Bringing home the bacon

Discussion in 'Flooring Potpourri' started by RugDog, Aug 4, 2015.

  1. RugDog

    RugDog Pro Member

    The shop I work primarily for charges the customer an install rate. They pay you the rate. If you don't want it, go work somewhere else. Of all the shops I've worked for in my area, my current one pays the most. That's the joy of being self employed, you can turn down all the work you want. The rate to install is the same for all of our installers, per foot. But the ones that suck, and are slow, and refuse to buy tools that make the installation easier will make less, or won't get called back. A chimpanzee with a kicker can make an easy $50K a year. It's not hard for an installer that's really good to make $100K or more. OF course, out of that you have expenses. I work alone and typically gross 100K to 125K. Not sure if that's a little or a lot compared to other installers, but it's plenty for me to have the freedom of self employment. I usually leave the house about 8/8:30 and am home by 4.
     
  2. Bud Cline

    Bud Cline Tile Expert Charter Member Senior Member Published

    I live in the country and frequently enjoy the all-too-common country-fragrance usually referred to as "bullshit". I love living in the country.
     
  3. RugDog

    RugDog Pro Member

    Call it what you what ever you want. Perhaps you should move to central PA. Cause it smells fine here.

    But do the math. To make $50k a year is only $200 a day for a carpet guy. With tear out and furniture. That's a piece of cake.

    To make $100k is $400 a day. A kitchen with prep and appliances? Figure a 12x12 with skim coat, a couple appliances and some base or show moulding. Add a bathroom and laundry $400 is easy if it's a two day job. Grouted LVT at $2.50 is 160 sq ft to hit $400. But as you know, some jobs pay better. I do mostly commercial work. $.25 to .50 to tear out, $.50 to install, plus a bunch of cove base. Hitting $400 a day is very easily. If I drop in a long hallway with carpet, or big room of carpet tile. Again. Easy. Those big money days make up for the $200 and $300 days. I don't pay a helper.
     
  4. RugDog

    RugDog Pro Member

    Here was my day. Left at 9:30. Got a couple breakfast sandwiches on the way to buy Ardex. Then to shop to dump yesterdays trash and load todays job. Went to job, 31 miles from my house. Sanded, skimmed, sanded and laid a kitchen and laundry with a couple seams Drove home 31 miles. 12x28. Home at 3:30 $420.00
    336 sq ft at $1.00
    Light skim at $.25

    That's my life, these are typical days of mine.
     
  5. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    I'm thinking 200 a day was good, I'd sure like 4, 5 is nice, 1k and life is good. Still trying to shift to more profitable projects. My brother and I split pay, so it's 2 installers, yes we have to be very efficient and have volume, only 1200 this week from retailer, I'm waiting for phone to ring for removals or prep.
     
  6. Mike Sliwinski

    Mike Sliwinski The Doctor Is In I Support TFP Senior Member

    Once in a blue moon, when I'm completely connected with the work, I can surprise myself with great performance.

    This connectivity allows us to make every move count by seeing two and three moves ahead of ourselves. Boy O Boy if I could have this focus on every moon day, like Rug Doggy does :yesss:!! He's a Gray hound dog :p...... and not just on the blue moon, that would be spectacular.

    Here's my example, 100 yds of carpet, powered and sealed seams,
    in 13 hrs. Alone !:yesss: That's a Lr, Dr, stair + hall, and 2 br's, with take up old, ....... then again, I went over the existing pad and the tackless was properly secured. That may sound slow to most, but for me ! that was Great, because I'm a Sleepy Rug Dog :( :D

    Mike

    Feel Like relocating to Pa. Mike ? not central Pa.:ohno: Rug Dog has it covered ;) :D ...... Eastern Pa. I'm sure the brothers could put you to good use :yesss:

    Mike
     
  7. RugDog

    RugDog Pro Member


    Surprisingly, There's plenty of work around here. We are far enough from Philly, Pittsburgh and Baltimore that we don't have our labor force saturated and diluted with "illegal" labor. I moved out from CA 20 years ago, and the rates out here were 50% more I'd say. And houses were CHEAP. Still are actually. In our Harrisburg area, we don't have a gang problem, graffiti on all the over passes, and we don't have those dumb "commuter lanes".

    As far as stretching carpet. I think our rates are, $.61 to install, $.15 to T/O and $.15 for furniture.

    At that rate, you would earn $400 installing 48 sq yrds of stretch with T/o and furniture. Even just a couple 12x14 bedrooms would pay $300. We have one installer that just does those small jobs. I don't stretch anymore. :)

    Here's a house near me for $150K

    http://www.realtor.com/realestatean...ry_PA_17339_M30423-81653?row=1&ex=PA581030009


    I have found, personally, that 2 installers are not twice as fast as one. Which is why I refuse to work with anyone. Even helpers slow me down and rarely make me money unless I have a huge tear out job for grunt labor. I can't afford anyone bumping a wall or a piece of furniture either. In the long run, it's just easier and more profitable to work alone. All the work and warranty is mine. A friend of mine has a partner. I've talked to him about income, and he knows it's less when you work with someone, but the trade off is it's easier to move heavy things and you have someone to be with. So they are ok with it.

    I have a handful of people I can call if I'm doing a long hall way. I will typically call someone when I get over 12x50 pieces. Myself and one other guy can pull a 100' hall with a fair amount of effort, but once it's pulled down and one side pulled back, I can send my helper home.

    Those are the really nice money nights.
     
  8. Nate Hall

    Nate Hall Types With Elbows Senior Member Published

    I stretch EVERYTHING! I even modified a Harbor freight stretcher to do small closets and steps (width).
    At .15 for furniture it doesn't even cover the insurance...
    You stated you made $420.00 in one day. After taxes that's $312.00 after ins. and overhead (truck, gas, Maintenance, and more insurance) You have $150.00.
    Those breakfast samiches and a coffee take off another $10.00. the Ardex cost more than you collected for prep...No retirement plan and as an installer your career is shortened by the hard labor. You are breaking even and you don't seem to notice. I was in your shoes not so long ago but now I have upped my game and have a few grand in my retirement account.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2015
  9. RugDog

    RugDog Pro Member


    By saying I don't stretch carpet, I mean, I don't install stretch carpet. At all.

    I used 3/4 a bag of Ardex, and charged $84 ($.25 sq/ft) for one quick light skim. All vehicle expenses are a right off, as is all materials, as you know. So is a portion of my mortgage, phone etc etc etc, AND the breakfast sandwiches. My gross is about $100k last year, and after rights offs, it was a taxable $50k. Paid something like $12k in taxes which is $250 a week. So, about $50 a day in taxes. Your math is headed in the right direction, it's just a bit pessimistic. I was on the job for about 4-1/2 hours. 10:30 to 3:00 I just bought a brand new Tundra. After payment, gas and insurance, it's about $30 a day, again, a right off. (math is 7 years of ownership @ 20,000 miles a year) So my expenses for the day is something like, $30 for the truck, $10 for Ardex, one knife blade at $.05. I don't buy adhesive or seam sealer.

    That said I will never ever ever be an employee again. Not after 20 years of no clock. Sure the cost of business is high and rising. But to be beholden to someone elses idea of how long I should work? Never. The hourly system punishes achievers and rewards slackers.


    And as usual, this will freak people out. I haven't had health ins in 20 years. It's a gamble, sure. But one I'm taking and beating. I did have a heart problem about 10 years ago. We wrote checks as we went. Turns out they give HUGE cash discounts if you write a check while you're there. Provided they can figure out how to take a check. Thankfully the doctors I saw were all set up for cash payments. Used the rest of the money I didn't spend on health ins to buy a couple boats, 34' Class A Motor home and took a month off and traveled around the country, jet skis, dirt's bikes, sport bike, Mazda RX8, snow ski passes, guitars, sound system and other music gear, horse property and horses, and my wife stayed home and home schooled our three children. While I complain about installing as much as anyone, it's been good to me and my family. It might seem like I'm "materialistic". I'm really not, I just intend to enjoy my life to the fullest that I can by doing the things I want to do, in stark contrast to my father who refused to spend money enjoying anything. He saved saved saved for his retirement, then died. We weren't close, I kinda despised him for leaving when I was young. Not sure what happened to his savings, none of his children saw any of it. Maybe he was buried with it! :)
     
  10. Nate Hall

    Nate Hall Types With Elbows Senior Member Published

    Just because it's a write off does not make an expense disappear. You still have to spend the money and as such it's not there for other expenses...such as a mortgage. Grossing 100 means your take home pay was about 40k...not exactly a family supporting wage.
     
  11. Bud Cline

    Bud Cline Tile Expert Charter Member Senior Member Published

    Nate is picking up on it too.............

    Most of what you are saying just simply doesn't add up.:ohno:
     
  12. RugDog

    RugDog Pro Member

    You guys are a tough crowd. I'm living proof that it does add up, and has added up. Perhaps you've made different choices that you're happy with. That's fine. But there's no way that 100k gross is 40k net. I do not have 60k in actually business expenses. Whether I'm a flooring contractor or not, I'm going to have a nice truck to pull my boat. So it's not an extra expense, but I do get to WRITE it off now. My mortgage and my breakfast sandwiches aren't an extra expense due to my job, but I can write it off now. I don't buy adhesive. Just pretty much staples, patch and blades. And anything other than skimming patch gets billed additionally for extra materials, so I don't pay for that. My wife didn't work for the 20 something years she was raising and homeschooling the kids. My house is almost paid off, my kids were always fed and clothed. Not sure how anyone can logically argue it's not a supporting wage. It's obviously a very good income with the freedom of working short days, or long days if I wanted extra cash.
     
  13. Elmer Fudd

    Elmer Fudd Administwative Asst. Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    Wow, I think there is an echo somewhere in here!!!! Sounds like me talking! Every point...........is right on, except for the math. I finally figured out that when i did the math on these things I was justifying/fudging the numbers to convince myself that I was successful. What brought it home for me was a good friend retiring at 62 with a nice fat retirement plan. And there I was at 52 and just a couple grand in a retirement plan.

    The only difference to us was that my wife felt VERY strongly that we needed health ins. She has been willing to work part time (2 days a week) for 35 years to provide us with insurance. Oh, and the 401K that employment brings with it.

    Did I have all those toys? Yes as well as vacations (paid for by me) travel, education for the kids, weddings (3 girls), house paid for etc. Would I do it over again? Absolutely, a great life...........but back to that retirement thing! What am I gonna due when I can't work? Well I fell into it and someone came to me looking for a technical advisor, it came with a generous salary and great working conditions/benefits. Now my retirement is nicely funded, but I was very fortunate. I often ask myself.....where would I be if this had not happened? I highly recommend that when doing the math for your life....add in the retirement numbers as well!!! In my case I will be 70 when I can retire, others may not be as fortunate.

    Cheers!!!!
     
  14. kwfloors

    kwfloors Fuzz on the brain Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    My son landed a local job and makes as much as I do, and he is an employee with benefits. I might join him if I can...:coffee:
     
  15. Incognito

    Incognito No more Mr. Nice Guy! I Support TFP Senior Member

    PLEASE tell me you had health insurance for your wife and kids when they were young. I can't even imagine dealing with MY wife when she was raising our kids if the family wasn't covered.

    The kids are gone now but she's in that doctor's office a zillion times and it's NOTHING compared to when the kids were here. You know a kid sneezes or gets a pimple on his ass and you need to rush him to the Emergency Room.

    How did you pull THAT off. (raising a FAMILY without insurance?)

    Insurance is a huge burden to this culture---------and so much of it is a rip-off. But on the other hand it's those that exploit the hell out of the system, whether is auto, home or health insurance that the rest of us pay for.
     
  16. Bud Cline

    Bud Cline Tile Expert Charter Member Senior Member Published

    Just trying to be helpful Dog.
    Apparently you are not aware that your personal Egg McMuffin is never a legitimate business deduction unless you are about forty miles from home base. Even when entertaining a client for legitimate business you can only deduct 50% of the cost.

    If you are pulling your boat with your work truck, your truck expense also is not 100% deductible and business-use must be declared and documented.

    Sounds like you need a new Tax Advisor, one that can keep you out of jail.

    Okay...I'm done!!!
     
  17. Mike Sliwinski

    Mike Sliwinski The Doctor Is In I Support TFP Senior Member

    I believe some accounting details are left out because of time constraints, but then again maybe not and some education can be found.

    I believe every conversation / point of view has merit,
    including the occasional use of the word " bullshitaki "

    Good job Dog ! not taking offense to bullshitaki ! and keeping
    the educational conversation on track ! :cool:

    Mike
     
  18. Nate Hall

    Nate Hall Types With Elbows Senior Member Published

    Rugdog, I discovered the fatal flaw when I paid off my 32k tax debt and wanted to start a new installation company. My second wife asked me "How much does it cost to install a yard of carpet?"
    I didn't know. I had to break down all my expenses by the number of yards I averaged. It came to $around 4 bucks a yard. The "going rate" at the time? 4 bucks a yard.:(
    Most stores pay enough to get you to the next job...and no more. I keep a low overhead and like you I work alone. My lowest price is 5 bucks a yard.
     
  19. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    Nate, you two are similar, just sayin. I keep wanting to raise prices but never get around to it, usually we do things that make it worth our while, turning down small jobs and taking time off instead, catching up on other interests.
     
  20. Nate Hall

    Nate Hall Types With Elbows Senior Member Published

    It is hard to quote prices after you give yourself a raise. The old low prices are reflexive and pop out in job site discussions.
     
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