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Joined: Apr 2003
Posts: 362
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Is it better to grow to have many trucks and crews or stay small, with just a few trucks and crews or stay as a 1 man shop? There is no wrong answer just opinion.


Ob


Choose your customers, don't let them choose you.
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G
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It all depends on your market projection. If you really believe the market is growing you should grow with it.


Greg Fretwell
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From my own limited view, I would hazard a guess that the 'ideal' size for a small shop is:

3 trucks- 3 with a journeyman and 2 with a helper;
1 person to answer the phone and do the books; and,
1 person to meet customers, visit City Hall, stand inspections, etc.

We're talking eight people there. You need the trucks to support the 'office' people. There just aren't enough hours in the day to do all you need to do.

You can limp along with a smaller shop - but that's what you do ... limp along, from down time to down time. Even then, scheduling is critical. For example, I know one guy who 'works' Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday- and reserves Wednesday for sales, bookkeeping, etc. I know another 1-man shop that uses the labor pool for helpers when needed, and hires a CPA to do all his bookwork.

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I have to go with Greg, it depends on what you want to attempt and accomplish. My only advice is to 'grow with patience'!



John
Joined: Apr 2003
Posts: 362
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So is it all worth it? Reno The headaches that go along with the size? I will probable have to go back to working for some builders(yuck)but it would be easy enough to do.


Choose your customers, don't let them choose you.
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Cat Servant
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Obsaleet, to be honest I never reached 'critical mass.' My business was in a death spiral when I took over an existing customer base, and I never was able to pull out.

My 'size' comments are based upon what I saw in successful shops.

Joined: Apr 2002
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Ob:
FWIW, I 'grew' from myself & 1 man to 3 trucks and a 55' TECO bucket, and stayed sane & busy! It was a great ride for many years, thru a few 'recessions'.

I got out in 2006, and I can say I have not looked back or have any regrets.

A few guys I know had 10+ crews (resi primarily) and shrunk down to 2 with the downturn. Another just recently bounced back to 25+ guys; another is struggling with two men.

The best decission is one that you make, based on your market niche, and that you will be confortable with.

My two cents.



John
Joined: Apr 2003
Posts: 362
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Thanks! John,
This is my feeling. We have been ready to to take the next step. I guess its the hardest step. Means less time with the tools for me. Thats good and bad. lol Did you find the monetery benefit with additional crew? I have talked to some who have scaled back, that say they make just as much with less headaches by them selves?

Ob


Choose your customers, don't let them choose you.
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Ob:
I had good times and bad times over the years, like most, if not all of us.

Profitability for the owner sometimes cannot be 'judged' by a weekly paycheck amount, but by the overall results and assets of the business.

Yes, I had periods where the payroll was 'made', the bills were paid, and I had a few bucks to get by on.

I thing most, if not all of us that are self employed have been down that road.

Good luck on your decission, and I forgot to ask...are you going into solar or any RE??



John
Joined: Apr 2003
Posts: 362
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John,
I've been keeping up on solar, but not venturing into it. The state makes it real tricky to get certified. Like you must have 3 jobs completed before you can get the cert. Than how do you get the cert. The paperwork ugh! I'll just keep pluggin away for now! Not sure what Re is? I have signed on as an associate switching peoples power generation provider. Have saved a few folks some money so far. Have you switched yet?Thanks for your imput.

Ob

Last edited by Obsaleet; 03/02/11 10:11 PM.

Choose your customers, don't let them choose you.
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