“A Rocky Balboa Recession

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    Yeah I’ve traveled down the d/b road before. There’s definitely more money to be made with materials mark-up, but there’s also a lot of headache to go with it. It was always too much rain in the spring while we were trying to install plant material and too dry and hot in the summer and early fall to sustain the newly installed plants. And dealing with equipment breakdowns and labor issues was the worst. So I’m still deliberating whether or not I want to put myself through the heartburn.


    Most of the projects out this way are low bidder, so the contractors are usually trying to cut corners from day one. I use this to my advantage by telling real life contractor horror stories to owner/clients and by letting them know that they don’t have to get ripped off if they hire me for construction administration services. If I’m being paid for snooping around a project site, I’m not going to let a contractor get away with anything. As long as they do a good job I’ll work with them though.

    Andrew Garulay, RLA

    The problem is managing the help and the costs associated with it. Labor issues, labor issues, labor issues. Then the overhead forces you to keep work coming in even when it is lesser work than you intend to do. Then the referals are for more and more lower end stuff and that is what you become, if you are not careful.


    Getting in on good teams is huge. Familiarity between project managers and subs is huge … and between subs and other subs. I just finished a job with a great team from the GC to the smallest subs. I was the new guy and hope to be in as part of the team moving forward. Very high end residential


    I also work on another team with an architect, custom builder, engineer/surveyor, and enviromental consultant where I have done six projects in the last twelve months. They work in a PUD that requires landscape plans prior to building permits which helps. Still a lot of raze and replace ocean front residences happenning (thank you 1%ers).


    I’ll take the chaos of this over managing my own labor crews any day. When I don’t work, I don’t lose money … but it seems that I’m always working. I’m not making huge money, but it is not bad.

    Leslie B Wagle

    More on architecture degree holders’ prospects (not our field but related):


    Which is a shame, as it’s a hard subject to study, and not full of people trying to find an easy way of life in the first place.



    Thank you for contributing this. Unfortunately, this only reinforces what other similiar or equal articles for at least a year. That is not a critique in the slightest. It is an acknowlegement that very little, if nothing has changed on this topic, and what the realities are for “architects” are the same shared realities that all graduates from the design professions now face. There several threads here that have extensive commentary and opinion on this very topic. None of them bear repeating here. If you choose to go pursue a degree (whatever level) in the design professions, you certainly have been warned here of the downside. You also have been uplifted by those that say “do what your spirit and heart tell you to and be damned about the current realities” or something like that. Tough choice, very tough choice.

    There is no one, universal answer. I am of the crowd here at Land8Lounge that believe we will survive and eventually thrive again. But in that time between, we will have to recreate and reinvent (sorry Al Gore) in ways we never imagined having to do.

    Maui Bob, you cannot resist commenting on this.

    Heather Smith

    Yep. Raining today. Labor issues were a challenge at the beginning of the season. It is a lot of work, and we never feel like we know enough. We have some people that look for lawn/irrigation by low bid…but for a design if they have called us 85% of the time they want us. We are still working out whether to sub irrigation/seed…we have a few times, because we can’t compete with their prices.


    A little something to brighten your day:



    So, first that supply of existing homes has to be bought up.  That takes a few years maybe?  Then they’ll start building more seriously again.  I’m thinking it wont be the large-lot typical suburbia that we’re used to.


    Thank you for posting this. I’m thinking the same way.

    I read several econ and one very good housing blog from time to time. What they all seem to point to is the huge “shadow” inventory of homes that are still in the foreclosure pipeline that have to be worked through first before there is any real sustained recovery in housing. They all agree on the easily understood point that any recovery in the housing market will be  regional and scattered around the country. Those states and their metro areas that got hammered the hardest will be some of the last to come back and complete a real housing recovery. There are some abberations out there. I saw an article not that long ago that the supply of available homes in Las Vegas was dropping fast and home builders were building again. I think accuracy of that article is probably somewhere between realtor and home builder hype and actually what is going on there.

    I do know real estate investment companies have been formed in the last couple of years and are highly capitalized in some cases by hedge fund money. Unbelievable. Those investment companies are vaccuming  up foreclosed homes in many markets such as LV and especially southern and northern California. They have a buy, hold (rent) with an eventual sale model that seems to be working.


    I just sent in my $150 (cheap!) to renew my Nevada license yesterday.  Maybe it will be useful in 2015 or so!  Its such an absurd place…don’t know if I’d want to work there again, but I did get to do some things that I’m proud of.  I wonder who those companies are renting to in LV when so many people have up and left the valley, as I did last year.

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