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Motivator
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After giving up all preservation work for the past couple months I can now truly reflect on the years it has stolen from my life.
The intent is in no way,shape, or form an attempt to try to disway anyone from making an attempt to break into the biz.

Just be aware of the TRUE costs of doing business in this field (which assimilates most other trades related businesses, with a few minor/major differences).
This is for the "lurkers" (I attest I was one for several years while I was employed by one of the Nats...a great wealth of information when you are on the "other" side of the fence). I learned my lesson very early in my employment by the nat that I am not "corporate" material.

I. With opportunity comes consequences
A. There are a plethora of companies, brokers, agents, middle men to acquire work from
1. It takes months if not years of experience to actually be able to ascertain which of these cash cows are actually worth providing the necessary services for to continue the relationship.
2. You WILL undoubtedly get burned along the road. Chalk it up to life lesson, growing pains, stupidity or what have you. Just know for certain it's not a matter of IF but merely a matter of WHEN.
3. As the larger national providers become more cutthroat in their attempts to secure these contracts from the big players, realize that you are indeed very low on the totem pole. Never expect to be treated professionally. Grow some thick skin as the badgering and belittlement will be forthcoming.
4. If you are the type to get easily offended, hire someone to handle negotiations and correspondences. You will quickly become irritated by someone sitting in a cubicle half the country away telling you how you need to do things, or how to operate your business.

B. Be prepared to put your personal life and goals on the side as a start up company in the PP world.
1. As a new recruit for these companies you will be expected to jump when they say jump (and don't think you are above this, because you are not). Keep in mind there are 100's in line behind you to take your chunk of the chocolate, protect your investment at all costs.
2. Know that your "family time" will suffer as you endure this business. Not that this is the only industry this happens in,but I can think of very few that can even compare with the tight timelines and strict guidelines.
3. Realize that you get NO days off. You are married to the work 24/7. You will be summoned to perform tasks beyond reason, and there will be frustration along the way. Not answering the phone or email will not serve you well in the long run (see B1).

II. The TRUE cost of doing business
A. Income vs. Expenses
1. Tracking your income is critical, but not nearly as critical as tracking your true costs to operate.
2. Tracking your expenses is exponentially more important than tracking your income (knowing you have a check coming in means nothing if you are already under water).
3. Dotting your I's and crossing your T's will protect you, but not insure you. Regardless how much insurance coverage you carry, or all the safeguards you have in place to prevent catastrophic financial eruption assume the worst and pray for the best.
4. Man up and carry the costs of the job. As you grow, so will your financial responsibilities. Protect those that are protecting you. Pay your subs on time and fairly.
5. Go into it with a plan! Don't create the plan on the fly. Create an employee handbook that is binding. Drug test your employees. Pay your subs as work is completed, not when you get paid (remember they are even further down the totem pole than you are...it's even tougher for them to provide for their families. Why should they have to carry YOUR costs of business if their scope of work is fulfilled).


.....running outta room. Did I mention how elated I am that I haven't taken a photo in over a month and haven't UPLOADED a stinking thing in even longer!!!!!!
 
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I agree to an extent. I don't think it is the market that drives out the weak as much as the spiral downward is the culprit. I've watched this industry evolve for the past 12 years (that I've been aware of it anyhow) and the writing has been on the wall so to speak.
I do agree that the strong survive...but at what cost? That's my input. I'm by no means a liberal or distribution of wealth type of guy (quite the opposite frankly), but within the last 3 weeks I have met old GC's and sub-contractors that used to do work for me while I was the Construction Director for a development company that have recently gotten into the PP world. I ask them how this came about and all 3 of them said it's good money :blink::blink::blink:. I know who they are working for....and I also know firsthand that it is NOT good money.


JenkinsHB said:
These sound like the challenges to starting any business. The market weeds out the weak.
 
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Pardon my ignorance. Is preservation the same as restoration in the construction world?
 
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BurdetteTrim said:
Pardon my ignorance. Is preservation the same as restoration in the construction world?
NO....I do restoration and am an EX preservationist.....

Restoration means to RESTORE the property.

Preservation means to "do only the minimum amount of work so the house won't fall down" so we can sell it for pennies on the dollar and we can sell it "as is" SO the RESTORATION guys or Investors can fix it later. :thumbsup:
 

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JenkinsHB said:
These sound like the challenges to starting any business. The market weeds out the weak.
Read the OP completely. He is neither new to the business or weak.
 

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GTX63 said:
Read the OP completely. He is neither new to the business or weak.




You might want to read it again. Hes been doing P&P for 12 yrs.
 
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P3+,

I can't agree more. I shared a similar type of diatribe here:
http://www.contractortalk.com/f118/fha-preservation-work-toxic-heres-why-112743/

Maybe some contractors are winning with the P&P work, but I don't see how. Even if they think they are good near-term, the long-term looks awful.

Recent chargeback by a national: Vendor A installed a new sump pump per bid - photos were perfect - they demonstrated new pump next to old pump, new operational pump in the pit, etc.. One year later the national issues a chargeback stating that Vendor B found the sump pump was defective one month after Vendor A installed it. National didn't bother to ask Vendor A to check it out - they just paid Vendor B to replace it again and charged-back Vendor A. Really? Are you sure Vendor B was telling the truth? Was the electric on during the second visit? Is there a problem with the circuit breaker? If I have a concern about work somebody does for me, I contact them to seek a resolution - I don't cut off my nose to spite my face!

Another recent chargeback by a national: Vendor A was charged-back $1700 for replacement of a water heater that someone broke into the house and stole. A THIEF BROKE INTO THE HOUSE AND STOLE THE WATER HEATER - Vendor A is on the hook simply because they serviced the house. The national has no basis for the chargeback - they just throw whatever they want against the wall to see what sticks. Maybe they are on the hook to their client because THEY did something wrong... all we know is that you-know-what rolls downhill and the local vendors are at the bottom of the hill.

I, too, have extensive experience in the industry and made a good living from it for years. Those years are long-gone. I could go on and on but here's the bottom line: if you are reading this and you work for a national or regional service provider, you WILL find yourself in these situations. Have you factored this into your prices? Are you willing to accept this liability in exchange for your hard, dirty work?
 
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It's not really important how long I've been in the industry. I'm just disheartened to see how so many are willing jump in guns a blazing to the game without having a plan. It will quickly eat you, and possibly more up.

REMOVED OUT OF RESPECT TO FORUM MODERATORS!

Makes me realize I should have done this client by client tracking much sooner...maybe I'd be less frustrated sitting at home on the couch eating potato chips and watching the View.
 

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P3, MFSoracle, I would encourage you to call out the Nationals by name that pull that c**p. Using nicknames and initials does little to help the folks getting started in this business. I could read this and think, "Man, that must be some fly by night company." Field Assett Services would never do that, or "Safeguard has such a huge network and a pretty website, couldn't be them." There is nothing to fear for naming them; as Oscar Wilde found out, it isn't libelous if it is the truth.
 
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I would love to, but unfortunately legally I cannot in regards to one particular company.

...it's a long sad story.


GTX63 said:
P3, MFSoracle, I would encourage you to call out the Nationals by name that pull that c**p. Using nicknames and initials does little to help the folks getting started in this business. I could read this and think, "Man, that must be some fly by night company." Field Assett Services would never do that, or "Safeguard has such a huge network and a pretty website, couldn't be them." There is nothing to fear for naming them; as Oscar Wilde found out, it isn't libelous if it is the truth.
 
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GTX63,

I'm not interested in calling out specific experiences with specific companies - my observations are based on my experience, and those of others, with many of the companies on this list:

http://www.sm-online.com/sm/directories/fieldserv/ar_fieldsrv2011.pdf

If I call out a specific company then other "vendors" may swoop in to defend their own experience with that company; here's the problem: is it really an independent vendor coming to their defense? Is it inconceivable that the nationals have minions trolling these boards for that very reason? Is it also inconceivable that I am a troll from one of the nationals? You don't know who I am and I don't really know who anybody else is. I prefer to share my experiences / opinions at an industry level to avoid the perception of favoritism or bashing.
 

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MFSOracle said:
GTX63,

I'm not interested in calling out specific experiences with specific companies - my observations are based on my experience, and those of others, with many of the companies on this list:

http://www.sm-online.com/sm/directories/fieldserv/ar_fieldsrv2011.pdf

If I call out a specific company then other "vendors" may swoop in to defend their own experience with that company; here's the problem: is it really an independent vendor coming to their defense? Is it inconceivable that the nationals have minions trolling these boards for that very reason? Is it also inconceivable that I am a troll from one of the nationals? You don't know who I am and I don't really know who anybody else is. I prefer to share my experiences / opinions at an industry level to avoid the perception of favoritism or bashing.
I understand completely. Don't agree, but I understand.

I name the National/Regional/Client as much as possible whether a positive experience or negative. I could care less if they are a current customer or not. Why? All these new contractors posting requests for information on this company or that one. Anyone can say "ZZTOP Asset Management sucks". I will give specific instances what why and how they did what they did. Then they can make a better informed decision and hopefully avoid the baloney we went thru. Yes there are trolls on here. And there are company moles as well. Maybe they will relay enough of the information put up here back to their bosses and eventually realize they have to make a change if they want to reduce all the negative posts from the google search engine.
 

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Sounds like MCS. I've heard of a chargeback being over $150,000 because a company failed to completely fill out a report on a burned down house.
 

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GTX63 said:
I understand completely. Don't agree, but I understand.

I name the National/Regional/Client as much as possible whether a positive experience or negative. I could care less if they are a current customer or not. Why? All these new contractors posting requests for information on this company or that one. Anyone can say "ZZTOP Asset Management sucks". I will give specific instances what why and how they did what they did. Then they can make a better informed decision and hopefully avoid the baloney we went thru. Yes there are trolls on here. And there are company moles as well. Maybe they will relay enough of the information put up here back to their bosses and eventually realize they have to make a change if they want to reduce all the negative posts from the google search engine.
I whole-heartedly agree...Name-Name G-damit... that's what this country was founded on... If somebody is gonna back charge an take $$$ off my table... I'll do what-ever it takes to make it right.
Five Brothers tried to back-charge me $800 for a roof install I did this past summer...indicating that they had to re-roof my work as there was ceiling damage. I went out to the property an sure-enough it was re-roofed. Went inside took pictures of the ceiling damage, compared it to the ceiling damage of the room when I did the roof repair, and there was no new roof damage. The ceiling damage that was there last summer was the identical damage I just photo'd.
So stand up to the bastids...document your work, save it, and bring it on. Just like the documents and waivers you sign when you scuba dive, the Contacts you sign when sign-up with a National, won't hold water in Court. Lien the property's...do ya really want to do business with a firm that wants to take food off your table...not me.
 
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I hate this whole industry. No offense to those who work in it, I feel for ya. I just can't stand these banks bending everyone over. They're the ones making all the money and passing a pos property down to the consumer to fix. :censored:ers!
 

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MFSOracle said:
Recent chargeback by a national: Vendor A installed a new sump pump per bid - photos were perfect - they demonstrated new pump next to old pump, new operational pump in the pit, etc.. One year later the national issues a chargeback stating that Vendor B found the sump pump was defective one month after Vendor A installed it. National didn't bother to ask Vendor A to check it out - they just paid Vendor B to replace it again and charged-back Vendor A. Really? Are you sure Vendor B was telling the truth? Was the electric on during the second visit? Is there a problem with the circuit breaker? If I have a concern about work somebody does for me, I contact them to seek a resolution - I don't cut off my nose to spite my face!



The brothers did me dry on the word of a lying sack of excrement hack. They did offer me the chance to go back and correct it at my expense (cost me a lot of money) or they'd be happy to have the hack go do it and issue a charge back.

I told the bimbo on the very first call informing me of the issue the other guy was lying and that I'd prove it.
I had to return to the remote mountain property to prove the weekender was lying. They still believed him over me. That was when I was CERTAIN our relationship was going no where fast.
Wasn't long after that I told em to KMA.
 
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I think Cyprexx is pretty bad. They are who you start out with and hope to God you find something better.

I have a big national client that is making me very nervous regarding a really screwy job.

The guy I hired screwed up yet did nothing truly wrong. However, what he did makes him look really bad.

I hired a farmer to remove 100 cu/yds from a farm house next door. This was a very long drive for me and I was thrilled to find someone local. The guy removed it and I saw him remove. But...

Then the farmer took his front end loader and filled in a giant hole on the property without any permission to do so. The filled in hole, which I never saw, was discovered by the realtor. Now, the client is fearful that we buried the garbage, which is actually a reasonable assumption. I told them they could dig it up and if they find anything, I'll pay for it. Their estimate is 10k or so. Why am I scared? Even though I know the farmer removed the debris to the landfill, what was actually in that hole? What if they do find something and why would another farmer have a hole dug if not to bury something?

Ughh. Just kills me. I really don't blame them for being suspicious. Contractors (not all) will find a way to cheat you every possible way if you allow them.
 
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