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Posted: 7/18/2010 7:20:11 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/18/2010 7:20:30 PM EST by jhark123]
Hey all, the "what you wish you knew about buying a house" thread got me thinking that many of you might want to ask me a few questions.

Ask away


Link Posted: 7/18/2010 7:21:50 PM EST
percentage profit?

now start talking.
Link Posted: 7/18/2010 7:21:51 PM EST
How many sub contractors do you use and what is the usual % of total cost that they make up?
Link Posted: 7/18/2010 7:22:04 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/18/2010 7:24:22 PM EST by inthe605]
EDIT: seems i poked too many buttons.

new question below.

What is the meaning to life?
Link Posted: 7/18/2010 7:29:31 PM EST
Originally Posted By inthe605:
percentage profit?

now start talking.


I generally estimate at Cost + 15%, if it is a fixed bid I add a 5% contingency (which typically gets used for overruns, damaged materials, weather delays and stupid stuff that the client thinks should be corrected but is really fine)

That is on top of labor profit. I bill at $45 per man hour and pay a lead $25. add $5 for employee taxes.

Taken out of that profit is insurance payments for 1M liability and tool theft. Also, I carry a $12,000 performance bond and have 15-20k in tools to purchase and maintain.
Link Posted: 7/18/2010 7:35:11 PM EST
Originally Posted By SuperJanitor:
How many sub contractors do you use and what is the usual % of total cost that they make up?


I use subs for excavation, roofing, drywall, electrical, plumbing, finish concrete, masonry, flooring installation, more that I am not thinking of now


We do foundations, framing, siding, painting, finish carpentry, tile, decks, and septic systems in house.
Link Posted: 7/18/2010 7:35:50 PM EST
What happens when the client doesn't pay?
Link Posted: 7/18/2010 7:36:50 PM EST
Originally Posted By inthe605:
EDIT: seems i poked too many buttons.

new question below.

What is the meaning to life?


Service to God and Family





































































And raping every customer you can j/k
Link Posted: 7/18/2010 7:38:29 PM EST
hey.

quit burying the fucking phone lines into the fucking basement and bring them up on the oustide of the fucking house. God damn.


Link Posted: 7/18/2010 7:38:32 PM EST
What is a common shortcut that we can look for?
Link Posted: 7/18/2010 7:39:12 PM EST
Originally Posted By jhark123:
Originally Posted By SuperJanitor:
How many sub contractors do you use and what is the usual % of total cost that they make up?


I use subs for excavation, roofing, drywall, electrical, plumbing, finish concrete, masonry, flooring installation, more that I am not thinking of now


We do foundations, framing, siding, painting, finish carpentry, tile, decks, and septic systems in house.


Do you pay the mexican roofers 20.00 per square and charge the HO 60.00 per square labor?
Link Posted: 7/18/2010 7:42:45 PM EST
What kind of windows do you normally spec for a home?

What is your choice brand of boiler (oil)?

Do you spec PEX for plumbing?

ABS or PVC for drain pipe?

Favorite circular saw?

Leather or Cordura for tool belt?

Link Posted: 7/18/2010 7:43:31 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/18/2010 7:44:52 PM EST by jhark123]
Edit: this is a response to Denj

That really depends on the situation.

I won't take a job where the initial/progress payments don't at least cover my costs for material/labor. If the client balks at a reasonable payment schedule, I tell them I'm not a bank and I don't intend to be.


If it is a small amount (<$500) I would take them to small claims.

If it is over that but less than $7500, I'd file a lein on the property and take them to small claims to get some of it earlier.

If it was over $7500 I'd file a lien and them file in superior court to enforce it.


*I've never had a client not pay*

Link Posted: 7/18/2010 7:47:08 PM EST

Originally Posted By CTbuilder1:
What kind of windows do you normally spec for a home?

What is your choice brand of boiler (oil)?

Do you spec PEX for plumbing?

ABS or PVC for drain pipe?

Favorite circular saw?

Leather or Cordura for tool belt?


Is there a builder worth his salt that still uses those things?


Worm drive. This is always the answer. It's never not.

YMMV
Link Posted: 7/18/2010 7:50:15 PM EST
Originally Posted By DuraToTheMax:

Originally Posted By CTbuilder1:
What kind of windows do you normally spec for a home?

What is your choice brand of boiler (oil)?

Do you spec PEX for plumbing?

ABS or PVC for drain pipe?

Favorite circular saw?

Leather or Cordura for tool belt?


Is there a builder worth his salt that still uses those things?


Worm drive. This is always the answer. It's never not.

YMMV


I don't care for worm drives. Poor ergos.
Link Posted: 7/18/2010 7:52:07 PM EST
Originally Posted By patchouli:
What is a common shortcut that we can look for?


WAY too many to list. Most of them you will never find on an inspection.

The best way to protect yourself is to use a reputable builder. Inspect the home as it is being built, but do not pester the builder. It takes a lot of self control to keep your quality level high when the HO is being a pain in your ass.

A common shortcut on sloped lots is un-engineered fill under the footings on the downhill side. After the foundation has been cut and the footings formed, use a length of rebar to probe around the down hill footings. If it is softer than the rest of the area its a red flag.
Link Posted: 7/18/2010 7:52:12 PM EST

Originally Posted By CTbuilder1:


I don't care for worm drives. Poor ergos.

Are you left-handed?
Link Posted: 7/18/2010 7:53:21 PM EST
Originally Posted By ShingleMonkey:
Originally Posted By jhark123:
Originally Posted By SuperJanitor:
How many sub contractors do you use and what is the usual % of total cost that they make up?


I use subs for excavation, roofing, drywall, electrical, plumbing, finish concrete, masonry, flooring installation, more that I am not thinking of now


We do foundations, framing, siding, painting, finish carpentry, tile, decks, and septic systems in house.


Do you pay the mexican roofers 20.00 per square and charge the HO 60.00 per square labor?


Nope. I only hire licensed subs and I bill at cost + 15% on cost + jobs and estimate at cost + 20% for bid jobs
Link Posted: 7/18/2010 7:56:41 PM EST
Originally Posted By DuraToTheMax:

Originally Posted By CTbuilder1:


I don't care for worm drives. Poor ergos.

Are you left-handed?


No. I don't like the position of the handle or the balance. I use a Bosch circ saw with direct connect cord. Excellent visibility on the cut line. Rafter hook. 56 degree bevel and lightweight. I have never had a need for a worm drive.
Link Posted: 7/18/2010 7:59:24 PM EST
Originally Posted By CTbuilder1:
What kind of windows do you normally spec for a home?Atrium or Empire (local companies)

What is your choice brand of boiler (oil)? We don't use boilers here

Do you spec PEX for plumbing? Yes, better than the current thin copper

ABS or PVC for drain pipe? ABS inside the home and PVC (3034) outside

Favorite circular saw? Bosch 1677m worm drive, Bigfoot 10" mag kit on a 1677m and a Makita 5402 16" for 6x stock

Leather or Cordura for tool belt? Condura, it's too wet here for leather



Link Posted: 7/18/2010 8:02:50 PM EST
Originally Posted By CTbuilder1:
Originally Posted By DuraToTheMax:

Originally Posted By CTbuilder1:


I don't care for worm drives. Poor ergos.

Are you left-handed?


No. I don't like the position of the handle or the balance. I use a Bosch circ saw with direct connect cord. Excellent visibility on the cut line. Rafter hook. 56 degree bevel and lightweight. I have never had a need for a worm drive.


It's mostly a regional thing. West cost is worm drive and East coast is sidewinder. I've never SEEN a sidewinder on a jobsite. I like the blade left myself
Link Posted: 7/18/2010 8:02:52 PM EST

Originally Posted By CTbuilder1:
Originally Posted By DuraToTheMax:

Originally Posted By CTbuilder1:


I don't care for worm drives. Poor ergos.

Are you left-handed?


No. I don't like the position of the handle or the balance. I use a Bosch circ saw with direct connect cord. Excellent visibility on the cut line. Rafter hook. 56 degree bevel and lightweight. I have never had a need for a worm drive.

Well, to each his own. I find the ergos on circ saws pretty uncomfortable.

I use a Bosch 15 amp worm drive. Came with a sky hook, IIRC I paid about $135 for this one.


Link Posted: 7/18/2010 8:04:36 PM EST
Looks like we all agree on Bosch at least
Link Posted: 7/18/2010 8:06:56 PM EST
Originally Posted By DuraToTheMax:

Originally Posted By CTbuilder1:
Originally Posted By DuraToTheMax:

Originally Posted By CTbuilder1:


I don't care for worm drives. Poor ergos.

Are you left-handed?


No. I don't like the position of the handle or the balance. I use a Bosch circ saw with direct connect cord. Excellent visibility on the cut line. Rafter hook. 56 degree bevel and lightweight. I have never had a need for a worm drive.

Well, to each his own. I find the ergos on circ saws pretty uncomfortable.

I use a Bosch 15 amp worm drive. Came with a sky hook, IIRC I paid about $135 for this one.




Here's a better question, what blade do you guy's run? I'm partial to the Diablo's, I just think the red looks sexy
Link Posted: 7/18/2010 8:08:32 PM EST

Originally Posted By CTbuilder1:
Looks like we all agree on Bosch at least

Yeah, IMO you can't really go wrong with Bosch.

The Germans make good stuff, just ask that guy who got his ass kicked by a hooker.
Link Posted: 7/18/2010 8:09:53 PM EST

Originally Posted By jhark123:


Here's a better question, what blade do you guy's run? I'm partial to the Diablo's, I just think the red looks sexy

Hell yes. Used to run Marathons until the Diablos came out.

Nice and thin .
Link Posted: 7/18/2010 8:13:57 PM EST
What is the actual cost of the average 2000' house not including land? Lumber, roof, sparky, turd herder?
Link Posted: 7/18/2010 8:14:32 PM EST
Diablo on my circ saws. I used to run them on my mitre saw as well but I just switched to the 90 tooth Rigid. It's much smoother cutting. Still run a diablo on my table saw.
Link Posted: 7/18/2010 8:16:04 PM EST
About how much extra would a typical "safe room"/"gun room" cost with concrete walls and steel door?
Link Posted: 7/18/2010 8:16:13 PM EST
Originally Posted By timco:
What is the actual cost of the average 2000' house not including land? Lumber, roof, sparky, turd herder?


That's like saying whats the average cost of a car not including doors, rear seats, axles or tires. Lumber, roofing, electrical and plumbing a part of the house. Land is seperate from the actual home but the excavation costs are included.
Link Posted: 7/18/2010 8:35:12 PM EST
Originally Posted By timco:
What is the actual cost of the average 2000' house not including land? Lumber, roof, sparky, turd herder?


$225k to 300k for your average custom, much less for a "tract home" type dwelling.

Link Posted: 7/18/2010 8:37:49 PM EST
How many years do you guess until it all comes back?
Link Posted: 7/18/2010 8:38:46 PM EST
Originally Posted By hubcityraider:
About how much extra would a typical "safe room"/"gun room" cost with concrete walls and steel door?


If you have a basement already 3-7k(in the corner using two existing walls). MUCH more if you don't have a basement to work with
Link Posted: 7/18/2010 8:41:01 PM EST
Originally Posted By pseudojd:
How many years do you guess until it all comes back?


I wish I knew. I'd say 5 years to get back to land/home prices circa 2005, two years prior to the peak. Volume should reach a more normal level around that time
Link Posted: 7/18/2010 8:42:36 PM EST
Originally Posted By jhark123:
Originally Posted By pseudojd:
How many years do you guess until it all comes back?


I wish I knew. I'd say 5 years to get back to land/home prices circa 2005, two years prior to the peak. Volume should reach a more normal level around that time


Ouch. That is amazing that this whole thing could last a decade. I sure hope obummer doesn't prolong it.
Link Posted: 7/18/2010 8:43:32 PM EST
Yep, those that think it will be back to the peak in two years are not being realistic
Link Posted: 7/18/2010 8:43:54 PM EST
Have you grown to like salsa music?
Link Posted: 7/18/2010 8:46:41 PM EST
Originally Posted By Svetgar:
Have you grown to like salsa music?


Nope, I'm more of a custom builder and we do most of what the brown army typically handles in house.

The only consistently mexican crew I see are the drywall hangers
Link Posted: 7/18/2010 8:47:34 PM EST
Originally Posted By jhark123:
Originally Posted By inthe605:
percentage profit?

now start talking.


I generally estimate at Cost + 15%, if it is a fixed bid I add a 5% contingency (which typically gets used for overruns, damaged materials, weather delays and stupid stuff that the client thinks should be corrected but is really fine)

That is on top of labor profit. I bill at $45 per man hour and pay a lead $25. add $5 for employee taxes.

Taken out of that profit is insurance payments for 1M liability and tool theft. Also, I carry a $12,000 performance bond and have 15-20k in tools to purchase and maintain.


That confused me so let's try this: I pay you $150,000 for a house. How much are you probably going to make?
Link Posted: 7/18/2010 8:50:02 PM EST
Originally Posted By Justa_TXguy:
Originally Posted By jhark123:
Originally Posted By inthe605:
percentage profit?

now start talking.


I generally estimate at Cost + 15%, if it is a fixed bid I add a 5% contingency (which typically gets used for overruns, damaged materials, weather delays and stupid stuff that the client thinks should be corrected but is really fine)

That is on top of labor profit. I bill at $45 per man hour and pay a lead $25. add $5 for employee taxes.

Taken out of that profit is insurance payments for 1M liability and tool theft. Also, I carry a $12,000 performance bond and have 15-20k in tools to purchase and maintain.


That confused me so let's try this: I pay you $150,000 for a house. How much are you probably going to make?


30-40k

Link Posted: 7/18/2010 8:51:34 PM EST
Another question: What do you think about trailer homes, i.e. manufactured homes? They claim they are built to real home specs and higher. I had one before and it sure as hell didn't seem like it to me. Just curious as to what you think about them.
Link Posted: 7/18/2010 8:52:13 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/18/2010 9:23:26 PM EST by Master_of_Orion]
What is(or are) the most interesting hidden thing(or things) you've build into a home?

For example hidden room... hidden door way... trap door seller... The whole bookcase is a door thing...



ETA: also funny stories... craziness...
Link Posted: 7/18/2010 9:31:18 PM EST
Originally Posted By Justa_TXguy:
Another question: What do you think about trailer homes, i.e. manufactured homes? They claim they are built to real home specs and higher. I had one before and it sure as hell didn't seem like it to me. Just curious as to what you think about them.


I have a project coming up on an early 2000's triple wide with all the upgrades and I can tell you for a fact that is BS. True, tract homes are built poorly by the national builders, but this home has no window flashing, 3 in 12 pitch with regular comp roofing, etc.
Link Posted: 7/18/2010 10:06:52 PM EST
OK I have a real question this time.

How do you go about finding a good contractor who will do the job right? Asking people doesn't sound that great because frankly most people don't know what the fuck they are talking about, but are happy to run off at the mouth.
Link Posted: 7/18/2010 10:17:13 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/18/2010 10:28:42 PM EST by BlackRifle76]
How much would you charge (estimate) to clear a wooded lot just enough clearing for house and drive, build a 1500 sq Logix block foundation (crawlspace type), 4 courses high, frost line is 60 inches, we are just talking the excavating and installation of the logix block walls with rebar and concrete and backfill sand around outside of wall. Install gravel drive appx. 40 feet long. Also a 24x24 concrete slab garage will be attached to this foundation.


Link Posted: 7/18/2010 10:29:40 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/18/2010 10:30:00 PM EST by StarJumper]
What do you think about ICF's and/or SIPS panels (pros,cons,difficulty, have you ever used them)?

My new favorite are concrete sandwich panels like these.... Structural Insulated Concrete Wall Panel Link any thoughts?
Link Posted: 7/19/2010 3:54:42 AM EST
OP, you say you've never had a customer not pay. Do you have a formal contract signed before work begins? If so, is it one of your own making, or does it follow guidleines from a trade association (i.e., AIA, HBA, etc.)?

Also, what are you current approximate workmen's comp costs? In 2006 (last year I was in business), mine were about $24 per $100 for a framing contractor only.

Oh, Makita sidewinder here. I do like the Diablo blades, though.
Link Posted: 7/19/2010 4:31:06 AM EST
So how much has housing construction slowed down since 2008?
In this area of the country, it's still down around half what it was back then.
Link Posted: 7/19/2010 4:35:20 AM EST
[Last Edit: 7/19/2010 4:59:03 AM EST by stockshift]
Edit: nm, saw your answer on windows above.
Link Posted: 7/19/2010 4:36:18 AM EST
I know windows are a big profit item for GC, but why do y'all install the biggest POS builder grade aluminum windows in new homes?
Link Posted: 7/19/2010 6:38:14 AM EST
Originally Posted By ARJJ:
OP, you say you've never had a customer not pay. Do you have a formal contract signed before work begins? Almost every time. If so, is it one of your own making, or does it follow guidleines from a trade association (i.e., AIA, HBA, etc.)?

Also, what are you current approximate workmen's comp costs? In 2006 (last year I was in business), mine were about $24 per $100 for a framing contractor only. $3 per man hour

Oh, Makita sidewinder here. I do like the Diablo blades, though.


Got a standard contract from a "contractor's legal kit" book and had my lawyer review it.
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