Tips for relocating a Bobcat buisness? Your help needed

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by SouthernYankee, Jun 20, 2005.

  1. SouthernYankee

    SouthernYankee LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 789

    I have 20 days left of college and one economics class to finish and then I am done with school forever.

    I plan on moving and relocating/restarting my bobcat buisness which consists of landscape construction,grading, renovating lawns . Have any of you out there relocated your buisness and if so what tips do you have?

    I have been out of the buisness for a bit, but I have worked a few summers do various bobcat work when I was at home.

    Prices for half/full days....per hour?

    Any advice would be appricated
  2. Tigerotor77W

    Tigerotor77W LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Germany
    Messages: 1,892

    My message is purely delight -- congratulations on your graduation from a fellow student... best of luck in the future!
  3. cclllc

    cclllc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 911

    When you get settled in run an ad in the "real yellow pages".In the mean time run ads in your local papers.have some yard signs made up and always advertise on your trucks.Good luck.Concrads on the grad. :)
  4. SouthernYankee

    SouthernYankee LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 789

    thanks guys, I am glad to be out of school I have taken over 45 classes through out my college career and I am ready to get back into buisness!!!

    UNISCAPER LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,426

    We relocated 3.5 years ago from Illinois. Best move I ever made. Before you do, make sure you have all your licensing and bonds in place, also check to see if the equipment you own now will work in the area you are going. I still have a few pieces that we will never use here, and sonce noone else will in my area, the burden of getting rid of it lies on my shoulders. If I E-bay the stuff, or sell outright, it becomes a major expense, which, makes the piece worth less on the sale to whoever buys it.

    Hourly rates should never be taken or used from what anyone else says their are. Your rate should be your rate, not anyone elses, and if someone is unwilling top pay your price, move on until you find a person who will. Don't get caught up in that contractor trap of " So and so will do it for X, so of you will, we will use you." It's your way or the highway, and don't let anyone tell you how they intend to pay you. For example, we bill every 3 days per crew on a job, that bill being due the date on top of the invoice. So, no money by the following day, we pull off. My theory is a well fed cat will always hunt better, and, if for whatever reason something goes sour, you have been paid to date, or, all you are out is a few days, rather than many who bill 50-50, or 33-33-33. I would much rather be out a small amount. Any change above the scope of work agreed to constitutes a change order, and we charge $500.00 to make the change, plus the T&M of whatever we do. Office and administrative time accounts for something, and everytime paperwork is processed there is a fee associated with that. This also eliminates those morons who change their mind, then change back, then back again. If they are serious enough to pay you to process the change, they will be serious enough to carry out the work.

    When you move, you should have about 6 months expenses in the bank, saved for rainy days, and if you are moving to a seasonal environment, it is best to farm the area first, before you move, line up a few things if you can, then move in anticipation of when the season begins. I sold work while I was studying to take the licensing exam, conductiing sales by fax and over the phone from 2000 miles away. So, two days after my license was valid, my daughter and I were packed and on the road through one of the worst snow storms I saw in years. Since our trailer was lettered with the new location on it, every gas station we stopped at would question what a person from southern California was doing in the midwest. We got 3 calls from the sides of the trailer after we crossed into San Diego County. Don't waste your money in yellow pages ads, they are grossly overpriced, extremely ineffective, and all in all, 99% overrated. Flyers dropped at job sites, new homes, or in newspapers are far more effective than waiting on the yellow pages. Internet at best is a luke warm source of referrals for us. I strongly recommend you join a local chapter of BNI (Business Netowrk International) and make sure you work the room every week. The time I take there is a PIA, but it pays dearly.
    After 3.5 years, we accept new job prospects from word of mouth referrals only, or if a cold call was placed, we charge between $50.00 to $110.00 for the first hour of our time to meet and consult with a prospect. If the person is unwilling to pay what we ask, I can assure you they were going to waste my time in the first place. If the prospect that paid turns into a job, the money they gave for that initial time is credited to the job balance. How dare anyone think that our time is not worth money and if everyone did this, people would be willing top pay more for our services because they would realize the value of those services. Call a plumber, they charge to come out even if they don't do physical work, same as a tree surgeon, the point being, the act of meeting with a person Is work and deserves compensation.

    You might have to work into charging for your time when you first start, but trust me, it is well worth weeding out the bozos over those who value your services and will use them.

    Keep your overhead as low as you can. Stay away from over technifying your business. Too many computers and programs will do nothing more than take your time and hard earned money and you will loose focus from the real issue, making money..... All you really will need os QB Pro Contractor Edition, and a good old white board to help you schedule. These will cost pennies in comparison to so called scheduling programs. You don't need a portable computer to get lost, trashed stolen or all of the above. Legal ruled paper and a good back ground in math will be it. Make sure you check your voicemail 4 times a day, and return calls ASAP. Not the next day if you can help it. Follow up with every bid, win loose or draw, do this religiously, and you will easily see what takes time, and what makes money.

    In the world of equipment and vehicles, it is far better to buy new, bid your jobs tight and run your stuff hard, trading every 3-5 years, than it is to have paid for equipment that you are constantly wrenching on. Lost production time costs far more than the cost of a repair, especially when you are paying an operator, which, in this case, that is you, and, you deserve to be paid well for your services. I have the numbers to prove this. I realize, you will start with older stuff, but as soon as your numbers support buying a newer machine, do it, it will pay off.

    3.5 years ago, we had a '74 Chevy C-30 dump with a 292 six, a couple trailers, and a GMC K 2500 with 750K on it...Today, we have a long list of equipment, trucks, implements, trailers, and alike. Everything is new and producing more than ever. To say the very least, we have been very blessed.

    Oh yeah, one last thing. When we moved, I wanted to see that we were close to a money town. When I considered Florida, Naples came to mind. We ended up in Encinitas, Ca. We are a mile away from the third wealthiest town in the US, with the most wealthy per capita. Though we do a few jobs a year under the $5,000.00 range, our average is $50,000.00, the most expensive job being 1.7 million. There was one thought I had on the relocation that kept comming back time after time. The affluent not only have the financial resources to pay what you are worth, they are also willing to hire out rather than take your time, pick your brain, and do it themselves. If you relocate to a (for lack of better phrasing) blue collar town, you have less money to pay for your services, and, you have a do it yourself mentality. The mission becomes harder to accomplish, though it is doable. It will take you a while to penetrate an affluent market, the communities surrounding that area can easily support you until you get in to the gravy.

    Sorry for the long winded reply, this is a small part of our formula of success, and it works well.
  6. Mark Lawncare

    Mark Lawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 114

    I think uniscaper just said it all. I would be interested to hear about working in Huston Vrs. the Cap Cod area after you have been there a while.
  7. jim dailey

    jim dailey LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 614

    Obviously, none of them were for proper spelling...spelling...spelling. Why did you leave the N.E. and it's major centers of education??? Why are you NOT returning to the N.E., with it's major building boom, to put that bobcat service to it's best use. There is so much work up is almost unbearable trying to keep up with it all. And get rid of the "Southern Yankee" thing. That will get you zilch for work down there. Have fun.
  8. SouthernYankee

    SouthernYankee LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 789

    I left the Cape because it is far too expensive to live, since the price of houses has increased over 110% in the last 3 years. The building boom is actually dead on Cape Cod because there are not any house lots for sale and if you can actually find a house lot it will cost you $200,000 to start. I can buy a really nice house in Houston for $230,000, while the same house would cost me atleast $650,000. Also I could go to the University of Alabama for less than it would have cost me to go to school at Umass, plus the weather is warm and UA has Alabama football. Houston has a much larger and diverse homebuilding market(which is something I am going to get into down the road) so for the money and the weather, I would rather be in Houston. Another thing to consider is the Cape's population of young people is rapidly declining since people starting out in my age bracket cant even afford renting a house, let along buying one.

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