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Chipperclown

How to grow my business, how did you grow yours?

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Its simple really. I have had my own business for 4 years now and its grown steadily over that time so I have no complaints. However I feel at this stage that I want to increase my business income etc.

 

My situation is as follows, I have a great bunch of very good subcontractor climbers, groundies, stumpies & so on, all top notch. I have the equipment I need from day to day and if there is something I do not have, I have people in the trade who can assist. I mainly do residential work but I have had a few commercial jobs lately (by chance). 

 

I would be interested in your thoughts of how to grow my business and how you have grown yours. Any advice, tips and commercial experience would be greatly appreciated so thanks in advance for your time.

 

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Sometimes I think the owner operator model is the best way to stay. 

Nice kit looked after, choose your jobs. Sure you have to stay on the tools.. But there is a lot less agro.

 

The alternative (which I have followed) involves getting multiple teams who never look after the kit the way you do, staff nightmares and your life spent on the phone and at a desk...  I do have a good bunch of guys, but I think I could have been financially better off if I had stayed small, it deffo would be less stressful and I wouldn't have had to spend so much time out of work exercising to stop getting fat..

 

So I would invest in bigger better kit to make your life easier. 

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What Ben said basically

 

Theres 2 ways of doing things.  The way you are doing it by using good subcontractors....I'd imagine you are paying them well, you get very few headaches, jobs get done, but the additional outlay for that privilege inhibits growth.

 

The alternative, take on staff, pay them less than your subbies, earn more money....but have a whole bunch of headaches to go with it!

 

What are you doing for advertising etc?

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Not about trees but it made sense to me.
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8 hours ago, benedmonds said:

Sometimes I think the owner operator model is the best way to stay. 

Nice kit looked after, choose your jobs. Sure you have to stay on the tools.. But there is a lot less agro.

 

The alternative (which I have followed) involves getting multiple teams who never look after the kit the way you do, staff nightmares and your life spent on the phone and at a desk...  I do have a good bunch of guys, but I think I could have been financially better off if I had stayed small, it deffo would be less stressful and I wouldn't have had to spend so much time out of work exercising to stop getting fat..

 

So I would invest in bigger better kit to make your life easier. 

Interesting post Ben, I guess I have followed the stay small/keep your money model.

 

Have you factored in the sale of your business at the end of the day?  For guys like me the actual business is only worth the equipment. For you surely there’s a dividend for all your hard work?

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44 minutes ago, Mick Dempsey said:

Interesting post Ben, I guess I have followed the stay small/keep your money model.

 

Have you factored in the sale of your business at the end of the day?  For guys like me the actual business is only worth the equipment. For you surely there’s a dividend for all your hard work?

The sale of the business at the end of the day is the holy grail.. I am not sure it happens often.

 

The other possibility if you go big is to be able to take a step away from the actual day to day running of the business and have managers take over. This appeals to me, as potentially I would basically be able to keep working at whatever level I want. I am not there yet, and unfortunately to get to that level is involving years of working with not enough hours in the day.....

 

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For me, I always prfer to be on the job doing it myself, consistent quality of work and all my kit is looked after. Iv been going nearly ten years on my own and it’s still only me and another lad as and when. I like the fact that if I finish the job earlier I can either just have the day off of if I’m feeling productjve- go on to another one, but with out the obligation to find and organise the work for lots of staff. Il never be rich doing it this way- but I enjoy, it pays the bills, I can take take pride in my work and my machinery, and my stress levels out lower. There is enough headaches just dealing with customers without added stress on top.

Also keeping it small scale means you can pick and choose jobs that suit you rather than having to take on all sorts of crap to keep lads and kit busy.

 

The grass isn’t always greener comes to mind 

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Growing is good but beware of creating a monster you struggle to feed in the leaner times. 

Best of luck mate👍

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I certainly have not grown my business size wise in the 12 years I have owned it.Machinery and capacity to do work has increased four fold,as has the profit and turn over.

 

Here the number of employees do not increase the profit exponentially,rather mostly increase cost untill you reach the magic number 10.

 

 If I was to say what I did to grow my business it would be these things.

 

Being cheaper than everyone else,but doing everything faster.

 

Being able to fix the machines myself,this lowers the initial cost as you can buy used gear and eliminates repair bills.

 

Having two of everything,two chippers,two trucks,etc.No down time when you cannot get something fixed overnight.

 

Having no client wait more than 24 hours for a quote,preferably the same day.

 

Finally in just the last year I took the plunge and bought a Valtra and Crane fed chipper.This has opened doors for me into the commercial market. 

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