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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
When i was 19 a large job fell on my lap. I took this job with little experiance and alot of determination. Often, i would walk around the jobsite at the end of the day in peace and quiet, and ponder---"HOW THE HELL AM I GOING TO GET THIS PLACE BACK TOGETHER". It was one of these afternoon walks that i realized i needed to break the job down in my mind, this was not a $400,000 dollar job---It was on 400 $1000 dollar jobs. At that moment much of the anxiety lifted. This lesson has served me throughout my life in countless ways. What are some of the things that this business has taught you. G
 

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Finishing Carpenter
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lessons learned! I am still learning :D

- never ever upon pain of death buy materials on my dime, get a check first from the HO (I got really lucky, the HO's husband gave me a check a few days later)

- no estimates over the phone

- have a minimum call out on # of hours, ie: fix a shelf in a condo - went out, did the work, then HO wanted to nickel and dime me. (thinkin to refuse those type of calls, no parking, pita door policy etc)

- make a big deal to HO about dust and noise!!!!

- Never again will I fix up other trades bad work!!!!! it can come back to bite you (someone poured a concrete floor, and pushed up underneath old baseboards, I had to grind the "lip" down to install new baseboards-nope, not doin that again)

- let HO's know that my compensation doe's not allow them to help me! the last thing I need is a HO to put an 18ga pin through their hand. (it actually doe's cover them, but I don't need the problems)

- pick up and delivery of materials is "ON" the clock!!!!

- some checks (not all) I got to the issueing bank and have it certified (guarenteed) cost's me $15 bucks, but it avoids problems later.

- Ask the customer for referrals! getting more business lately due to that.

-keep focussed on the job at hand, do not go on and on how bad the work is that you see in their homes- say nuttin!!!! talk about the weather if you have to say something.

- dress neatly! no one likes a junkie wannabe in their homes. get a hair cut, and shave. or trim whatever- Idea here is not to scare your customer.(saw this when I worked in Vegas afew years back, we had a guy who was a great worker, but with no front teeth and dressed like he slept in the street.... we couldn't take him to customers houses)

- I take pics, before and after- just in case....

- don't negotiate with low-ballers, your price is your price. Live with it.

- be willing to walk away from a job that you feel will go badly (had a call-150' crown, what's your price? my plumber and I put up some in the rest of the house yada yada- I get there, front entry? 17' high! he figured I should be around $400!!! and he'd help etc.. hmmmmm $1,600 with 1/2 up front- he "declined")

- I don't give a price per foot! some folks do and it works for them. I find that I just calculate it on $35/hr and I know how many feet/hr I can do finished)

more lessons to be learned as I encounter them!


lauriescustomfinishing.ca



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I'm a Mac
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5,487 Posts
Everytime I run into an issue I just think...I didn't invent this, I am not old enough, someone else has had this issue before...start calling the old timers I know, one of them has the solution.
 

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Service & Repairs
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When i was 19 a large job fell on my lap. I took this job with little experiance and alot of determination. Often, i would walk around the jobsite at the end of the day in peace and quiet, and ponder---"HOW THE HELL AM I GOING TO GET THIS PLACE BACK TOGETHER". It was one of these afternoon walks that i realized i needed to break the job down in my mind, this was not a $400,000 dollar job---It was on 400 $1000 dollar jobs. At that moment much of the anxiety lifted. This lesson has served me throughout my life in countless ways. What are some of the things that this business has taught you. G
That's a great bit of advice to break it down like that. I'll keep that in mind.

Thanks G!
 

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Professional Instigator
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My second is that I figured out my guys really are that good.

My first trip away after being in business in DC. I left for a vacation with work in place. I thought it was going to be a nightmare, I went over everything with my guys, but left scared as hell. I came back and everything was done. No fires to put out and the homeowners were all happy.

They really new what they were doing and did not need my help When i came back I asked them what did they need, their replied just our checks
 

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10,672 Posts
I had a similar experience in 08. I went to Brazil for 2 weeks and left the crew with a couple days of work (we were slow at the time) When I returned, I learned that they completed everything nicely and had started another job that I had never seen or heard about. It was for a preferred builder that we had done a lot of T&M work for in the past.
 

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A pissed off client will tell everyone, a happy client will keep their mouth shut.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
FOLLOW THROUGH, whether it be a good business plan, or a good book, follow through is important to success. When grinding out a job, not finishing is not an option. Finished Job= Final Payment:thumbsup:. G
 

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ornamental plasterer
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No matter what it looks like, how bad its damaged I can fix it. I have worked under the worst conditions in the worst locations for the worst owners and always get it done.

Knowing this keeps me calm as the sea. Who's bad!
Right you are!, right oh!
 

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ampman
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783 Posts
also you have to know the ins and outs of your trade which only comes with time put in.
 

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Always remember, a box has six sides. To be effective in this business, you must be able to solve problems. Until you learn to not see only one side of the box, you will never be able to handle complex problems or issues.
 

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I think one of the best lessons about contracting came from watching squirells. Store the nuts away while they are on the ground so you have plenty when there's none around.

Stay active.

Don't spend every dollar you make. Know it won't always be as good as it is.

Don't fret, it won't always be as bad.

Do it all again tomorrow.
 

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When i was 19 a large job fell on my lap. I took this job with little experiance and alot of determination. Often, i would walk around the jobsite at the end of the day in peace and quiet, and ponder---"HOW THE HELL AM I GOING TO GET THIS PLACE BACK TOGETHER". It was one of these afternoon walks that i realized i needed to break the job down in my mind, this was not a $400,000 dollar job---It was on 400 $1000 dollar jobs. At that moment much of the anxiety lifted. This lesson has served me throughout my life in countless ways. What are some of the things that this business has taught you. G
I have a similar story but on a smaller scale; I was 19 with very little expierience in anything yet I had been doing installs for a little over a year. My first job that I had to do by myself without someone telling me what to do or making the calls for me I felt sick I was so overwhelmed. It was only about 5 grand...nothing by today's standards but I felt like it was a million dollars at the time. I can remember sitting with my pencil and paper writting a million things down and looking at things over and over struggling to learn how to swim after getting thrown in the deep-end. I then realized that if you form a solid plan and separate the tasks out and just get to work things go great. Onece I threw away my worries and procrastinating and just put my head down and got to work everything came together. Now thats not to say I didn't make any mistakes, I made many but I fixed all of them and learned from everyone and continue to do so.
 
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