We hadn’t finished the Sears ceilings when Ralph came to us with an emergency. He needed the demising walls completed in the newly framed stores and he needed it done right away. It was time to re-negotiate our prices. We finally agreed on 3.5 cents per square foot and Ralph was extremely upset with that price.
Don’t think we were being cruel to Ralph…Ralph already had a bad reputation as one who would lower the prices quite quickly when the labor market ran in the other direction. And we had heard from a confidential source that Ralph had secured the job with more than enough in his contract price to pay us what we wanted. With Ralph, the hard bargaining was all sort of a drama that he actually seemed to enjoy.
The demising walls (walls separating stores) were about 100 feet long and 20 feet high. We could hang 3 rows high (up to 12’) without using a scaffold and that is where the money was made! We were hanging over 100 sheets a day at a price of $1.68 a sheet. This was at a time when journeyman wages were about $45 a day. We were making close to $90 without straining! On a good day; $100. And we had empty stores for as far as we could see, all in need of our services.