How To Start All Over? Triumph Over Tragedy?

 
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Old 08-25-2008, 04:29 PM   #1
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How To Start All Over? Triumph Over Tragedy?


Hi,

Not sure I should post this, but here I go....

Over a year 1/2 ago, my 2 year old daughter was diagnosed with a terminal bone marrow disease. Her chance of survival was less than 30% past 3 months without a donor (which she does not have) and yet, to make a long story short, after many transfusions, treatments, etc etc, she is still here with us. This is what matters most.

Financially and professionally, this challenge has devastated us. My wife was forced to quit work, we had another child in hopes that he/she would be a donor match (older son is not, younger one not it either). My business used to do very well, we had a nice house, cars, traveled enough...regular comfortable people with enough money in the bank to see the hard times through....or so we thought....

Needless to say, we lost it all. We have just moved into another home about 2 hours away from where we lived 10 years (which we will probably lose soon), dropped our cars, wasted all money in savings on medical care and expenses while we were in the hospital with our child for 6 months....Perfect credit went to garbage and on top of that...the housing/real estate/construction business collapsed.

Now I commute to work and are forced to stay in the area I work, so I barely see my family (only in the weekends) and of course this is killing me. I dont know what to do, I've never had to advertise, never had problems finding work as I had plenty of referrals, but I am forced to do something now. I've never really had to worry about losing my home to non-payment or having my light turned off and not providing for my family...this is all new to me and yet I'm trying to rise from this situation and move on.

Here's my question to you all....WHAT WOULD YOU DO TO START OVER, in a new area with a limited budget? I have been reading posts on advertising for days now on this site, and am still confused. What gives the best immediate return? At this point, money in advertising spent will be money taken away from bills that need to get paid....so I would like to know which risk is best to take. I don't have much, maybe, maybe, maybe I can take $700 and put it to work somehow. Maybe a couple of hundred a month going forward....

Sorry for the long, boring email. I'm new here, my worries are my own, but I thought if you understand my immediate situation, you can advise me in a more direct way.

Thank you so much!
Sevi

Last edited by CornerstoneGC; 08-25-2008 at 04:34 PM.
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Old 08-25-2008, 04:53 PM   #2
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Re: How To Start All Over? Triumph Over Tragedy?


wow, you have your hands full, i hope and pray things begin to improve for you soon, sounds like they have, since your daughter is doing ok. where are you located ? what type of jobs do you want to go after? do you have any relationships at any lumberyards?

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Old 08-25-2008, 05:04 PM   #3
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Re: How To Start All Over? Triumph Over Tragedy?


Thank you for your thoughts and prayer. I am located in Port Saint Lucie, FL about 40 minutes from West Palm Beach. I have well-off neighborhoods within a 30 min reach, in particular Stuart and Jupiter Island where many wealthy celebrities live, then middle class areas throughout.

I am a licensed GC, but specialize in residential remodeling. My ultimate specialty is marble flooring and bathrooms. I do kitchens as well, drywall, painting, doors, etc. Not looking for major GC work as additions or building 2nd stories, etc....just remodeling. I'm a perfectionist at what I do, have tons of references and that's how I've always made it...never left a client unsatisfied. Now, I need to start all over in this new area...and don't know how.....

Thanks!
Sevi

Last edited by CornerstoneGC; 08-25-2008 at 05:23 PM.
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Old 08-25-2008, 05:13 PM   #4
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Re: How To Start All Over? Triumph Over Tragedy?


sevi, i noticed you are running 2 threads, i read and got a little more info on your location and backround. advertising in the usual ways are a long , drawn out, process, at best, magnets , flyers, pennysavers, waste of time and $, imo. you need quick results, you need to start fast, hit the ground running. nothing generates work better than a personal referance. thats why i mentioned supply yards, stone and tile yards etc.. without spelling it out, what do you think would generate more work $700 worth of refridgerator magnets, or a $700 shopping spree given to a top salesperson at a busy tile store. you need to build relations from the inside out. this is just an example i am not suggesting you do this.
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Old 08-25-2008, 07:55 PM   #5
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Re: How To Start All Over? Triumph Over Tragedy?


sevi,
i feel for ya! and i will pray for ya as well. listening to your story makes all my problems seem small, for i love my daughter and could not imagine what you must be going thru. with this being said go out and start knocking on doors. i have done this for years and the results are amazing if you have fortatude and from what i just read i believe you do.
some may say they don't feel right doing this but the fact remains that it cost you nothing but some business cards or flyers that you probably alrweady have. just start wLKING AND KNOCKING
if you stick with it inside a week you will have multiple estimates or jobs depends on how you handle your sales part.
hope this helps and may god bless you and your family and tho it may be a tough time for ya " i'm sure thats an understatement" remember god has a plan for all and tho it may not seem like it now someday his plan will unfold for you and you will look back upon all of your life experiences and see how everything fit together thuout your life without even you knowing it. keep the faith brother and make sure you keep us informed and updated on your lifes journey as i'm sure we are all now interested in how everything turns out for ya. and you can be sure that many on here will keep you and yours in thier prayers.
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Old 08-25-2008, 08:44 PM   #6
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Re: How To Start All Over? Triumph Over Tragedy?


You have previous jobs as reference.

You probably have experience that you can show off in a photo album.

You also have a legitimate reason for starting fresh to get going again.

Tell your story.

Make a flyer seeking an opportunity to turn the home owners dreams into a reality from someone who really has a Truer Purpose in life and a valid reason for needing to establish new business in your current area.

I do not know your daughters name, but I would use my desire to pay for her health and comfort as a message and call to action.

Sir, I sincerely hope that feeling your pain and sharing it with others does not infer any additional agony towards you by my following attempt at making a humble marketing pitch for your efforts. I would go to all of the show rooms with flyers and also leave them hanging wherever I could find some space on an advertising cork board, such as Bank Lobbies and Grocery Store entrances. I really hope that I am not out of line with the following suggestion.

Remodeling For Renee'

I have 2 passions in life.

One for providing the most professional remodeling service there is to offer.

The other more important passion is to Love and provide for my daughter whos medical bills have outpaced the economy.

This is your unique opportunity, to not only realize your dream remodeling envisioned for your home, but more importantly to take part in the medical aide of my # 1 priority, my daughter ******'

With your assistance and my professional craftsmaship, we both can achieve our dreams together.

Call Now, While We Embrace Our Love For Our Daughter and Share Our Passion For Craftmanship With Your Family.

Call Now at: (***) ***-***x

Last edited by Ed the Roofer; 08-25-2008 at 08:52 PM.
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Old 08-25-2008, 08:51 PM   #7
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Re: How To Start All Over? Triumph Over Tragedy?


ed, thats a great idea, nicely written
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Old 08-25-2008, 09:00 PM   #8
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Re: How To Start All Over? Triumph Over Tragedy?


Wow, thank you so much for all your input and support!! You have no idea how much your information means to me, I feel like you all have so much to offer in knowledge and I'm here to absorb it all.

Ed, your pitch is not out of line at all. My daughter's name is Emma and she will be 4 this October. I've never thought about using my situation as part of my advertising, because, believe it or not, I'm actually a very private person...nobody except my closest friends and family know about my situation...I'm in awe that I had the momentary guts to post it here. And NO, you are not out of line or intruding...never. My pain has been replaced by joy when I see her jumping around and falling asleep in my arms. Now, I have to concentrate on getting our family back on track financially the best way I can. Ed, that is just an amazing pitch though, you are amazing!

THANKS AGAIN.....please keep posting any thoughts or info...I appreciate your time!
Sevi

Last edited by CornerstoneGC; 08-25-2008 at 09:03 PM.
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Old 08-25-2008, 09:09 PM   #9
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Re: How To Start All Over? Triumph Over Tragedy?


Good Luck and keep on sharing those business cards like someone else suggested, following Michael Stones recommendations.

Every single day, introduce yourself and ask the other person someting about them. Ask something open ended, like, "What is your most frustrating thing you can think of in trying to hire a remodeling contractor?" or "Have youe ever thought how much thought really goes into a kitchen remodel?"

Just start talking about the subject without immediately throwing yourself and business into the mix.

Shortly thereafter, an opening will come along that will tell you when to casually mention that you specialize in that type of work.

Provide a card and ask if he/she has sincerely been considering doing something about it.

For a very small investment, a design and scope of work could be established, as long as they would like to see how their dreams match up with their actual budget.

Don't be afraid to discuss the passion you have for your child who is handling more than most adults have ever had to face. Remember, whatever you are doing and whatever it takes, is for her benefit in the short and long run.

My 5 year old is the most precious joy in my life and he just gave me a call on my cell phone to see what I was doing, so that we can still play before he goes to bed. So, on that note, I am going home to my priority in life.

Ed
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Old 08-25-2008, 09:26 PM   #10
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Re: How To Start All Over? Triumph Over Tragedy?


You've got enough going on in your life, I'd get a job working at Home Depot or something like that before I would go out on my own with everything going on that you have. Nice mind numbing job for now till things settle for you with your family. Trying to start up and going through the ups and downs is bad enough, trying to do it under the current economic conditions is every worse, trying to do it with what you are going through... no way! Not me. I'd burrow into a simple job and focus on my family.
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Old 08-25-2008, 09:41 PM   #11
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Re: How To Start All Over? Triumph Over Tragedy?


Mike,

Don't think I haven't thought about that! But do you know what Home Depot pays?? Man, there is no way I can pay bills with like $10/hr these days for a family of 5. I would probably have to work at HD in morning, Lowe's weekends and Walmart at night There would be no time at home then at all. I thought about being a cop, I'm 6'5, 265lb and would love to just cruise around. Not only do they start you at like $35K a year, but they're not hiring because of all these tax cut issues. I'll even do firefighting, but they send you away for training for like 3 months with no pay and then you have to have connections to even get in.

I've thought and thought about changing careers. The truth is also, I like doing this and I'm good at it. I gotta have faith and hope that things will turn around.....when that's all you have, it's amazing how hard you hold on to it.

Thanks!
Sevi
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Old 08-25-2008, 10:09 PM   #12
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Re: How To Start All Over? Triumph Over Tragedy?


That's true, nothing makes a man scramble up an insurmountable cliff like a wild fire buring below him that is creaping up behind him!

I hope it all works out for you. Best of luck.
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Old 08-25-2008, 11:52 PM   #13
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Re: How To Start All Over? Triumph Over Tragedy?


don't discount a part time gig at HD...pull a few jobs out of customers...line up some sub work...it's not much, but it's a start...
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Old 08-26-2008, 12:15 AM   #14
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Re: How To Start All Over? Triumph Over Tragedy?


Quote:
Originally Posted by mahlere View Post
don't discount a part time gig at HD...pull a few jobs out of customers...line up some sub work...it's not much, but it's a start...
I have to agree.
Health insurance paid for makes $10 an hour seem like alot more.
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Old 08-26-2008, 12:30 AM   #15
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Re: How To Start All Over? Triumph Over Tragedy?


Cornerstone , give me a call when you get a chance.

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Old 08-26-2008, 12:46 AM   #16
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Re: How To Start All Over? Triumph Over Tragedy?


This is what "family values" is for. Sometimes life throws you such a radical curve ball that the smart thing to do is accept help. The ideal situation would be that you have family somewhere who live in their mortgage-free child-free home with spare rooms- mom, dad, aunt, uncle... Instead of losing your current home, as you say you're about to, apply your skills to it asap, dress it up as cheaply as possible, and flip it. Take whatever cash you get out of it and sock it away, then move the whole family in with this other family member. You pay your keep, but it's a lot less than running an entire house yourself, AND you contribute by fixing the million things that need fixing at their house. You accept that your new life is in this new area, and start building your business from scratch there. If it's an option that's available to you, I've watched it work wonders for others in similar situations - hardest part was getting them to do it.
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Old 08-26-2008, 04:52 AM   #17
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Re: How To Start All Over? Triumph Over Tragedy?


I am going to take a risk here, (hopefully without offending anyone), in many industries financial support in extreme hardship is offered by the community. cornerstone has certainly struck a chord with his story, if verified, i for one would be willing to contribute financial support to a fellow contractor in trouble. also a CONTRACTOR TALK fund may be established to help fellow contractors in the future who may need support. this business has been good to me . one twist of fate could cause anyone of us to be in position that cornerstone is in. many details would need to be worked out, and hopefully nathan would be willing to get behind this effort. regards Gene.
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Old 08-26-2008, 08:31 AM   #18
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Re: How To Start All Over? Triumph Over Tragedy?


I'm very sorry to hear about your situation. You sound like a great father and your daughter and family are lucky to have you. Just my thoughts... Don't throw in the towel yet. you have alot going for you. The good news is that you love what you do which will make you more likely to not only survive this but thrive in your business, you and are near neighborhoods who will still have money to spend on remodelling even during these rough times which allows you to quote your jobs to make good margin. Those clients are definitely likely to give referrals, as well as call you again for more projects in their home. I'd say you have alot going for you. Here's my 2 cents for what it's worth.

I'd suggest that you purchase a book called "The Power of Positive Thinking in Business". It talks about more than just positive thinking in business but also in life, especially during rough times such as yours. The techniques it gives you to try really do help.

My background is in marketing and I agree that going door to door could really pay off for you if done right. First reason is it's inexpensive, and second reason is it's immediate. Focus on those neighborhoods you mentioned. You can talk with the homeowner immediately and build rapport, and you sound like a genuine person so they'll pick up on that. You'll want to keep it professional and non-intrusive. It will be important to mention at the very start that you are a licensed contractor and specialize in marble flooring and bathrooms, kitchens, drywall, painting, doors, etc. Show some proof that you are legit but don't get bogged down in showing them stuff- license, pics of previous jobs, busness card, bring list of references (spend the money to buy a nice briefcase, leather zip-open case). You can mention you don't typically go door to door, but you're new to the area, and need to establish your business right away because of your daughter's medical bill situation. I'm sure they'll ask about your daughter so by all means talk about it, but be sure to still keep it professional and not "poor me" (although it is poor you) so you come across dependable and don't come across too desperate for money. They will invite you back for the what's-in-it-for-me and because you have come across like you could do the best job for them. Ask open ended questions, not yes or no questions to get them talking. Ask what are their next renovation projects they'd like to do on their house, and get them talking about those. Listen well. Qualify them - are they thinking of doing this in the near future, have they gotten any quotes yet. Give some suggestions, then "ask for the sale" so to speak- book an appointment to come back and do a free measurement and estimate for them (don't book with everyone, but the hot and probably warm leads). Say something like "when would it work for me to come back to do a measurement and quote?" Then keep giving options in stead of yes/no questions- "would monday or wed work best?" "Morning or afternoon"? And keep narrowing it down from there. Don't be pushy but stay in control. If they don't want to book an appointment or want to speak with their spouse then ask if they don't mind you'd like to get their phone # to call them back in a week or so to follow up. Let them know it would be yourself calling no one else, as you are the owner of your business, and if they decide no at that time that's fine and you won't harass them with calls (can joke around with that). And/or ask if they know any friends or family who are thinking or renovating in the near future (you might be surprised). Leave your business card (and flyer) incase they change their mind. Each house you go to analyze what worked well and what didn't to improve your technique at the next house you knock on. It may be discouraging at first but someone will eventually say yes, and it may snowball from there.

A flyer like the other guy suggested is a good idea. Design the flyer very professional looking, maybe glossy colour paper. Make sure all grammar is correct. Keep it short & simple. Use them when you go door to door above and give it to them right away when you start talking to them so they have something tangible in their hand that they can keep. At the start of the flyer you'll want to put that you are licensed and what you specialize in. If you have a pic of a marble floor you've done put that on there and maybe get colour copies. Offer a free measurement and quote, with your phone #. Mention your daughther, but not throughout the whole flyer, group it in one section, and the benefits to the customer in other section(s).

Hope some of these suggestions help. Keep praying and keep thinking positive. It sounds like that's what you done so far which has worked for your daughter and keeping your family together and in a home so far. My thoughts are with you.
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Old 08-26-2008, 04:22 PM   #19
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Re: How To Start All Over? Triumph Over Tragedy?


Sevi, Stupid question, was there any flood work from Fay? Also God bless my prayers are with you and your family.

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Old 08-26-2008, 05:31 PM   #20
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Re: How To Start All Over? Triumph Over Tragedy?


Cornerstone, many prayers headed your way.

Gene,

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