Thinking about getting a job

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2,081
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California
I am a licensed plumbing contractor. Lately, cash flow has been such a grind that I'm thinking of giving it up, or maybe just doing it part time. I'm going to be talking to a local plumbing contractor who is pretty successful today, to see if he wants me as a foreman, and if he can pay me what I need. Two general contractors promised me money this week, and both flaked. Now I'm going to be late on payroll and some bills. I can't live like this, and paying my guys late, even a couple of days, really bugs me. I've heard that business often fail because of under-capitalization. Well, that's where I am, and maybe I don't deserve to be in business, at least not full time. If I get a job doing commercial work (what I'm looking for), I'll most likely work from 6:30-3:00 or so, leaving some time to manage other projects. I also would do work that won't directly compete with my employer. I'm not insolvent, I've billed plenty of money that will eventually get here. But I can't take the uncertainty. All of these general contractors want me to be reliable and Johnny-on-the-spot. I can do that, but they have to hold up their end. They're not doing it. I've been in this trade for nearly 30 years, and I know it inside and out. But I didn't know it would be so painful, physically and mentally, to try to operate a business.
 

MolaKule

Staff member
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Iowegia - USA
I would recommend developing contracts with some kind of language that clearly states bills shall be paid by a certain date or time frame, with penalties for late payments. I hear ya man, but no one said being in a business by yourself would be easy. Hang in there! thumbsup
 
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35,678
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NY
I hear ya. I've been there done that lots of times over the past 35 years. Getting paid can be a real hassle, and keeping work flowing during lean times can be very hard. If I were you and I was looking for a job I'd try and get in with a large corp, not a mom and pop shop that's doing well now. Odds are at some point they're going to have the same problems you are experiencing, and you'll be one of the first guys to go. Good luck!!
 
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Colorado Springs
I'll get raked over the coals for saying this, BUT, try and get a job with a government agency as a head plumbing guy. You'll likely make more money than any corporation or mom and pop, the benefits will be outstanding etc.
 
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35,678
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Originally Posted By: Drew99GT
I'll get raked over the coals for saying this, BUT, try and get a job with a government agency as a head plumbing guy. You'll likely make more money than any corporation or mom and pop, the benefits will be outstanding etc.
Good idea. Bottom line is I'd stay clear of a mom and pop company for sure.
 
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ME
Can you stick a lien on the properties you worked on? That ought to ruffle some feathers and get the ball rolling. My FIL subs for a GC and the GC has a kid in college, so he flakes on his other bills. IMO the kid should get loans and let dad pay them six months to ten years later.
 
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Originally Posted By: eljefino
Can you stick a lien on the properties you worked on? That ought to ruffle some feathers and get the ball rolling. My FIL subs for a GC and the GC has a kid in college, so he flakes on his other bills. IMO the kid should get loans and let dad pay them six months to ten years later.
Or the kid take responsibility and pay for it himself.
 
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Upstate NY
Originally Posted By: Drew99GT
I'll get raked over the coals for saying this, BUT, try and get a job with a government agency as a head plumbing guy. You'll likely make more money than any corporation or mom and pop, the benefits will be outstanding etc.
Many gov. jobs have tiers for benefits and new hires are in the highest tier. (Worst).
 
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CT
It happens, that's how I get my contractors to work for me instead of other people, I cut checks fast.
 
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1,327
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Washington for now
what you need to do is better manage you cash flow. if you can, fire the late payers. keep the good ones and take care of them and try adding to them. All your money is in others hands. You are not a bank, and if they need money they can get a loan. All this sounds harsh, but you have to do it to keep solvent. If you need to take legal action to get your money then that how it is. Many times when i have "fired" a customer, they will come back with money in hand. in most fields word gets around on who is good or not.
 
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17,301
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OH
Originally Posted By: MolaKule
I would recommend developing contracts with some kind of language that clearly states bills shall be paid by a certain date or time frame, with penalties for late payments. I hear ya man, but no one said being in a business by yourself would be easy. Hang in there! thumbsup
Sounds good, but the GCs will still pay the subs when they feel like it and if the sub tries to make a big issue out of it, the GCs will just blacklist the sub. The same would be true of a sub who went around filing mechanic's liens. Stealth already knows all of this. The subs are in a weak position relative to the GCs and the GCs know it.
 
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979
Location
Fernandina Beach FL
The construction business is tough, doing the work is easy collecting money is the hard part. I recall years ago on the job a GC telling the subs they couldn't start till after the Lien Waivers are signed!
 

Stelth

Thread starter
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2,081
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California
Originally Posted By: hattaresguy
It happens, that's how I get my contractors to work for me instead of other people, I cut checks fast.
Do you need a west coast plumber?
 

Stelth

Thread starter
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2,081
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California
Originally Posted By: fdcg27
Originally Posted By: MolaKule
I would recommend developing contracts with some kind of language that clearly states bills shall be paid by a certain date or time frame, with penalties for late payments. I hear ya man, but no one said being in a business by yourself would be easy. Hang in there! thumbsup
Sounds good, but the GCs will still pay the subs when they feel like it and if the sub tries to make a big issue out of it, the GCs will just blacklist the sub. The same would be true of a sub who went around filing mechanic's liens. Stealth already knows all of this. The subs are in a weak position relative to the GCs and the GCs know it.
fdcg27, sounds like you know the ropes.
 
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22,438
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Apple Valley, California
i know that you cant get blood out of a turnip but you need to make your employees paychecks top priority. theres no excuse to pay them late. your opening your self up for a lawsuit there. plus they have bills that need to be paid too.
 
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3,258
Location
Indiana
Originally Posted By: Drew99GT
I'll get raked over the coals for saying this, BUT, try and get a job with a government agency as a head plumbing guy. You'll likely make more money than any corporation or mom and pop, the benefits will be outstanding etc.
This.. I was a business owner for three years.. the stress was insane.. I could live poor but not being able to make payroll was just nuts.. I gave it up, got into a different line of work, that led to my current job with the Feds.. Im not Rich, not by a longshot, However the pay is fair, I can work plenty of overtime to suppliment my income, and ive got a great retirement Thrift savings plan and pension plan.. I will never be rich doing what im doing, but i sleep well at night knowing im getting paid every two weeks, have good medical insurance, and my children are going to be provided for. I may be "working for the man" but i live a comfortable life with a fairly set schedule and a overall good package.. You dont have to go work for the Feds, however working for a establishment is'nt such a bad thing.
 

Stelth

Thread starter
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2,081
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California
Originally Posted By: Chris142
i know that you cant get blood out of a turnip but you need to make your employees paychecks top priority. theres no excuse to pay them late. your opening your self up for a lawsuit there. plus they have bills that need to be paid too.
Thanks for the helpful advice, Chris! I'm sure I didn't feel bad enough already. :rolleyes: duh
 
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6,367
Location
Midwest
2% 10, Net 30. There is nothing easy about owning your own business. Not only are you responsible for your own family, but also the families of your employees. That is a responsibility that can weigh heavily on you. One of the incentives that I've always used is 2% 10, net 30. If the invoice is paid within 10 days there is a 2% discount. Between 11 and 30 days the net invoice is due. It gives what can be a significant discount to those who pay their invoices within 10 days. Not only is there nothing easy about owning your own business, but there is no career more rewarding than owning and building your own business. Your failures are your own, and your success is all your own; there will be plenty of both. You learn from your failures, and profit from your success. Your future rests entirely on your shoulders.
Originally Posted By: Drew99GT
I'll get raked over the coals for saying this, BUT, try and get a job with a government agency as a head plumbing guy. You'll likely make more money than any corporation or mom and pop, the benefits will be outstanding etc.
I suppose if one would be content collecting a government paycheck every week that may be good advice. I personally couldn't stand being a government paid lackey. But for those who don't have the confidence to take charge of their own lives it may be a good compromise.
 
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