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I've got about every forum found for my drag racing stuff, and finally found this for my construction biz:)

Looks to be some great information and for once useful info from guys in the feild. Got started tinkering in construction when I was 12yrs old helping grandfather, stayed by his side until was out of HS and then at 18yrs old went on my own subcontracting, mainly doing the typical windows and siding routine and selling what I could on the side. After seeing how customers were being treated by shady salesman I knew i could offer a personal touch and not make the homie feel like they got the short end, not to mention I really wanted to get into building, ground up type projects, instead of focusing on 1 aspect.

So in Jan of 2000 partner and I started this business, by that fall I bought him out and it's been growing slowly ever sense. I never started this business with a take over the world goal/mentality, I enjoy this type of work and meeting the homeowners, but it's merely a way to support my habit...Dragracing :Thumbs:

This year however I want to focus on growing/expanding so I have a retirement plan so to speak, and all the advise I've read so far here gives me great hope that '05 will be an even better year!! Eventually want to start building a few specs homes a year, but for now the little stuff is keeping us busy.
 

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Glasshousebltr: We're pretty close, Waterloo here, but I'm sure the economy around your area is in better shape than ours over here. We've got Deeres and the basic menality round these parts..."that cost waay too much" when you submit a bid. I cant even begin to tell you some of the garbage I hear talking with my electrical/plumbing subs on how they got shafted by customers either just flat out not paying or paying what they(customer) thought it was worth :evil: Personally been shafted about $7K over the yrs but that's miniscule from stories I've heard. Yet these same customers when they go to sell something, you'd think it was diamond encrusted gold plated. I've lost numerious jobs for less than $100 difference coming from referrals off my previous customer base. Even with the knowledge they'll get more than they're paying for, the "bottom line" is literally all they care about. I'm almost to the point of wanting to half ass jobs like the guys behind me come in and bid to get it-since they indeed get it. Nobody cares if things are done to prevent future incident if it's gonna cost them a little extra.

Here's a point in case-my grandfathers neighbor whom I grew up next to my entire life wanted his garage sided, I gave him a heck of a deal with quality material and figured on capping everything as the job should. He went with a different guy that was $50 cheaper...SERIOUSLY... and all that guy did was side it. Went to Menards and got the cheapest siding, installed no soffit or fascia and did'nt cap the windows/OHD's. Very frustrating over here to say the least. Currently no marketing in place so to speak of, yellow page ad, but almost all my jobs come word of mouth so at least most of these folks trust in me and keep me busy when it's warm. Just would like to get myself in a spot where I can create my own work and use outside customers to fill in so to speak. This year I've set a goal of trying a few marketing ideas and see how that goes, talked with a few salesmen-I personally could'nt sell water in
africa ;) but the cut that they wanted seemed steep IMO, 2 of them wanted 60% of the profit?? Is that normal and how in the world can anybody make a living paying out that much even though I've seen what salesmen are capible of when I used to sub-try intsalling a picture window sash, 30minutes work and had to pick up a check from the homie for $1800, my cost on that sash back then would've been $238-that will always stick with me, then I got paid a flat rate of $35 back then to install it.

Nathan, other day I was hell bent on finding a true contractor forum where guys like us talk. As luck would have it I typed "contractor forum" into Goggle and this place was listed at the very top!!

Biggest thing that got my attention was sharing of marketing tactics since this is our weakest link right now. We stay busy all summer then work always fades off once it's gets close to the hoidays. So I really want to start overbooking our schedule to have some work to spread out further into the year, usually snow removal carries us, but anymore that's even getting slim with lack of decent snow fall the past couple yrs.

Got many many customers who want basment remodels, and I always tell them if they wait till winter I can give them alot better deal, and it never fails, once they have time to think about it, they always say "I think we're going to wait until next year" How many times have we all heard that one? LOL

Josh
 

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Waterloo uh Josh? I did a roof over there in 97. I can't remember the customers name.

As far as sales commission, what I've seen is 20 to 25% if the salesman provides his own lead, 15 to 20% if the company provides. Thats just what I've seen.......counter point: over many years.

Bob
 

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Welcome from sunny So. FL!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Glasshousebltr said:
Waterloo uh Josh? I did a roof over there in 97. I can't remember the customers name.

As far as sales commission, what I've seen is 20 to 25% if the salesman provides his own lead, 15 to 20% if the company provides. Thats just what I've seen.......counter point: over many years.

Bob

Hate to take over my own intro thread and switch topics so I apologize LOL;) Just be sure to mail me the Dr bill for listening to my rants!!

Those percentages were exactly what I was thinking in my own mind while I spoke with these guys. I would have no problem with that type rate if it brought work in to pay for it. Now do these salesmen get paid after the contract is signed, or after the job is completed?

I'm reluctant to use a salesman since IMO it changes everything because now I'm talking to the homeowners telling them exactly what they're getting and how it's going to happen, where as all the salesmen I've been in contact with have little to no experience in the feild and sell customers anything they want to hear and it often becomes problematic once work begins since the homeowners will say "well he said this and he said that" and often times what was said is totally irrelavent to what's even taking place. Now the customer is paying a larger sum of money and will try to use what the salesman said as a lever to not pay or reduce the bill. As a whole I've been pretty fortunate thus far at getting paid and I hate to have that change.

If any of you have experience using an "outside" salesman please offer any advise in how you worked it out so all parties were happy. I do not want to lose my reputation and have my integrity questioned while trying to grow my business.

On a side note since you were over here roofing, years ago (a year before I registerd this name) there was a quick start up Iowa Home Improvement down in southern IA. when they had hail damage I guess, and they did alot of roof repairs. I did not know this until after signing up with the BBB I started receiving phone calls from unhappy customers wanting me to fix their roof! Try explaining to people 2 hrs away that even though your name is the same there's no affiation and you have no idea what they're talking about LOL!! Made for an interesting yr and sometimes the calls came at the right time to make me laugh while also feeling sorry for them, even offered my services to drive 2hr and "take a look for a nominal fee" but I just got laughed at??:) I felt bad because they would ask "well what should we do now?"


ProWallGuy: We're north of you-roughly 6hrs north:p Wife and I went down there (St. Louis) yrs ago for our honey moon, the 6 lane hwys were too much for my "small town" butt ;) And as always, whenever i'm in a new town away from home, I ALWAYS seem to find the "bad" end of town when I get lost!! LOL, Wife was very uncomfortable where we were at the first night when trying to find the hotel....and so was I....just tried not to let her know!LOL

Teeterbilt, Glad you made it through the storms! sounds like it got rocky down there, but you came out of it and are still going so that's great. I kept waiting for the lumber prices up here to start rising in reflection of all the damage down there, but luckily we never seen it. Kept waiting for the "Iraqi lumber scandal" to happen all over again. Love your area, been there a few times to Walt Disney World and then later for a cruise. Beer is expensive down there at the hotel-$7/bottle :eek: but the scenery was NICE!!! if ya know what I mean ;) All we gots is corn fed women in these here parts LOL!!
 

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If he's a good saleman he can survive of his percentage on amount paid thus far, don't forget about customers 3 day right to rescission. Until your operation gets to the size you can handle a salesman with a high closing percentage, I'd work with him any way you can.

As far as "The saleman said", .....have a work to be performed section in your contract, then live by it, and make sure your salesman understands that.

Bob
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks Bob, good advise. Just very leery and trying to cover all my bases since I've seen first hand how quickly things can get out of hand. But I guess with anything else communication is key so I'll just try to cover everything I can think of up front and then deal with whatever pops up later.

Josh
 
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