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  #21  
Old 03-05-2010, 08:21 PM
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hmm thats amazing. how did you get into the excavation from working with wood?
I am semi retired, 8 years ago I took over a Security Company that a good lawyer friend owned, he gave me a good sized ownership and the plan was to grow and sell, we did monitoring of homes, business's, went from the smallest in North America to the second largest in 8 years. I got the company involved in GPS tracking, anything from vehicles to offenders on a conditional sentence, we grew to just over 450 employees from 6.

I resigned in January of last year, it's simply wasn't fun anymore, my son had been using some of my equipment in the summer of 2008 with three University friends doing small landscaping/mowing jobs.

Anyhow he said to me in January why don't we start a lawn care/landscaping business so we can work together when I am not in school so I did the research and started the company.

We had 12+ employees most of last summer and we offer just about any service a home owner could want.

My first run at lawn care was at the age of 13, I had three employees, starting and building companies is simply in my blood, I set the bar higher than what the trunk slammers can afford and stay under the radar of the big guys until I am established then I take off and take them on.

That is kind of the short and sweet of it, my background is Corporate Finance, I was the youngest Vice President of Canada's largest bank for 14 years, gained a tremendous amount of knowledge and skills doing that, refused a transfer in 1994 and took a package, worked with a Canadian company exploring for gold in west Africa for two years, raised 26 million for them and then left with a very good package as I hated the travel, especially when I had two young kids, built homes for two years and sold that business, worked in the shop for a year and did great, then I moved into the security company.

For now and probably until I am on the other side of the grass, I do woodworking in the winter months and landscaping/excavation/lawn care in the summer. We will probably run with 16 to 20 employees this summer as we added a lot of equipment late in the season, I will post pictures Monday as it's all being delivered.

We can now build Septic fields and rock retaining walls, very big money in these two areas, basically a grand a day plus per crew and I have the equipment to run three crews in this area alone. We continue to offer lawn care however it is a very small fraction dollar wise of what we do.
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Last edited by picframer; 03-05-2010 at 08:24 PM.
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  #22  
Old 03-05-2010, 08:43 PM
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very very interesting. You could seriously write a book! Its inspiring. And on top of that you raised an Olympic competitor. The excavation always intimidated me when I thought about it, recommend any good resources for that stuff?
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  #23  
Old 03-05-2010, 08:52 PM
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very very interesting. You could seriously write a book! Its inspiring. And on top of that you raised an Olympic competitor. The excavation always intimidated me when I thought about it, recommend any good resources for that stuff?
No bud it's very easy, gosh my daughter who was 15 started running a backhoe on my tractor with only 20 min instruction, last summer she and her best friend were running our mid sized excavator on our property.

There is a lot of money in excavation, if you go right down the middle in size as most companies simply don't have them, their gear is either too big or too small. We started moving into the bigger gear late in the season due to demand, we now have three excavators and 7 tractors with loaders, three backhoe's, all serve a purpose.

The community college's around here have a winter course you can take but it's pretty simple to learn, what is harder is reading grades, I have trained 12 employees on excavators/loaders and backhoe's, generally speaking 3 hours and they are pretty good to go, the fine work simply takes practise.

I do all the commercial demo's for the local Deere dealership, I can show someone the basics in about 20 min and let them go, generally I am beside them giving pointers, it's a lot of fun.
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  #24  
Old 03-05-2010, 08:56 PM
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yea the grading and code of things is what is intimadating. You just got more and more calls for big jobs like that and decided hey Im going all in...?
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  #25  
Old 03-05-2010, 09:08 PM
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yea the grading and code of things is what is intimadating. You just got more and more calls for big jobs like that and decided hey Im going all in...?
I wasn't sure how big I wanted to make the company as I wanted to have fun yet I find it hard saying no we can't do that. I am fortunate to have the capital to dump into this as it's wasn't a cheap year although the company will be debt free after this season which is pretty amazing.

I wanted to be able to build septic fields so I finished the course two weeks ago, that required a little bigger excavator, then so many people were asking us about rock walls, some of these walls fo for 20 grand plus and if you have the gear it's pretty simple, thus we bought a 60D excavator which is finally ready, deere sent the wrong thunb for it three times but it's down season so I didn't sweat it.

That gives us a mini, mid sized and 15 ton excavator, basically there isn't anything we can't offer, I bought the extended arm for the 60D so I can reach something like 22 feet which is great.

If you are every up this way on holidays or anyone here for that matter and want to hang out for a day, you are more than welcome to tag along.
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  #26  
Old 03-05-2010, 09:21 PM
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very cool. I appreciate that and will hold you to it if the situation comes about lol.
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  #27  
Old 03-05-2010, 09:55 PM
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Picframer

I bet you could inspire the world with your life experiences.

And hey, maybe you should write a book?!

You've basically just tied with Arnold Schwarzenegger with that post you made.

Very good man! Very good!
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  #28  
Old 03-06-2010, 01:43 AM
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Wood working is something I always thought I would enjoy. My brother did some of that for a while and now is running his own construction company. And Andy, I have said it before, and I will continue to say it, you amaze me and inspire me to hang in there.

Also, what is it about these cheap lathes that make them dangerous and not worth owning? Is it the bearings? or is there a safety device that doesn't properly function? Some of these look like nothing more than a motor, the 2 centers and the frame holding it all.

What about Grizzly lathes, are they any good? Dang it, something else that I would like to spend money on!! lol
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  #29  
Old 03-06-2010, 04:19 AM
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There were quite a few issues and I am told this is now fixed, keep in mind this was quite a few years ago, the tail stock was creeping fo the wood would fly out, the mandrel would not stay in the mortise and tennon of the head properly, I forget what other issues we had but it wasn't a fun experience.

Grizzly is not sold in Canada nor will they ship here so I honestly have no idea.
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  #30  
Old 03-06-2010, 01:39 PM
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Wow, thats crazy! I mean, do they really not try these machines out or what?!?!?! As far as Grizzly, they are china made so their quality may well be in question. I have seen some of their other products and all of them I have seen have the cheap appearance. I know I don't have the money so I may as well look the other way and forget wood working!!! lol
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