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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Left my old job a couple of weeks ago, going on my second week of "on my own". I don't quite have all my ducks in a row yet, wasn't really planning on doing much work, figured I would take two weeks off, deal with some loose ends, and then hit it hard next week Monday. I've already had a few calls sent my way, and then had a real big one just fall right in my lap. A builder is in a pinch, has a two unit condo/duplex that is being held up by plumbing. His regular plumber had originally agreed to finish the entire development but is now backing out, says he's ready to retire and just can't do the work anymore. Foundation is poured, stone and tile are in, and he's got no one to do the underground. I went through and spent all yesterday tallying up a material takeoff, I went overboard and figured it down almost to the fitting. I threw in some padding for all the material I forgot and the extra fittings I didn't account for, anchors, 2x4s, misc. stuff. Submitted my bid, I had no idea if I was way over or way under, I'm not used to dealing with residential construction like this. He calls back said I was almost double the last guy. I start scratching my head, I honestly can't figure this out. He told me a rough price his other guy was doing the work for, I told him if I marked my material up 10%, that would leave me less than $4000 to plumb in an entire 2.5 bathroom unit, which I just don't think I can do. Or, put another way, I could make a way more money just running around fixing leaking toilets and cleaning kitchen drains. He was pretty cool and understanding, wasn't mad or anything, but it's got me a little worked up. I can't figure out if I'm way off on everything or if his other guy was just giving work away. I double and triple checked my material list, I might be a little heavy on stuff, I could probably switch to foam core, use cheaper fixtures, and shave $1000 off my material, MAYBE. I could probably rush through the rough in and finish work, slam stuff in as fast as I can, maybe shave a day off my install. MAYBE. Even if I cut corners, cheaped out on parts, and got the job done way faster than expected I would still be running thousands more than the other guy.

My thought is, he's either going to find some other guy to work for peanuts and I'll never hear back from him, or he's about to realize he had the cheapest plumber in town and his gravy train is over. Still second guessing myself about everything though. Oh well, probably won't be the last job I turn down or lose over price.
 

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Left my old job a couple of weeks ago, going on my second week of "on my own". I don't quite have all my ducks in a row yet, wasn't really planning on doing much work, figured I would take two weeks off, deal with some loose ends, and then hit it hard next week Monday. I've already had a few calls sent my way, and then had a real big one just fall right in my lap. A builder is in a pinch, has a two unit condo/duplex that is being held up by plumbing. His regular plumber had originally agreed to finish the entire development but is now backing out, says he's ready to retire and just can't do the work anymore. Foundation is poured, stone and tile are in, and he's got no one to do the underground. I went through and spent all yesterday tallying up a material takeoff, I went overboard and figured it down almost to the fitting. I threw in some padding for all the material I forgot and the extra fittings I didn't account for, anchors, 2x4s, misc. stuff. Submitted my bid, I had no idea if I was way over or way under, I'm not used to dealing with residential construction like this. He calls back said I was almost double the last guy. I start scratching my head, I honestly can't figure this out. He told me a rough price his other guy was doing the work for, I told him if I marked my material up 10%, that would leave me less than $4000 to plumb in an entire 2.5 bathroom unit, which I just don't think I can do. Or, put another way, I could make a way more money just running around fixing leaking toilets and cleaning kitchen drains. He was pretty cool and understanding, wasn't mad or anything, but it's got me a little worked up. I can't figure out if I'm way off on everything or if his other guy was just giving work away. I double and triple checked my material list, I might be a little heavy on stuff, I could probably switch to foam core, use cheaper fixtures, and shave $1000 off my material, MAYBE. I could probably rush through the rough in and finish work, slam stuff in as fast as I can, maybe shave a day off my install. MAYBE. Even if I cut corners, cheaped out on parts, and got the job done way faster than expected I would still be running thousands more than the other guy.

My thought is, he's either going to find some other guy to work for peanuts and I'll never hear back from him, or he's about to realize he had the cheapest plumber in town and his gravy train is over. Still second guessing myself about everything though. Oh well, probably won't be the last job I turn down or lose over price.
Why do you think the other plumber pulled out??he wasn't making any money,stick to your original estimate and don't back down,then when you get it,then use foam core and whatever to make you a little more money cause that builder ain't worried about you making money
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Why do you think the other plumber pulled out??he wasn't making any money,stick to your original estimate and don't back down,then when you get it,then use foam core and whatever to make you a little more money cause that builder ain't worried about you making money
I’ve heard from more than one source he’s retiring, but yeah it could be that. I don’t even know that I like cheaping out on material, I’d rather spec out quality, charge for quality, deliver quality, and they can take it or leave it.
 

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My master attempted new construction. No money to be made. By the time material and labor is paid for his take would be a couple grand. He came in twice as high as others. New construction you need to put in the cheapest material, order heaters by the semi load and you have to fly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
My master attempted new construction. No money to be made. By the time material and labor is paid for his take would be a couple grand. He came in twice as high as others. New construction you need to put in the cheapest material, order heaters by the semi load and you have to fly.
I am beginning to see that. I’ve got a buddy who works in the thumb area, his company is raking it in hand over fist in newcon, I’m beginning to think it’s an isolated thing on smaller markets.
 

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I am beginning to see that. I’ve got a buddy who works in the thumb area, his company is raking it in hand over fist in newcon, I’m beginning to think it’s an isolated thing on smaller markets.
There’s one company in my town that does new con and service. I’ve seen some of their work. It’s not bad and to code, but you can tell it was a rushed job. Mostly because they use baffles for the pex and as few fittings as possible. I don’t know what their profit % is.

New construction seems like too much work with too little profit to me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I might try and reach out to some builders or even some other plumbers I know and see what a typical cost per fixture bid is around here, I think some places might be good sports about it. Not so much that I'm trying to sneak in under bids or undercut guys, but more so I know if it's even worth my time submitting a bid on stuff. I get the feeling there are a handfull of guys in my area that are more than happy working for themselves and making roughly what they would make working for a contractor, or maybe a hair more.
 

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I might try and reach out to some builders or even some other plumbers I know and see what a typical cost per fixture bid is around here, I think some places might be good sports about it. Not so much that I'm trying to sneak in under bids or undercut guys, but more so I know if it's even worth my time submitting a bid on stuff. I get the feeling there are a handfull of guys in my area that are more than happy working for themselves and making roughly what they would make working for a contractor, or maybe a hair more.

You are just fresh young sweet meat to this builder....and he will break you in right....
he is lieing to you and I would be willing to bet that the other plumber told him to go fuc/ himself.
CALL the other plumber and ask him what is going on if you know who he is..... chances are the
builder wont tell you who it was... you would probably have to go out to the job site and ask around
who did the last condo... the sparkies will probably tell you..... Then CALL HIM.

If you are wise you will stay away from all building contractors unless you have a deep desire to be their bi/ch....
They are all skum and will lie through their teeth about prices and tell you that you are twice as high as they expected
then expect you to take less when the project is through or they will hold back a 10 % retainage that you were never
aware of and will never pry it out of their slimey hands.....

You will actually make more money just dicking around doing service calls on toilets, heaters and misc things
versus kissing this skumbags ass for a living.......and be a whole lots happier too


You are very wise to just walk away, run away.. and dont take it personally....
he will find his boy (sucker) eventually....



just be glad that its just not gonna be you.... (y) (y) (y)
 

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philosopher and statesmen
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There’s one company in my town that does new con and service. I’ve seen some of their work. It’s not bad and to code, but you can tell it was a rushed job. Mostly because they use baffles for the pex and as few fittings as possible. I don’t know what their profit % is.

New construction seems like too much work with too little profit to me.
Its nothing but heartache, new construction.....
You will work your ass off and eventually take a huge loss from one of your "buddies"
its just like playing russian roulette...
eventually its gonna be your turn to get boned real hard
when they go belly up oweing you 50k or more

I have seen a couple of companies go under due to this and also seen divorces happen due to the work load'
drinking and other bad habits also come along with the stress that the plumber puts himself through....
.

its not worth it
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
They seemed real desperate for a plumber, I’d they come back and want to do it for my bid I might accept. I can put in the contract 50% upon completion of underground, they don’t pay I don’t finish. You can lose your ass in any field, newcon, service etc. if they come crawling back we’ll talk, I’d they find some other sucker than good for them.
 

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They seemed real desperate for a plumber, I’d they come back and want to do it for my bid I might accept. I can put in the contract 50% upon completion of underground, they don’t pay I don’t finish. You can lose your ass in any field, newcon, service etc. if they come crawling back we’ll talk, I’d they find some other sucker than good for them.
Don’t budge on your price one bit! Order your parts per stage. 50% up front, 25% at rough in inspection and 25% at finish. Don’t forget to include a clause for extra trips when other trades aren’t ready or in your way!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Don’t budge on your price one bit! Order your parts per stage. 50% up front, 25% at rough in inspection and 25% at finish. Don’t forget to include a clause for extra trips when other trades aren’t ready or in your way!
That was exactly the plan, and exactly what I put in the contract. I have lists saved on FEI’s website, one for underground, one for DWV RI, one for water RI, one for finish. Was going to have supply house deliver everything directly to jobsdite, I return what I don’t use at the end of each day. And like you said 50/25/25. Anyways I havent went heard back from the builder or developer so I’m guessing they are off time find someone cheaper, i say good luck everyone is so swamped with work right now I can’t believe they will have any luck finding someone.
 

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That was exactly the plan, and exactly what I put in the contract. I have lists saved on FEI’s website, one for underground, one for DWV RI, one for water RI, one for finish. Was going to have supply house deliver everything directly to jobsdite, I return what I don’t use at the end of each day. And like you said 50/25/25. Anyways I havent went heard back from the builder or developer so I’m guessing they are off time find someone cheaper, i say good luck everyone is so swamped with work right now I can’t believe they will have any luck finding someone.

Being two weeks on your own you’re in a better state of mind than I was at the same time. Charge as much as your former employee. Don’t advertise 24/7. You are one person, not a crew! Sure, take late night calls from awesome customers when you can and charge accordingly. I have two drain cleaning companies that I work with to make sure my customers are taken care of when I cannot. They return the favor when they can’t make it. Surround yourself with plumbers like yourself, maybe even work together on a condo project. 50/50 minus parts/permit.
 

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They seemed real desperate for a plumber, I’d they come back and want to do it for my bid I might accept. I can put in the contract 50% upon completion of underground, they don’t pay I don’t finish. You can lose your ass in any field, newcon, service etc. if they come crawling back we’ll talk, I’d they find some other sucker than good for them.

No, this is not true...... you might lose a small amount on service....
I have a 175 dollar bounced check on my desk,.... To me , that is not losing your ass
because I was there only an hour..... and I have lost more than that before but it was not
as devastating as taking it in the ass with a builder.... its the cost of doing business.. small
nicks and dings on the road.... but its an easy road....

Now , if you spend a week or two and throw a few thousand dollars into a job and watch it go south
not only did you work your ass off with physical labor but you still have to pay your suppliers
and your help and you get left with only holding your dick in your hand

keep away from them all,,, the physical side of it will only wear you out faster
 

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No, this is not true...... you might lose a small amount on service....
I have a 175 dollar bounced check on my desk,.... To me , that is not losing your ass
because I was there only an hour..... and I have lost more than that before but it was not
as devastating as taking it in the ass with a builder.... its the cost of doing business.. small
nicks and dings on the road.... but its an easy road....

Now , if you spend a week or two and throw a few thousand dollars into a job and watch it go south
not only did you work your ass off with physical labor but you still have to pay your suppliers
and your help and you get left with only holding your dick in your hand

keep away from them all,,, the physical side of it will only wear you out faster
I swear! You are my master’s doppelgänger! That is if would join this forum!
 

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I call BS. No way your labour is double. Maybe 20%. Tell that GC too bad, that's your price.

Don't get phucked while your young hole is still fresh, the GCs can smell it ;)
 
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