need help trying to find some work!!

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by Junior M, Jul 24, 2008.

  1. Junior M

    Junior M LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,607

    ok well as most of you know me and my dad just recently started our little business and we (especially me) want to expand out of backfilling pools.. but we are having a really hard time finding work.. i know the economy sucks right now but lots of people here are still getting work and we just cant seem to get any.. but you cant say we arent trying becuz we have and are advertising in a local magazine and have put business card every where!! so i was wondering what helps you guys get work? or what do you do to get work? or better yet how do you get your work?
  2. bobcat_ron

    bobcat_ron LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,137

    Grab a shovel and start hanging out at the local building stores?
  3. Marvelous Gardens

    Marvelous Gardens LawnSite Member
    Messages: 119

    Today I dropped by a few businesses introduced myself and asked if they had someone taking care of the lawn maintenance, they all did, although three of them were unhappy with the service and they liked by monthly billing plan, so I landed all three of them and locked them in for a year. Last month on rainy days I had the guys walk door to door putting out custom made door hangers, not one call. I would just take the time to pay a visit to every business, hell maybe even residents and throw your services at them.
  4. YellowDogSVC

    YellowDogSVC LawnSite Gold Member
    from TX
    Messages: 3,792

    what's going to happen when you go back to school? If you and your dad get overbooked, who will help him?
  5. Junior M

    Junior M LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,607

    he works at south carolina electric and gas 4 days a week and we mostly work on the weekends... but since i am goin in to high school i wont be able to skip like i did in middle school.. so we will figure it out.. and we usually have a friend of ours that just moved here from germany help us so maybe he could help my dad when i cant..
  6. ksss

    ksss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,170

    Here is just a couple thoughts I will throw out there.

    Identify what your strongest services are, meaning what you do the best. Identify who is in need of the service and go after them. Contractors are my strongest clients but that can vary.

    It helps to be diversified in both landscape and light excavation. If you don't have the skills for both then develop them.

    Identify holes in your local market and fill them. Meaning what services are not being hit hard and develop that. It might be concrete/paver prep or whatever but know what your competetors have for equipment and capability, very important. Much easier for me in a smaller market than those in larger areas. However it is important to know so that you can grow your business through the cracks in your local market.

    Be sure that you are good at whatever you do. Carving out marketshare in what is likely a contractor saturated market in a downturn economy is no easy task, most don't make it, even in good economic times. The old saying "if your good at what you do, you'll always have work " Although perhaps over simplified, has merit. You may find your not equipped correctly to compete in your market or you lack the knowledge, don't be afraid to change directions.

    The most important point I will make is you only get one chance to make a good impression. Get your companies poop in a group, before you show up and ruin an opportunity. Word of mouth is and will always be the best buy in advertising. Do a good job on the jobs you are getting, Keep your word, I have lost more money than I care to talk about over the last almost 15 years, keeping my promises. The money will come back. Be good, be fair, be smart and you will have work come to you.
  7. J. Peterson Grading

    J. Peterson Grading LawnSite Senior Member
    from IA
    Messages: 989

    Stick with what you are doing now. The work will come. Trust me.

  8. Dirt Digger2

    Dirt Digger2 LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Messages: 2,396

    word of mouth gets a lot of business...mailers and flyers don't...this type of work is the type where not everyone needs it and when they do it is a big investment for them so they will usually go on who they have heard is good, not who has the best picture (most...not all)

    we get a lot of our work by shear seniority, my boss has been in it for 30 years so he knows a lot of people, we are hooked up with a number of builders and word of mouth has been doing very good lately from homeowners (we usually like to stick with contractor work and avoid homeowners but troubled times call for desperate measures i guess) around to builders, concrete companies, etc... and give them some info, just tell them if their regular guys ever can't make it to a job, or don't want to take it, to give you a call to a good job and that is how you build your business
  9. Bleed Green

    Bleed Green LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,533

    ksss what would be small excavation, and what do you think would be managable for a guy that was wanting to start a small company after graduating college? You think start off digging backyard fish ponds and stuff and brick paths and then expand from there maybe some backfill work. I was thinking putting in downspout drains and maybe foundation drains for a builder that I know if he was interested. What do you think?

    What kind of landscape work do you think would be manageable for a one or two man crew? mulch work, paver work etc...
  10. ksss

    ksss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,170

    I started into dirt business landscaping. I have not expanded much in that area from what I started with. I do grading, yard prep, rock and block work and that is about it. I am a three man outfit at the most. I don't bid anything that is hand labor intensive such as sod installs. I make my money running equipment it is what I have always liked to do and what I do best. We do work for many of the major landscapers in town. They use me because I am good at it (should be for as long as I have been doing it) and I don't directly compete against them. I am not a full service landscaper. They have a much easier time using someone knowing that they are not supplimenting the competition.

    It did not take long to recognize that I needed to diversify into light excavation. You can work longer in the year, ride out the ups and downs of the economy and I had most of the equipment already. I started out digging garage footing, house additions, a lot of concrete removal, lighter demo.

    If pools are big in your area then you could offer that as well. Paver installs seem to be good money although I don't provide that, we do prep for a lot of pavers. I would say pursue what interests you in the field and find an application for it where you live. If you haven't already, getting some summer work working for an established landscape or excavation contractor will provide a wealth of information. Especially if you are going to school where you are planning on living. You will make valuable contacts and get to know the local market well if you keep you eyes and ears open.

    As I said above, I think it is real important to do a market survey of your area and learn what guys are doing and not doing or not doing well. If your area is saturated with quality paver install guys there is no sense in banging your head against the wall, be ready to go in a different direction.

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