GR why don't you go take a couple of community college business courses and actually learn how to make a business plan. If you feel that there is a market need, then write a business plan, and see if you can get financed. You ain't going to be successful and end up a big player if you start out flying by the seat of your pants. Its really not that hard to figure out if the need exists, you just have to know how to do it. If you want to do this, it sounds as though you need to move to a new area, if that isn't a reality then you will need to figure out how to make it work. You say that many contractors in your area are teetering on the brink, well then why don't you go get a liability and tool insurance policy and rent from the guy's who are "barely staying above water" that would benefit both of you. You could perhaps buy one of there machines instead of a dealer's machine. this would actually benefit you, as you would be effectively buying your competition, IE the number of machines in the area wouldn't change, instead of you increasing competition (therefore driving down price) by buying a machine. Lastly if you want to be in business, you need to grow a pair, and take the risk. Owning any company is high stress, but I think that earthworks is particularly stressful. There will be ups, and there will be downs. you just gotta learn how to deal with it.