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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

This is my 1st post on the site. I have been lurking for a couple weeks and decided to come on board.

I am 24, currently enrolled in HVAC and have about 8 months to go. In addition to that I am in the process of rehabbing my 1st house. All this with a 9-5 job as a customer service rep. for the Chicago Tribune Newspaper.

I have come to a crossroads and need a little help with the direction I should follow. I like this HVAC stuff, but I got into is becuase of the idea of haveing a good job in the trades. However, I have heard that the industry is really tough and that there are alot of "Hacks" driving good compaines into the ground and smaller ones are unable to compete with the low prices and bad jobs these moonlighters are doing.

With that said. Rehabbing is the business I have wanted to get into for a long time and it has been a fun experience. So fun that once this project wraps up next week, I'm looking for another one. I feel kind of guilty having so much fun doing this and going to school for HVAC.

I really don't have any construction experience but I have kinda played GC for this project arranging all the subs and making sure they were on time and so forth, anyway, I am very interested in the Gen. Contractor thing, so much so I have contacted the city of Chicago to get info on getting lic. with the city.

But again, what should I do, follow my heart and be a Lic. GC for my rehabs and maybe do some Kit & BA remodeling, or after I finish school (not an option, tution is already paid in full) start a HVAC business and try to compete with the "Hacks"?

Any help would be appreciated,
Stewart*Chicago :Thumbs:
 

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Stewart,
I think there are "hacks" in most any line of building. There are CG hacks, plumbing hacks, and every other kind you can imagine. The key in my mind is not to be one and let my reputation speak for me. Being faily new in the business myself I don't a large folling yet but it is growing. I try to give the customer what they want, great quality and just be honest. Simple is the way I think. Any business should follow these basics and will make out OK. Especially if you really enjoy what your doing. Like you said is seems almost to good because you have fun doing it.
Follow your heart and not someone elses. You will be in your 50s before you realize it and it is a bit harder then. :)
 

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Stewart, I have a blast remodeling. In particular I like the snowbirds that are gone all summer and come back to something totally new, it's just fun to watch their faces.
Paul's right about there being hacks in every trade and you can extend that into every profession. Your best bet would be to get some more experience under your belt and ask lots of questions.
Here's a few sites to get you started.
http://www.nari.org/
http://www.nahb.org/
http://www.hbagc.com/index.cfm
 

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Stewart,
Hey fellow Chicagoan. Lot of chicago guys on here, we should get our own room in these forums. :) Anyway, why not do both? Plenty of contractors I know do rehabs on the side. Having the HVAC gig will keep you plugged into the scene where you can constantly watch the quality of works that subs are doing. Then when you are doing your own projects, you know exactly who to call.

Tim

BTW - Stewart, what are you doing tomorrow evening (no not a date, shut up Grumpy :) )? The Chicago Chapter of NARI is having a meeting in Schaumburg. It would be a good greet, meet and network opportunity for you. As a nonmember it would be $70 (well spent, imho). Let me know if you want to go and I'll get more info for you.

Outside of NARI, I also go to monthly meetings with a group of real estate investors. Lots of investment/rehab action going on there. They do a very good "power networking" session. That one's free to try out. I can give you details on that as well.
 

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Stewart*Chicago said:
I am 24, currently enrolled in HVAC and have about 8 months to go. I like this HVAC stuff, but I got into is becuase of the idea of haveing a good job in the trades. I have heard that the industry is really tough and that there are alot of "Hacks".
Every industry has hacks. Some hacks are just more sophisticated than others, wear more expensive clothes and belong to country clubs. Don't let the existence of hacks deter you from persuing a passion.

Stewart*Chicago said:
With that said. Rehabbing is the business I have wanted to get into for a long time and it has been a fun experience. So fun that once this project wraps up next week, I'm looking for another one. I feel kind of guilty having so much fun.
I can't remember...how long is a long time when your 24? A year? Two? One thing I remember vividly about being 24 is that I NEVER fely guilty about having any amount of fun (and I had way more than my share)

Stewart*Chicago said:
I really don't have any construction experience. I am very interested in the Gen. Contractor thing, so much so I have contacted the city of Chicago to get info on getting lic. with the city.
Get experience. Find some kind of office job (plan room helper, beginning estimator, courier, etc.) with a good GC in your area and pay close attention to what goes on. Get in early, work smart, volunteer, ask questions, leave late. If GC'ing is what you want to do then it's the organizational, administrative, project management stuff you need to learn. Lot's of succesful GC's don't have a whole lot of first hand trade experience, but they know how to assemble good teams and manage the work. Learn as much as you can over the next 6 years while working for someone good. In year 4 start writing a good business plan and finish it by year 5. In year six assemble the resources you'll need to go it on your own when your 30. In the mean time, if your unmarried, staying single will afford you a lot more opportunity to fulfill your business desires.

Stewart*Chicago said:
But again, what should I do, follow my heart and be a Lic. GC for my rehabs and maybe do some Kit & BA remodeling, or after I finish school (not an option, tution is already paid in full) start a HVAC business
When you go to McDonald's do you get a Big Mac or fries? When you go to the beer store do you buy beer of Slim Jims? When you go out on a boat do you fish or drink beer? BOTH! Do BOTH! The best GC's specialize in some aspect of the work - be it foundations, or framing, tenant work or MEP. There's no reason you can't be a GC and run an HVAC shop to boot.
 

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Have you actually bought, rehabbed and sold yet or are you just finishing up the first one? If you can make a profit at rehabbing, I would recommend setting your goals on doing it full time. There is nothing more rewarding than rehabbing if you can make money at it. If you are able to repeat this over and over again you will become extremely wealthy. The hardest part is being able to buy them right, if you are able to do it I wouldn't consider anything else.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you all for your posts. They have helped me out alot. Tim, please send me the info to those meetings you bought up. Mike, I did pick up a great deal and we'll be done installing carpet and hardwood floors and a few punchout items then we'll be completely finished. This will be a refi and rent, I will be able to pull out about $17K. For a month worth of work it's almost criminal to make that much, but I'm not complaining.
 
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