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Nail Driving Fool
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554 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Exact opposite of the "All time best" thread.

If you have been doing this long enough its pretty much guaranteed that you underbid something and end up loosing your @$$. :laughing:

This should be fun. :no:



A few years ago I bid an exterior paint job. I was swamped with work and it was dark when I finally got to look at the house. I made a quick trip around the house with a flashlight and talked with the homeowner.

I'm not going to say what I priced the job for but lets just say that I planned on it taking 3 days with me and a helper.

I was on that job for 17 days, working 12-14 hours a day. Went $1200 in the hole with material , and ended up paying my help out of my own pocket.

Almost as bad was the time I got hooked up with a mobile home dealer. Was giving "flat rate" square footage prices to build decks for land home packages without looking at the job. :eek: I signed the contracts to build 10 different decks. At the time material cost on a 8x10 was about $400. Done the math after the job was finished. Think I made something like $3.20 an hour after I paid my help and bought materials. :laughing:

Done both of these to myself trying to compete with hacks.

Have since decided that I'll let the quality of my work and my reputation speak for itself and If they can't afford me I'll sit at home and watch NCIS reruns. :whistling
 

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Particulate Filter
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4,430 Posts
2009. Worked for three months, me and a helper, on an interior and exterior repaint. Bid it to the bone due to the recession. Gc order cvg pine rather than preprimed mdf. It all had to be oil primed sanded etc. This was one of many expensive time consuming surprises. Home was supposed to be ready for exterior finish in september. Finished project at the end of the year is 15 degree weather. Honored my bid of 11k and then the gc told me he made an extra 20000 on my work. Ever hear that saying if you listen to an a$$hole long enough theyll tell you theyre an a$$ hole?

Month before we finished my wife told me we were having another baby.
 

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Nail Driving Fool
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554 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Forgot about this one.

This was about 2006. A new flooring company starts up in the area. They call and ask if I would sub a job for them. Had to drive 3 1/2 hours one way to look at the job. 20x30 room, house built in 1930's. Nothing is level or square, wanting to lay 2 1/4" oak in a herringbone pattern. I figure it high then add a couple thousand for good measure. Figure I'll never hear from him again, but if I actually get the job I'll make bank.

About 2 days later they calls and ask me to go look at another job in the same city. Drive 3 1/2 hours again, kitchen floor tile job. Recent construction, pie job in and out in 2 days. Again I figure the bid high, its a long drive and I really don't need the work.

Next week they call and asks me to go look at another job, about 2 hours away. Small bathroom floor. Would literally take longer to drive there than it would take to lay the crappy linoleum the homeowner was wanting. Submit a bid on that one, again a little high but not a nose bleed price.

Following week they call wanting me to look at a hardwood refinish job, this ones about 5 hours away. You see where this is going?

Turns out they were getting me to bid the jobs, submit the material list, ect and then do the work themself. I caught on pretty fast, and jumped them on it.

Figured it cost me $1500 in gas and lost time running all over the state for the jackass. Of course this was in the middle of the summer and I swamped with local work.

Makes me mad just thinking about it.

On the bright side that company went under in less than 6 months. Idiots.

I actually sent them a bill for "expenses incurred". They mailed me back one of my own business cards I had given them with my bid forms and had circled the "Free Estimates" line on the bottom of the card.
 

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Accidental Painter
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2,292 Posts
10,000 lbs

We still talk about "The washington House" to this day. No matter how bad it gets, we say: at least it aint "The washington House".

Finally got the trashout biz going good. Then we get recruited to do foreclosure work. This one house sunk that aspect of the biz.

90 degrees & we had to suit up. Basement full of water (4 feet deep) in an alcoholics hoarder house. Started with two people on a 24 hr deadline. By the time it was finished, I had 5 men on the job & still took a full week.

We gave up & rented a 26' u-haul insteax of using a truck & trailer

Property Roof Vehicle Transport Home

It took me an hour alone to weasel the bigazz uhual into a position it shouldn't have fit. Even the customer said it looked like it was lowered in place by a crane! :)

There was a silver fiero that ran that was our to keep. Well, we get this full azz u-haul to the dump, start unloading & a truck pulls up next to us to unload. Guess what was on his trailer? yup, the fiero. I even verified with him where he got it.

We had to stop unloading 1/3 of the way in so the landfill could close. First trip across the scales:3500 lbs removed.

The next morning, we finish unloading. Talking to the scale guy, i tell him about the fiero. He sympathizes and tell us no charge. I asked our weight out of curiosity our weight: 7000 lbs.

10000 lbs of wet moldy garbage. And we got stiffed on payment.
 

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2,910 Posts
Bid a bath for 4 grand. But I was in a hurry and wrote 1 grand instead of four. Didn't know it until 3 days later when I got paid. Never said nothing, but after that I wait 2-4 days after I write up a estimate and look over it and make sure I dint forget anything.
 

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Contractor of the Month
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26,075 Posts
I pulled a Gary years ago, had a little mishap with the "quantities" column and priced a 90K job for 75K.

I didn't loose money...but I sure didn't make out like a bandit.

Drilled through some plumbing once...that job turned into a freebie.

I bid some work in a shopping mall over the phone that I have to go finish this afternoon...should end up making about 4$/hr on that.
 

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Particulate Filter
Joined
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4,430 Posts
10,000 lbs

We still talk about "The washington House" to this day. No matter how bad it gets, we say: at least it aint "The washington House".

Finally got the trashout biz going good. Then we get recruited to do foreclosure work. This one house sunk that aspect of the biz.

90 degrees & we had to suit up. Basement full of water (4 feet deep) in an alcoholics hoarder house. Started with two people on a 24 hr deadline. By the time it was finished, I had 5 men on the job & still took a full week.

We gave up & rented a 26' u-haul insteax of using a truck & trailer

It took me an hour alone to weasel the bigazz uhual into a position it shouldn't have fit. Even the customer said it looked like it was lowered in place by a crane! :)

There was a silver fiero that ran that was our to keep. Well, we get this full azz u-haul to the dump, start unloading & a truck pulls up next to us to unload. Guess what was on his trailer? yup, the fiero. I even verified with him where he got it.

We had to stop unloading 1/3 of the way in so the landfill could close. First trip across the scales:3500 lbs removed.

The next morning, we finish unloading. Talking to the scale guy, i tell him about the fiero. He sympathizes and tell us no charge. I asked our weight out of curiosity our weight: 7000 lbs.

10000 lbs of wet moldy garbage. And we got stiffed on payment.
I thought about doing the reo work during the recession and figured even painting for 3$ an hour was better the. Having stories like yours. Lol
 

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Accidental Painter
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2,292 Posts
Yeah I used to offer the full package flip services. It was too much too soon. Bankwork was the nail in the coffin.

Is there money in it? oh hell yeah. But it's nowhere near any other industry.

I still occasionally do full flips, but have specialized in painting/drywall first. Figure I'll grow back slowly into doing everything.

I've seen things no one should see doing trashouts. Luckily no corpses yet. Although I have unknowingly cleaned up the aftermath.
 

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Particulate Filter
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4,430 Posts
I did a trash out once. One ten by ten room was filled with clothes, dead clones, and dog**** six feet high. There was also an empty snake case in the house. The guy shot up five people and left town so I wasnt going to be surprised if he was dumb enough to keep a venomous snake.

Hated that job so much.
 

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368 Posts
Bid a roof in a subdivision where we've done dozens. Didn't bother to open the gate and go around back because..I'm an idiot
22squares of outbuildings. big garage and a shed.
Lost $3500.
Nothing compared to some of my dad's.
 

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8,133 Posts
While i've had unsuccessful jobs none are quite up to snuff. Did a job 2.5 hours out of town. Worked 14 hour days 5 days straight in 32c/90f sun and 95% humidity. GC told ud to show up with just hand tools, he'd supply everything else...scaffold, mixer, sand cement, blocks. Showed up and he had 4 sections of scaffold for a 20' high elevator shaft...no planks. He had a concrete mixer instead of a mortar mixer and had premix mortar AND sand, not enough of either.

We underbid the job @ $4k for the 2 of us (both equal business partners). GC paid us 1/2 before we started and went bankrupt a week or so after we got back without paying the balance. At least he supplied the hotel room

Oh yeah we also had a nice visit form the Ministry of Labour. Probably a good thing.
 

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Kowboy
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2,453 Posts
I bid a hurricane sliding door recently at around $3,500.00, 18 of that material.

Spent quite a while at inspection where I was informed I would be cutting the block, drilling the lintel and foundation, epoxying rebar, then filling the block cavities with concrete on each side.

Probably made about 9 bucks an hour on this one, but I don't know when I've enjoyed going to work as much lately. The tenant's 3-year-old son showed up one morning, apparently to supervise. Quite talkative, hands on his hips and no pants. Hilarious.

Joe

P.S.:

The customer helped me out with several hundred bucks after I explained the extra work.
 

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295 Posts
Just got smoked for a 3k job for a guy I've known for 20 years (and my wife has met twice in 2 years, and immediately told me he's a snake oil salesman, so yes this is MY fault).
He G/C'd the job for a guy. The guy is a part time contributor for a local radio hack, "consumer protection," aka in love with his own voice.
I'm trying to squirrel away some for a rainy day, and I'm okay on the books. You know the story.
G/C took my estimate, did a crappy install, and had me do the sand and finish. After staining, the customer walks all over the place, and spills beer on it, which put me at "I no longer care about doing a good job for you." This is a place I hate to go. Again my fault for taking it as I know the G/C is sketchy.
Long story short, customer hated it, I got jammed. Live and finally learn. The G/C keeps calling me for a sand job we did 8 months ago. It got some more water damage, and I can't see myself going back to do it for him, no matter what I charge.

Ahh. Finally saying no to old connections that cause me headaches. I guess I can be taught. It just takes a bit. LOL
 

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stacker of sticks
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8,502 Posts
I'm currently knee deep in chit.

Scope of work.

Repair drain tile on rear of house
Quick wall the foundation
Regrade yard away from the house
3 4" drainage lines through the yard
And 3 dry wells


We started this in December, estimated 1 week start to finish. We got the drain tile and foundation water proofed in 2 days before getting frozen out for the winter. Went back 2 weeks ago and spent a week to do pretty much nothing. I've been pumping water out of the backyard for the last week. Total loss will be around 10k



Geological phenomenon Vehicle Soil Bulldozer Construction equipment
 

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Registered
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555 Posts
I'm currently knee deep in chit.

Scope of work.

Repair drain tile on rear of house
Quick wall the foundation
Regrade yard away from the house
3 4" drainage lines through the yard
And 3 dry wells


We started this in December, estimated 1 week start to finish. We got the drain tile and foundation water proofed in 2 days before getting frozen out for the winter. Went back 2 weeks ago and spent a week to do pretty much nothing. I've been pumping water out of the backyard for the last week. Total loss will be around 10k



View attachment 111104
Are they forcing you to work? I think one drive through the yard with the skid loader should have told them to wait a few weeks til you could actually work.
 

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Premium Member
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1,223 Posts
Bid a hardi siding job once, 20 sq, 4 guys. One day to tear off the alum siding, two days for trim, color plus siding and last day for punch list/ clean up. Every inch of the house was covered in asbestos siding under the aluminum. I lost a bit over 25k. It took 3 weeks of 18 hour days. Nearly killed me! Didn't know any better then, I sure learned fast
 

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stacker of sticks
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8,502 Posts
Moxley-Kidwell said:
Are they forcing you to work? I think one drive through the yard with the skid loader should have told them to wait a few weeks til you could actually work.

We needed to get it somewhat under control, and we did, but the yard is still pooling water really bad, so I put a sump pump in :laughing: so every day I've been pumping hundreds of gallons out at lunch
 
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