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Multiple Trades On Site at the Same Time

The secret is all in the expectations of the trades


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March 6, 2012 by Mike Draper

I visited a job site of one of our Certified Renovantage Contractor’s today and witnessed what a well run job site looks like. They had 5 different trades in the house working at the same time. Five trades totaling 18 people. Yes, it was a big house;  but, more importantly, their Site Supervisor had organized the trades so that they were working in different parts of the house and not tripping over each other. I asked if there were ever conflicts and he said that for the most part his subs are used to working with him and know that there will be multiple trades in the same house at the same time.  That is just how they work.

It is not the first time I have seen that, but far too often I hear contractors talk about how every time they try to have multiple trades working at the same time it just ends up backfiring on them. The secret is all in the expectations of the trades. If they are used to having the run of your renovation project, they won’t like working around other trades. The reality though, is that if you want to increase your production and do more renovation work, then having multiple trades working in the same house at the same time is a must.

One key to making money at renovations is to cut down on the total time it takes to complete the renovation. If you run your trades one or two at a time, the project will take longer and all of your admin and overhead costs will go up.  The project will cost you more to complete. Your time, driving time to site, financing costs (Cash Flow) Project management costs or site supervisor costs all increase as the project timeline extends. Contrast that to potentially paying slightly more for a trade to work with others and you come out far ahead.

So on your next project take more time to plan out the project, inform your trades that others will be working in the house at the same time. The bottom line is, you will make more money.


Mike Draper

Mike Draper

Mike Draper is a Master Coach with Renovantage. Renovantage is a first-of-its-kind business group for home renovators in Canada. (www.renovantage.com)
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3 Comments » for Multiple Trades On Site at the Same Time
  1. larry rintala says:

    This is just another genral contractor making it more difficult for sub trades to make a living and it is the wrong attitude!
    I wouldnt want to own one of these homes knowing the subtrades were submitted to this treatment.
    I would like to ask the geneal contractor if he would enjoy throwing a pack of starving dogs a bone and watch them fight over it.
    Here is the best advice you are going to get in your entire career so listen up.

    When a subtrade shows up on site ask him.What can i do for you to make it easier for you.(and follow thru with his requests)

    Yes it is that easy!

    People need to realize that genrral contractors are not the same as the old days.
    Todays general contractor is no more than a paper pusher that subcontracts out everthing and makes unrealistic demands on the subtrades that he hires.
    I want it for less than market cost
    I want it done yesterday
    and i will not pay you for 120 days
    Complain and i will get someone else.
    Sorry for ruffling feathers. I would like this general contractor to walk a mile in a subtrades shoes.

    .

    • Rob Koci says:

      I am sure there are a lot of subs that feel exactly like you do. Thanks or commenting. There is clearly a need for some mutual understanding here. I would love to hear from other subs and GCs on this.

  2. Reiner says:

    With times and the shift of the Marketplace, working smarter and more efficient is the only way to increase profits. I have to agree with Mike, a well run job site has room for more than one Trade to work. Having visited a manufacturing plant in Germany, where houses are built in factories and only assembled on site, quality is much higher, costs are lower and the client gets his house faster. It is a win win situation for everyone. Reality is that too many Trades in construction are spoiled by an over supply of work, are very messy and disorganized in how they work.