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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys, Im getting up there in years. Been at it 34 years now.
I do a lot of things, carpentry, paint, drywall, masonry, minor electrical and plumbing, chimneys.

I get tired nowadays and wondering what to do for the next 15 or so years?

Employ people?

Find a niche? maybe but not sure what?

Find something different altogether?

Anyone out there dealing with this, and have a plan to handle getting older in the trades.
 

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Buy smaller lighter tools. increase prices, makes the sore body parts more tolerable.
Sometimes I think that washing cars at a dealership would be great, but I would complain about dishpan hands.
 

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Carpenter
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I had the same upcoming concerns a few years back, I had a ton of employees yet I still seemed to be the hardest working person in the company. I looked at my life and decided to make a few changes. I decided to go back to school and work on getting my degree in Psychology, something I was always interested in but never had time to pursue while wearing my toolbelt full time. Now the journey has not been the easiest I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel, and the light sure does look good.
During this life changing process I still worked when I could doing small jobs while I was in school and taken on a couple large jobs in the summer I have been getting by just fine with some good budgeting.
You're never too old to further your education, maybe there was something you always wanted to do but never had the time. Think about what you want in life, its very short and we only get to play one game so make it count!
 

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Mr Holiday,

You must have created a long tail of customers and are well established. There's no reason why you cannot hire a good helper, or even a good mechanic like yourself.

At the very least a helper to carry equipment, materials, set up, cleanup and break down. That money spent will come back in dividends in many ways. You will complete projects faster and go home more refreshed and not burnt out physically and mentally.

One hat shows are restricted in many ways, and unless you're doing the same type of jobs that you have down to a science requiring little energy and running around you will burn out over the long haul

Take a look at what you can afford to pay out. Don't forget workers comp, withholding, the entire employee labor burden and go for it.

The hardest part is finding a competent person you can trust. Find that person and teach them your ways and they will learn quickly.

Start out as a temporary position for a small project.

I'm assuming you're about my age, and if that's the case you have to start subbing out and hiring. Once you do that the only tool you need is a phone.
 

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Focusing on solutions.
Hardwood floors/custom cabinets
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I'm 50 years old & was still able to wear my 23 year old nephew out last week. He was trying to keep up with my wife & I laying hardwood floor. :)

But, truth be told, I see the writing on the wall. My bodies starting to tell me I'm nearing the end of that portion of my career. So, we made a decision last summer to try to stay ahead of the game & built a new woodworking shop. I know 70 year old cabinet builders, I don't know any 70 year old hardwood floor guys. The next few years are going to be tough while we build up the woodworking business to the point it can replace the hardwood floor business, but 10 years from now, I have afeeling we'll look back & say it was the right decision.

Everything in the new shop has wheels, so it can be rolled from point A to point B. Just built a new cart yesterday to handle heavy loads. Cut a section of scaffold in half so we don't have to handle the 2 lifts of carr siding as much when it gets here next week.
 

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Figure out how a lazy person would do things. If it isn't a lazy man's gig, sub it out.

For the last few years, I've been using a drywall lift for hanging drywall solo. Slower, but much easier on the body. I'll hire a laborer specifically for moving lots of heavy stuff, especially demo and materials placement. Sometimes I'll still roof solo, but most of the time I use a good roofer I've worked with for a few years. He wants to move into siding, so I've thrown him some siding jobs as well.
 

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I'm The BOSS
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I'm trying to work smarter , not harder.

plan the job better for a little more profit.
set a little more money aside
let the help do the hard physical stuff
I do the fine finish and job layout
 

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I'm 50 years old & was still able to wear my 23 year old nephew out last week. He was trying to keep up with my wife & I laying hardwood floor. :)

But, truth be told, I see the writing on the wall. My bodies starting to tell me I'm nearing the end of that portion of my career. So, we made a decision last summer to try to stay ahead of the game & built a new woodworking shop. I know 70 year old cabinet builders, I don't know any 70 year old hardwood floor guys. The next few years are going to be tough while we build up the woodworking business to the point it can replace the hardwood floor business, but 10 years from now, I have afeeling we'll look back & say it was the right decision.

Everything in the new shop has wheels, so it can be rolled from point A to point B. Just built a new cart yesterday to handle heavy loads. Cut a section of scaffold in half so we don't have to handle the 2 lifts of carr siding as much when it gets here next week.
10 years from now you won't be able to remember why you built the shop. :laughing:

Go see a physical therapist to get a work out routine that targets the muscles you don't use for work.
Is that the same thing as a hooker?

These days I'm charging more and working more to try and get ahead. I'm 46 and am beginning to feel the pain. However, it seems that whenever I slow down I start to hurt more. I'm taking an easy weekend and I can feel every pain I have. If I keep going I usually loosen up and am good for 12-14 hours a day no problem. I had 45 billable hours this week and probably another 10-15 non billable hours and it felt like a short week, so I still have a few good years left but I know it will hit me eventually.

I have been musing about the next career though as well. I don't think I want to be that 60 year old guy still swinging a hammer. I hate woodworking, odd as that is, so a shop situation isn't in the cards either. I've been thinking about tiny houses or high end pet stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for the replies.
Yes it's not that I'm crippled from the work or anything.

Actually when I started writing this post it was a lot longer but I have a new Mac book and did something and it disappeared! &$#

I was writing about how I'm a single guy, I just got an insurance pay out from a car crash 2 years back. Also I bought a house 6 years back and this week I should be able to re finance. Appraisal comes in at almost 250,000 more that I bought it for + I have good revenue from it for last 5 years.

I turned the house into a 10 bedroom guest house.... so long story short Im 52, single guy... next week I won't be living check to check.

So I have a list of things I'd like to do, a lot of em require energy left over from after work.. things like;

1. chasing women around
2. hiking
3. Salsa dancing with beautiful babes
4. taking said beautiful babes out and ya know... other things.
5. travel around here and abroad
6. go to the gym occasionally

So Im looking at what Im doing at the moment and wondering what it the best strategy?

I know what you mean about finding a good guy to help.

I'm not so sure about that, I thought about setting up a side business after reading the myth.

The side business would be something where I could have repeat customers year after year and also hire guys that wouldn't have to be particularly skilled and could be trained up easily.
The kind of business you could sell and have a manager for.

So I figure exterior painting is OK to scale up like that.

Also pressure washing.

So I came up with this idea www.pressurecrew.com

Last year I had 3 accidents, one an extractor fan fell off a roof and cut my hand into an artery, blood squirting out, other I was painting a house boat and fell off the scaffold into the ocean and other I lifted my tool belt over my shoulder and the drywall saw flipped out and poked me in the eye. And I almost lost that eye in a accident 7 years back.

So it got me thinking about if the girls would find me attractive with a glass eye etc...

I come across a lot of guys that have a decent work attitude, but not much skill. I reckon if I used them I could do OK.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Also when I was writing the post that I lost last night, it was Saturday night and home bored and tired.
A women in my apartment building was just moaning away getting laid by god knows who!
It was the loudest Ive heard a women wailing like that.

So I was at home thinking *%#$$ work, I like work but got to put it in it's right place.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Work less and charge more :thumbsup:

Im thinking that too. I have people tell me "oh that's cheap" I charge $50 an hour and if I have my helper guy $35 for him.

For some reason I was charging $55 4 years ago, then I went on holiday came back a bit cash poor so started to charge $50? Stayed there ever since.

This coming week when I roll up all my debts and bills and pay em off etc...
I hope to make it a new start. It will be a good feeling to not be a week away from being broke! Might get a new van or truck and re vamp the business.
 

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Talking Head
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$50 Canadian, bit less than US
Yeesh. I'm glad I'm not bidding against you.

As far as the old body thing goes, my advice(even though I'm pretty young) is to target that aspect(s) of your work that you find the most enjoyable and the least strenuous and start revamping your company in such a way that YOU do those things and find enough help to do the rest.

Eventually you should have a decent lead that manages most of the job and does a lot of the work and you can focus on sales, business management and the actual construction aspects that you want. If you plan it out and work into it over a couple years you should have a nice little business that won't burn you out in a hurry. Each guy on your payroll should be making you a little bit and that, coupled with your salary for the work you do and the company profit should leave you a nice income.

It's really easy for most of us to fall into the trap of only seeing only our construction salary as our income(and thereby not charging enough) when, in reality, it's fairly easy to replace that work. The true value you bring to your company is usually in your customer service, sales and management. Which many of us don't charge enough for, and some don't really charge anything for it.
 

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Your never to young to plan for the future . I started buying investment properties when I was in my 20s . Now that I'm pushing 50 I'm lighting the load and letting the young ones take on more responsibility . I worked seven days a week with very little time off into my 40s and now I'm starting to reap the benefits .I knew I wouldn't be able to keep up this pace into my 50s . I watched too many tradesmen work into their late 60s to early 70s and then pass away without enjoying their senior years . The trades are physically taxing ,how much more can you keep it up without breaking down . I always preach to my kids to stay away from the trades and get a good education, it's not what it used to be.
 

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Wood Craftsman
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Woodworking,,,,,,


Drywall......:rolleyes:....masonry......:rolleyes:...


Lot more money in custom woodworking/trim....less strain on the body /mind.......as long as your set up properly ....have craftsmanship abilities. Talent, and a nice large "A" client base......

Might be to late, but,....I don't know anything about you....so,...just a swag.....;)

Drywall, masonry,...anything involving constant weight is going to tare the Sh!t out of your body ,especially when you start getting older- as you know.....;)


It becomes MUCH easier when your doing ..."woodworking" ..IMO.....


But,...:blink:

May not be for you.....

I don't know....:blink:



JMPOV .......
 

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Head Light Bulb Changer
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Find a nice, ugly, rich girl and marry her :laughing:

Or the Handyman business is very good for older guys. Lots of single women (and married ones with an inept husband) are needing simple things done and if you're 50yo, you project experience. Experience=Higher pay. It's generally easy work and you can charge good money for changing light bulbs :clap:. That's what I'm doing now. I'm making good money and not working nearly as hard or as many hours. 75% of my work is T+M and and my time includes going to HD to pick up what they want installed. For my older customers that call me wanting a room addition, or other big project done, I refer them to another contractor I know (for 20+ years) and take my 'finders fee'. The flip side of that is I get their small T+M jobs they don't want. They're not interested in small jobs that require multiple subs to be managed. Example - Ceiling fan replaced (sparky), kitchen faucet replaced (plumber), bedroom painted (painter), hole in the wall by front door + paint 1 wall (DW guy and painter), and window blinds replaced (whoever :laughing:). That's a job I did last week. I made very good money and didn't break a sweat. I made the same money in 3 easy days that I've made on a 3 week reno, with a lot less hassle. I'm getting too damn old to swing a hammer anymore. I did HW floors for 15+ years, as 2/3 of my business and I think that wore me out, but I can still run circles around any 20something when it come to installing a floor :laughing:

Edited to add - Plus many guys that are subs don't want to bother with a small job that takes them longer to drive there and get their tools in/out than the actual job takes (like replacing a ceiling fan).
 
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