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Posted: 10/30/2009 3:35:41 PM EST
Any of you not starving?



Link Posted: 10/30/2009 3:38:07 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/30/2009 3:48:12 PM EST by GrIlLa]
Hi, I'm hungry....

I would have to add, residential construction is down at least 60% around DC.
I know contractors that have 40 years in the business and say they have never seen anything like it before.
The bad thing is there is no relief in site. I think this may just finish off the last of the white contractors in NOVA.

Link Posted: 10/30/2009 3:44:24 PM EST
It' not looking good here in Michigan.
Link Posted: 10/30/2009 3:46:25 PM EST
None of us are looking good here in MI. Were keeping the bills paid in the commercial service industry. But not much more.
Link Posted: 10/30/2009 4:03:50 PM EST
I do commercial work on the side from my regular job as a FF. I've worked maybe a week since June. There's nothing going on and nothing in the works.
Link Posted: 10/30/2009 4:06:28 PM EST
It's bad here, it's as if construction has become some obsolete technology.

Two years ago it was cranking as usual, up to my ears in business and able to name my price. I was constantly turning away work.

Now, when I can find work (which isn't often), I'm working for about half price. I might gross 1/3 of what I did in '03-'07.


I know a guy who has been in business for 30+ years, had over 100 employees, down to 7 guys. I just talked to him tonight, his motorhome got repossessed and he had to scramble to keep his lights on this month.

There is a Lumber Yard near here, with only the owner and his son still employed.

Whenever I am on a jobsite, we get visited several times a day by people looking for work. Some are willing to work for $5 an hour.


Link Posted: 10/30/2009 4:09:03 PM EST
I have been busy all year, but not the higher paying jobs that I had before now. I have one client that I build rentals for, and that is constant. I have a custom home priced and going to price a nice addition, and a job at the bank to do. I am not complaining, as I am paying the bills, but this housing thing has hit us in southern VA too.
Link Posted: 10/30/2009 4:10:13 PM EST
The locals up here are raping the .gov on construction of a lot of new buildings and such. There's also the privatized housing folks looking to build ~175 2 story homes in the next few years too. I'm sure they'll get raped on that too.

Link Posted: 10/30/2009 4:12:56 PM EST
I understand you guys are building houses & stuff. I'll tell you what, you can't find a decent carpenter to come and take care of the odds & ends that need fixing. I wish I had some carpentry ability.
Link Posted: 10/30/2009 4:15:56 PM EST
Do not despair. There will be some construction work coming back.

I am involved in a commercial build out in the Philly area. It's small at about 8k sqft. We're doing construction drawings, budgeting and the like right now. We should be going to bid in about 4 weeks or so. I expect this job will happen and should begin near the top of the new year.

The money is moving although cautiously. Give it a chance.

112
Link Posted: 10/30/2009 4:16:06 PM EST
I am super busy right now but I also have a spec home that's been on the market for two years. I have at least 2 months solid work ahead of me and I will most likely be able to stay booked. the last year was pretty rough though and the carrying cost of that spec blows.
Link Posted: 10/30/2009 4:22:26 PM EST
doing alright, federal contracts
Link Posted: 10/30/2009 4:22:37 PM EST
I do commercial and residential building, plumbing, mechanical, energy, electrical and accessibility inspections.

part of my job includes issuing building permits for several townships and boroughs in east PA.

permits in my area are down 50%+ easy. most contractors that i know have changed gears from new commercial or residential construction to renovations and other alterations just to make ends meet. i have been seeing an increase in finished residential basement permits over the last year.

new construction for all intents and purposes has came to a halt, and some projects that were in the middle of construction have been slowed up due to lack of funding. its not a good time for the construction industry right now, but thats how things are going in my neck of the woods.
Link Posted: 10/30/2009 4:24:33 PM EST

Originally Posted By CTbuilder1:
I am super busy right now but I also have a spec home that's been on the market for two years. I have at least 2 months solid work ahead of me and I will most likely be able to stay booked. the last year was pretty rough though and the carrying cost of that spec blows.

You're of a very small minority. I'm curious to know how you have managed to stay busy.

There are several different tiers, from the handyman to the developer. I could see one staying busy if he had the capital to buy and flip homes.

I'm in the service end of things though, and I can tell you that we're hanging on by a thread.

Link Posted: 10/30/2009 4:24:38 PM EST
Commercial Estimator here - work is out there, just a lot more people bidding on it for a lot less
Link Posted: 10/30/2009 4:25:42 PM EST
Slow as hell up here in MN too. I typically work in commercial concrete construction and pull a few side jobs in residential during the summer. Been laid off since end of may. The company I worked for is basically shut down except for small repair/replace jobs. Sucks the big one. I may have to restart up my company in the spring. If noone else has work for me I'll find my own. I can be a pretty handy guy. small carpentry jobs, tile, sheet rock,small engine work, light automotive, I can pretty much do anything.
Link Posted: 10/30/2009 4:27:23 PM EST
I'm doing my part to keep our local contractor busy. Just finishing up a bathroom in our basement and about to start an entertainment room after that. He's a great guy and my wife taught both of his kids and since I have some extra dough to burn I thought it might be best spent with him.
Link Posted: 10/30/2009 4:34:28 PM EST
Sucks in NW Florida right now. Where we used to have 4 or 5 at bid openings there are now 20 to 30. Some are like two guys and a truck co. going so low we can't touch it.

Link Posted: 10/30/2009 4:40:56 PM EST
Originally Posted By DuraToTheMax:

Originally Posted By CTbuilder1:
I am super busy right now but I also have a spec home that's been on the market for two years. I have at least 2 months solid work ahead of me and I will most likely be able to stay booked. the last year was pretty rough though and the carrying cost of that spec blows.

You're of a very small minority. I'm curious to know how you have managed to stay busy.

There are several different tiers, from the handyman to the developer. I could see one staying busy if he had the capital to buy and flip homes.

I'm in the service end of things though, and I can tell you that we're hanging on by a thread.



I am a builder normally. New construction is dead so I adapt. Renovation, decks, finished basements, flips, specialty trim work (wainscoting, mantles, porticos) etc. I have never advertised in my life and work on word of mouth only. Happy customers are the best advertisement for me. I have some customers I would consider more or less clients considering the amount of work they have me do. I have others who have a lot of capital that they are willing to invest in flipping and trust me very much to do things right. Networking and building trust has been everything for me.

I am 27 years old now and have been in business for around 10 years. I spent that time developing my skills and sacrificing overall profit for perfection and a 100% satisfied customer base. My time is finally starting to payoff. I started out working for my fathers company where I learned the business end from him and the carpentry end from his main guy. I spent a lot of time with all the subs too to see how they ran their businesses and how they did things. I learned to find and use people I trust and can rely on. When acting in a GC capacity I can guarantee a consistent finished product by using the same subs and vendors every time.
Link Posted: 10/30/2009 4:44:34 PM EST
Here in South Florida it's pretty well gone completely to hell. I've been in the industry for 30+ years and haven't ever seen anything like this. For the last 15 years I've been a project manager doing mega projects and it seemed they'd never end. Now everyone I know is just sitting at home waiting for a recovery. The GC company I was working for in SW. FL. just shut the doors after 38 yeras in business. All 300+ employees lost their jobs. Ther's one or two companied that are undercutting everyone bids by at least 15%. They are way below everyone's cost, but they keep getting the work. It will take a long time for the market to come back with them driving down pricing like that. Every little public job that comes up has thirty or forty GC's bidding with crazy pricing all over the board, but the same one or two companies are always there with their ridiculously low prices grabbing up what little work there is. We're knowledgable in the market and we know what things cost to build. There is no way they can finish the jobs for what they are bidding them for. Hopefully, things will get better soon. I'm looking coast to coast for more work, but nothing has come up yet. I've always considered myself as an A player and thought there would always be work for me, but I've been eating a lot of humble pie lately.
Link Posted: 10/30/2009 5:34:05 PM EST
I'm in SE. Fl. and we went from 30 guys to one.Had to layoff guys that have been with us for thirty years.I'm a partner with my younger brother we do spec houses and mostly drywall.Never had to look for work before always just pick the ones we wanted and pasted the rest on.Just left the business to my brother, there is not enough for two people and he has a young child with 50% custody.I'm 58 and looking for work been out a year and a half. income went from 200,000. in 06- 07 to less than 12,000 this year. I'm ready to say the hell with Florida and move to the mountains out west or something?.Florida is to f___ing hot to enjoy outside life it was 93* here today.Good luck to all that are in the same boat I have been in home construction all my life and have not seen anything like this ever.The music stopped and I did not have a chair.
Link Posted: 10/30/2009 6:47:28 PM EST

Originally Posted By Snake_driver:
Here in South Florida it's pretty well gone completely to hell. I've been in the industry for 30+ years and haven't ever seen anything like this. For the last 15 years I've been a project manager doing mega projects and it seemed they'd never end. Now everyone I know is just sitting at home waiting for a recovery. The GC company I was working for in SW. FL. just shut the doors after 38 yeras in business. All 300+ employees lost their jobs. Ther's one or two companied that are undercutting everyone bids by at least 15%. They are way below everyone's cost, but they keep getting the work. It will take a long time for the market to come back with them driving down pricing like that. Every little public job that comes up has thirty or forty GC's bidding with crazy pricing all over the board, but the same one or two companies are always there with their ridiculously low prices grabbing up what little work there is. We're knowledgable in the market and we know what things cost to build. There is no way they can finish the jobs for what they are bidding them for. Hopefully, things will get better soon. I'm looking coast to coast for more work, but nothing has come up yet. I've always considered myself as an A player and thought there would always be work for me, but I've been eating a lot of humble pie lately.

You might as well be here, telling that story.

I pride myself on my abilities to do the best job possible for many different reasons. First, it gives me great satisfaction to see perfection and to know that I/we did it. I also like to see my customers expectations exceeded. It's a nice feeling. I get all my business on word of mouth because I'm good at what I do and I am able to communicate with people.

Secondly, I sleep well at night knowing I shouldn't receive any call-backs due to shoddy practices.

I have never been the cheapest, and I never wanted to be. I cater to high expectations and am able to meet them.


My reputation at this point seems to be irrelevant. There is no market for custom, quality building right now. There is only the market for necessary maintenance, i.e. "there's a hole in my floor, who can fix it for the least amount".

My only consolation lies in the fact that there is a lot of work being deferred due to the shit economy, and when things turn around we Contractors will again experience a rush of business. It just amazes me how much work has evaporated.





Link Posted: 10/30/2009 6:53:48 PM EST
I am a grading and sodding contractor here is Iowa its just stay afloat, people are actually buying jobs it bizarre..
Link Posted: 10/30/2009 7:06:51 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/30/2009 7:07:14 PM EST by Lattimer]
I typically represent owners on larger scale jobs than whats performed by your typical GC. Was laid off a year ago yesterday from a large design job for a major steel produced. Signed on with my current employer (.gov related) as their on site representative for many jobs (currently $500k - $35M). They've had a lot on the slate for a while for various reasons, but now a lot of jobs are getting put out to take advantage of the fact that so many contractors are bidding low just to keep busy. I'm booked solid until well into 2013 on jobs ranging from small asbestos abatement and stickframe buildings to large warehouses/industrial facilities and massive scale concrete repair jobs.

I'd assume there are other entities doing similar things. Might be a prime opportunity for some to expand operations, if possible. I'm sure there's plenty of expertise out there that can be had for cheap on specialized projects. Good luck to all...
Link Posted: 10/30/2009 7:22:12 PM EST
I work in the engineering / surveying side of these projects. In SWVA, we haven't had a single person call to price a residential subdivision in roughly 18 months. Only thing keeping us in pay checks are auction surveys and the occasional small construction stakeout jobs. Last contractor I talked to are heavily involved in the highway industry. Their last bid, the winning contractor left 30% on the table with the next 3-4 contractors within 5%. Desperate times right now. So much for shovel ready huh....
Link Posted: 10/30/2009 7:44:37 PM EST
I'm a remodeling contractor, with a focus on the service side of it. The last couple of months have been slow but I'm starting to pick up again. I started doing foreclosure repair and rehab In 2007 when this mess started. Have a some contracts with a couple of big banks to work on their houses that have been thrashed. I got the deals by doing quality work in a timely manner. It was real good up until a few months ago when housing prices really took a dump and the banks decided it wasn't worth the money to fix them up. I still a get a few but not like it was. I also do rental repair for property management companies, I service apx 600 rental units for 4 different companies, is it glamorous, no, but it pays ok. I am pulling alot of new customers in that once rented and now own that I have met through the rental thing, alot of first time home owners buying messed up foreclosures.

I do have to say, I'm working for about 10-25% less that I was in 07-08 due to out of work contractors. Hell, I've even see guys go up to 90% less that me. I won't go much lower than I'm at now. I don't want to sacrifice my quality of work to try and beat out others. I Have never advertised, everything I get is word of mouth. Thats the best way to do it. Once all this shit is over, I think things will be good.

But to answer your question, starving, no, but not getting rich either.
Link Posted: 10/30/2009 7:49:10 PM EST
Yet people are still getting gouged... Some of these guys get to quote a bid and go nuts.

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile
Link Posted: 10/30/2009 7:58:45 PM EST
Mixer driver-

Concrete Company- Bottom 1/2 of our guys are not working at all, us senior guys are down to 3-5 days a week. They normally do not lay us off, they just dont call us in. They have laid off a dozen and taken them off the rolls, 5 more sent packing today.

Non Union management has been cut to 32 hrs, so far management is the only sector still on full scale.




Customers- We normally have 3-5 big projects per plant at any one time. Right now we have one. Another is scheduled to start (.gov) but they still have not cut dirt.

We used to have (WAG) 70/30 commercial/residential, now days its as high as 30/70. A majority of the money spent here in concrete sales right now is homeowner remodel, runner up is .gov.

The small contractors are all hurting bad, now doing quality work for gypsy prices or starving and folding. Lots of bills for equipment bought in the last few years, little cash flow these days for most. The union finishers, laborers, etc all have long lists at the halls, my neighbor hasnt worked in 8 months-bankrupt.






The winter forecast is gloomy.



You aint seen bad yet, but its coming.
Link Posted: 10/30/2009 8:05:24 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/30/2009 8:18:01 PM EST by bamaflinger]
I am sitting at home for the past month for the first time in my career. Had a building license for three years and things are bad enough to not justify paying the state fees for the license this year. Got our first baby due anytime now too. Geez. I am hangin on to my money, too, though.
Link Posted: 10/30/2009 8:10:32 PM EST

my buddy is a government contractor....hit the jackpot...Obama's throwing our cash around in the federal arena..
He has to fill out a form for how many jobs he has created/saved. He always puts zero and the feds sent him a shitty letter.
Link Posted: 10/30/2009 8:17:04 PM EST

Originally Posted By bamaflinger:
I am sitting at home for the past month for the first time in my career. Had a building license for three years and things are bad enough to not justify paying the state fees for the license this year. Got our first baby due anytime now too. Geez.

You'll probably be ok- it's amazing how little it takes to live on when it comes down to it.

I used to waste SO much money. Now I'm realizing how little I actually need.

Link Posted: 10/30/2009 8:35:06 PM EST
I'm moderately busy. Have a couple big projects, kitchens, baths, coming up after christmas.
I do the handy man stuff to fill the gaps. Nobody wants to do this stuff. People are begging for small things to get done. Their not ready to do a remodel and aren't going to move, so they always have a list of things that the husband can't/won't do. It pays off when they are ready to do a big project!
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 6:28:54 AM EST
Great thread. I get an idea of how the economy is all over the country.

This is also a good lesson for all of us to have savings in the bank. Prepare for bad times in good times.
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 6:38:27 AM EST
My families company is doing what we always do in a recession- DoD work. The margin is low but if we don't move 20mil a year thru the doors the bills won't get paid. The GC that has most of the milcon here just picked up another 200mil on post. We will be ok. I dont envy you guys doing residential in the collapsed markets.
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 6:44:13 AM EST
It's slower than normal in Texas, but there is still work to be had.

I am seeing a lot of the bigger contractors (Balfour Beatty, Turner, Beck, etc) bidding
5 - 20 million dollar jobs @ 1-2% which would NEVER happen 2 years ago. The funny thing,
a lot of local contractors are still bidding jobs like it was 2 years ago and getting housed.

I don't like seeing anyone go under, but if you're that greedy, fuck 'em. There is still work here
to win if you are willing to do it at a price to keep your people fed and doors open.
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 6:54:41 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/31/2009 6:55:25 AM EST by Dawg180]
I am an architect, and right now, things in construction suck.

We have a hiring agency we have worked with in the past and they have told us the unemployment rate for architects in Chicago is 40%. Unemployment for architects seems to be hovering in the 20-25% range, so you do whatever you can to hang on to your clients and your job.

We have a couple of contractors we work with closely, and most of them have simply stopped doing open bids. One guy I am good friends with out of Kankakee Illinois said that they used to compete with 3-4 other local contractors on most work, and he said that right now he was going up against 20-25 contractors on any job he has bid, with some guys from as far away as St. Louis! he said that the winning bid is typically at or below the cost of materials, with most guys slowly eating through their cash reserves just to keep cash flow from underbid work in the hopes things are going to trun around.

We are starting to see more schematic projects in the last 60 days, things are slowly starting to loosen up. The biggest problem we have seen is most banks are very skittish about loaning money, so there are a lot of really good projects out there that simply can't get financing. SO far the "stimulus plan" isn't, at least in building constructino- it has been kind of a joke in that regards, apparently you have to be in the paving business for it to be worthwhile.



Link Posted: 10/31/2009 8:47:32 AM EST
Exterior GC here....

Very hungry, had to take on odd jobs to survive....
Link Posted: 11/2/2009 8:03:15 AM EST
Originally Posted By GunLvrPHD:
Great thread. I get an idea of how the economy is all over the country.

This is also a good lesson for all of us to have savings in the bank. Prepare for bad times in good times.


You bring up a good point. We seemed like we were late going into this bottomless pit. We were absolutely covered up until June - then nothing. I see some things getting better in other parts of the country but figure the lag going in will also be there coming out.


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