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Old 02-21-2012, 08:14 PM   #1
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Default Setting up to handle tract homes

Since leaving commercial work and going into business for myself Ive been almost exclusively doing service work and small jobs with the occasional room additions and remodel work getting more and more. Now Ive got a small builder who wants to see if I would like to start doing new tract homes. Were not talking subdivisions and neighborhoods, more like a small ranch home here and there. From what I understand they are a small outfit.

Im looking for any advice here as far as gearing up to handle new homes on a semi-regular basis. Im sure service work and small jobs will still be 90% of my work, so I doubt I really need to "set up" to handle this stuff, and I already have most of the tools (I think...?) that I would need to start shuffling jobs out quick. But I'd like to get some advice on what everyone else is doing from whoever is in the new resi dept.

1. Do I need to stock anything out of the ordinary that would'nt be on a service van already?
2. Any different tools that I might need to invest in? I dont have a hole hawg, but I have a good tough corded right-angle drill that I think could handle the rough-ins, at least to start off with.
3. Any business advice? (Im all ears)
4. Any good time or money saving tips? I notice most new resi guys use ground crimps instead of wire nuts (personally I love the green wire nuts but I imaginee the crimps are a lot cheaper).
5. Any good techniques?

Thanks.

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Last edited by MHElectric; 02-21-2012 at 08:34 PM.
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Old 02-21-2012, 09:04 PM   #2
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Hire someone who knows new residential. I started commercial
then done a little residential. I thought I knew a little about it until I worked beside a guy who wired houses everyday.

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Old 02-21-2012, 09:12 PM   #3
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If you can believe some on here, you will have to rough them, in 16 man hours with the service included. I wouldn't get in the hassle of a house for that kind of money. You will need 1000 foot spools on nm(if you use nm there) and stands for the spools. I like these and have 3.

http://www.rack-a-tiers.com/product/...Wire-Dispenser
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Old 02-21-2012, 09:35 PM   #4
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Figure out the materials you will use and buy case lots.

Hire some young helpers who work quick!
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Old 02-21-2012, 09:47 PM   #5
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Be prepared to loose part of the 90% of your service business.
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Old 02-21-2012, 09:49 PM   #6
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Quote:
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Be prepared to loose part of the 90% of your service business.
.....I'll bite, go ahead and explain.
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Old 02-21-2012, 09:55 PM   #7
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x2 on the 1000 foot spools.

Same company has this stand with wheels, which is
easier to move around and store if you are just using it for Romex
or other buliky spools like co-ax. Not quite as flexible for other uses.
I use both.



http://www.rack-a-tiers.com/product/39/E-Z-Roll
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Old 02-21-2012, 10:02 PM   #8
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.....I'll bite, go ahead and explain.
You step into a house on monday at 7 AM insulators will be there on Wed. sheetrock on Thursday. At ten oclock monday you get a service call 30 minutes away So now you are looking at 1 PM before you will be back then another call someone needs you tommorrow morning for a two hour job. Your builder is not going to hold up other trades because of you he needs the work done so he can get paid . As a one man shop you have alot of flexability just doing service and small stuff but when you get into larger builds then your time is not as flexible and you find yourself having to choose between getting the house wired for the next trade to start or go hang grannys ceiling fan. The alternative is to start working 16 hour days.
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Old 02-21-2012, 10:22 PM   #9
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two words.....Boom Drill.....

If your gonna be doing full bore new resi, get yourself a Millwaukee boom drill attachment for your right angle... Trying to drill out a house with just a right angle drill is crazy talk...
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Old 02-21-2012, 10:52 PM   #10
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I can't for the life of me understand why a guy would purposely pursue famously low-margin, fast paced work, for a notoriously fickle clientele.
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Old 02-21-2012, 10:54 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MHElectric View Post
Since leaving commercial work and going into business for myself Ive been almost exclusively doing service work and small jobs with the occasional room additions and remodel work getting more and more. Now Ive got a small builder who wants to see if I would like to start doing new tract homes. Were not talking subdivisions and neighborhoods, more like a small ranch home here and there. From what I understand they are a small outfit.

Im looking for any advice here as far as gearing up to handle new homes on a semi-regular basis. Im sure service work and small jobs will still be 90% of my work, so I doubt I really need to "set up" to handle this stuff, and I already have most of the tools (I think...?) that I would need to start shuffling jobs out quick. But I'd like to get some advice on what everyone else is doing from whoever is in the new resi dept.

1. Do I need to stock anything out of the ordinary that would'nt be on a service van already?
2. Any different tools that I might need to invest in? I dont have a hole hawg, but I have a good tough corded right-angle drill that I think could handle the rough-ins, at least to start off with.
3. Any business advice? (Im all ears)
4. Any good time or money saving tips? I notice most new resi guys use ground crimps instead of wire nuts (personally I love the green wire nuts but I imaginee the crimps are a lot cheaper).
5. Any good techniques?

Thanks.
Consider the nice margins you have doing service work.

Then consider the laughable margins in tract housing.
Then consider working for a GC.

Maybe it would be easier to shoot yourself in the foot.
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Old 02-21-2012, 11:19 PM   #12
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Consider the nice margins you have doing service work.

Then consider the laughable margins in tract housing.
Then consider working for a GC.

Maybe it would be easier to shoot yourself in the foot.

I need enough work coming in to keep a helper and myself busy....this would help.
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Old 02-23-2012, 10:41 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captkirk
two words.....Boom Drill.....

If your gonna be doing full bore new resi, get yourself a Millwaukee boom drill attachment for your right angle... Trying to drill out a house with just a right angle drill is crazy talk...
Please explain, post link or picture of what Milwaukee boom drill attachment is. We use hole hawgs. Thanks
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Old 02-23-2012, 10:47 AM   #14
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One of these. Good for making quick holes through rafters and saving your back.

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Old 02-23-2012, 11:01 AM   #15
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One of these. Good for making quick holes through rafters and saving your back.
That's great! Thanks for the picture!
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Old 02-23-2012, 03:21 PM   #16
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One of these. Good for making quick holes through rafters and saving your back.

How much does that attchment run?
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Old 02-23-2012, 03:35 PM   #17
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How much does that attchment run?
I bought a lightly used one for $125 on Ebay many years ago if I remember correctly. I don't know what a new one costs.
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Old 02-23-2012, 03:53 PM   #18
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I need enough work coming in to keep a helper and myself busy....this would help.
Why dont you just take your helper fishing?
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Old 02-23-2012, 04:45 PM   #19
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Why dont you just take your helper fishing?
Wooah wooah wooah, hold up............are you hiring??? Cause thats right up my alley!

On a serious note, yes, I am very aware that new residential is a cut-throat, low margin rat race. This has not been something I have persude but rather something that has fallen into my lap. Ive taken almost every job that has come my way in an effort to become a more well-rounded electrician and a better businessman. Most of my work has been the little small piddly-ant stuff that bigger guys dont need to (or wont) touch. I feel like this opportunity is just another stepping stone along the way in growing this business.

Service work is by far a better ballgame to play, and I still want to keep that my ultimate focus. I'm still fairly young now and if there ever was a better time to start putting more hard work into this company, I cant think of it. Nobody I've met who is successful in this line of work was able to be very picky during the early years. I bet there are plenty of guys out here who would say it's still hard to be picky even after you've been in business for a good amount of time.

Regardless, I want to work hard at what I do, I want to learn more, I want to become a more well-rounded electrician, I want to try several different types of electrical work, and most importantly I want to honor the Lord in all I do. If doing houses for a while helps me grow this company out of my van and into my garage (so to speak), Im all for it. Earning my stripes - thats how I look at most of what I do. Not everyone wants to do houses at breakneck speeds and earn smaller profits than other work, I completely understand this. I dont have enough other stuff going on right now to be able to turn something like this down. Hopefully this is just another milestone along the way.
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Old 02-23-2012, 05:54 PM   #20
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Don't look for a helper look for a licensed electrician. You need to duplicate yourself as quickly as possible. If you get a good guy then it frees up your time to go get the next job. I know when I started I went after everything but the cut throwt resi build market kept me out so i focused on service and replacement. My first year I did 365 one day jobs but I gained a lot of referals. Do you have any national maintenance companies you wiork with? If not I would be happy to share phone # of the half dozen I deal with,. They have a 45 day tur around on your money but I have never not been paid by these . You can always dump them later when you have lots to do or do like i do and keep them for me to run service its an easy $125.00 on most.

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