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View Full Version : Tell Me If I'm Insane !!!


Silver Landscaping
11-11-2008, 01:09 PM
I'll be returning from Iraq soon and would like to get started in the excavating business for myself. I have a lot of experience working for someone else but have always wanted to take my own show on the road. Am I crazy to think that I can get started with a dump truck, trailer,and a backhoe of my own and rent the equipment that I don't have.
I realize I will probably start out doing septic tank installations, agricultural, residential, pond cleaning ect. Pretty small stuff. Do you guys think that renting a lot of equipment to do these types of jobs looks unprofessional? Do you guys think that It is possible to operate in this manner until I can afford to start buying more equipment of my own and still keep the customers happy and not look like a complete jackleg doing it?
:usflag:

GradeMan
11-11-2008, 01:30 PM
i find that more and more people are rent gear to complete jobs, Even one man shows, an easy way to get started

P.Services
11-11-2008, 01:34 PM
yeah your insane!!!!....... to think that it looks unprofessional to rent equipment!!! theirs nothing at all wrong with bringing a brand new dependable machine on site to get a job done the fastest. you might not make as much as the guy that owns his iron but you also will save money in the end because you wont have the repairs and downtime like he has.

get yourself a good tandem axle dump and a 20 ton tag trailer and a newer low hour backhoe and you will be set.

larryinalabama
11-11-2008, 01:35 PM
Around here there is several solo dump truck towing backhoe operators.
Really with something like a Ford 555 theres no need to rent anythother equiptment, you will find more than enough to keep busy with just the back hoe.

tamadrummer
11-11-2008, 01:35 PM
Right now, starting any business is a super risky idea. Its bad enough in a booming economy but right now, there isn't anything happening and those that need stuff done are not getting it done because they cannot get money to do it.

Re-enlist for 4 years and allow things to cool off and get back on course. Save your scratch and buy used equipment at auction and when you get out you will be in a better position to start up.

Sorry to be glum but I would probably go back in the Navy if I wasn't so stinking old.....:dizzy: Boiler Techs/Machinist Mates are in dire need all the time in the Nav and no one likes to work in the heat, I thrive on it.

Oh well, good luck man!

RockSet N' Grade
11-11-2008, 01:42 PM
SilverLandscaping: don't let anyone steal your dream. if that's what you have your sights set on, come on home, check it out, do the math and then decide. Around our parts right now, the survivors/thrivers are either the real big companies or the small operators.

Scag48
11-11-2008, 01:54 PM
Do it man. I've always been a believer of doing anything I wanted to. I would advise that it is in fact tough times right now for anyone moving dirt, even the most established of business are seeing slowdowns that won't put them out of business, but they'll be a little more strapped to keep busy. If I was starting a business right now, it probably wouldn't be strictly excavation, everyone does that. I'd be aiming a little more specialized, which can be fairly risky as well, but if you can do something someone else can't, do the math on that one. I think right now, today, wouldn't be the best of times to jump in. I'd say wait 6-12 months and see how the market goes.

As far as renting equipment, nothing wrong with that either. Big company I worked for rented rollers and stuff, which I thought was really stupid considering they own somewhere in the neighborhood of $15 million worth of iron, but they did it anyway.

Junior M
11-11-2008, 02:19 PM
We rent all our equipment, the only thing we own is a trailer and truck.. Sure it is a little bit more headache for the smaller jobs, but that is because we arent fulltime..

And yeah I would try and find a specialized market, but trying to find anywork in this economy is hard...

Gravel Rat
11-11-2008, 02:29 PM
I don't know if I would try start something this year. Start looking at it in the spring of 2009.

bobcat_ron
11-11-2008, 02:49 PM
Yup, you are insane, you must have been deprived of current events to want to start anything that gutsy.

Gravel Rat
11-11-2008, 03:13 PM
The guy probably wants to get back to the USA and get out of Iraq.

Starting a business in this economy probably isn't a wise move.

larryinalabama
11-11-2008, 03:20 PM
Im thinking now would be a good time to buy equiptment, you got some for sale Gravel Rat?

Gravel Rat
11-11-2008, 03:53 PM
Nope all I have is a F-450 flatdeck.

All I can say is good luck. Renting equipment would be a less risk your only going to loose 1000 dollars not 10-20-30 thousand buying a backhoe and find oh crap there isn't any work.

Silver Landscaping
11-11-2008, 04:10 PM
I know for a fact that I'm going to see what this economy does before I quit the day job. The thing with rented equipment is that when I used to work in the business a couple of times I saw our company get the contract when another company under bid us because they said that the other company was a bad risk because they were having to rent a lot of equipment to get the job done. I don't know whether that was just an excuse to cover another reason or what.
I appreciate all of the advice and would appreciate any advice anybody can give me on starting out in the business. I'm sure I'll think of a million more questions. All the folks I worked for are pretty guarded on giving business advice, like I'd really be a threat to their company or something yeah maybe in 40 years.

YellowDogSVC
11-11-2008, 05:42 PM
I would suggest you research the core business services you want to provide. Rent machines first, settle on what you like, and hone your skills on a friend's land or your own. Make sure you know your machine inside and out before you get onto a property. Since you have some experience and if you add to that good knowledge of a new or new to your machine, you are going to save on down time. Stock up on some parts and don't skimp on insurance. If you can, find a company that does what you want to do and see if they will sub you out or let you work for them. I learned a lot working for a tree company as their sub. I also practiced on my own place every chance I got. I tried everything and rented every attachment I was interested in. I also (stupidly) bought attachments I later sold at a loss so test them out first. Things are so competitive now compared to 12 years ago when I started that you can rent what you want to use and see if it works. If you are going the backhoe route, look into a 4 n 1. I have one for a skid but a friend uses one for septic work on his backhoe. He loves it. Try out the different hammers, a thumb, etc. Make your machine a swiss army knife and that will help. Personally, if you are going to get into septic, I'd find someone who is retiring or wanting to retire and work under their license for experience and leads.
Get as much knowledge as you can as soon as you can. Now isn't a bad time to start a business. Even if things are slowing down, the country will still move forward. As others move on, you can fill that void. It may be rough for a while but starting out is rough to begin with. I only know a few guys who hit the ground running and most aren't around anymore. Start out and grow slow and watch your overhead...that's just my advice. I did it all wrong and I am LUCKY to have survived. I know better now and I am still working to correct mistakes and patterns I made for myself 12 years ago!
If I could say one thing more...don't do a job just for the money. Do it because you want to make a difference and do it good and you will separate yourself from the yahoos out there who think they can just "make a killin" and move on. If I had a buck for every phone call or email I got about brush mowing when the times were good I'd have enough money for a month's payment! Yes, you can make a "killin" but if you want to survive you have to be able to provide good service.

Junior M
11-11-2008, 07:49 PM
I would suggest you research the core business services you want to provide. Rent machines first, settle on what you like, and hone your skills on a friend's land or your own. Make sure you know your machine inside and out before you get onto a property. Since you have some experience and if you add to that good knowledge of a new or new to your machine, you are going to save on down time. Stock up on some parts and don't skimp on insurance. If you can, find a company that does what you want to do and see if they will sub you out or let you work for them. I learned a lot working for a tree company as their sub. I also practiced on my own place every chance I got. I tried everything and rented every attachment I was interested in. I also (stupidly) bought attachments I later sold at a loss so test them out first. Things are so competitive now compared to 12 years ago when I started that you can rent what you want to use and see if it works. If you are going the backhoe route, look into a 4 n 1. I have one for a skid but a friend uses one for septic work on his backhoe. He loves it. Try out the different hammers, a thumb, etc. Make your machine a swiss army knife and that will help. Personally, if you are going to get into septic, I'd find someone who is retiring or wanting to retire and work under their license for experience and leads.
Get as much knowledge as you can as soon as you can. Now isn't a bad time to start a business. Even if things are slowing down, the country will still move forward. As others move on, you can fill that void. It may be rough for a while but starting out is rough to begin with. I only know a few guys who hit the ground running and most aren't around anymore. Start out and grow slow and watch your overhead...that's just my advice. I did it all wrong and I am LUCKY to have survived. I know better now and I am still working to correct mistakes and patterns I made for myself 12 years ago!
If I could say one thing more...don't do a job just for the money. Do it because you want to make a difference and do it good and you will separate yourself from the yahoos out there who think they can just "make a killin" and move on. If I had a buck for every phone call or email I got about brush mowing when the times were good I'd have enough money for a month's payment! Yes, you can make a "killin" but if you want to survive you have to be able to provide good service.
Excellent points, a 4n1 is one of the best things you can get for a backhoe, at my job this summer we had 2 backhoes and one had a 4n1 and the other didnt, i was lost on the backhoe with out the 4n1, it makes alot of things easier. Another thing a backhoe isnt great at one thing but it is good at just about everything, and adding attachments will make it that much better at certain jobs...

CAT powered
11-11-2008, 08:14 PM
If you want to buy equipment BUY NOW as long as you have the cash to support it.

The equipment market is way down right now. Once the market picks back up everyone and their mother will want to be an operator again and equipment prices will jump back up.

If you want to have a sure thing then wait til the market jumps back up. If you're willing to take a risk to possibly end up making a fair bit more then now is the time to make your move.

YellowDogSVC
11-11-2008, 10:20 PM
The equipment market is way down right now. Once the market picks back up everyone and their mother will want to be an operator again and equipment prices will jump back up.


That's what drives me nuts. Everyone wants to make a "killin" and jump into business cutting corners everywhere. They get in and get out and then the repo cycle starts all over again. It's a tough racket to make it. I've been at it about 12 years starting with a tractor and a Bobcat 863 and 3 attachments and 1, one ton truck. Having the cash is certainly the key. Budgeting is very important, too. There are deals right now to be had given the number of guys going under. It sucks for the overall economy but it has to happen. Problem is, without regulation in this line of work, the same guys who just do it for the beer money :drinkup:will jump back in and the cycle will start over again.

stuvecorp
11-11-2008, 11:59 PM
Don't think you are crazy, just do as much research as you can. There has been lots of good advice already but mine would be to keep you options for equipment as open as possible, try to have equipment that is flexible. Good luck.

bobcatuser
11-12-2008, 02:04 AM
That's what drives me nuts. Everyone wants to make a "killin" and jump into business cutting corners everywhere. They get in and get out and then the repo cycle starts all over again. It's a tough racket to make it. I've been at it about 12 years starting with a tractor and a Bobcat 863 and 3 attachments and 1, one ton truck. Having the cash is certainly the key. Budgeting is very important, too. There are deals right now to be had given the number of guys going under. It sucks for the overall economy but it has to happen. Problem is, without regulation in this line of work, the same guys who just do it for the beer money :drinkup:will jump back in and the cycle will start over again.

I know the fly by night operations are frustrating. Some of my best customers come from the result of these guys. If you can provide consistent reliable service you will prosper in this market.

Regulation is needed in this industry, but not by the government.

In the previous BC construction boom (mid 80's - late 90's)buildings were designed and built mainly California style, with no regard to the wet climate in BC. When these buildings started to have major problems with wood rot,mold and flooding, everyone started pointing fingers. The real reason for the problem was a combination of poor designs built by fly by night contractors and approved by incompetent building codes.

From what I have seen being built in this boom (2003-2008?) nobody has learned from previous examples. There will be plenty of renovation work happening. One of my recent drainage repair jobs was on a 3 year old building with flooding problems.:confused:

marthanmike1959
11-12-2008, 09:18 AM
Thank you for your service!!!!!

Silver Landscaping
11-12-2008, 03:03 PM
You are very welcome marthanmike1959. I want to be known as the guy to call for quality. I had a guy come out and install a new septic system a couple of years ago and did a pitiful job.the guy didn't even make an effort to smooth out the site before he left. Had ruts and humps and bumps everywhere. This guy does between two and three new installations a day and just leaves a mess. People call him because he is one of the very few who do it in our area and he's cheap. I figure with some of these idiots running around a guy like me who tries to do a good job and cares ought to get some business.

Strawbridge Lawn
11-13-2008, 02:44 PM
Starting abusiness is fine, going head over heels purchasing is not with this economy. start part time and as things improve and word of mouth/advertising brings in enough so you can quit the other you are all set. Be patient and work hard..