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Old 11-02-2012, 12:29 AM   #1
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Hi Guys,
I have been thinking about offering this type of carpentry service to my customers. In the last few years I have been doing more and more woodworking. I'm pretty sure I have almost everything that I would need for this. I think that it would help me with scheduling as I do a fair amount of exterior work in the summer. I feel like I'm regularly waiting for a carpenter to replace bad boards on a job. I have contacts with some great guys but it seems they are always in the midst if a big project. The little jobs get overlooked when I shoot a referal. I have always been a believer of "jack of all trades master of none" and I'm not about to transform into a handyman service. I'm not knocking the guys that offer other services, I just don't want to come off like that to a customer. How do you guys handle this issue? Thanks in advance.
Jay
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Old 11-02-2012, 12:37 AM   #2
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Personally I dont do any of the other trades jobs. I feel like I am double selling.

I can make more money putting paint on walls than messing around with wash downs, carpentry and even larger plaster repairs. I feel I would be doing my customers an injustice if I picked up a hammer and nails (I is hopeless at it anyway)

I have guys that do it for me, if they want the work put their way they service me and my customers in a professional and timley manner.

I make sure that my high pressure cleaner and plasterer knows how vital I think customer service is and that they need to make a time commitment and stick to it.
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Old 11-02-2012, 12:47 AM   #3
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Sorry, just to clarify a thing or two..............I dont demand that the other trades turn up on time or else they just arch up and dont show, so being bossy does not work.

I spend a fair bit of time on the phone to these guys and always tell them what a great job they do and thank them for providing a brilliant service when they are on time.

I also probably over stress how important a jobs time line is to me and use any story under the sun to make sure they turn up. It's my reputation on the line after all.
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Old 11-02-2012, 01:05 AM   #4
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I'll replace a handful of boards, but if more I like to have a carpenter do it. I have a few good contacts, but like you said its hard to get them when it's busy in summer. I don't have enough to have a full time carpenter on staff.
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Old 11-02-2012, 01:45 AM   #5
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If it's something fairly straight forward and basic there's nothing wrong with learning to do things yourself - especially if scheduling is an issue or if your own work load is down. However I stay plenty busy just doing interiors so even if I could do something myself I prefer to hand it over to someone who is a craftsmen in their field. Develop good contacts within the range of services you'll need and add more as you find necessary or when you run across somebody who is good at what they do.

When I call one of my "guys" they will respond as quickly as possible because we've worked so long together and have provided each other with numerous referrals. It's become a matter of professional respect and trust over time. Even when they are suited for a project I'm not working on I will refer them and they will do the same for me. Now days it's called networking but back when I started doing it it was simply making professional contacts and friendships.
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Old 11-03-2012, 04:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColorQuest View Post
Hi Guys,
I have been thinking about offering this type of carpentry service to my customers. In the last few years I have been doing more and more woodworking. I'm pretty sure I have almost everything that I would need for this. I think that it would help me with scheduling as I do a fair amount of exterior work in the summer. I feel like I'm regularly waiting for a carpenter to replace bad boards on a job. I have contacts with some great guys but it seems they are always in the midst if a big project. The little jobs get overlooked when I shoot a referal. I have always been a believer of "jack of all trades master of none" and I'm not about to transform into a handyman service. I'm not knocking the guys that offer other services, I just don't want to come off like that to a customer. How do you guys handle this issue? Thanks in advance.
Jay
Maybe it's because I started out doing carpentry, but I've always been willing to make small repairs like this as part of our scope of work. That's one reason that we've always held a GC license and carried WC endorsements for both painting and carpentry.

We have a great small carpentry outfit that we work with for most anything large, but he's happy to let us take care of this sort of thing.

For the last ten years or so, we've also done a number of re-siding jobs with Hardi. Often, we get called about a repaint, and end up re-siding as well. That's not a service we sell, but our past clients seem to be very pleased and tell their friends.

Most of the time, we join forces on Hardi jobs with the carpenter that I mentioned earlier. For both outfits, it helps to have those extra hands (and backs). The Hardi jobs also help us extend the exterior season. We can pre-paint the siding in the shop and install it without having to worry so much about the weather. We can hang it in the late fall or early spring, and not worry about the factory primer deteriorating. Once the weather turns nice, we can apply a final coat.
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Old 11-03-2012, 07:19 PM   #7
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I used to have a FT Carpenter, and then a FT and a PT, but then I realized, I am still responsible for the jobs as a whole, so I had to step away from it, and get back in to painting only. We will do minor drywall replacements and taping, but in the end, we are good and extremely efficient at painting. So why bung ourselves up with tasks' we don't really have an interest in doing? Ever since we got out of the other stuff, our jobs have run much smoother, and been much more profitable.
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Old 11-03-2012, 07:55 PM   #8
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Doing carpentry and washing has proved to be a profitable experience for me. Depending on scheduling, I have migrated towards doing more of it myself lately.

The homes built in this last frenzy are more often than not suffering from bad flashing issues among other things. I have said before jack of all and master of none. There is a limit to how much a man/woman can master of all of the talents in this world. Although, I also believe limiting a man to only mastering paint and not carpentry and/or washing as well is selling myself a bit short. And coming behind much of what I have lately from this last mess of construction up til 2008, this painter is well above average at carpentry considering. Washing is something I do okay at too.

For the HO to be able to just deal with whoever is already there and has discovered the issue to begin with, and for that person to at the same time provide a remedy with cost and sound competent at the same time, 'no' likely isn't going to be the response form the HO. Walking away from that is leaving money on the table.
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Old 11-03-2012, 07:58 PM   #9
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It is a great service to offer if you or an employee is capable. I was emplying a licensed carpenter, and having to keep them busy with carpentry work full time.. That is a more difficult task
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Old 11-03-2012, 08:15 PM   #10
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Agreed. Most I will do anymore is a hire a helper and I typically can't stand more than a couple days of that for now. - Finding work of any kind for anyone to have a steady job is a pia. lol. So much so it requires a substantial pay increase for me to do it.
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Old 11-03-2012, 08:26 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wje View Post
It is a great service to offer if you or an employee is capable. I was emplying a licensed carpenter, and having to keep them busy with carpentry work full time.. That is a more difficult task
Agreed. I don't know much about new construction in Canada, but around here the cookie cutter homes with finger joinery built from 94 to present always have exterior rot. It's interesting seeing the slight difference in a carpentry repair bill on a home from around 1900 compared to that of one built in more recent years. They're about the same, assuming that the older home has been somewhat cared for throughout the years.

Speaking of, how many of you guys who are doing new construction are dealing with blueboard and plaster vs drywall with the seams based in?
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Old 11-03-2012, 08:36 PM   #12
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Doing some trim replacement can be fun. It's a nice change from the routine and it's an excuse to get more tools...

I learned I need to charge more for it.
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Old 11-03-2012, 08:54 PM   #13
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It is fun TJ. For me walking around with a pistol grip wand washing a house is something I seem to enjoy more than all the rest. Kind of relaxing.
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Old 11-03-2012, 09:03 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Csheils View Post
Agreed. I don't know much about new construction in Canada, but around here the cookie cutter homes with finger joinery built from 94 to present always have exterior rot. It's interesting seeing the slight difference in a carpentry repair bill on a home from around 1900 compared to that of one built in more recent years. They're about the same, assuming that the older home has been somewhat cared for throughout the years.

Speaking of, how many of you guys who are doing new construction are dealing with blueboard and plaster vs drywall with the seams based in?
Between the flashing issues that House of Color mentioned above and finger-joined trim, several of us in this area are having our own "building boom": we're doing major repairs on houses that are 10-15 years old. Last year, we completely re-sided a ten-year old home with Hardi and replaced all of the finger-joined brickmold with Azek brickmold.

The problems with improperly flashed window, doors, and sidewalls are going to continue for years around here. I really started paying attention about five years ago to those details on projects that I happened to see. Last week, I saw some windows that were properly flashed...the first ones in five years, and I'm not exaggerating.

We're just finishing painting the exterior of a house that has undergone a major remodel this year, including new sidewall shingles and new windows. Problem is, the top edges of the window head flashings are on the outside of the first course of shingles, so water is running behind them onto the top casings and causing paint failure. The housewrap doesn't extend to the top of the wall in many places, so water is getting behind that. The uppermost shingles on the gable ends have their top edges exposed to the weather, since the trim isn't thick enough.

My first job in construction was with an old-time carpenter back in the '60s. He didn't care much for those fancy new-fangled tools like power saws or steel tapes, but he taught me how to keep water out of a building and, barring that, give it a way out if it got in.

We'd rather be painting, but precious few carpenters around here are stepping up to take care of these "details", so we've had to fill that void.
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Old 11-03-2012, 09:35 PM   #15
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I feel I would be doing my customers an injustice if I picked up a hammer and nails (I is hopeless at it anyway)
Repaintpro I feel the same, I tried to make a square box once and it wasn't really square,
I tried to do carpentry and painting one year and between the extra tools and stinking at carpentry I pass repairs on to those pros. I will replace a piece or 2 of siding, no window cases or stuff like that.
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Old 11-03-2012, 10:05 PM   #16
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i too relied on carpenters, drywallers, tapers... for years... then, when they would hold up progress on paint job, my customers would BEG me to do it myself.

i finally gave in... tho i will say, i had some training in such things.

now i do "light carpentry"... pretty much anything NOT structural.
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Old 11-03-2012, 10:32 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjensen ptg View Post
i too relied on carpenters, drywallers, tapers... for years... then, when they would hold up progress on paint job, my customers would BEG me to do it myself.

i finally gave in... tho i will say, i had some training in such things.

now i do "light carpentry"... pretty much anything NOT structural.
When we first got our WA "ticket" I was planning to be a "Specialty Contractor", then I read the WA state rules about that. It used to be that you could have 2 specialties; I understand that it's now down to one. Anyway, I learned that, in addition to painting, we could hang GWB or we could tape it, but we couldn't do both unless we registered as a General Contractor. So we took that route.
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Old 11-04-2012, 11:17 AM   #18
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I consider myself to be pretty good at installing new trim. Putting up chair rails is one of my favorite things to do and can really transform a room. I've also done a fir amount of bead board work. With that said, for me it's simply is a matter of time. If I can stay busy just painting it's more profitable for me to do so and turn over the other stiff to professional finish carpenters. In turn, they refer painting work to me. And so it goes.
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Old 11-04-2012, 12:26 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gough

Maybe it's because I started out doing carpentry, but I've always been willing to make small repairs like this as part of our scope of work. That's one reason that we've always held a GC license and carried WC endorsements for both painting and carpentry.

We have a great small carpentry outfit that we work with for most anything large, but he's happy to let us take care of this sort of thing.

For the last ten years or so, we've also done a number of re-siding jobs with Hardi. Often, we get called about a repaint, and end up re-siding as well. That's not a service we sell, but our past clients seem to be very pleased and tell their friends.

Most of the time, we join forces on Hardi jobs with the carpenter that I mentioned earlier. For both outfits, it helps to have those extra hands (and backs). The Hardi jobs also help us extend the exterior season. We can pre-paint the siding in the shop and install it without having to worry so much about the weather. We can hang it in the late fall or early spring, and not worry about the factory primer deteriorating. Once the weather turns nice, we can apply a final coat.
Gough,
Thanks for the awsome insight into your production. It seems you have a great way to offer these kinds of repairs to clients if you choose to do it yourself or have a close contact head up the project.
Thanks again Buddy,
Jay
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