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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey Everyone, Just looking for some insight on my next business move.

We are general contractors that specialize in Residential/Commercial, Renovations and Additions. I currently employ 4-6 full time employee's, amongst 20-30 sub trades and usually manage 2-3 projects at a time with budgets typically between 50-150k. Right now i operate with 2 crews as follows;

1# Demo/Framing/Forming crew, 2-3 guys

2# Millwork/Finishing crew, 2 guys

I am always looking for new ways to improve efficiency, and manage my time better. Unlike some general contractors, i choose to have employee's to do the bulk of the carpentry related jobs, Rather than hire subcontractors 100% of the time. I believe this results in a quicker schedule and better customer satisfaction. However, In order to keep everyone busy and to juggle all the other trades. It eats up all of my time. I feel that most of my day is wasted by;
-Picking up materials for my guys
-Driving around to suppliers and wholesalers

My current equipment situation is as follows;
1- Diesel pick up truck
1- enclosed cargo trailer
1- dump trailer

To get to the conclusion of my dilemma. I am considering purchasing 2, 3 ton cab over diesel trucks. Does anyone else run these for their crews? They are apparently very easy to drive, and also fuel efficient. My thoughts are that this will enable my guys to go get what they need, when they need it. Rather then them waiting for me to come drop off their materials. The cost for 2 of these trucks USED is around $60,000. Which is about the price of a new diesel pick up :blink:. Attached are some photos of the trucks i am talking about.

Enclosed Cube Van for Millwork/Finishing


Landscape Flat bed dump for Framing/Demo


Any opinions would be greatly appreciated :thumbup:
 

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Have you considered a material handler for both crews? One guys only job is picking up material and dropping it off. When I worked for a commercial general it worked out great. This one person was able to keep track of an inventory and was responsible for getting it to the site. This included equipment as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the reply,

I somewhat tried that this summer with one of my guys, He would take my truck and trailer. go get what we needed, while i drove his truck to meetings, or did office work. etc. It worked out okay. but he often struggled to understand what we needed. and its also hard to break down the hours and charge for his time.

But if i dont follow through with the trucks , then thats probably the route ill go back to.
 

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The goal is to get you more time, right? While a dedicated truck is a good investment, a material handler is the way to go... you need to replace the mundane tasks that eat your time and profitability with someone less costly than yourself so that you can focus on the growth side of things.

It doesn't take rocket science to pick up an order... but it does take training. This will also most likely not be the only thing he does...
 

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Artist and not a curator
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I used to always have an older guy that still wanted to do construction but just physically couldn't. He was very familiar with what was needed and thought of himself as part of the construction crew. Didn't want a whole bunch of money and we just made sure to pay him for 40... He was always first on site and one of the last to leave.
 

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Deckhead said:
I used to always have an older guy that still wanted to do construction but just physically couldn't. He was very familiar with what was needed and thought of himself as part of the construction crew. Didn't want a whole bunch of money and we just made sure to pay him for 40... He was always first on site and one of the last to leave.
Those guys are loaded with info too. I worked for a commercial general as a youngster and the super was in his 30's so having old Pete there was his go to guy. They stuck me with that old grumpy man for three years. They said make damn sure he doesn't lift anything. He was a great door hanger and finish guy. He was constantly digging their ass out of binds with awesome solutions. I'll bet he saved that's supers job a dozen times. That's why he never got rid of him. He could of just set down all day probably if he wanted to.
 

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Hey Everyone, Just looking for some insight on my next business move.

We are general contractors that specialize in Residential/Commercial, Renovations and Additions. I currently employ 4-6 full time employee's, amongst 20-30 sub trades and usually manage 2-3 projects at a time with budgets typically between 50-150k. Right now i operate with 2 crews as follows;

1# Demo/Framing/Forming crew, 2-3 guys

2# Millwork/Finishing crew, 2 guys

I am always looking for new ways to improve efficiency, and manage my time better. Unlike some general contractors, i choose to have employee's to do the bulk of the carpentry related jobs, Rather than hire subcontractors 100% of the time. I believe this results in a quicker schedule and better customer satisfaction. However, In order to keep everyone busy and to juggle all the other trades. It eats up all of my time. I feel that most of my day is wasted by;
-Picking up materials for my guys
-Driving around to suppliers and wholesalers

My current equipment situation is as follows;
1- Diesel pick up truck
1- enclosed cargo trailer
1- dump trailer

To get to the conclusion of my dilemma. I am considering purchasing 2, 3 ton cab over diesel trucks. Does anyone else run these for their crews? They are apparently very easy to drive, and also fuel efficient. My thoughts are that this will enable my guys to go get what they need, when they need it. Rather then them waiting for me to come drop off their materials. The cost for 2 of these trucks USED is around $60,000. Which is about the price of a new diesel pick up :blink:. Attached are some photos of the trucks i am talking about.

Enclosed Cube Van for Millwork/Finishing


Landscape Flat bed dump for Framing/Demo


Any opinions would be greatly appreciated :thumbup:
The tools and equipment are expensive friend. I couldnt believe it myself when i saw some of the bills.
 

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If you feel you have the work out ahead and have a good crew I would suggest you do both. Buy the trucks and hire you a gopher. You can get two trucks from Penske that are less than 5 years old for under 30k. You really don't want to buy new for your crew. I did that once and it was a big mistake. Google Penske used trucks and you can even get some for under 8k 5 years old or newer.
The runner was an excellent suggestion. You could find and older retired carpenter maybe on SS that needs some extra income. When I retire I would love to find a job like that myself. It would get me out of the house as well as giving me "mad money".
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Yea, my step dad will be a retired fire fighter in about 2 years or so. His plan is to come work for me, Project manage/help out. he used to contract back in the day. However times have changed! If your crew and equipment is not operating at 100% efficiency then your not going to last...it seems.

The trucks shown in the photos are 05-07, similar to used penske(fleet trucks). I am willing to pay a bit more because i want low mileage, dont want a bunch of mechanical issues in dealing with a 300+ mile truck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I look at the logic this way.

New/ or few year old 1 ton diesel truck = $60,000
Pro's;
- look professional pulling up to a site
- might get a hot date from the bar ;)

con's;
- Time consuming towing trailers around all damn day long
- harder to trust employee's driving your nice new truck
- worried about guys, denting or damaging the truck while loading/unloading
- Even if you had someone to do the driving, you still need a second vehicle to get around.



2, 5-7 year old 3 ton diesel trucks = $60,000
Pro's;
- Fully capable commercial truck, also looks professional
- Easy to drive, pretty fuel efficient
- Not too worried about getting it dirty or small dents as its a work truck
- Technically wouldnt need a cargo/ dump trailer anymore
- Allows me to keep my current truck that is paid for to drive around.

Con's;
- Would cost more on insurance
- Would cost more on fuel
- would cost more on maintenance and repairs
- might need to rent space to park 2 large trucks
 

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I work for a GC running about 20 guys. Each lead guy had his own truck/van. I currently drive a similar box truck as you described and love it. Most of my material I order and have it delivered right to the job. Whatever else I need I do on my own time. In the morning, during lunch, or on my way home at night. That way my boss has more time doing what he does and less time to bother me!! No material handler for me and I seem to be doing fine. But I guess it's different for everyone
Get the new trucks and some guys who you can trust driving them!!
 

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The trucks are not that great on fuel. Are they gas or diesel? If gas figure 9 -10MPG If diesel maybe 12MPG but fuel costs more as does maintenance.
That said - I run an Isuzu LCF with a Supreme tradesman body. The truck pays for itself as it is always stocked. I rarely need to stop and get anything.
If you need to save the pickup and delivery time why don't you call in your order or fax it in and just have someone else pick it up? or as said have it delivered. If you are doing that much work any yard would be happy to accommodate you.
Bill T
 
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