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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I finnaly found a way to compete with the hacks/ illegals. About 2 months ago i decided to go out on my own and started working as a punchout/ lchange order carpenter for a few local custom builders. The moneys not bad but some of the things i find really make me wonder. No bridging blocks on sheathing, wrong size headers with 1" plus gaps to the king stud, stair sets with 3/4" difference in rise, exact 3'0/6'8 opening for a 3'0/6'8 door the list goes on and on. The upside is theres no shortage of work lol. Im doing two houses a week on average and theres no end in sight. Oh and one more thing i'd think builders would expect better quality on a million plus dollar home but all they seem to care about is getting them built as fast and cheap as possible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I dont know about cheap they still have to pay me to fix the original crews blow'n'go screw ups. I meet with framers on each house and usually only the foreman speaks english.
 

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I didn't mean funny "ha, ha" - disrespectful.
But more like, something complex, explained so simply kind of funny.
Like a light bulb lighting kinda if moment
Like, ya...that's it exactly


BTW, I didn't know it was a real thing. I never heard of it before reading it here.
 

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I use the engineering triangle when qualifying customers and in sales presentations under certain circumstances.

The one that comes up the most is someone on a tight deadline paying a more for the PITA factor. The second one is when a prospect tells me some clown gave them a suspiciously low price and promises and rapid timeline. Explaining fast and cheap cant be good gets their attention and they blow the competitor off if the engineering triangle makes common sense with them.

If they balk I walk.

Plenty of fish in the sea. You either pay for speed and quality or you get in line and wait your turn like every body else paying standard pricing. If you think you can have fast and cheap is gonna turn out good, I don't want to know yo' woodchuck azz.

I also like punch list items. I find it very satisfying to make right what is clearly flawed. I also enjoy the creative aspect of challenging fixes. It is usually trickiest to fix the flaw without creating a lot of additional work in the surrounding area.
 

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Fast and cheap. haha

I get a chuckle every time a new customer comes along and demands stuff like "we need it done today or tomorrow and for cheap". I guess they don't know about my 4-6 week waiting list and that's for my good customers. I do enjoy the occasional "we need it done soon and we understand it will cost extra for that".

The other day a relatively new customer told me she wanted to be able to call and receive speedy service and that the they were willing to pay whatever to have that level of service. I asked if she had any friends and family and handed her a couple extra cards..


Im never surprised the level of hackery I find. I prefer to work on older homes that have never been "improved" or touched by anyone. New construction around here is junk to say it nicely. Break in through the door? why? You can come through the wall with nothing but bare hands and maybe a razor knife.
 

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The Ultimate Wire Hider
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What I am coming to learn is that "fast and cheap" followed by "rework and change orders" is the most logical way to keep the owner happy and the money flowing.

As an example, the typical owner doesn't know all of what goes into constructing the plumbing system in a new building so he very well might be under the impression that progress is at a standstill until he starts to see fixtures being set in place. Nevermind the fact that the most important part of the plumbing installation goes underground.. if he writes the check today, he expects to see usable toilets tomorrow.
 

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Most customers say they want quality and that it's important but they still pick the low bidder. Fast and cheap is usually the 2 people pick weather they admit it or not.
 

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I dont know about cheap they still have to pay me to fix the original crews blow'n'go screw ups. I meet with framers on each house and usually only the foreman speaks english.
And there still ahead of the game. Keep the gig as long as at last or can take it. It will overhaul all of your skills to another level and go from carpenter to a mechanic. Good luck.
 

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I do a wide range of stuff. I bought pre 1900 sweatshop in building in Chicago and rehabbed it almost singlehandedly when I was in my 30's. Lot o friends in the trades walked me through stuff I didn't know..I gained a lot of different skills and then applied those to my current business.

I do quite a bit of old double hung window restoration-bathrooms, kitchens. I sub out when Im under the gun but Im always on the job with my subs.

I like taking a gut job right to the end and doing it properly every step of the way..and, along the way I get SO sick of undoing stuff that folks have done before me..

I just finished a gut job > new bathroom. When I tore up the floor I found that the last tile job had been installed on top of 45 year old plywood that was dried out, rotted and delaminated..the "tile guys" took 1/4 concrete board (wunderboard?) and nailed it to the old plywood with ring shank nails..in the process, raising the floor so the wall mount toilets didn't hit the spec height - (closet flange coming out of the wall 4" up..has to meet that toliet there and then takes a heavy rubber gasket)..the toilet wasn't lined up with the flange so they used a wax ring..of course the toilet was also moving (how many moving toilets have you guys seen?? they're everywhere) The toilet had been leaking into the wall and onto the floor for years. I asked the homeowner about when this job was done and who did it..They said it was 10 years ago and that it was supposed to be a complete tear out and new tile...these guys quoted it extensive and flat and then launched into what I see as criminal behavior.

In the same house, which has rough cut cedar lap siding all over it..someone had recetly calked the entire exterior..trim points, windows, inside corners etc..with clear silicone. I had to go round this 3 story on a variety of rigs and remove all this crap..get rid of the film and then replace it with vulcum and dymonic..

Almost every time I start a job these days Im tearing out crap work that came ahead of me..some of it is work that has caused a lot of expensive damage to my clients homes.

I could go on but these dudes are everywhere...It's gotten to a point where when Im on a job site with other trades around...I can almost always tell who the shaky guys are by the way they carry themselves..they look they're pulling off a crime..shifty.
 
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