Help Starting A Small Business

ROYCE

Well-Known Member
#21
I might be selling this truck. Would be perfect for you. Holds about 10 yards of chips. It has a large tool box with plenty of storage. But I would think something like this, or a 350 would work well for you.
 

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MikePowers321

Well-Known Member
#24
I might be selling this truck. Would be perfect for you. Holds about 10 yards of chips. It has a large tool box with plenty of storage. But I would think something like this, or a 350 would work well for you.
That does look quite perfect. Royce, Is that the Fuso like I stated before?
 

ROYCE

Well-Known Member
#26
That does look quite perfect. Royce, Is that the Fuso like I stated before?
Yes, Mitsubishi Fuso with a 4 cylinder diesel. Starts on the coldest of days. 85K miles, just broken in really. She is geared really low which is great for hauling a load of chips and chipper. I can still zip down the highway at 65. I haul a 200xp here in VT, with TONS of hills. I am not wining any races but like Cee-lo said, I can get you there!!
 

MikePowers321

Well-Known Member
#27
Yes, Mitsubishi Fuso with a 4 cylinder diesel. Starts on the coldest of days. 85K miles, just broken in really. She is geared really low which is great for hauling a load of chips and chipper. I can still zip down the highway at 65. I haul a 200xp here in VT, with TONS of hills. I am not wining any races but like Cee-lo said, I can get you there!!
They usually come in 2wd right? I like the compact front end. Good turn radius.

What makes you want to sell it? Level 1 of the game complete, on to the next?
 

ROYCE

Well-Known Member
#28
Yeah, two wheel drive. I have really aggressive tire tread on it and it has been great in the snow, especially with chip weight in the back. You won't be busting thought no huge snowbanks, but it will go.
Yeah, you nailed it. Level 1 is complete. I am really looking for a chip truck that I can haul my mini on, or something with a little more guts to full a loaded log trailer. This truck could do it we worked on all flats. We don't. It was a great starter truck for me. But, with a mini we fill the truck really fast. Usually I try and find dump sites really close by, but even with that we are still dumping too often throughout the day.
 

evo

Well-Known Member
#29
I'm not sure what I can add for advise as I'm feeling it out for myself. I just started a one person pruning based business. I was able to secure a loan with a local group who does personal loans to reinvest their funds back into the community. That was a great deal, 5 yr loan at 4%, no credit checks (I don't have any), and work trade available. This was the first month I had to pay out of pocket for the loan since June (all trade), and I've payed down the principle some too. I was able to buy a small 9" 44hp Gravely diesel chipper (was shooting for a bandit 65) and a long bed '00 f-250 w/100K miles (to replace my '80 toyota 4x4). I sold the Toyota for what I paid for it, and those funds paid for my lic, bond, and insurance. I've been simply been taking bite sized pieces at a time and trying to tuck 1/3 gross sales into savings for taxes. I'm shoveling chips, but I mostly find a way to fly chip as many people want to keep them or don't care if the are blown into the forest. I'm kind of kicking myself for not getting a larger truck off the bat, but I needed something ASAP since the chipper came first and the toyota didn't have the guts to haul 2,700lbs. I bought the ford for just over 2,500 so it was a great deal, and I do plan on reselling for more than I paid to invest in a 1 ton with a dump.

The books are my weak point, I tried setting it all up, and did ok. However I need to just shoe box a bookkeeper monthly. I'm starting off as a sole proprietor, to evolve into an LLC when I do hire on help. I still have my day job, the sole employee of a old timer climber 3-4 days per week. After going "Live" with my business at the end of October I have found that I under estimated my projected sales since I've done over half the projection to date. Sales have been great, and I'm booking work into the summer months already, mostly because I don't have the time. I've done near 0 advertising, just a local email listing (kind of like craigslist via email), and hooked up with a nursery. If the job is too big for me, I send it out as a referral to my employer right off the bat. If the job is too small I get referrals from him (fruit trees and what not). I'm also getting referrals from a nursery too, mostly diagnosis that let others stumped. Basically I found a niche, between big money jobs, and landscrapers.

Time management is key, your always working. Even if your not doing the work. Find a way to do high profile volunteer work such as churches, athletic clubs, and see if you can place a sign. The key is to keep working, and the $ will start coming in. I haven't done the signage yet, mostly because I just handing out cards left and right on these gigs.
 

evo

Well-Known Member
#30
I'd love to have Royce's Fuso.. I bet you could put a small winch in the back of the bed, and yard in your chipper with some ramps for even more maneuverability!
 

ROYCE

Well-Known Member
#31
EVO: Good for you, I remember when you were talking of starting your own little pruning gig. I am happy to hear it is working out for you. I think you have a really good grasp on what you want to do, and what you can do and you have things in place so everyone is taken care of if you can't do the job.
I agree 100% about the books. They are hard and it takes time. I have been doing my own, and I feel it is important as the business owner to understand them..to a degree. I also believe that you should focus on what your really good at and hire people to fill in the area that you are not good at. I will be hiring someone for the next year to take over my books so I can focus on sales and being on as many jobs as possible.
Also you are always woking like you said. Like right now I have answered three emails about jobs that are coming up. Time management is key!!
 

evo

Well-Known Member
#33
I'm not, and it's a pain the ass. Where I can, I take notes, come home and put it together digitally to send off as a email. I've noticed that I am getting a greater acceptance of bids/proposals this way I thought it would be the opposite. This may be because it gives the client more time to digest my suggestions, and talk it over to come around to accepting my opinion vs the competition. I also take my time bidding out the jobs, do not act like your in a rush and listen carefully. I do not charge for bids (no one does here) and on average I spend 45 mins per bid, it's easier to make this up by adding your costs into the bid than it is risking not getting the work by rushing through it. Also this gives me a platform to start communications via email which works so much better for me. I can return emails, at 6 am or 10 pm when I can only return calls from 5-6 and then 7-8 as I try to avoid interrupting dinner time (mine and theirs). While on site I may give a general ball park idea of what it would cost. There have been times when the bid is 20% higher, with no issues.
 
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treehumper

Well-Known Member
#35
I'm with Evo on this, go email. Get away from carbon forms. They only encourage you to rush out the estimate when you're busy. Plus they make you look old school and no different than your competitors.

Plus, the cost of email is virtually nothing.
 
#36
When I started our company 10 yrs. ago, we started out straight away with an accountant and using Paychex. It avoided all mistakes with taxes and regs, and only costs about $300 a month, which is cheaper than an audit or the cost of dealing with my wife keeping up with things. Insurance costs run about 8 or 9%. 6 years in and advertising costs went to zero.
As for equipment we started with a 10 yr. old gel 6625 skid and a f700, a 1 ton Chevy (personal/work) and the next year bought a kanga wheel loader and a bucket and a 150xl bandit 12". After 3 years bucket paid off and replaced with a newer Asplundh truck, kanga replaced with mini excavator and boxer track loader and sold the bandit to get a morbark 2400. We run 2 f800 dumps, the bucket, 2 gehls, the boxer, mini ex., a Carlton 4400-4 and trailers as needed.
Things I've learned:
1. Ever time something is paid off trade up or add another piece to help efficiently.
2. Pay good help more than average because it pays to keep them as well as anyone with a license
3. Everything takes longer than you want it to
4. Buy as big as you think you can grow into, not for what will get you by for now
Just my opinion but we're growing well and don't have to carry logs very often
 

oceans

Well-Known Member
#37
Who do you guys use for carbon copy estimate/invoice forms?
I've used 'Invoice2Go' with enough performance for a small company. Others might be better but I hadn't tried them.

It's fairly easy to build up your services in the program as "products" with rates and amounts.

Mostly, I walk around and take time with the client, jotting down the most important notes. Then I fine tune the estimate later and email it off.

You find there are many ways of creating prices. You might also offer "Daily Rates" for clients when there are too numerous items to price out individually. It gives you and the client some breathing room and flexibility.
 

wyoclimber

Well-Known Member
#38
I love doing daily rates for large properties. More often than not, the client decides to add time if they like the quality of work. I'd love to get to a place as an industry where you simply billed for time instead of estimating.
 
#40
I also itemize everything then reduce individual #'s as more the work is agreed on, that way if they choose not to do 5-7 of 10, I can still figure fixed daily costs in as well as be competitive
 
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