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#10272 - 02/18/07 09:09 PM Itinerant Living
LauraV Offline
Member

Registered: 12/27/03
Posts: 10
Loc: Itinerant, so could be anywher...
I'm looking to learn from other peoples experiences as an itinerant.
How do you handle your insurance when you work in so many different states?
What methods do you use for tracking down work?
What kind of accomodations do you live in when on site?
What kinds of tools do you carry in your kit?
How many people out there are truly doing the itinerant thing?

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#10273 - 02/19/07 12:08 AM Re: Itinerant Living
Tom Cundiff Offline
Member

Registered: 04/20/99
Posts: 245
Loc: Grafton, IL. USA
Hi Laura,
I haven't had any problem with my liability insurance in other states, as for workmans comp see previous post on insurance in this forum, nothing has changed in Illinois regarding self employed persons.
Tracking down work and keeping the schedule full has always been a very seasonal problem. When it comes right down to it, almost all my work comes form word of mouth references. I'm always interested in new projects.
Accomodations vary from job to job, everything from a rental house for two or three itinerants on longer jobs, a motel for a week or two, staying with the client or shop owner in a spare room, I have even camped out for a couple of weeks on the job site.
Tooling often depends on the job, it's always nice to know what the project is in advance so you can plan the tool kit. If I bring everything, I have a hard time getting to the tool I need because it's usually burried at the bottom of one of four Joboxes. I like to use my own tools and not someone elses, because I'm familiar with them.
I seem to end up working with the same half dozen or so other itinerants on a fairly regular basis.
Tom
_________________________
Not all who wander are lost.

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#10274 - 02/19/07 06:37 PM Re: Itinerant Living
LauraV Offline
Member

Registered: 12/27/03
Posts: 10
Loc: Itinerant, so could be anywher...
Thanks Tom,
I think my partner and I are in a little different situation from most timber framers working as itinerants because we don't ever go home. We're on the road 350 days a year with a motor home and a dog.
We've had difficulty with insurance because we are full time itinerants and don't do much, if any work in what is considered our home state. No insurance agent wants to touch us with a ten foot pole. I was curious if anyone else had found an answer to this issue.

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#10275 - 03/04/07 11:27 PM Re: Itinerant Living
dovetail Offline

Member

Registered: 01/26/07
Posts: 46
Loc: Vacouver Island, B.C.
Hi Laura-
I have a corporation in Wisconsin (our former home state) and I have it insured there. I've worked all around the U.S. and have been asked for a certificate a few times.
In WI an officer in a corp with no insurable employees does not need to carry worker's comp. (I think Randy C told me the same is true for VT) I carry liability and disability with State Farm. I ring my agent and ask him to send out a cert. I've never had anyone look beyond the fact that disability is not really worker's comp.. Auditors seem to be satisfied and disability is MUCH cheaper than worker's comp.

A few months before we hit the road I ran an add in Scantlings. I got lots of leads from that; carried us for most of the first year. I also decided to target certain kinds of work. I became intrigued with CCC structures. An hour on-line and a few calls lead to a contact that turned in to a job.

We're off the road now, having settled on Vancouver Island. While doing the itinerant schtick I kept a minimal tool kit: Mafell beam saw & mortiser, a 7 1/4" circle saw, a 3 HP router, a laser level, an assortment of lay-out tools, chisels, and hand saws, sharpenting stuff, hand planes, big drill, battery drill, a bit of rigging, 2 Lug Alls, other sundry wrenches and hand tools. I decided things like a big planer were too specialized and infrequently used to warrant taking along. I figured either the shop I was in would supply or I could purchase one for a specific job. Or worst case I could make a run to my mother-in-law's barn in WI where all my other stuff was stored.
We were particularly cramped for space, travelling with the whole family, and so I didn't have the luxury of bringing more stuff. Bikes and skateboards took precedence.. And truthfully I didn't miss much. We were on the road for 2 1/2 years.
Hope that helps!

Chris Koehn
_________________________
I think, therefore I am (I think)..
Chris Koehn
TimberGuides Design • Build

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#10276 - 03/08/07 07:29 AM Re: Itinerant Living
Whit Holder Offline
Member

Registered: 12/07/04
Posts: 52
Loc: Georgia
Hey Laura,
Hope y’all are doing well and beginning to defrost! The last job we had itinerants for was a commercial job and the contractor required all subs to carry workman’s comp. Since we determined that any “ghost policy” was not worth the paper it was written on, to comply, we put the itinerants under our workman’s comp policy. We pay a certain rate for hours worked on our yard and a much higher rate for hour worked on site.
So the itinerants were covered under our worker’s comp policy. The next time it is an issue for you, ask the one you are working for if you can adjust your rate and be listed under their policy for the duration of the job.
Of course, if there had been a claim, our rates would have gone up, but that is the nature of the business and the risk involved. After spending hours researching, talking to four insurance agents and dozens of phonecalls, we determined that any policy the itinerants could buy was bogus and shady, and to be covered, our only legitimate option was to cover them ourselves.

As far as getting work, have you considererd marketing your servives to owner-builders? I know some would never hire a professional-anything, but others might see the benefit of hiring a couple of pros for a couple of weeks and getting the benefit of their expertise, and a huge headstart on their project. Not to mention making some new friends in the TF community.
Whit
_________________________
Whit

www.holderbros.com



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#12979 - 10/02/07 10:38 AM Re: Itinerant Living [Re: Whit Holder]
brad_bb Offline
Member

Registered: 01/24/07
Posts: 603
Loc: Joliet, IL.
Sorry, I will make my own post so I don't hijack this one.


Edited by brad_bb (10/02/07 11:01 AM)

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