What would you do if you already had 100+ lower skilled workers

29 Replies

I know this is a strange post but I am looking for advice/guidance. I own a moving company in the Chicago area and have ~100 employees (full+part time). We are very seasonal and even during a month busy only at certain times (ie: beginning / end of month when leases/closings tend to happen. My guys are very hard working and always looking for extra hours and I am looking for ways to give them hours to lower turnover.

I own a couple of rental properties and am looking to further expand in real estate. What synergy between the two entities could I have?

So if you already had 100+ physically hard working guys what segment of real estate would there be a good opportunity? I have thought of utilizing them for marketing of distressed properties (driving for dollars), interior demo work for other rehabbers, also the interesting concept of "pre-habbing" that I have read on BP (J Scott & Glenn Schworm), etc. Again, I know this is a strange question but I’m looking for direction from some experienced real estate people on possible opportunities.

I am stunned you have 100 dependable people 

I have 5 Houses I am currently rehabbing 

Have offered $25 an hour set your own hours and days and have received not a single person I could use

Do you drug test?  Maybe that is why I can’t find anyone 

So I am left to rehab all 5 by myself. And I am suppose to be retired lol


if I had 100 I could conquer the world 😀

I would start a property management company or become a GC and put them to work on rehabs.

Well as I said they are lower-skilled so not really an option to have them do advanced contstruction. I can train them in some of the basics but I really dont think having them try to do skilled labor is the way to go. I want to leave that stuff to the contractors. Maybe some basic demo, painting, etc but like I said they also work for me doing moves for customers so it is somewhat sporadic on availability. Yes...they are drug screened, background checked and have workers comp. Like I said...there has to be some sort of good fit here I just don't have enough experience in the real estate field to figure out the opportunity. 

@Paul Brown - I think it's super admirable that you are looking to find more ways to get your team members more hours.

I'd suggest looking into junk removal/interior demo work.  We are always looking for good demo and haul away contractors.  You obviously do need to have some leaders who have done it before, but there is definitely a bunch of work out there.

Thanks Jonathan. I have kicked around junk removal but junk trucks are a pretty big investment with lots of intial costs (truck, insurance, registrations, licenses, etc). Maybe interior demo would be more cost effective and only incur expenses on an "as-needed" basis with roll off dumpsters. Would love for you or anyone else to share how these companies typically charge. 

@Paul Brown

Do you have 100 w2 employees or 100 independent contractors that work with you in the moving business?

If you are thinking of giving them work in another trade, I’m assuming they are handyman 1099 skilled laborers...

Does each guy have his own general liability coverage?

Originally posted by @Charles Thompson :

@Paul Brown

Do you have 100 w2 employees or 100 independent contractors that work with you in the moving business?

If you are thinking of giving them work in another trade, I’m assuming they are handyman 1099 skilled laborers...

Does each guy have his own general liability coverage?

They are W2 employees. They are drug tested, background checked and covered under my GL and workers comp policy. I'm not looking to turn them into tradesmen nor am I qualified to train them as tradesmen. I'm thinking maybe they do demo, light painting, etc. Or like Jonathan suggested maybe I sub them out for general labor or start a side business for interior demo work. I'm just looking for ideas on type of work they could do with minimal training.

 

@Paul Brown I really like the idea of doing interior demo work. There are definitely companies that specialize in that, but there isn't much training involved. Any guys that can do moving will be careful enough not to smash the wrong thing generally. I also think the investment will be pretty low. Maybe buy them some tools, and that is about it. 

Originally posted by @John Warren :

@Paul Brown I really like the idea of doing interior demo work. There are definitely companies that specialize in that, but there isn't much training involved. Any guys that can do moving will be careful enough not to smash the wrong thing generally. I also think the investment will be pretty low. Maybe buy them some tools, and that is about it. 

Thanks John. I see you are in Riverside. I love that city. I used to own an insurance agency in the old Landmark building right by the train station. 

 

@Paul Brown

Create a side business for skilled laborers and as you and other suggested, do interior demo work.

You can potentially work on rehab properties with investors or larger real estate companies that purchase and renovate apartments complexes.

Just make sure you do a walk thru before signing any contracts. Every apartment should have a walk thru before work is started. Also make sure there is a punch list for the demo.

This can turn into something profitable for you and your men.

After demo is completed have a good 10-20 guys that can paint. You’ll be amazed how hard it is for some people to paint!

Originally posted by @Paul Brown :

I know this is a strange post but I am looking for advice/guidance. I own a moving company in the Chicago area and have ~100 employees (full+part time). We are very seasonal and even during a month busy only at certain times (ie: beginning / end of month when leases/closings tend to happen. My guys are very hard working and always looking for extra hours and I am looking for ways to give them hours to lower turnover.

I own a couple of rental properties and am looking to further expand in real estate. What synergy between the two entities could I have?

So if you already had 100+ physically hard working guys what segment of real estate would there be a good opportunity? I have thought of utilizing them for marketing of distressed properties (driving for dollars), interior demo work for other rehabbers, also the interesting concept of "pre-habbing" that I have read on BP (J Scott & Glenn Schworm), etc. Again, I know this is a strange question but I’m looking for direction from some experienced real estate people on possible opportunities.

 

A couple of years ago I purchased an interest in a friend's businesses, one of which included moving. I got rid of the moving part of the business as I couldn't figure out how to scale it, but back to your question. What would I do w/ 100+ lower-skilled workers? My ideas for synergy:

  • Get a GC license & start out going after the demo or prefab work
  • Identify the smartest workers and pay for them to get their plumbing/electrical/HVAC training and then licenses
  • Purchase some more properties and put your new team to work on your properties while they also work on other's properties
  • Start a Property Management Company

I'd probably let contractors in my area know what you have.  Tons of projects have a high help need at certain points like the beginning or end. 

Tough for most of us peons with a few dozen or less properties to stay completely integrated.  You have yourself a ready day labor solution for contractors. 

I'd try to find something closer to what it is that you already are doing with moving. A logical extension of that to me would be to start provide staging services. There may be more up front cost in purchasing furniture etc, but it's more in line with what your employees are already doing. I know a friend at Church who does RE full time, and his wife owns a local staging co....which is how they met originally, and they're doing well staging for other local REI and home sellers.

Another would be events set-up and rentals. Tables, chairs, tents etc. 

Interior demo is also good, but is a bit further from what your employees are already doing. That's not the end of the world, but it seems like they may be more effective and efficient if you can keep their tasks as similar as possible. 

Originally posted by @Jonathan Klemm :

@Paul Brown - I think it's super admirable that you are looking to find more ways to get your team members more hours.

I'd suggest looking into junk removal/interior demo work.  We are always looking for good demo and haul away contractors.  You obviously do need to have some leaders who have done it before, but there is definitely a bunch of work out there.

YUP buy a  we Haul Junk franchise you already have the trucks vans and the labor.. 

Painting done right takes skill  I have seen the mess unskilled painters leave behind 

demo and haul off would be a perfect fit it seems to me..  Agree with this post !!!

 

Originally posted by @Paul Brown :
Originally posted by @Charles Thompson:

@Paul Brown

Do you have 100 w2 employees or 100 independent contractors that work with you in the moving business?

If you are thinking of giving them work in another trade, I’m assuming they are handyman 1099 skilled laborers...

Does each guy have his own general liability coverage?

They are W2 employees. They are drug tested, background checked and covered under my GL and workers comp policy. I'm not looking to turn them into tradesmen nor am I qualified to train them as tradesmen. I'm thinking maybe they do demo, light painting, etc. Or like Jonathan suggested maybe I sub them out for general labor or start a side business for interior demo work. I'm just looking for ideas on type of work they could do with minimal training.

 

Also go look at all the new construction subdivisions  they are in constant need of haul off.  I have haul off on my new builds 2X a week..  subs throw everything in the front of the house or garage haul off guys come in and remove them  no skill necessary just need a truck and a frequent flyer pass to the dump.. One thing to remember depending on your jurisdiction in haul off these days Asbestos and lead remediation and haul off is a big deal .. along with paint and other bad stuff that could be there.. So the new construction you don't have to worry about anything like that.. its all clean garbage.. old houses your going to run into those issues at least you would here in Oregon.. I have 2 houses right now that we are going to have the fire department burn and I had to do asbestos remediation on both and its cost me 21k.. just for that. 

 

Farm Work.

Cutting Firewood to sell wholesale to stores (7-11, etc...)

Extras in a movie.

Construction site clean up.

National Guard.

Roofing Removal Crews.

Snow Shovelers

@Paul Brown

I would suggest junk removal and demo as well. If you can connect with some flippers/rehabbers that would be a good synergy.

You already have a bunch of trucks for your moving business. I have found it is way cheaper to haul your own truck directly to the dump than it is to pay the dumpster fees from the waste management companies.

You will have to be a bit careful in Chicago (I worked there for 7 years in construction). The waste management companies are very protective of their “right” to haul and dump trash.

One other opportunity would be on the staging side of things. You probably have a warehouse full of unclaimed furniture that would be great for agents to use in staging properties for sale. You have the trucks and labor to move them in and out.

One final suggestion. How about delivering construction materials and supplies to job sites. I know a guy in Chicago that constantly needs some part time help making supply runs. Maybe with your setup he could call and tell you what to pick up and where to drop it. PM me if you want contact info.

@Paul Brown your best option is something that fits with your existing business. That means either same customer base or utilizing existing equipment and labor set. 

Junk hauling is a good business. Anyone who is moving will often need to declutter their home, so junk removal is a perfect fit to people moving. Realtors will recommend you to people before their sale and for their move.

I don't see what startup costs for junk hauling would be very expensive. Purchase some dump cart trailers and one or two trucks to haul them, if you don't already have trucks with trailer hitches. You can offer two options for junk hauling. Option 1, you place the dump cart at the property for a period of time, the owners fill it. You just dump it. Option 2, you haul out the junk and dump it. Also keep in mind that some moving customers may want a portion of their stuff hauled to the dump, so that is a service you are missing out on.

Another idea is getting in the appliance hauling business. You may be able to secure contracts with local or even national appliance retailers. You could even get into the used appliance business. It can be profitable, but you will need a repair tech to refurbish. People who are moving often need to acquire or get rid of appliances.

Insulation companies always drive around in moving style trucks. Insulation is bulky so you need a big truck. I don't think insulation is a high skill job and a big crew could get it done fast. Low skill and good money work. You can even tell the builder, "If your buyers need a moving company, recommend us and I will give you $100 referral bonus."

@Paul Brown it sounds like you are looking for something to fill in the gaps in your primary business work schedule. If you subcontract the workers out you are looking for middle of the month and off-season work.  You could set up an availability site for your guys listing numbers available by day and network with people who get access and can request them for moving related activities. See where that goes. Supplies/junk/extra hands.   

Network with a few local rehabbers/construction crews. Keeping the moving theme. You should consider that you might get some attrition as a result. 

You sound like you are in a good position. As I'm sure you are aware low skilled head working reliable employees seem to be total unicorns especially now and more critically in the new era of closed borders and post Covid.

What about buying into a franchise or taking over an existing business? (not starting a new one) Junk King comes to mind or a restoration and cleaning company. These, to me, would seem to translate well for what you currently do as a moving company and also play well in the real estate space.

100k investment with an SBA backed loan gives you more or less $1million dollars in buying power for an existing business. You have the man power and the experience of owing a small business already. A little capitol and some excellent leadership you could be well on your way to the top of the food chain.

Good luck!