Contractor Talk - Professional Construction and Remodeling Forum banner
1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
One man show.
Joined
·
218 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After 7 years of keeping some what busy and making valuable contacts that I thought would keep me going, I've finally gotten scary slow.
Thought I did everything right. Made lots contacts with other contractors, vendors and home builders, expanded my services, took on projects out of my comfort zone...mentally and physically. Competitive pricing, website, flyers, tried some advertising, always returned calls and never told callers that I was to busy or job to small. If it wasn't in my scope of work I would try and refer some one I knew hopping they would return the favor some day.

There isn't one thing that has resulted in leads, its all been word of mouth and mostly referrals from the home builder I use to work for before I went on my own. I don't want to go into they'er offices and say, 'Hi, Hey...why aren't you referring me?"
And yes...I've tried introducing myself to other builders but it has never resulted in anything.

Wife asks what my back up plan is....? Back up plan!? I wasn't planning a back up plan these past years....I focused on staying busy and making contacts.
Back up plan.....sending out tons of resumes, post on Service Magic/CL....GUH!
Even if I get a call today, they'er just to few and far between now.

I know theres tons of guys out there from big to small that have had to close, so I'm not saying 'Why me."
Its just mind boggling how it just stops after you thought you went above and beyond to keep it going.
Ive never worked harder mentally and physically than working for myself, and to work so hard to sustain the dream of being your own boss and it ends like this....wtf!
Not looking for the answer on here....just venting.
 

·
Head Light Bulb Changer
Joined
·
847 Posts
It happens. It's the ebb and flow of this biz. I was home today doing office work. It's raining and all my scheduled jobs are outside :censored:. Don't have much going on. All small stuff.

Then...A long-time client dropped by, unannounced, to bring me some homemade Peach preserves and tell me to come over because she wants to start the project I bid 9 months ago. As I was talking to her, I got 2 more phone calls accepting bids. Over 10K in work (labor) just 'Fell in my lap' today.

Keep your chin up!
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
24,787 Posts
After 7 years of keeping some what busy and making valuable contacts that I thought would keep me going, I've finally gotten scary slow.
Thought I did everything right. Made lots contacts with other contractors, vendors and home builders, expanded my services, took on projects out of my comfort zone...mentally and physically. Competitive pricing, website, flyers, tried some advertising, always returned calls and never told callers that I was to busy or job to small. If it wasn't in my scope of work I would try and refer some one I knew hopping they would return the favor some day.

There isn't one thing that has resulted in leads, its all been word of mouth and mostly referrals from the home builder I use to work for before I went on my own. I don't want to go into they'er offices and say, 'Hi, Hey...why aren't you referring me?"
And yes...I've tried introducing myself to other builders but it has never resulted in anything.

Wife asks what my back up plan is....? Back up plan!? I wasn't planning a back up plan these past years....I focused on staying busy and making contacts.
Back up plan.....sending out tons of resumes, post on Service Magic/CL....GUH!
Even if I get a call today, they'er just to few and far between now.

I know theres tons of guys out there from big to small that have had to close, so I'm not saying 'Why me."
Its just mind boggling how it just stops after you thought you went above and beyond to keep it going.
Ive never worked harder mentally and physically than working for myself, and to work so hard to sustain the dream of being your own boss and it ends like this....wtf!
Not looking for the answer on here....just venting.
According to the CSLB you have a C-6 license.
Why don't or haven't you gone for a B ticket?

Seems you are really limiting your possibilities with just the C-6.

Now, IMO, the one man show moniker is severely limiting what you can take on. Also among GC's your one man show reputation will follow you. If I were looking to sub-out work I want a guy with horsepower to get in and get it done.

Good luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
124 Posts
As I'm sure you know, everything can change with a phone call. I really do wish you the best.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,382 Posts
Go out again and talk to some people. Talk to the one who used to refer you the most. Everyone wants to say they have plenty of work. Even if they don't.
All of this year, I have had my competition working for me. I'm lucky, I've got tons of work. He didn't have anything. 4 months no calls. His lack of work is his own doing. Years of poor business practices have caught up to him.
Last week he got a couple small jobs. I told him I didn't need help anymore (I had already kept him on 3 weeks longer than I originally told him). I talked to him yesterday. He is starting a big job and then a new house after that.
He went from nothing and no calls for 4 1/2 months and then within a week is covered up.
There is work out there. You just need to find out about it. I know there are some customers right now trying to figure out who they should call.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,170 Posts
Just hang in there and keep your powder dry. This line of work is sometimes like farming,busy then slow. You have to put some coin away for the slow times,just like most farmers,they get paid about once a year.:eek:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
295 Posts
Keep out there and trying to move forward. Around here, I will think I have a nice 5 day weekend, and BAM, I am going to have to bring in some extra help for a few days (this just happened 90 minutes ago).

Pulling for you.
 

·
Administrator
Maker of Fine Sawdust
Joined
·
56,774 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,613 Posts
Sometimes its out of our hands. Been terribly slow for the past few months. Kept saying I needed a good week of good weather to loosen things up and sure enough the phones have been ringing a lot again.

Dont worry, people remember you if they like you. They just dont always remodel or build. I got a call to replace a window insert I installed back in 1994 last week. They saved the paper work and called me. You never know.
 

·
Carpenter
Joined
·
56 Posts
Same here...been pretty quiet for the last 4 months. Hoping the warmer weather will bring some work. Just have to do our best to ride it out. Good Luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
I just had my worst winter ever,to the point I was farming out my guy's just so they could pay their bills and within the last 48hrs I booked up for the next two months,keep pushing it's like being a bird pecking around for food sometimes you find the feeder!.:thumbup:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,987 Posts
I have been in the same boat. Slowest winter/spring ever, and they are saying it will get worse. Seems to follow the election cycle around here.

I have finally figured out that by telling people I am busy, they tend to not call because they think I am too busy to do their small or medium jobs, and have no time for the big ones. I have started to let my real estate customers and quality customers know I am in a tight spot. They usually will come through with something to help me get through. It may not be what you want to do, but it will pay the bills.

I am a General contractor who was doing full remodels and large dry rot jobs last year, this year I am installing garden fences and sheds. To be honest, I am enjoying the small jobs, though it takes a lot more running around to bring in what I need.

It may not be what normally I do, but it is helping us scrape by. It is tough and I definitely am sweating the end of this month, but there are jobs to look at and a few large ones hopefully in the mill. However, those small ones keep me in view of customers and usually bring another one along.

So I would go to your best customers and let them know you are available and looking to do anything. You can bet their other contractors are. It isn't begging, it is survival.
 

·
Registered
Design/Build Remodeling
Joined
·
6,590 Posts
A long… long… time ago… in a galaxy far… far… away, I too ran out of work. One of the consultants we were working with at the time suggested sending a letter out to our past customers that stated:

• We’re slow!
• If you have any remodeling projects on your to-do-list (no matter how small) that we could take care of for you, here’s how we can help.
• If you call by MM/DD/YY we’ll reduce our in-house labor by 10%.
• This is a limited time offer – just to get us through our dry patch.
• Just call. We can get those remodeling projects done for you and you can save some money at the same time.

Within the week we had 4 calls. Three were misc. projects ($2,000 - $4,000) and one was an addition ($55,000).

It saved our ass!
 

·
Nail Driving Fool
Joined
·
554 Posts
Name of the game my friend - Feast or Famine with no in between. Sounds like you are in a famine. Hang in there, it's Spring time now. Things will get better.

The winters are brutal here, not the weather so much, but all work shuts down. Absolutely NOTHING going on from December to February. Past experience has told me to plan ahead so I always squirrel some away to get me through those 3 months. I got a surprise this year followed by a scare. I worked pretty steady all through Dec-Feb. Then March rolled around and nothing, I changed 1 exterior door the entire month of March.

I got 4 calls April 1. Got 3 of the 4 jobs. Steady calls from there on. Today I got offered a remodel job that will probably take 9 months. If the phone doesn't ring until New Years I'm covered.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,216 Posts
Doubt it makes you feel any better.... but I doubt it is you... and I doubt you are the lone ranger...

If your client base is middle class, they are squeezed in this economy...

Wish I knew a solution for you....

Best and good luck with hopefully better times and economy
 

·
Home Repairs
Joined
·
291 Posts
After 7 years of keeping some what busy and making valuable contacts that I thought would keep me going, I've finally gotten scary slow.
Thought I did everything right. Made lots contacts with other contractors, vendors and home builders, expanded my services, took on projects out of my comfort zone...mentally and physically. Competitive pricing, website, flyers, tried some advertising, always returned calls and never told callers that I was to busy or job to small. If it wasn't in my scope of work I would try and refer some one I knew hopping they would return the favor some day.

There isn't one thing that has resulted in leads, its all been word of mouth and mostly referrals from the home builder I use to work for before I went on my own. I don't want to go into they'er offices and say, 'Hi, Hey...why aren't you referring me?"
And yes...I've tried introducing myself to other builders but it has never resulted in anything.

Wife asks what my back up plan is....? Back up plan!? I wasn't planning a back up plan these past years....I focused on staying busy and making contacts.
Back up plan.....sending out tons of resumes, post on Service Magic/CL....GUH!
Even if I get a call today, they'er just to few and far between now.

I know theres tons of guys out there from big to small that have had to close, so I'm not saying 'Why me."
Its just mind boggling how it just stops after you thought you went above and beyond to keep it going.
Ive never worked harder mentally and physically than working for myself, and to work so hard to sustain the dream of being your own boss and it ends like this....wtf!
Not looking for the answer on here....just venting.
One trick ponies can go hungry some times, even in my area which has not been impacted as bad by the slow economy. Have you considered adding additional services to your business. As much of a pain in the butt that realtors are.......they keep me buried in work. Real estate agents need a "go to guy" quite often to get a house to closing. Most of work is "honey do" type things that the seller was too lazy to fix before he put the house on the market. Once in a while, I do get a whole house make over (I'm in one now for pet damage).

I started out just doing drywall & paint, and I am now into anything and everything outside of electrical, Gas, & HVAC. I have a network of licensed small contractor friends to jump on those areas for me.

Just throwing it out there for you. Good luck pards.
 

·
Finishing Carpenter
Joined
·
1,332 Posts
it's been slow here (Vancouver Canada) for the last two years, but this last month and 1/2 I've been slammed. The phone rings virtually every day, someone want's work done.

I am almost at the point of hiring a helper, but I can't keep one busy full time - yet.

One call yesterday was interesting - in a conversation that lasted less than 5 minutes he said `you give me cheap price`four times. LOL yup, 120`feet of crown, in a condo with easy access`uh..... no prices over the phone. yea, he didn`t sent any contact details.

Those are rare, most folks are serious about wanting work done.

I even have committed to re-building a fence for a client. I don`t really do that, I can but it`s not my thing. She kept me busy during slow times though, so I am going ahead just as soon as the rain quits!
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top