Originally Posted by PROCUT1
Just like many didnt believe a few months ago that the economy was crashing, many wont believe this story.
They will think they know better.
Excellent post Procut!
You have now reached the dreaded "mid zone"
That is the key. You need to be big (5-7+ trucks) or solo (1 truck). The mid zone (being 2-6 trucks) is tough.
I really miss the days of being a "one truck operation". It was so much easier and alot more fun. I made alot more money for myself back then too. But I did what everyone else does, and said bigger is better. I added 2nd truck, then a 3rd, then a 4th and I started to realize exactly what you said. Your expenses go up $1.10 for every $1.00 you bring in. So I started offering new services, and bought new equipment (tractors, skid steers, new trucks, skidder, trailers, etc) to try and start a new division in both logging and trucking. This is maybe 4-5 years ago. I just about put myself out of business by doing that.
I got right out of trucking/logging, sold the equipment, paid off my debts on it. And started back where I really wanted to be. Mowing and nothing but mowing. Did huge direct mail campaigns, and added hundreds of new customers. I'm to the point now, where we have a distinct and specialized service offering. We mow, and do landscape bed maintenance (mulch, edging, hedge trimming, weeding). Occasionally, a hardscape or landscape install to fill the time and get a break from turf if we get a dry period.
We had a discussion last night about buying new equipment. Sure its nice to have flashy new gear, but it does nothing but leave a burning hole in your wallet and a bad after taste.
The key to success in this business is to watch where you spend your money. Be as efficient as possible by focusing on one primary service, not being a jack of all trades and a master of never having any money. Being in the middle and trying to do every service under the sun, will literally burn you out. Pick a service, build your first crew. When that route is full, start building another crew, and so on. Don't go out and buy all kinds of equipment for jobs you don't have. Don't take on low profit work, just to have an excuse to start a new crew. Make sure you the help is available, then market, then sign accounts, then hire help, then buy equipment. Grow at a steady pace, yet fast enough you don't spend more than a year or two in the mid zone.