09 was better than 08 for me. That being said it still wasn't great.
But when compared to 08 I'm not complaining. 6/24/08 on the 5th wedding
anniversary the house got hit by lightning and burned.
Roughly a month later I lost my semi truck. I lost over $30,000 on a lease purchase deal. All of this while not having enough work to stay busy and watching every bit of savings disappear and my biz die in front of me.
Compared to that 09 was much better.
For those of you who had bad 2009's.... Do you think that's because your work is too generalized?
If your menu of services is the same as 200 other people's in your immediate area and there are only "X" amount of leads/work to go around, you might have a rough time getting called, let alone getting the project.
If you offer a specialized service that is in demand and gear your advertising and marketing towards that niche, you are much more likely to get more calls and land the projects.
The shotgun approach is fine when there is more work than contractors, but when the opposite happens (ie, now...) you really want to be using a sniper rifle and aiming your shots.
I wrote an article for JLC about specializing a while ago. Unfortunately, the archived article is not free, but it may be a good $3 to spend going into 2010 with a new strategy. Specializing certainly helped me and maybe it can help you.
It's just an impossibility for everyone that did well in 2007/8 to be doing well right now...an impossibility ... the #'s don't work.
There are plenty of people doing fine...all over the country, even in the worst markets...there are plenty more who aren't...just the facts.
It takes good business skills along with good trade skills (the business end is more important, especially right now)...if you've gotten away with just the low hanging fruit in the last few years, and didn't have a good business plan in place 12-18 months ago, you may be toast.
That being said, they're are a LOT of businesses that did everything right...that are still toast...luck and location still come into play.
In areas hit the hardest by the housing/unemployment fiasco, it's going to be a lot more difficult to support even the most professionally run businesses, there's just not enough of the pie to go around for all the hungry people at the table.
Hopefully you had a plan, and if not, get one..quick...and work it for all you're worth...it won't guarantee you'll make it out of this, but it's better than sittin' on yer arse.
I think things are going to clear. I spent almost the entire year doing service work. A little of this, and a little of that. Even changed my yellow page ad to reflect this. Kind of looks handyman, but I dont care. I'm going where the money is and will do whatever I have to do to eat. This summer kept me doing a host of different projects and I have to say it was blast. Being able to stick and move and not have to worry about a big payroll (employed only 2 this year) was refreshing. Even trained the wife to do Quickbooks.
I'm getting ready to buy 2 corner lots near one of the golf courses here (Midland) in Southern Pines NC. Going to throw up a couple 1800 sq ft cottages. Gotta do it. Haven't built a house in 2 years. The first time home buyer credit extension is moving things along nicely here. Also Ft Bragg is soon to be the largest military installation in the Nation. 140,000 people coming to Fayetteville and the surrounding counties.
Anybody needing work....relocate to Cumberland County NC. It's crankin right now.
My work is not necessarily too generalized, but I have room to improve. I am in the process now of becoming more specialized and utilizing more subs. The competition is fierce trying to pick up jobs that aren't referrals from my existing customers. I was , however, busier this year than in 07 and 08, but with all the cut throats I basically worked harder for less. This year was also the first year in the last three where I actually have work to start out the new year.
Good Luck and wishing for a better year for everyone!
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