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How many people here started their business part time?

Discussion in 'Arborist 101' started by tbk125, Jul 17, 2019.

  1. tbk125

    tbk125 ArboristSite Lurker

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    Probably not a popular question but.. how many people started their business part time? If you did, what worked and what went wrong? Any lessons learned that you can share?
     
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  2. ATH

    ATH Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I did...had a decent job, but didn't love it. I had a fair amount of flexibility and used all vacation time doing tree work. Most lunch breaks during the busy season were used to do bids. Then another visit or 2 on the way home. It would have been pretty tough if I needed to schedule vacation days ahead of time...but as long as there wasn't something else critical scheduled or I didn't.have appointments set, my boss was OK with me calling in day of. I tried hard to not take advantage of that and plan a week ahead. I was upfront with previous what I was doing.
     
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  3. tbk125

    tbk125 ArboristSite Lurker

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    How did you learn all the necessary skills? What sort of jobs did you start out with?
     
  4. ATH

    ATH Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I have a forestry degree...so I had a good foundation for learning arboriculture.

    Lots of reading (Shigo, Gilman, et. al.), workshops, conferences, etc...
     
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  5. Oldmaple

    Oldmaple Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I quit my job as an arborist for another tree company when I started my own business. It was certainly part time due to not having clients but I didn't have another job. Be careful about the jobs you take on, taking into account your skill level and equipment you have. Having a lot of payments often leads to quoting jobs out of desperation for needing work and not considering profitability. Not having enough money put away to get through the downturns (slow periods) kills a lot of businesses. I always tried to work on Saturday for the free advertising. It is rarely a secret that a tree company is working in the area due to the noise, equipment on the street, etc. and gives you free advertising and opportunities for quoting work. People are always stopping when we are working and asking for quotes, so if you are working on Saturday it is more likely people will be home.
     
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  6. northmanlogging

    northmanlogging The gyppo's gyppo

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    Part timed it for about 4 years.

    It allowed me to learn from my mistakes without starving (obviously), and I managed to purchase all of my equipment out right without relying on banks, one piece at a time, but I didn't pay interest on any of it.

    But it's a lot of extra stress, and you better be on top of your game for the straight job cause you'll be the first to go if there is any kind of hiccup.

    The best part, is when you've got enough squirelled away and you can tell the boss man exactly where to place his lips, or in my case get fired and not give a F*[&
     
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  7. Capitalist

    Capitalist Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I did.
    I left six figures to go and make 40k.
    I realized it was time after watching and listening to my former employer.

    When I started with his company we had three employees and he was just fixing to boom because he had the balls and the best trio of guys he could have ever dreamed of.

    He now has over 100 employees and is worth over 100 million.

    I respected and listened to everything he said. It was damn hard to quit. I had that fear knot in my gut for weeks but I soon became comfortable with it. That fear of where will your next meal come from drives you to do better. You can never lose that.

    I went from working on hazardous trees after work and on weekends to scraping by the first few years. I kept a good reputation. I have never had a dissatisfied customer. That fact cost me money a few times and made me question my sanity sometimes but I built one hell of a reputation.

    If a twig breaks someone mentions my name. I am slowly diversifying, but it is a process. I thank God for every job and bust my butt.

    Starting from nothing will either make you arrogant or humble. Believe me, it made me very humble. I am not anything special but am blessed to live where I do and know the people I know. Everything could fall apart at any time but my girlfriend was able to leave her job she hated and stay at home.

    May this post be an out loud prayer that my success continues.

    Our little family is grateful and we show it. My girlfriend was raised dirt poor like me and never had anyone pay a damn thing for her. She is the only member of her family to have it together. It would kill me if she had to go back to work.

    I do not mean it in arrogance but I can't work employed having seen what I have and knowing what I know. I dont believe there is a tree on this planet I cant take down in a cost effective manner. I learned my way. No one or school walked me through anything. I logged timber as a kid but what I do now is an entirely different game.

    I started this as a side deal because I was tired of making others rich for middle pay. I was damn good at my job. I was very appreciated.

    One day I got down into the trench to tap a water main and looked at all the newbies jaw jacking while I was the ground leader having to do all the hard nasty jobs so they would get done. I realized I would never advance beyond my position because I was too valuable where I was. Right then, I just knew it was time.

    I said a prayer and told the owners son who was the foreman, "This will be my last job."

    I was scared as hell and knew what awaited me, but I will never regret it.

    It takes a few years of working 16 hr minimum days to get a start up in my business being part time. By that I mean you gotta get your name out heavy becore you leave. I am no arborist. I am a contractor tgat does a little dirt work and a lot of hazardous trees.

    That "knot" I spoke of you must listen to. It's the driving force.

    People can get as political as they want but right now in the United States, if you have the balls and drive... You can do any damn thing.

    Plan your attack, get your affairs in order.

    When its time you will know when to pull your hat down and run out into the storm.

    Don't burn bridges.
    I see local guys online trying to cut at people on facebook etc or burning bridges with their employers when they leave.

    DON'T DO THAT!

    2018 was the worst year for me ever.
    My former employee threw men 10 grand of work on one of his pipe jobs removing trees he couldn't near homes.

    If it wasn't for that fortunate boost I would be no more.

    If you have spending problems, planning problems, a bad attitude towards customers or the public, or surround yourself with people that do, you will fall flat on your face.

    The difference between employed and self employed is the willingness to do whatever it takes. *And acting on it*

    I don't love my job all the time. One day I would like to do something else. That all depends on how hard I go at this. Some days I sit in my truck at a job hurting and tired with my redbull and ephedrine listening to Rob Bailey or FFDP for thirty minutes or more getting psyched up and motivated to do what I must.

    Other traits to success:
    Be clean and polite.
    Always appear capable.
    Make a decision and stick with it come hell.
    Hold yourself accountable and be hard on yourself.
    Pay attention to your bid history.
    Know your customer base.
    Always go the extra mile. (This is a big one, every job I do some little extra not in the bid so my customers are smiling when I leave)
    BE CONFIDENT! You run this show so believe in yourself!
    Give everyone a distinct reason to refer you.
    Never appear broke. If anything brag about how happy and well you are doing.
    Learn to read people immediately. Get a sense of their demeanor and status. They all have a number, learn to find it fast, but never rush a bid. It won't kill them if you say you are going to spend a bit of time finding the most cost effective way. Every bid I ever screwed up on was rushed.
    Take everything into consideration and leave a small safety net. You control the conversations and quell their fears before they ask. Have an insurance certificate waiting for them. I cant count the number of times I have said that "I am not a fly by night company, I have never had a dissatisfied customer, and have built a rock solid reputation."
    Never accept pay before a job is complete even if they offer. Its a bad image.
    There are fly by nights everywhere that screw people constantly. You want to sort yourself as far away from them as possible right off the bat. I lose very very few bids and am often not the cheapest bid. People want capability and confidence more than a lowballer. Appeal is a hard thing to learn if it isn't natural.

    I used to be scared bidding jobs and sucked at it. Now bidding a big job is my favorite part. Hell, I get to drive and listen to good music. I tune my life out and focus on the adrenaline of the gamble. I love the drive home from a large commercial bid! Gives me a hard on! I get home stoked unable to sit and start organizing things.

    May I do all I can to further my family and may God continue bless us as he has.

    Stay healthy and safe.
     
  8. ChoppyChoppy

    ChoppyChoppy Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Most folks around here do at least 6 day weeks.
    The 9-5 M-F doesnt exist being self emoloyed.
    Even when "off" it's still not.
    I had to setup my phone to not ring from 10pm to 7am other than numbers in my contacts.
     
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  9. tbk125

    tbk125 ArboristSite Lurker

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    What sorta business was that? 100 million geez
     
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  10. Capitalist

    Capitalist Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I was actually selling him short.
    Excavating.

    I learned a lot from him and try to emulate guys like him.
    About 10 years before the guy was living in an apartment.

    He truly started from scratch.

    At some point transitioning from middle or upper middle class just simply requires balls to bid a commercial or private job that is much more than you are equipped to do and pulling it off anyway.

    Lots of guys that could bid city jobs for road and service line clearance that could do it simply are too scared.

    Residential suburbia etc is good bread and butter money. Big money takes balls and bonds.

    That guy stepped onto jobs so under equipped the first couple years I was with him it was laughable.

    No one is laughing now. One day he started rolling in a new excavator, wheel loader, truck, or trailer every week.

    Most small outfits are scared of things like certified payroll and prevailing wage. Not to mention most cant post a bond high enough for the big money jobs. It took a bit but now he is king kong.

    He told me the only reason he does it is for the adrenaline. He lives in a $250,000 modest house. He is the perfect model of what it takes.
     
  11. Capitalist

    Capitalist Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Another thing I have noticed is that his nearby competition lives comfortably but never got rich brcause they just didnt have the stones to step up to a big contract that would mean the end of their company if they failed.

    They played it safe which is smart, but safety only gets you so far.

    I will never forget when he did a military base contract. It was his first federal contract and he was ******** bricks.

    It turned out to be the most lax job we were ever on. We kicked butt and he made good money. Miss being his slave sometimes lol
     
  12. Capitalist

    Capitalist Addicted to ArboristSite

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    One last tip.
    Once in a blue moon you will run across a sweet old lady that cant afford to live hardly but wants a small job done though she cant afford it.

    Don't charge her. Give them a bid and when you are done say no charge.
    Sometimes you won't get a reward other than busting your ass to help someone.
    I have done very few for free.

    The last one though broke down crying when I said no charge and hugged me. It was pretty rough I wasn't expecting that.
    She told her friends and they referred me to ten or more jobs.

    Sometimes the least is the greatest.
    Charity work is one thing a fly by night joke of a tree service will never do. In fact most of them seek elderly to screw over.
    Word gets around and things like that give you a huge image in the area.

    This is just part of distancing yourself from the losers.

    Another....
    A storm came through and knocked some branches into the community librarys yard. I just picked them up cuz my truck was right there and why not. What I didnt know was that the pharmacist saw me.
    He had me take down a dozen or so trees and started handing out my business cards. He even made a sign and put it on his door. When someone everyone likes and has known for years says to use your services it is better than any advertisement you can buy.

    Thats thousands of dollars of work stemming from a couple of little charity jobs that only took a few hours. If you don't do good things when they are needed, good people are less likely to find you.
     
  13. backhoelover

    backhoelover Free service manuals and service tool info

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    Been running my business part time for 8+ years. Open all day Saturday and Sunday. I’m the only shop open on Sundays and that’s has made my business. On Sunday I have seen as many as 12 commercial mowers. At first it was a headache, but after a few months I got to where I had the needed parts in stock . I’m the only shop in my areas that carries efi parts in stock and I do quick services. (Bring your mower and sit in your vehicle while I do a quick service) and commercial shop love it.
     
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  14. Oldmaple

    Oldmaple Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Yes, self employed is always being on. When I first started I didn't have production work for 6 days a week but still worked Saturdays for the exposure. Now as the need for refilling the bankroll is less, I don't need the exposure.
     
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  15. gmwilkes

    gmwilkes New Member

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    I’m in the process of starting up my own business. Will be completely part time as my shifts, 12 hour days but work rotating schedule every 2 weeks that gives me 7 days off each cycle, allow me the flexibility to work extra. My hope is to eventually get to where I can either work full time at my own business and quit my current career or build it to where I have employees and I can only manage it. It will take time but I’m hoping this is the right way to do it in my current situation. I know it’ll be a lot but I am confident I can manage both in the long run if I decide to work my current career to retirement.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  16. RyKR

    RyKR ArboristSite Member

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    Be careful if choosing a partner. If you need a partner, make sure that they have skills or traits that you do not. They also need to have the same goal. Hold them accountable to hold up their end of the bargain.
     
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