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I'm in the wrong line of work!

 
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WanMan



Joined: 19 Mar 2006
Posts: 10261



PostLink    Posted: Thu May 08, 2008 10:53 am    Post subject: I'm in the wrong line of work! Reply with quote


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I say this based on two days worth of information, and that for two weeks I've been told by others they have been too busy.

What am I talking about? Finishing basements. I managed to get the lowest bid thus far for my 1200 square-foot basement. Heat pump and basic bathroom fixtures, framing, electrical, drywall, and no trim molding or flooring ... $25-30K starting in Buford.

The next one wanted +$35 per Square foot. That is $42K starting. Next was someone that said, "turnkey solutioins starting at high $50K's" (per 1,000 SqFt). Next refused to even come out (Marietta-to-Gwinnett unacceptable). The next said he would come out, but at $55-75 per square-foot.

Waiting on two others to come out tomorrow, and maybe a third. But, I think for myself I am going to have to act as General Contractor and hire the individual trades to even afford a basic basement finishing job.

And I have two friends (one works for a GC, the other owns his own drywall company) and both told me they are crazy busy. Appears that the down turn in the housing market has forced people to upgrade their existing homes like mad.

Personally, I just cannot justify spending more than $30K on my basement for a basic finishing level of work. I'm just too poor.

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Zebu Fellenz



Joined: 21 Dec 2006
Posts: 2567



PostLink    Posted: Fri May 09, 2008 1:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you can't justify 30k for a basement you'll just have to suck it up and learn how to do it yourself Thumbs Up

Although you may find that it would just be easier to work overtime or get a second job for a while Wink
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AnalogRocks
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Joined: 08 Mar 2006
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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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PostLink    Posted: Fri May 09, 2008 4:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I ended up finishing my mother's basement after her "Contractor" didn't show up often enough. I fired him and everything turned out pretty good. I had a running joke with the guy's at Rona. "How long you been a contractor now? 3 weeks and counting "
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WanMan



Joined: 19 Mar 2006
Posts: 10261



PostLink    Posted: Fri May 09, 2008 11:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zebu Fellenz wrote:
If you can't justify 30k for a basement you'll just have to suck it up and learn how to do it yourself Thumbs Up

Although you may find that it would just be easier to work overtime or get a second job for a while Wink

I work for the evil empire. No such thing as OT. Based on 2007 earnings, I would have to find a second full time job for five months and that assumes no taxation. So, make that seven months.

Sometimes I forget the poor south really means the expensive south where all of the non-southerners moved to. None of the GCs that have visited (seven so far) were from the South.

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ecrabb
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PostLink    Posted: Fri May 09, 2008 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zebu Fellenz wrote:
If you can't justify 30k for a basement you'll just have to suck it up and learn how to do it yourself.

Yep. Then, you need to have the discussion about what your time is worth to you. What would you rather spend - the time or the money? In my life, both are in short supply, so it means I just can't do a lot of stuff I want to do.

I'll be starting my basement finish soon. It's a similar size as yours, but probably a little more complicated. I'll be doing most of the work myself, but subcontracting drywall and possibly the plumbing. I can't afford $30,000, but I can afford the $10,000 for materials... Which of course means I have no choice but to do most of the work myself. I've done enough DIY to know that by the time I'm finished, I'll very much appreciate why the labor costs $20,000 or more to finish a basement.

The $30k figure to finish a 1200 sqft basement isn't bad at all - in fact, it's very reasonable. Figure almost 1/3 of that $30k figure is materials, which leaves $20k for labor. You've got design/consult, permitting, framing, electrical, HVAC, plumbing, insulation, drywall, drywall finish, hanging doors... Heck the drywall alone is probably 20% of the total. Then, remember - all those guys have all the same expenses you do: Gas, food, mortgage, car/truck payment, insurance, health care... then, they have thousands of dollars worth of tools... the list goes on.

Think of it this way: Even at $25PSF, you're adding square footage to your home for probably 1/4 of what the square footage above-grade cost you.

Just because you can't afford or justify it doesn't mean the price is too high or not justified!

SC
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tri_joel



Joined: 03 Jul 2007
Posts: 646
Location: Northern Virginia


PostLink    Posted: Fri May 09, 2008 5:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's easy to be mislead by square foot prices. I've installed flooring in houses that cost more than $35 sqft. I worked for a GC that will not look at your project unless you are going to spend $300 sqft. The reason is because we only installed uber high-end finishes, the door knobs were $800 each.

Material costs are going up everyday, especially copper. When I remodeled my first floor the plumber was complaining that copper pipe went up 90 cents per foot in two days. He gave me a lump sum quote so he had to eat it.

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JustGreg



Joined: 07 Mar 2006
Posts: 3098
Location: Kenosha, WI


PostLink    Posted: Fri May 09, 2008 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I rather enjoy studding and drywall. With the right tools it's not bad at all. Get an old boom box...crank up your favorite tunes...and go to town. If the drywall is installed correctly (countersunk screws) taping and mudding goes pretty fast. With the extra cash you save doing it yourself, you'll be able to buy a drywall dust recovery sander so you don't have to wear a mask or clean up mud dust....that tries to be un-sweepable.

Now suspended celings????...they SUCK! The tripod laser is great for the wall mounted channel, but all the %$#@!&* suspension wires blow chunks to install and get it right. That part I'd definately contract out if your back is anything like mine where being on a step ladder for hours on end would kill ya.

I just chip away at my basement. I'll go 6 months at a whack before picking up more 2x4's, insulation, drywall, electrical supplies, etc. There's a high degree of instant gratification putting up drywall too. (My Rainman Syndrome) All the time it takes to stud...and then boom boom boom....all the drywall is up as fast as you can cut to fit.

That's just me tho. I'm too po' to hire anyone so I learned to f*ck it up, erm, I meant, learned to do it myself. Mr. Green I'd rather have later regrets as a result of my efforts than somebody elses'. $300 sq/ft! phhhht. I got a foot I'd offer for nothing if I were quoted that. Laughing

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Angus_rg



Joined: 16 Dec 2007
Posts: 343
Location: A planet far, far away..... Baltimore, MD


PostLink    Posted: Tue May 20, 2008 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JustGreg wrote:
That's just me tho. I'm too po' to hire anyone so I learned to f*ck it up, erm, I meant, learned to do it myself. Mr. Green I'd rather have later regrets as a result of my efforts than somebody elses'. $300 sq/ft! phhhht. I got a foot I'd offer for nothing if I were quoted that. Laughing


A lot of it really depends on what you want to do, enjoy, feel comfortable with, etc. Thanks to the internet, there are enough how tos/code refrences that there isn't a job that can't be tackled, if you have the time. I'm too hard headed and paranoid to let anyone touch my house; but if I did, I'd let someone drywall in a heart beat. Boring, boring, and boring.

I did a small bathroom tile floor a few years ago. There are so many imperfections I see that I know I could have done better, and will for the next job; but I see infinitely more problems in professional's work now that I've done it. Knowing you did a better job than most contractors and that there is still room to improve is satisfaction and motivation that money can't buy.

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tri_joel



Joined: 03 Jul 2007
Posts: 646
Location: Northern Virginia


PostLink    Posted: Tue May 20, 2008 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
$300 sq/ft! phhhht. I got a foot I'd offer for nothing if I were quoted that.


We had a niche and built our business model around this niche. We could not build a reputation for exquisite uber high end residential work by doing finished basements. That's all.

Peace,
Joel
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WanMan



Joined: 19 Mar 2006
Posts: 10261



PostLink    Posted: Wed May 21, 2008 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I found someone to correct my mistakes, and actually redo the framing errors in the basement, including build soffits for trey ceilings in all rooms but one. He is also building a small room with door for the future heat pump. Cost: $2600 for time but not materials. I asked him to just remove 10% of what was done and start from scratch. But, I need to get some lumber. So, "I'll include nails, wood framing plates, and top cones." Not sure what the 'plates' are since I am now being to supply pressure treated lumber.
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