Your Oppion

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Gary Puckett
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Your Oppion

Postby Gary Puckett » Sat, Mar 28 2009, 6:33AM

I would like your opinion on this issue, I am a one man shop , I do it all from the drawings, to ordering, to manufacturing , to istallation.

My question is I was thinking about still designing but when it came to the manufacturing part subbing it out, in other words have an other shop build and maybe finish the cabinets.
Do you think this is possible and still offer competitive pricing?

The advantage to this is
1) I can be at the job site doing the demo and rebuild while the cabinets for the job are in production.


The disadvantage to this is
1) I would have an added cost to the project, plus added shipping cost

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Re: Your Oppion

Postby DanEpps » Sat, Mar 28 2009, 8:32AM

You will need to do a detailed cost-benefit analysis to determine whether it will work out for you.

In addition to the financial analysis, there are some very important intangible questions you need to answer in your analysis, like these:

1. Is there enough potential work available in your region to support this type of arrangement?
2. Can the shop produce work of a quality that you would be satisfied with?
3. Would you be satisfied with effectively functioning as a sales agent for another shop?
4. Can you get guarantees for quality and production time from the other shop?
5. Who would be the arbiter of quality or production time disputes?
6. What is the cost of this type of production arrangement compared to making them yourself?
7. Who would be responsible for post-installation warranty work?
8. Can you be satisfied with not being in control of your business from end-to-end?

These are just a few of the questions you have to consider in your analysis. Only you can make the decision whether such an arrangement would work for you, but you need to be armed with solid information before making any decision that affects your livelihood.

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Re: Your Oppion

Postby Gary Puckett » Sat, Mar 28 2009, 9:23AM

Dan,

Right now it seems I no longer design, build, and deliver anymore. I have become a re modeler doing kitchens,bathrooms, basements, stairs, and dog gates :lol: .
So when I am at the job all day nothing gets done in the shop, then when the room is finally put back, there is another time span waiting for me to complete the cabinets. Clients want their stuff right now and in the beginning they are patent but as the job goes on their patents start to ware thin which then gives you a rep. as being slow.

I will still design with eCab. and of course use a shop that also has eCab so the construction of the cabinet will be as if I did it. I guess the only way to find out about the cost is to get bids and see. Quality is always No.1. I would like to do try this on the bathroom I am doing now, But don't know how to get the ball rolling. Also a shop with a thermwood should be able to beat my price due to the machine time alone. What would take me 4 hours to cut out they could do in 1

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Re: Your Oppion

Postby Damon Nabors » Sat, Mar 28 2009, 9:59AM

Gary,

Most peoples reputation is in the CRAFTSMANSHIP. That being said, I think I would rather be in the shop making sure the final product is up to standard and hire a minimum wage crew to demo.
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Re: Your Opinion

Postby Gary Puckett » Sat, Mar 28 2009, 10:17AM

Damon,

That's what I believe also, but people are funny they want the world and they wanted it yesterday.

As for the demo you can do a whole lot of damage to a house if your not careful. When we do a project it always involves moving electric, adding a sub. panel, moving plumbing, taking out walls, adding walls archways. We are just not in a position to hire help. I just think that if while we are at the job and the cabinetry is being done there is going to be about a week or two in the project being done earlier. Don't get me wrong I would love to just build cabinets deliver and install, but it doesn't seem to working that way. I need to do something it's getting old working from job to job I need to try and get some kind of back log, at least 1 or 2 jobs backed up.

I think the quality is there, so I need to improve the job completion time.

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Re: Your Oppion

Postby DanEpps » Sat, Mar 28 2009, 12:28PM

Judging from your replies, it looks like you are having trouble defining just what your profession is.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is you should decide whether you want to be a cabinet maker or a remodeler. If you want to be a cabinet maker, sub out the demo work and concentrate on cabinetry. If you want to be a remodeler, sub out the cabinetry and concentrate on remodeling.

Are you doing the electrical and plumbing yourself or do you sub it out (most places electrical and plumbing must be done by licensed contractors or the permit doesn't get issued)? If you sub it out then why not sub out all of the demo work?

This is where the analysis I spoke of earlier comes into play. If done well, it will help you decide which direction you need to take to be most profitable. You really should engage a professional business planner and create a busniess plan with all of the alternatives detailed so that you can make an informed business decision and eliminate the guesswork.

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Re: Your Oppion

Postby Gary Puckett » Sat, Mar 28 2009, 1:03PM

Dan,

We do all the electric and plumbing our self and in our area as long as it is to code your allowed to do it. My wife and I have been in business now going on 10 years and in that time we have had maybe 3 jobs that was a free standing piece of furniture. I am a firm believer that if you don't do everything right from the very start it will come back to haunt you somewhere down the line.

My goal is to have a company that provides everything, so the client doesn't have umpteen different people in and out of their house, but with that service has to be quality and the job done in a timely manner.
So I thought rather than get phone calls all day long from the job site about problems I would see about subbing out the cabinet work. I still like the feeling of knowing I did it all , but like I said before people want the world and they wanted it yesterday.

"Your only as good as your last job"

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Re: Your Oppion

Postby Damon Nabors » Sat, Mar 28 2009, 1:38PM

Gary,

In order to be successful in any business, you need to learn to delegate responsibilities to other people. I have a hard time with that one myself so I know where you are coming from. That being said, there is no way you can do it all, and do it in a timely manner. If you assign a job to someone and it is not performed properly or to your standards, then maybe you have the wrong person on the job. If you hire experienced people, they should be able to perform the task at hand. In most states, yes you can do the work yourself as long as it is on your personal residence. When you start doing it yourself on other peoples properties, then you become a general contractor and that usually requires a GC's license and a significantly different insurance policy. I would hate to know that I wired someones house with the good graces of the city building inspector that signed off on my work and said it looked OK and then a month or so down the road a faulty outlet or switch caused a fire and burned someones house down. Then the question comes up weather or not you are licensed and then the insurance company will not pay off because a licensed contractor did not perform the work. Opens up a possibility for a big can of worms. You may already have it but I would definitely make sure I was properly insured to perform those task and have a general contractors license if I was going to perform those services. It will help you have more ammunition when you are in court one day. Most contractors have been sued or will be sued at some time or another weather it be their fault or not. Just food for thought.
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Re: Your Oppion

Postby DanEpps » Sat, Mar 28 2009, 1:50PM

Damon brings up two very good points. In order to grow, you will have to trust others to do parts of the job. The larger you grow, the more you will have others doing the work and the more you will find yourself in the office managing the business.

The other point, and it is extremely important, is the liability and insurance issue. Even if it were allowed, I would never consider doing electrical or plumbing work. In fact, I would never consider doing any structural work either. Liability aside, I would not want the guilt that something I did caused injury or death to someone.

You say you want complete control over the job, but you are willing to sub out the most visible part of it--the cabinets?

I know you asked for opinions, but the variables from one region to another are just too great for anyone to give very reliable advice to you. Without knowing all of the local codes, the business environment, regional demographics, etc., it is impossible to provide information of any value.

Talk to your local SCORE office and perhaps they can offer some insight. At the very least they can point you in the right direction to get the information you need to start developing a business plan.

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Re: Your Oppion

Postby Gary Puckett » Sat, Mar 28 2009, 1:57PM

Damon,

Thanks for the reply, but I would never do anything that was beyond my capabilities, and I know That's why there called accidents.

We are starting to get way off track from the original topic.

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Re: Your Oppion

Postby Damon Nabors » Sat, Mar 28 2009, 2:05PM

Gary,

You might want to take a look at your states code. Don't just ask the local building inspector or Bubba that has been doing this all his life. I spent two or three minutes looking up your states code and this is what I found:

RESIDENTIAL BUILDING CONTRACTOR LICENSING
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
INFORMATION BULLETIN NO. 152
(December 23, 2004 — Revised November 17, 2008)
City Planning & Development — Development Services)
City of Kansas City, Missouri http ://www. kcmo. org/codes!

4. How will the homeowner exception be applied to residential building permits?
Answer: A homeowner acting as their own general contractor may obtain the required building permits and “contract and direct the work of building trades subcontractor(s), not otherwise required to be licensed under section 18-14.” In other
words, the exception does allow the homeowner to subcontract in the same manner as a Residential Building Contractor. See Information Bulletin No. 146 - Homeowners Exception to Licensing for Trades Permit Issuance for more information. All work related to electrical, plumbing, mechanical and electrical permits issued to a homeowner must be done by the homeowner along with family members or friends who are not contracting to do the work.


If you look at that last sentence, You will see that the HOME OWNER can acted as their own contractor (This is true in most states) and you can get help from family member and friends WHO ARE NOT CONTRACTING TO DO THE WORK.
This is the part that will bite you in the butt. As soon as someone finds out that you were contracted to do the work , there is a whole new set of rules.

RULE #1 CYA (Cover your A$$)

Good Luck Gary.

Not trying to get off topic, just trying to give some good advice to a fellow friend. :D
Last edited by Damon Nabors on Sat, Mar 28 2009, 2:06PM, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Your Oppion

Postby Gary Puckett » Sat, Mar 28 2009, 2:06PM

Dan,

You stated "You say you want complete control over the job, but you are willing to sub out the most visible part of it--the cabinets?" well isn't that putting trust in someone? Because untill that day comes when I own a Thermwood and have someone run it, I thought why not see about one of our members that does have a Thermwood do the work. I still draw the cabinet I want.

I just needed to know if I would still make a buck doing it that way.

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Re: Your Oppion

Postby DanEpps » Sat, Mar 28 2009, 2:44PM

Gary Puckett wrote:Dan,

You stated "You say you want complete control over the job, but you are willing to sub out the most visible part of it--the cabinets?" well isn't that putting trust in someone? Because untill that day comes when I own a Thermwood and have someone run it, I thought why not see about one of our members that does have a Thermwood do the work. I still draw the cabinet I want.

I just needed to know if I would still make a buck doing it that way.

Gary


You are missing my whole point there. You (essentially) said that you would not trust anyone to do demo and structural work. Then you turn around and say that you are willing to let someone else build the most visible part of the job. Personally, I would rather the things the customer sees every day be the things I built and not that I subbed out.

This is where you separate your work from others--in the visible parts of a job. I have never heard someone brag to a friend about what a great job someone did putting (unseen) wall studs behind their cabinets. No, they brag about the cabinets. If the doors were to fall off the cabinets, they do not trash-talk the person who actually manufactured them, they talk about the person they bought them from. In their eyes, the person they contracted to do the job is the person responsible for the quality of the cabinets. That is why I would only consider subbing out the structural parts of a job and not cabinet construction itself. That is not to say I would not consider using Production Sharing to have the parts machined for me, I just would not contract another shop to build the cabinets.

Can you make a buck doing that? Of course you can--plenty of folks do just that. You can also make a buck importing garbage cabinets from China and installing them, but would you? I, and I think Damon too, just don't want to see you sacrifice quality for expedience. The Production Sharing route would be, in my opinion, the best path to take. It is the only way you can be assured of getting exactly what you design with eCabinets. If your design is flawed then the resulting cabinets will be flawed, but they will be exactly what you designed.

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Re: Your Oppion

Postby Gary Puckett » Sat, Mar 28 2009, 3:01PM

Dan,

I see your point. But I would never ,I mean never get anything from China I won't even buy import plywood. Now that you mentioned it I did get a compliment on a basement we did and it was from a union electrician he said " Gary I have never seen straighter walls " my dry wall had no waves are flaws the full 9' tall. The wall was over 14' long. Thats what I'm talking about there are guys in our group that do some outstanding work, And if I draw the cabinet and then send it to them if I drew something wrong I'm sure they would bring it to my attention. I just have to find out the cost I think there is one guy in my area, and then I have worked with Damon before.

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Re: Your Oppion

Postby DanEpps » Sat, Mar 28 2009, 3:15PM

What...straight walls??? Unheard of!!! :joker: The house I owned prior to my current one was built by a friend who is a remodeler that takes great pride in his work. It was the only complete house he ever built and the only house I have ever owned that had straight walls and square corners.

...I would never ,I mean never get anything from China I won't even buy import plywood...


ROTFLMAO!!! I didn't mean to imply that you would, just that some folks out there (the big boxes) make quite a good profit doing that.

One thing about using Production Sharing...you would know upfront what the cost would be since most charge by the sheet. The only variation would be price fluctuations in materials and you could get the current price before commiting. You could design the job, verify the prices and give a concrete quote.

If the work is available, you could do even jobs more by contracting out the structural work. :wink: You could easily have an install, a rebuild and cabinets being machined for yet another job in progress at the same time. You could go straight from one install to another and set aside one day each week to bid others.


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