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Discussion Starter #1
I am a gen. residential contractor and had been waiting on my framer of 15 years to finish his other jobs. He kept putting off the date and finally after my waiting 6 weeks, he informed me he wasn't going to honor my place in line and was going to put his 'big' builder ahead of me again. The reason I put up with the waiting is because he is so good and rarely makes mistakes. I know a lot about framing but it is not my specialty and I need to find a new framer; one who I can build a relationship with and use on every house. What are some questions I could ask him to find out how he sees his job, how he frames and if he is reliable?
All of the framers here seem so intelligent and knowledgable and seem to take such pride in your work. Why can't I find any guys like you? I am a woman owned business, live in south Louisiana and the building bus. here has slowed way, way down. I have used other framers besides my main one, but have had a myriad of problems when I use someone else, such as uneven ceiling joists that the sheetrock will not lie flat upon, walls not being in proper locations (one guy decided to move it
a foot without telling me), guys that do several jobs at once and don't show up every day.
I know this is asking a lot, but if there is anyone to advise me, I would appreciate it so much. Thanks.
 

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KemoSabe
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There is one key factor that will keep a good framer around. Pay him what he's worth.

Too many builders use the blah,blah,blah will do it for nickel dime, nickel dime, why can't you work with me tactic.

Good framers who take pride in their work also take their time to make it right. Quality of lumber plays a big role in the final product as well. A good framer can only forage through bad lumber so much before it gets used.
 

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Super Moderator
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Like Riz says, Pay them. Do not nit pik the job or argue over nickel & dime stuff. If you have used this guy before & he keeps putting you off there is a reason. Be honest with yourself & your subs.
 

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Quality of lumber plays a big role in the final product as well. A good framer can only forage through bad lumber so much before it gets used.

After the second time through the pile everything starts to look "straighter"

:whistling:laughing:
 

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topsail's trimcat
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hopefully your not nickel and diming, someone i personally know got into the building racket, his old man owns roughly 25% of the rental buildings in town always did things cheap, now hes doing the same thing. he approached me to trim 3 of his 4500 sq footers with a upgraded trim package, the price he offered me and others was close to 1/2 the going rate for what he wanted. when he did finally get someone he got burned on two of the homes the guys just threw the mdf on the walls and got out so to make any kind of profit
 

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General Contractor
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What's your finish rate? To be honest with you, having a home ready for him to go to on a steady and routine timetable is important. It sounds like you may not yet big enough to move him straight from finishing one home to starting another. But that is really what it takes... either steady work or a consistent schedule.

You become a "fill-in" if your subs don't have a consistent and reliable schedule that is at least a month out... preferably two months.

You might be ahead of the game to go with a younger, less well established framer, and just resign yourself to keep a sharper eye on his work. You likely will have to help someone like that at some of the earlier phases, but he will be more readily available than a guy with a couple of crews he has to keep rolling all the time.
 
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Have you tried calling your local suppliers for referrals? Or maybe your framer knows someone else who is good and can refer you. Framing is the most critical task in your project, you're pretty much screwed when you lose your framer. He should understand and at least be able to refer you to someone if he can't get the job done.

In the future, you may want to do phase framing checks for your quality control. On each phase of the frame, meaning, floor, walls, roof, pick up; check their work when they are about 80% done with that phase. Grab a set of plans and check the walls while they still got their nail guns and saws rolled out. That way they can fix it before it's too late.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the responses, but my questions were not actually answered. I'm sorry that it is automatically assumed I'm not paying them enough or sending bad lumber. This is not the problem at all. The situation here is that there is not much building going on and I have cut my production from 5 houses at a time to 1 house at a time, as many builders are doing now. It happens that my framer works for a big builder also who still builds a lot at one time and he has to keep this big builder happy to keep his work. So I do understand my framer's dilemma, but still consider it wrong for him to promise me the job and 6 weeks later, tell me he changed his mind (since his big builder wanted him to start another).
I will have no problem finding a new framer as there are many out there looking for jobs in this terrible economy. So my question was actually how to insure I find someone good. I guess I was looking for more technical questions to ask him in the interview. Any responses would be appreciated. Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks, KennM, your info was helpful. I do these quality checks throughout the process and am there every day after 3pm checking the job. I guess my problem is that I don't want to find a lot of errors/mistakes during the job. How do I tell if a framer knows what he's doing before I hire him?
 

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The Duke
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I don't think anyone was implying that you don't pay enough. Maybe the builder is his golfing buddy. The framer (or anyone for that matter) is going to choose the best scenario for him. If he can't do it, he can't do it. And he's going to choose the situation of most value to him.

It's just like sales in reverse. You need to really dig deep and find out "why". Maybe he just feels uncomfortable around you. It's not every day that you find a woman in charge of GC. Maybe he finds you attractive...who knows?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Wow, I feel almost sorry for posting here. It has nothing to do with me being a woman or him not liking me or liking me. I am recieving lots of false assumptions and judgements here, but no answer to my actual question. I think I made the whole situation pretty clear.
I think I'll have to find another way to post it to avoid this.
 

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Maybe try to repost exactly what your question is, If you are looking to interview framers and ask them technical question to help determine how good they are no one here with half a brain will encourage you to proceed that way. Most framers would look at you like you have 3 heads if you start quizzing them. Go to your local yards, get names and numbers, call guys up, set up meetings, ask them what they have worked on in the area, use your intuition, the good guys are usually pretty easy to pickout, (unless of coarse they are good bull****ters), GMOD
 

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Your local supplier is probably your best bet, as far as references. They tend to know which guys do the good work and the ones with the git-er-done attitude.

As far as interviewing guys, remember they are interviewing you also.

If you pay a reasonable amount and don't nickel and dime, if you have the lumber on the job, if you have the backfill so a guy can work, you should be able to find competent help.

I really don't understand what else you want to know. If you would pay enough, we will all come on down to help!:no:
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Haha, thanks framer53! And genecarp!
Good advice. My jobs are great to work on. I pay higher than other builders in the area for quality work and it is definately worth it. The framing is the most important part of the house to me, aside from the slab. I also use the most reputable lumber co. and my framer can directly request his loads from my salesman, as they know each other. Also, of course, I move the dirt away from the house perimeter after slab is poured so they'll have a flat ground to work on.
Since I've used my old framer for most jobs, I don't have much experience with other framers and for the few times I've had to use other framers, it has been a disaster. I had one job where somehow the ceiling joists (one-story) were not flat and the sheetrock showed the humps. I even came here to ask what was wrong with the sheetrock and finally determined it was the framing.
I don't usually get up to the 12' clg to hold a level and assumed by eyeballing it, I could tell if it was level. Apparently not. This is what I'm talking about. The framer was very nice, seemed to know what he was doing, overall did a good job, showed up every day, etc., but this problem was very costly and the framer was unwilling or unable to pay for his mistake.
I have no trouble finding framers and my lumber saleman was actually the one who referred this guy.
I appreciate all of your help with this, though.
 

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Project Manager HFH..
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Haha, thanks framer53! And genecarp!
Good advice. My jobs are great to work on. I pay higher than other builders in the area for quality work and it is definately worth it. The framing is the most important part of the house to me, aside from the slab. I also use the most reputable lumber co. and my framer can directly request his loads from my salesman, as they know each other. Also, of course, I move the dirt away from the house perimeter after slab is poured so they'll have a flat ground to work on.
Since I've used my old framer for most jobs, I don't have much experience with other framers and for the few times I've had to use other framers, it has been a disaster. I had one job where somehow the ceiling joists (one-story) were not flat and the sheetrock showed the humps. I even came here to ask what was wrong with the sheetrock and finally determined it was the framing.
I don't usually get up to the 12' clg to hold a level and assumed by eyeballing it, I could tell if it was level. Apparently not. This is what I'm talking about. The framer was very nice, seemed to know what he was doing, overall did a good job, showed up every day, etc., but this problem was very costly and the framer was unwilling or unable to pay for his mistake.
I have no trouble finding framers and my lumber saleman was actually the one who referred this guy.
I appreciate all of your help with this, though.
Who supervised your framing sub?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I supervise everything myself. And about the sheetrock guy - yes, you are so right. I find them to be the most difficult in finding a good one. It also gets extremely hot here, especially right now, and guys get worn out, have subs working for them who don't show up, etc.
 

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Project Manager HFH..
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I supervise everything myself. And about the sheetrock guy - yes, you are so right. I find them to be the most difficult in finding a good one. It also gets extremely hot here, especially right now, and guys get worn out, have subs working for them who don't show up, etc.
If you know enough to supervise a framing crew and make sure they are doing things correctly,then you should have no problem asking a potential hire a few questions to see if they are qualified.Problem solved.
 

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BB, what this really comes down to is your needing to build a good team, this does not happen in one week, or one year, it has taken me many many years to build the team i have today, its not about One Sub, its about all the guys knowing each other, looking out for each other, and ultimately looking out for me. A successful contractor in my opinion does not have to sit there and make sure every floor joist is crowned, or every nailer is put in place. I guide the job, answer questions, design the details, manage the customer, manage the materials (sometimes), and schedule the trades. If i had to sit there and babysit all day, i would build the projects myself (like i used to). Good luck building your team, GMOD
 
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