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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anyone have any advice on subcontracting? Currently my company is part time and subcontracting looks like a good way for us to go full time. I saw Power Home Remodeling is looking for a sub in my area.

Does anyone have any experience being a sub or know who is good or not good to work for?

Has anyone had any trouble getting paid when doing subcontract work for companies? I know that getting paid for snow removal for the larger companies like USM, Ferrandino & Son, and Brickman is almost impossible. I was wondering if this is the same in construction and remodeling.

Thanks in advance for all the help,

Henry
 

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...Does anyone have any advice on subcontracting?... Currently my company is part time and subcontracting looks like a good way for us to go full time.... I was wondering if this is the same in construction and remodeling.

Thanks in advance for all the help,

Henry
Unfortunately YES....

You will be the sub of a sub, end up getting a dollar bill dangled in front of you until you give up and go broke....

Sorry for the brutality but it's just the way things are....
 

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finding good GCs can be difficult....over 50% of them are bad on some level

its taken me years, but i have a great collection of gc's i work for...some pay me in 7 days or less....all pay in 30 days w/o asking.....

lately when i work for new ones they are all bad payers....im on a losing streak

ive learned the signs and avoid them as much as possible.....

GC work is the majority of my business and where most of the profit is
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Thanks for the input griz. I like the way you worded it. That's what I was thinking. My plan is to only work as a sub until I can generate enough leads to go full time on my own projects.
But is it that way for every company that uses subs? Is it the same for smaller, non-national companies? Is there anyone someone knows of who treats their subs right?
Huggytree, would you mind sharing some of the signs for good and bad GCs?
 

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bad GC's

call you and need you tomorrow
offer you future work right away
voice mail box full
easy to get a hold of before the job is done, but dont answer ever once its complete
try to get you to do more and more jobs before they pay for job 1

the first 2 are pretty much 100%

for some odd reason they ALWAYS offer you future work before you start the first project.....i cringe when i hear it

90% of them will call you needing you immediately


i never do a job where im taking over for someone else mid stream....when i started out i had an opportunity to finish up a whole house remodel....i saw 4 different types of water pipe (2 pex, cpvc, copper)...also noticed different styles of pvc rough in's...i figured they had used 3-4 different plumbers before me.....i ran.....they had all sorts of jobs lined up for me from day 1.....it was so obvious they were horrible....when i said no thanks they seemed shocked
 

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What kind of work do you want to do? I see roofing and siding, but are you looking for project work like new construction of condos, senior living communities, apartments, etc., or just single residences?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Mr. Latone I am looking to do all types, including larger projects like you mentioned. A good friend of mine does work for Michael J. Turner Construction. They do roofing and siding on some massive condo complexes and the like, but he recently stopped doing work for them because they still owe him money from November.

I got to know a few developers due to my current full time job, but have not had the opportunity to speak to them in the past few weeks. The next time I see them I will ask if they would give me the opportunity to maybe place a bid on some of there upcoming projects. If I could get into new construction work, even on just of few of their projects, that would be ideal.
 

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I started out doing 70% of my work as a sub for a very long time..I was young when my Dad passed away and my brother and i took over the business so a 21 year old trying to sell with no sales skills was pretty comical but i knew how to install and did it from an early age year after year So subbing for many different GC's, builders, roofers, siders was perfect. No selling just install..Sounds terrific right?:no: Like others said before me it involved pretty much being someones *****. I actually had two jobs. Installing and trying to collect money.I had two months of installs owed to me at all times.All i ever heard was ".Want a check? I have 2 more houses and then well square up". " I have a closing so i need you there tomorrow"...Finally i started weeding out the lousy payers and started getting more into the homeowner market after putting up with the BS for many years. Got burned pretty bad when housing market tanked in 08. We are now 70% homeowner and 30 % sub. Not chasing money all the time is a huge relief and most homeowners cant wait to pay you when job is complete Bottome line is if you do too much sub work youre not fully working for yourself. Try to find a happy medium. Do not continue working for bad payers..They never change.
 

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Some good points have been brought up. It's obvious the posters have had experience both selling and subbing.

Here's the rub.......there's an old saying in this business, "Too much work and not enough guys to do it OR too many guys and not enough work."

Another way of putting it is, "Feast or famine."

It really is a tough balance for the small shop. Grow a crew of 4-6 guys that can really get the job done and try and keep it together. It's a tough gig. If you are a tool belt wearing worker, you will find that subcontracting fills the holes that will almost certainly be in your schedule. It's a necessary part of keeping that crew together. Good workers will want good and steady full time work.

Eventually you may come to a place where you find that you want to become more sales oriented. This is a challenge. Breaking away from the tool belt and having a responsible foreman is one of two ways this can happen. The other way is to become a paper contractor and start to give work to responsible subs. Well that is a ways off because that sub is you right now.

As far as pay, boy that's a school of hard knocks. Don't believe it can't happen to you. There will be a time (or two, or three) where you will not get paid.........ever. Keep your billing current. Keep the credit you extend to any one account in check as best you can, and be prepared to file a mechanic's lien if the payer gets any where near the time limit for such.
 

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Subbing was ok because it freed up some of the time spent selling in the evenings. having said that selling is where the money is made. Im glad I don't sub anymore the biggest PITA is the ole "you'll only be there half a day tops" and show up to find two days worth of crap from other subs need done or holding your progress up. It will pay the bills but its not for me anymore.

Why not buy some contacts leads? I bought a contact lead for $75 for a kitchen remodel and got that job and have worked for the original customers entire family now. Ive spent maybe $400 at different times (when I got slow) that paid me over $50,000 in a few years time. Some I bought and pulled up to the house and turned around but if youre careful how you pick the ones you want to buy it is very fruitful and a good way to build a customer base.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thank you everybody for your input. As pointed out by Mr. Latone and NYGUTTERGUY, I am looking to be a sub to provide a good amount of work while starting up and to fill the gaps that will be in my schedule. My son has been the one really pushing for me to go full time and I see him as the one who would take the lead in sales and growing the business.

I like the idea brought up by Quad Racer. Is there anything else you could share about buying leads? Do you have any good companies you would recommend that sell leads?
 

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Around here subs get beat to death.

I was given the same advice you have got from a few different people. For the most part there is no money in it. At least in comparrison for working straight for the HO.

Biggest reason I stay out of the subbing game is MATERIALS. I want to make money on materials. I know its different for different subs, but as a trim sub around here you will not make a dime on materials. GC gets them, has them delivered, you just show up and install.

I was going to try working as a trim sub. I thought I had a good GC who was willing to pay. Ultimately he sent me the invoices of another trim sub and wanted a price match. This guy was working for half my rates on the piece rate and even charged a whopping $25/hr on some misc stuff. Now I know why that guy has no insurance, no tools, and a vehicle that barely runs.

My advice, evaluate your particular demographic. Look at the subs. You can tell if they are making money. If they look broke, they are more than broke. Don't get sucked in. It will suck in all your time and resources and it will be very difficult to get out once you get in.

I make way more money working for the HO directly and its a more enjoyable experience for the most part.

Thats my advice. I just traveled that road myself so i know how you feel and I know your dilemma. If you're good, you'll be able to do just fine without GC's.
 

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Thank you everybody for your input. As pointed out by Mr. Latone and NYGUTTERGUY, I am looking to be a sub to provide a good amount of work while starting up and to fill the gaps that will be in my schedule. My son has been the one really pushing for me to go full time and I see him as the one who would take the lead in sales and growing the business.

I like the idea brought up by Quad Racer. Is there anything else you could share about buying leads? Do you have any good companies you would recommend that sell leads?
I had the same thought process. After side work for years I went on my own 3 months ago with a few jobs lined up. Thought I'd have to do the trim sub thing to stay alive.

I have been busy the entire time. Have got my money out of every job. Worked for good people. And at this point I am booked up 3 months out with work that will pay good. The phone is ringging everyday.

I believe every market is desperately looking for guys who care about their work, do good work, are honest and upright, etc. If you are that guy you will have no problem staying busy. Startups can be rough, but for a good guy you will be surprised just how good it will go. Especially this time of year.
 
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