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4 seasons lawn&land
10-19-2012, 06:32 PM
Oh no. Just what we need. National television depicting customers NEGOTIATING with contractors lol. Other than that it was good

Cornell
10-19-2012, 07:19 PM
We recently passed on a 50k job because they "knew a guy that could do it for less." To that my Dad said, "Well then you should definitely have him do it." With a smile no less and we left. This was 2 months ago, the guy still isn't done and it looks like crap, is severely under-equipped to do it. We figured 2 weeks to do the entire project had we done it.

Thanks but no thanks on bartering, this isn't a pawn shop.

AEL
10-19-2012, 08:13 PM
That's why I don't deal with homeowners. Strictly reputable engineers and general contractors or government agencies. Gc we work for hired a new estimator , he decided he would choose a landscaper who thought he could do the jobs we do . 40k less then us on a 75k job , 6 weeks later landscaper was still working , gc called us in to do the other larger phase. 6 days including equipment moves we were done. If someone or something is really cheap there usually is a reason why. Learned that one the hard way!
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4 seasons lawn&land
10-19-2012, 09:56 PM
Thats a nice luxury to have. I would say that it woud be near imposible to do outside of a 2nd or 3rd generation business though.

AEL
10-20-2012, 10:18 AM
Not impossible at all. All it takes is being proffesional, knowledgeable in your area of work , and making your business marketable. I am only 25 and I have done it . Perfect example is Andrew(Arp) started from scratch and has become a very successfull business.
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KrayzKajun
10-20-2012, 10:36 AM
Not impossible at all. All it takes is being proffesional, knowledgeable in your area of work , and making your business marketable. I am only 25 and I have done it . Perfect example is Andrew(Arp) started from scratch and has become a very successfull business.
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Bingo. Sean, you and Andrew are an inspiration to me. Ill catch up to yall one day.
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4 seasons lawn&land
10-20-2012, 11:35 AM
Well if youve been in business, Im guessing, just several years and based off of your picture thread then you must have a hell of a marketing strategy. Did you buy out a large company or sell your soul or what?

AEL
10-20-2012, 01:05 PM
Very good friend of mine and mentor had a small successfully business, himself one employee and some old machines. He getting to the age where he was looking to get out in a few years and retire. so we joined forces and I worked my arse off getting new more clientele, jobs etc. in the 3 years I have been involved revenue has tripled and most of the equipment fleet now has been purchased brand new. I am very excited for next year as I have some very very good things on the table , that should take Alloa Excavating to the next level. Absolutely nothing has been handed to me . Take for example Thursday I started at 7am and worked on 2 different jobs till 6 am the following morning. Went home slept till 9am, priced 5 jobs then worked till 4 am this morning. If you want something bad enough you will do whatever it takes to get there . Get out there and shake hands with anyone you can think of and don't let the relationship die there, stay in touch with them and remind them that you want to work with them on projects. If you just hand someone a card it usually ends there, if you catch up with them, bring them coffee on there sites or office, invite them to view current jobs you are doing, bottle of wine at Christmas it goes a long long way...
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YellowDogSVC
10-20-2012, 05:17 PM
Very good friend of mine and mentor had a small successfully business, himself one employee and some old machines. He getting to the age where he was looking to get out in a few years and retire. so we joined forces and I worked my arse off getting new more clientele, jobs etc. in the 3 years I have been involved revenue has tripled and most of the equipment fleet now has been purchased brand new. I am very excited for next year as I have some very very good things on the table , that should take Alloa Excavating to the next level. Absolutely nothing has been handed to me . Take for example Thursday I started at 7am and worked on 2 different jobs till 6 am the following morning. Went home slept till 9am, priced 5 jobs then worked till 4 am this morning. If you want something bad enough you will do whatever it takes to get there . Get out there and shake hands with anyone you can think of and don't let the relationship die there, stay in touch with them and remind them that you want to work with them on projects. If you just hand someone a card it usually ends there, if you catch up with them, bring them coffee on there sites or office, invite them to view current jobs you are doing, bottle of wine at Christmas it goes a long long way...
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Remember, all work and no play isn't healthy, however, what you have stated is pretty much the keys to success. You can do anything you want in this country and your strategy is how the best of the best get to the top and stay there.

I personally do not have the motivation anymore to run the rat race but again, if I wanted to, your strategy is the way to go. For the younger guys and even old guys like me wondering how to make "it", they need to read your last two posts.

I would only add that one should never stop learning. Whether it is reading, taking classes, or practicing under the tutorship of a master of their field, education is an important part of success.. that and having a good reputation.

Way to go TSS... :weightlifter:

Cornell
10-20-2012, 05:53 PM
T S S couldn't agree with you more buddy.

I don't enjoy dealing with homeowners for the most part, every now and again we get a homeowner that is great to deal with.

Build a reputation, we've gotten calls this fall for boulder wall work from large developers saying they have had multiple people recommend you guys to us, we have heard about your guys work and it speaks for itself, we give them our price and that was that.

It's a great feeling to take pride in your work and have others notice it.

Last fall some of the "higher ups" from a nation-wide builder we do work for were visiting a site where I have installed 60,000 square feet and counting of boulder retaining walls and he told the site supervisor that they usually hate retaining walls but they were some of the most beautiful he had seen.

Truly a great feeling. :)

JNB Construction
10-20-2012, 06:24 PM
I am, for the most part, a one man operation. In the last thirty eight years of working for myself I've dealt with a lot of homeowners and have a pretty good feel during our first conversation whether I want to do work for them or not. I still get surprised by the occasional turn-coat, but for the most part it's my price and that's it. Customers that give you that "this is going to be a PITA" feeling during a "free estimate" turn into more problems than I want to deal with at my age.

AEL
10-21-2012, 10:36 AM
Thanks guys, I appreciate the back up. Yellow dog is 100 percent right, never stop learning and educating yourself .
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NEUSWEDE
10-21-2012, 09:35 PM
Great discussion. These are the threads I like that provide inspiration and back up that I know I am progressing in the right direction from people who are more successful. Great to hear from jnb too because I am in the same boat solo operation that isn't looking to grow. Picture threads are good to ohh and ahh but like these that get things brewing in my mind. Thanks guys
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JNB Construction
10-21-2012, 10:23 PM
Neuswede - Depending on the economy in SoCal I had anywhere from three to thirty employees at any given time for over thirty years. Mostly preforming residential and then commercial concrete projects. When I made the move to Texas I decided to go it alone and do what I wanted to do instead of doing what I thought I had to do. I found a niche and I'm having a lot more fun with a lot less headaches. I should have done this years ago!

NEUSWEDE
10-21-2012, 10:30 PM
Jnb I learned the lesson quick spent my first 3 years on my own spend 2 years with employees and hated it. Was chasing too much work I didn't want to keep guts busy. Went back solo last year and still work a lot (which I don't mind at all) and pick and choose the jobs I want to do which is nice. I hear from people all the time that I need to grow, I laugh and say no thanks. Only thing I am missing and will get over the winter is my class a license and a tandem dump so I can be more efficient.
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stuvecorp
10-21-2012, 10:38 PM
Not impossible at all. All it takes is being proffesional, knowledgeable in your area of work , and making your business marketable. I am only 25 and I have done it . Perfect example is Andrew(Arp) started from scratch and has become a very successfull business.
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Sean, I have a couple thoughts on this thread as there are many 'topics' here. I mean this as respectful as possible but Andrew and You are the exception, I bet many of the rest of us are not 'successful' in the conventional sense and there are many reasons why. If all it took was hard work I think there would be many more that are 'successful'. I hate to say it but there is a lot of 'luck' and 'connections' that are very important.

Another point is the commercial vs residential market. An excavator last year kind of told me I was wasting my time doing residential work and should go after more 'big' work. The problem with that is I can't afford to wait to be paid, absolutely hate dealing with the regulations that come with commercial work and it is very dog-eat-dog. Yes some home owners are a pain but some are awesome to deal with and I've found there is much better margins with it and leave with a check.

My last thing is connections make or break you, that is the most important thing. I am not a pushy or very out spoken so I find the 'selling/schmoozing' part very tough, the work is the easy part...

AWJ Services
10-22-2012, 09:22 AM
Sean, I have a couple thoughts on this thread as there are many 'topics' here. I mean this as respectful as possible but Andrew and You are the exception, I bet many of the rest of us are not 'successful' in the conventional sense and there are many reasons why. If all it took was hard work I think there would be many more that are 'successful'. I hate to say it but there is a lot of 'luck' and 'connections' that are very important.

Another point is the commercial vs residential market. An excavator last year kind of told me I was wasting my time doing residential work and should go after more 'big' work. The problem with that is I can't afford to wait to be paid, absolutely hate dealing with the regulations that come with commercial work and it is very dog-eat-dog. Yes some home owners are a pain but some are awesome to deal with and I've found there is much better margins with it and leave with a check.

My last thing is connections make or break you, that is the most important thing. I am not a pushy or very out spoken so I find the 'selling/schmoozing' part very tough, the work is the easy part...


I could not have worded any beter.LOL

Just because you deposit alot of money in your account or work long hours does not mean your buisness is succesful.
Always remember that this is a Labor buisness and you will always be limited on your income because of that. Each employee can only generate x amount of profit. To increase your income you have to have more employees or find a way to charge more for each employees time. I pass on large projects everyday because of the headaches, engineered drawings that are wrong, GC's that are idiots, waiting on pay and poor profit margins. I prefer homeowners myself as clients. Depending on only commercial work is a dangerous thing especially with a few for your contracts. If you only 2 cutomers and you lose one then there goes half your wqork. You have 50 customers and you lose one then it is a minor bump in the road. Always have a backup plan and be a very good stewart of your money. Save and be frugal because the well will eventually run dry if even for a short spell.

4 seasons lawn&land
10-22-2012, 07:31 PM
Sean, I have a couple thoughts on this thread as there are many 'topics' here. I mean this as respectful as possible but Andrew and You are the exception, I bet many of the rest of us are not 'successful' in the conventional sense and there are many reasons why. If all it took was hard work I think there would be many more that are 'successful'. I hate to say it but there is a lot of 'luck' and 'connections' that are very important.

Another point is the commercial vs residential market. An excavator last year kind of told me I was wasting my time doing residential work and should go after more 'big' work. The problem with that is I can't afford to wait to be paid, absolutely hate dealing with the regulations that come with commercial work and it is very dog-eat-dog. Yes some home owners are a pain but some are awesome to deal with and I've found there is much better margins with it and leave with a check.

My last thing is connections make or break you, that is the most important thing. I am not a pushy or very out spoken so I find the 'selling/schmoozing' part very tough, the work is the easy part...


That last part was my thoughts too. I couldnt do it. I guess thats an advantage some people have over me. But I might even imagine that maybe there is almost a cultural difference between areas. Thats cool that you (TSS) can walk onto a construction site with a bunch of coffees for the crew to try and drum up business but that would not be accepted here. You would look like a weirdo.

AEL
10-22-2012, 11:05 PM
I don't just show up on a site and buy everyone including the guy cleaning the porta jon coffees. I speak with the person doing the purchasing on the specific job or company. It may sound stupid but it works . I'm not too worried if someone thinks I'm a weirdo , I'm more interested in landing work . If I told you how I met my wife and what I did/said you would really think I'm a weirdo! But hey now I'm married to the most amazing girl ever do I guess it worked. Even things such as phoning a company in advance And speaking with an estimator. Tell them who you are , and ask if you can swing by there office , grab them a coffee on the way. Tell them about your business, ask about theres, try and find some common ground or subjects (even besides work) and go with it. Even if the initial meeting doesn't land you work , check back in a month or two . Mabee it will work for you mabee it won't, it's worth trying on a few different companies.
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YellowDogSVC
10-22-2012, 11:54 PM
I don't just show up on a site and buy everyone including the guy cleaning the porta jon coffees. I speak with the person doing the purchasing on the specific job or company. It may sound stupid but it works . I'm not too worried if someone thinks I'm a weirdo , I'm more interested in landing work . If I told you how I met my wife and what I did/said you would really think I'm a weirdo! But hey now I'm married to the most amazing girl ever do I guess it worked. Even things such as phoning a company in advance And speaking with an estimator. Tell them who you are , and ask if you can swing by there office , grab them a coffee on the way. Tell them about your business, ask about theres, try and find some common ground or subjects (even besides work) and go with it. Even if the initial meeting doesn't land you work , check back in a month or two . Mabee it will work for you mabee it won't, it's worth trying on a few different companies.
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The sales guys in the oil fields show up at rigs hoping to get a few minutes with the rig manager. Some of the successful sales guys bring donuts, coffee, cold water, etc. It's no different than pharma reps who give out a ton of office supplies and samples in exchange for a few minutes to sell themselves.

4 seasons lawn&land
10-28-2012, 12:08 PM
TSS what do you do in the winter? just curious

AEL
10-28-2012, 11:28 PM
Price jobs for the upcoming year , sleep, and snowmobile lol. And sometimes do the odd job or maintain equipment.
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Junior M
11-08-2012, 09:59 PM
I've kinda done a combination of what stuve and TSS said.. (excuse me for not remembering names)

I havent really pushed my business, but I call a few commercial and government contacts I've got every once in a while.. Even if it is just to chat, it keeps you fresh in there mind.

But I dont have enough money or a large enough company to really pursue those big jobs and those guys know that. But they still slide some things to me every once in a while and hopefully the more I do the more I'll grow and be able to tackle larger jobs.. I havent really pushed my business as best as I could yet though.. The money just isnt there and I am just not comfortable doing that yet. I let my work speak for itself and let customers just refer me.. Seems to be working out pretty well other than the past week I've had nothing to do. :laugh:

bobcatexc
11-12-2012, 09:59 AM
Junior I didn't realize you'd bought a machine and had gone out on your own. Is this a full time thing or you still working for another contractor. What year bobcat 773 did you get, I had a 773G not a bad machine.

Junior M
11-13-2012, 10:03 AM
I am trying to get completely full time but right now I don't have enough work to keep me busy every day of the week..like last week I had nothing Wednesday and Thursday.

so when I've got an off day I'll go work for the pool company by the hour just to keep some money coming in..

Oh yeah. My 773g is a 2000. Bought it with around 1500, just rolled over 1600 last week. Been a good machine so far! Something bigger with tracks is definitely needed though.
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Bleed Green
11-13-2012, 07:37 PM
what kind of stuff are you doing Jr.?