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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
We are slammed right now, thankfully, and have been busy for the most part for the last 2 years other than last January and February.

In this last few years, we have had to change subs periodically because of reaction time. Is this normal in remodeling? The last new custom we built was in 2011, these are all remodels, commercial TIs and boat docks.

My main issue is with MEPs. In Texas, these are licensed trades. My men cant do them.

During remodels, we often run into plumbing and electrical issues that are unforeseen, but we budget for contingency. My problem is my sparky and plumber are always a few days out. I am not willing to shut down a remodel and jeopardize my schedule for the wait. I generally call the next guy on my list from the HBA when I get a negative response.

I am not upset with the sub, I just need the work done so I can move forward. I always recommend my subs to other builders, and provide a good deal of work to them. I dont use multiple bids for my trades in my bids unless im looking for a new sub. I use my guys numbers. In short I am loyal to my subs as long as they are taking care of me.

What happens is my #2 becomes my #1 because I feel it isnt right to award my good projects to one sub while one is going out of his way for me. Ive changed electricians twice in 3 years because of this, and plumbers once. I dont hold it against them, I just dont see any other way on my end other than screwing my client. To be fair, I am not a handyman, but I will send my painter to their jobs when then need a patch done for their clients.

Now my sparkie is taking care of me, he often works late to knock out surprise events. Im not talking about I forgot. I am not perfect, but I am a good scheduler. I expect an after hours bill. Im talking about I tear down a wall on a 2 week remodel and their are wires coming up through the floor unexpectedly and I cant just cap them temporarily.

My plumber is always three days out. My #2 is busy but is making time for me. I have a custom my dad is designing, and half a dozen additions and as many remodels on the books. Im leaning towards #2 for the bids. He has been getting my crap work for 6 months. His capabilities and knowledge and excellent and on par with #1, and his pricing as good.

It sucks, because #1 is now a friend and has always been trustworthy. I know he will be upset. But business is business. I will make my decision based on my own situation, but thought id ask how other GCs handle this?

Sure was a lot easier when we were just doing new. My dad had the same subs for decades.
 

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Both sides need to have some flexibility. Sometimes a loyal sub will rush over and take care of a few things to keep the ball rolling. Scheduling conflicts do occur though, and having backups is a must. Honesty is also mandatory. If I know I can't fit a job in, I will tell them upfront so they can move on. You can only handle so much work at a time.

It seems that with things picking up again, that this will become a huge issue for subs and GC's alike. I picked up a few new GC's in the last couple years, and now my old connections and new ones are all gearing up for a big spring. I know that not all of these jobs will pan out, but even if half do, things are gonna get hectic. I am not one to hire a bunch of new guys only to lay them off later. I will just be honest when the time comes.
 

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Being extra proactive on your part may help the situation some.

The days you know your doing blind demo, get in touch with your sparky's and see what their availability is.
 

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I know this will cause some to write me off as a hack or something, but if I need to cap some water lines or move some wires or some such to keep the job going, I get 'er done.

Plumber or electrician can then come at their convenience in the next day or two and tie it all up nicely, and I haven't sat around waiting for them.
 

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I have an electrician that I have solely used for the last 2 years. His prices have always been fair and he's usually quick to get to me. I always pay when he's finished and I even refer people to him.

But.... the last few months he's been too busy I guess. He put me off for 2 weeks on a bathroom addition even after I gave him 2 weeks advance notice. I asked him to give me a bid on a clinic and he gave me a rough per square ft number that had a $2 difference. I asked if he could give me an exact price and all he said was its kind of hard to say. Well sorry bud but someone else is getting the job because they'll give me a number.
 

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I know this will cause some to write me off as a hack or something, but if I need to cap some water lines or move some wires or some such to keep the job going, I get 'er done.

Plumber or electrician can then come at their convenience in the next day or two and tie it all up nicely, and I haven't sat around waiting for them.
In practice, I'm not sure of your code enforcement and practical issues.

But around here, a good sparky that knows you will often understand and let you do necessary electrical, subject to his inspection...

Not sure of the legal ramifications... just the practical
 

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MTN REMODEL LLC said:
In practice, I'm not sure of your code enforcement and practical issues. But around here, a good sparky that knows you will often understand and let you do necessary electrical, subject to his inspection... Not sure of the legal ramifications... just the practical
I'm mostly just concerned with the practical. Where the legal is illogical and impractical, I skirt around it as best I can. I try to use common sense, and if a dollar's waiting on a nickels worth of electrician or plumbing work, I do it and move on.

This is only in instances where I'm sure of what's going on and how it needs to be done per code. Usually these things are pretty straight forward. If it's something I don't understand or am not sure of, I leave it for the proper sub.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I know this will cause some to write me off as a hack or something, but if I need to cap some water lines or move some wires or some such to keep the job going, I get 'er done.

Plumber or electrician can then come at their convenience in the next day or two and tie it all up nicely, and I haven't sat around waiting for them.
Nothing hack about it :no: Do it all the time, have an electrical bag and plumbing bag in my truck. I just dont leave my shark bite or caps on, the sub does the real work.

Im talking about we gut a bath room or tear out a stair well and we have wires crossing under the bench seat or a bend in the stairs. Or eroded copper. I now have a gutted bathroom and cant move forward with the next step until it is resolved so I can cover it up. Sorry if I wasnt clear.

As to being proactive, we generally are doing demo every week. We do a lot of small projects like bathrooms while we have a few longer term remodels going. I dont think it would do any good, but it is a good point.
 

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you cant wait 3 days for your plumber?? what???

I think its could be a scheduling/planning issue on your part

my GC's demo whatever it is then its my turn....any extra's are handled along with the rough plumbing....they tell me immediately so I can slightly adjust my schedule for more time....I require 7 days notice for any remodel

if something comes up and im busy id be offended if they would hire someone else because I cant jump today.....waiting 3 days shouldn't be that big of a deal...delays happen all the time...so your project is delayed 3 days or 7 days....it happens....you run into something unexpected and the homeowner should understand it takes time to correct....as the scope of the project increases so does the time schedule

if someone hits a pipe with a drywall screw and needs me now I always find time for a quick 30 minute repair....that kind of emergency has to be done the same day....but reworking the pipes due to opening up a soffit or similar shouldn't need immediate response.

I DO think your electrician telling you to wait 14 days is not correct...I put my limit at 7 days....if im booked out more I need to start working OT and weekends.....
 

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i have 3 subs for each trade that i call on the one that is frist to show up dose it on remodel work. on new homes the low bid gets the job. i have used the same subs for most of my time on my own the thing now is we are all getting older and slower and we know it
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I schedule every sub and my own personel well in advance of the project for their known tasks. I use Project and the Critical Path method. I just scheduled my wood floor guy for a job I havent even started.

3 days is a big deal when you are leaving someones bathroom gutted, home disturbed, and my crew is sitting idle dor I am scrambling to keep them going somewhere else, as well as rescheduling all subs. Lol. If its a big job, no big deal, ill make up the time and there is contingency time built in. A bathroom? There is no wasted time, both for profitability, reputation and client service.

Just my way of seeing it.
 

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I have GC's that flip baths in 2 weeks

others take 2 months (and do beautiful work)

if something comes up extra I don't see the big deal in it taking 21 days instead of 14...its not like 99% of them don't have a 2nd full bath...

I see your point about it pushing off your other subs and causing further delays.

I think not being willing to wait 3 days as being an issue with you..not your subs...no one can live up to that expectation...maybe your electrician can, but most likely he must be slow and sitting around waiting for work....any good sub. is scheduled 7-14 days out.....if not, he's not very successful...they don't make $$ sitting around waiting for your emergency call....

there are companies out there to handle emergencies same day...they charge double/triple and actually DO have guys sitting in a chair waiting for your phone call.....

lower your expectations and keep 1 plumber....if he cant show up within 7 days of your notice then fire him and find another...don't fire him because he cant come today....eventually no one will meet that expectation....that's what your finding out aren't you?
 

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ive had constant remodeling at my house....not 1 project finished on schedule...something always happens...there's always days w/ no one here

its how remodeling is...and I understood it....all my major projects were 30+ days extended...I think my kitchen/living room redo was 60+ days past due

had my garage ceiling raised for a car lift...took them 1 week extra for no reason....now give the customer a reason and they will understand the extra week...
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I have GC's that flip baths in 2 weeks

others take 2 months (and do beautiful work)

if something comes up extra I don't see the big deal in it taking 21 days instead of 14...its not like 99% of them don't have a 2nd full bath...

I see your point about it pushing off your other subs and causing further delays.

I think not being willing to wait 3 days as being an issue with you..not your subs...no one can live up to that expectation...maybe your electrician can, but most likely he must be slow and sitting around waiting for work....any good sub. is scheduled 7-14 days out.....if not, he's not very successful...they don't make $$ sitting around waiting for your emergency call....

I appreciate your input and view point. I would feel the same way, I am sure. As it is, I may not be big time but I got to where I am by making deadlines, that is a big reason I would imagine why we are booked into the fall. Most GCs here suck at it :no:

I see the schedule as a guideline, a pattern, not a set thing. The end date is what is important. I am pretty good about making up time when they cant do it, and am pretty creative with moving stuff around to accommodate them when they are behind. But for small jobs, I am already no where near the speedy Gonzales that some of these guys are, I need the schedule to stay on track, and it will.

If I was a big PITA I work with I doubt anyone would be upset if I switched right?
 

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im always upset anytime a GC moves on.....I give them the best service, so I know price is almost always the reason.....some come back in a few months...most just keep moving on and on...never finding a permanent plumber

I mix friendship and business whenever I can...so that's why I take it personally when they hire a new plumber and stop calling me....I remember every one of them that did

ive had GC's that needed my help same day...id run and fix their leaks...often not charging them to be nice....ive gotten them jobs from my service customers.......then when my price doesn't look good anymore they dump me without even telling me...this has happened over and over....it always bugs me for weeks....I give them everything and in return they throw me out with the trash...not even worth the phone call to explain it to me.....this is why I have little respect for most (not all) GC's....and believe 50%+ are corrupt/scammers on some level...its taken me years to finally have great gc's to work with....ive worked with most of the now for 5-8 years.....if they dumped me because I couldn't show up within 3 days for a non-emergency(flood) I would be upset/hurt.......we are friends that work together as much as GC and Subcontractor.......this is the relationship your not getting by dumping subs often....your not going to find who you are looking for...if you do today, you will not as soon as they are busy
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
ive had constant remodeling at my house....not 1 project finished on schedule...something always happens...there's always days w/ no one here

its how remodeling is...and I understood it....all my major projects were 30+ days extended...I think my kitchen/living room redo was 60+ days past due

had my garage ceiling raised for a car lift...took them 1 week extra for no reason....now give the customer a reason and they will understand the extra week...
That to me is the wrong attitude, in my thinking. Dont get me wrong, stuff happens all the time, but a pro wont get caught with his shorts down often. Its called fore thought and planning. I am not saying I am NEVER late, but SIXTY days? Forget referrals and future work :no: I dont advertise. All WOM. I need those referrals. :laughing:

Now if I only knew which sub I would need for the unforeseen conditions :laughing:

Unless its a MAJOR unforeseen that would never happen to us. I come from a commercial background with liquidated damages for late deadlines. :eek:
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
im always upset anytime a GC moves on.....I give them the best service, so I know price is almost always the reason.....some come back in a few months...most just keep moving on and on...never finding a permanent plumber

I mix friendship and business whenever I can...so that's why I take it personally when they hire a new plumber and stop calling me....I remember every one of them that did
Yeah, I am pretty close to most of my subs. The plumber is a hunting buddy.


They are the same price range, one is just gone out on his own not to long ago though.25 years experience though in the trade.

I dont know, it sucks. Be cool to find a retired sparky and plumber that just wants some occasional repairs :laughing:

We will see what happens.
 

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It seems like there are many ways to approach this, and the client should always be in the loop.

Option A: Schedule the MEPs to arrive as demo is completed and they get paid for their visit even if there's no work to be done.

Option B: Client saves a few hundred bucks, and it's written into the contract that the project may go on hold for a few days if unexpected plumbing or electrical issues are discovered.

My clients frequently give positive feedback based on me advising them in advance of almost all possible situations. No one likes surprises.
 
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
It seems like there are many ways to approach this, and the client should always be in the loop.

Option A: Schedule the MEPs to arrive as demo is completed and they get paid for their visit even if there's no work to be done.

Option B: Client saves a few hundred bucks, and it's written into the contract that the project may go on hold for a few days if unexpected plumbing or electrical issues are discovered.

My clients frequently give positive feedback based on me advising them in advance of almost all possible situations. No one likes surprises.
Communication is key.

Which way do your clients generally lean?
 

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John, are you saying that you've committed to a sub at the beginning of a job and then because of schedule reasons you'll switch mid-project?
 
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