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I have been working for myself (licensed GC) for 5 1/2 years.
I finished up a large custom new build in Nov. and work has been really slow since that time. All of 2013 was busy for me and my guys working with me.
I figured it was due to the holidays, But the month of Jan. Has been super quiet also and I have just agreed to take a supervisor/ Forman job with another GC. Just so I can have work and $$$ coming in.
Now I feel as though I failed at working for myself..
I have to admit, it sucks....I HATE FAILURE
 

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Reminds me of some corny expression like 'If you fail to plan, you're planning to fail'
 

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Sometimes quitting is the best choice. The only way its a failure is if the the goals you desire are now unattainable in your new position.

Personally I get tired of the constant pressures of business ownership but they are problems you can do something about. It no longer matters how smart or fast or good you work when you work for wages;
the pay is exactly the same. Thats what really causes the clock watching. Pretty soon youre watching the clock waiting for your life to be over. Being on the edge is what makes the work fun.
 

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Didn't you see this window coming?

At some point to had to know that January had the possibility of being slow. At that time you should have let the guys finish and your job should have been to pound the pavement and find some work.

If you're doing things on the up and up on the books, laying the guys off for a few weeks while you scratch up a schedule shouldn't be a problem. That happens, it's almost expected. Where are those guys at now? What are they doing?

What were your marketing strategies? Were you just waiting for the phone to ring? Have you been fortunate enough to be riding a wave for the past 5-1/2 years and now you're finding yourself beached?

Like stated above, you haven't failed yet, you just gave up.

What's going to happen if the phone rings again in February? What's going to happen to the guy you're working for now? Does he understand your situation? Are you going to leave him high and dry?
 

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A few years ago I did the same thing. Had an opportunity to sub super a commercial garage that lasted from Sept to March. The money was nice as they paid just under my hourly rate.
They slowed down after that so I went back to my regular work.
Nice thing was my clients waited for me.

I'm still thinking of getting out of this due to too many aches and pains in my body and finding much consitant pay.
 

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You have to have a pipeline to get you through the slow months. Did an estimate back in September? Call them up and tell them that you have a slow month, so you can fit them in, and you'll give them a slight discount to move forward with the project.

Work on your website. Your Facebook. Houzz. Update with all of the pictures of your past projects that you haven't had time to do until now.

You're not a failure until you run out of things to do that move you forward. If you can't think of anything, then perhaps it is better to be an employee than the guy in charge.
 

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..must suck.

I haven't had but two days off since football season started and I'm booked into March. I am, however, taking off the week of Feb 3-7 to go to Vegas for the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show.
 

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"If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right."

Henry Ford
 

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If you were busy all year, you should be in good shape. If you struggled to get work all year that would be your first clue.
For me the last 3 months of the year are always the busiest. Right at Christmas the calls seem to stop. It will be slow for a couple of months and then the calls start being more consistent. The first warm day, the phone won't stop ringing.
Was like this for the first 10 years. Now we are lucky and almost always have work scheduled for about 6 months ahead. Of course 23 years into it makes a difference.
Taking another job for a little while is no problem at all. Maybe it will work into something better, maybe you will learn something new, and maybe it will give you leads for more work.
If all your bills (suppliers and subs) are paid and your head is still above water, you have not failed. Even barely above water.
Good luck.
 

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I have been working for myself (licensed GC) for 5 1/2 years.
I finished up a large custom new build in Nov. and work has been really slow since that time. All of 2013 was busy for me and my guys working with me.
I figured it was due to the holidays, But the month of Jan. Has been super quiet also and I have just agreed to take a supervisor/ Forman job with another GC. Just so I can have work and $$$ coming in.
Now I feel as though I failed at working for myself..
I have to admit, it sucks....I HATE FAILURE
Being a home builder and a GC its a different game compare to being a certain trade contractor, who does the same thing day in and out. Like cabinet maker builds cabinets, roofer does roofs, etc. People in trade have a flow of customers for that specific job and that is what keeps them busy.

You being a GC as I am for almost 30 years, its a different animal. First of all for the last 30 years its been only me. I never hired anyone, except when I was doing a 22 home development I had a laborer on the payroll.
Now my kids and nephew are older and they have some-what or not interest in construction, so I been keeping them busy between college and the school breaks.
If you going to sit and wait for another customer who wants to build a house you will go broke, or if you get a customer to do any job, you cannot compete with someone in that certain trade, because they do this day in and out, and you on the other hand, having a payroll and supervisor is not helping you to compete or make it up for the time you been slow, because overhead puts the bigger hole in your pocket.

If you don't start buying lots or homes to flip, you will not get anywhere, unless you start grabbing everything from A-Z, including handyman work to keep your guys busy. Than maybe if you lucky you will make some money at the end of the year, because you cannot compete against guys who work solo or a two man crew who been specializing in a specific trade.

If you do a house or two a year and flip them, you will start seeing some serious money and you don't need busy, you work at your own pace and when holidays hit or bad weather, you don't have to worry to shut down for a month or four and get back into it when the weather breaks, and if various jobs come in between you price them out accordingly and you bang them out.
 

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I have been in your shoes and in some ways i still am. My problem was way too much debt with a new business and then the economy slowed down. I have struggled for the last 4 yrs paying off debts and living from week to week. Foolishly instead of hoarding money when i have it i instead drop a large payment towards a debt or put it back into the business as far as supplies and tools that i feel need replacing. To get by i have been more diversified and taking on work that i normally would pass on or not even consider. I have found that extra work has gotten me through the tough times and opened more doors for work for the future. I also use the weather to my advantage such as snow plowing/sanding. But this also comes with overhead that tends to tie up my money. Right now as foolish as it sounds i have worked myself right out of money. When i say this i mean i have work, a job to go to but i have no money in my pocket or accounts to get me there. I bill monthly for my snow/sanding so i have to sit on the money have spent on gas/fuel, cost of sand and the labor for my other driver no less the expense in maintenance. What is porking me this month is my helper blew the transfer case in one truck and while i had it apart i found a bad u-joint, damaged wire harness for 02 sensors, severely leaking power steering pump "started suddenly" and multiple misfires so it failed inspection. Cost me over $2k in just parts and i did all the work myself. That was money to get us another couple weeks for work.

So, until either my previous customers get off their butts and pay me then i have to wait until next week to bill any plow/sand customers so i can afford to get working again. Sounds crazy doesnt it. Yrs ago i would have lived off the credit card to get through a financial mess like this but i cut up all my cards and deal with cash only.
 

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I don't think you failed, gave up like other said maybe

I think about giving up all the time, the money is not really worth the amount of work I put in but then sometimes it's not too bad

I finished up all my jobs at thanksgiving and took no other work on other than some warrenty work, handyman jobs and other bs, maybe 10-15 hrs a week for dec. Luckily things went very well this year I bought myself a year end present and had money stashed to take the month of dec. off. wake and bake all of dec and lots of skiing

sure enough xmas rolled around and the gardens of hell opened and work came in on cue, now my life seems pretty planned out till june

I have a fantasy of working for others but the reality is I kind of like the gig I have even though I complain on a regular basis
 
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