Expanding Landscape Business

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by CALandscapes, Jan 17, 2008.

  1. CALandscapes

    CALandscapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 946

    OK.. So here's my dilemma..

    About 6 weeks ago I purchased a T-190 (with grappler and dirt buckets) a 36 cu. yd. dump trailer, and an additional truck to pull the dump trailer (08 Dodge w/Cummins).
    I purchased all of this equipment in order to do debris cleanup for Hurricane Katrina (under a recent contract offered by the Road Home Org. - I entered in as a sub).
    The dilemma is that the work load has not been anything close to what was promised. We're working two or three days a week (on a good week), when we were initially promised the opportunity of virtually limitless work (I'm not above working 7 day weeks -- I'm a single 23 yr. old).
    I'm now sitting on over 100k worth of additional equipment that's hardly working enough to pay the notes that I've assumed. I've begun to grow increasingly worried as the promises of more work have evaporated in to bullshit.
    Being a landscape contractor (and owner of a small landscape co.) I will occasionally use this equipment for my bus. (the additional truck is really nice).. But def. not enough to warrant the $4k/month worth of overhead that comes along with it...
    ANYWAY -- to get to the point.. I've been pondering my options -
    1. whether to try and ride out this gov. work and see if it does pick back up
    2. to try and sell the equipment (and take a $25k+ loss)
    3. to try to pick up work using the equipment (debris hauling, bobcat work, etc.)
    I'd appreciate any feedback that you'll are willing to give...
    Namely I'm looking for suggestions on how to market the expansion of my business (into debris hauling and skidsteer services). I guess I really just gave the full explanation of my situation to vent...
    Also, if anyone's interested in purchasing any of this equipment feel free to PM me... As the days without work increase, I'm edging closer and closer to wanting to sell it (which would obviously be worst case).
    Thanks all for listening and for advice/info!

  2. ksss

    ksss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,157

    It seems that the second disaster involving Katrina has been with the clean up itself. I have heard numerous stories like this. I have yet to hear about someone that went to work down there and got the work they were promised and also got paid what was agreed and in a timely fashion. I am sure someone made money, but there sure seem to be a lot of guys that did not.

    This sounds similiar to situation of the guy on this forum that has the CAT 939 and has lost the work or it. Like I said in that thread. When buying equipment based on "Pie in the Sky" promises, it is best to do it on an RPO (rent to purchase). If things don't workout you can give it back, no questions asked. Your dealer could have helped you out on that one (aside from sticking you with a T-190).

    You will obviously lose big if you try to dump the equipment. Tracked machines devalue very quickly and of course pickups do to. The trailer would be an easy sale I would think down there.

    Not knowing what you know about your situation, I try and make a go of it. There will be cleanup work for the next 20 years (or more) in that area. You likely will be able to pick up work. The question is will it come fast enough and pay enough to save your situation. I would follow the idea that you can always take an ass kicking on the equipment if you chose to sell it off. I would try push forward and see what you can drum up either by doing the demo work or expand your landscaping business to justify your new equipment. Good luck.
  3. CALandscapes

    CALandscapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 946

    Thanks for the response ksss...

    I'm with you on the hit I'd take if I try to sell the equip.. It'd be monumental, to say the least..

    Right now I'm trying to do my best to come up with a game plan on hustling enough work to justify owning all of this additional equip..

    Seeing that you own a skid steer service, I'd love to know how you bills (hourly, by the job, other) and what you charge. I'm pretty new at this, and unfortunately am in a position where I need to move quickly or sink..

    Thanks again.
  4. qps

    qps LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Indy
    Messages: 1,484

    (aside from sticking you with a T-190).

    Your killing me over here:laugh:
  5. CALandscapes

    CALandscapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 946

    QPS -- I'm lost on that comment...??
  6. RockSet N' Grade

    RockSet N' Grade LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,454

    CAlandscapes........since (this is an assumption) you have some Katrina work and it seems to be diminishing, I would step up the ladder and see if you can make contacts with the higher-ups to see if you can increase your work load. Alot of "underlings" just don't make it happen......go right to the top with alot of phone calls, emails and personal visits. If/When you talk to the "Big Dawgs", they could rock the boat, shake the tree, and get performance. If you rattle the cage hard and long enough your position could change overnight......
  7. CALandscapes

    CALandscapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 946

    Thanks for the response...

    Right now I'm working for a sub-contractor doing debris clean-up. I'm capable of contacting the company he's working for (the actually company holding the government contract), but have hesitated as of yet because I don't want to step on his toes (he brought me in to this work... but at the same time there's been a lot of broken promises).
    The work's still there, there were just too many debris crews added all at the same time, and the debris is being picked up faster than it can be readied for removal...
    Wondering if I'd be out of line to attempt to contact the higher ups and by-pass this guy I'm working under...?
  8. ksss

    ksss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,157

    Tim was merely poking fun at my subtle, yet pointed way of saying that the T190 is not on my list of must haves. I will PM you when I have a minute.
  9. Construct'O

    Construct'O LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Sw Iowa
    Messages: 1,387

    Mistake one ! Don't sub off sub contractors:hammerhead:,period !!!!!! They are the one that get the money first and then it trickles down.

    If the work isn't coming down to them fast enough, then it isn't going to get to you very fast either.Plus if they aren't keeping there crews busy ,then your not going to get extra work.

    Run your own show,either sub off the Prime Contractor or find your own work.Don't use sub contractor to get work like said above.:nono:

    Look around and see if you can bid your own jobs.You might have to bid something small or lower then you want to survive,just becareful with the lower thing.Use as last resort to get you foot in the door and prove you can do the work

    On time and good workmanship.

    If you get busy and works start coming in faster then you can do it.Bid it higher and make money.

    What kind of work history you got of your own work.As do you have bonding abilitys.That is inportant.You need to be able to get bonded to bid the big,higher paying jobs.

    It is winter here things always slows down here,so do you think it is a seasonal thing? Hang in there at least until it get to unbearable.

    If you have to sell off equipment.Try selling off some of your other older outdated landscape equipment ,or some of the new stuff that isn't getting used as much as the other stuff.

    I have had to sell off to keep a float, don't feel bad at 23 you still have a long ways to go.Hang in there.Good luck.:usflag:
  10. KRtraxx

    KRtraxx LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 284

    Ksss.. I read your T-190 comment 5 minutes ago and I am still chuckling.:) I am not pro or con T-190 but your sense of humor cracks me up! ;)
    CA I would push forward instead of taking a hit on your equipment..The advise about doing a rent to own in uncertain situations is great advise.Remember it for the next time around.. Good luck making it work.

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