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Help me take it to the next level.

Discussion in 'General Industry Questions' started by keif, Jan 4, 2022.

  1. keif

    keif Active Member

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    PXL_20211217_151222706.jpg PXL_20211216_175441242.jpg PXL_20211216_194942074.jpg PXL_20211027_190753027.jpg Hello all,
    I've been in business for two years now and it has been going well. I have a 2 ton excavator with 12", 18", 24" and 36" buckets and a 360 Lazer and machine receiver set up. In addition to this I have a hydraulic post knocker, a 6ft rake,6ft broom and a large bucket that the machine blade pics up. My non excavator equipment is a 16ft equipment trailer, 12ft dump trailer and a plate compactor.

    I do driveways with recycled asphalt, grade yards, dig ditches and french drains, clear trees, knock down small buildings and do hammered in fencing for pets and horses.

    I haven't done any advertising and go through spurts if too much work then no work. I'd like to get ride of the "no work" times now that the wife and I have a child.

    What have you done that took you from doing good to doing great?

    I'm working on a web page and I am thinking about visiting various local plumbers, electricians and contractors and let them know what I do and see if they can use my help.

    Here are some pictures from my last fencing job, 8" diameter 8ft posts with 3dt drive into the ground. Threw in some other job pictures for good measure. I always do my best.
     
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  2. keif

    keif Active Member

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    PXL_20211020_205931199.jpg PXL_20211007_220908997.jpg IMG_20210924_143450_797.jpg PXL_20210920_212548225.jpg I'd rather not buy new equipment but I have been thinking about a chain trencher to get into trenching fiber optic lines for a local company the other option would be making a 4" wide by 36" deep trenching bucket for the excavator. I've done some trench work for them but theyd prefer me to have something narrower than my 12" bucket.
     
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  3. cosmaar1

    cosmaar1 Senior Member

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    Website would be nice, but make sure you have taken a lot of pictures and can file them according to work. This way you can show examples of before and after type work.

    I’m a firm believer of business cards, but some might disagree with the technology thing now days.

    Also make sure your google profile is up to date, phone number, website, name, etc. I use this all the time when I’m looking for something.
     
    Jonas302 and keif like this.
  4. KSSS

    KSSS Senior Member

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    Occupation:
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    Idaho
    A good website really helps, and having it optimized so that it shows up near the top of the search page as often as possible. Having slow times is part of being new to the business, two years of exposure is not a lot, but over time it builds on itself. As long as your customers are happy and they pass your info to others when they need something. That adds up over time. Contacting other contractors is a good idea, I did that for years when I first started and it helps. Also, I would consider adding a small CTL to your equipment list. Being diversified really helps in keeping yourself busy. A loader with some key attachments would help keep you moving.
     
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  5. suladas

    suladas Senior Member

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    Business cards are still so important, might not use them a lot but I still get people stopping by jobs asking for one. A website helps, but i've found the number of excavation companies in my city with a decent one are few and far between, it's definitely not too important here, as long as you have one. If you pay the right person to do it, you can get on top google results quite easily, something I keep putting off doing. Keeping customers happy is huge for repeat work and referrals. As 1 guy I find it's always going to be hard to always be busy, but not too busy you can't do it all, I personally am done with the 7 days a week 90+ hour weeks to keep people happy I did when I was starting out. If you want to stick with 1 machine and doing it yourself I would try to get in with a utility or electrical companies trenching for them. I've done some of it and none of them want to rent equipment and pay their guys to do it, they are slow and have no idea what they are doing, i've found most just use whoever is doing the earthworks on the job, but if you are good you could probably get companies to always use you.
     
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  6. Tinkerer

    Tinkerer Senior Member

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    A lot of contractors in my area put up small professionally made signs with their info on them when they are doing a jobs.
    A friend of mine is a one man concrete contractor and his signs are 18" x 24" plastic with his info printed on them.
     
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  7. aighead

    aighead Senior Member

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    Granted, I'm not in the business, but simple things like asking your customers to recommend you to their friends and neighbors (here's a spot for those business cards, leave them a few!) and once you have a website gently ask customers to review you through Google Reviews (can be a double edged sword though, some reviewers are jerks).

    I don't know where you are but in rural areas it seems like there's always someone that knows everyone, maybe consider finding that guy and trading him discounted services for his word or mouth advertising. I've got a neighbor like that down the way and if I let him he'd probably keep me busy, between his own work, and people he knows for 30-40 hours a week, for a while.
     
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  8. cuttin edge

    cuttin edge Senior Member

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    Amen to that, I've seen horrible reviews because of one tiny thing on a perfect job. Had a customer even put an ad in the paper complaining and warning people. She ordered a load of topsoil. it was explained to her that there would be rocks and debris in the load unless she wanted screened topsoil, but it was more money. Said she wanted the non screened, and then read the riot act all over town. Nice jobs in the photo's by the way. Look into screw piles. Not sure if it's a thing where you are, but really taking off here. Buddy of mine bought a mini excavator, and bought into a franchise installing screw piles. He took it on as a side gig, but he is so busy that he quit his full time job, and just installs screw piles for post tec I think it is.
     
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  9. CM1995

    CM1995 Administrator

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    Short answer - It just takes time.

    What are you most profitable at doing? Fencing, grading, driveways, clean up?
     
  10. aighead

    aighead Senior Member

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    Never heard of a screw pile before, just looked them up and they look pretty slick!
     
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  11. Tinkerer

    Tinkerer Senior Member

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    I'll save everyone from spending time googling screw piles ! :)
    Very slick indeed !
    SCREW PILES
     
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  12. cuttin edge

    cuttin edge Senior Member

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    around here, the cost is about the same as concrete, but you can start building as soon as they are in, and there is little mess
     
  13. CM1995

    CM1995 Administrator

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    Referred to as helical piers here. Friend of mine is making a killing installing these on houses but it does require an engineer stamped drawing and a franchise to start.
     
  14. cuttin edge

    cuttin edge Senior Member

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    He had to buy into the franchise, and supply the machine. They supply the piles, and the hydraulic head, and remote. Here, you need a building permit to make any substantial changes to your home. I know guys that installed the supersize version of these in the oilsands in Alberta. I think there are 3 different suppliers in my area now. They each have their own claim as to why their product. Might be something to look into if the OP wants to expand.
     
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  15. cuttin edge

    cuttin edge Senior Member

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    aighead likes this.
  16. keif

    keif Active Member

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    Thanks for the thoughtful replies! I had a busy day and gotta help with the baby now. I give detailed responses to yalls questions as soon as I get a chance.
     
  17. terex herder

    terex herder Senior Member

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    You don't say what your soil conditions are like there, but around here all fiber is bored in, no trench.
     
  18. keif

    keif Active Member

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    Thanks, I just made a Google profile and have and give out business cards.

    Yeah so far almost everything had been word of mouth advertising. I'd love a CTL with a Harley rake, hoping to get one this year. I'm trying not to finance anything else though. Right now my debts are fairly low so when I do have the slow times it isn't that stressful.

    Thanks,,

    @Tinkerer I need to get one of this signs made, a few customers have asked if I had one and said they'd be happy for me to out it out front.

    @cuttin edge right now I only know of one person that would give me a bad review and that's a neighbor I did a job basically for free for. Lol

    The fencing jobs were my largest bills but took along time and also were harder on my body that most dirt work jobs. Even with a excavator post knocker and wire unroller, all the nailing and bending wire is tiring. I try to price it so I'm making the same per hour no matter what I'm doing. I do think I under price my fencing jobs bit I don't have a reference to go by.
    @cuttin edge I sent an email to a screw pile maker about becoming an installer, thanks.

    Most places a few inches of topsoil then either clay, sand or clay sand mix. Roots are the only obstacle. Last year I did a couple jobs with a subcontractor of a subcontractor, lol. The way I understand it the company pays alot more for boring or directional drilling($9ish/ft) while trenching it in with a chain trencher or excavator pays($3.25/ft). Much of the work is in rural areas so they only use the boring equipment to go under roads and for the fancy neighborhoods. I did it enough with a 12" bucket to make good money on those jobs, but think with a 4"w x 36"deep trenching fang I could make those days great. Mainly from the less dirt to move backfilling.
     
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  19. KSSS

    KSSS Senior Member

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    Everyone's situation is different, and everyone has a different take on debt. We survived the 2008-2010 financial melt down, it was not easy as anyone that was in construction during that time would say the same. What I did learn from that was cash is King. Money has been cheap for a long time (sounds like the Feds will be changing that very soon) and to keep cash on hand, I will loan on a piece I wouldn't need to. I use steep downs payments so that I could never be upside down, but having cash on hand gives you options, having your cash tied up in equipment, especially when equipment values tank like they did then. You have fewer options. You couldn't give equipment away back then to cash yourself back up. This strategy works for me due to low interest, it may not when rates go up. This topic could be its own thread and has been in the past. However, if the CTL will generate significant income, then it might be worth having now. I am not advocating you follow my strategy, just offering a different perspective.
     
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  20. CM1995

    CM1995 Administrator

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    Lived that era and have the scars to show for it..:confused:.