Starting out on the cheap

Discussion in 'Lets talk Business!' started by Mikey P, Jul 3, 2018.

  1. Mark Saiger
    Mark Saiger

    Mr Happy!

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    Somewhat lucky. Family been in the business so long that gave an advantage... Because family before me made more of the mistakes.

    Grew up with old stainless steel portables... And the family made and sold them...

    Family went to Truckmounts in 70's when they were coming out with some power.

    Restart up bought one of the old family Butlers.

    Used one year interest free credit card to finance (took a chance but was confident) and paid off early so no interest paid.

    Restart was still teaching and hustling everyday to get things going.

    Set out knowing invest and look good... Or go sit on the porch with the other Goobers.
    Todd Millar likes this.
  2. Mikey P
    Mikey P

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    Your comment of never wanting to own a home the other day told me something..

    You're not willing to take chances.
    Thats not a good trait to have if you want to succeed with your buisness.


    Your wife and son deserve more than 100k gross Derrick.


    Go "rent" a truckmount and van.
    Quit doubting yourself, you have the skills and passion, now show your customers your commitment.
  3. Lee Stockwell
    Lee Stockwell

    FOJL

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    After the first six years in business, 1976, coming home with a NEW van was a definite turning point in our business. That and putting a striking sign on it four days later.
    Bob Pruitt, Matt Wood and Mikey P like this.
  4. Derrick T.
    Derrick T.

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    Lease?
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  5. jcooper
    jcooper

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    When you get t the point that using a portable is keeping you from getting done as quick as you want/need to be done it's truckmount time.

    At some point(as you grow with more clients) you will simply not be able to spend 3+ hours doing a two hour job. You will burn out, give up or never be home before 7pm!

    Don't get me wrong, big bills are stressful. But Mike is right, you are generating 75k with a porty... That's kicking ass!

    Get a van first, pay it off then finance the tm if money is tuff.
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  6. Mikey P
    Mikey P

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    lease, or make payments, wont matter much

    You'll never look back and you income will grow like you can't imagine, yet.





    Don't be mad at me for having more faith in you, than you.
    Bob Pruitt, Mark Saiger and Matt Wood like this.
  7. Derrick T.
    Derrick T.

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    How could I be mad at you?

    I was planning on it by the end of this year hopefully...can't build a castle on sand, ya know...
  8. Matt Wood
    Matt Wood

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    I'd be mad at him. I'd actually call him some bad names under my breath.


    But then I'd thank him for being such an asshole to me, once I saw the fruitage from it.
  9. steve_64
    steve_64

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    Going from the bane to the WM woke me up and made me a better cleaner. Raised prices and increased workload.
    Derrick T. likes this.
  10. Jim Pemberton
    Jim Pemberton

    MB Exclusive.

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    A younger me never liked men like Mikey and Larry Capitoni. They weren't back slappers and didn't have anything resembling a good bedside manner. I left their company often feeling stung and annoyed at how bluntly they delivered their thoughts about me or a path I had chosen.

    An older me realizes that it was men like them were who gave me the best advice in my life, and most of the good in my life now has come from following the advice (however unpalatable at the time) men like that gave me.

    I can't tell you how many times I found myself listening to observations like this one when I was young, naive, and more than a bit self righteous.

    Matt Wood, Bob Pruitt and Derrick T. like this.
  11. Mama Fen
    Mama Fen

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    Of all the cleaners we service in this area, the biggest and most successful run truckmounts. There's no denying that.

    BUT.

    Of the dozens of startups I see every year, the guys who spend more time learning, taking it slow, and honing their skills rather than depending on the biggest baddest fire-belching machine to do it all for them have the highest success rate.

    Two of my most successful guys (and by successful I mean their business increases substantially every year and they constantly fire cheap customers) had full-time jobs and picked up portables on the side. They spent a full year (or two) learning how to make that porty perform miracles before they jumped into the carpet cleaning industry full-time. Then, when they got their truckmounts, they were already experts at cleaning chemistry and the various tricks to get rid of the stuff the other guys couldn't.

    If you can clean it with 160-degree water and 200 psi, you can make it SCREAMINGLY clean with better equipment. The biggest difference lies not in the power of the equipment, but moreso in the skill and experience of the user.

    I am notorious for saying that a professional with a Rug Doctor can outclean a neophyte with a truckmount, and I stand by that statement.

    No two business models are the same - some guys are happiest being a one-man show and would frankly drive themselves insane trying to let someone else clean under their name. Others want to grow fast, have multiple trucks, and spend their days in the office answering phones and collecting checks. There's no "one good fit" that guarantees success when it comes to starting up. If you've got enough reserve capital to get you through emergencies during the first 12-18 months, then you base your investment (porty versus TM) more on your long-term plans, not your short-term needs. If you don't have that reserve set aside, you're starting behind the 8-ball anyway and NO equipment is going to save you if your plans go sideways.
  12. Cleanworks
    Cleanworks

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    Great post
  13. Mikey P
    Mikey P

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    NICE post Mama!
  14. Mama Fen
    Mama Fen

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    I run a very small, localized distributorship, so my customer base is also my own life's blood. If my local guys don't succeed, neither does my own company. Every one of them, from the small part-time porty guy to the six-rig monster apartment cleaning company, is important.

    And as such, I don't always please them when I tell them hard truths. I serve them, which isn't the same thing at all.

    They are my great big squabbling dysfuctional family, and I love them all.
  15. Cleanworks
    Cleanworks

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    Kind of like Mikey's board, the squabbling part anyway.
  16. Bob Pruitt
    Bob Pruitt

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    You will need both... but you don't need both to start. Well maintained used will also work just fine for starting. My first machine was a used red old style Rug Doctor rental. Got me started well over 30 years ago.
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  17. Mama Fen
    Mama Fen

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    Well-maintained used can be hard to find sometimes - I tell them if the seller isn't willing to get it vetted at the local shop before taking your money, walk away no matter how good the deal sounds. Hereabouts we get "sneaky freezes" sometimes in the winter (last year we had a particularly brutal run of single-digit nights) and a freeze-damaged truckmount is a right royal pain. Not to mention a money pit.

    But a used porty, even damaged, can often be made functional for less than the cost of a new one.
  18. Russ T.
    Russ T.

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    I still count the Chem Tex Panther 20 among the most expensive mistakes we’ve made.

    I threw 28k CASH at it, along with a used Chevy 1500 van.

    I should have thrown 10k down on a new Butler and gotten serious about marketing much sooner.

    We’d be in a different spot.

    But I wouldn’t be as tough.

    Great thread, Mike.
  19. Bob Pruitt
    Bob Pruitt

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    I once paid 2.5k for a used van with hydra master cds. On ebay. Never looked at it until it was delivered. Owned several new ones before. Worked fine for 4 years until I sold it as part of the business my first time living in Florida. Porty is half the production of TM so that should be factored into cost. And a back brace plus Chiropractor visits.
  20. TomKing
    TomKing

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    Start up
    2006 We bought 3 janitorial accounts for $1,000
    2007 We bought a $1,500 used Bane Clean, $2,500 used Ford Van. All in we had about $8,500 in the truck mount, van, Chem and tools.
    Bill Yeadon came to my house and showed me how to use it. My wife would only allow us to clean one room in the basement. I sat through 2 days of IICRC carpet cleaning instruction.
    We busted our ass because the equipment was under-powered and couldn't do what I was capable of selling us into.
    We used to hook up a water otter so we could clean tile with the Bane.

    Today I would
    Buy a full package Hydramaster, Chevy Van and all the toys. I would want to be able to clean anything we could sell.
    20/20 is always better. We all know a $900 van payment is cake to make a payment on.

    I would not change it. 11 years later. We have the finest rug plant in the state, 4 fully loaded carpet trucks and a retail furniture, flooring and rug store. We employee 15 people, Both my sons , my wife and myself are all able to make a living. We are living the american dream.

    That $1,500 Bane Clean started the ball rolling. It's better to get started than not, but if you can get some coaching do. Bill helped point us in the right direction. Gear & Juice are important but not the key things that brought us to this place. It takes so much more than the right truck mount to build a successful company. Great equipment just makes it easier!

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