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Discussion Starter #1
I guess I'd technically be considered a sub-contractor. Having said that I am in a local Jr. college enrolled in some construction management courses. My teachers are all General Contractors, working full time day jobs with various positions such as project manager.

One teacher in specific works for a multi-billion dollar GC firm. I would say 85% of his students are subs, like me. Some of the things he says rub me the wrong way because he is speaking from his point of view and many of his comments are spoken with such disregard for a person in the subcontractor position.

Is there no balance between Sub and GC? Why is it most GC's see subs as nothing more than tools like a hammer or screw driver?
 

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Beacause they don't want to be as successfull as possible. It's a power thing for sure.
We sub out floor install work, but I have the utmost respect for our installers, and I make sure I compliment them as much as I can.
My reward? Success......
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Flor though you sub out the occasional job I don;t think you are a GC. I sub out the occasional job, about 30% of our work is subbed... but we aren't GC's. A GC would be people like hatchet that has 100% work subbed. My intention is not to slam hatchet since I think he is the exception to the rule.
 

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We're just a step above (or below depending on how you look at it) we do our own concrete and masonry work - that's beside the real point here though. No reason to hold back anything for my benefit... worse has been done to me :) I understand what you're saying and I hear it all the time from subcontractors that we deal with. I don't know - maybe they cuss me too when they turn around.
 

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Grumpy, you say 'one contractor' and I say that he is a dweeb, probably a college boy that never swung a hammer. Take it as such and don't work for his company as that is likely the attitude that this company takes but I could be wrong. He might jut be an egotistic mustang.
My father was a GC and so is my brother-in-law. My father chose to keep everything in house for quality control. My BIL subs about 80%. Both were/are great people to work for. It is easy to tell by turnover, neither had enough to mention.
I'm a Residential Contractor and lean more towards my fathers way of doing things. I do have a selective list of subs that I can call in as needed. I work high end and the profit margins are somewhat wider but I also insist on the finest workmanship. I only try subs on the referral of one I trust.
As far as attitude goes, I was fortunate in that my father dragged me in through the hawsehole +. He didn't want anyone to think that I recieved any preferential treatment. I cleaned old brick, mixed mortar (in a boat), toted concrete blocks up three flights of stairs (4 at a time), worked at the smith's forge, painted, etc. I know that some of the older guys considered it child abuse but we didn't have that back then. I can sympathize with everybody because I've been there.
I consider it important to work with your friends. Dad used to throw huge BBQ's, everybody invited. I would love to do that but, as you know, budgets are a little tighter these days. We throw one big shebang a year limited to employees and subs immediate families, a few others sneak in as well as some of the neighborhood kids but security would be more expensive than a few extra burgers.
Personally, I can't think of a greater group to hang around with. Construction people are fantastic.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yes Teetor in my area if you have any skill you pretty much stay at the superintendent level. All PM's (Project Managers) for these billion dollar builders are college boys. Not that there is anything wrong with college... They do their jobs better than I could but if you can get a college boy with hands on experience you much better off. Seriously in all of these huge large builder corporations I am famaliar of none have much hands on experience. It's not their job to have hands on experience.

We do work for a GC that builds 2-3 custom homes a year. He does the framing himself and from time to time is a framing sub for guys he knows... I'm not talking about this type of company because they have good roots in their network of subs and everyone kicks work back and forth to one another.

Unfortunately if we break apart GC's from few homes a year to few hundre buildings a year the ones that build a few hundred buildings per year are all like that in my area.

When I have kids I am gonna show them the ropes then fire them. If they want I will pull a string or two to get them a job with one of my colleagues who I know will treat them right. I don't want them knowing only one way of doing things. Also if they decide to get a job at a department store that's great too (were talking teenage here).
 

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That's another thing that the company I work for (right now anyway) does a bit different. Not one of our Project Engineers and above have been hired into that position. We all start as field engineers right beside our craft putting work in place. Many of our superintendents have also come up through the craft as laborers and carpenters - then into the office engineer role to get the money experience and then to superintendent.
I've been trying to get them to look at hiring from the residential framing industry for field engineers but they are still stuck in the mode of hiring college graduates to the field engineer role. I'm one of a handful that actually had prior experience in construction though.
I worked for my old man for many years and like Teetorbilt - I was the lowliest grunt of grunts. I remember hauling 50+ sheets of 5/8" plywood up a ladder to a second story church roof to re-sheath it. He was standing up there making remarks about how they could get it done quicker if "someone" would get plywood to them quicker. I threw a hammer at him and walked off the job. Of course I was back the next day to finish up..haha.
It was a great day when I started my company up and hired him. First question to him "So what are you worth?" Felt pretty good. :)
 

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I guess I'd technically be considered a sub-contractor. Having said that I am in a local Jr. college enrolled in some construction management courses. My teachers are all General Contractors, working full time day jobs with various positions such as project manager.

One teacher in specific works for a multi-billion dollar GC firm. I would say 85% of his students are subs, like me. Some of the things he says rub me the wrong way because he is speaking from his point of view and many of his comments are spoken with such disregard for a person in the subcontractor position.

Is there no balance between Sub and GC? Why is it most GC's see subs as nothing more than tools like a hammer or screw driver?

Couldn't agree more
 

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Personally, I don't see anything wrong with being a sub. Sure, GC's are kinda the 'boss' but we depend so much on subs, that it's not even funny. In essence the subs have got us by the balls! Just today, I was thinking, why don't we just specialize in one thing and be a sub? Life would be a lot simpler, and we'd probably even make the same amount of money.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
R&S perhaps you can tell me why you feel the need to research all of my ancient posts from years past and bring them all back up?

Things have changed ALOT since I first started posting here. This thread was originally posted in February of 2004 when I was an employee.
 

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Wow, I didn't see the time stamp on the original post.
I almost cut loose.
But, for any sub who constantly complains GC's, you ever think that you are the problem?
Most likely GC's who have either cut you loose, or just refuse to keep you busy, or even just refuse to hire you.
Seems like a lot of GC bashing going around lately.
I am not sure if this post was dug up from the grave to bash GC's;
Or it's some sort of childish attempt to ruffle Grumpy.
Either way, it made no sense to bump this one.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Peladu I am willing to discuss this GC vs Sub mentality more in depth while I have been on both sides of the coin many times.

Do I think I am the problem? Yes because when given a "sub contractor agreement" I actually read them before signing. I don't sign anything I don't agree with fully, and most sub agreements are so one sided to favor the GC's it's sickening. In addition I want to get in and get out, I don't want to do a secion, do another section weeks later then come back and do flashings. I have to charge extra for all those visits. See the point is I do things alot different than many subs... I do things my way, not the way the GC wants them done... I think that's why most end up to be bad experiences... however I do have at least two GC's I currently work for that don't even ask for bids anymore and BTW neither of them ever asked me to sign any sub agreement.

Now on the flip side, being that I use alot of subs for the labor I know that a GC must protect themselves. I have also had alot of the same problems with my subs that GC's have had with their subs so now in my experience I more and more understand why GC's turn into these big bad monsters... it's simply a technique of self preservation.

However I respect my subs as I would expect to be respected by any of my own customers. If you go back to my original post you see how I said one of my techers, at the time, was a GC (he's actually dead now) and he spoke with a tone of disregard in his voice when talking about subs. I remember him using words like "I'll just use the time is of the essence clause in the contract if they delay." and that reminded me of a time we were forced to do epdm in the dead of winter because of the time os of the essence clause. They wouldn't take "it's too cold to do this material" for an answer even though I showed them manufacturer specifications.
 

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There's a short list of members whom constantly complain about GC's.
You are not one of them to constantly complain about the GC.
My post above, was not directed toward you.
I also have subs that I will have just go, do a job, and get it done.
On the GC side of it, that is a beautiful thing to have.
Now, does that mean I do not know what I will be charged? No, I have a ballpark
guesstimate to where my trusted sub should be, and in the last two years
have not been surprised yet. I took the time to learn what he wants for
pricing and I am willing to pay it because he does quality work every time.

Now for the ********s who complain about GC's:
Most don't realize that it is kinda like the food chain.
The Client is the GC's customer, and the GC's the Subs customer.
Should do what it takes to make your customer happy.
The only time I go 'head to head' with a sub is when they do not produce
to the level of quality promised by them, either verbal or written.

I think that some of these subs here are actually hacks, and have a hard time 'getting in bed with' a reputable GC, and feel it's the
GC's fault.
 

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Hey my tag line .... the one that means the same as arseclown has been added to the naughty list.

Darn, and I just copyrighted it.:laughing:
 

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Most don't realize that it is kinda like the food chain.
The Client is the GC's customer, and the GC's the Subs customer.
Should do what it takes to make your customer happy.


I think that some of these subs here are actually hacks, and have a hard time 'getting in bed with' a reputable GC, and feel it's the
GC's fault.
I agree completely. I am a sub and I expect to do what it takes to make my customer, the GC, happy so I get hired again and good referrals. Just as it is the GC's job to make sure everything is done up to spec and with good quality for the customer, the homeowner.

I also agree that many of the subs are hacks. Which makes it hard for people like myself, who are small, and are worried about quality over quantity.
 

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Part of the problem is that there are hundreds of different ways to handle a client and it takes trial and error to reach just the right relationship. Once a GC has a good thing going with a client, bringing on subs introduces new methods and practices that are guaranteed to be different which, from the GC point of view, is a sub not being in line.

Example:

I have a large institutional client who pays well but we know will drop in at the last minute with unexpected changes. I've been through this time and again and know it is coming and how to deal with it to please them. One of the subs, however, finishing a hard day's work when a big-wig walks the space may overhear a comment about making a change and the next thing I know tools are down until an RFI is resolved... now it is GC vs. sub and...

The client is annoyed that work stops and may delay last month's req
The sub has put in an RFI about the location of XYZ
The architect is asking the client for $ to make a change

..and so on..
 

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R&S perhaps you can tell me why you feel the need to research all of my ancient posts from years past and bring them all back up?

Things have changed ALOT since I first started posting here. This thread was originally posted in February of 2004 when I was an employee.
I'm pretty new here. When I have time I have been doing allot of searching of old posts. I thought that is part of what this site is about. Why store all the old threads if they are not to be searched or commented on?

Just happened to agree with you on this Grumpy:thumbsup:
 

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A lot of what is said about GC's has much to do with company size....I am a GC, and I treat my guys and subs with the same respect I get...if a sub has an attitude with me...hey!..this is America, we don't force anyone to work for me. Matter of fact, when sub makes a mistake, I don't remember it being a pass the buck issue for me...it is my project and job, and the buck(s) stop in front of me.....
 
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