I found this thread rather kick a** from the Contractor Talk forum:
Original Post from — D Jones Const:
People are crazy
I started my business a couple of years ago and have had my ups and downs. I do not understand it seems that almost everyone I have worked for are crazy, unreasonable, Do not want to pay for quality, knock me down on price. I am once again having a hard time keeping the faith this week with not much work.
Are people/customers crazy? Or are contractors crazy enough to do work for a price that’s not worth doing the work just to get the work. Other industrys stick to there prices but contractors come into hard times and all the sudden it’s not about how much your product is worth but how badly you need to make your truck payment.
And then contractors are suprised that homeowners think you work for peanuts. BECAUSE guys still don’t get that this line of work is cyclical, your pricing table shouldn’t change when times are good or when times are bad. And if you don’t have enough saved away to get you through the bad times you really shouldn’t be your own boss.
There’s no shame in working for some one who does untill you have enough to go out on your own. Everyones heard of the story of the two travelers. The first traveler comes to the gate keeper and asks how are the people in this village?
The gate keeper asks him how were the people in your last village? The man says they horrible foul crazy people, the gate keeper says you will find the same people in this village. The next traveler asks the same question and in his response to the gate keepers question. He says they were great amazing good people and I’m sorry to have to leave them. The gate keeper says you will find the same people in this village.
If you started your business only a few years ago you likely benefited from the last of the boom–when marketing and sales weren’t all that important to the success of the average contractor. Anyone with a warm body and a truck full of tools could book work and stay busy.
Most guys begin their businesses with a few good projects from their warm network, and in an ideal economy that’s usually enough to prime the pump and keep things going. We’ve not been in an ideal economy for quite some time–but the recession is over and things are definitely going to improve over the next few years. If this is your first cycle–then it likely does look like the sky is falling and a few bad projects for difficult clients might lead you to assume there isn’t a market around anymore for a professional contractor.
The chances are good you have a lot of growing to do as a business owner. I don’t mean that to be condescending in any way. But you have more power over your circumstances than you might imagine. There are certainly more ways to lose money in this business than make it–but those who survive and thrive do so by looking internally. They don’t do it by blaming the market or the economy or the homeowner who made them bleed on the last job.
LEARN. TO. SELL.
It’s not a panacea for every problem you might have–but the average contractor completely and totally sucks at sales and marketing. Generating quality leads and learning to demonstrate and communicate your value to prospects should be your #1 goal.
I’ll add this–I’ve screwed up in about every way you can as I’ve built my company over the last 13 years.
In 2004 I nearly went bankrupt on the heals of my first large remodel. Difficult client. Way underbid. Hired the wrong subs. Hired the wrong employees. It was the perfect storm, and I was lucky to finish the project. I had to borrow a big chunk of money from family to dig my way out–an incredibly humiliating experience.
But I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.
Rather than blaming my misfortune on all the ways I got screwed on that project, and all the people who did the screwing, I looked at all of the things that happened and recognized I had let things happen the way they had. The fault was mine. It was again a very humbling experience–but also an very empowering one. I recognized that it was in my power to prevent those things from happening again. The choices were mine, and I chose to learn from the experience and make damn sure I didn’t make those same mistakes again.
Mike’s Plumbing says:
I had to call it quits today because of the snow storm. I decided to check my emails and the usual CT forum etc and came across this thread and thought I would comment.
I know I have said this a thousand times and I’m sure people are sick out it but it doesn’t hurt to say it one more time………
What’s so different about a great business and a poor business? Attitude.
It’s not the business itself nor is it the economy, it’s all about attitude.
Everybody reading this is no different than Donald Trump, Bill Gates, Andrew Carnegie, or Warren Buffett. We all wear a shirt, pants, shoes, and we all go to work. Can they do something you can’t do? Are they smarter? NO, they are not, it’s all attitude.
Warren Buffett wakes up early every morning and only focuses on what he CAN do with what he HAS. What possible reason would he have to do it any other way? He does this by choice, attitude is 100% choice and it’s free.
The largest problem of a poor attitude is it creates a blind spot for opportunity, even if it’s held right on front of your face you simply can’t see it. Over time this blind spot becomes a habit, and like all habits they become hard to break until one day many years later you become so hard wired to the habit the blind spot becomes part of your soul.
Don’t do this to yourself, don’t become part of this group or you run the serious risk of being hardwired to the blindspot and you will never even see the opportunities available.
We have right now at this very moment more opportunities than we have ever had before. And yes, these opportunities require hard work because it’s not easy, nothing worth having is easy…that’s the beauty, that’s the fun part, that’s what a business owner is made of, and that’s why Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and Andrew Carnegie have what they have. Life is so great they are able to see it clearly, hold that vision and attack it with every ounce of fiber in their body.
If you can’t see it you will never find it, a great attitude is like X-Ray vision, it allows you to see things you wouldn’t normally be able to discover.
Remember something, the Andrew Carnegies of the world have to deal with the recession also but they choose a different path, a different attitude.
To the original poster:
I can tell you from experience you are at a crossroads all of us have come upon ourselves. Take time to sit back and reflect on yourself and your business. If you do this it allows you to seek out and find new opportunities. The experience you have so far has uncovered some of the bad side of construction but I tell you this….. it’s a blessing in disguise, you now know what not to do, you are smarter than you were before you started the business, use it as a springboard and take it to the next level. Don’t get frustrated but instead smile and attack it with vigor and enthusiasm.
You are so close to having a great business but it’s hiding itself, use the experience you gained as an advantage and bring a great attitude and WIN!