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Hi yall I have worked installing underground utilities on my own for some time now and have recently decided to go on my own...I will have the chance to bid on a contract with a company coming up this summer. The only problem I have is this company is very difficult to work with. I dont believe there is any money to be made if I bid the work the traditional way of price per foot. This company micro manages and is very difficult to work with making it very hard to get much of anything done therefore making it hard to make money. The company they have now and the company before both pulled out for this same reason. Would it be best to charge per man hour? Or best tto just look elsewhere.
 

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General Contractor
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What Griz said, walk away and don't look back while you ahead.

If this is how you feel now and your bid is not even accepted yet, you will bite your elbows when the job starts and probably kill the guy by the time it ends.

Good luck
 

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There are a few manufacturing plants where we have worked that are so crazy strict about safety that you can only get about 5 hours production in an 8 hour work day. You won't get the work if you bid it for what it really takes, so we just moved on and found other clients.
 

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Are you asking for a magical answer? It's pretty simple either bid it very high or not at all. You're fortunate to know your client in advance, it's your call not other contractors on the internet.
 

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Why even spend the time (and money) to bid something you know you can't make money on?

The old story used to be you can have good, fast or cheap -- pick two. Today, the decisions are made on price first, second, third and fourth. They talk about the other factors, but they don't enter into a decision.
 

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Just another thought, you know there are two sides to every story. Maybe the other two contractors weren't living up to their potential and/or under bid the project. But yeah, go with your gut.
 

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diplomat
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T&M with crystal clear rules. They pay no matter what, even if they want you to redo anything. T&M for that too.
 

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Hi yall I have worked installing underground utilities on my own for some time now and have recently decided to go on my own...I will have the chance to bid on a contract with a company coming up this summer. The only problem I have is this company is very difficult to work with. I dont believe there is any money to be made if I bid the work the traditional way of price per foot. This company micro manages and is very difficult to work with making it very hard to get much of anything done therefore making it hard to make money. The company they have now and the company before both pulled out for this same reason. Would it be best to charge per man hour? Or best tto just look elsewhere.
The first sentence does not make sense. Unless, I am missing something, you said you have been on your own for a while and then you say in the same sentence you recently decided to go on your own.

Maybe, the other contractors pulled of the job because they were lousy contractors that could not perform according to the standards required.

It looks to me like you asked a question and you gave the correct answer at the same time.

I have the California A-General Engineering license and have been doing underground utility work for several years. I think it is the most difficult construction trade due to all the safety requirements and due to working on public property where vehicles can crash into your excavations. Not any job for someone who does not have the experience and who is not 100% positive because people can die and errors in bidding can cause a contractor to lose more on one job than people can bank in a lifetime.

Your question tells me that you need several more years of experience before going on your own.
 

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MyOnlineToolbox cofounder
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These comments are all so valid since most do not look forward to working with difficult customers, who are going to micro-manage the job, and who will not allow you to make money. Let them be someone else's headache and you stay focused on building the company looking for the type of work you want. And I agree with the suggestion to simply bid very high, so at least they can just say they do not want to go with you because you are too expensive and you walk away without feeling you lost anything.
 

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King of Caulk
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Life is short, far too short to deal with unpleasant people if you don't have to. When I started someone told me something like "you won't regret jobs you don't take"
That said, sometimes starting out you have to take something to keep busy and get your name out there, but perhaps your time could be better spent working on promoting your business and so forth.
 

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My recommendation would be to try and talk them into a cost plus type contract or a time and material type job? Can't hurt to propose it.

Your other option is to be direct and let them know your concerns. Don't take a job where you think you will probably lose money.
 
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