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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, I'm new here. I've looked around, but I'm not familiar with the site so if I'm posting this in the wrong section, perhaps it could be moved to the appropriate location. I'll also apologize for being longwinded.

I do extensive remodels to 4 or 5 homes a year. These are almost always 40's/50's pier and beam, 2/1, 3/1 and occasionally 3/2 floorplans. Modest single story houses built in the post war boom with 8' ceilings, gabled roofs and 800 to 1200 square feet. Labor is plentiful and pretty cheap here at about $15/hr for helpers here and $25/hr for more skilled.

I've had a contractor I've worked with for 5 or 6 years continuously and he's as fair and honest as anyone I've ever met. We agree on the required work in packages as we go from start to finish, so we may complete 10 or 12 contracts per job. He and his ever evolving crew work for me 75% of the time and the other 25% is other work he's picked up or that I've referred him to. I give him the time to do other work without complaint because it usually is at a better rate of pay and I want him to do well.

I buy 100% of the materials right down to nails and screws. Every house we do, I struggle with fair labor costs on cement board siding. Leveling, subfloors, framing, roof decking, joist/rafter repair, insulation, sheathing, windows and doors, drywall, texture, RTO cabinets, etc we are dialed in and we almost always agree on contract amounts. From the point of passing the house wrap inspection, to the ready to paint phase is where I struggle.

Using Hardie (sheets with board and batten or planks) I always find myself starting at $4.00 per square foot of exterior including enclosing soffits where they were previously exposed rafter tails. This wouldn't include caulking or painting, just the install of the fiber cement siding, trim, soffit and fascia. I usually request a different treatment somewhere like on a porch or gable to mix it up but nothing that seems to add significant time. At my rate, he would typically have a $4500 week using two helpers with the siding on a typical sized house we do. This always represents the biggest individual contract we do, but he always feels like I'm trying to beat him down on this phase of the work. Like everyone, he hates the dangerous dust, the heavy weight and the expensive blades. He wants to be at $6.00 a foot, so the week long siding job would pay say $7000 when on average our labor costs are typically about $3500 a week when averaged out.

Am I wrong thinking an extra $1000 in labor for the week where he does siding is reasonable versus what he'd be charging if it were any other phase of the project? Also, I farm out plumbing, electrical and mechanical, but he's doing virtually 100% of everything else including composition roofs. This allows him to work 52 weeks a year with regular draws and contract payments constantly. It also allows me obvious benefits as the work is always correct and the inspections are always passed the first time.

Any constructive input is appreciated.
 

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I own stock in FotoMat!
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IBTL.
 

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I own stock in FotoMat!
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In Before The Lock.

Pricing questions are not allowed here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I don't set the labor acquisition rates, I merely employ them. You're a smartass and this forum will apparently be of no use to me. I've wasted my time.
 

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GC
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It seems like the rolls are reversed here. Your contractor tells you how much he want's, and you can accept or reject that amount.
I'd be asking around $10 a square foot for single story work.
 

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Goin' Down in Flames....
Highwayman
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1– We don’t talk pricing here

2-Flippers are about as well-liked as real estate agents around here.

3-This site is for professional contractors only. And flippers ain’t.

4-You would never get even a bid from anyone reputable, and that includes most of the active members here. I would most likely never do any work for a flipper, I certainly don’t allow clients to buy all their own materials, and wouldn’t care less about your perceived SF or weekly pay scale

Im not an hourly employee, and my clients don’t tell me what jobs cost, I tell them.

And anyone who is any good right now is swamped with more work than they can handle, so why he keeps working for you when you lowball him is beyond me.

That’s all I got for you.
See ya. 👍👋
 

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Kowboy
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T:
One of my installers just got a 36% raise because I'm a smart businessman, not because I worry about being a fair guy. Pay up.
 

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So because you keep him busy he should work for employee wages. Pay the man and be happy he is still in business to make you money. Good luck replacing him if he smartens up. Flippers are all the same, do this one for cheap and I have 3 more. No thanks, I can lose money do much better things than your crappy flip.

I'm 20 min north of Boston and flippers here are all but gone. People started to realize the crap quality and these flips started sitting long enough they start loosing money. You are ruining a trade many of us have worked hard at our entire lives. I'll stick with HO's that actually will pay for quality on the biggest investment they own.
 

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Also, you want him to work to the price you figured. Do you give him more when your flip goes for 20k over asking? Kinda funny when these wannabe's want you to lower your price because they are over budget, but never a bonus when they make a killing.
 

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So because you keep him busy he should work for employee wages. Pay the man and be happy he is still in business to make you money. Good luck replacing him if he smartens up. Flippers are all the same, do this one for cheap and I have 3 more. No thanks, I can lose money do much better things than your crappy flip.

I'm 20 min north of Boston and flippers here are all but gone. People started to realize the crap quality and these flips started sitting long enough they start loosing money. You are ruining a trade many of us have worked hard at our entire lives. I'll stick with HO's that actually will pay for quality on the biggest investment they own.
I wouldn't have any problem at all working for a flipper. If they hired me, they're obviously looking for quality work and are willing to pay for it.
The place across the street from me was a flip, I walked it just before it sold and it looked downright acceptable. No idea what disasters are hidden under the drywall, but the finishes were ok.
 

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Goin' Down in Flames....
Highwayman
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You are ruining a trade many of us have worked hard at our entire lives.
👍

Amen

My grandfather, who I never got to work with because he passed away when I was seven years old, was a highly respected building contractor on the east coast.

One of the things he would do is buy an older house and fix it up. This was in the fifties, sixties and seventies.

There was no such thing as a “flipper“. There were carpenters who were exceptional at their trade, and used that skill to make their community a better place.

Can’t stand these TV flipper CkSuckers. 😡
 

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Wow, down right acceptable that's a high mark. I've been saving for 10+ years to start building or flipping. I have the scratch but these wannbe's ruin that middle ground to get your feet wet. I'm going to deliver a home to a family to live in for 20+ years. You do your acceptable work, I'll stick with the upper crust and deliver a product very few can produce. Oh, and my guys get paid holidays, vacation, company boat day at my camp, yearly bonuses ranging 4-8 weeks of pay.,

I'd rather fail doing it right than make a fortune treating people like crap. YMMV.
 

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👍

Amen

My grandfather, who I never got to work with because he passed away when I was seven years old, was a highly respected building contractor on the east coast.

One of the things he would do is buy an older house and fix it up. This was in the fifties, sixties and seventies.

There was no such thing as a “flipper“. There were carpenters who were exceptional at their trade, and used that skill to make their community a better place.

Can’t stand these TV flipper CkSuckers. 😡

Agreed, I worked with an old timer years ago and he did it all. He was from the days that carpenters were the builders, he always said no one on my crew was under paid and if their here they earned it. Those guys were hard and I like to think there are some of us paying them homage.
 

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A skilled man and two helpers, and you want the guy grossing $4,500 per week? That’s peanuts man. Seems flippers don’t know the first thing about operating a real business.

It’s one thing to know your numbers in and out on a single asset with a limited lifespan before you get it off your books.

Way different trying to keep men employed, pay workers comp and general liability, purchase and maintain reliable work trucks to transport reliable tools, pay the phone bill, pay for marketing, etc.

That guy could do wayyyy better without you. And if you’re getting your work done that cheap, you’re probably killing it at the closing. Just pay him what he wants. You need him more than he needs you.

Don’t believe it? Call ten builders in your town and discuss your typical project and see how long they stay on the phone.
 
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