Starting a home remodeling company?

In modern times, its understandable that most people are being pushed out of home remodeling as a result of the housing bubble and real estate crisis. However, there is always room and business for the top tier professionals with solid referring clients, reputation and quality of service/craftsmanship. For those passionate about home building here are some paths/advice for anyone with dreams of having their own construction company one day.


Experience or Education?

As a standard most general contractors would agree that experience is education. Most companies will take on apprentices and be willing to teach an eager learner so depending on your game plan you may be able to save a great deal of money if you play the cards right.

  •  Experience – As a general contractor you will come across multiple issues that you simply just cannot learn in a classroom or book. Organizing all subcontractors while attaining building permits, securing the property, providing temporary utilities on site, managing employees on worksite, Site survey/Engineering Architects, hauling/recycling of materials, monitoring schedules and invoicing, and having an accurate archive of product warranties, ect. is a skill one truly learns by doing and masters after hours on the job.


  •  Education– In 90% of cases if you are seeking residential remodeling certifications and 2 year technical degrees (Construction Building Technology, Certificate of Design/Build Remodeling) are the way to go. You will need to pass the California Contractors State License Board test to be a legitimate contractor in California so intensive study courses to prepare may be best for those whom already feel confident in their abilities.


Basic requirements

Workmans compensation– This is a requirement in California to protect any workers in the field operating under your company as a protection if they are hurt on the job.

Pay taxes- Regardless of fifteen employees of just yourself you are required to file all taxes as a business owner under the IRS.
Business Name and Registration- Once you take the leap you will need to register your business as a general contracting business with the department of labor



Cyclical earnings– Remodeling is a tricky industry and a smart business owner understands you can triple your typical income one great year and have the potential to flatline or decline in a recession. Re-investment to secure business and monitoring cost efficiency are paramount to success.

Do not expect your exceptional carpentry to get second story additions– Be prepared to adapt with technology if necessary, maintain superior client service and be open to client ideas. Nowadays in an information based society clients can be very demanding and used to having several options to choose from.

Do not take on jobs you cannot hack- If you are in over your head your client will ultimately find out and you risk sacrificing a potential long term referral/client or even worse monetary damage that your company will have to cover legally.


In Conclusion

Home Remodeling is a very rewarding but challenging career choice for those who wish to pursue. At the end of a Second Story Addition, Kitchen Remodel or Room Addition seeing the entire project come to fruition is a feeling unlike many other professions can replicate. By making clients happy and adding value/equity to others homes feels great as well. Have fun, keep on top of industry regulations/trends, keep an open mind and mainly always be honest with your clients. Good Luck!

Key Factors 2nd Story Addition

Second story home additions are argueably the most valuable home improvement out there. As stated before a professional, lisenced room addition contractor will not be able to even put on toolbags until local building departments give approval of zoning, building and planning regarding blueprints.

Most structural engineers agree that Second Story Additions are feasible for nearly every homeowner. 2nd Story Additions can always be easier if the weight of the new improvement spans the distance of the house and majority of weight is framed to existing exterior walls.

Some considerations that your remodeling home  plan should account for however are related to age and condition of current structure. These can vary but predominately follow:

  • Load bearing Walls
  • Strengthen Foundation for build

Existing Heating and Cooling System ok?

Well based on 30+ years experience probably not. Adding more square footage to your household means you will need to supplement this with a higher capacity system or just invest in a new unit for the new second story plan.

Also think: Renovation is all about efficiency.If you have the contractor on site and running take advantage of this and try to kill two birds with one stone. It doesn’t make logical sense to purchase dual pane windows (energy efficient) to put in your new upstairs addition and keep your old, aluminum framed windows on the first story. They are less energy efficient, do not increase home value and probably cost more in the end regarding utilities..So if you are interested in a big investment such as a Second Story Addition consider possibly upgrading existing home materials like the example above.

Do not cheap out if considering a Second Story Addition!

Additional expenses may be important and should not be cut if you are going the full distance with your 2nd Story Addition. Siding and Stucco depending on age of  house may have a difficult time being replicated to existing exterior. Account for a full stucco bid if you feel the quality will have a hard time being matched. In the end you will be happy you paid an extra couple thousand for a home that looks great from the base to roof!

During the work what should I do?

It is a good idea and we always inform our clients that you should be prepared to relocate during the important major phases of your second story addition. Homeowners usually are aware this process is like a surgery on your property. Lets face it anyone that argues to be sedated during surgery can ultimately probably get aware with that but it may be best to listen to the professionals and be cooperative during the process.

SJB Construction Inc. Specializes in Room Additions, Second Story Additions, Kitchen Remodeling, Bathroom Renovation and more in San Diego county. Check out why we have an A+ BBB track record and 5 stars on yelp!

Find San Diego specific county regulations here!

Renovation in San Diego?

Having second thoughts about hiring a general contractor?

Using separate contractors or contractors with only one niche you risk paying finders fees to these contractors. Worse you can run into time consuming paper chasing multiple licences if violations and issues arise. Using SJB Construction Incorporated our license covers your general remodel. With an A+ rating on BBB you can rest assured this issue has yet to arise however. Deciding on a general contractor versus DIY you also save from the issue of quality disconnect individual aspects of renovation process. (I.E. Project Management)


  • -One payment- Hiring SJB Construction Inc. you can write one single paycheck and have all questions addressed at one source.
  • -Liability/Responsibility- SJB Construction Incorporated assumes full responsibility for all aspects of build.
  • Time Management- if any aspect if off it can result in major time loss.


– A simple remodel can involve using an electrician, a plumber, a framer, and a painting contractor just to name a few of the possible contractors that may be involved. All of our contacts have 30+ years experience.

Renovation Services ranging from entire home framing, second story room additions , custom cabinetry, roofing, granite counter tops, Demolition Hauling/Removal, Kitchen design, pool construction and more SJB Construcion Incorporated serves as a design/build architectural company. Experience with changing building policies in San Diego, volatile material pricing, and firm subcontracted relationships to serve each homeowner best. Call for a no-pressure assessment.

House Heating Solutions

Okay so it’s wintertime in America and even though most of our readers are here in San Diego (the weather is golden year around) it doesn’t mean that this time of the year it’s not freezing from time to time. Here are some potential issues your home may chilly.


  • Maybe your living room is large and the wooden or tile floor is like ice every morning.
  • You could have a room that does not have much exposure to the sun.
  • Lack of Weather-stripping: Your doors and windows may have a drift as a result of.


So let’s get down to the nitty gritty, as a room addition contractor here is what we did for a recent client whom had a unique case where they had all the “nuts and bolts” in place but still wasn’t content. SJB Construction Incorporated decided to craft a drop down ceiling with additional insulation. Automatically upon insulation being installed you could feel a major difference.


Basic Materials (Excluding Tools, ect.)

  • 2x6x12’s
  • 2x4x8
  • Drywall-Ultra light 1/2”
  • Insulation
  • 40 Minute Quick Dry Mud
  • Red Dot Hot Mud


How to craft to new drop down heated ceiling


Without a solid plan of action it is the blind leading the blind so start with outlining where you will place your new structure.

1. Using a blue chalk line SJB Construction Inc. snapped lines on the existing rafters to account for a level drop down ceiling. (At least 7 inches to be safe from top of roofing so you have enough room for insulation and 2×6’s)

2.Once you nailed off your box frame of 2×6 to the existing rafters (parallel/vertical) you are now ready to cut blocks so you can run additional 2×6 horizontal. (Think of a “t” with 2×6 running both vertical and horizontal). A: First, B: Second once you fasten blocking.


This just provides additional backing to screw into for the drywall.
3. Make sure you run ahead and mark where your horizontal 2×6’s will end. You do not want to make additional drywall cuts. Let the drywall work for you, do not work for the drywall.
See Picture above: Third Stud running horizontal will be the first full sheet of drywall edge into new sheet. Make sure your stud is centered at 48” so you have backing for both sheets of drywall.


*Do not have the edge of 2×6 at 48” you will then only have backing for one sheet of drywall and no room to split the difference.*


4. Electrical: If applicable
You want to make sure to run any electrical if before you insulate. You will need a drill bit to drill through the upper region of your 2×6 to run the electrical to can lights, fans ect.

Tip: Drill upper side of 2×6 to keep integrity in place.


Sweet you are now halfway to heaven…


5. Insulation: So now you are ready for the insulation which you can either take on yourself or hire a contractor. Contractors are usually the most efficient. For about $100 more you can have installed versus dealing with itchy fiberglass and having to run and get the material.


6. Drywall: Once you have the insulation you can now start the drywall phase. Ultralight 1/2 4×8 is great for this type of job. Typical Drywall weighs about 80lb. a sheet, ultralight weighs about 45lb. per sheet.

Finish the job by hanging (screws 6 inches on joints, 12 inches on center), mudding, taping, priming and painting your new drywall. Install any necessary can lights and fans to appropriate electrical wiring.


There you have a new room that is nice and toasty. We noticed a major difference in this client’s home!

Building Trends for 2013

House Upturn starting to boost lumber prices

Overall trend of lumber has shown that there has been a steady increase in prices since the start of 2012. This study was essential based on a twenty city average for most common used types of 2x4s to build (ENR, see link below).

Pricing are consistently inclining from low levels which was a result of housing market slump which as mentioned  before are now looking much more optmistic. Random Lengths reported as well that framing lumber prices are  up 18.4% over 2011. Framing Lumber is now hovering around $322 per thousand board foot. Another supporting statistic that is great for both General Contractors and the economy was released by the U.S. Department of Commerce is that the monetary value of new private residential renovations is up 15.5 % from previous year.

Other material Prices that are on the increase

  • Concrete and Asphault- Although not as impressive as lumber the bureau of labor statistics stated that ready-mix concrete as of November 2012 in up 2.3%.

Regional Experience

Although San Diego was one of the most impacted economies to take a plunge with the housing market these statistics seem to be aligned with the strength of interest in our services as of late 2012 and 2013. Off the cuff speaking SJB Construction Incorporated is still not experiencing the bull market of building which occured pre-2007. The norm seems to favor smaller remodels such as; Kitchen Remodels, Bathroom Remodels versus an overload of larger projects such as Room Additions and Second Story Additions. However, at bare minimum the general public seems to feel more comfortable about re-investment in their property. Most homeowners are begginning to realize their investment value will ultimately pay off as the world economy shapes up and building prices are rising.

Possible Implications

Taken from a list of the top 5 producers of lumber, Deltic Timber Corporation is listed below. One can draw their own conclusion but the direction of the stock seems to bear optimism. Keep in mind many other factors are involved in the stock market that are completely unrelated to the upward trend (financials of corporation, Div & Yield, P/E ratio, ect.), however at the same token factors such as potential growth opportunity and economic environment also should not be disregarded. Look at the general trend of purchase behaivor, despite one dip it looks like a steady increase from 2012.
Comment and Questions are welcomed, this blog is a blend of industry statistics and 30 years experience riding the cyclical
trend in residential building. Comments/Question? Connect with us on Facebook, G+!


Disclaimer: This Blog is opinion based on industry statistics and knowledge of past cyclical trends.

Renovate in a down economy

Buy low sell high reasonates and is applicable to home renovation in the environment today. It is a well known fact that the market is seasonal with a typical inventory reaching a high point during late summer however falling in the colder months of the year.

According to Motovo Real Estate during the final month of 2012 inventory dropped by 9,551 homes. See chart below.

Home prices in 2012 climbed upwards and the trend seems to be that homeowners are hesitant to sell their homes:

  • They are under the notion that prices will continue to increase
  • Increased investor demand
  • Decreased bank foreclosures

So what does this mean to those whom are seeking to renovate their homes?

Right now is the time to get take advantage of a marginal economy and excellent rates regarding home improvement and repair. Contractors have suffered the past 6 years as the housing bubble decreased the amount of opportunity to build and homeowners have been to skeptical to spend thousands of dollars in a volitile environment.

Just as the market is seasonal so are the prices regarding home renovation. If you are considering custom kitchen designs, room addition or second story remodeling it is smart to be ahead of the curve and lock in excellent rates while you can. Soon with a low inventory Room Addition Contractors will be in demand to add to existing structures.

Other incentives to renovate now

According to builder confidence was up to a five year peak last August. Building Permits rose 7% in July so this is indicative that the home renovation industry is starting forward progression. So in conclusion get on the ball and contact a general contractor soon if your pondering any home remodeling project.

Any thoughts feel free to shoot me a line!