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Thread: Business failure, recovery and health issues....

  1. #1
    Gold Member glegend's Avatar
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    Business failure, recovery and health issues....

    Hey everyone how is it going? I know I've posted about this a while back but here I am in probably the same mess maybe even worse now.


    Long story short somehow I ended up self employed. In my early years I have my fair share of success. Pretty much from the last day of employment with an employer until pretty much now I have never really had one day where I had stayed home without work. Well maybe 3 week total actually. 2 of those 3 weeks, I didn't have anything lined up when I first went on my own 100% but a contractor friend of mine needed help with a job. He was in between vehicles and couldn't manage to go to 2 different job sites a day, due to him relying on public transportation. I ended up doing the job for him which lasted 2 weeks, and in the mean time I ended up booking my next job.

    I used to be the guy that everyone envied. Well maybe not everyone as this world is huge but from all family and friends I was the guy. Quality work, great pricing, always got paid etx.. I was the guy where everyone was wanting to work for.

    Lets talk about the past few years, this is where everything boils down to. I'm still busy AF keep in mind. I book a basement, with this lady. Nice lady and such, pretty sure she has a few screws short a pack in her brain or she is actually a really good businesswoman one or the other. Will hint on that later on.

    Her basement takes me over 3 months to complete. Her basement was booked a few months in advanced. As my end of the bargain, I agreed to start on a certain date in which I did. Her side of the bargain was to have the basement emptied out and free for me to work. I spoke to her actually 1.5 weeks prior to make sure we were still on track to start. She advises me she had to do some waterproofing etx. but its all fixed and I can still start. I took the job over from a contractor she let go. I ended up working in a pig sty, ended up taking her 2 weeks to get it completely cleared. Her electrician gave so much bs getting his scope complete because he had the existing permit open for the rest of the house etx.. End of the day took me over 3 months to finish a small basement apartment, she even started showing it out for rent while I was working on it. I got stuck entertaining potential tenants. Then once it was at a state where someone could live in it she started Air BnB the place so she can make a measly 100 dollars a night here and there.

    Even though everything took long to do I did end up getting some work from her (deck and a powder room in her house), her father, property management company that I was doing work for, two new clients and then another contractors father in law.

    This is probably where it ended up bad on my end. I thought I was good with work etx... I was getting my referrals and everything. Little did I know that wasn't the case. She ends up buying a new place, to remodel it and sell it. We agreed on a price, I got ripped off for sure but I am content some what with it. Job again took way too long, everything went haywire. Where do I begin. Again I ended up 3-4 months behind. I was able to manage some work from the property management company, a store that I was doing work for ended up dropping me because of this woman, and I did one basement as well. I ended up loosing lots of work from others that were calling. Headaches, everything going backwards, you name it.

    Why was I loosing work? Simple reason, I had become a liar. I could not guarantee a start date for anyone since everything was becoming hit and miss. It was becoming to the point where it was like I was an employee to this woman, but an independent as well. Couldn't even enjoy a day off without the phone ringing a million and a half times. Stuff like this.

    I finish there, finally get my break from her. I end up putting up an advertisement but don't really get any hits. I end up getting a subcontractor position which kept me going for a while. This take us to 2017 I'm working all year pretty much as a subcontractor. My ad generates me a few small jobs, one I get paid in full and one I get ripped off and not paid at all. I do some work for the property management company under the new property manager but she still owes me 2 checks. Lets go to the end of 2017 the lady buys a new house and wants to remodel it. I gave her a price, I couldn't really turn down the work or it was me staying home touching myself. Here I am almost in 2019 and I still have a few weeks left to go with work there until final inspection. I'm getting nickel and dimmed $1500 check every so often. From May until November, she was giving me $1500 salary a month. I did one job for the property management company under a new manager and I don't think I am seeing that money at all to be honest with everyone because he keeps giving me the run around about when its coming.

    I had an advertisements on the web and well I got one job booking and well I think they have cancelled now because again I have become a liar due to everything being hit and miss.

    I just don't know what to do anymore. My parents failed with themselves in their careers, now I have failed with myself in my career. I suffer from mental health illness, anxiety/depression/PTSD. Doctor don't help me and my family makes fun of me about it saying its all in my head. Its hard to say that when I have anti depressants for it, so how can they say its all in my head. My business failure is effecting my health mentally and physically. I've developed a sleep disorder due to it and I am always sick and no motivation.

    I am grateful that I do have job that I am still going to 100%!

    I'm having difficulties getting new clients since my old ones have dropped me like a fly. I don't know why I'm having the difficulty. My work is great work, shows well you see quality. I don't know if everyone who is calling just wants cheap and they are looking for cheaper but I have tried dropping my price with certain people to just get it and nothing.

    It's getting to the point where everyone is telling me why bother going to price a job anymore because no one is serious anymore. I as excited I am to go quote, I'm nervous, but its also in the back of my head that it isn't going to lead into anything.

    What else is happening to me? I'm have become really jealous of my friends who do the same type of work. It really hurts me because now I am the one who doesn't have work lined up after this project. I actually have one of my clients wants me to install a shower door him and his brother needs some work done at the cottage so I have maybe a few weeks of work for the new year. I'm loosing a lot of money like beyond tons literally. My future is on my mind. How will I be able to get settle down, marriage, family, home etx...

    How to proceed? I just don't know actually. Do I put up an advertisement again and also join a lead site? Then be like we can start almost immediately like within 2 weeks type deal and maybe that can work? All I know is that maybe I should try to limit my services and try to make it like how it was when I was doing side work. Other thing I've thought about is getting some more templates for certain thing prepared. A few years ago I made a template to hinge doors and frames with my palm router. I'd like to create a new one because right now its starting to wear out and it got damages with the new router I bought. I lost the old one. I'm also planning on buying a coping jig online so I can router the baseboard instead of having to do a 45 degree or cope it with a cope saw of jig saw.

    Do I turn this client down in the future? She is looking for a new property to remodel and rent it out. Plus one for herself. Do I turn her down completely. As good as this sounds and is probably the best option, but its could be the worst one if if I'm not steady with booking relatively soon.

    How are my friends helping out? They tell me it actually a good idea to stay home rest a little bit after I finish up and hit it hard in the new year. I agree I think I need to clear my head, get some office work in order, clean out all the tools etx.. They also think its not a bad idea to focus on specific types of renovation projects. Become a specialist at it. At the same time they are thinking of their pocket too offering to help me out with some media managing, getting a webpage going, new logo, card, etx.. but all for a fee. Personally, I don't mind paying but when someone offers you in good faith to help you out and you hear I'll send you a quote it kind of hurts. It does hurt a ton because if they were to say hey bud I bought new sofa's but I need help bringing them home can you come with the trailer and we can bring them, I would go in a heartbeat and for FREE. That is why it hurts. One of my other friends has literally offered to throw some work at me, but as a partnership type thing. He is trying to get into the renovation market himself and take his own jobs but needs an experienced worker to help him out.

    Anyways thanks for hearing me out. If anyone can offer me some advice that would be appreciated. I'm honestly hitting rock bottom. My last option is to try to find some employment within a company but I am just terrified. I don't know how to explain my story.

  2. #2
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Can you moonlight as a contractor for one of those home improvement outfits until things pick up? It may refresh your credentials if that's been an issue.

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    Gold Member glegend's Avatar
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    I don't know how people get those jobs honestly. I tried many times, I put in applications an nothing. I think a lot of people have gotten in a long time ago and they are getting better rates so they don't let it go.

    Honestly, it would be a great idea as long as I would be able to clear a decent pay per week. I would have a steady income, while I work on grind during the side until things pick up.

    I once got in for a few weeks with a company that is featured on some home improvement shows. What they do is hire a bunch of people during huge demand for their private jobs and then let you go unless the manager really likes you and finds a way to keep you busy.

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    Silver Member dundermiflin's Avatar
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    I'm sorry I'm not much help, but I feel for you. All I know is that I don't know how anyone makes it in that kind of business, with people not paying and demanding customers; it can easily derail the whole business. Can you get in with a company as a project manager? A reconstruction/remodel company? It would probably be a pay cut from what you could make, but might give you a mental break and maybe you could start taking small jobs on the side.

    I'm working now, and I have been all weekend, every weekend for a year now, and I feel like I'm pushing a boulder up a hill. I'm not going to make a hard deadline, I get to look like an idiot when things fail, and it's a long story but all I want is to get out and do a dumb low-paying job just to get my life back. Sucks cause I'm good at what I do, if I have support. Sounds like you are too and you have a great work ethic. I really hope it turns around for you.

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  6. #5
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    Well, you're living the typical contractor lifestyle. When you're doing small jobs, you have to work a lot harder chasing jobs than if you worked for a big-time developer or a big-time contractor as a sub-contractor.

    But one thing you have to do is get paid for your work. You're under-pricing your labor and you will get taken advantage of. Also you are being cheated out of money, and you have to learn that if you don't get the money you're owed, then you stop work and slap a lien on the property. That will get you some respect from your clients and hopefully it will get your some money from them.

    As for your various mental illnesses, I can't comment. You seem to be working and functioning. If you want to talk about it further start a thread and people will try to give you some advice on what to do.

  7. #6
    Platinum Member DancingFool's Avatar
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    I think in part your friends are correct that you need to take a break and get yourself sorted out. Sounds like your real problem is that once you got tangled up in this messy job and it threw off your scheduling, you never quite got it sorted out again. Sometimes we all need to take a step back and regroup, maybe listen to some "how to get orgnaized" seminars for business. It's free online. Seek something that will inspire you and help get on track in a practical way. Maybe time some time out to learn more about marketing your business beyond just relying on word of mouth or a few ads online.

    Some of this is that when you are a contracting, it's quite often feast or famine. When you started out, sounds like you got a bit spoiled with a lot of easy success, but are taking the down turn way too far to heart. Thing is that it happens and that's the hard thing about being self employed - you have to be prepared to ride it out and it can be very very scary because....well...you have bills to pay and jobs are few and far apart.

    Another factor is you mention your health, depression, PTSD, etc. I'll be honest with you, that I was recently bidding a home improvement job and had a contractor show up who didn't seem quite all right and very desperate. Yes, he had a rock bottom price and great references, but in the end, I opted for a higher, but fair price and a contractor who appeared fair and balanced. I wasn't disappointed either. If your exhaustion, fear, poor mental health is visible to people - it will spook customers from hiring you. So again, take a break and get some rest so you don't give the vibe out of problems and desperation. Be sure that when you go bid, you appear calm, professional and bid a fair price rather than rock bottom.

    Take a time out to look around at what your competition is doing, where they are advertising - google search your competitor's company name and you'll see where all they are listed, what reviews they have, etc. Make sure you are up to date on current project prices.

    Finally, yes, you have to learn how to say no as scary as that can be. If there is a lesson to learn from your experience here is that a bad client will put you behind on all other projects, so in the end this client isn't worth it. In the time that you were effing around with this crazy woman and all her delays, how much money did you lose by having to forego other projects? Your time IS money, so don't waste it on time waster clients. If a client isn't meeting their end of the deal in a reasonable time frame, YOU walk away or put them on hold because you have to move on to the next project. Your schedule can't wait on them and you need to learn to make that clear and put it in writing into your contract as well.

    Finally, finally, you sound like a very nice person and it's great that you wouldn't charge, but.....if these friends are offering paid services for their expertise, then you also need to charge them should they need yours. Business is business, so keep it clean. Business isn't about feelings. At the very least do a fair barter.

  8. #7
    Platinum Member Jibralta's Avatar
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    I would definitely turn that client down in the future. I know it's hard to turn down a potential paycheck, but this person has actually cost you money by being so disorganized. Some clients are a waste of time and should be turned down. So, say "no" to future jobs with this person--and probably the property management company as well-- and focus on winning new work.

    If your friends are getting work, go with them!! Lose the hurt pride. It won't help you here.

    With regard to clients who don't pay: look into a mechanic's lien. In the US, a contractor can place a legal claim against a property that he or she remodeled or improved. The lien must be cleared before the owner can sell the property. This can give you some leverage in getting paid. The drawback is that you may not be able to reclaim that money until the property is sold. I'm no expert, but I bet something similar exists in Canadian law.


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