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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys. In the past 2 years I have had more and more people try to shove it up my tuches (behind for those who don't know Yiddish).
People who demand but won't pay for extras
people who don't care about what is written in my contract
people who don't care whether my work is up to snuff in terms of code and workmanship, just that it's not good enough for them (I gusess they want their deck to look like Italian black laquered furniture)
people who have stupid reasons for not paying (for example one guy wants all the sawdust removed from between his deck boards before he pays)
people who won't pay becuase they don't like the colour variations or crack in the wood (there's a disclaimer in my contract)
people who couldn't care less what payment terms they agreed to
Workers who lie, steal, dissappear from sites, do terrible work, show up late, etc
As a result, I am finding myself being harsher and much less willing to work things out. Now if I get reamed, I'll push right back, won't pay the crew, whatever.

I feel like my principles are being violated, and that I'm compromising myself.

Do any of you feel the same way?
 

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Sounds like you need to do some house cleaning in the worker department. There's lot's of good guys out there looking for work. Get rid of the thieves.

As far as customers, I am guessing you had a few whackos in a row. It happens to all of us. Most customers are pretty good to deal with, but it takes only one or two to make you forget that sometimes.

Hang in there.
 

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people who have stupid reasons for not paying (for example one guy wants all the sawdust removed from between his deck boards before he pays)

Do any of you feel the same way?
I was with you until that part...how hard is it to sweep or vacuum out the junk between deck boards? Plus, it aids in drainage and extends the life of the deck.

I wouldn't pay the final draw until someone did that if I paid to have a deck built, and the decks I do build (few and far between), I leave spotless.
 

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I agree, sounds like you need to take out the trash. Any employees that aren't cutting it - gone. Employees that steal - gone. I just got a line on two quality carpenters who are not happy with the company they are with and looking for other work. Top draw guys.

Qualify your customers better. I would rather do less jobs per year for quality people than more that want cheap work. Won't do it.

Think about the kind of company you want, and make it happen. No such word as tried.

The people who hire me are glad to have me doing their work. No bu!!**** from any of them. If I get any bad vibes, or ' I want cheap ' I'm not interested. There are lots of people in the GTA that want quality work. Go get 'im :thumbup:
 

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Sean
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Stone - as I recall you were one that didn't pull permits all the time at the owners request, if I am wrong let me know & I will pull this

How many of these problem customers are the ones that did not want a permit pulled?

I have to agree with RS & the others - it sounds like some house cleaning needs to take place / better subs found

I learned a trick from Greg or Mac or ??? about spraying the deck down with water before taking pictures. I found this a great time to get rid of that pesky sawdust that likes to get stuck between the boards and doesn't necessarily come out when sweeping it. I can understand why a customer would not like this & would think that your not done yet. As for the other customers - here's the contract, what it states goes.

Hang in there
 

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If you are in business long enough, you are bound to catch a bad run. The trick is to ride it out, then a great customer comes along, and you remember why you love it, GMOD.
 

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Good to see you posting Stone!

I don't know about up there, but it seems to be a symptom of the tightening economy:furious:

Ditto on the new help.... The ol' labor pool's getting pretty deep. Would be a good time to upgrade:thumbsup:
 

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I've never had a bad customer. I only work off referrals. I have tried to bring in customers from outside of my "base." but I've only pulled in one or wo. With referrals, you automatically know their community and people don't want their reputation sullied by treating me badly.
 

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Average Joe
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I hear what you're staying Stone.

I think we all go through periods where we feel completely unappreciated, misused, abused and disrespected.

I'm with you on that "Push back" attitude :thumbsup:

It's good therapy to fire some people, let go of some subs, and tell the HO where to stick it (if they are in the wrong).

I'll fire everybody if they push me far enough...fuggit, I'd rather sub the whole damn thing out then give everyone a free ride.
 

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I've never had a bad customer. I only work off referrals. I have tried to bring in customers from outside of my "base." but I've only pulled in one or wo. With referrals, you automatically know their community and people don't want their reputation sullied by treating me badly.
In the last couple of years, every single person I worked for knew at least three or four other people I've done work for. That relational interplay makes a huge difference.
 

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Customers and employees exist for a single common reason. ...to put money in your pocket. If they aren't fulfilling their purpose in life...they are history.
 

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The part about the sawdust sticks out, that doesn't sound like a job ready to have final payment.

First thing I thought of was, why is there sawdust there in the first place? Your crews should not be cutting on the deck. If they did get sawdust on the deck then it's their job to clean it up. Maybe you need some better quality control.

I believe you use subs, these are problems that comes from using subs. Don't be afraid to clean house especially the ones that are thieving. If your crews are doing a good job most all the problems you've described would go away.

My other thought is you may be experiencing burnout, lawsuit, new place, problems with subs all add up to, too much stress. Take up fishing or golfing, something to get away from it all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The part about the sawdust sticks out, that doesn't sound like a job ready to have final payment.

First thing I thought of was, why is there sawdust there in the first place? Your crews should not be cutting on the deck. If they did get sawdust on the deck then it's their job to clean it up. Maybe you need some better quality control.

I believe you use subs, these are problems that comes from using subs. Don't be afraid to clean house especially the ones that are thieving. If your crews are doing a good job most all the problems you've described would go away.

My other thought is you may be experiencing burnout, lawsuit, new place, problems with subs all add up to, too much stress. Take up fishing or golfing, something to get away from it all.
In all the years I've been doing decks I have never been asked to sweep off sawdust. Usually with 1 rain it's gone.

The crew is top notch, and they did sweep, but there is still a bit between the boards.
Why were they cutting on the deck? It is a second storey deck 11 ft above grade. I don't thinnk they'd want to go up and down the stairs for every cut.

And yeah, I am totally burned out. I'm honestly thinking about giving it up.
 

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I gave you the answer earlier, I will repeat.

You need a vacation my friend, away from home!!!

Trust me, been there and done that. Time away makes it easier to fire up all cylinders, especially if you use and max out a credit card!!!:thumbup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I gave you the answer earlier, I will repeat.

You need a vacation my friend, away from home!!!

Trust me, been there and done that. Time away makes it easier to fire up all cylinders, especially if you use and max out a credit card!!!:thumbup:
Just came back from Florida. Left on Dec 5 by car.
We drove my in-law's Lincoln down to their condo in Ft. Lauderdale. My father-in law is 79 and he doesn't want to do the drive any more.
We stayed for a week, then flew hom.
The whole trip was amazingly cheap, but we spent absolutely nothing on shopping or dining out (tough year).
On top of that, my son called me at least 10 times a day about one job or another. Some days we were on the phone 4 hours or more for business. So it wasn't much of a vacation.
Thanks for the suggestion, though.
 

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And yeah, I am totally burned out. I'm honestly thinking about giving it up.
Giving it up I would not suggest, unless you are ready to retire. I've known friends who sold their business only to regret it later. It's tough to work for someone else after you've been the boss for so long.

Don't you have a son or sons working for you? Sounds like a perfect time for one of the boys to take the reins for awhile. It'll be good for whoever takes over to learn what it's really like to run things. That'll give you much needed time to get away from it all.
 
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