Contractor Talk - Professional Construction and Remodeling Forum banner

1 - 20 of 104 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
378 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
How do you one and two man shows balance multiple jobs at the same time?

I'm working on making sure I have the right subs on the job on regards to technique and job skill and price, and i think much of this will come with time, but that seems to me the only way that you can balance multiple jobs at the same time. To have trustworthy subs, that get the job done like you need it. How do you explain your approach to the customer if you do operate like this?

2nd - I've talked on other threads about sub agreements. I like the idea so what I stress to the customer gets passed on through the project fluently. I've talked with a couple guys around town, and the general consensus is that I may offend more people than its worth to go this far. From the liability standpoint, I'm all game on writing them up, but I wonder if it wouldn't alienate me more than its worth.

It is my name on the project no matter what happens so I want MY vision on the job, how do you make that happen if you can't be there all the time?

Anyone know where I'm coming from with this?

mark
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,703 Posts
It is not an easy thing to balance multiple projects.

These are some of the factors that help us:

1.) I believe in organization. Good organization can help to eliminate potential problems from even happening, in the first place. I keep separate folders, for separate jobs. Everything is in that folder (in a ballistic computer type bag for the road), not spread out, all over the place.
2.) Fore-thought, and fore-planning are essential to any construction project. Even more so, if running multiple jobs. Regularly, review all facets of each current job, beginning to end. Make the time to do it. This is what separates the "wannabees", from the "ares".
3.) Find the right subs, and the right workers. The right sub contractors are the ones that you do not have to babysit. They are the ones that communicate. They are the ones, that have the ability to make good onsite-decisions and "calls".
The same can be said for workers.
No job can run on automatic-pilot. There are times that you should be there, there are times that you should not have to be there. Train your help to work the way you need them to work, in order to be 99% self-sufficient, equip them to be as well.
Train your subs (without letting them realize it) to the way you need them to work, when on your jobs.
4.) Personal scheduling: Work out a proper schedule to take care of all aspects of your business. Example: I do all my phone calls, with a hands free set on the road. It's down time = use it to your advantage.
5.) Mobile office: You need a "form" of one, if you are going to run, more than one job...period.
6.) C-O-M-M-U-N-I-C-A-T-I-O-N.
7.) All workers and subs are required to check in every morning, and every day's end....period.
8.) Note pads = always have one and a pen.
9.) Get up a little earlier in the morning. If you are used to the 8-5, it's time to change your schedule. Get up earlier, and you'd be surprised at how much more you can get done and how much more organized you will be.
10.) Develop a good list of suppliers and reps. If you have specific sales people, or reps, that you can do business with, on a regular basis, they can do alot of the extra work, and phone calls for you. They can even run materials and supplies out to your jobsites for you.
11.) Always be "networking". You will be able to find resources that can help you.
12.) Have a good office, or home office. Sometimes, you just need a nice big table to spread out the paperwork, until you can catch up to it.
13.) Keep track of your project expenses.
14.) It's a fact, more jobs = more driving. Be prepared for more gas use, and more wear on your vehicle.
15.) If you have a business partner, think about what his/her strong points are, think about what your strong points are. Delegate business matters accordingly. You will get more done.
16.) Always develop a system for everything. It will create efficiency.
17.) MANAGEMENT SKILLS: Good communication, written lists, forms, follow ups, inspecting, co-ordination, fore-thought, planning, all of the above....
To successfully run multiple projects, your are a manager first, and a carpenter, GC, or whatever.... second.
 

·
Allrounder Home Services
Joined
·
465 Posts
I'm a one man show, and I focus mostly on smaller jobs that don't take more than a few days, so customers don't usually have to wait very long for me to get to them. If the job is something quick, I may even stop by and do it on my way home at night. I guess what I'm saying here is that I don't try to take on large jobs that will get me in over my head.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
242 Posts
Hey there. I know where you are coming from, brother. Our company usually has between 2 and 4 jobs going at once (I coordinate all of them :wacko:). You greatest resource is reliable subs that understand what you want done, and when you want it done. Get ready to be on phone most of the day. Building a stong base of subs to field work out to is not easy, and its pretty stressful to boot, but when you have that foundation in place things go more smoothly. I get to the office at 6:00 am. Being awake before everyone is invaluable. Atlantic's list writen above is awesome, and hits on several key points to make working multiple jobs possible. just my .02
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
36 Posts
:clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap: great post!

:thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:

It is not an easy thing to balance multiple projects.

These are some of the factors that help us:

1.) I believe in organization. Good organization can help to eliminate potential problems from even happening in the first place. I keep separate folders, for separate jobs. Everything is in that folder (in a ballistic computer type bag), not spread out, all over the place.
2.) Fore-thought, and fore-planning are essential to any construction project. Even more so, if running multiple jobs. Regularly, review all facets of each current job, beginning to end. Make the time to do it. This is what separates the "wannabees", from the "ares".
3.) Find the right subs, and the right workers. The right sub contractors are the ones that you do not have to babysit. They are the ones that communicate. They are the ones, that have the ability to make good onsite-decisions and "calls".
The same can be said for workers.
No job can run on automatic-pilot. There are times that you should be there, there are times that you should not have to be there. Train your help to work the way you need them to work, in order to be 99% self-sufficient, equipe them to be as well.
Train your subs (without letting them realize it) to the way you need them work on your jobs.
4.) Personal scheduling: Work out a proper schedule to take care of all aspects of your business. I do all my phone calls, with a hands free set on the road. It's down time = use it to your advantage.
5.) Mobile office: You need a "form" of one, if you are going to run, more than one job...period.
6.) C-O-M-M-U-N-I-C-A-T-I-O-N.
7.) All workers and subs are required to check in every morning, and every day's end....period.
8.) Note pads = always have one and a pen.
9.) Get up a little earlier in the morning. Change your schedule, if you are used to the 8-5. If you get up earlier, you'd be surprised at how much more you can get done, and how much more organized you will be.
10.) Develop a good list of suppliers and reps. If you have specific sales people, or reps, that you can do business with, on a regular basis, they can do alot of the extra work, and phone calls for you. They can even run materials and supplies out to your jobsites for you.
11.) Always be "networking". You will be able to find sources that can help you.
12.) Have a good office, or home office. Sometimes, you just need a nice big table to spread out the paperwork, until you catch up to it.
13.) Keep track of your project expenses.
14.) It's a fact, more jobs = more driving. be prepared for more gas use, and more wear on your vehicle.
15.) If you have a business partner, think about what his strong points are, think about what your strong points are. Delegate business matters accordingly. You will get more done.
16.) Always develop a system for everything. It will create efficiency.
17.) MANAGEMENT SKILLS: Good communication, written lists, forms, follow ups, inspecting, co-ordination, fore-thought, planning, all of the above....
To successfully run multiple projects, your are a manager first, and a carpenter, GC, or whatever.... second.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
4,617 Posts
Its a sticky in the business section now too.

Good thoughts there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
201 Posts
I run several jobs at once, with average jobs is in the $100k-150k range. Good subs are the key. I used to be that guy who looked at pricing first and spent much more time managing subs (I called myself a glorified babysitter). Now I pay high dollar for good subs and save time in managing (because I don't have to with these guys). I also used to do some field work as well, but that cuts into the office/management time. Find good subs (ask for references from GCs and call lisencing boards to check for complaints). As far as sub agreements go, a proffesional company will understand the value and reason for a well written contract. I have scarred off subs when I mention the word contract, and although dissapointed at first, realize it is for the best that we do not work together.
 

·
Professional Instigator
Joined
·
6,872 Posts
I run several jobs at once, with average jobs is in the $100k-150k range. Good subs are the key. I used to be that guy who looked at pricing first and spent much more time managing subs (I called myself a glorified babysitter). Now I pay high dollar for good subs and save time in managing (because I don't have to with these guys). I also used to do some field work as well, but that cuts into the office/management time. Find good subs (ask for references from GCs and call lisencing boards to check for complaints). As far as sub agreements go, a proffesional company will understand the value and reason for a well written contract. I have scarred off subs when I mention the word contract, and although dissapointed at first, realize it is for the best that we do not work together.
I second D-rez after relocating here and going through multiple subs I realized you usually get what you pay for. Good subs and clear communication and timing like others have said goes a long way. Also timely payments to the subs and alot of them will go out of their way for me because they know my word and checks can be counted on.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
850 Posts
Also timely payments to the subs and alot of them will go out of their way for me because they know my word and checks can be counted on.
How very true. With my granite guys I write the cheque as soon as they've finished the installation. I never have to wait long for them, even whan they're really busy.

John
 
  • Like
Reactions: Wolfgang

·
Banned
Joined
·
3,239 Posts
we pay subs as soon as the inspector signs off. I know several contractors that make their subs chase them down. Can't see the logic or ethics in it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
It all depends on the size of the jobs and the complexity. Get your check and get the materials on the job fast. That will give you some time to finish your ongoing projects. But dont over do it! Clients will see you as not caring for the project if your never there. It invites many questions. Make random calls even if your not at the job. Customers like to be informed. And will think your on top of things. The last GC that had problems in the past that I can recall came to the jobs with his dog in the front seat and would look at plans in his truck for ten minutes then take off. He never got dirty.Not to be seen for 2-3 days later. He let his subs figure it all out. small questions were never answered. Sell the work figure the schedule later. Some years you will have difficult jobs and will be strapped with them. Other years you will have smaller and easier jobs and will be able to expand.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
458 Posts
It is not an easy thing to balance multiple projects.

These are some of the factors that help us:

1.) I believe in organization. Good organization can help to eliminate potential problems from even happening in the first place. I keep separate folders, for separate jobs. Everything is in that folder (in a ballistic computer type bag), not spread out, all over the place.
2.) Fore-thought, and fore-planning are essential to any construction project. Even more so, if running multiple jobs. Regularly, review all facets of each current job, beginning to end. Make the time to do it. This is what separates the "wannabees", from the "ares".
3.) Find the right subs, and the right workers. The right sub contractors are the ones that you do not have to babysit. They are the ones that communicate. They are the ones, that have the ability to make good onsite-decisions and "calls".
The same can be said for workers.
No job can run on automatic-pilot. There are times that you should be there, there are times that you should not have to be there. Train your help to work the way you need them to work, in order to be 99% self-sufficient, equipe them to be as well.
Train your subs (without letting them realize it) to the way you need them work on your jobs.
4.) Personal scheduling: Work out a proper schedule to take care of all aspects of your business. I do all my phone calls, with a hands free set on the road. It's down time = use it to your advantage.
5.) Mobile office: You need a "form" of one, if you are going to run, more than one job...period.
6.) C-O-M-M-U-N-I-C-A-T-I-O-N.
7.) All workers and subs are required to check in every morning, and every day's end....period.
8.) Note pads = always have one and a pen.
9.) Get up a little earlier in the morning. Change your schedule, if you are used to the 8-5. If you get up earlier, you'd be surprised at how much more you can get done, and how much more organized you will be.
10.) Develop a good list of suppliers and reps. If you have specific sales people, or reps, that you can do business with, on a regular basis, they can do alot of the extra work, and phone calls for you. They can even run materials and supplies out to your jobsites for you.
11.) Always be "networking". You will be able to find sources that can help you.
12.) Have a good office, or home office. Sometimes, you just need a nice big table to spread out the paperwork, until you catch up to it.
13.) Keep track of your project expenses.
14.) It's a fact, more jobs = more driving. be prepared for more gas use, and more wear on your vehicle.
15.) If you have a business partner, think about what his strong points are, think about what your strong points are. Delegate business matters accordingly. You will get more done.
16.) Always develop a system for everything. It will create efficiency.
17.) MANAGEMENT SKILLS: Good communication, written lists, forms, follow ups, inspecting, co-ordination, fore-thought, planning, all of the above....
To successfully run multiple projects, your are a manager first, and a carpenter, GC, or whatever.... second.
Wow,Thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
378 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Atlantic - great info! I just re-read your post. I like the 'subs must call morning and night. I've got to keep on the search for the right ones. Just with this job I've found a couple that I like and a couple that I don't. All based on c-o-m-m-u-n-i-c-a-t-i-o-n.

I can see why 90-95% in this business fail. You have to be on your game to make it work, profitably. And you have to balance the fourteen hats in just in the right manner.

mark
 

·
Ultimate touch
Joined
·
776 Posts
How do you one and two man shows balance multiple jobs at the same time?

I'm working on making sure I have the right subs on the job on regards to technique and job skill and price, and i think much of this will come with time, but that seems to me the only way that you can balance multiple jobs at the same time. To have trustworthy subs, that get the job done like you need it. How do you explain your approach to the customer if you do operate like this?

2nd - I've talked on other threads about sub agreements. I like the idea so what I stress to the customer gets passed on through the project fluently. I've talked with a couple guys around town, and the general consensus is that I may offend more people than its worth to go this far. From the liability standpoint, I'm all game on writing them up, but I wonder if it wouldn't alienate me more than its worth.

It is my name on the project no matter what happens so I want MY vision on the job, how do you make that happen if you can't be there all the time?

Anyone know where I'm coming from with this?

mark
The aproach to the customer on operating with subs?

First off you want to figure out what the concern is with subs. Then I would adress the concern and reassure them. I would then move on to say somthing like I work iwth the same guys all the time and there good guys. I only work with subs when I am able to offer an even more efficient job and more cost offective job for you mr. home owner. Also these men specialize in what they do such as plumbers that do plumbing every day and cement guys that do cement every day. The parts to the machine are usless with out them being oiled and without direction. Thats where good project management comes into play and thats why you want to hire me to do the job. I make things run smoothly and assure you quality. Our goal is to minimize the stress off of you the home owner and present you with the right options when necissery. A good project manager is going to make sure that we achieve the vision that we share togather on this particular project. When would you like to get started and be excited.
 

·
Ultimate touch
Joined
·
776 Posts
It is not an easy thing to balance multiple projects.

These are some of the factors that help us:

1.) I believe in organization. Good organization can help to eliminate potential problems from even happening, in the first place. I keep separate folders, for separate jobs. Everything is in that folder (in a ballistic computer type bag for the road), not spread out, all over the place.
2.) Fore-thought, and fore-planning are essential to any construction project. Even more so, if running multiple jobs. Regularly, review all facets of each current job, beginning to end. Make the time to do it. This is what separates the "wannabees", from the "ares".
3.) Find the right subs, and the right workers. The right sub contractors are the ones that you do not have to babysit. They are the ones that communicate. They are the ones, that have the ability to make good onsite-decisions and "calls".
The same can be said for workers.
No job can run on automatic-pilot. There are times that you should be there, there are times that you should not have to be there. Train your help to work the way you need them to work, in order to be 99% self-sufficient, equip them to be as well.
Train your subs (without letting them realize it) to the way you need them to work, when on your jobs.
4.) Personal scheduling: Work out a proper schedule to take care of all aspects of your business. Example: I do all my phone calls, with a hands free set on the road. It's down time = use it to your advantage.
5.) Mobile office: You need a "form" of one, if you are going to run, more than one job...period.
6.) C-O-M-M-U-N-I-C-A-T-I-O-N.
7.) All workers and subs are required to check in every morning, and every day's end....period.
8.) Note pads = always have one and a pen.
9.) Get up a little earlier in the morning. If you are used to the 8-5, it's time to change your schedule. Get up earlier, and you'd be surprised at how much more you can get done and how much more organized you will be.
10.) Develop a good list of suppliers and reps. If you have specific sales people, or reps, that you can do business with, on a regular basis, they can do alot of the extra work, and phone calls for you. They can even run materials and supplies out to your jobsites for you.
11.) Always be "networking". You will be able to find resources that can help you.
12.) Have a good office, or home office. Sometimes, you just need a nice big table to spread out the paperwork, until you can catch up to it.
13.) Keep track of your project expenses.
14.) It's a fact, more jobs = more driving. Be prepared for more gas use, and more wear on your vehicle.
15.) If you have a business partner, think about what his/her strong points are, think about what your strong points are. Delegate business matters accordingly. You will get more done.
16.) Always develop a system for everything. It will create efficiency.
17.) MANAGEMENT SKILLS: Good communication, written lists, forms, follow ups, inspecting, co-ordination, fore-thought, planning, all of the above....
To successfully run multiple projects, your are a manager first, and a carpenter, GC, or whatever.... second.
great advice. I am going to fire my plumber. He is a bit on the cheaper side and gets the job done. I always have to call him and bug him to finish his job or somthing little and then he does it wrong. Like installing the gas pipe in front of the furnace air filter. Its gotten frustrating. No more baby sitting.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
378 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Atlantic - great post. I just re-read it (again). Good stuff. I've been incorporating your suggestions. So far, so good.

I potentially will have 3 jobs running next week. Good subs on that commercial job have been great. I've been trying to get more organized in the office, as well as efficient. It's coming. And i can't wait until I get the system down.

mark
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
36 Posts
This is what I posted:

If you want to run multiple crews, your company’s culture has to be one that builds leaders. Piece work is a great way to do it. We run three teams and here is how we do it.

Estimate: We break labor and material down for each phase of a project. Phases are, demolition, foundation, framing, roofing, electrical, plumbing……etc…punch out list.

Installation, each Team has a team leader. You are filling that roll now, and should be training a leader at all times. The Team leader understands the goal for today, which phase’s budget is affected, and, most importantly, how much bonus he’ll make if he brings that days work under budget.

Reporting: Every monetary expenditure is logged daily so we know exactly where we are with the budget at all times. On Friday, we have a real time review of the week’s performance, and the game plan for the next week.

The success is in the processes and your ability to be disciplined enough to enforce them. Best place to start is with very detailed job descriptions for each person involved, including you.

For clarification, piece work is often confused with sub-contracting. With piece work, they are still your employees, the difference is that you are guaranteeing them an hourly wage that must be above minimum wage, but, you are giving them the opportunity to make more money for speedy performance. #1 culture rule * don’t sacrifice quality for speed.

The success in this type of expansion relies on your ability to manage, coach and counsel. Check your skill level before proceeding because you are trying to break through one of the proverbial glass ceilings, transforming from a Tradesman to a Businessman. Just because you are successful at one, doesn’t make it a given you will be successful as the other. Find a local Mentor who is a good business person.
 
1 - 20 of 104 Posts
Top