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Pro Yurt Construction And California Law

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Old 03-29-2013, 04:25 AM   #1
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Default Pro yurt construction and california law

Hi! New here.

I am in possession of some heavy equipment, a friend wants to start a legitimate biz, and I love yurts due to having been raised in them and watching a few built.

I am wondering if anyone has gone into business installing them pad and all, and if so, what sort of contractors license/s would one need to do it legally? Or are there any contractors who have given this a shot I could get in touch with?



Thanks.

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Old 03-29-2013, 04:30 AM   #2
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Default Re: Pro yurt construction and california law

I know that Melissa over at

Yurts of Hawaii

has a bit of experience as they pull all of that together for clients. It isn't California, but she may be able to give you ideas, though they have been real busy over there of late.

Do you have a particular manufacturer in mind?
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Old 03-29-2013, 04:43 AM   #3
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Default Re: Pro yurt construction and california law

Thanks. I will check them out.

I haven't done my research yet. I would be interested in building them with my own crew, but initially maybe just what ever brand the client wanted. I wonder if I could get a deal through manufacturer loyalty though...
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Old 03-30-2013, 04:54 PM   #4
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Default Re: Pro yurt construction and california law

Aloha Molly,

So far we (Yurts of Hawaii) are the only legitimate company that is doing what you are talking about. I started the business about 9 years ago and LOVE the work. We help with any kind of yurt as far as drafting or permitting, plumbing, electric, set up, etc., but we only sell yurts by one company (We chose Colorado Yurt Company and have been extremely satisfied working with them).

This route has major advantages as long as you choose an excellent manufacturer, and as long as you do good, integrible business for your part. With one manufacturing partner, you can have the ability to make needed changes for your local codes/climate, get a bit of a dealer discount, and really be able to back up a solid product with solid services. I don't recommend splitting your loyalties up between different manufacturers, but remain helpful and good to all yurt makers.

Find your favorite makers and see if they'll work with you. Not all of them will. I think there have been plenty of people with this idea in the past, but they've never made it work for some reason. AVOID small time manufacturers in this situation, and manufacturers with a number of complaints. They can't handle their part because they don't have the experience and in the end, and their flaws will likely be the end of your company. Don't make the rookie mistake of going cheaper to make more money. Go for QUALITY, set up an HONEST business, not a get-rich-quit plan, and I think you can't help but find some measure of success with that as your premise. I have found great success, but I don't define success with money alone.

In Cali you have major challenges. Codes are one. We have done a lot of work with codes over the years though, and band together to some degree as an industry. We always welcome more people to help with that cause.

California's laws on contractors are VERY tight and highly penalized if you aren't careful. My advice is to find a good, reputable (that is important. You want someone with an EXCELLENT reputation who will also keep their prices reasonable - Not dirt cheap, that has it's own issues. But reasonable) contractor to build the platforms, licensed plumbers and electricians and anyone else who is needed for the entire build so you have them to call when you need them. Collect your 'team' that can gain experience, help you problem solve, and be your 'go to' partners when you need them. This is easier said than done. You will likely go through a few bad apples before you find your match.

Then you can do project management, working with your team. That's what I do. I hand selected our designers, architect, engineers, plumbers, electricians, and builders. I work directly with our clients to cultivate and figure out their vision, then we help them make it happen.

I would not EVER do so much as a simple yurt set up in California without being under the umbrella of a contractor &

insurance

. Cali is just too whacky/strict/law-suit-conducive with it's building laws.

There, hope that helps! Let us know if you want to chat. We've talked to several people who have had this idea over the years, but so far, for some reason, no one has actually done it. It isn't get rich quick like a lot of the cheap-o housing of today. But that isn't really integrible work/money anyway. Our yurt work is fulfilling, honest, fun work. And it pays the bills, bonus!

Last edited by HawaiiYurts; 03-30-2013 at 04:56 PM.
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Old 03-30-2013, 05:36 PM   #5
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Default Re: Pro yurt construction and california law

I agree with this. In fact, I would say that you should plan on just breaking even, if not taking a loss, for the first few projects until you gain experience. Once you do a few with your manufacturer, you will gain the experience needed to insure profitability.
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Old 03-30-2013, 10:18 PM   #6
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Default Re: Pro yurt construction and california law

Yep, agreed. Remember: A business loss is a lot different than a personal loss. In your first years especially, you are likely to take a loss if only because of all the things involved in starting a business that you get to write off. I would say that you should absolutely NOT take a personal loss, but that showing little to no profit is to be expected for the first year or two, after paying for your business expenses and paying yourself modestly.
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Old 03-31-2013, 01:22 AM   #7
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Default Re: Pro yurt construction and california law

Thanks for the great response! I do have a question for Hawaii (and all):
How exactly do you deal with the platform building contractor? Is it feasable to have a contractor just be there as a formality and for

insurance

and do the work along with them (or without their input at all), select your employees, etc, or do you have to have the buyer hire the contractor and leave it in their hands?
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Old 03-31-2013, 02:25 AM   #8
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You're welcome!

It's typically a lot easier and cost efficient in the end to just find the contractor you want to work with and have them do the work according to your specs. IF you can find a contractor who is willing to put the project under his name and insurance but allow you and yours to do the work, then you can do that, but that's not going to be an easy find and more glitches tend to occur. And I expect they'll want a chunk of change for that, as they should because they're taking a risk having someone else's work under their license. You may find a contractor who is willing to let you work alongside them.

In our biz, we choose the contractors and all the other professionals who do the work, because as project management, we have to work with them and pull it all together. I learned early on to avoid any kind of power struggles and triangle dynamics that occur when there's more than one leader in a project. That's to be avoided at all costs, it's no fun for anyone!

You will have to decide how much you take on in the beginning as far as services, and you will need to rely on and listen to the people who know more than you in various areas until you gain the comprehensive knowledge you'll need to really run things intelligently. I recommend starting out small. Maybe just sell the yurts and assist with set ups. Then when you're very comfortable with that knowledge, find a contractor to build the platforms and a draftsman to work with designs. That will keep you plenty busy enough learning the ropes for the first couple years. From there consider adding permitting assistance and managing plumbing/electrical contractors to your services. Or you can always opt to keep it very simple by keeping your services limited. It's a business that is easily tailored to what you want to put in. Be aware though: If you only do

yurt sales

and set up, expect to pursue other means of income or live on a very tight budget. Unless you're phenomenal in sales work!

One other tip: Keep your overhead low in the beginning. VERY low. Hire only the staff you need. Book keeping bi-monthly. Website people on piece work. Sales reps on commission. In the beginning, you'll do 90% of the work. Eventually you'll be able to duplicate yourself and fill in the positions.

I look forward to seeing others step up in these roles and hopefully join those of us in the industry who work together to address, meet, and overcome the challenges in permitting, insurance, zoning as well as other blocks to this beautiful means of affordable housing. That's what it's going to take to keep these as a legal option in the ever increasing regulated future!
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