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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am getting told that I am too High! Let me tell you what I do. I custom install GRC, no factory 90's used. All custom bent. I design the systems, and cad them, and install them. We fab most, if not all of our own bracing and racking. We carry a Bobcat 225g around with us. My electricians are welders as well as electricians. All out of town work. Mostly west Texas, and South Texas. In the Shales, mostly Oil field support facilities. My profit margin on this hovers around 20%. I mark up my materials 10% and my labor 35%. I feel like I'm under paying my help. My top Journeyman makes 24.00 per hour. They get around 40.00 per day perdiem. Double bunking in rooms. Ect... I think I am cheap! to the point, someone might call me cutthroat! I don't want to be called that. But, I want to be fair to my customers. Or, is it just the customers trying to keep me down? Seems they all are like that. I haven't had any problems picking up work. So, I don't think we are too high. If any thing, I think I'm too low. Some might think I'm foolish putting all this out there. But, I don't care, I just want to be fair. Any thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Move your operation to Alberta and you'll be swimming in dough.
I do hear of a lot of stuff going on up there. Would be a pain to transplant these ******** up there though! LOL. Texas industrial experienced Journeyman, pay scale? Basic rigid conduit, and plastibond experience. Bending, threading, Classified locations, 480v, plc experience, yada yada. $30.00? What would you think a good number is? I certainly don't want to loose the help, I have, to another company. Especially, since I trained them. And, I would like to entertain future prospects, if I can build it in to the bids.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That's the tell.

Who's telling you that you are high? One customer, all customers? Hopefully you haven't got caught working for just one customer.

How many jobs have you lost to being too high in the past 12 months?

Do you have cut throat competition or is it a niche marker?
I have more than one customer. it just seems that in the gas and oil market, they are always needling you. I always seem to hear, "Is there a way we can cut this down?" Or something to that effect. I generally give them one proposal, and try not to waste time trimming the fat.

Have only lost a few, I think mainly because of out of town expenses. Got beat out by a locals, I think.

I have heard, that some got what they paid for.

But, the type of work that we do is a niche. Not as many do GRC and Plastibond. And, those that do, usually work out in the patch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I am a small company, starting up not to long ago. I just want to be competitive, and be able to hire good help. If you don't treat the men that make your money for you right, they will leave! I know, I left. Plus road work is hard on a guy, and his family. So, they need to be compensated properly. I know, I was underpaid where I was at. I was making 28.00 an hour with a ML., doing cad design, field installation, record keeping, estimating and scheduling all at the same time. That's why I left, and went back into business. I just want to be sure I can treat my help right. Maybe I'll start a thread "how much do you make"? just to see how guys are doing out there and where?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Huntx

you're always going to be cornered & beat down in the trades.

most of those who do so are NOT rational people, they don't understand the universal axiom of good/fast/cheap means they can pick any TWO, not all THREE.

So they live in this manufactured facade where they'll fight tooth and nail for/against this standard depending what side of that fence they're on

Here's what you can do, make them think they're getting a deal, lotta ways to do that, ex>jack up your % high, and allow them a % off when they whine, most will toddle off w/o a friggin clue :laughing:~CS~
Done that LOL. it works, since most times they really don't know what your doing for them, in the first place. Its usually the bean counters, that wine. And, like you say, and I tell them. Good work takes time, time is money. Fast work, cost more in the end. Unexpected expenses.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
might sound crazy? But, I wish the US would standardize. For us that travel, it's like some states don't want us there. They make it nearly impossible. And, it's all from the same book, like mentioned. Don't get me wrong, I don't like big gov control. I just wish all states would welcome outside contracting. Instead of hindering it. Not trying to steal any work, I just have a few companies that I do business with, who are not comfortable if I'm not there. Maybe I am too cheap?
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
The problem with a national license some jamook from Florida will travel to Boston charge the Boston rate - 10% to get the work. Pay his lackies 15 bux an hour and cut out the locals.
I say raise your rates and stay in Texas!
I will try that on some bids, and see how much couch time me and the boys get. Lol. Problem here is population of electricians. Or so called electricians.
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Have you asked your guys how they feel about gambling together?

Ask if they are okay with you raising your rates to the end user, and also raising your pay scale. Let them know that this may backfire and you may loose work, and have to cut their hours.

I have asked my guys more than once if they are willing to hold firm on price with the risk of loosing work. Not once were they willing to loose work, and they have accepted reduced travel rates when we had to negotiate on price. On the other hand, when I make extra, I throw them a bonus.

I guess it comes down to motivation, and the company culture. Open communication works well with guys that want to work.
I have talked to them about this. We are going up on some, too see what happens.
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
Something is wrong here. If this is a solid industrial crew geared up and ready to go, knows how to weld and knows motor control, you shouldn't be working for crumbs. Somebody is putting YOUR money in HIS jeans. Are you subcontracting to the wrong guys? Maybe you need to move up the food chain. Follow the money.
That's what I am thinking. But, just getting started, so I have been taking what I can get. Until I get our name out there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
Twenty four bucks an hour and forty bucks LOA. Around here that buys a monkey and a couple of bananas. Forty bucks buys breakfast, lunch and a burger. Guys don't like sleeping in the truck.
I do think the pay is too cheap. The 40 bucks is just for food. I am paying the hotel. And we don't stay in roach motels. I wouldn't expect anyone making me money to sleep where I wouldn't. I am moving towards paying perdiem by the location, dependant on costs of area hotels, and such.
 

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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
What's your exit strategy for working so cheap? This is something to consider as I don't think that your manpower will stay on long enough for you to grow. They have tallent is seems and once they talk to a few others, they will jump ship.

Just my $0.02
One guy I have cut in like a partner, but only in profits. I've known him all his life. He's like a brother, he won't leave. He's sticking around, because he knows it's gonna go good, given time. One of the other guys is my son, he is looking into the future too. It's an opportunity for him. Then we hire others as needed, usually helper scale. We split to form 3 crews, when needed. We pay ourselves wages, then we all get a peice of the profits. Leaving a good amount in the kitty, for growth of course. So far we stay pretty busy, and just taking baby steps to grow. I don't forsee needing an exit strategy. I hope! Lol.
 
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