Drywall contractor Dennis Redden has two beefs with contractors: Jobs frequently aren't ready when scheduled, and GCs don't pay promptly.
Redden, of Rightway Construction in Oakley, Calif., has six employees and works with about 30 contractors, doing 10 jobs a year for each. He does about $1 million in business annually.
"They yell and scream to come and do the work, and we get to the job and they say, 'You cannot do this wall; you cannot do this ceiling,'" Redden says. "For some reason the plumbing or electrical inspector needs to see it."
Drywalling is a five-step job -- one for drywall, four for taping -- so when Rightway is told it can't finish a wall, that adds five more trips, Redden says. "That's the kind of thing that drives us absolutely nuts." Often contractors, without bad intentions, don't see reasons for added cost, billed in a back charge.
How does he motivate employees to do backbreaking work with care and consideration? Good pay -- his top men earn $29/hour -- and drywaller psychology. "We have good working relationships," Redden says. "I do my best to keep them busy. I tell them their work reflects on how much work I get, and that reflects back on what they get."
As for remodeler complaints that drywallers are sloppy, clean up in neighbor's yards, and have no idea that GCs are in the service business, Redden admits, "They're probably right. We work with mud, water-soluble mud. With new houses, you have an entire yard to clean up in. With remodeling, people have nice lawns and flowerbeds. Cleaning up can be a real problem. It's not realistic to clean our tools at home, so sometimes the guys get lazy. We browbeat them on a regular basis."