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Rain Rain Go Away!

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by Dodgemania, Nov 4, 2004.

  1. Dodgemania

    Dodgemania LawnSite Member
    Messages: 97

    My main source of income is running my skidloader. Back a couple months ago, for 40 days we didn't get any rain, and now all of a sudden Oct was our wettest month in history and have already got a couple inches of rain in Nov. I've got ads that just came out in the yellow pages, and I was getting calls but now I'm not. I do finish grades, backfills, cut out driveways and what ever else I can get my hands on. Is the weather my maine problem for not getting calls or is it that time of year where thinks an the light excavation buisness slow down? This is my first year full-time and was unable to get with any builders to keep me working all year. I've got a buddy that does the same thing and he's in with a couple builders doing rough and finish grades, and the builder wants him there whether it rains snows or the sun is out. He's been doing it longer too! I guess my main question is is all of this rain scaring people from calling or is it just that time of year when things slow down? If it don't pickup soon I'll be forced to get a part-time job. I want to run the skidloader in the nastiest months coming up but it doesn't look feasible.
  2. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,067

    I wouldn't say that the lack of business is due to weather entirely, because I've got a job to do in the next couple days and here we have about 3 inches of frozen ground already. The business can be tough to get into. As you mentioned, knowing a builder or someone that needs a skid steer on a regular basis is someone that you definately need to become friends with. Stick with it, business will pick up.
  3. ksss

    ksss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,162

    This is my take on your situation in relation to my experience, yours of course will differ. When I started in the mid-90's I could make money with only several attachments and a skid steer. Those days are gone and have been for some time. Research the sales figures for skid steers and you will see why. They can be rented for as low as $100 a day here. My experience is you have to 1. offer a complete service. Example if you are preparing subgrade for concrete. You will need a dump truck to move ex-material and haul in gravel, compaction equipment, and a laser or equivilent. Any less and they will do it themselves 2. Be diversified. We do a lot of landscaping, retaining walls etc. We also excavate for homes, additions, do concrete prep, utility installation. You need to be diversified enough to keep busy all year or as long as your season lasts. Here we are done by Dec. and start again end of Feb. begining of March. We have to make enough money to live on until we can get started again. 3. You need to either have a mini excavator or if on a tight budget a back hoe attachment. IMHO you can't function without the ability to do backhoe type work. 4. Get a part time job until you get your operation going. There is no sense starving to death. Somewhere I think the idea came along that if your buy a skid steer you can make a killing. (this is evident here as more guys keep trying to break into the light excavtion market) . The fact is it is no different than any other excavation/landscape business. It takes a large investment in time, equipment, and money to make it work. 5. You have to be very good at what you do. If your gig is concrete grade be exact in finish grade. If your final grading a yard make it look perfect. Remember the most important job is the one your on (easy to say sometimes hard to do when your busy and behind schedule). Also you need to make it look better than they could if they were doing it. Your reputation will gain you more work (providing that it is positive). Good luck
  4. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,067

    I agree with ksss completely, you have to be damn good at what you're doing. Be a FAST as hell operator, and get everything perfect. Now, everyone says that a fast operator is a guy that is just bangin the sticks, but when you are producing perfect work quick, people notice that. I've been commented on and been told that I'm quick at running our skid and that makes a difference in some people's eyes. Also, the diversification is key. Get as many attachments as you can and if you have to buy a bigger trailer to haul them all, do it. Also, a mini excavator is key. I'm been pushing on my old man to get one but for landscaping we just don't use one that much, but for excavating I don't know how you could get by without one. I don't know what your territory is like over there but land clearing can be quite prosperous if you're equipped correctly. Tracks for your skid and a tooth bucket or grapple and you'd be set.
  5. Dodgemania

    Dodgemania LawnSite Member
    Messages: 97

    Kss, probably what I need to do is find a part-time job, and then try and get as much work to fit that schedule. It's my first year doing snowremoval, and have been getting several calls, and placing numerous bids on fairly large products but I don't know if thats enough to keep me from getting part-time job. It was just the difference between night and day this summer was working 6 to seven days a week and then went cold turkey. It was like somebody just shut-off a switch!
    I think the biggest thing I need to do is concentrate my efforts next year to find a builder so I can have a little bit of work through the winter. A little bit of work is all I need to make through the winter.
    DIFFERENT QUESTION HERE: How have the tax-cuts helped you guys as far as equipment purchases?

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