so close rate gives you plenty of work. If I'm a little slow I'll adjust my prices.

As for help? I have a lot of buddies in the business especially framers. We share help. I just pay him a little extra plus his liabilities, when I need Moore guys, like workers comp and such. It's nice I don't always have to run everyone through my books. But they are still protected. The guys like it too. They get to mix it up a little as well.
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Old 12-31-2016, 08:57 PM   #112
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Re: Becoming A More Efficient Deck Builder


so you do not have regular crew . sounds like you have professionals on sight ,meaning experienced people you can expect to do the quality clients expect .Surprised that you can rely on your friend to be able to help when you need it .
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Old 12-31-2016, 09:21 PM   #113
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so you do not have regular crew . sounds like you have professionals on sight ,meaning experienced people you can expect to do the quality clients expect .Surprised that you can rely on your friend to be able to help when you need it .


They are not just friends they are full scale contractors that have guys. I also have my regular crew, depending on what I'm doing. I have a mobile home end of my business that is consistent. There was a park that burned down a while back. 600 homes burned. I got in well with the owners. I called Trex and they flew in a guy and I showed up at the sell with Trex corporate. That impressed them. I beat out several hundred others for the deal. That same mobile company owns 5 parks. Those are my secret weapons. We've got them down to a science. Here's a peak at some of them in progress.
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Old 12-31-2016, 09:23 PM   #114
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Old 12-31-2016, 09:26 PM   #115
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Here's how we get beams on posts from concrete to finish.
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Old 12-31-2016, 09:51 PM   #116
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Re: Becoming A More Efficient Deck Builder


I did up a bid for a deck in a mobile home park .that was totally something new for me . I can see how once you got it down you could do well . I did not get the job ,client was starting to give this feeling that what she wanted and what said she wanted was not the same thing . i returned to see what got built ,yeap nothing like what she had me bid .Not even as nice a deck . Anyhow I was once trying to do decks only but I can assure you I was not your competition .I just have several clients now ,no bidding ,no contract .Do what ever they need done .
Oh yeah you said you have a 35% success rate ,I figured out I was more like a 10% . I got about 10% of the jobs i bid .I certainly wasn't the higher bid and I had great referals .That was to much running around .Age has made me wiser
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Old 01-01-2017, 12:17 AM   #117
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Then if I do my job right, I get to do more of this! What it's really about.
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Old 01-01-2017, 10:23 AM   #118
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Re: Becoming A More Efficient Deck Builder


Good Show Mike.

Single cab, 8' bed , 3/4 ton truck makes life a lot easier.

J.
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Old 01-01-2017, 11:57 AM   #119
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Re: Becoming A More Efficient Deck Builder


While it's on the top of my mind, one of the things guys in colder climates should have if they are working through the winter is tarps. I spent several hours this week just breaking ice off a deck so I could work. Huge tarp and tie downs would have saved a lot of aggravation. The material piles were all tarped fortunately.
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Old 01-01-2017, 12:08 PM   #120
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Re: Becoming A More Efficient Deck Builder


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While it's on the top of my mind, one of the things guys in colder climates should have if they are working through the winter is tarps. I spent several hours this week just breaking ice off a deck so I could work. Huge tarp and tie downs would have saved a lot of aggravation. The material piles were all tarped fortunately.
Learned that in my framing days. Nobody calls me for decks in the winter so I don't have to deal with that much.

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