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Old 02-27-2012, 11:11 PM   #41
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This lends itself well to many discussions we have had about a myth of larger companies having greater overhead. Larger companies have lower overhead on a per job basis which is really the only way to measure overhead. If a business is "large" by industry standards, but is completing 10-12 jobs per day. Yes, their gas bill can be the better part of $2500 per month but as a percentgae of gross billing, it is the same or less than what a one truck operation spends. Static costs are spread over many more jobs. There are much less time constraints on how much work can be billed out per week. That means a larger company can lower man hour bill rate dramatically. Again, labor may be $5000+ per week, but weekly gross billing may be in the $25,000 range. After expenses, high-end one truck owner is earning $1.5K. Larger company owner is earning $4K. So it really comes down to desired income and business accumen.

The choice becomes less aggravation with a more conservative lifestyle or higher stress and finer lifestyle (such as sending your children to the best schools). I see the benefits and pitfalls of both sides. Its never an easy decision and one that a person can change throughout their life.
I mentioned somewhere about working alone especially in the winter months, but you hit the nail on the head.
I could manage the heck out of several crews and really make a killin around here, but that's not my style.
At this point in my life with children from 11 years to 11 months, the great song "Cats in the Cradle" explains exactly why I choose to stay "small" in my business model.
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Old 02-28-2012, 12:11 AM   #42
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At this point in my life with children from 11 years to 11 months,
Deep in it.
Sometimes the wife and I think about babies since ours are aging quickly but then we listen to them argue and tell ourselves grandkids are the ticket.
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Old 02-28-2012, 12:26 AM   #43
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Great posts everyone! I appreciate everyones perspectives. I went skiing today (beautiful sunny day after a weekend dump) while my three main guys finished up an interior. I am pretty sure when I get there tomorrow to load out everything will be looking good. They're very good. My stress seems to be mainly around the multiple jobs / losing track of details / loss of efficiency. I'm thinking focusing on one job at a time will be the way to go for now, while knowing that our general contractor who sends us all their painting jobs will always need something done ASAP and I will have to send one or more guys to deal with it no matter what else we're working on. Of course with three guys plus me not all jobs will handle all of us at once.

The other obvious solution is to hire a 2nd in command who can run jobs / manage all details and customers. I had a whole crew leader training program going back before the slowdown, and haven't really picked that up again since. It's challenging as we have more work than we can handle in the summer but things drop off in the winter, and it's hard to keep them all busy.
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Old 02-28-2012, 07:00 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by PressurePros View Post
This lends itself well to many discussions we have had about a myth of larger companies having greater overhead. Larger companies have lower overhead on a per job basis which is really the only way to measure overhead. If a business is "large" by industry standards, but is completing 10-12 jobs per day. Yes, their gas bill can be the better part of $2500 per month but as a percentgae of gross billing, it is the same or less than what a one truck operation spends. Static costs are spread over many more jobs. There are much less time constraints on how much work can be billed out per week. That means a larger company can lower man hour bill rate dramatically. Again, labor may be $5000+ per week, but weekly gross billing may be in the $25,000 range. After expenses, high-end one truck owner is earning $1.5K. Larger company owner is earning $4K. So it really comes down to desired income and business accumen.

The choice becomes less aggravation with a more conservative lifestyle or higher stress and finer lifestyle (such as sending your children to the best schools). I see the benefits and pitfalls of both sides. Its never an easy decision and one that a person can change throughout their life.
Very much agree Ken and well said...
It also has a lot to do with the "times" and the current market. Years back a small shop could do better I believe, than a small shop can today(I've been there). Today, at least in this area, you would need to do volume to make that kind of $. A smaller shop(that needs to bill at top dollar to be viable) with todays competition, seems to be more limited.
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Old 02-28-2012, 09:38 AM   #45
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Being a product of "the best schools", I would like to present another philosophy in regards to Ken's statement, "such as sending your children to the best schools"

As many know, I rubbed shoulder with some of the nation's elite at schools, ( could drop some impressive names, but not really to the point). My father played the corporate game and made sure each of us three boys went to "the best schools". From kindergarten on through.

Look where it got all of us. Oldest bro flunked out of Yale his soph year, middle bro made it through UVa in a drunken haze, and I wnet to three different coleges never making it past sophmore.

Oldest bro is in Houston, essentially unemployed living off vet benefits, his GF and I do not know what else. He's been tested as genius IQ.

Middle bro is self employed as a damn fine woodworker, and finally is understanding the fun of having a few dollars - he's squandered much money in his past.

And you all know what I am.

Now, my son. Went to the local regional high that ain't nuthin special at all. He hung out with the responsible and bright kids, many of whom were taken out of the school to be sent "to the best schools". Jake carried on, did well, got a 50% scholarship to Hofstra and now in his junior year in the Honors Program has done very well, being a double major. (I won't brag on him any more for fear of jinxing his study habits)

My point? It ain't the school that matters, it's the kid. We raised Jake COMPLETELY differently than the WW and I were raised. We involved ourselves, we nurtured, we taught respect and confidence, etc, etc.

So please, having been on both sides of that statement by Ken, don't believe that only money will buy a good education for your children. Parents need to install a thirst for knowledge and the motivation to get it.



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Old 02-28-2012, 01:16 PM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PressurePros View Post
This lends itself well to many discussions we have had about a myth of larger companies having greater overhead. Larger companies have lower overhead on a per job basis which is really the only way to measure overhead. If a business is "large" by industry standards, but is completing 10-12 jobs per day. Yes, their gas bill can be the better part of $2500 per month but as a percentgae of gross billing, it is the same or less than what a one truck operation spends. Static costs are spread over many more jobs. There are much less time constraints on how much work can be billed out per week. That means a larger company can lower man hour bill rate dramatically. Again, labor may be $5000+ per week, but weekly gross billing may be in the $25,000 range. After expenses, high-end one truck owner is earning $1.5K. Larger company owner is earning $4K. So it really comes down to desired income and business accumen.

The choice becomes less aggravation with a more conservative lifestyle or higher stress and finer lifestyle. I see the benefits and pitfalls of both sides. Its never an easy decision and one that a person can change throughout their life.

I'm gonna jump back in before this derails.

Thanks PP for your feedback, I had a feeling my comment would get your response.

I didnt' mean for my comment to sound indignant, (and almost regret putting in the $ amount), but was an expression of confusion more than anything. The knowledge I have been gaining from this site has definatley been more toward the business end (the area i am without doubt least experienced with) And it goes without saying that there are alot of people here who really have there sh!t together in this respect. The funny thing is' I gave this quote 2 days after reading your post on "raising prices while increasing volume" and really thought I nailed it this time.

The reality I think, is going to be as usual, I overlooked something or its going to take me 2-3 days longer than expected. We'll see, I start the project next week.

Stilll Learning

By the way, I took your comment about private schools as "just" an example. My wife has worked for Private Schools for 14 years and sometimes (depending on the health of your local public school system) its the only option.
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Last edited by HQP2005; 02-28-2012 at 01:23 PM..
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Old 02-28-2012, 02:58 PM   #47
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By the way, I took your comment about private schools as "just" an example.
Exactly.. was more about one's preferred lifestyle. The example of schooling is only minorly relevant (though a good off-topic discussion topic). I also wasn't thinking K through 12th. I'm talking about the arm, leg and second mortgage needed if you want to send your kid to college. Now make that an Ivy League. ---> $$$$
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Old 02-28-2012, 03:03 PM   #48
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Being a product of "the best schools", I would like to present another philosophy in regards to Ken's statement, "such as sending your children to the best schools"

As many know, I rubbed shoulder with some of the nation's elite at schools, ( could drop some impressive names, but not really to the point). My father played the corporate game and made sure each of us three boys went to "the best schools". From kindergarten on through.

Look where it got all of us. Oldest bro flunked out of Yale his soph year, middle bro made it through UVa in a drunken haze, and I wnet to three different coleges never making it past sophmore.

Oldest bro is in Houston, essentially unemployed living off vet benefits, his GF and I do not know what else. He's been tested as genius IQ.

Middle bro is self employed as a damn fine woodworker, and finally is understanding the fun of having a few dollars - he's squandered much money in his past.

And you all know what I am.

Now, my son. Went to the local regional high that ain't nuthin special at all. He hung out with the responsible and bright kids, many of whom were taken out of the school to be sent "to the best schools". Jake carried on, did well, got a 50% scholarship to Hofstra and now in his junior year in the Honors Program has done very well, being a double major. (I won't brag on him any more for fear of jinxing his study habits)

My point? It ain't the school that matters, it's the kid. We raised Jake COMPLETELY differently than the WW and I were raised. We involved ourselves, we nurtured, we taught respect and confidence, etc, etc.

So please, having been on both sides of that statement by Ken, don't believe that only money will buy a good education for your children. Parents need to install a thirst for knowledge and the motivation to get it.
This a good seperate topic, Bill. My point was really not about the school itself, it is about affording the school (or the vehicle that doesn't break down, or the house in a low crime area, or the vacation house, etc).

I'll be sure to pass your information on the nanny (you knowI am just playing)
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Old 02-28-2012, 03:15 PM   #49
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Oddly enough, I am keeping my "cats in the cradle" philosophy so my wife can home school our kids. So you can work crews and make big cash (which is perfectly fine) or keep life simple and raise your kids with little monetary expense, but with great sacrifice of time and careers.
We bought an old 1942 house, to which I am adding a room, that costs half our previous home so my wife could quit her job as a family nurse practitioner and spend the next 10-15 years educating the kids.
Our taxable income is about 1/3 the 2009 amount this year and we are just as happy as in any previous year.
This is simply what's right for us now and my business needs to be flexible to accommodate it, not the other way around.
PS-I am NOT insinuating home schooling is what others should choose. It is a huge task.
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Old 02-28-2012, 05:28 PM   #50
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This a good seperate topic, Bill. My point was really not about the school itself, it is about affording the school (or the vehicle that doesn't break down, or the house in a low crime area, or the vacation house, etc).

I'll be sure to pass your information on the nanny (you knowI am just playing)
I understand Ken. You touched upon a decision that The WW and I had to think long and hard about, won't say you touched a nerve, but a subject near and dear to us. The WW is also a product of the "St Grotlesex" system (a name combining many of the top private preparatory schools in the area).



But about the monetary aspects of the trade, as you are most likely aware, I have been where most of you are striving to climb, maybe even higher. It ain't all that special.

Many of us have the upper echelon of the money tree as some of our clients, yet I myself have little envy for their lives.

I did an estimate yesterday with a solo sparky. Yah know how some people you just click with right away? He certainly was not climbing that money tree nor even had a ladder resting against it. And yet seemed perfectly content with his life.

I did ask if he had people working for him and he said he used to but is now solo, and enjoying it more.

Some of us were just built to be sociopaths



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Old 02-28-2012, 06:07 PM   #51
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I figured you had a fair amount of higher education...and as well a great LIFE education or an education in life ! William...you are a great read !


Anyways...back on topic , I always had 3 or 4 guys and still have a lot of times but in the past couple of years I have worked a lot solo and the other 3 on other bigger jobs . I enjoy it...I never have to check other people and work and I actually find myself working harder and I'm not as easily distracted . I just find a good rock station on the radio and crank the tunes and cut and roll away until 5 PM ...and sometimes 6 if I don't get there at 8AM !!!
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Old 02-28-2012, 06:09 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by daArch View Post
Being a product of "the best schools", I would like to present another philosophy in regards to Ken's statement, "such as sending your children to the best schools"

As many know, I rubbed shoulder with some of the nation's elite at schools, ( could drop some impressive names, but not really to the point). My father played the corporate game and made sure each of us three boys went to "the best schools". From kindergarten on through.

Look where it got all of us. Oldest bro flunked out of Yale his soph year, middle bro made it through UVa in a drunken haze, and I wnet to three different coleges never making it past sophmore.

Oldest bro is in Houston, essentially unemployed living off vet benefits, his GF and I do not know what else. He's been tested as genius IQ.

Middle bro is self employed as a damn fine woodworker, and finally is understanding the fun of having a few dollars - he's squandered much money in his past.

And you all know what I am.

Now, my son. Went to the local regional high that ain't nuthin special at all. He hung out with the responsible and bright kids, many of whom were taken out of the school to be sent "to the best schools". Jake carried on, did well, got a 50% scholarship to Hofstra and now in his junior year in the Honors Program has done very well, being a double major. (I won't brag on him any more for fear of jinxing his study habits)

My point? It ain't the school that matters, it's the kid. We raised Jake COMPLETELY differently than the WW and I were raised. We involved ourselves, we nurtured, we taught respect and confidence, etc, etc.

So please, having been on both sides of that statement by Ken, don't believe that only money will buy a good education for your children. Parents need to install a thirst for knowledge and the motivation to get it.

I see spelling was not your'e best subject
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Old 02-28-2012, 08:29 PM   #53
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When did you decide work alone and why?...
From being an employer (w/ employees) to a solo operator, I haven't had the experience.. But from being an employee to a one man show, I've liked the independence, flexible work hrs/days and of course, the pay. Had I found a good painting company to work for in the past, probably I'd have still stayed with them. Even now, I'd happily work for someone else if I be provided with year-round work and a good salary. Of course I will never find one, so I've been happily self-employed..

_______________

I've worked for a few local small business owners (annual revenue from 10 to 150 mill) --I've always amazed by their limitless energy and drive. Business is everything, and everything is business. They work very hard, probably the hardest workers in the company (they likely have one or two months vacation yearly, but I don't know about that). One guy always comes to work at 5:00 am and leaves at 6:30/7:00 pm. They surely know how to work and how to live.

I wish I could think fast and make quick yet accurate decisions like them. Not everyone is made to be a businessman --aptitude is a more decisive factor than learning. Of course aptitude is a learned habit, would be more effective if developed during childhood. CEOs/presidents enjoy overseeing employees, solving problems, talking to a large number of people everyday etc., while to others (e.g. me) these reponsibilities are the source of never-ending headache and stress..
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Old 02-28-2012, 08:42 PM   #54
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From being an employer (w/ employees) to a solo operator, I haven't had the experience.. But from being an employee to a one man show, I've liked the independence, flexible work hrs/days and of course, the pay. Had I found a good painting company to work for in the past, probably I'd have still stayed with them. Even now, I'd happily work for someone else if I be provided with year-round work and a good salary. Of course I will never find one, so I've been happily self-employed..

_______________

I've worked for a few local small business owners (annual revenue from 10 to 150 mill) --I've always amazed by their limitless energy and drive. Business is everything, and everything is business. They work very hard, probably the hardest workers in the company (they likely have one or two months vacation yearly, but I don't know about that). One guy always comes to work at 5:00 am and leaves at 6:30/7:00 pm. They surely know how to work and how to live.

I wish I could think fast and make quick yet accurate decisions like them. Not everyone is made to be a businessman --aptitude is a more decisive factor than learning. Of course aptitude is a learned habit, would be more effective if developed during childhood. CEOs/presidents enjoy overseeing employees, solving problems, talking to a large number of people everyday etc., while to others (e.g. me) these reponsibilities are the source of never-ending headache and stress..
Great points and why there is no path for one person that will necessarily fit another. I can only speak for me. The money is a side benefit. I live for business. I wake with it and fall asleep thinking of it. It doesn't stress me, I don't need a vacation from it. I love negotiating, selling, and analyzing. I'm sure there are psychiatrists out there would diagnose me with some type of pathology. My demon is spreading myself too thin. Donald Trump I am not. I'll measure a deal or transaction down to the last dollar. Some may confuse that as a love for money or the material. It is not that. I know, understand and avoid the trappings of wealth and/or debt. Its the drive for new challenges that keeps me rolling.
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Old 02-28-2012, 08:59 PM   #55
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I love working alone. Everything gets done right the first time. Plus I live by the saying "fly low to the ground, it hurst less when you fall". Slow times like this February I just chill out and stay home. Now that things are picking up I am chomping at the bit to get back on a big job but no matter what, NO STRESS!! It's the stress that will kill you, not the hard work!!
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Old 02-28-2012, 09:45 PM   #56
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I see spelling was not your'e best subject
you now know, Mr Nelson, that not only does your spell check need to work 100% from now to eternity, but you had better make sure you pay attention to it and also check it for intent also.

this shoe does fit all very comfortably, you know.





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Old 02-28-2012, 10:15 PM   #57
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I've noticed a recurring theme with chris on the spelling stuff. And what usually happens with correcting people continuously is that God steps in to humble and thus we have "your'e".
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Old 02-28-2012, 10:18 PM   #58
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haha- Ya cChris is the designated speeling Nartzi and hater of all things Behr. Not to worry- he's like that over at the DIY forum too!!



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Old 02-28-2012, 10:25 PM   #59
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Plus I live by the saying "fly low to the ground, it hurst less when you fall".

There are some that would rather


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Old 02-28-2012, 10:30 PM   #60
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I see spelling was not your'e best subject
i feel obligated to help you out because so many of my posts here on PT have come under correction(often no need to be corrected) by you.

it would be spelled *your

the other way of spelling that you attempted to achieve would be properly spelled as * you're, an abbreviation for you are.

hope this helps
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