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  • #16
    Yes, and I could've done that along the same lines as Chemlawn, lawn doctor, and trugreen. The problem would've been undercapitalization and competition. I still have ideas for that sort of business, but the barriers to entry into the industry remain. You've got to start from a very small local footprint, perfect your methods and systems, then expand.

    As that expansion starts to become self limiting due to distances, the importance of committed employees is key. They've got to step up, take responsibility and develop an ownership mentality. Locating and motivating people to grow into this kind of position is critical for survival and profits, let alone expansion. I just have a hard time finding those kind of individuals in this world. To most the theme is "it's just a job, and as soon as I find something better, I'm gone".

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    • #17
      Do you think the franchise model at all resolves that issue? If they have to buy into it and have skin in the game, would they then want to put more energy into making it happen?
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      • #18
        I'm sure that will help motivate, but where are the guys going to get funded? You could offer a financing plan if it's allowed by the FTC. The main hurtle would be generating a UFOC that proves the case to buy a franchise. Your financials would have to be audited at least three years back. That means your cash jobs and income can't go into hip pocket national bank.

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        • #19
          That is a very good point. Some of my favorite franchise stories were Kinkos, which was a great book. When they got started, they created a business model that worked and then started having their friends take over surrounding areas and then it picked up steam from there. It was just such a fascinating read.

          Also Fast Signs. WOW The way that happened, the guys that started it, just seemed like they had the midas touch. It didn't appear at all that they were even worried about their success.

          Ray Kroc's story with McDonalds was amazing too. You wouldn't think that such a huge company had such a shaky start.

          Do you have a favorite franchise? If so which one?

          I think right now, my favorite is a Harley Davidson dealership although I am not sure if a dealership falls under the franchise umbrella.

          Would you ever want to have your dump truck business franchised out? Could that work where you would have authorized installers around the country?
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          • #20
            Hooters and Outback are my favorite franchises.

            I don't think my business will ever be franchised out to truck equipment installers. I had a list of qualified dealers off my website, but since I can't control their marketing or customer service, I removed it.

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            • #21
              What do you like about the Hooters and Outback franchises? If you could have created either one of them, would you have liked too?
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              • #22
                They overcame adversity to become successful.

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                • #23
                  I haven't read anything about the entrepreneurs who started those companies. I am going to look into it though and see if there are any books on them.
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                  • #24
                    Hooters story:

                    http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company....ry.html

                    Outback story:

                    http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company....ry.html



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                    • #25
                      Oh thank you so much! I never knew about that site and I love reading about businesses. I am going to check all that out now.
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                      • #26
                        ....someone asked for some pictures of my truck lettering? Here's a couple photo's I scanned in over the weekend.


                        Here's a fortunate accident where the driver put it in the ditch when an old lady pulled out in front of him. I'm happy he missed her.



                        A little action with the hydroseeder before it got lettered.


                        That's me on top working the clutch, throttle, and nozzle. I never trusted anyone to keep the mechanicals within it's limits. That and if they broke it I had to not only pay for parts, but do the work for free also.


                        Tree trimming 55 foot bucket truck under renovation. This came in real handy over top of houses and down powerline right of ways. Also had a contract to do trimming along railroad right of ways and crossings.


                        Me on the backhoe doing concrete demolition.


                        My oldest at 6 or 7 getting some hours in on the training wheels.

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                        • #27
                          Oh those are great pictures! Did you buy the bucket truck and then do body work too it or were you just putting on a new coat of paint?

                          I bet your son loved to use the tractors. That seems like something every kid would dream of doing.
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                          • #28
                            The bucket truck was about the fourth truck purchased for the fleet. I bought it used and did the bodywork/paint to preserve the steel and make it pleasing to the eye. One great attachment was the PTO powered front winch. This was a power company truck so it had the fiberglass insulated bucket. Never paint over the fiberglass pole or run wires into the bucket. It could cause the bucket to become grounded thru the truck.

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                            • #29
                              I think all of this is a very good lesson for everyone reading. To be successful, you really need to be multifaceted. You need to be able to do a lot of things.

                              You need knowledge of how to do the service you are providing but also how to do bodywork. Paint vehicles. Fix mechanical parts. All of these things.

                              Don't be afraid to experiment and explore. Eric really has given us a lot of insight as to the skills he was able to utilize.
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                              • #30
                                You sure need to know how to work on lawn mowers. A friend of mine hauled his mowers into the local shop this spring for tune-up and oil change. I offered to do them for free labor just buy the parts. He waited three weeks and paid $65/hour shop rate. I did mine myself this year, he ended up hiring my son on my mowers for a week. So not only did his jobs get delayed, he had to pay shop rate and hire out the work.

                                You can't fix stupid.

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