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Thread: Flattening the seasonal rollercoaster

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by MNSparky View Post
    I actually thought about this, but try competing with the landscaper's pricing to plow when you're paying a licensed electrician to plow! I did actually pay most of the apprentices to paint the inside of the offices and do an LED lighting retrofit on our building this winter!
    Anther problem with this is only plowing part time because you actually get some electrical work to do, especially storm damage. For some reason, customers always want the plowing done immediately.
    Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by MNSparky View Post
    I hear you on this and we squeeze in as much as we can when we can, but, we literally get to the point where we can't fit any more into the work week without going to mandatory Saturdays. We usually turn homeowner service calls down first and try to keep the builders and GCs happy. Sometimes we offer to come out on a weekend if they want to pay the premium price, but few do.
    I always worked Saturdays when I was still wearing the tools so I wouldn't know the difference, worked a lot of Sundays too.

    To tell you the truth I probably got more work from homeowners than I did GC's, not that I didn't have big jobs, but sometimes I would set my guys up and then take off and do that one receptacle for someone. It is hard to keep everyone happy, there were times when I couldn't even look at a job for two weeks, but most of my repeat customers were pretty loyal and would wait.
    I can build anything you want if you draw a picture of it on the back of a big enough check.

    There's no substitute for hard work....but that doesn't mean I'm going to give up trying to find one.

    John Childress
    Electrical Inspector
    IAEI / CEI / C10
    Certified Electrical Inspector

  3. #13
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    I ignore that red blinky phone light ,and spit big #'s when it's busy, then do the exact opposite when it isn't .

    I'm confident i'm far from alone

    ~RJ~

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulMmn View Post
    ..The Treeman said he could do them 'now' (ie Spring/Summer/Fall) or defer the work until Winter for a reduced price. I took the reduced price. Treeman said offering the Winter work helped keep his crew busy all year..
    Where I live, attics can get 130F +, so attic work is refused until winter.
    They either let me in at 5am, wait till Winter, or hire someone else.
    Never been scheduled before 7am, and about 50% re-scheduled during winter.
    Roger Ramjet NoFixNoPay

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by ramsy View Post
    Where I live, attics can get 130F +, so attic work is refused until winter.
    They either let me in at 5am, wait till Winter, or hire someone else.
    Never been scheduled before 7am, and about 50% re-scheduled during winter.
    Lol, I treasure my sleep. I usually start jobs at 9am unless I'm working with a crew.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coppersmith View Post
    Lol, I treasure my sleep. I usually start jobs at 9am unless I'm working with a crew.

    9am! That's nearly lunch time!! I put a lot of value on beating rush hour, both on the way to and from the job.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by cowboyjwc View Post
    My philosophy was to never turn down a job, no matter how small.

    If someone needs nothing more than a receptacle replaced or added, jump on it and I mean don't put them off for two weeks because you're "too busy". You would be surprised how many of these people will call you back for bigger jobs.

    Now this may not help the seasonal problem, but the more you make in the up times the easier it is to weather the down times.

    You nailed it.

    I have learned that this business [EC] is a dog-eat-dog world.

    And for OP to think that getting himself busy-- when times are down the gutter--he can't expect someone who is doing great would divulge his business model. The guy who is making money has probably gone through all these sacrifices to achieve his success.

    I've been through different “venues” in earning a living and raise a family in this profession—from working in corporate environments as staff engineer, planning, controls design and programming.
    I have travelled also quite a bit—performing engineering work inside and outside the US.

    I wasn't happy being coped-up in a cubicle that I quit--and tried my hand in contracting. That's when I found out about this dog-eat-dog stuff. I'm not trying to express recrimination over those hard-working ECs.

    My motivation to go into contracting was, my wife is an Architect. (she has a degree in Bachelor's Degree of Science in Architecture) We are now both retired.

    She was in partnership with two other Architects—and they were mostly involved in custom housing for celebrities in Hollywood.

    My wife hooked me up with the GC who handles their projects. The first two years were really good and it looked promising until the GC started figuring out how to improve his bottom line when recession reared its ugly head in 2008.

    Long story short—I went into commercial work.

    I started doing turn-key contracts with fast food outlets. Most of my customers were venturing into new markets from their origin in the East Coast and Midwest. My first project was Popeye Fried Chicken and I moved on to ethnic food supermarkets and restaurants (eg) Asian, Persian, Vietnamese.

    Most of the contracts I did especially renovation were done at night—starting at 7:00PM until 7:00 AM. Weekdays or regular days didn't matter.

    Turn-key projects require utmost diligence in terms of completion that is geared towards the goal of helping the business (clients) start operating as quickly as possible—time is money.

    So, for someone to act like a prima donna-- saying-- that he cannot start work before 9:00 AM is probably in the wrong trade.

    I made good and so did my employees with extra wages because of the night work. At the time I offered 2.5X the prevailing wage and they loved it. They really had to put out work till the end of the working day (or should I say night) --and no BS.

    I retired at 57 when I incorporated the business with my three business partners-- and now the company has diversified into the manufacturing areas in food packaging. I'm still active but only acting as consultant—and receiving earnings through distribution-- based on the share I had invested.

    Diversification is key. . . life is good.

    My strategy may not work for everyone. . . but then OP is asking for opinions

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by myspark View Post
    So, for someone to act like a prima donna-- saying-- that he cannot start work before 9:00 AM is probably in the wrong trade.
    Since I'm the only one who said he starts work at 9am, you must be referring to me.

    First, let's define Prima Donna: "a very temperamental person with an inflated view of their own talent or importance."

    No, that's not right. I certainly do not fit that definition. There's another explanation for starting at 9am that you didn't consider. It's a two-parter:

    (1) I do mainly residential work and my clients don't want to me show up before 8am because they don't want to wake up too early.

    (2) I like to sleep to 7am, have breakfast, have a shower, and watch the morning news before I leave for work. This is called work-life balance. It's something I gained when I stopped working for the man (who insisted I show up for work at 7am).

    This is not being a Prima Donna. This is enjoying the fruits of owning my own business. Money is not the only profit you earn. You can also earn time off. Of course, I do start work earlier when necessary like when I have a crew showing up at a jobsite (my employees work 8am - 4:30pm) and they need me to lay them out or deliver materials.

    As far as being in the wrong trade is concerned, I have to disagree. My clients love me and the high quality work I do for them and they pay me handsomely. I have been very successful in this trade.
    Last edited by Coppersmith; 04-18-19 at 06:02 PM.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coppersmith View Post
    Since I'm the only one who said he starts work at 9am, you must be referring to me.

    First, let's define Prima Donna: "a very temperamental person with an inflated view of their own talent or importance."

    As far as being in the wrong trade is concerned, I have to disagree. My clients love me and the high quality work I do for them and they pay me handsomely. I have been very successful in this trade.
    No, Prima Donna in construction crew shop talk or jargon means:

    Someone who thinks he's a hot [excrement] on a silver platter, when really he is a cold [excrement] on a paper plate.” (anonymous)

    I've seen a lot of them during my shouting/screaming days.

    You didn't have to look it up.

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by myspark View Post
    .. for someone ..saying-- that he cannot start work before 9:00 AM is probably in the wrong trade.

    ..I retired at 57 when I incorporated the business with my three business partners-- and now the company has diversified into the manufacturing areas in food packaging. I'm still active but only acting as consultant—and receiving earnings through distribution--
    Design-Build industry veterans put you on night-shift, where the Wolves could not compete, and you were protected against better talent by company partners.

    I agree 6-7 start is critical for any build shops, plus clients can be global on the design side, which can make business valuation consistent for design-build shops.

    With the exception of some Plumbing/Electric/HVAC combo shops, an exclusive build or service shop is geographically, and trade limited, with no proof of future contracts, and highly subject to seasonal & economic cycles. This dog does not duplicate, nor run itself for investors.

    With no business valuation, just variable income, and few to no employees, many service shops won't prove future income with existing clients, & will never have resale value like weekly Pest control or Pool services.

    However, variable-income trade shops have supported a principle tradesperson and his family, perhaps liberating a few from the payroll-deduction class, and offering an alternative existence.
    Roger Ramjet NoFixNoPay

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