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Depending on my time constraints, I do a whole lot of my own work.... and enjoy things at my own pace and my own direction.

I'm getting older and do sub alot of my work now, heavy concrete work, roofing, always tinning, carpet, sometimes windows, and sometimes day labor for some temp heavy two man issues.

My son used to help alot, but he's on to bigger/better things now.
 

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General Contractor
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8,082 Posts
Extra hand never hurts to have and it will not make you anymore broke then you already are...:laughing:
I had an older gentleman working with me, he was one of my customers father, who just retired... I paid the guy just to keep me company and do little things like hold stuff up, clean up, get deliveries, etc. He would come in at 9 and leave by 2-3... screw that s^*t working alone... it's to damn boring.
Now my kids got older and I have a nephew who wants to learn the trade, so little by little I'm breaking them in... There is no school where you can get this education.
I hope one day I will be that Old man, keeping them company and waiting for deliveries on theirs job and learn what I already forgot :thumbsup:
 

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Remodel
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31,134 Posts
Mostly alone. Some things are worth hiring somebody - like moving drywall up 3 flight of stairs.
 

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I did in the earlier days for my first couple years.. And it's nice to not have to pay anyone. But it wears you down quick doing the estimates and the work itself.. But employees come in very handy is when the big jobs come up.. Many people wouldn't wait 2-3 weeks for one of these jobs to be done, so I would probably lose a lot of our highest paying jobs without having help.
 

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Extra hand never hurts to have and it will not make you anymore broke then you already are...:laughing:
I had an older gentleman working with me, he was one of my customers father, who just retired... I paid the guy just to keep me company and do little things like hold stuff up, clean up, get deliveries, etc. He would come in at 9 and leave by 2-3... screw that s^*t working alone... it's to damn boring.
Now my kids got older and I have a nephew who wants to learn the trade, so little by little I'm breaking them in... There is no school where you can get this education.
I hope one day I will be that Old man, keeping them company and waiting for deliveries on theirs job and learn what I already forgot :thumbsup:
That would be the perfect set-up for me..... just don't have it available.

One big drawback to working alone for me is that when you're a generalist GC, it's more difficult to pick up on and stay current with new products and new assemblies, and to learn some tricks of specific trades..... less people to share thoughts knowledge with....

When I was younger and doing new build, or larger reno's using more subs or specialized (roof framers for instance) employees, I learned alot from some of my employees.

One of the great streangths that this site provides.... I do learn alot about new products and different techniques in the specialized trades.
NEVER STOP LEARNING.... Thanks all.
 

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Flooring Installer
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796 Posts
I always work by myself. I have for the last 10 years or so. Most of the young people just don't want to work. I'm not paying anyone to watch me.
 

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Administrator
Maker of Fine Sawdust
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55,702 Posts
In the shop I work alone 99% of the time. On rare occasions I bring another woodworker in to give me a hand if I've fallen behind schedule.

For installs I bring in a guy or two depending what's going up.
 

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26,075 Posts
I do right now and it sucks...
 

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Maker of Fine Sawdust
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55,702 Posts
Generally I like working alone. I get more done. I can take a break when I want, come in when I want, leave when I want. No need to worry about keeping another persons schedule.
 

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Drywall Slave
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9,441 Posts
I sub out most all of the hanging, smaller jobs I'll hang myself with a lift .
I do all the finishing alone. Before fanny f$cked it all up I was part of a 4 man finish crew. after my Dad retired in 08 one old dude that worked for my dad since the 70's stayed with me till he retired .

I enjoy working alone ! If something goes wrong on the finishing there's only 1 finger to point.:whistling ......And TBH Nobody really wants to work with me!! LOL!! [THAT'S TRUE] I'm a picky mofo! :laughing:
 

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Drywall Slave
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9,441 Posts
I hope one day I will be that Old man, keeping them company and waiting for deliveries on theirs job and learn what I already forgot :thumbsup:
That reminds me of what a G/C once said about my Dad. He said '' Son . If Your ole man were to forget half of what he knows about drywall He would still do just fine!'' ..........:thumbsup:.......;)
 

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You've got to be doing really small scale (probably residential) work to be ALL alone on a regular basis.

I do maybe 10-15% of jobs alone.

Most of the jobs I do are fairly large and "fast-track" commercial construction. In some instances I've seen contracts written that require a minimum manpower. I could never understand that concept. I would NEVER sign on to that.

So the ****head superintendent can just roll bowling balls and throw hand grenades in your road all day long and you keep sending the same crew back day in and day out?

That's 100% contrary to everything I stand for.

I'll walk away in a heartbeat if the super/GC has his head up his ass.

When all is said and done ALL YOU HAVE in your arsenal is the option to pack your tools and leave when the conditions become absurd and abusive...........as they so often do.
 

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spazman
Flooring
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779 Posts
I work alone. Last full time help I had kind of spoiled me. He showed up and worked every day and caught on to things pretty quick but I had to go through several idiots before I found him. After he left I decided that I didn't want to sort out the lazy idiots. I sometimes need help getting a big roll of carpet in a house and I have a kid who will come help me. It costs me $30-$40 for his 15 minutes of help but it beats having to pay a full timer.
 

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Flooring Installer
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796 Posts
You've got to be doing really small scale (probably residential) work to be ALL alone on a regular basis.

I do maybe 10-15% of jobs alone.
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For about 10 years I had 480 apts (3 complexes) to do by myself and houses for a couple flippers. Never really needed help. Everything was empty. Still do only jobs that I can do by myself. I'm semi retired so I only average probably 60 yards a day on residential. (empty) (I don't do a lot of jobs)With the right equipment, I can move almost anything by myself if necessary. I get all the carpet cut to room size before I pick it up and use a dolly to take it in.
 

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I worked alone for years. I liked the flexibility. Then I found a guy that would show up about 2:00, after he got off his full time job. Worked out great. He made a few extra dollars and I wouldn't have to pick anything up.
Now I try to stick with one full time guy. I would have 2, but I can't find another guy I can stand.
2 days ago we had a third guy. We were going to carry drywall after lunch. He ended up getting sick and had to go home at lunch. By 1:00 he had seen a doctor, gotten a prescription, taken it, and it worked instantly, he was cured. Drywall was already unloaded.
His last day. I was glad to see he found a miracle cure. I just figured it was the early effects of Obamacare.
 

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For about 10 years I had 480 apts (3 complexes) to do by myself and houses for a couple flippers. Never really needed help. Everything was empty. Still do only jobs that I can do by myself. I'm semi retired so I only average probably 60 yards a day on residential. (empty) (I don't do a lot of jobs)With the right equipment, I can move almost anything by myself if necessary. I get all the carpet cut to room size before I pick it up and use a dolly to take it in.
Even when there's a dozen or more men on a job the vast majority of what we're doing COULD be done by one man. It's only the rush-----fast track construction that requires us to pile men on top of each other. I enjoy working by myself a lot but it's also SWEET when you're on a team of half a dozen guys or so who are experienced, motivated, happy and working together. I've also enjoyed many really excellent apprentices over the years and for me it's been worth training them, especially when the shop teams you up with a "kid" for a long enough time where he becomes your left hand. You don't have to explain how YOU like to do things like you would with a new journeyman. He's only going to know what YOU taught him and for the most part doesn't question you.

Certain kinds of layouts-----cove vinyl, carpet----whatever, require an extra pair of hand or in some instances you need 3-4 guys----at least for a short stretch to handle the goods.

But yeah, it's actually kind of rare that you NEED the helpers or other journeyman installers JUST to get the work done. We can improve efficiency, meaning lower the cost of production as a TEAM on many jobs. But they have to be pretty big before those efficiencies of scale kick in.

The simplest and pretty self-explanatory example I could give is on a very big job we'll have a couple guys laying carpet, a couple doing VCT, a guy hanging cap metal and cove stick for the sheet cove, another guy or two dropping in the sheet goods, then another guy welding and another guy on base.....OH, I forgot the 2-3 guys sanding, scraping, vacuuming, sweeping and skim coating or otherwise prepping.

You save a LOT of time by doing ONE THING AT A TIME rather than shuffling back between so many dozens of tools every day. Just imagine if every guy brought every tool onto the job to do everything related to commercial flooring. There's really no place on site for all those tools. It's hard enough to get the painters, electricians, plumbers, carpenters and such OFF THE FLOOR.
 

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Flooring Installer
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796 Posts
Yeah, I know about all that. I had a crew at one time and we specialized in flooring churches. We did an occasional apt building but probably 80% was churches. Good money, but selling, measuring and installing churches is a lot of stress. No way it could be done without a good crew.
 
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