How To Prepare For Commercial Jobs - Excavation & Site Work - Contractor Talk

How To Prepare For Commercial Jobs

 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 01-28-2015, 01:20 PM   #1
Pro
 
mattg2448's Avatar
 
Trade: Excavating
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Port Huron MI
Posts: 174
Rewards Points: 390

How To Prepare For Commercial Jobs


Hi guys, I'm just starting out with my excavation company, and I want to look into different avenues different than where my knowledge is. Currently I offer land clearing, ponds, pond overflow systems, drainage systems and similar stuff like that, but I want to get into some site work.

I am not familiar with site work, the troubles, different types, I wouldn't mind even going into residential site work, but I just don't know where to start. Is there any resources out there or advice to help me out?

Thanks guys!
mattg2448 is offline  

Warning: The topics covered on this site include activities in which there exists the potential for serious injury or death. ContractorTalk.com DOES NOT guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any information contained on this site. Always use proper safety precaution and reference reliable outside sources before attempting any construction or remodeling task!

   

Advertisement

 

Old 01-28-2015, 08:10 PM   #2
Pro
 
dayexco's Avatar
 
Trade: entrepreneur of excavating expertise
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 6,368
Rewards Points: 176

Re: How To Prepare For Commercial Jobs


my best learning tool was the school of hard knocks. know your costs, how to read/prepare proposals, your limits, know when to walk away from some jobs. roll with the punches.

Advertisement

dayexco is online now  
Old 01-28-2015, 08:25 PM   #3
Pro
 
jhark123's Avatar
 
Trade: Pro Cat Herder
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Enumclaw, WA
Posts: 2,503
Rewards Points: 1,700

Re: How To Prepare For Commercial Jobs


If I were you I'd find a small/medium excavator that does a lot of site work/utility work and see if they need a sub with a mini (or whatever you have). Offer them a really good rate, and a good rate to be the ditch bitch.

The best way to learn the utility work is by helping someone who knows what they are doing.
jhark123 is online now  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 01-29-2015, 09:23 PM   #4
Pro
 
Moxley-Kidwell's Avatar
 
Trade: Excavation & Asphalt Paving
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Frederick, MD
Posts: 555
Rewards Points: 286

Re: How To Prepare For Commercial Jobs


Depends what kind of work you are looking for. If you are looking to do mass grading you need a ton of $ for equipment, fuel and payroll. Only way I can see to make money moving dirt it to move A LOT of it quickly and it takes big bucks.

If you have smaller machines you can try builders or small gc's that do smaller work. When you say ponds do you mean fish ponds or storm/sediment ponds? We do a lot of storm water management pond conversions and make decent money.

Getting started can be a little live and learn, start small. Find a local new development and get with the developer to see if you can do anything small they have. Cleaning up debris, small grading, storm cleanup anything to get in the door.

Check your insurance, commercial work may take a lot more coverage.

Good luck!
Moxley-Kidwell is offline  
Old 01-30-2015, 09:35 AM   #5
Pro
 
mattg2448's Avatar
 
Trade: Excavating
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Port Huron MI
Posts: 174
Rewards Points: 390

Re: How To Prepare For Commercial Jobs


Well right now I only do medium size fish ponds, but I want to get into retention ponds, but I also want to get into storm/sewer water drainage systems. I have a meeting with my insurance company this month to go over sitework. Thanks, I appreciate the advice!!
mattg2448 is offline  
Old 01-30-2015, 09:38 AM   #6
Pro
 
mattg2448's Avatar
 
Trade: Excavating
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Port Huron MI
Posts: 174
Rewards Points: 390

Re: How To Prepare For Commercial Jobs


First starting off in my company I'm getting nervous, really nervous. Ponds and land clearing are one thing, but I want to know what I'm doing before I jump into something that takes a little more liability (garuntees, different style and class of pipe, tolerances with retention ponds). I feel I could do it if I had the basic knowledge, but I have only seen a few site prints, and it was for land restoration only.
mattg2448 is offline  
Old 01-30-2015, 09:50 AM   #7
Pro
 
jhark123's Avatar
 
Trade: Pro Cat Herder
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Enumclaw, WA
Posts: 2,503
Rewards Points: 1,700

Re: How To Prepare For Commercial Jobs


You should be nervous, tearing out blacktop to fix your work get expensive quick.
jhark123 is online now  
Old 01-30-2015, 07:34 PM   #8
Pro
 
Moxley-Kidwell's Avatar
 
Trade: Excavation & Asphalt Paving
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Frederick, MD
Posts: 555
Rewards Points: 286

Re: How To Prepare For Commercial Jobs


It takes a little while to pick up what is going on. If you can get your hands on some plans to study it will help. Try to get plans for something that is going to be built and study/watch the process.

I have no idea what equipment you have or access to but it takes bigger stuff to do the work. At least a mid sized hoe and small dozer, you can rent trucks if need be. If you have to rent the equipment you would be at a disadvantage. Renting hoes and dozers gets expensive quick but you need them to do the work correctly.

Utility work get into a whole other ball game. We run a very little bit of storm when we have to, but we are not even close to a pipe crew. Have a pipe laser but no mules/boxes or any other underground stuff. You can get in deep ***** with underground/pipe work quick. I'd start with small grading jobs for a while.

Last edited by Moxley-Kidwell; 01-30-2015 at 07:38 PM.
Moxley-Kidwell is offline  
Old 01-30-2015, 07:43 PM   #9
Pro
 
mattg2448's Avatar
 
Trade: Excavating
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Port Huron MI
Posts: 174
Rewards Points: 390

Re: How To Prepare For Commercial Jobs


Starting off (for the reasons of low initial investment) I am renting equipment, but not short term, i am doing long term rentals to keep cost down. I'm in the range of a john deere 200 excavator and a jd 550 wide track. I'm thinking for most jobs on my area those will but suitable machines for what there is available. I have about 2 weeks of work lined up for spring, which would pay for my machines and fuel for a month, and leave me with a little cash. And I'm hoping with the remainder of that rental term (3 weeks) I could get into some small commercial contracts. As I said, I'm looking to start small at first, but I really want to get as much knowledge in this area as I can.

If you are curious on my level of experience, with my father's company, I have 2 years of bidding experience and 12 years operating experience, mostly land clearing, ponds, drainage and landscaping, and I decided to break off frome his company this year to start my own. That is why the site work is relitively new for me.
mattg2448 is offline  
Old 01-31-2015, 12:55 PM   #10
Pro
 
Moxley-Kidwell's Avatar
 
Trade: Excavation & Asphalt Paving
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Frederick, MD
Posts: 555
Rewards Points: 286

Re: How To Prepare For Commercial Jobs


Damn, with those machines you are golden. Was hoping not to hear a mini and skid steer. That is pretty much the same size stuff we run. Hitachi 200 and Jd dozers 450's, 550 and 650. You will love the LPG dozer in ponds and on the slopes and Jd is all we have run forever, great dozers and will grade there a$$ off. With those machines you will need to start off on the bigger side of things I was thinking of.

I'm currently putting together budget numbers for about 12 sediment pond conversions to storm water management facilities for our best customer. Once you get into them and figure it all out you can run through them fairly quickly.
Moxley-Kidwell is offline  
Old 01-31-2015, 01:58 PM   #11
Contractor
 
tgeb's Avatar
 
Trade: Excavation, Foundation, Professional Painter!
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Maryland
Posts: 6,274
Rewards Points: 830

Re: How To Prepare For Commercial Jobs


Quote:
Originally Posted by Moxley-Kidwell View Post
Damn, with those machines you are golden. Was hoping not to hear a mini and skid steer.
Hey watch it there....


Matt, you have the right machinery for pond work as you well know. I would stick with the type of work you are used to at first, to keep money rolling in, then try and venture into the other areas that interest you.

I'd hate to see you get all your eggs into an unfamiliar sitework type of project, have the job get out of control and you start losing money.

I'd start with the site clearing and storm ponds then talk with the developers and see what else is available and work your way up slowly.
__________________
Tom

www.gebcon.com
tgeb is online now  
The Following User Says Thank You to tgeb For This Useful Post:
jhark123 (01-31-2015)
Old 02-01-2015, 04:26 PM   #12
Pro
 
Moxley-Kidwell's Avatar
 
Trade: Excavation & Asphalt Paving
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Frederick, MD
Posts: 555
Rewards Points: 286

Re: How To Prepare For Commercial Jobs


Quote:
Originally Posted by tgeb View Post
Hey watch it there....
Lol, Just stating the obvious I guess. . Didn't want someone to try to do 3-4000 yard pond with the wrong equipment. Nothing wrong with the small stuff hell we never owned a mini until a year or two ago and I don't think it's sat long enough to cool off since. Made some good money with it.

Tom from some of your pictures it looks like you could go smaller, some tight spots and interesting work.
Moxley-Kidwell is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Moxley-Kidwell For This Useful Post:
peteo (02-08-2015), tgeb (02-02-2015)
Old 02-08-2015, 05:24 PM   #13
operator
 
peteo's Avatar
 
Trade: excavating, concrete, landscaping
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Erie, Pa
Posts: 394
Rewards Points: 518

Re: How To Prepare For Commercial Jobs


Quote:
Originally Posted by Moxley-Kidwell View Post
Lol, Just stating the obvious I guess. . Didn't want someone to try to do 3-4000 yard pond with the wrong equipment. Nothing wrong with the small stuff hell we never owned a mini until a year or two ago and I don't think it's sat long enough to cool off since. Made some good money with it.

Tom from some of your pictures it looks like you could go smaller, some tight spots and interesting work.
Honestly I think I'd rather use the small equipment. It seems like the profit margin is a lot bigger compared to the big toys
peteo is offline  
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to peteo For This Useful Post:
jhark123 (02-09-2015), Moxley-Kidwell (02-09-2015), tgeb (02-09-2015)
Old 02-08-2015, 05:32 PM   #14
Pro
 
mattg2448's Avatar
 
Trade: Excavating
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Port Huron MI
Posts: 174
Rewards Points: 390

Re: How To Prepare For Commercial Jobs


Thanks for all of the information guys, I am a very new business if I haven't mentioned, infact, had my first job today for concrete removal which went without a hitch, plus made a good profit, which is always good news. I think I will contact some GCs and explain the situation and try to get some prints to study and learn. It shouldn't be a hard transitions (I get my blueprint reading skills from Metal Machining, which I did for 2 years) plus I have a few years of drainage print experience.

Once again I really appreciate the help guys, it really helps to have lesions from people who have experience in this trade.

Also bidding on a nice size land clearing project too, it feels great to start doing this on my own and building my business.
mattg2448 is offline  
Old 02-08-2015, 06:17 PM   #15
Fire up the BBQ
 
griz's Avatar
 
Trade: GC
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: CA
Posts: 21,605
Rewards Points: 1,984

Re: How To Prepare For Commercial Jobs


Matt,

Read ALL the pages in the plan set carefully as many times there are notes or instructions hidden every where.

Many commercial jobs have a spec book. Read it cover to cover. Be aware of spec'd material, tolerances, compaction etc. Watch out for lead times on material.

Make certain you are ware of who is responsible for the SWPPP and what the expectations are for you to comply.

Also who is responsible for permits, traffic control etc when working in the right of way.

Are you familiar with the RFI process?

and lastly, commercial work is usually slow in paying & don't forget retention will be held.
__________________
SOME JOBS JUST AREN'T WORTH DOING:
griz is online now  
The Following User Says Thank You to griz For This Useful Post:
jhark123 (02-09-2015)
Old 02-09-2015, 10:32 PM   #16
Pro
 
Moxley-Kidwell's Avatar
 
Trade: Excavation & Asphalt Paving
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Frederick, MD
Posts: 555
Rewards Points: 286

Re: How To Prepare For Commercial Jobs


Quote:
Originally Posted by peteo View Post
Honestly I think I'd rather use the small equipment. It seems like the profit margin is a lot bigger compared to the big toys
I hear ya. I don't want the payments on the big toys either. I have no idea how these guys can pay for the equipment, fuel, upkeep, insurance and operators on these things with the money they charge to move a cy of dirt. I want no part of the mass grading world.
Moxley-Kidwell is offline  
Old 02-10-2015, 07:38 PM   #17
Vagitarian
 
rino1494's Avatar
 
Trade: site and utility contractor
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Dallas, PA
Posts: 3,589
Rewards Points: 2,388

Re: How To Prepare For Commercial Jobs


Commercial is tough because there are alot of people bidding and you need to buy plans and read the spec book from front to back 2 times. If you miss one thing, it can cost you thousands and thousands of $$$$. A typical small site job will take me about 15-20 hrs of my time to bid. Larger jobs will take longer and with 20 or more contractors bidding, it is a shot in the dark anymore.
__________________
Life is hard. It is harder when you are stupid

Uncle Sam wants YOU....to speak ENGLISH
rino1494 is offline  
Old 02-10-2015, 07:46 PM   #18
Pro
 
mattg2448's Avatar
 
Trade: Excavating
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Port Huron MI
Posts: 174
Rewards Points: 390

Re: How To Prepare For Commercial Jobs


Sounds good to get some opinions in, I think I am going to stay away from Comercial for a couple years, but study up on the process.
mattg2448 is offline  
Old 03-26-2015, 05:05 PM   #19
Member
 
aj3580's Avatar
 
Trade: excavating
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: western mass
Posts: 79
Rewards Points: 142

Re: How To Prepare For Commercial Jobs


I started last year and I am doing pretty well with a 5ton excavator and a track skid steer. Any bigger equipment I just rent. I have been doing septic systems , additions for some woodpeckers and random land clearing. I would not jump into something too big right off the rip your just asking for trouble. Get established with some gc's in your area knock on doors shake some hands and kiss some babies like a politician you'll get some work out of it.
aj3580 is offline  
Old 03-26-2015, 07:14 PM   #20
Vagitarian
 
rino1494's Avatar
 
Trade: site and utility contractor
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Dallas, PA
Posts: 3,589
Rewards Points: 2,388

Re: How To Prepare For Commercial Jobs


I just bid a commerical job. 24,000 sq.ft addition with over 1 acre of paving, 1,200lf of storm water piping and bio-retention basin. 9 gc's bidding, architect only gave us 1 week to bid. RFI's were only allowed up 3 days before bid date and only 1 addendum came out. On top of that the geo-tech report is not available and will only be given to successful bidder. I had to give unit pricing for rock excavation and unsuitable materials.

Needless to say I was up late many nights, submitted a bid for over a $400,000 job and had to give alternate pricing for changes and no gc's have heard back from architect. I have no idea where I stand and I have other jobs coming in to bid.

Advertisement

__________________
Life is hard. It is harder when you are stupid

Uncle Sam wants YOU....to speak ENGLISH
rino1494 is offline  


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Taking side jobs more seriously cowboysdad General Discussion 17 10-21-2014 07:38 AM
Maintenance jobs, billing the customer, profit on small invoices waxavier Electrical 11 07-04-2014 09:10 AM
Jobs where someone other than the owner pays you... Chris Sweeney General Discussion 4 01-03-2014 09:02 PM
hurricane isaac How to prepare!! roofguy1000s General Discussion 21 08-27-2012 03:28 AM
Larger reno jobs seem to have the potential for screw up's ? englishdave Business 24 05-07-2010 11:50 PM

Join Now... It's Fast and FREE!

I am a professional contractor
I am a DIY Homeowner
Drywall Talk is for
PROFESSIONAL CONTRACTORS ONLY!

At DrywallTalk.com we cater exlusivly to professional contractors who make their living as a contractor. Knowing that many homeowners and DIYers are looking for a community to call home, we've created www.DIYChatroom.com DIY Chatroom is full of helpful advices and perfect for DIY homeowners.

Redirecing in 10 seconds
No Thanks
terms of service

Already Have an Account?