Electrician Talk banner
1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Moderator
Estwing magic
Joined
·
26,559 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Since I am inching towards this, I want to know how GC's can handle their subtrades better. I'm not interested in hearing that GC's are scum, they never pay their bills, etc. I want your ideas on how a GC can hire and maintain high quality subs.

Here is my biggest complaint with GC's: They're control freaks. They want things done their way and don't want to hear feedback from their subs.

We have all been there. You're working alongside a couple of other trades and the GC walks in, huffing and puffing and spreading his gospel to the unwashed. After he leaves, the subs have a discussion about how he could run his jobs better and, most of the time, what they say makes sense.

My idea would be to run jobs almost like a cooperative where every sub is consulted on his ideas for job coordination, efficiency and completion. I dunno, maybe I will eventually just become another hard a$$ with my own gospel to spread but there's gotta be a better way.

What say you gurus?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,814 Posts
99cents said:
Since I am inching towards this, I want to know how GC's can handle their subtrades better. I'm not interested in hearing that GC's are scum, they never pay their bills, etc. I want your ideas on how a GC can hire and maintain high quality subs. Here is my biggest complaint with GC's: They're control freaks. They want things done their way and don't want to hear feedback from their subs. We have all been there. You're working alongside a couple of other trades and the GC walks in, huffing and puffing and spreading his gospel to the unwashed. After he leaves, the subs have a discussion about how he could run his jobs better and, most of the time, what they say makes sense. My idea would be to run jobs almost like a cooperative where every sub is consulted on his ideas for job coordination, efficiency and completion. I dunno, maybe I will eventually just become another hard a$$ with my own gospel to spread but there's gotta be a better way. What say you gurus?
You just need to be a coordinator with good communication skills. When problems come up, try to fix them not fix blame.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,212 Posts
99cents said:
Since I am inching towards this, I want to know how GC's can handle their subtrades better. I'm not interested in hearing that GC's are scum, they never pay their bills, etc. I want your ideas on how a GC can hire and maintain high quality subs. Here is my biggest complaint with GC's: They're control freaks. They want things done their way and don't want to hear feedback from their subs. We have all been there. You're working alongside a couple of other trades and the GC walks in, huffing and puffing and spreading his gospel to the unwashed. After he leaves, the subs have a discussion about how he could run his jobs better and, most of the time, what they say makes sense. My idea would be to run jobs almost like a cooperative where every sub is consulted on his ideas for job coordination, efficiency and completion. I dunno, maybe I will eventually just become another hard a$$ with my own gospel to spread but there's gotta be a better way. What say you gurus?
Alway leave a larger window for completion to accommodate for delays!!
Over and over we are expected to make up time because of someone else or weather delays , material problems and such.
Then two days before completion you have every trade tripping over each other trying to do a weeks worth of work in two .
 

·
felonious smile.
Joined
·
15,934 Posts
Play games with subs when it comes time to pay them, borrow from peters job to pay for pauls job. Now you're a GC.
 

·
Electrical Contractor
Trying to retire or at least slow down a bit, but life not cooperating
Joined
·
5,141 Posts
It seems the single biggest problem is that the GC is not willing or afraid to tell the customer that the schedule is unrealistic or has slipped.
As a result, the final week or so becomes a zoo and is totally inefficient.
Other problems that I have seen, the drywaller loads the project with all his drywall, before roughing has started, making it harder for us to work. And then of course, the pressure to get the roughing done so drywall can go up.
In residential, one of the progress draw points, is the drywall installation, so I can understand the reasoning. However in commercial, usually the 25th of the month is progress draw date. It is harder for the engineers and owners to come to a percentage completion, but that's what their responsibilities are.

Of course, the optics of drywall, flooring or T-bar, always looks good to the customer. In reality, flooring and T-bar should be one of the last installations but it seems to always be to early.

I believe that the Red Seal trades get along a lot better with each other, than with the other trades. Maybe it's because we realize the value of co-ordination.

99, I have discussed ideas similar to yours, and the main stumbling block is that someone HAS to the boss. Responsibility must fall somewhere.

I have GC'd a few small projects and they went smoothly, but they were very simple and had few surprises. IF, I had the money behind me, I think I would try more and bigger ones. I don't think I could do any worse than some of the GC's we've worked with.
 

·
animal lover /rat bastard
Joined
·
13,547 Posts
the difference between GCs and Subs is just a few added layers of complexity.

GCs who have a few trusted subs in each division, and are more interested in quality well paying clients, and are not so interested in the cheapest price, and are more interested in negotiated projects rather than public bid have a shot at being good companies, given good market conditions for the type of work they are doing. Nothing lasts forever, however, and it is the beginning of the bad times when any contractor, including subs, need to be extra careful. GCs who expand too quickly are extra dangerous, since they are usually cash poor and use the subs as banks, and extra susceptible to cascade failures from one job failing.

slow growth, attention to detail, proactive timely and sensible project management are the keys IMO to success. Some other keys are intimate knowledge of the numbers, rapid processing of change orders along with rapid communication with clients/archs/engineers for any and all job issues, and rapid payment processing to subs. (I have seen so many jobs come to a piss-poor ending because all the leverage for change orders was lost due to GC letting it ride out until the job was complete. GC's who go to bat for the subs for changes in a timely fashion for changes have a shot at preventing this, and everyone can make money while leverage is available. Backcharges, on the other hand, are usually a result of either bad supervision or one or two lousy subs) Poor and inexperienced job supervision is one of the keys to failure. Successful coordination of the subs requires a proactive and experienced approach, and smart planning (not just weekly BS sessions in the job trailer.

just my 02
 

·
Electrical Contractor
Trying to retire or at least slow down a bit, but life not cooperating
Joined
·
5,141 Posts
You are quite correct about expanding too quickly. Even subs have to be diligent to watch for this.
On occasion, even my best GC's have had cash flow problems, but they usually communicated that to me that the progress draw would be a day or so late.
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top