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Offline luciddreams

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Bamboo House
« on: March 04, 2017, 12:10:42 PM »
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/4iesS5InfBU" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/4iesS5InfBU</a>

6 hours to build one of these houses 100% from bamboo. 

Bamboo can't be beat as an affordable and sustainable building material. 

Offline Eddie

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Re: Bamboo House
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2017, 12:21:07 PM »
They had houses similar that in Peru, on the Amazon. I say similar, because I think some of it was made with wooden poles. An awful lot of things there are built from mahogany.

We took a class in thatching roofs, and singer daughter (who is also very adept at basket-making) was good at it. I'd love to build a bamboo house.
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline RE

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Re: Bamboo House
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2017, 12:30:50 PM »
They had houses similar that in Peru, on the Amazon. I say similar, because I think some of it was made with wooden poles. An awful lot of things there are built from mahogany.

We took a class in thatching roofs, and singer daughter (who is also very adept at basket-making) was good at it. I'd love to build a bamboo house.

A little Bamboo Sleeping Hut to replace your Coleman Tent wold be a nice project for the next Convocation.  :icon_sunny:

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Offline luciddreams

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Re: Bamboo House
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2017, 01:00:20 PM »
One of the projects with my new client is to set her up with chickens.  I want to use bamboo to construct the coop.  The problem is that I have no training with building with bamboo.  I need to get that training.  I've built a lot with it, and I've learned a lot of tricks from Keiji crafting with it.  It's amazing to me how easy it is to work with and with very simple hand tools at that.  The only power tool that's ever really necessary is a drill, and that's just because it saves you a lot of time.  The same thing can be done with hand tools. 

Anyways, my plan for the coop is to replicate my coop with some improvements.  I use a 10X10 chain link dog kennel for my coop.  I'm going to do the same for her.  I want to make the nesting boxes, roost, and roof using bamboo.  I'm thinking of going with this design for the roof:

Bamboo roof
Bamboo roof

I'd do the whole coop from bamboo if I had more experience.  Actually, I'd do it now if it made sense economically, which it sort of does.  I have a shit load of cured bamboo that I took home from last years harvest, so the material would be pretty cheap (and I'd make the money on material as well).  The problem is the amount of time it would take me to build such a coop. 

I'm struggling a bit right now trying to figure out how to charge for this permaculture work I'm doing.  Basically, as of now I've got a $500 dollar "thinking fee," or design fee.  Then implementation.  That's the part that is difficult.  I make $50 an hour doing the conventional landscape maintenance bit, so I don't want to make less then that, but then I'm not using machinery or driving around as much with the permie gigs, so less wear and tear and gas costs, so I figure I can charge less then $50 per hour.  But then I can only charge so much for implementation.  My phones getting busy ringing with the conventional stuff.  I don't want to be in a situation where I'm turning down permaculture design/implementation work because I can make more money cuttin' grass.  But I can't turn down money right now either. 

Growing pains.  I guess it's a good problem to be having.   :icon_scratch:

 :icon_sunny:

Offline RE

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Re: Bamboo House
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2017, 01:10:44 PM »
I don't want to be in a situation where I'm turning down permaculture design/implementation work because I can make more money cuttin' grass.  But I can't turn down money right now either. 

Growing pains.  I guess it's a good problem to be having.   :icon_scratch:

As long as you are owner-operator and sole employee of the bizness, you will have this problem.  There's only so much you can do yourself in one day.

You need employees to do the conventional grass cutting jobs while you do the Premium Work of Permaculture.  There is no way around this problem if you want to grow the bizness.

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Offline luciddreams

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Re: Bamboo House
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2017, 01:44:44 PM »
I don't want to be in a situation where I'm turning down permaculture design/implementation work because I can make more money cuttin' grass.  But I can't turn down money right now either. 

Growing pains.  I guess it's a good problem to be having.   :icon_scratch:

As long as you are owner-operator and sole employee of the bizness, you will have this problem.  There's only so much you can do yourself in one day.

You need employees to do the conventional grass cutting jobs while you do the Premium Work of Permaculture.  There is no way around this problem if you want to grow the bizness.

RE

I know, but that requires more money to invest in more equipment.  Bare minimum another truck and mower.  I don't have the money to scale the business up.  So I do the best I can trying to manage.  The problem is that Permaculture and conventional landscape maintenance are two different business.  Then there's the bamboo side of things, but it hasn't taken off enough yet to cause me problems. 

Basically I'm not accepting any more conventional clients.  I'm trying to keep that at two days a week.  That is, I can go out and handle all of my conventional clients in just two days per week.  I need one day of the week for my internship.  That leaves 2/3 days a week for permaculture. 

That works because my lifestyle is currently being subsidized.  That is rent and utilities are already paid for due to living with family.  On top of running out of time because I'm only one man, I can't make too much money or we loose medicaid and then I'm instantly down $1000 a month, minimum (haven't looked into it recently) for medical insurance for my family of four.

I'm playing the collapse game.  I think I'm doing a pretty good job, but it has it's challenges.  Many of them.  I'm straddling a BAU lifestyle along with an unplugged, shrinking my technosphere lifestyle.  Playing BAU to my advantage while preparing for collapse.  I'm trying to remain self employed through BAU and into collapse.  That's where Permaculture and bamboo are so important.  They will matter a LOT more in ten years than conventional landscape maintenance will. 

As I said, there are many challenges to what I'm doing, and there really is no template for me to follow.  It's literally uncharted and unprecedented territory. 

I'm making my name locally as "Mr. Bamboo" and as a permaculturists.  Those are both successes.

Offline David B.

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Re: Bamboo House
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2017, 01:49:29 PM »
Now these are problems I know something about.  As a single employee company you always have to juggle time saving with job integrity.  I like small well insulated spaces built with natural trims and finishes.  The problem has always been keeping that vision going in a world that only respects square footage and cost.  It's a rough one.  I've ended up doing a whole lot of pressure treated decks to finance the break even projects.  Employees for me never worked out as there was never enough low skilled jobs to keep the cheap labour going and the ones with good hands were expensive.  Our labour laws in Ontario are really tough maybe your situation will work out better. At some point  you just say f#$* it and go for it take the financial pain and work twice as hard for less money... it's the small business way.
Best regards, David Baillie
If its important then try something, fail, disect, learn from it, try again, and again and again until it kills you or you succeed.

Offline luciddreams

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Re: Bamboo House
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2017, 01:58:40 PM »
Now these are problems I know something about.  As a single employee company you always have to juggle time saving with job integrity.  I like small well insulated spaces built with natural trims and finishes.  The problem has always been keeping that vision going in a world that only respects square footage and cost.  It's a rough one.  I've ended up doing a whole lot of pressure treated decks to finance the break even projects.  Employees for me never worked out as there was never enough low skilled jobs to keep the cheap labour going and the ones with good hands were expensive.  Our labour laws in Ontario are really tough maybe your situation will work out better. At some point  you just say f#$* it and go for it take the financial pain and work twice as hard for less money... it's the small business way.
Best regards, David Baillie

My main problem is that permaculture work is hit and miss.  This is my second design job since I started my business two years ago.  I can charge a good bit for design work, because it's design work.  It requires a lot of hard won information.  It's a niche.  There's next to no competition.  All of these things mean I can get a premium for my efforts.  However, you can only charge so much. 

Implementation is the biggest problem.  How much can I charge for shovel work or constructing a chicken coop?  Even if it is permaculture shovel work and a permaculture chicken coop  ;D.  Obviously you can charge whatever you can find somebody to pay you, but that's not a way to make it either really.  You have to be reasonable. 

One of the problems I'm running into is that I can make a lot more money just doing conventional landscaping.  It's cut and dry.  I make $50 an hour all day everyday (in season at least).  I can't do the same thing with permaculture.  It's more like $30 an hour for implementation, but then I'm making less money??? 

Permaculture and capitalism don't go hand in hand.  Conventional landscaping and capitalism go together like cocaine and waffles :laugh:

Offline RE

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Re: Bamboo House
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2017, 02:03:54 PM »
I'm making my name locally as "Mr. Bamboo" and as a permaculturists.  Those are both successes.

Well, then, the other way to improve the income is not to charge LESS for your Permie and Bamboo services, but MORE.  It's Premium Product.  It's like you run two Car Dealerships, one sells Fords (conventional landscaping) the other Porsches (Permaculture).  If you are "Mr. Bamboo", the Rich People will pay your prices to have the status symbol of your Bamboo on their property.

To avoid getting pitched off Medicaid, do as much bizness as you can in CASH (until they get rid of it anyhow)

Soon as I get my WC case settled, I'll buy you another truck.  Should be able to get a pretty good used pickup that will pull the open trailer for $3000 or so, and a decent used mower for $1000, maybe less.

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Offline David B.

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Re: Bamboo House
« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2017, 02:09:40 PM »
I hear you.  Here at least the medical is a non issue.  Under 30000 household income you wouldn't even pay premiums which are only 60 a person anyways...  in your position I think I would try for fixed costs to implement and find ways to save.  By that I mean work out a time and material estimate that seems fair to you and propose that cost to your clients.  Then you implement the plan.  Sometimes you come out ahead sometimes you put in way to many hours for the money but you estimate beter next time.  It's similar to what I have to do to get the cooler stuff to fly with my client.  I can easily make 50 an hour framing but only 25 on stain grade trim work.  I charge 50 but it takes twice as long as mdf so I subsidize it.  As time has gone by my name has gotten out and I subsidize less...
If its important then try something, fail, disect, learn from it, try again, and again and again until it kills you or you succeed.

Offline luciddreams

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Re: Bamboo House
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2017, 02:20:49 PM »
I'm making my name locally as "Mr. Bamboo" and as a permaculturists.  Those are both successes.

Well, then, the other way to improve the income is not to charge LESS for your Permie and Bamboo services, but MORE.  It's Premium Product.  It's like you run two Car Dealerships, one sells Fords (conventional landscaping) the other Porsches (Permaculture).  If you are "Mr. Bamboo", the Rich People will pay your prices to have the status symbol of your Bamboo on their property.

Yeah...that's a good way of looking at it.  I was expressing these problems to GM earlier today and she pretty much said the same thing.  Basically I'm going to have to charge the same for permaculture jobs as I do for conventional, at least where installation is concerned.  Both permie jobs I got they wanted both design and implementation from me.  I need to make at least what I can make conventionally.  The difference is, conventional maintenance is like $50 to $100 a pop what the client pays me, per service.  With these permie jobs it's a lot more, it's thousands.  The last client paid out about 6 grand (that's with material cost as well). 

There is no problem getting new clients for conventional maintenance, they are everywhere and all I need is thumbtack to grow...it's been pretty easy to get new clients that way. 



Quote
To avoid getting pitched off Medicaid, do as much bizness as you can in CASH (until they get rid of it anyhow)

I would never do that, I claim every plug nickel I make.   :icon_sunny:

Quote
Soon as I get my WC case settled, I'll buy you another truck.  Should be able to get a pretty good used pickup that will pull the open trailer for $3000 or so, and a decent used mower for $1000, maybe less.

RE

Obviously I will take your help, but it's more complicated then that.  Even if I got the equipment, as David pointed out, finding competent help is fucking damn near impossible.  You just about have to hire mexican for this, which I have no problem with, but if Dump gets his way then this won't be an option.  Hiring a crew will be very expensive.  Insurance goes up because you either cover yourself or you don't, and if somebody gets hurt it can take you down.  More equipment means more maintenance cost, more gas costs, and usually the equipment cost goes up a LOT due to misuse and abuse. 

I'm not sure I want to go that route.  Just me working the rig is great money.  I just lose to gas, wear and tear, and insurance (which is only 70 a month for the biz insurance).  I don't have to pay out labor, and I don't have to pay to fix my machines every time some dumb ass fucks them up (I pay enough just me operating the equipment because machines break due to use no matter how well they are used). 

Just about the only landscape companies that make it the way you are suggesting have millions on the front end to pay for all of the shit that is needed.  You buy used equipment and it breaks faster and more reliably.  You buy a $3000 truck, and it will be in the shop more than in service.  You have to buy new here.  You buy a used mower, and it breaks more.  They only last so long. 

In the long run the conventional landscape maintenance is only meant to work as a patch to get me to full time permaculture/bamboo.  I've got another ten years I can operate the conventional end of things.  If I need it that long, then at that point my son's will just about be old enough to take over.  I've got 12 years left before my oldest is old enough. 

Offline luciddreams

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Re: Bamboo House
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2017, 02:28:43 PM »
I hear you.  Here at least the medical is a non issue.  Under 30000 household income you wouldn't even pay premiums which are only 60 a person anyways...

Man I wish I could say that.  Must be nice!  Of course, as of now I have medicaid, but who knows what will happen with that.  I'll be fine this year because I bought a new truck and a new mower last year. 

Quote
in your position I think I would try for fixed costs to implement and find ways to save.  By that I mean work out a time and material estimate that seems fair to you and propose that cost to your clients.  Then you implement the plan.  Sometimes you come out ahead sometimes you put in way to many hours for the money but you estimate beter next time.

That's what I do for the conventional business.  It's all estimating how long it will take and quoting for that.  I know that  you are right, and that is exactly how I will have to go about it.  In this case I know her budget, so I have to work out how much I can get done for that.  I also realize that this is only my second design job, and so I can't charge a premium simply because my portfolio isn't all that large yet.  The more permie jobs I get, the more I can charge, and hopefully that will get to the point where I can make more doing permie work then conventional.  Problem is, for every 1000 conventional customers there is 1 potential permie one, and of 100 permie ones there is only 1 that has the money to pay.  Most people interested in permaculture in their landscape do not have a lot of money. 

 

Offline David B.

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Re: Bamboo House
« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2017, 03:41:38 PM »
It's really like green building or alternative energy then.  Most people that have an interest also have no money.  Then you have the diy crowd which also eats away at the pool of clients.  Hard for me to fault them of course since I am a diy type.
Best regards, David
If its important then try something, fail, disect, learn from it, try again, and again and again until it kills you or you succeed.

Offline luciddreams

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Re: Bamboo House
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2017, 03:44:42 PM »
It's really like green building or alternative energy then.  Most people that have an interest also have no money.  Then you have the diy crowd which also eats away at the pool of clients.  Hard for me to fault them of course since I am a diy type.
Best regards, David

Yep, it's too bad we can't just live without the need for money. 

Offline David B.

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Re: Bamboo House
« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2017, 03:56:22 PM »
You've got it figured out I think.   Use the BAU jobs to finance your life's work until the world is ready for it.  I'm taking an open ended sabatical from building to do more work for an alternative energy company.  Design install maintain. Sales and tech should be a lot of fun. 
David
If its important then try something, fail, disect, learn from it, try again, and again and again until it kills you or you succeed.

 

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