So I pulled off keeping the doors open.
Things starting picking up again. I tightened up payment terms and made do without credit.
I laid off a couple employees, spent some more time in the field myself.
The next season was pretty uneventful. Worked. collected money. Paid bills. Lived without credit. Did some decent sized work but didnt break any sales records.
I downsized the amount of snow work I did. And the winter was actually for the first time in my life not too bad.
At one point I had properties all over hell, trucks, loaders, 30 some sidewalk guys.....And thats when one of my foreman coined the new company motto. "Suicide or Spring, whichever comes first"
But that winter, I only had to handle 2 condo complexes. had plenty of equipment. Only needed 2 trucks. I drove one...A few shovelers...And overall, wasnt too bad. Money was still tight but I made it through.
Then came last spring. I start hitting sales real heavy in February usually.
So I start emailing the property managers asking for properties out for bid.
After about a month of following up....They are getting back to me telling me that they dont have any properties that are going to sealcoat this year.
Manager after manager, coming back with nothing.
Its still early yet so im not panicking but Im starting to wonder at this point.
I went through all the condo complex managers and came back with a little crack repair here, and a little striping there. But no sealcoating.
I start on my shopping center managers. Crickets there too. They explain they are running high vacancy so theyre cutting maintenance budgets. Again, I get a little striping, a little crack sealing but no sealcoating.
My hotels. Same thing.
Now Im getting concerned.
I start on my list of properties that I sealed a couple years ago and are due again. One by one, "Sorry no money this year, call us next year"
All of my regular contacts that keep me busy with work are coming back with nothing.
I start my mailers and calls for new business. Thousands of brochures go out. 2 or 3 calls come in.
5 days a week Im spending on the phone all day..
NOTHING IS WORKING
Round 2 of mailers Nothing
Round 3 of mailers Nothing
Now im into my season. Its warm already. Normally my workers would be coming back from being laid off, theyre calling me. And I got nothing.
Ive got a week of little "work order" type stuff that I could do myself.
Not one single large sealcoat job.
I got a couple of small parking lots to do but not till later in the season.
This is the time of year that Im usually booked 2 months out.....And I dont have work for one day for a full crew.
Ive dealt with lowballers and competition in the lawn business. And I could usually overcome that pretty easy.
In that case, the work was going to get done. It was just a matter of convincing the customer to use my company. That wasnt too hard.
The problem im facing now, is not competition. Not lowballers. Its a complete drop off in the demand for the work I do.
I even started going after residential work. Thousands of mailers again. Door hangers. Phone calls. Door knocking. Got a few. But still practically nothing.
This was a new one for me.
If the job is going to get done. I do a pretty good job of selling my company and getting work.
But when there is no job to sell them on........Woah
You wanna talk about depression setting in
A slow sales day or slow sales week is one thing. But month after month of 15 hours a day, trying everything, triple efforts, and literally ending up with dust is mindblowing.
Well to make a long story shorter.......
I spent the year last year, for the first time in a long long time, out in the field myself, doing every job with a couple helpers. Like I was starting all over again.
My sales were DOWN 80% from the year before