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I'm a young man trying to figure out how to get started contracting for myself. I'm a framing sub right now. I fell off of a ladder in Feb. and I have two protruding disc in my lower back and one in my neck. I live in pain everyday so I'm trying to figure out how to get into the general side of it. I have my license but due to the fact that we're in a down economy all I hear is the banks aren't turning loose of money and blah, blah, blah. How can I make the transition? I'd like to hear some your story's about how and when it changed for you. Any advice is appreciated!:thumbsup:
 

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Super Moderator
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It must suck to be in pain every day. Yikes, I can't even imagine.

Couple questions to help the guys provide better feedback:

Can you work at all?
What do you feel you have to bring to the table as a GC?
Do you have any special qualifications?
How is your charisma?

It's a very complicated business to enter. GC's need to be salesmen, problem solvers, knowledgable to a certain extent in almost every applicable field, bullies where required, privy to local building codes, organizational prodigies, long tempered, able to remain calm and think outside the box, not be averse to asking for help from pros, knowledgable about basic accounting and project management terms, have or be able to design a business plan, etc. etc. etc.

It also takes some money to start out (Incorporation, insurance and work comp, marketing materials, etc. again)

Where do you stand with these issues? I hope we can help you conquer your current situation.
 

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Head Grunt
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It must suck to be in pain every day. Yikes, I can't even imagine.

Couple questions to help the guys provide better feedback:

Can you work at all?
What do you feel you have to bring to the table as a GC?
Do you have any special qualifications?
How is your charisma?

It's a very complicated business to enter. GC's need to be salesmen, problem solvers, knowledgable to a certain extent in almost every applicable field, bullies where required, privy to local building codes, organizational prodigies, long tempered, able to remain calm and think outside the box, not be averse to asking for help from pros, knowledgable about basic accounting and project management terms, have or be able to design a business plan, etc. etc. etc.

It also takes some money to start out (Incorporation, insurance and work comp, marketing materials, etc. again)

Where do you stand with these issues? I hope we can help you conquer your current situation.
X2, very well said IMO. I myself took out a $50k note to start my own business and i already had bought alot of tools and some equipment to start before the loan. Your going to have to be technology savy too. Being able to communicate by phone and e-mail at the job will be a huge plus. Taking pics and e-mailing them from the job to explain problems, sell more work and to show progress can be in your favor. What kind of work are you going after? I just dealt with a couple guys "GC's" who are storm chasers that deal with insurance companies for hail damage/roof replacement. All the customer has to do is call them with a date and time for a hail storm, the GC verifies the storm actually happened, notify the insurance company, they send out an adjuster to verify damage and the GC then subs out the roof replacement to a local crew or hires someone who can handle the work. These fella's did a roof here that cost the insurance company $130k, they had a crew of 5 replace it in a week. How much money they made i dont know but they had to of made at least $30k when they walked away. They got on the roof maybe 10 times total and never got dirty once. These guys travel the country doing this and it is obvious they are making good money at it. But i must also say these guys are damn good talkers/saleman and really know how to butter up the customer and the insurance adjuster.
 

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Super Moderator
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Woodchuck-you are at 999 posts. I can't stand the suspense. I think all will be forgiven if you just reply to this thread with something like :wqpoeiufasjodfnsapdfjsoushfpdsohsposhdofhpdfho just to break 1K

:laughing:
 

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I'm a young man trying to figure out how to get started contracting for myself. I'm a framing sub right now. I fell off of a ladder in Feb. and I have two protruding disc in my lower back and one in my neck. I live in pain everyday so I'm trying to figure out how to get into the general side of it.
While it's true that general contractors don't do any work, you need to come to terms with the fact that you're finished in construction. If you want my opinion (and most folks do) you should learn HTML, CSS, PHP and Photoshop and go into business creating websites for contractors.
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General Contractor
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3,444 Posts
It must suck to be in pain every day. Yikes, I can't even imagine.

Couple questions to help the guys provide better feedback:

Can you work at all?
What do you feel you have to bring to the table as a GC?
Do you have any special qualifications?
How is your charisma?

It's a very complicated business to enter. GC's need to be salesmen, problem solvers, knowledgable to a certain extent in almost every applicable field, bullies where required, privy to local building codes, organizational prodigies, long tempered, able to remain calm and think outside the box, not be averse to asking for help from pros, knowledgable about basic accounting and project management terms, have or be able to design a business plan, etc. etc. etc.

It also takes some money to start out (Incorporation, insurance and work comp, marketing materials, etc. again)

Where do you stand with these issues? I hope we can help you conquer your current situation.
Dang! We gotta know all THAT stuff?!? AND we need a bunch of money too?

Is it too late to get out of this? :w00t:
 

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General Contractor
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3,444 Posts
Seriously, if you really want to stay in construction, I might suggest looking into estimating. Drafting is cool, too, but too many field trips for "as-builts", etc.
 

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Los Angeles Remodeler
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84 Posts
I'm a young man trying to figure out how to get started contracting for myself. I'm a framing sub right now. I fell off of a ladder in Feb. and I have two protruding disc in my lower back and one in my neck. I live in pain everyday so I'm trying to figure out how to get into the general side of it. I have my license but due to the fact that we're in a down economy all I hear is the banks aren't turning loose of money and blah, blah, blah. How can I make the transition? I'd like to hear some your story's about how and when it changed for you. Any advice is appreciated!:thumbsup:
I have to tell you that you need to get yourself familiar with technology if you plan to work behind a desk in the future. Get yourself a used laptop and start learning microsoft project, outlook, excel and word. learn how to email effectively and look into some city colleges around you that have cheap courses for computer basics. Wish you the best and I hope your back gets better!:thumbsup:
 

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I have to tell you that you need to get yourself familiar with technology if you plan to work behind a desk in the future. Get yourself a used laptop and start learning microsoft project, outlook, excel and word. learn how to email effectively and look into some city colleges around you that have cheap courses for computer basics. Wish you the best and I hope your back gets better!:thumbsup:
I've been in construction my entire adult life and I'm still learning this end of it.
A little at a time.
 

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Los Angeles Remodeler
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84 Posts
I've been in construction my entire adult life and I'm still learning this end of it.
A little at a time.
Well, most of us dont change our break pads, dont cut our own hair, dont home school our kids, dont diagnose ourselves, dont fly ourselves, we outsource. I dont know why when it comes to construction management and handling paperwork and billing, everyone wants to DIY. They invest severly in software, hardware, employees and never get good results and costs them most of their profit all the time.

Its time to understand, we dont need to do everything ourselves. I am carpenter, you are a framer, he is a plumber and that guy is the computer guy.
 

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Super Moderator
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and never get good results
"Never" is a pretty bold term.

I do agree with your post in general though. Paperwork seems to be a weak point with most contractors I deal with. I am an organizational, anal, schedule having FREAK.

I havent checked your previous posts, but what is it that you handle?
 

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Los Angeles Remodeler
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84 Posts
"Never" is a pretty bold term.

I do agree with your post in general though. Paperwork seems to be a weak point with most contractors I deal with. I am an organizational, anal, schedule having FREAK.

I havent checked your previous posts, but what is it that you handle?
I used to work for large general contractors for 16+ years running 10M to 75M projects. I now work for SubBill, we take over the construction paperwork from subcontractors and general contractors. We provide them with uniform and on time billing service. We also track their change order requests and help them create a proper schedule of values so that they have proper cash flow throughout the project. Our service saves contractors a good amount of money in overhead ;) (Sorry I am not allowed to mention the name of our site though. :censored:)
 

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X2, very well said IMO. I myself took out a $50k note to start my own business and i already had bought alot of tools and some equipment to start before the loan. Your going to have to be technology savy too. Being able to communicate by phone and e-mail at the job will be a huge plus. Taking pics and e-mailing them from the job to explain problems, sell more work and to show progress can be in your favor. What kind of work are you going after? I just dealt with a couple guys "GC's" who are storm chasers that deal with insurance companies for hail damage/roof replacement. All the customer has to do is call them with a date and time for a hail storm, the GC verifies the storm actually happened, notify the insurance company, they send out an adjuster to verify damage and the GC then subs out the roof replacement to a local crew or hires someone who can handle the work. These fella's did a roof here that cost the insurance company $130k, they had a crew of 5 replace it in a week. How much money they made i dont know but they had to of made at least $30k when they walked away. They got on the roof maybe 10 times total and never got dirty once. These guys travel the country doing this and it is obvious they are making good money at it. But i must also say these guys are damn good talkers/saleman and really know how to butter up the customer and the insurance adjuster.
That sounds pretty incredible! Hey, I love it up near chestertown!
 

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I think it is really tough in today's economy but the transition is possible. You just need to make a business outline of how your costs are going to differ due to making the switch. But it can be done! It sounds like your motivated and that's more than 90% of the battle. Now you need to find investors and other financial means for business expenses so you are completely prepared!

Good luck!
 

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always building
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1,814 Posts
While it's true that general contractors don't do any work, you need to come to terms with the fact that you're finished in construction. If you want my opinion (and most folks do) you should learn HTML, CSS, PHP and Photoshop and go into business creating websites for contractors.
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.
.
whadda ya mean general contractors don't do any work:eek:
 

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Having kept your contacts and not burned alot of bridges as a sub yourself will help out alot. As a framing sub you must know alot of the other subs in the business. Knowing guys you can trust to get the job done, not take advantage of you, not slander you to cover their tracks, help clean up the occasional mess you make (not that I've ever made one, just saying hypothetically :whistling), and so on is HUGE. You'll also realize that everything bad you and the guys on past jobs said about the GC on your jobs will now be aimed at you.

It also depends on the type of work you want to focus on, commercial, new residential construction, remodeling, kitchens, baths??? Stick w/ what you know.

Finding work these days can be a real picnic as well. I'm small and I focus mostly on remodels (do most of the finish work myself) and all my business is word of mouth. That's drying up, however. I'm concidering a website (I have a good freind that does site design) but haven't gone that route yet.

Not to drop the comp bomb, but shouldn't your accident be covered under insurance? If so, will starting your own business affect any kind of pay you're recieving from it??
 
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