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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Im a small company...like just me and a couple subs. I think im cool with that for the time being, I like the flexibility, and my ultimate goal is to split my working time like 50/50 on my own property(s) and client work. I do small renovations and custom woodworking type jobs.
Im finding alot of the work Im looking at will take me like 2-3 months per job. i dont really want to be committing to do jobs that are 10-18 months away but people are always surprisingly open to that when i tell them thats my situation, im looing for a good way to not drive people away but also not have to actually commit to a job a year from now. good problem to have, i know, but what are other people in similar positions doing?
 

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If someone calls today I would set initial meeting for summer, Pre con to start next year if they signed and paid an ITB on initial meeting. Can't start anything not signed until late next spring except for one project I left a hole for to see if it's going to go forward this year. If they don't do it I'm not going to fill the hole though

In your case As a specialist I'd probably only try and have my current project, hole for my properties and one more project lined for after.
 
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We're currently booked for the next 12 months... For decent sized projects folks have finally come around to the idea that they'll have to wait if they want a reputable contractor. The bigger problem for us is on the pricing end of things. I can provide an estimate, sure- but what will material costs be in 6 months? 8 months? A year? As of 2020 we've added disclaimers to all our estimates and contracts regarding changes in materials prices.
 

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My customers know they better call me asap because I don't have a schedule, I have a list you're almost certainly to be moved back if I gave you a date to begin with. My biggest issue is finding and ordering materials and hope they don't come damaged.

I'm referrals only once got a call through some neighborhood app lady needed a bathroom remodeled I explained to her that I was working on 3 jobs simultaneously, don't even know when I can look at it. "Well can you do my bathroom next week anyway"?
 

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In my painting world I am booked up until late summer or so, but honestly I know its further out than that. I am not taking on any new work and repeat customers who call will simply get added to the list.
I am just now starting on last year's back log due to unavailable paints etc. Once I arrive at a job the customer says well now you are hear I will add on this and this while I have you, so we are just falling further behind and not catching up at all. LOL.
My crew and I will do what we can do, I refuse to take on more painters and sacrifice our quality and reputation just to catch up.
There are going to be some disappointed customers this year.
 

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Kowboy
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I just told a customer it would be $750.00 to drop their failing kitchen sink, clean the flange and stone bottom, and restrap the sink in place. It'll take one of my guys an hour and a half tops. They were shocked, but they went for it. Can't get it done until January 27th which is about the furthest we've ever been booked out.

It varies from business to business of course, but every time I hear a guy brag about how far he's booked out, I just think "You aren't charging enough."

Plus, it isn't really fair to the higher-paying customers. Why should they have to wait behind those paying less?

And in case you get an attack of "Holy crap, I can't charge that much!", think back to 2008 when you raided your 401K to keep your home out of foreclosure. Shoe, meet other foot please. This party too shall end; better end it with a large pile of chips.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
hah, well it least its not just me. thanks everyone for the responses. Jaws and David, definitely like that approach. Sounds like maybe if Im just a little more transparent with people and say something to the effect of "Ive got my next job lined up, beyond that ill put you on the list, there X amount of people ahead of you on it, ill let you know when youre getting close to the top it should be in about X months. If youve found someone else to do the work between now and then I'll have no hard feelings".
Kowboy- dont get me wrong, im definitely motivated by money to a degree, but Im finding the more people i work for, the more id be generally willing to accept less money to work with people I like and who arent annoying for one reason or another or whos decision making process is more predictable or sensible to me. to me the real luxury of the current boomtime is being choosy about the jobs i take. and charging good money for them, thats good too.
Avenge, yeah i went on nextdoor once and had a couple absolute jokers get in touch just either acting totally insane or trying to trickf**k me. definitely figured out that if i find a couple cool clients and do a real good job for them the rest just kindof sorts itself out. well finding jobs anyway, still have tons to learn.
 

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6 months. Most of my jobs onsite jobs are a week. Cabinet jobs 3-4 weeks. Got 4 sets of cabinets to build right now & possibly a whole house of trim to fabricate & finish. Then 2 big whole house cabinet/hardwood trim.jobs on the horizon with no set date yet.

First qualifying question I ask, what's your timeline. Asap answers are told to call me in 4 months & see where we're at. Turning down about 50% of the calls coming in.
 

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Big jobs I am probably mid-summer now. No real schedule more of a list, A lot of it depends when material comes if. Doing work for two builders now so a lot depends on when they are ready for me too.
 

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Avenge, yeah i went on nextdoor once and had a couple absolute jokers get in touch just either acting totally insane or trying to trickf**k me. definitely figured out that if i find a couple cool clients and do a real good job for them the rest just kindof sorts itself out. well finding jobs anyway, still have tons to learn.
Nextdoor is the worst place to find work. Everyone wants it done right away for half of what you quote them. Yes, cabinet hardware install is $100. Go ahead and call Debbie down the road and have her husband put them on crooked for free. Light fixture swap? Her husband probably won't burn your house down, but you never know. And yes, that geometric feature wall is $10/sf. Too much? Sorry. I gotta eat too.

/Rant over.
 

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Really all depends on how big the jobs are. I had 1 job I was going to do in Boston's seaport, would have been just over a year. I do small jobs for existing clients I can knock 3 out in a day. I generally try and have 1 big reno and leave gaps so we can keep everyone happy in between.

Before the rona I was generally out a year+ but that was on bigger stuff. I can do a bunch of smaller stuff during those jobs i.e. bathrooms, built ins, decks ect.. Just remember if you tell them your a month out or 2 years out they are going to expect you then.
 

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Avenge, yeah i went on nextdoor once and had a couple absolute jokers get in touch just either acting totally insane or trying to trickf**k me. definitely figured out that if i find a couple cool clients and do a real good job for them the rest just kindof sorts itself out. well finding jobs anyway, still have tons to learn.
Nextdoor is the worst place to find work. Everyone wants it done right away for half of what you quote them. Yes, cabinet hardware install is $100. Go ahead and call Debbie down the road and have her husband put them on crooked for free. Light fixture swap? Her husband probably won't burn your house down, but you never know. And yes, that geometric feature wall is $10/sf. Too much? Sorry. I gotta eat too.

/Rant over.
I guess one of my customers posted referring me, 33 years I never advertised anywhere.
 

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Depends on the job.

Right now I have a few booked for summer, basically in the order they called, but whoever has their site ready first is where we will end up.

Right now I have a few jobs I just took calls on that will be happening inside of a couple weeks, because regardless of the weather we can still get them done.

If we have an opening, I'll go wherever it's ready to go in order of when I took the call.

I'm trying to leave a few gaps, as there is some bigger jobs coming up for bid soon, and I have no idea what the timeline for them is right now, I will shuffle other work around those ones if I get them.
 

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If I start booking out more than 6 months I know it is time to raise rates.
Depends on project size to me, typically I agree. Most of our jobs are a year


Hard to get more than cost plus 18- 20 on 7 figure homes - never heard of cost plus 25% lol

We do charge more for supervision and raised carpenter rates by 15 bucks an hour but I raised wages 5 bucks so that's almost a wash

I'm good with coat plus 20%
 

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Funny the few builders I know are all at 20%, guess that's the going rate. One builder I know works at 17% but all his builds are generally 3 mil+.
 

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Funny the few builders I know are all at 20%, guess that's the going rate. One builder I know works at 17% but all his builds are generally 3 mil+.

Lots of Parade Builder at 10-12/15% here. Few getting over 15%

20% is a good fee imo. If you are doing more than managing the project you should be charging for it
 

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Nextdoor is the worst place to find work. Everyone wants it done right away for half of what you quote them. Yes, cabinet hardware install is $100. Go ahead and call Debbie down the road and have her husband put them on crooked for free. Light fixture swap? Her husband probably won't burn your house down, but you never know. And yes, that geometric feature wall is $10/sf. Too much? Sorry. I gotta eat too.

/Rant over.
In the beginning of building my business, Nextdoor was a great resource for leads. I got high quality jobs that paid well. I still get some random inquiries from Nextdoor, but 90% of them are straight doo doo. I don't give them much time of day anymore and haven't for the past 3 years for the reasons you described. "Hi there, can you do my kitchen remodel for $15 and a box of dryer sheets?"
 

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In the beginning of building my business, Nextdoor was a great resource for leads. I got high quality jobs that paid well. I still get some random inquiries from Nextdoor, but 90% of them are straight doo doo. I don't give them much time of day anymore and haven't for the past 3 years for the reasons you described. "Hi there, can you do my kitchen remodel for $15 and a box of dryer sheets?"
I hate those Karens. The only thing worse is when her husband "wants to help". Next door brings me nothing but the tire kickers you describe. Angies list as well. I charge a consult fee for that class of client. I cover my gas and buy lunch at least. If the project goes south when they hire a guy from the orange box parking lot they have my card and I will charge accordingly.
 
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