Woodworking Business

You are not logged in. [ Login ] Why log in
(NOTE: Login is not required to post)

Bypassing GC for work

5/29/20       
Zach Member

Has anyone in the past had any success bypassing the GC in order to get work and instead performed direct design build work where you were the required millworker through architect?

Looking at trying to expand company direction here. Hate always feeling like we have to be the low guy in order to win a job even if we are the best fit for the design and have the relationship with the GC.

5/29/20       #3: Bypassing GC for work ...
Mark

You will absolutely P*** of the GC. Many view this to be the the worst type of back biting end run. It can get you seriously black listed in your area. It's amazing how quickly bad talk travels, true or not.
That being said, some GC's will do their best to keep their foot on the throat of their subs, as well as have their hand out when a job is over and the client direct hires a sub from the job, even when its not a referral from them. A very slimey white underbelly of the business unforunately. But thats not a suggestion to steal work.
Best bet is to solicit to architects and designers in the areas you wish work with with no mention of current or future jobs you know of, only completed work. And that can include firms that work with your known GC.

5/29/20       #4: Bypassing GC for work ...
rich c.

I ran a sole proprietor business for 8 years and only worked for a GC one time. We did church work, commercial store fixtures, millwork, and a lot of residential. Without knowing the nature of your business, it's hard to give advice.

5/29/20       #5: Bypassing GC for work ...
Mark B Member

If you design work is that good why not just work towards being the specified manufacturer of the product (i.e. no one else can, or is willing, to make what you make).

I would agree that going around behind a GC to cut them out of the process would likely be a mistake but if your dealing with a GC that is is meeting architects demands simply hone your offering and sell your services to the architect and you will likely be spec'd as the supplier or even if its millwork you will be the only one with the details all laid out ahead of time so you will most always be awarded the work from whomever bids the job.

No different than the architect spec'ing xyz hinges, or xyz carpet. Make your offering a package with some components that only you will effectively be able to supply.

Its a tough slog and requires a lot of selling to architects but seems a better option as opposed to getting in a dust up with a GC.

In my area the GC's dont care about squat. They are fed a set of drawings from an architect period. They farm out bids for the generic work but the specified items come from those manufacturers. I strive wherever I can to be one of those manufacturers as opposed to one of the many "approved suppliers".

5/29/20       #6: Bypassing GC for work ...
Alan F. Member

Develop relationships with GC's where you solve problems, are on time with quality and hassle free, get them to use your shop for the value you provide, not the price.

Offer ways to lower the price or reduce costs that maintain the design concept.

Try to be part of a team. If you are selling on low price only then maybe rethink how to sell to GC's so selection is based on best value for the price, not the lowest price.

When we did lots of retail two of the chains we did were sold through the same GC. One of the chains wanted to go direct with us so we did, we lost the other chain for the most part.

About 3 years later the other chain came to us and we did their work for about 15 more years until about 2016 when they went to China.

Direct sales are more common in retail.

We also have sold direct to developers and commercial end users where we designed the work because of past history.

I would not recommend cutting out the GC.

GC's have multiple jobs, you may sell to the same homeowner 2-3 times in the life of your business.
A-

5/29/20       #7: Bypassing GC for work ...
Patrick S Gilbert

What Alan said

5/30/20       #8: Bypassing GC for work ...
james e mcgrew  Member

Website: mcgrewwoodwork.com

You will want to be a team player no matter which way you go. to think it will always be without a G/C is not going to happen, We are often specified by an architect and the G/cs are good with this. for that privilege it is our responsibility to perform to the top of all expectations, any rivalry will just hurt all involved. On that note we have been at this long enough to be somewhat selective in whether we quote a G/C or not. late payer, PIA communicator then we just avoid you. I have one large Local G/C who has come twice to say he will change the problems of late payments and Sups who are so old school that your efficency means nothing to them. Now I just do not mess with them at all. yet when i do Pick a G/c I work to be a team player in winning and completing the Job. You will never be the only player on the team and as Glen Frey Of the Eagles said "Not everyone gets to be the Quarterback" Always be ethical no matter what, yea you will lose a job to less a company but you will always be Ok.

5/30/20       #9: Bypassing GC for work ...
D Brown

Once I got involved with an architect after he saw my work on one job, he wrote my name in on the plans. I got more work from the architect than any GC ever. So some of your answer depends on how much you are dependent on Gcs to obtain work.

5/30/20       #10: Bypassing GC for work ...
David R Sochar Member

The GC's around here will have you believe the sun does not rise without their command. “All good things flow from the GC” I had one lecture me, just so he could ride in on my quality, taking credit for the efforts of others.

You need to position yourself as bigger and beyond the GC. A GC will take over your business if you let them. You know, the kind that says “I can get you all the work you can do, if you just give me a good price on this,,,,,,”

Be like Lowe’s, a serious vendor that does what it does, not a torn t-shirt and chewing tobacco, leaning on a multicolor F150.

Work with them, but keep it as equals. Let them know you are on their side, and you need him - GC - to help you deliver a superior product. Meet him more than halfway, but as equal, not deferentially.

5/30/20       #11: Bypassing GC for work ...
Mark B Member

A bit of what I dont understand, at least as it pertains to commercial work but even so with Architect/Residential, is the GC's around here have zero to do with the work we bid pre-award. Now I guess if a GC bid a large job and put their own numbers in for millwork and so on and then opts to farm it out after the fact then you may have a relationship with the GC or if they are a design build firm and there is no architect but for us thats a pretty-much-never situation.

The jobs are spec'd by the architect and you may be bidding to 2, 5, or 15, GC's and after the award its just deliver what was spec'd.

Do a lot of you bill an architect directly for work provided on a job? My work gaining relationships with architects and designers is not because Im ever going to be billing work to them, its so they hopefully spec' work that is in our wheelhouse and no one else's. Or that we are source for some odd ball stuff when they have a suitable client.

Those interactions for me never happen under the GC's roof. They are way on down the line at that point. Its either via an interior designer or an architect. If the architect/ID puts it on the prints that xyz is to come from pdq company thats where its coming from unless the GC can off a direct and suitable substitute which they never do be cause they just want to get on with the job and the money is already in the project.

5/31/20       #12: Bypassing GC for work ...
Adam

No

You are trying to bypass the industry system. You know it. The Architect, Designer and GC know it.

You will alienate yourself from all of them.

After the major project is finished. Customers will contact us in the future for new projects.

If you don’t want to work for GC’s don’t. The Designers in particular work directly for the Customer on smaller projects.

If you are working on a job with an Architect, there is a GC 99% of the time. They are there because they are necessary. The customer doesn’t or shouldn’t deal with the subs.

If you are consistently getting beat up on price bring it to the GC’s attention. If your services justify a higher price then he may choose to go with you above others. If you are nothing special, he had no reason to hire you at a higher price. Regardless, your request will be in his mind when he is choosing subs contracts.

It’s a relationship. Treat it as such. With respect ask him how you can land more work besides low prices.

  • Post a Response to this thread
  • notify me of responses to this topic
  • To receive email notification of additions to this forum thread,
    enter your name and email address, and then click the
    "Keep Me Posted" button below.

    Please Note: If you have posted a message or response,
    do not submit this request ... you are already signed up
    to receive notification!

    Your Name:
    E-Mail Address:
    Enter the correct numbers into the field below:
     

    Date of your Birth:



    Return to top of page

    Buy & Sell Exchanges | Forums | Galleries | Site Map

    FORUM GUIDELINES: Please review the guidelines below before posting at WOODWEB's Interactive Message Boards (return to top)

  • WOODWEB is a professional industrial woodworking site. Hobbyist and homeowner woodworking questions are inappropriate.
  • Messages should be kept reasonably short and on topic, relating to the focus of the forum. Responses should relate to the original question.
  • A valid email return address must be included with each message.
  • Advertising is inappropriate. The only exceptions are the Classified Ads Exchange, Machinery Exchange, Lumber Exchange, and Job Opportunities and Services Exchange. When posting listings in these areas, review the posting instructions carefully.
  • Subject lines may be edited for length and clarity.
  • "Cross posting" is not permitted. Choose the best forum for your question, and post your question at one forum only.
  • Messages requesting private responses will be removed - Forums are designed to provide information and assistance for all of our visitors. Private response requests are appropriate at WOODWEB's Exchanges and Job Opportunities and Services.
  • Messages that accuse businesses or individuals of alleged negative actions or behavior are inappropriate since WOODWEB is unable to verify or substantiate the claims.
  • Posts with the intent of soliciting answers to surveys are not appropriate. Contact WOODWEB for more information on initiating a survey.
  • Excessive forum participation by an individual upsets the balance of a healthy forum atmosphere. Individuals who excessively post responses containing marginal content will be considered repeat forum abusers.
  • Responses that initiate or support inappropriate and off-topic discussion of general politics detract from the professional woodworking focus of WOODWEB, and will be removed.
  • Participants are encouraged to use their real name when posting. Intentionally using another persons name is prohibited, and posts of this nature will be removed at WOODWEB's discretion.
  • Comments, questions, or criticisms regarding Forum policies should be directed to WOODWEB's Systems Administrator
    (return to top).

    Carefully review your message before clicking on the "Send Message" button - you will not be able to revise the message once it has been sent.

    You will be notified of responses to the message(s) you posted via email. Be sure to enter your email address correctly.

    WOODWEB's forums are a highly regarded resource for professional woodworkers. Messages and responses that are crafted in a professional and civil manner strengthen this resource. Messages that do not reflect a professional tone reduce the value of our forums.

    Messages are inappropriate when their content: is deemed libelous in nature or is based on rumor, fails to meet basic standards of decorum, contains blatant advertising or inappropriate emphasis on self promotion (return to top).

    Libel:   Posts which defame an individual or organization, or employ a tone which can be viewed as malicious in nature. Words, pictures, or cartoons which expose a person or organization to public hatred, shame, disgrace, or ridicule, or induce an ill opinion of a person or organization, are libelous.

    Improper Decorum:   Posts which are profane, inciting, disrespectful or uncivil in tone, or maliciously worded. This also includes the venting of unsubstantiated opinions. Such messages do little to illuminate a given topic, and often have the opposite effect. Constructive criticism is acceptable (return to top).

    Advertising:   The purpose of WOODWEB Forums is to provide answers, not an advertising venue. Companies participating in a Forum discussion should provide specific answers to posted questions. WOODWEB suggests that businesses include an appropriately crafted signature in order to identify their company. A well meaning post that seems to be on-topic but contains a product reference may do your business more harm than good in the Forum environment. Forum users may perceive your references to specific products as unsolicited advertising (spam) and consciously avoid your web site or services. A well-crafted signature is an appropriate way to advertise your services that will not offend potential customers. Signatures should be limited to 4-6 lines, and may contain information that identifies the type of business you're in, your URL and email address (return to top).

    Repeated Forum Abuse: Forum participants who repeatedly fail to follow WOODWEB's Forum Guidelines may encounter difficulty when attempting to post messages.

    There are often situations when the original message asks for opinions: "What is the best widget for my type of shop?". To a certain extent, the person posting the message is responsible for including specific questions within the message. An open ended question (like the one above) invites responses that may read as sales pitches. WOODWEB suggests that companies responding to such a question provide detailed and substantive replies rather than responses that read as a one-sided product promotion. It has been WOODWEB's experience that substantive responses are held in higher regard by our readers (return to top).

    The staff of WOODWEB assume no responsibility for the accuracy, content, or outcome of any posting transmitted at WOODWEB's Message Boards. Participants should undertake the use of machinery, materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB's Message Boards after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk. WOODWEB reserves the right to delete any messages it deems inappropriate. (return to top)


  • Forum Posting Help
    Your Name The name you enter in this field will be the name that appears with your post or response (return to form).
    Your Website Personal or business website links must point to the author's website. Inappropriate links will be removed without notice, and at WOODWEB's sole discretion. WOODWEB reserves the right to delete any messages with links it deems inappropriate. (return to form)
    E-Mail Address Your e-mail address will not be publicly viewable. Forum participants will be able to contact you using a contact link (included with your post) that is substituted for your actual address. You must include a valid email address in this field. (return to form)
    Subject Subject may be edited for length and clarity. Subject lines should provide an indication of the content of your post. (return to form)
    Thread Related Link and Image Guidelines Thread Related Links posted at WOODWEB's Forums and Exchanges should point to locations that provide supporting information for the topic being discussed in the current message thread. The purpose of WOODWEB Forums is to provide answers, not to serve as an advertising venue. A Thread Related Link that directs visitors to an area with inappropriate content will be removed. WOODWEB reserves the right to delete any messages with links or images it deems inappropriate. (return to form)
    Thread Related File Uploads Thread Related Files posted at WOODWEB's Forums and Exchanges should provide supporting information for the topic being discussed in the current message thread. Video Files: acceptable video formats are: .MOV .AVI .WMV .MPEG .MPG .MP4 (Image Upload Tips)   If you encounter any difficulty when uploading video files, E-mail WOODWEB for assistance. The purpose of WOODWEB Forums is to provide answers, not to serve as an advertising venue. A Thread Related File that contains inappropriate content will be removed, and uploaded files that are not directly related to the message thread will be removed. WOODWEB reserves the right to delete any messages with links, files, or images it deems inappropriate. (return to form)