Trying to stir up new business

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by thebobcatkid86, Mar 4, 2007.

  1. thebobcatkid86

    thebobcatkid86 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 100

    I started this conversation on another thread and have decided that since I got rather off the topic of that thread Id start another one. Lately I have been trying hard to get more new business for my Bobcat. I dont know if Im doing something wrong or simply not doing enough, but I will tell you that the last money I made was $160 a couple of weeks ago clearing my neighbors driveways after the biggest snowstorm we've seen in a couple of years. That was promptly spent on getting the tires sealed and a couple of gallons of hydro. Such is my life. I am trying to maintain a low overhead life as well as business. I am 20 years old, I live at home and keep my equipment in my parents garage in a very nice residential neighborhood. Luckily all of the neighbors are friendly and none of them give a rats ass. My parents let me live at home rent free as long as I chauffeur my grandfather around, who lives with us. When its necessary such as to the doctor, the bowling alley, etc. And keep the truck gassed up. 'My' truck is actually my moms truck, originally bought to tow a horse trailer that never materialized. Never the less, it as all of my equipment is bought and fully paid for. I paid for my loader mostly by myself with money Id saved from misc. construction jobs Ive had since the age of 14 (70%) with a small amount of help from some leftover money from the real estate transactons when we moved a couple of years ago (30%). I realize that I am very lucky to have parents as supportive as I do. They understand that all I have wanted to do is operate earth moving equipment about since I could walk (not kidding, ask my mom). My father repairs and restores antique furniture and paintings and has been self-employed ever since he started doing that for a living, long before I was born. I decided a long time ago that I didnt want to work for anyone else either and decided that wanted to figure out how to be a self-employed one-man small-time excavating operation. Maybe that... that is this... is crazy. Does that type of operation even exist? I have no proof that it can be done. Nor am I sure that I even have the first clue as to what it takes, if it can be done at all. I just thought that buying a piece of equipment that was within my means, that is fitted with my existing truck, and could be paid for, cash, might be a good place to start. And then work my way up from there. So far in the year and a half of owning the loader I have grossed about $2500 worth of work actually with the loader. So far all my work has been for friends that I have worked for before I owned the loader. I have two jobs lined up when the weather warms up a bit that'll probably net me around $800 profit total together. After that I have nothing for sure and for all I know I could have nothing else this year it all depends on if anyone I have given a card to decides to hire me. I have given card to a couple of guys, friends of friends, who are landscapers, primarily grass guys who say they rent a bobcat once in a while, said they might hire me as a sub rather than rent but no guarentees there either. Im not even sure what I expect any of this rambling to accomplish except maybe reasurance that Im not out of my mind in relation to my career choices. It just feels like Im just not doing something right, or something. Before I bought the loader it seemed like everone I talked to (mostly my dads friends) was telling me that 'Oh yeah almost everyone has a use for a guy with a bocat. Once you have one and word gets around that you know how to use it they'll beat down your front door and throw cash at you' I knew it would not be as utopian as that but from all the success stories I heard from people it seemed originally like it would be easier to get work than it is turnng out to be. I just feel like if people wont take me seriously operating at the size Im at now, whats going to make them take me seriously if I was bigger? When I think about how Im doing now and then I think bigger trucks, bigger loaders, big excavators, CDL, and even more so bank loans, accountants, lawyers, LLC's, employees, payroll taxes, workers comp, etc. shivers run up my spine and I can hear my dads voice "The phrase 'lose your ass' comes to mind." I just dont want to try to get any bigger until people take me seriously and I can make back the purchase cost of my current equipment and start making profit at this size. I am just doing this in baby steps, taking my time, and trying to stay as low profile as possible until I start seeing some fruits for my efforts. Am I making sense to anyone?
  2. thebobcatkid86

    thebobcatkid86 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 100

    To put it another way, I want to start seeing money as 'Owen, this guy I know with a bobcat' before I decide to become 'Minnis Excavating, LLC'. Does that make sense?
  3. kootoomootoo

    kootoomootoo LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,369

    I live local and had thoughts of giving you a leg up.

    BUT you bought a 453?
    AND you pull it with a dokota?

    Rated Operating Capacity: 600 lbs/272 kg
    Tipping Load: 1431 lbs. (649 kg.)
    Hydraulic Pump Capacity: 6.8 GPM (25,7 L/min.)

    Without at least a HD dump and and 753 you are in the wrong business.

    correct me if I am wrong....
  4. Lynden-Jeff

    Lynden-Jeff LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,405

    Thats a pretty dumb statment and you are wrong. A 463 has its purpose, Id like to see you get a 753 through a 36 or even 48 inch gate. Many tasks require small bobcats, infact im getting a 533 and it will see more use then our old S220. He will know how to drive it so if he need something bigger, he can always rent. Around here the bigger the bobcat the cheaper it is to rent. Im sure once he works up enough cash he will expand his machines.
  5. kootoomootoo

    kootoomootoo LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,369

    IF its a "pretty dumb statement" why does he have no work?
  6. Lynden-Jeff

    Lynden-Jeff LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,405

    He does not have work because he isn't looking in the right places. Bobcatkid, if I were you, start shaking hands with every landscaper/contractor you can find. Many companies do not own bobcats, and are we willing to sub it out. I do sub work all the time for my friend, he has no reason to buy a bobcat since I can do it and he just bills. Generally if you just go to residential advertising "bobcat work" people don't know what the hell your talking about. If you advertise a service such as mulch and stone spreading, it may take some muscle work but if its more then a yard you can incorporate your bobcat. We use ours for 75% mulch jobs. You can also advertise yard grading, large stone removal and lots of other tasks, but you need to pose a problem for the client, that your bobcat will fix. Many new subdivisions have GARBAGE drainage grading. We have fixed many many new subdivisions simply by changing slopes and reseeding, something definitely that you bobcat can do. Hope this helps.

  7. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I don't think it's a dumb idea at all, I know of a local guy that's all he does is Bobcat work (by the way, it's called a Skid Steer Loader).

    There is a lot you can do with a Bobcat, a friend of mine hires the Bobcat guy all the time to help him load trees with a grappling style hook because the 700-series can load BIG hunks of wood and sometimes almost whole trees onto the trailer and so it saves my friend (a tree guy) a TON of work and time since all he likes to do is drop the tree anyway, and they split the money some kind of way and the Bobcat fellow hauls the wood up the road.
    You can imagine, if he sells the wood, but wood I hear say is dirt cheap right now, so...

    The guy who owns the Bobcat has several, thou his smallest truck is an F-350 XLT Centurion (think duallies), and he has at least one smaller Mack dump truck as well, with these he can pull those heavy trailers with the loaders. But he's been doing this many years, so that's how that works.

    You know, with a loader bucket you can brush clear, too! Dang straight, you just drive right through the crap and it mows it down good and fast, even small trees snap under the power of a loader.

    I think honestly your biggest problem is 'the guy with a Bobcat' won't cut it, because people will take advantage of you. I would go ahead and start as 'Minnis Power Services' or something along those lines, you just have to put out or get out a TON of advertising and keep doing it.

    That, and read what Xoopiter said, I dare say printing out 1000 business cards and getting your foot in with some landscapers and tree guys would help considerably, you'll end up working off their advertising but if you're good with the machine then it beats us having to rent the stupid dingos for $200 / day and it's worth hiring you instead for an hour or three vs. having to fool with rentals.

    Well anyhow, good luck.
  8. kootoomootoo

    kootoomootoo LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,369

    I am a landscaper and I wont hire you.....I already said why. If your target market wont hire you...guess what.
    If i am wrong why does he have no work.
  9. Lynden-Jeff

    Lynden-Jeff LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,405

    Thats great, he wasn't asking you to hire him. We know why you won't hire him, I don't think anyone really cares. He doesn't have the option to go out and get a brand new F-350 and a S220++ so YOU will hire him, so if you don't have anything good to add, why don't you leave the thread.
  10. thebobcatkid86

    thebobcatkid86 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 100

    I have posted pics the business card I designed for my loader work. . I have been trying to advertise to contrators for sub work but aside from a handshake and a business card I dont know of any real way to direct advertising to that specific market. I do what ever I can with my loader much of which you already mentioned. I also have done a couple of bigger jobs with rented equipment, mainly waterproofing basements, renting a 3.5 ton excavator and then using my loader to do backfill work and grading/spoil removal. I enjoy running bigger equipment its just that I dont have the capital to own anything bigger than I have right now. But I find myself in a catch 22 since I have found that alot of times once a customer realizes that I dont own all the equipment for a job it seems like they think thats a deficiency in my knowledge or ability to complete the job. Have any of you ever had that happen?

    Thank you Xoopiter, and topsites that is exactly the kind of operation I plan to have someday. When I can afford it.

    For koomootoomoo, are you by any chance the landscaper friend that I have heard of from the Bajorek and Maskovyak families? In any case, I am simply trying to make it in this busness whilst staying within my means. Dont get me wrong I would love to have a shiny new F450 diesel dump truck, a brand new S185 and a brand new 435 excavator to boot. But the fact of the matter is that I do not have alot (almost none) of capital and for right now I dont have alot of guarenteed work and therefore I cannot afford to have a loan payment hanging over my head.

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