How bad did your business get hit in 08-09?

Kenny Hayes

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Right! We cut construction, whether floors, cleanup, or and when a general contractor was involved. They either want to pay after a draw, or worse, at the end of the project. Nope!!!!
 
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steve_64

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Right! We cut construction, whether floors, cleanup, or and when a general contractor was involved. They either want to pay after a draw, or worse, at the end of the project. Nope!!!!
Yeah we got told today he isn't paying till the job is done but we started it about 6 weeks ago and was told to do a final over 3 weeks ago and they expect us to come reeclean it after 3 more weeks of repairs are done. We pushed and busted ass to meet the first deadline that didn't need to be done. We also charged an additional $500 for the poor painting job and other contractors doing shit work making it harder for us. That's what started it. No better way to get someone's attention than to bill them for the additional work.
 

steve_64

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Ruh roh the dealership just let us go due to financial reasons. Our 2nd biggest account at $25,000 a year.
Might have to keep the new construction work a little longer.
Picked up a new custodial account starting tonight with carpet too.

This business can be brutal.
 
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Lee Stockwell
Ruh roh the dealership just let us go due to financial reasons. Our 2nd biggest account at $25,000 a year.
Might have to keep the new construction work a little longer.
Picked up a new custodial account starting tonight with carpet too.

This business can be brutal.
I never again want one customer to be over 30% of our business.
 

Kenny Hayes

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Right on. I worried about that for years and I still have one. But, I no longer lose sleep over it. I’m positioned where if they go, so be it. Covid did help me see that through. I lost it all for a while🤷🏼‍♂️
 
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steve_64

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I never again want one customer to be over 30% of our business.
We did $165 last year. We could lose them both to hit 30 percent. Almost.

I just raised prices on 3 complexes one owner. Probably my 4th or 5th highest customer. My first apartments first year I started and still have them.

The dealership was gravy and hope to get it back next year. I'll still do carpet and I'm going to ask about windows still. It will be nice to have some rest and free time for awhile.
 

sOOper hero

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by then, I was burnt out with CC'ing (18 years on the wand by then)
Had been letting res wither on the vine and cherry picking for years (since '01 when our transition into rehab in a major way started happening)

we (me and my two main men with me for years) cruised thru 08-09 relatively smooth if I recall
If I recall any issues, it wasn't the lack of work, it was the slow pay from more than usual

..L.T.A.
 
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Jim Pemberton

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I never again want one customer to be over 30% of our business.

Its said that if you have a customer whose business represents 50% of your sales (not 30% in this case, to be clear), you don't have a customer, you have a business partner.

At that level, or even close to that level, you are so dependent on them that they can dictate your pricing, scheduling, payment arrangements, etc.
 

steve_64

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Talked to the owner today for the new construction and ratted out the others. We had a lot to go over. Told him we were considering quitting and he said no he doesn't want that.
So now I need to go talk to the dealership about a monthly deep cleaning instead of 3 days a week.
 

Kenny Hayes

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Now your getting smart. They just use you as a small financial source. Why bother? I don’t know why they don’t use temporary labor for that anyway, except they’d have to supervise em. I‘ve done it over the years and made money. Good ones paid in a timely manner, but it was hit and miss. Finally, came to the same conclusion as you have.
 
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steve_64

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Now your getting smart. They just use you as a small financial source. Why bother? I don’t know why they don’t use temporary labor for that anyway, except they’d have to supervise em. I‘ve done it over the years and made money. Good ones paid in a timely manner, but it was hit and miss. Finally, came to the same conclusion as you have.
It's just not enough hourly for what we put into it. Then to add the attitudes and slow pay. And the being too tired all the time not focusing on better paying jobs.
Time to make some changes again.
 

Kenny Hayes

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Its said that if you have a customer whose business represents 50% of your sales (not 30% in this case, to be clear), you don't have a customer, you have a business partner.

At that level, or even close to that level, you are so dependent on them that they can dictate your pricing, scheduling, payment arrangements, etc.
That is true and my largest and longest is huge to us. $250k annually. That concerned me for years and I lost sleep over it. Obviously, things could change overnight. However, they depend on us for Everything, and I do mean everything, that it would take a while to shake us lose. But, it also worked to our advantage to be able to carve out the niche we have. They provide running cash flow that most don’t have the ability to get. So, even during 08, we didn’t notice. Even during the lockdown, we were nervous, but not afraid.
 
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Kenny Hayes

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Another reason I don’t lose much sleep now is today I could start drawing my own SS and we will draw 4K without moving. That takes the pressure off🤷🏼‍♂️
 
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PrimaDonna

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08-09 was a turning point for us. We found that many of the McMansion owners, all that had the white or off white builder grade carpets throughout, couldn't afford $15-20 to replace the carpets in the house, but had no problem coming up with $2,000+ to clean. It opened a whole new demographic for us, as we were positioning ourselves to get out of the "coupon cleaner" mind set. These customers were amazed at how clean the carpets came, when they thought replacement was the only option.

Cleaning was going to be a band aid to get them through until things bounced back and they could afford to replace. They realized they didn't have to replace and then used us regularly and referred us to others. While we lost a lot of our old time 2-3 room customers that had been with us for 15 years and didn't have as much disposable income, we gained these larger jobs. Our average job ticket rose and our costs went down, not having to drive all over and do multiple small jobs to make the same amount in one day.

These customers were also happy to pay for protector. It forced us to diversify our services since they had needs for other surfaces like tile and grout, hardwood floors, granite counters etc. If you a positioned correctly, I think there are great opportunities out there to capitalize on a downturn when people are being more cautious on what they spend.
 

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