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In too deep

Discussion in 'Personnel' started by precision dirt, Sep 13, 2017.

  1. precision dirt

    precision dirt Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2014
    Messages:
    60
    Occupation:
    machinist, fabricator and owner of precision dirt
    Location:
    brenham tx
    Ok guys I need some advice some of you seasoned vets. Let me start by giving you a little background. At the ripe old age of 17 I bought a Massey ferguson 1155 from an ol friend of my fathers that I started doing contract ploughing with. I did that

    For some years until the end of 2010 when I found a 7 yd eversman scraper I bought, put some work into and away I went, figured I could make a little side money.

    Coincidentally the historic 2011 drought left lots of dried ponds to clean.

    2012 I decide to start a true business called PRECISION DIRT & GRAVEL I Decided to buy a low hr case 650k that stays busy. 6 months later a large job is thrown my way and I buy a cat 615 scraper, all is well.

    Fast forward to 2015 and my arsenal has grown to include as follows

    International 8100 haul truck

    Bellydump

    25 ton haul trailer

    Case 650k

    Cat 615 scraper

    New holland L190 skid steer

    CID mulcher

    JD 310SG BACKHOE

    MF 1155

    Cat D8H

    Cat 977L

    Komatsu D58


    Business has been good and I'm working on my largest job so far..... a private air strip 4000' long pitched 4/10 th % grade the entire length, 2 ponds, 3 building pads

    1 acre parking pad and 3/4 mile road.

    The job is going well until one day late evening I try to hook up something that I should have had help with and snap.... I feel an incredible burn right between my shoulder blades. Figured I pulled something...no big deal. 2 days later I'm hauling gravel and by noon my back is really starting to bother me, 3 o clock my chest goes to hurting. 4 o clock pit closes so I head in, as I climb out the truck back and chest hurting my left arm falls numb then starts to throb. I'm rushed to the ER and they think I'm having a heart attack. I'm 29 yrs old at this point so 5 hours of testing and nothing. Pinched nerve is all they can figure. The last 2 years of my life have been with off and on chest pain (mostly on). I was sent to a cardiologist for stress test and a number of other test and all came back good. But still no answer...... and no choice but to keep on working.



    Let me not bore you with too much but with the everything that has happened I still manage to keep 5-6 months worth of work piled up with no advertising other than my t-shirt uniform, and the calls keep coming. Now here is the catch..... I have no employee s. I have done everything myself up until this point and I can't keep up. Between the bids, the work, invoicing, paperwork I'm to a point I don't think I can go any faster or harder. I leave at 5:30 get home at 8:30-9 six days a week and my wife and kids aren't to happy with it. Oh and did I mention I'm the shop Forman for my fathers machine shop and work a 40 hr week there too.


    If your still interested after reading all that my question for you is, what now? I really don't want to leave the family machine shop because my family and I work very well together and I like it. On the other hand my construction building has done much better than I anticipated and has outgrown what I intended it to ever be, but it's also my passion.

    Do I find some good guys I can trust and spread the work out and see how it pans out?Or just downsize back to where I can keep up myself and turn work away?

    I hold mY work to very high standards and with today's terrible workforce just a few careless mistakes can cost a fortune.

    Im 32 years old now but really don't know if me or my body can keep this pace.... I'm open to any and all inputs or opinions


    Thanks for your time guys
     
    check likes this.
  2. CM1995

    CM1995 Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2007
    Messages:
    8,246
    Occupation:
    Running what I brung and taking what I win
    Location:
    Alabama
    Is all of your trucks and equipment paid off?

    You already know the private airport job was too big of a job by yourself - even without a full time job at the family machine shop. Now the question is what do you want to do?

    In order to develop quality management and operators you need to spend a lot of time working along side them setting the standards for quality you want for your projects - hard to do with another 40 hr week job.

    Which job makes more money for your household? Money is not everything but it is important.
    Which job balances your time? Your time business and personal is valuable.

    Here are a few suggestions -

    Quit the machine shop and devote full time to dirt work.
    Downsize your workload to something you can manage and keep working at the machine shop.

    Ultimately you'll have to answer the question. If you keep going at this pace at least one aspect of all of this will suffer - be it the machine shop, your dirt work or your family.
     
  3. Hobbytime

    Hobbytime Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2016
    Messages:
    407
    Location:
    usa
    well you do have some big decisions to make, I will tell you from experience( im not a dirt mover) but in my earlier years starting at 18, I started my own contracting business and ended going into plumbing and a civil service job...im early 50s now, just had both hips replaced a few months apart, and both knees need to be done, all bone to bone and I have a bunch of tears in my shoulder and elbow....all from " DOING IT ALL MYSELF"..so if you want to keep going thats what will happen, as you can see early in your life you already have serious back pain( that could be stress) our bodies are great at giving us messages, most of the time we dont listen and then just like the over heat light or gauge in a car if you dont stop to cool down..boom its dead...I had my aches and pains along the way and surgeries on my meniscus's( knee area) from being torn several times, but didnt start having the worn out pains till my 40s.....money isnt everything, its nice to have but at what collateral damage?..body damage, chronic pain, divorce, stress and the list goes on...so with all that and you dont want to end up in the grave soon....either sub out work to qualified contractors , find qualified employees or scale back to what you can handle and not cause stress and overload in your life, because when you drop dead or become a cripple, yes both are more than a reality at this point..you wont be around to enjoy anything..its a tough decision, but make it now while YOU still have that choice..the last thing you want to hear is from a doctor telling you dont make any long term plans as you wont be around for them...also by beating up your body you open the door for many other diseases as your immune system breaks down..cancer, heart issues, diabetes and again the list goes on...why dont you try buying houses or buildings and collect rent or other passive ways to make money, if you sell off all your equipment and invest the money in something that will make you money with limited physical labor to give your body a break....my best investment was a hot tub, everyday I soak for 30 to 60 minutes and most aches and pains go away for the rest of the day, and it has many health benefits... your body is telling you something..you better listen before its too late...your young enough to take a break and come back swinging......again at this point you have the choice dont wait till you lose the chance..good luck with whatever way you decide..
     
  4. Crummy

    Crummy Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2017
    Messages:
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    Location:
    PacNW
    @Hobbytime your story is creepy familiar- including the Civil Service bit. The last year I was there I worked 4/10's & then the other 3 days running the "side business" until I went full time self-employed. By the time I got to where I was hiring employees a few years later (I had 10 at the peak- just before the [ex]wife calculated it was a good time to cash out) the physical/mental damage was done. Back, elbows, shoulders, knees, hip, only 8 fingers that work.....I'm pretty sure 4am-10pm weeks/months on end can't be good for a person, either

    Hire early on if you go full time. If there isn't enough $ in the job(s) or booked work to hire good people don't do it. Just my .02.

    I had a good run, life was really good, but now- not so much. At 52 I wish I had a little more (any?) bounce in my step. The only thing I would change is the "do it all myself" in the beginning and wearing too many hats.
     
  5. Hobbytime

    Hobbytime Senior Member

    Joined:
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    407
    Location:
    usa
    before I retired that was my shift 4- 10s and 4 off( the last years a ton of OT to build up the pension)...I worked nights 1900 to 0500....im sure working nights was not the healthiest, but it was way more $$$...hey I got an ex wife too, but she calculated wrong and didnt get much of what she thought she would( momma didnt raise no fool..LOL)..I also have trigger finger on a few, had surgery on one that locked and wouldnt move, but all the other pains you have..here too....now im in rebuild faze ..ill never get back everything but if I can cut back on most of the chronic pain ill be happier..not totaly happy but better...I still have my side business, but have cut way back, and until my surgeries are done im not doing much at all, good thing for a good pension so $$ is not an issue
     
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  6. digger242j

    digger242j Administrator

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2003
    Messages:
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    Occupation:
    Self employed excavator
    Location:
    Southwestern PA
    Well, you're going to have to, if you want to be able to afford the alimony and child support...
     
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  7. hosspuller

    hosspuller Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2014
    Messages:
    326
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Let me reinforce what Digger is saying about family. I'm retired and enjoying life with the wife. Kids are grown. Consider the number of ex-wives mentioned. Jobs come and go. Machines are bought and sold. Your family needs your time and attention for good order and operation. Make your wife, your health & family a priority (In that order) . lastly the money and "stuff". Families have thrived on a pittance in money but attention in abundance. You can't give attention when you're tired and short on time. Get out of the airport job by hiring an experienced operator. Start him in the morning with specific instructions, check at lunch time and end of your day. The most that can be messed up is 1/2 day of work. Completing the airport maintains your reputation. Then you can pick your dirt jobs better...with a trusted operator to help.
     
  8. Junkyard

    Junkyard Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2016
    Messages:
    1,152
    Occupation:
    Field Mechanic
    Location:
    Claremore, OK
    I've been following this thread and finally have time to throw my .02 in. I'm 39, burned the candle at both ends from 23 to about 35. I'll spare the sappy details but here's the jist. Family first, especially the wife. Workin my a$$ off for over 10 years cost me a good marriage and six figures. I literally woke up one day and said f$&k it and sold out.

    You cannot buy back time or replace what you miss with kids etc. I missed a considerable part of my older kids growing up. I hear them laughing about something that happened 10 years ago. I laugh too, only to realize I wasn't there for it. Often it's almost like I'm more of a family friend than a dad. It's not a cool feeling.

    How you choose to manage what you have going is up to you. Lots of ways to do it, some right and some wrong. Talk it over with the family. Make a pro/con list. The business part is easier as there are some logical numbers to use to asses. The family part is more emotional and therefore harder to figure in. In the end though it's easiest. Make it a priority. You'll get your efforts back tenfold, it may take awhile to see it but you will. Learn from our mistakes. Your body is telling you it's maxed out. Don't ignore it.

    The right employee is a force multiplier. Two of the right guys can get as much done as three or four when they're in sync. If you're ever gonna grow and enjoy the fruit of your labor get some help. Rome wasn't built in a day and it damn sure wasn't done by one guy!!
     
  9. precision dirt

    precision dirt Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2014
    Messages:
    60
    Occupation:
    machinist, fabricator and owner of precision dirt
    Location:
    brenham tx
    Thank you guys all for your input. It gives me an outside perspective from someone that has been in the business and knows the life. I've taken some of your advise already today and am trying out 2 guys starting Monday. One is the previous owner of my D8h and ran a successful company until he decided to sell out for more freedom so he knows the business and how I expect work. The other guy is a previous employee of first guy. He's semi- retired but knows his stuff both are starting for reasonable wages. Mainly misses being in the dirt.
    My wife recently has started to really help with the paperwork and become more involved with the company so hopefully it will lighten up my office time once I get her more settled into it. She has always supported me and I have always involved her in my business decisions wether she knew anything on the subject or not.
    I'm going to start with this and see how it goes. Anything has to be an improvement over me running balls out and given these guys experience I shouldn't have to stand over them non stop.
    I've always been a take on the world kinda guy with no job to big, I'll make it no matter what attitude with a drive that's mostly unparalleled by today's generation, but I guess everyone has their limits......
    I much appreciate everyone's input and it's really hit home. I heed all advice given and hope it will save headache and heartache in the long run.
     
  10. thepumpguysc

    thepumpguysc Senior Member

    Joined:
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    Occupation:
    Master IP rebuilder
    Location:
    Sunny South Carolina
    ALL GREAT advice.!!! Take it from experience, back problems ache in the beginning.. THEN BAM..
    2 surgeries in 2 years..& down & out for 10 months on each & STILL having problems..
    Finish up your current BIG JOB w/HELP.. & TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF & family..
    It sounds like your "set-up" pretty well IF your equipment is paid for.. & if worse comes to worse, you could sell a piece if you had to..
    You mentioned you have family around.. GOOD.. a support team is needed w/ any kind of hospitalization & down time.. cuz even getting up to make a sandwich can be mind numbingly difficult at times..
    & forget about cutting the grass for atleast a year.. I truly hope things work out for ya & you heed some of this advice.. TPG
     
  11. PJ The Kid

    PJ The Kid Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2016
    Messages:
    174
    Occupation:
    Mechanic
    Location:
    KC
    Lots of good advice in here that I wasn't even looking for, but I found. Been working 2 jobs since I got out of school. Never really thought about it all that much till recently since I've got a kid now.
     
  12. Ct Farmer

    Ct Farmer Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2016
    Messages:
    31
    Location:
    Connecticut
    I'm a bit late getting in on this thread but can really relate to the OP on being in too deep and had trouble delegating work. Only trouble is it took me way to long to realize it. I was building my business, managing another for a friend and still working the family farm. 90 hour weeks were common. More often enough. I was making money and always said "someday" for everything else in life. Seemed like a good plan.

    Until, at 47, I burned out, got sick and realized life had passed me by.

    Best advice I can give is to get people you can trust working for you. It will take time and you may go through a few to find the right fit but stick with it. Then delegate and let them do their job. Go home at a decent hour and spend time not working. In the end you will work better.

    Remember, the most important piece of equipment you own is yourself. Take care of it above all else.
     
  13. Dozerboy

    Dozerboy Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2006
    Messages:
    2,193
    Occupation:
    Operator
    Location:
    TX
    I didn't read everything, but I'll give you my perspective and story. My dad works like you at 60 everything cause him pain now a days. Several surgery and tons of time off for recovery the last few years with more needed.

    My dad was always working. Now he did take time off for us to go hunting 10 times or so a year, but that was it. I fell in with a bad crowed in my teens. Which is not his fault he has an impeccable character, but maybe if he had more time at home it wouldn't of happened. He was there to help me straighten out by the time I was 18. After that I did well for myself, but watching my dad I did figure out that I was going to be much happier as an employee then a employer dealing with all the stress and stuff that he had.

    After getting married I started working to much thinking it would help us start a family. It almost cost me my wife. Afew years later work got slow so I had to start traveling. Made good money. Wife stayed home with our newborn son for a year then was going to finish up school. During one of my long weekends home I realize that I had a nine-month-old son that I didn't know how to take care of. I don't know when he was hungry. I don't know anything about him. He was just this baby that ran around my house.

    Since then I took a pay cut and will only work every other weekend unless it's an emergency. Now I realize the only thing that would make me happier is working only 40 hours a week which so I can spend time with my 4year old boy and 10 month old daughter. That is pretty hard to do in this industry maybe it's time for another change...

    A quote I heard somewhere "Nobody on their deathbed ever said they wish they spent more time at work"
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2017
  14. oldtanker

    oldtanker Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2010
    Messages:
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    Occupation:
    Ret
    Location:
    vining mn
    This is something I can relate to. Except I was a soldier. Had to be in a 5:30 AM and most often didn't get home till after 6 PM. I was married and raising a family......or my wife was raising a family. Now that was normal duty days, not including field maneuvers, gunneries or deployments. When I was off from work I worked on other soldiers cars to make a few extra bucks. Now as far as the wife was concerned I was lucky, she knew what to expect, Navy brat. But the number of my fellow soldiers who wound up in divorce court, half way across the country if not the world from their kids was astounding. Shortly after I retired and hung up my soldiers suit I attended a graduation of a kid who would become one of my son in laws. They speaker told the class "we have taught you what you need to know to make a living, don't forget to make a life". That is about the best advice I've ever heard in my life from anyone! Seems to me you are forgetting to make that life.

    Rick
     
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  15. Randy88

    Randy88 Senior Member

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    Location:
    iowa
    Sounds like you are already doing what I'd have suggested, get the spouse involved in bookkeeping and with answering the phone and taking care of some of the workload, get her involved, the more involved she gets will determine what direction you'll go with the business, if she's not interested at all, find other work or a different spouse, it about that simple. You need to work as a team, get the rest of the kids involved too, there are more way's than one to spend time together, quality times happens not just in the house or house yard, but everywhere.

    You've got some help with machines, great, keep them happy and don't burn them out, sounds like they want to just play part time, not work 80 plus hours a week, so keep that in mind as you move forward.

    Turn work down and learn to say no, focus on the most profitable jobs, no matter how small they are.

    Life is a roller coaster ride, there are no blue prints to follow, only ideas and theories, running a business is like having a family, when its over and looking back, you'll know how you should have done things verse how you did do them. If you not making mistakes, your probably not doing anything, so just keep plugging along doing the best you can every day, its all you can do.

    Only you can answer this next question, why are you being hired and why are you succeeding where others are not?? If you can come up with the answer to that, focus on that aspect in your business and you'll do just fine, but you have to keep that aspect as the main point of your business, if its your personality, work ethic, lower cost, ability to get the job done, your communication skills, top quality work at a reasonable price or a few hundred other reasons it could be, but whatever it is, you have to keep that going for you or nobody will hire you in the future.

    As for doing too much, that depends on you, only you can determine what's too much for your life, your body, your spouse and family and a host of other things, just do the best you can and adjust as you go to keep things in check.

    Most important thing you can do is involve the family, ask them these questions and include their input and listen to them, after all its their life as well as yours, you'd be surprised as what your family will want or say about what they think on subjects.
     
  16. DMiller

    DMiller Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2010
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    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Hermann, Missouri
    I am REALLY late on this post but will add.

    Junkyard has been to my house and dealt with me a few times on the net, he and I know the other pretty well as we are very similar. I did the candle at both ends trip from 1977 until forced to back off in 1987, accidents took their toll on my old frame and systems working night shifts in garage, working days on my own, trying to build a life and money where most of the time I would hit a wall and lose most of it in short order. Tried trucking, heavy equipment, general garage work and never managed to get too far along before I injured something got laid up or laid off and ended up back on first base. Retired now, had surgery on low back, one knee, neck, work on both feet one hand and misc other crap. Take your time, grow SLOW and steady as you have found charging in like a solo bull hurts A LOT. Probably tore a tendon or muscle in your neck or along a shoulder, let it heal and do the light work for awhile, hire those that will work for a decent amount of time for reasonable money and let the business take care of itself as to growth rate.
     
  17. Aliate

    Aliate Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2009
    Messages:
    315
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Late to this one as well but I can give you some perspective.

    My father was always a business owner longer than I had been alive. He spent his whole life working 12 to 16hr days, he should have been home more. When I was about 14 he seemed burned out and had an opportunity to sell this business and did. He is now broke and lives a life full of regret.

    I started my business 4 years ago, 1 month prior to me having my first son. I rarely work past 4 unless its an emergency. I dont work weekends. Every day I do try to be in the office after 7 until 9, kids go to bed at 630. My wife and I both work, so that helps me grow faster but I have to limit the long hours as it becomes really hard on my kids, I had a second boy a year ago. Having a family and a business is a very delicate balance, and your family should always take priority. My employees regularly work past 5 but that is what I pay overtime for.

    Your most valuable asset is not your equipment, it is your time. When you understand that you will learn to eliminate inefficiencies in your business. I can get more done in an 8 hour day than most can in 12. I keep pumps and generators with us at all time, power tools with charged batteries, extra batteries for laser etc., spare parts, kits to fix flats, jumper cables on every vehicle, the list goes on. Working solo is inefficient. It might be low stress on the job because you have total control but you are paying the price at home and with your body.

    When delegating, 80% is good enough. They will never be you, if they were, they wouldnt be working for you. Learn to look the other way when something bothers you. Its tough to see people not sweep out machines, or leave an empty water bottle behind the seat for 3 months, but that is the trade off.


    Good luck.
     
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