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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just bid on a 1200 sq R&R in my home town at the housing authority. There are 36 buildings ranching from 19-40 sq. Ill list the quantity's as it may help you with your thoughts. 216 sq of ice barrier. 9,000 ft of deep leg roof edge, 1,400 ft of 26 gauge valley pan, 5,800 ft of ridge cap, 2,600 ft of ridge vent must be hard plastic and you have to cut all of it, 460 roof penetrations mostly 3" plumbing boots, remove and patch 95 turbine vents. The only three brands approved were OC, Certainteed, and GAF. The closest landfill is 30 miles away and the cost is about $49 per ton. You are required to provide WC, show employee payroll taxes, 2 mill in lia. and 2 mill on vehicle and equipment, and a 5% bid bond. Oh and all materials used must be made in USA yes even nails. You can find the job by going to www.docucopyllc.com . The low bidder was a $210,000. My price was at $248,000.

Is it possible for a company 120 miles away that doesn't even do roofs ( they are a huge GC firm that builds malls, stores, banks, etc.) to come in and do it for 180 per sq? My material cost was $140,000, plus another $15,000 for comp and payroll taxes. What are your guys thoughts? I guess it was a good learning curve as Ive never bid anything at this level.
 

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On a job, 1200 square, I think they could come out ahead bidding 180 per square.

That's what larger commercial jobs go for around here.

But a lot of the bigger companies that were doing state funded jobs, are bidding other work now with the government work slowing. A lot of them are just breaking even, to keep a cash flow, and keep in business.

These bigger outfits, will hire out a lot of help off the books too, when they get to town. It always happens, they come in to replace the roofs on subsidized housing units, and half the tenants are on the roofs.

I quit bidding these jobs because of the time you spend on them and they are a strictly price based sale.
 

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Sounds like someone is willing to work for nothing. The GC apparently found a sub/subs for a low-ball rate per sq. You can bet there will be no worker's comp. or payroll taxes paid on this job. The subs will all claim to be independents with no employees and no one will have comp. coverage. Roof edge and jacks may not be replaced...anything to save a buck. We've ran into similar jobs with the same results. An honest contractor who does everything by the book, doesn't stand a chance of getting these types of jobs. I'd be curious to know if there were other bidders and where were they price-wise?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Sounds like someone is willing to work for nothing. The GC apparently found a sub/subs for a low-ball rate per sq. You can bet there will be no worker's comp. or payroll taxes paid on this job. The subs will all claim to be independents with no employees and no one will have comp. coverage. Roof edge and jacks may not be replaced...anything to save a buck. We've ran into similar jobs with the same results. An honest contractor who does everything by the book, doesn't stand a chance of getting these types of jobs. I'd be curious to know if there were other bidders and where were they price-wise?
Ya the average bid was in the 230's. Ill let you guys know what kind of employees they got up there in a few weeks. I have to drive by this place everyday as it's only about 4 blocks from my house.
 

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Let me tell you a short sotry that I have told before but it applies here.

One sub I used to use was also working for two other companies. One was home depot BTW, but I digress. The other company he worked for ended up winning a public bid on a police station. I bid that job too and obviously lost. I did not know we shared a sub at that time, infact to be honest I don't think he worked for me at that time. IN coversation it came up that he did the roof on that police station.

I started asking questions, the requirements were pretty much the same as you said, prevailing waige, proven payroll etc... I asked if he got paid extra for the job since it was rpevailing wage. He asked what prevailing wage was. I asked if he got paid any extra, he said maybe $5 a square extra over what he usually charges. After some more questions he said he signed some paper. I asked what it said he said he did not read it. Typical.

Anyways that's how these companies do it. They pass the liability onto some idiot who doesn't have a clue, make them sign a paper that they never read, and pocket huge profit by CHEATING. This is most likely what the GC is doing. He may not have told his sub all of the requirements and to be honest do you think the typical sub would read or if they did read understand all that leagaleze?

I am convinced the only way to make money in this business is to cheat. Everyone making money seems to cheat.
 

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Oh maybe this is what they were doing. This is a friggin joke. I just got wind of this one today.

I have drastically downsized my company. Anyways one of my guys who has been working only part time said he was goign out of town for a week or two to work on this big job with the last company he worked with. No problem I said. So today I spoke with him and he said he was camping. I was like WTF, I thought you were goign to work. He said no, we are working but we are camping in tents at the job site.

WTF?! What ever happened to per diem?! Ok First off what his "employer" is doing is border line illegal. Ok maybe if the guys were all like "yeah lets go camping" but as an employer he is responsible for his employees room and board, meaning hotel and food.

OK 2nd off, this is a week or two long job. It's hot enough to sweat. Where are they going to bathe?



Hill billies, man. I thought nothing would shock me anymore, but that is a new one in my books.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ok, so today I decided to stop by the job and visit with the company doing the roofs as the have started last week. I met the owner/operator of the roofing company (he is a sub contractor). He has an 8 man crew, Id say the have a total of 25+ piercings.

OK this gets real good. He tells me he and another company was hired by the GC to do all the apartments. Turns out the other guy has already bailed because he is seeing that there is no money involved. The apartments have two separate locations about a block from one another. They have been working on the ones on top of the hill. They have about 5 buildings done and he says that he's been anywhere between 2-5 square short on each building. Well of coarse he didn't measure the ones on top of the hill, the other guy did. Or atleast that what he's trying to tell himself. As you guys remember me saying this job had some detailed specs such as; all materials must be made in USA (which they are not), only GAF OC or Certainteed products can be used (their felt is not, their I&W is not), all existing shingles and felt must be removed (they are leaving the old felt, yep even where the I&W is). Most of these building are under a 4/12 so full I&W is being used. WTF is the point if it's not adhered to the plywood? There is over 450sq of I&W and it's all going to be a waste by being installed this way. They are reusing all old roofing boots, which the specs said to replace. There are a few more things but you guys get the point.

He ask me if I would be interested in subbing the ones on the bottom of the hill. Yeah I would but I bet there is no way he can afford me. I guess he's going to loose money either way, maybe he will loose and at least not have to do all the work. He then ask me how well I know the housing director, why? I think he wants me to sweet talk her for him. I've already informed the head of maintenance so we'll see what happens from here.
 

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This sounds a lot like the 350sq golf course roof project I bid this year. I put a bid together for insurance purposes, $170K. One layer all 6/12 not very high up, two large buildings, two smaller ones.

The insurance company bought the roof and the two owners took 5 bids. They threw out the three high bidders. I interviewed with the two owners after I dropped my price to rock bottom, $99,995 or $285 per square.

They ended up going with the lowest bidder. I bet they made $30K on the claim.

1,200 squares for $210K is what? $175 per square? This is with all materials and labor with a permit? After materials that not much left for labor. After labor what is left for profit? NOT MUCH!!!

You know what I always say in these situations? Let them have it...

I would rather do 5 $20K roofs than try to land a $100K job. So far when the bids go over $50K I always lose to the low bidder.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
He did tell me they got their Landmarks straight from the Minn. plant and got 2sq I&W for $25 a roll. That would help alot
 

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He did tell me they got their Landmarks straight from the Minn. plant and got 2sq I&W for $25 a roll. That would help alot
That I&W cannot be CT Winterguard for $25 a roll. Wonder what he's paying for the Landmarks?

I'm at $88 for the Landmarks and $60 for the I&W.
 

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Roofing Sage
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That's what I refer to as a "Pay My Bills This Month" special price.

I've done it (taken a job to make jusssst enough money to pay my bills in bad times, but never went as low as $180/sq).

For some companies, it's not just the profit margin, but the fact that another company "doesn't" get the job losing them income, work, disrupting the continual employment of their workforce causing them to lose good men...very SunTzuish (Are Of War).

It takes into account not only the positive effect of getting the job, but the negative effect on the opponent (competition).

Lowe's is roofing (tear-off & shingled including labor and materials) for $200./sq.

This is REALLY going to test the local roofers.

Ok, so they save money on material and on not carrying insurance, but how much can they actually make on a square at that rate?

Not only that, by destroying the local roofing industry, how do they benefit themselves?

It won't last at $200./sq. Not only will they make very little money on it, but they will lose the business of local roofers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
That I&W cannot be CT Winterguard for $25 a roll. Wonder what he's paying for the Landmarks?

I'm at $88 for the Landmarks and $60 for the I&W.
The I&W came from Indiana. It is made by Carlise. Not sure what he was paying for the Landmarks. When i bid on the job I found them for $72 a square, from the same yard that Im currently paying $84.
 

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Roofing Sage
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Ok, so today I decided to stop by the job and visit with the company doing the roofs as the have started last week. I met the owner/operator of the roofing company (he is a sub contractor). He has an 8 man crew, Id say the have a total of 25+ piercings.

OK this gets real good. He tells me he and another company was hired by the GC to do all the apartments. Turns out the other guy has already bailed because he is seeing that there is no money involved. The apartments have two separate locations about a block from one another. They have been working on the ones on top of the hill. They have about 5 buildings done and he says that he's been anywhere between 2-5 square short on each building. Well of coarse he didn't measure the ones on top of the hill, the other guy did. Or atleast that what he's trying to tell himself. As you guys remember me saying this job had some detailed specs such as; all materials must be made in USA (which they are not), only GAF OC or Certainteed products can be used (their felt is not, their I&W is not), all existing shingles and felt must be removed (they are leaving the old felt, yep even where the I&W is). Most of these building are under a 4/12 so full I&W is being used. WTF is the point if it's not adhered to the plywood? There is over 450sq of I&W and it's all going to be a waste by being installed this way. They are reusing all old roofing boots, which the specs said to replace. There are a few more things but you guys get the point.

He ask me if I would be interested in subbing the ones on the bottom of the hill. Yeah I would but I bet there is no way he can afford me. I guess he's going to loose money either way, maybe he will loose and at least not have to do all the work. He then ask me how well I know the housing director, why? I think he wants me to sweet talk her for him. I've already informed the head of maintenance so we'll see what happens from here.
Another "GC wanna be Roofer" deal.

There's only one consolation to losing a job to an outfit like this...seeing it explode in their faces.

Time after time after time I've lost work to these "do it all" types. They'd bid a roof "at cost" to them, but make it up on the siding. It's business, okay, I understand that.

But when someone goes with the lowest bid to try to make as much on their end while flaking out on the details of the project (especially cutting corners and using substandard labor), I LOVE IT when they lose a dollar in trying to save a penny and it puts a huge grin on my face when I drive by and see their roof all "F"-ed up!

I love it more when they have to do it all over again just months later, then guess what? Mo money, mo money, mo money!

:laughing:

Some people have to lose tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars before they learn to drop the arrogance they wear like so much jewelry.

I didn't get a 25sq job.
Lost it to some handymen.
It took them literally 2 months, everyday, to do the job.
Everybody says the roof looks worse than when they installed it.

I went on to another job in which I knocked out 40sq job in 5 days with 1 helper that I began while they were on their last week.






I lost a 40sq job to the homeowner's "Carpenter" relative who was unemployed. Took him 6 weeks to do the job.

First rain they had house was flooded.
Now, he has to not only re-do the roof, but the interior work!

The homeowner now wants me to go back and to inspect the roof and will pay me to fix any issues. Nice lady...she gave her relative a shot because he direly needed the money, but I feel sorry for her.

I have a feeling that she probably payed premium for that work (she is very generous) and got a really bad roof. I'll be happy to help her out though.
 

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We once lost a nice 65 sq roof right on Lake Michigan, the homeowner wanted to put on a Pine instead of cedar roof. I bid it out at 54,000, materials were right around 32,000 if I remember. I lost it to a guy who did it for 41,000. Now I know his materials cost the same because there is only one place to get this material and you need it shipped from SC. In the two months that job took him, we did somewhere in 150k of work. Now, that roof he did two years ago was done all wrong and is almost in need of replacement again. Looks like it saved that Doctor a lot of money.

My point being, losing a job isnt always a bad thing
 

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Roofing Sage
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It took me years and 10's of thousands of dollars (if not hundreds) to learn that lesson the hard way.

It used to be so difficult for me to walk away from a job.

But I learned.

And it was an expensive lesson.

Then again, back then I was only 19 and I was fresh and didn't have a business mentor.
 

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Being a government job, isn't there any inspections being done? I would hope these problems would be pointed out so the low-ball GC would be held accountable for this shoddy work. Sounds like this job is going exactly how we had expected. Too bad.
 

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Thom
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My contrarian view:

The problem is not the contractor who does a cheap crappy job. The problem is not the contractor who cheats to get the bid. The problem is the owner who is looking to get the job done for less than it costs.

The second problem is the never-ending line of contractors who feel sorry for the poor abused owner.

Screw the owner! They bought price and got screwed. Big deal, it happens every day. The quality guy didn't get the job, the conscientious workers were out of work, because the owner wanted cheap. Screw the owner!

Then some idiot but well meaning guy decides to bail that owner out. There's always someone who wants to bail the cheap-skate out. Why the hell would anyone feel sorry for the owner who bought price instead of quality and got exactly what they paid for?

The correct response for the responsible contractor is to be willing to repair the mess, or replace it if needed, but only for top dollar. The cheap owner should never ever end up paying the same or less after having chosen price over quality. It should always cost them more.

In the OP case, it is likely a friend/relative of the guy making the hiring decision. He will let the guy go without honoring the contract specs in order to cover his A$$. Nobody wants to turn in the contracting officer so it happens again and again.
 
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