This book should be required reading for every builder and tradesmen in America. Jim Fleming, carpenter/GC 40+ years

Sunday, April 15, 2018

three bids

Industry lore says to get three bids for every trade on every project, but on small to mid-sized jobs and those that need to begin quickly (water or fire damage, for example), this is often impractical: the job is too small to interest subs, getting bids takes more time than it’s worth, or the bidding process pushes the start date too far away. The alternatives are either to have relationships with subs you trust and use them on a less formal basis—time and materials, cost-plus, or a ballpark estimate, for example—or to learn to estimate for the trades on small projects. EOB, Subcontractor Notes

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Sunday, April 01, 2018

product credit

Clients may ask that you lower the price on a product if they find the item for less. For example, if you priced ceramic tile at six dollars per square foot in the estimate and they find the same tile for four dollars per square foot, they may ask that you credit them the difference. Don’t do it. Items that were priced high help to offset those that were priced low. EOB, Customer Notes
note:
I used to tell customers that if they would agree to pay extra for anything that I was low on in the estimate, I would give them a credit for the item that was high. No one ever took me up on this arrangement, but some still argued for the credit. Go figure.
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EOB is available at Amazon.com and on the Garrett Wade website.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

contract issues

Include a time frame in every contract by which a client must accept your proposal or the price may be adjusted or the work turned down. Usually from 5 to 30 days. When you provide a written contract there are legal obligations to do the work under the terms of the proposal. But proposals are developed around time specific conditions—weather, material costs, workload, subs availability—and if clients wait to accept a contract these conditions change. Also, if several outstanding proposals are accepted at the same time it may overwhelm the company. Therefore you must have a legal way to adjust the cost or decline the work.” from EOB, Customer Notes

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EOB is available at Amazon.com and on the Garrett Wade website.

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Sunday, March 04, 2018

taking a job

Be careful when taking a job that another contractor has left.  Talk with the people involved and look beyond your first impression. There are situations in which a contractor is incompetent or dishonest. There are also situations in which good contractors leave because of bad customers. If you determine that the customer is difficult, don’t talk yourself into taking the work because it will be different with you; it won’t be. Walk away. EOB, Customer Notes

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visit: https://eob-mqk.blogspot.com
contract me: eob@dplus.net

EOB is available at Amazon.com and on the Garrett Wade website.

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Sunday, February 25, 2018

money

For every builder who has made and kept a fortune, there are a hundred who made one and lost it, some several times. When business is good, decisions are made as if the money will continue forever, but construction is a business of cycles, and when work slows a company's weakness shows quickly as its financial obligations overwhelm it. Learn to manage money. Take classes, read books, set long-term goals, study business cycles, and understand what it means to overextend. In good times and bad be conservative—even frugal—control spending, keep overhead low, keep loans to a minimum, establish and fund a cash reserve account, and build assets. from Rules, Ethics, & Opinions, EOB

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EOB is available at Amazon.com and on the Garrett Wade website.

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Sunday, January 21, 2018

BOX STORES

I am likely fighting a losing battle here, but I suggest that builders and tradesmen are far better off buying from local supply houses than from box stores.  It might be a losing battle because the box stores appear to be expanding while local supply houses seem to be fading. Just the same, it is worth mentioning that local supply houses have distinct advantages for you, your company, and your community: including better service, far deeper product knowledge, keeping money in the local economy, and a place where you are known and your business is appreciated.

Have you ever considered how much it costs to drive to the box store, find and load material on a cart, checkout, load the material into your truck and unload it on the job? Local supply houses almost always deliver and with a little planning you can keep doing the real work of building instead of shopping for supplies.

And finally from other builder's stories and my limited experience, box stores are awful at special orders. I believe this is true partly because their supply lines are too complex, but mostly because their staff turns over faster than their inventory. The times I have dealt with them on special orders (always because the client insisted on ordering from them) I was unable to work with the same person from week to week, even from day to day sometimes, and therefore every time I called I had to explain what I was calling about and wait while they figured out the basics. And in my case, every time the item came in it was either damaged or wrong. This was then followed by a nightmare of them trying to correct the order. 


When you deal with a well-run local business you establish a relationship with a salesmen who knows the products, knows your company, and is likely be there for years. These advantages cannot be overstated and they help make a good builder better.

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EOB is available at Amazon.com and on the Garrett Wade website.

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