Contractor Talk - Professional Construction and Remodeling Forum banner
1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Banned
Joined
·
14,078 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This may ramble a bit so I apologize in advance.

Guys, this is for real and not trying to be an jackass here, but I am about to get buried in work and frankly I am getting panicky and full of anxiety. Every day this week it seems a customer I gave a quote to weeks or even months ago is calling back to book the work now, and these are mostly bigger jobs - (bigger jobs for me anyways - ranging from 1-5 weeks on average), so far I have signed up during this week or will by this Friday: a medium kitchen remodel, a major bathroom remodel, a small bathroom remodel, a medium bathroom remodel, a small kitchen remodel and a medium deck refinishing job (I know, what the hell was I thinking taking that one?)

To make matters worse we are leaving for a week long vacation to Mexico on Monday (I know - poor me, boo hoo!)

By this Friday some quick calculations show that I am going to be booked out till at least July. Also major weaknesses are being exposed at what was up to now an adequate level of organization, but not working at this new level of activity.

The fact that I will be out of the office all next week is not helping as I am scrambling to get deposits and contracts signed and get customers off doing fixture and tile selections before we go. I'm having a hard time figuring out what to tell some of these people since I will be out of touch for 7 days right in the middle of their selection process.

In addition I have 2 other customers who I'm pretty sure will be calling next week to book their projects in addition to what I have already listed here. I suspect that I am quickly going to be running into problems of losing at least one of these projects because of how far out I am going to have to book them.

I am booking projects linearly as they come in, but I am wondering if I would be smarter to feel out some of these current customers that I will be getting scheduling finalized between now and Friday, and push any of them I can out farther, leaving say a 30 day gap for some of these incoming customers that will be calling next week?

Additionally what the hell am I supposed to do about all the potential customers who will be calling while I am doing all this work out until July/August? This is definitely one of those be careful what you wish for scenarios!

Oh, I also have 2 new quotes to do this Friday for two small bathroom remodels and another quote when I get back for a deck. :rolleyes:

I definitely see that getting some help would be very beneficial, but I have been a one shop guy and have never done more than sub out plumbing and electrical up to now, so I don't even know where to start.

I don't know if you guys can offer any suggestions other than "You're an idiot, shut up and just work it out!" or perhaps this is just therapy to just get it out of my system? Thanks for listening to my rambling anyways.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,265 Posts
Mike Finley said:
I'm having a hard time figuring out what to tell some of these people since I will be out of touch for 7 days right in the middle of their selection process.
Easy one first - do your acomodations in Mexico offer internet access? Take your notebook with you and set aside an hour each day to read/repond to e-mail. Maybe even sign up right-away for the new internet phone service (Vonage?) and then you can still use the phone with customers. I guess your plan will have a lot to do with how committed you are to being entirely 'out of the office'. Whatever you do, make sure to let all concerned know what to expect.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,858 Posts
Regular customers will wait indefinitely for a job they know will be well done, - - others I prioritize according to 'desireability', - - explaining the whole time how well worth it is to be patient and get the 'top-notch' job (from one who's in 'high demand'), - - to find someone else who might be 'ready-to-start-tomorrow', - - would beg the obvious question, - - WHY? The jobs that aren't bid yet need to be priced higher, - - with an explanation of the 'waiting period'.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,858 Posts
I collect 10% (non-refundable) of the total price of the job to get 'on-the-schedule', - - but I'm not so sure that's legal in all states.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,471 Posts
I started by finding old folks who just wanted to work a few days a week for cash. Within 10 days I had a trim carpenter, tilesetter and painter for $10.00 an hr., I still provide work for them whenever they want it.
It sure eased the load until I could hire enough guys to justify Workers Comp. even if it wasn't entirely legal.
I just started asking everybody that I knew about getting some parttime help and these old guys just kinda floated up. Still some of my most dependable help even if I have to schedule around their tee times once in a while.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,573 Posts
First off Mike, congrats!

Organize by priority that the customer sets. Ask 'em all how soon they need their remodel to take place.

Now heres the hard decision for some guys. To sub, or not to sub; that is the question. Personally I don't see a problem. Use this week to find some compitent subs. Discuss them pictures and material lists. Tell them to schedule the work for your return. Congratulations again. You have just been promoted to project manager and field supervisor. This is what I would do. Heck this is what I do every day.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
14,078 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Pipeguy, unfortunately or maybe fortunately the only note book I have has paper in it and doesn't run off batteries. :cheesygri The wife and I have a rule when on vacation, you have to be on vacation, no checking of email, no calling in.

Good advice on letting everybody know, I spent some time yesterday while a customer was signing the contract explaining how I would be out of touch for a week and set them up as best I could, hopefully they won't create a crisis for themselves while I was gone.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
14,078 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Tom, I had gotten away from the non-refundable deposit, but I have gone back to it now for all the reasons you brought up. I'm not sure about the legalities of it either but sometimes just having it in writing on a contract they sign may be enough to dissuade a customer from even considering whether it is or not and keep them from starting trouble.

Funny about the line "- to find someone else who might be 'ready-to-start-tomorrow', - - would beg the obvious question, - - WHY?" I just ran into that yesterday, I have been in such a rush that I got lax in my questioning of the details of the job, I showed up ready to look at their project and before I got in the house they let me know that they needed to start this by next week. After I told them they were probably looking at July their jaws dropped to the floor. I asked them if they were having any luck finding anybody who could start it next week and they said that two other companies had already bid on it and could start next week. I then asked them "Yeah, but do you want somebody who obviously has such a lack of demand for their services that they are able to start next week to actually work on your project?" They didn't like that comment very much. Oh well, I thanked them for the opportunity and let them know that if for any reason things don't work out to give us a call.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
14,078 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Luckily in the last day or so Teetor a few people have been coming out of the wood work and offering up leads on help. This will be a change for me, I'm going to have to work through some issues with insurance to see how to make this work.

My insurance policy has a 25% cap on the amount of sub-contracting I can hire. This is a serious issue if I am going to get some others involved in these projects.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
14,078 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Thanks Grumpy, I'm not promoted yet, but this is the start of what I wanted to happen in order to get there. Excellent advice in regard to scheduling by the customers priority! Such a simple and logical thought yet I hardly considered it or actually had to consider it up till now. I will be using that with the job I am signing up late today. They are in no hurry so I will push them 30 days out from the first available time I have and leave a gap for new work to fill, and if it doesn't then they can be moved up to keep down time to a minimum.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
378 Posts
first thing increase your mark up on all new jobs your bidding,and decline any jobs you don't want. schedule the most profitable jobs first giving prefference to your existing repeat customers.have you tried temp labor services or subcontracting some phase of the work. now would also be time to hire additional employees.
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top