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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It's often said to work smarter and not harder.

And of course it's a good thing to do that.

What would you say are examples of working smarter and not harder in construction?

I'm thinking maybe

1. Know your cost of doing business, and charge accordingly.
2. Treat your good 'A' clients like gold and let your bad 'C' ones go.
3. Get help to do the work that doesn't require your skill.
4. Pay taxes and bills on time and have the money ready, that way don't pay for credit or penalties.
5. Have an end goal in mind and don't retire broke.
6????
 

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Accidental Painter
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2,292 Posts
In Painting:
Roll, Don't brush
Spray & backroll, dont just roll
Use your head, there's always an easier way to do something

Power sand, don't hand sand
Use power tools period over hand tools

Cleanup is the same:

Shovel trash into a bag, not by hand
Sweep in a pattern that wont push your dust over a spot you already swept

Just a few off the top of my head.
 

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The Ultimate Wire Hider
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4,455 Posts
1. Label all of your head-end wires even if you are 100% sure what they do and/or what they are for.

2. If you don't have all of your parts, tools, supplies, equipment, etc. for a particular task, still do everything you possibly can while on site so that it's a few less things to do when you come back to it. Like if I am installing Cat 5 and coax jacks, if the framing, drywall, paint, etc. is not finished by the time I'm ready to come back and trim, I'll terminate the jacks, wrap them in plastic and then all I have to do is pop the jacks into the plates.

3. Wear a shirt with a pocket.

4. Don't push your drill. Use a sharp bit and let the drill do the work.

5. Always have something to write with.
 

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Pro
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2,138 Posts
Minimize your trips to-and-fro.

For example:

FRAMING:

- You can minimize your trips to the saw, by writing down all the cuts you need to make. Cut and bring back as much as you can carry.

- Gang cut multiple rips or crosscuts of plywood.

- Take the time to make a "pattern" for studs and rafters of 10 or more.

- Keep a garbage can by the cut station. When you bend over to grab the saw, grab a couple scraps and toss 'em into the can.
( Saves on end of the day cleanup ).

TRIM CARPENTRY:

- If it's feasible, place the miter saw in a central location.

- After the doors are hung, mark the reveals and cut as many legs of the casing you can decipher from the "chicken scratch". Left hand miters, then move the saw...
right hand miters. Install.
( I already know this is gonna stir the pot...)
Now cut all the heads and install.

- Make a cut list of baseboard. Write it down. ( LH SP LP - SP cp. 104 5/8") ,or whatever shorthand works for you. Go to the saw and cut it. This works for shoe as well.

- Keep a can by the miter saw. Most off cuts are short and sit on the plate. Throw it out before you move the cut piece off the saw.

- Leave all your glue in returns until the end. At that point you will have enough scrap to make multiple first miters in sever different pieces without moving the saw.

( It occurred to me as I was composing this, I may have dumbed it down too much. )

- Scott

P.S.: Working at heights to follow...
 

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The Ultimate Wire Hider
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4,455 Posts
When I'm working in one spot for an extended period of time, e.g. replacing a window or trimming out an electrical service panel, or cleaning out the truck, I'll use a small folding table to eliminate the need to pick things up off of the ground.

The less I have to bend over to pick something up, the easier and more enjoyable the task at hand will be.
 

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When I'm working in one spot for an extended period of time, e.g. replacing a window or trimming out an electrical service panel, or cleaning out the truck, I'll use a small folding table to eliminate the need to pick things up off of the ground.

The less I have to bend over to pick something up, the easier and more enjoyable the task at hand will be.
That is one of the best things that I learned. :thumbsup:
 

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Contractor of the Month
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Always keep a power bar in the truck, you will always be short one outlet.
 

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I own stock in FotoMat!
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One difficult concept that a lot of people have problems grasping is how to efficiently stage and work a one day project.

Let's say it will take you 6 trips in and out to get everything into the job site for the day.

Do not make 6 trips first thing upon arrival. Take two or three trips to get what you needed to get started. Then by the time you're done with some of your tools and/or material, you can take it out and get the next tool or material that you need.

So instead of making 6 trips in the morning and 6 trips at the end of the day, you only make 7 or 8 trips during the course of the day.
 

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Contractor of the Month
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One difficult concept that a lot of people have problems grasping is how to efficiently stage and work a one day project.

Let's say it will take you 6 trips in and out to get everything into the job site for the day.

Do not make 6 trips first thing upon arrival. Take two or three trips to get what you needed to get started. Then by the time you're done with some of your tools and/or material, you can take it out and get the next tool or material that you need.

So instead of making 6 trips in the morning and 6 trips at the end of the day, you only make 7 or 8 trips during the course of the day.
I completely disagree, break down your tasks, unload everything at the start then get to work. If you don't you will attempt to do something with the tools and materials you have already unloaded instead of going back to the truck to get the proper item. Instead of going to the truck you will distract yourself with other things that need to get done and switch tasks instead of focusing on one at a time.

People work more efficiently when they break down tasks into their finest elements, say you have a bundle of 20 wires that need connectors terminated. It's faster to strip every wire, then install every connector than it is to do one at a time. Not only are you swapping tools less the fast repetition allows you to increase your speed in doing the task.
 

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Particulate Filter
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4,430 Posts
When you get busy, thats the most important time to stoo and think ahead as far as possible.

Ie look at your schedule for the month and take a day, like sunday or saturday or monday morning and buy everything you needbfor the month. Stock the truck. Put all your tools where they belong. Sharpen blades literally and figuratively. You will saves days over the course of the month looking for tools, buying supplies, drivi g cross town because you forgot x etc...
 

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I own stock in FotoMat!
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12,968 Posts
I completely disagree, break down your tasks, unload everything at the start then get to work. If you don't you will attempt to do something with the tools and materials you have already unloaded instead of going back to the truck to get the proper item. Instead of going to the truck you will distract yourself with other things that need to get done and switch tasks instead of focusing on one at a time.

People work more efficiently when they break down tasks into their finest elements, say you have a bundle of 20 wires that need connectors terminated. It's faster to strip every wire, then install every connector than it is to do one at a time. Not only are you swapping tools less the fast repetition allows you to increase your speed in doing the task.
You've completely missed the concept. If you're trying to do a portion of the job with the wrong tool, you're already inefficient and nothing is going to help you.

What is so bad about taking 6 or 7 trips instead of 12?


The OP is asking about being efficient. That's exactly what this method does.

And as stated, most people just cannot wrap their heads around the concept and will, like you, typically and automatically discount it.
 

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Head Light Bulb Changer
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847 Posts
1) Put on your schedule to take the time weekly to keep your truck clean, organized, and stocked with the misc consumables (drill bits, saw blades, nails/screws, pencils, etc).

2) Small folding table to keep the little things on.

3) Trash can by cut station. I have a piece of semi-ridgid plastic you roll up and slip a trash bag over. Let go of the roll and it expands, making a trash can.

4) Work from the top down. You're less worn out if you're not going up and down stairs at the end of the job. Don't laugh, I see it all the time - Guys finishing the main level and then doing the upper levels.

5) Hire somebody to do the grunt work. I can hire day laborers for $10-$12 an hour. They're generally lazy and slow, but I'm not humping materials, wearing me out for the day.

Probably more things I do, but that's off the top of my head.
 

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[QUOTE

5) Hire somebody to do the grunt work.

[/QUOTE]

That's the big one for me, don't waste your precious time and energy doing bonehead work, hire a bonehead to do it instead.
 

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Wear a tool belt

I know it's simple, but do many people often go without wearing one and end up not having the tool they need at the ready.

Carry spring loaded nail sets so as to not piss off the painter.

Wear comfortable shoes/boots, etc.

Work safe. Working risky and unsafe can have a HUGE devastating set-back and possibly career ending. Take a minute to think of the safe way to do something.

Practice slow to get fast. With confidence and ability, come speed.
 

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Contractor of the Month
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Wear a tool belt

I know it's simple, but do many people often go without wearing one and end up not having the tool they need at the ready.

Carry spring loaded nail sets so as to not piss off the painter.

Wear comfortable shoes/boots, etc.

Work safe. Working risky and unsafe can have a HUGE devastating set-back and possibly career ending. Take a minute to think of the safe way to do something.

Practice slow to get fast. With confidence and ability, come speed.
I don't wear a belt and I'm as inefficient as all heck hahahhahaha.
 
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