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View Full Version : Getting an in.. with builders.


PerfiCut L&L
08-24-2008, 10:09 AM
Any suggestions on getting in the door with builders? We want to expand out operation and I think the work alone, along with the visibility will help us tremendously.

I was going to stop in at a couple of local general contracter/builders. Introduce our company, perhaps put together a small portfolio, and some sample pricing structures for various projects.

Would you suggest this method or simply a letter? Obviously with a letter, I could make contact with a lot more builders.

Anyone know how the large regional/national builders pick up contractors for there work? do they bid it out?

forestfireguy
08-24-2008, 10:47 AM
Getting in bed with a builder can be a really slippery slope. If you find a good, honest one it can be great, that said you'd have better luck finding an honest lawyer. My opinion, given the timing of your idea would be put your efforts into another direction, especially with housing the way it is, builders dont have alot going on now and those that do are generally looking to bring their homes to market on the cheap while preserving their profits, they arent throwing in bells and whistles like nice walks,patios and plantings to drive the price up. Real custom home builders are another story, they could be a sort of "niche". As far as the nationals, I've never tried to get in the door there, but having bid a few sub divisions against some of the locak big boys you'll never touch their pricing and keep your shirt, these guys have their own nurseries(which I hear they run in the red) and work on volume, happy to make 3-5 percent, where most of the rest of us cant take a job for that money. One last thing, builders are cheap and always want something for nothing..............

Hardscaping
08-24-2008, 01:31 PM
best way is in person with the builder! talk to them and see what it is they are looking for and make friends with the site supervisors they help out alot!

JohnnyRoyale
08-24-2008, 01:39 PM
Builders, general contractors and lawyers are all one in the same IMO. Stay away from most of them. There are a few good, reputable ones, but dont tend to stay around long enough either, as they try to make do it legit, and cant. Your better off dealing with the prospective purchaser directly, leave a brocure or two at the sales office with an exclusive incentive if they buy a home from XYZ builder. That may entice the new homeowner enough.

PSUturf
08-24-2008, 06:16 PM
Hardscaping / landscaping are usually the last phase of home building. A builder will cut corners and pinch more pennies in that area than anywhere else to maximize profits. I would never work for a builder. I've heard too many stories about contractors not getting paid.

ericmcj31
08-24-2008, 06:22 PM
Good luck-we work with a small network of builders who are (for the most part) GREAT to deal with. They are price-contious (to say the least) but have your price upfront and well contracted. I have heard horror stories of them never paying, don't want you making $$$, etc.-but haven't been stuck yet.

PatriotLandscape
08-24-2008, 08:10 PM
builders suck to work for unless it is a high end home in which you will work for the architect or the home owner directly.

JimmyStew
08-25-2008, 09:36 PM
In this part of the country, builders generally have nothing to do with the landscaping. They are sometimes expected to do a final site cleanup, for which, most call back the excavation contractor to spread topsoil and seed. The most you can expect here is a recommendation from the contractor to the homeowner. This system has been favorable for me in the past. I get quite a few referrals from contractors to do a myriad of landscaping work. The biggest problem we have, is the same as when the contractor is in charge of the landscaping...there's never enough money left in the budget once the house is built!

Mike33
08-25-2008, 11:19 PM
I work for 1 the guy who built my home but he does only 2 a year. I worked last year for 1 company who stamps out a lot of homes and cheap to work for. Installed new yard , they said rockhound yard and hydro-seed yard. They said we are bying no top soil use existing dirt. We raked 30 ton of rocks off and hauled away ( 15k sq' yard ) Smart ass project manager shows up and said cant you get it any better! I told him i could rake to gates of hell and stir up more rocks, he said i should of said something earlier they would of bought top soil. Same Jackass that said they wouldnt buy dirt. I seed yard and it grew, but imsure they told new h/o that the landscaper they used could of done better. I used to paint cars and working for used car dealers is about like working with builders. Beware and look else where for work.
Mike

mcclureandson
08-26-2008, 08:06 AM
Join you local home-building association - most have regular meetings and weekend functions. Scout neighborhoods in your demographic and make calls to the numbers on the builders signs. Learn to sell your services based on how much you can help the builder (if it's a spec house) or simply request to be put in touch with the new homeowner (if it's a custom). Once you develop a relationship with one or two builders it becomes easier - "Hey, I do all of so-and-so's work...do you know him?" We do landscape/irrigation installs on about one new house a week. Mostly 7-8k specs with a few larger customs thrown in that on occasion hit 30k. I've found good, honest builders tend to know one another and value their relationships with the subcontractors. Understand their draw/payment schedule. Most I work with pay only on completed work - invoice by Wednesday will get a check cut on Friday (sometimes they pay every other Friday). Last week invoiced 10k on a Tuesday to beat deadline, finished on Wednesday or Thursday and had check in the mailbox that Saturday. FYI - I don't have a large company. Three trucks/8 employees and less than 1mil in sales last year.

Mike33
08-26-2008, 11:16 PM
I belong to my local HBA that is local and on a national base.
Mike

Ramairfreak98ss
08-27-2008, 07:03 PM
You dont ever want an IN with a builder, at least not most of them unless you know them personally. I worked for one years ago, and did some mulching work for the owner early last season, the ashat had the nerve to send me my $700 invoice back with a $250 "back charge" amount of $250 having to pay some laborer $100 for the day to re-weed , even though his shitty lawn company Diggers from columbus, NJ blew grass into all of his mulch beds, WHILE WE WERE there, how rude is that?

Then he charged me $75 for each sprinkler head he said we broke/damaged by running the bed edger along the edge of his garden, this was AFTER he got all ticked off that for $700 we wern't including the bed-edging, so we came back to edge, i was the one that did it and NEVER remember hearing a peep from the edger blade, especially if i hit a sprinkler head that costs what $10 each? He didnt want to pay any extra for extra mulch, original quote was 12 yards, he said he could do it for 8, so i billed him 8 and then couldnt finish, not even close so brought back 2 more yards with the edger :/ Fun times from the multi million dollar families that build houses :/

Ramairfreak98ss
08-27-2008, 07:05 PM
Hardscaping / landscaping are usually the last phase of home building. A builder will cut corners and pinch more pennies in that area than anywhere else to maximize profits. I would never work for a builder. I've heard too many stories about contractors not getting paid.

Patriot landscapes said the same thing, its not an avenue worth pursing.

Oh, and usually especially in this economy, you do the work in march 08, then the dont sell the house until october 08, guess when you get paid? october 08 or AFTER, never before. Theyll never sign an agreement for your terms and if they do they still wont pay you within 30-45 days, ever.