Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Invisible Cash Sucker Keeps Following

Someday soon I know he will go away, but for now he has made his presence known. His presence is almost imperceptible, but the results of his presence is loud and clear. If I have a dollar, he wants it. He showed up at my last job.

Building a deck is typically pretty easy and painless, not to mention, profitable. But this deck started going south from the onset. This is a second level deck set above a concrete patio. The owner had the slab poured a year earlier and claimed that it was only 3-4 inches thick. Therefore we had to cut concrete and set caissons under the posting. So we brought out the typical tools for cutting concrete of that thickness, only to discover that the concrete was 10 inches thick. So now that meant extra tool rental, time to get and return the tools, and extra cutting time. My carpenter wasn't donating his labor.

Then there was the lumber order. I did this over the phone and checked off the items as I read them to the sales person. The deck was to be redwood and so it it some of the pricier lumber. He gave me the price quote, I ordered. When the lumber was delivered, I was short two boards at an additional cost of $120.00. The sales person failed to get these on the order. So by now I have expended an extra $350.00.

Colorado's weather has not exactly been co-operating with those who work out doors. Mid afternoon thunderstorms tend to slow progress. You have to pick up your tools to keep them out of the rain, which takes time, then set them up again, which takes time. Add that time onto the time that you are waiting out the storm and you end up paying a lot of wages for exactly, nothing. Tack on another $200-$300 in extra labor. 

So, by now, the extra expense has eaten up 15% of the total job cost and 50% of the total profit. But wait! The job isn't finished yet. The invisible guy wants to line his pockets with more of my cash. He will keep this job going as long as he can. His goal is to suck out all of the profits for himself.

I guess I am finding out why a lot of contractors prefer to keep their prices up and sit at home with nothing to do. They make about the same money as I do, but they also don't have the hard labor. And as a bonus they get to go fishing. 

Things will change soon.

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