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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Its funny, Ive been a contractor for around 18 years and never get use to down time. Usally dec and jan are very slow for me, sometimes no work at all. Ive been out of work now for bout a week. Got work next week then nothing scheduled til after xmas.

Wife goes to work, daughter off to school and I stuck at home. The first couple days I always enjoy. Then I start feeling like a bum. And it has nothing to do with the money, we always have plenty saved up before winter starts. Its just the fact I have no where to go and nothing to do.

Today is one of those days where I know I will be bored all day. Wicked cold outside, storm getting ready to roll in and I will be in the house reading threads and watching tv.

Anybody else ever feel this way? Maybe I need some more hobbies!
 

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I definitely feel your pain.

For about 25 years I have been largely shut down from about Thanksgiving to St. Patrick's Day. typically I might work 2-3 partial days/month from now until Mid March.

1st month is OK----- usually a lot of holiday stuff to do AND my wife is a school teacher so she is home a lot then.

January is usually OK as well Because I try to save some of my personal home repairs/maintenace for then- painting rooms etc.-and I string it along working only a few hours a day to make the activity last.

Feb/March are the worst- serious cabin fever and you can go weeks without seeing the sun here in NE ohio

I cook a lot at this time of year- making stuff like Breads and pies that are low cost,yet labor intensive.

the thing that REALLY helps is that I have 2 dogs-- a Labrador Retriever and a Chesapeake Bay Retriever and I try to spend 2-3 hours a day in the woods working with them each day AND I try to do about 7 miles a day with them.

It really helps to get out in the natural daylight -even if the natural light is grey and over cast.

Best wishes,
stephen
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
This Jan will be a lot better for me because school will start. I am working on my masters in psychology. I am going to have another 4 years of school before I am done. It takes up a lot of my time.

On another note, because of my degree in psychology I should know how to deal with the couple months off a little better, LOL
 

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It's a Holiday Season, during this time is always slow... People don't do anything because of family gatherings, some people take vacations, etc.

I been in this business almost 30 years and have plenty of free time being a builder and doing my own work for the most part...but I always used the free time in a productive way, like learned HTML & JavaScript, Advanced level in Sketchup Pro and Chief Architect, Completed building inspector courses, etc. and when I really get bored, I go someplace to a warm climate for a week or two...
During off season tickets are dirt cheap, you can take off to any Island for the weekend or someplace within 3HR flight to soak up some rays... by the time you return you have a few prospects waiting.
One thing I learned long time ago when I started travel to Europe, people down there enjoy life... They take 1 month vacations, in Italy they close stores and go home for a few hours, nothing is open on Saturdays and Sundays, etc. Even if things are bad there as economy goes, people work to enjoy life in comparison to the Lifestyle here... Here we work like dogs to pay bills, etc.

So just enjoy it and use every free moment from work in a productive way, we all deserve that, because we working hard for it, not to mention dealing with all the BS, and being stressed out from time to time, etc and all that feeling yet or not, eventually will take its toll on you if you don't take the time to enjoy it, but by then it will be to late.

Any work that will come in now, I will schedule for January, because from Thanksgiving to New Year is useless to start anything and I doubt people want anything done during this time. Everybody is busy with shopping, vacations, family trips etc... As a matter a fact, I am starting to plan my next Vacation... My buddy (he is also a GC) just came back from Jade Mountain Resort in St Lucia, and he said this was the best money he ever spent on anything, so I want to hold him to it :laughing:

Relax and enjoy the free time fellas and if you not gonna make it there before me, I will beat you to it :thumbsup:
 

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Time to work on your own house.
 

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Great time to make hand-made Christmas presents and surprise the kids and wife and others...

Great time to learn about another skill EXPANDING your marketability and eventually not have down time in winter, but take jobs you WANT to take and stash that money...

Great time to help out in the various charities, etc... during the holiday season while you're slow... amazing how people get to discussing things, and somehow it usually ends up with jobs...

Great time to set out plans for the future and get excited about getting there...

Great time to look at your overall business, from accounting to sales to shop, etc...

Great time to surprise the family with a vacation (even if a few days) they weren't expecting... Have their suitcases packed and ready to go underneath a tarp in the living room with some painting paraphernalia around, and when they ask what's up... pull the tarp up and yell SURPRISE, we're going to DISNEY! (or your destination of choice)

As hard as we work... Great time to make some memories... :thumbsup:

IOW.... it's a great time to do whatever you can come up with to add the flavor of life...

Best of luck... 8^)
 

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We havent had down time in several years, its a fairly warm climate. But when it is slower I organize the shop, have the hands repair stuff, organize the trucks, work on family projects at cost, ect. This year we are booked up, but we are shutting down for a Wednesday- Sunday soon, and 5 of us are working 5 10s on building a big 400' privacy fence for our equipment yard, clean out the shop ect...

Stay active, there is never really down time unless you want it to be down time. Its cool if you do, just doesnt have to be.

In the holiday time, I usually go see some people a few times a week. Pop and say howdy to my attorney, banker, the archys, engineers, surveyors, inspectors.... never know what might pop up.
 

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I love this time. Projects around the house need my attention. re organize tools and trailer, vehicle maintenance, catch up on paperwork, research other efficiency ideas, etc.... this is when I get to chill, cause when its time to work again, it gets hard to do ANYTHING ELSE....lol

Excellent point.- In my business we need to make a full year of income in about 35 weeks of production.

during the off season I try to think through various business issues etc.-so that once the work year begins we have only to execute-we really don't have the time to tweak the system during the work year.

for example- this winter I am going to see about switching printers. the current guy doesn't bill us in a timely manner, does respond to pricing requests effectively or clearly and he got out our last mailings of the year much,much too late-in fact the last one STILL hasn't gone out.- his response ?---"sorry"

winter is definitely a make lists and get organized time- but by late January the trucks, shop,tools,house,dogs are as maintained,cleaned,sharpened,tidied,painted,trained as they can stand to be-and I will still have 6 more weeks of winter, LOL
stephen
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
When I was a little newer to the business and thought I would be doing this forever I was the same way. Always thinking about how to improve it. So down time was spent making contacts, filling up trailers with new tools. Working in workshop, building stock cabinets and furniture to sell, interviewing new help and much much more.

But in all honesty at this point of my career I am kind of winding down. I got 4 more years then I will be off to start a different career. Although I have always loved this trade my body is beat up pretty bad and I am not sure I could physically do it into my 60's or 70's. I will always be doing something on the side I am sure of it, its in my blood. But not as my day job.

This winter is not too bad for down time. I have a little job next week. Then nothing schedules til after xmas but at that time looking like about 2 months out. Then its almost spring then full bore ahead. I have a new positive outlook and am taking some good advice on here. Going to go take a vacation, catch up on some books Ive been meaning to read, and do a little much needed writting.

And on a good note, I even got out of my pjs today! LOL
 

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I know the feeling of being unproductive...been between jobs for 2 weeks now...it was great for the first few days...now I'm getting antsy...at least its hunting season!!
 

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Ahh, just look around, you will find something to do. Make a list of things that could be done or should be done. You might better do this before the wife starts making the list. I always find things that need to be done between this house, the home i caretake next door and my other home. Then there are the trucks to maintain and keep clean, my classic car always needs attention and then there is the enclosed trailer to clean and organize. I could easily take 4 months off and work full time on just my own projects.
 

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there always a little down time here or there for everyone.

Haivng a light schedule and no schedule is a huge difference.

o thnk you should be using your down time to get out there and find new avenues to prevent downtime.

start following up with older proposals.
follow up on some recent projects or past and see if any maintenance work is needed.

People are always dong something..seasons don't matter.

weather and holidays may slow some people down as far as starting projects but more often then not is gets thempulling the trigger..

we are always swamped going into and coming off the holidays.

really no reason you should have no work.

start forming more alliances with other tradesmen who could benefit from your skills.
 

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When I was a little newer to the business and thought I would be doing this forever I was the same way. Always thinking about how to improve it. So down time was spent making contacts, filling up trailers with new tools. Working in workshop, building stock cabinets and furniture to sell, interviewing new help and much much more.

But in all honesty at this point of my career I am kind of winding down. I got 4 more years then I will be off to start a different career. Although I have always loved this trade my body is beat up pretty bad and I am not sure I could physically do it into my 60's or 70's. I will always be doing something on the side I am sure of it, its in my blood. But not as my day job.

This winter is not too bad for down time. I have a little job next week. Then nothing schedules til after xmas but at that time looking like about 2 months out. Then its almost spring then full bore ahead. I have a new positive outlook and am taking some good advice on here. Going to go take a vacation, catch up on some books Ive been meaning to read, and do a little much needed writting.

And on a good note, I even got out of my pjs today! LOL
Im truly jealous, hoss.

I havent taken a day off and done nothing in years. Literally. I see posts about watching movies all day and am envious sometimes :censored:

When I'm more established maybe. :thumbsup:
 

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greg24k said:
It's a Holiday Season, during this time is always slow... People don't do anything because of family gatherings, some people take vacations, etc. I been in this business almost 30 years and have plenty of free time being a builder and doing my own work for the most part...but I always used the free time in a productive way, like learned HTML & JavaScript, Advanced level in Sketchup Pro and Chief Architect, Completed building inspector courses, etc. and when I really get bored, I go someplace to a warm climate for a week or two... During off season tickets are dirt cheap, you can take off to any Island for the weekend or someplace within 3HR flight to soak up some rays... by the time you return you have a few prospects waiting. One thing I learned long time ago when I started travel to Europe, people down there enjoy life... They take 1 month vacations, in Italy they close stores and go home for a few hours, nothing is open on Saturdays and Sundays, etc. Even if things are bad there as economy goes, people work to enjoy life in comparison to the Lifestyle here... Here we work like dogs to pay bills, etc. So just enjoy it and use every free moment from work in a productive way, we all deserve that, because we working hard for it, not to mention dealing with all the BS, and being stressed out from time to time, etc and all that feeling yet or not, eventually will take its toll on you if you don't take the time to enjoy it, but by then it will be to late. Any work that will come in now, I will schedule for January, because from Thanksgiving to New Year is useless to start anything and I doubt people want anything done during this time. Everybody is busy with shopping, vacations, family trips etc... As a matter a fact, I am starting to plan my next Vacation... My buddy (he is also a GC) just came back from Jade Mountain Resort in St Lucia, and he said this was the best money he ever spent on anything, so I want to hold him to it :laughing: Relax and enjoy the free time fellas and if you not gonna make it there before me, I will beat you to it :thumbsup:
You know that's funny, I've always said if you want to know who some of the hardest workers in the world are, it's right here in America. When I was in Europe the damn Starbucks didn't even open until 8am.

This country is hell bent on work. How I know is come around here during the rush hour commute. Those people have one thing in Mind, and that going to work. It's how we are brought up, nothing wrong with it, but we are taught to judge a man by his work ethic. They are taught totally different.

I have down time some winters. The worst thing is getting back in the groove when things start popping again. The old body can't stop and start back up as well as it used to.
 
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