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Wormdrive Operator
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys.

I am looking to the future and planning on within a year or two making the move to getting my own houses to frame.

I would love to hear about your own experiences in how you went from employee to boss, including hiring your helper(s) etc.
 

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The Duke
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I walked through an existing home that was just framed, went straight to the supers trailer, excused myself for barging in his conversation, handed him my card and confidently said "boy, do you ever need me to frame your homes" and walked out. He called later that day and I built his next one.

It's usually timing. Someone must be tired of the person they are using and need to find someone else to do it. You aren't likely to start off big. Find a starter home under 2000 sf.
 

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Super Moderator
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It's all about connections. I worked for my first construction company for 9 years. During that time, I made many connections with other subs, their employees, vendors, etc. I always made sure not to step on the toes of the former company when I started my own business. They don't do framing anymore, so that really helped. You do have to start small. Much easier to take a 20% hit on a $10,000 job than it is on a $50,000 job.

I partnered with my brother for a few years before I got my own gig. Hiring employees was a huge step that required about $25000 in starting capital. Framing houses requires a crew, and you must keep their pay current, or it is Bye Bye crew.
 

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I was 17 years old when I got my first ranch to frame. My buddy , younger brother and I framed it after school and a weekend. No nail guns. No sky track. Just limitless energy and knowledge . After that most every job came from word of mouth. Started my company right after high school.
 

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diplomat
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It's all about connections, but that's not how I started. I jumped into this biz out of choice, no family or previous employer.

I got licensed, posted a craigslist ad with very good writing (which instantly sets you above the standard craigslist ad) and a couple good pictures, and started getting small jobs. From there it became word of mouth.
 

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Wormdrive Operator
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the input guys. I am finding it difficult to make connections at my current job. My boss keeps everything business related very distanced from me. That and we pretty much only frame for two custom builders.

Also, no matter how well I can frame under his instruction, I will always be missing the critical step from the plan to that point, WHY I am doing this particular task. After the fact I understand how and why it went together the way it did, but to be the boss and be the one that does the critical thinking to make it happen is something being carefully guarded by my boss.

2.5 years I have been with him and I am at my breaking point. As simple as many of you make it sound in other threads to just "leave and find someone else who will teach you" its not that simple to me. He pays regularly, always has work and most important to me is a perfectionist.

I have not approached the subject with him but am about to and if he says he wont teach more then I will have no choice but to find work elsewhere.

Another note- for when you guys started your new crews, did you hire any guys you didnt know? I realize I will make mistakes when I first get started and not sure how this will look to another framer I have just hired.
 

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I will always be missing the critical step from the plan to that point, WHY I am doing this particular task. After the fact I understand how and why it went together the way it did, but to be the boss and be the one that does the critical thinking to make it happen is something being carefully guarded by my boss.
If your boss is hiding that "Critical" information from you - Would advise against it.

Not because he's hiding it, but because your waiting for it. Framing, the contracting world and business in general- success doesn't find you, you find it.

Want a feel for how it works and feels to be a framing contractor, get another job with a couple other crews over the next year or two. What your feeling now as being at your breaking point is a fraction of what you'll deal with as a contractor
 

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My first house kind of fell on my lap I had a buddy who I framed for previously decided he wanted to get off the tools. He approached me and asked if I would be interested which I was. His pitch was great he was supposed to help me out on a couple houses and then me and another guy would take over the contract. Turned out he never helped us at all we just framed the houses and then he didn't have anymore. After that I pursued getting a house on my own so I emailed every big builder in town and heard back from a good chunk of them.

Got the house and learned it is rediculous how hard it is to hire people who want to work. I ended up pretty much framing the thing by myself. Which was good and bad, I learnt a lot but building the thing went real slow. I am now in the process of getting back into it just this time I'm going to have a guy to work along side me. I have 4 builders wanting to talk.

It's really just a matter of getting your name out there. You're never goin to learn everything you need to know working for someone. When you branch out Your stress level will go up ten fold, you're going to make mistakes, you're going to lose money at times. But if you can find someone who is knowledgable to go in with you at least to start to avoid hiring labourers. In most areas you can find someone with a zoom boom generally I find if you offer them some beer or money they'll be more than willing to come help you lift sheets or studs when you need.
 

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Wormdrive Operator
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
If your boss is hiding that "Critical" information from you - Would advise against it.

Not because he's hiding it, but because your waiting for it. Framing, the contracting world and business in general- success doesn't find you, you find it.

Want a feel for how it works and feels to be a framing contractor, get another job with a couple other crews over the next year or two. What your feeling now as being at your breaking point is a fraction of what you'll deal with as a contractor
Advise against staying with him?

I am ready and have been for some time. I have started my own part time business and have been framing basements, building decks, working nearly every weekend. And don't get me wrong, it doesn't show at work, my energy levels I mean. I still run all day long and lift heavy. Granted I don't have to deal with 99% of the stress of a framing contractor. But I am left wanting more.

Maybe my part time business has to evolve to the point that I land a house eventually from it. I have this idea in my head that I have to go immediately from a crew member to running my own crew.

I find it very difficult/impossible to meet other framers since we don't work in the subdivisions. It would be amazing to have someone like a brother/long time friend that you can trust, to have your back on the first house or two or three.

Anyway, I lack the funds to start a crew anytime soon. However with my part time business picking up steam FAST, I will be paying off debt and saving for that day.

Hi to any Toronto framers out there who may be reading.

C2 you make an excellent point. Ever since I started with my current boss and I told him I am willing to learn and he said "Just do what I say", I had this idea that the harder I worked, the more willing he would be to teach me some things. 2 1/2 years later it feels just like the first day. Now he doesn't yell so much anymore though. Just sarcastic remarks :clap:
 

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Thanks for the input guys. I am finding it difficult to make connections at my current job. My boss keeps everything business related very distanced from me. That and we pretty much only frame for two custom builders.

Also, no matter how well I can frame under his instruction, I will always be missing the critical step from the plan to that point, WHY I am doing this particular task. After the fact I understand how and why it went together the way it did, but to be the boss and be the one that does the critical thinking to make it happen is something being carefully guarded by my boss.

2.5 years I have been with him and I am at my breaking point. As simple as many of you make it sound in other threads to just "leave and find someone else who will teach you" its not that simple to me. He pays regularly, always has work and most important to me is a perfectionist.

I have not approached the subject with him but am about to and if he says he wont teach more then I will have no choice but to find work elsewhere.

Another note- for when you guys started your new crews, did you hire any guys you didnt know? I realize I will make mistakes when I first get started and not sure how this will look to another framer I have just hired.
Any boss that doesn't want employees doing any "critical thinking" is one I'd steer clear of.

In my experience, employees that are capable, move up the ladder as they gain experience and knowledge. They usually run a crew as a foreman, before starting a company.
 

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Wormdrive Operator
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
None. I am paying off debt and working hard to have that done. I know there is a large financial obligation to starting a crew and I am not nearly ready yet. But I am looking to and planning for the future. Now that I am getting lots of jobs with my busineas part time it is helping greatly on the financial end.
 

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sold my frist house 1977 before i had the frist floor walls up sold 2 more did not take long to find out i was in over my head. went to all of the guys that i worked around to get help to build them to this day i thank god for them guys most still do work for me.:rolleyes:
 

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sold my frist house 1977 before i had the frist floor walls up sold 2 more did not take long to find out i was in over my head. went to all of the guys that i worked around to get help to build them to this day i thank god for them guys most still do work for me.:rolleyes:

LOL learning the hard way. Mostly just wanted to get my comment count higher than 666.
 

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For a few years, I quit a job every 3 months to get $1 more an hr. Till I could learn no more. One dumb a$$ had me building stairs for 4 months because no one on his 5 framing crews new how to do it. I made mistakes, but I learned so much. When I started my business, my first job was building stairs on a house that my previous boss couldn't accomplish. That led to $250k worth of work the following year! My advice is pay your dues and learn everything you can until you can't learn anymore. And even thou you feel like the laborer on the job, you can still make small talk to the owners!
 

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paradisemike said:
For a few years, I quit a job every 3 months to get $1 more an hr. Till I could learn no more. One dumb a$$ had me building stairs for 4 months because no one on his 5 framing crews new how to do it. I made mistakes, but I learned so much. When I started my business, my first job was building stairs on a house that my previous boss couldn't accomplish. That led to $250k worth of work the following year! My advice is pay your dues and learn everything you can until you can't learn anymore. And even thou you feel like the laborer on the job, you can still make small talk to the owners!
very true!
 

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I started in 84 when there was a boom....I worked for this short guy with a loud mouth for about a year.....then spent the winter on the island of Maui...worked there for 3 months and came home.......then I teamed up with the other hrly guy who with me for mr loud mouth(always screaming).....He had a house working for the same Contractor mouth was...so we did one together and split it 33 % there were 3 of us. Well the other 2 wanted to make me there Gopher so I parted ways after the 1st and only house together. I went to the Contractor and asked him if I could have a house...so I grabbed a couple of guys who knew very little and started banging up houses. I was 22 and felt invincible...I was lucky it all happened in the middle of a boom.....so the opportunity was there...I learned a lot the 1st year but made a lot of money.....back then we were whipping a 2200 sq ft house in 5 1/2 days..no air and no guns. One thing that you need to be successful as a pc worker, are good men !!!! find good guys and treat them well and they will make you money. Set a standard and do not let anyone compromise you....pay them on time and toss them a bonus when they push for you !
 
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