Not a Hobby

#1
I'm using the hand that was dealt me and have gone all in...I'm not a poker player and I have a solid business plan but things haven't been going the way I thought they would. Here's my dillema (if you can help out then please respond):

Last fall I opened my commercial pressure washing and bird control company here in Central PA. My personal experiences have been in facilities management, operations management and the military. Contacts in each of these areas have given my company work, as well as those I've found through solicitation/sales calls/mail outs, etc. I thought that things were picking up and would only get better with the warmer months but thusfar, I've only signed two 3-yr contracts and have had a handful of jobs.

I bought decent equipment, have advertised, joined local chambers of commerce, and more but haven't had enough sales to hire help. As is the case with many of you, I've totally invested my time/energy, as well as most of my savings to make this work. 70-hr weeks, lots of driving, phone calls, mail outs and contacts with buyers/decision makers. Each one very interested in my service, 1 out of 5 wants to be added as an additional insured ($1M liab/$2M gen ag policy), every third wants a written quote BUT my sales ratio is around 1 in 20.

I've checked local pricing for similar services, read through posts and related websites, factored in a number of variables and currently believe my pricing isn't the issue. I was a successful military recruiter in the late 80's and know how to handle objections and make the sale. Each of my clients have commended the quality and follow-ups of the work performed and I'm getting some sales from referrals, however something still is amiss. Bottom line - I haven't been able to pay myself, let alone see how each of you is getting as much work as you claim.

Don't get me wrong, I'm in it for the long-haul and totally committed. I will make this work but am asking for advise and suggestions. I've got the college education, related industry experience and the drive to be successful so any help offered will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!!!
 

Micah

New Member
#2
Dave,

What areas are you focusing on selling too? How long have you been trying to get new accounts? How many business cards have you left with decision makers? I'd like to see one of your mail outs or advertisements if you can email me a copy. Take a deep breath, and stand back from the business for a day or two. Rest, things will start to pick up, but don't burn yourself out until then!
 
#3
Micah,

Thanks for the quick response. My primary prospects are 1) strip mall PMs and 2) Retail chains. I send mail-outs to the PMs and make followup calls to gain appointments and have had some success and I've set up accounts with 7 national contractors (who distribute work to subs like me) including the post office, as well as dealing directly with the retailer's corporate offices. All ongoing sales efforts began last September. I leave at least 2 business cards with each visit or letter sent. And I have a couple of different handouts that are mailed which I'll send over by email.

I'm still breathing okay so things aren't at the cliff's edge yet but I know it's there. Call me if you want and again thanks.
 
#4
Dave Pleas call me @ 787-459-3420.

I am just getting started down in Puerto Rico and was hoping to offer you some encouragement as well as learn a few things from you to help keep me rolling.
 

Dan S

New Member
#5
Hey Dave,
what part of Central Pa did you say you were @?
You may of said in a different post.

send me an E-mail >> I send tons of work away ( well maybe not ton's) but a lot.

I focused on State College a couple years ago and get calls all the time.
But I don't follow up B/C I'm too busy . I have down sized quite a bit. Sold 2 contracts .
And just Servicing the one I have. It's enough to keep me busy!
I hope to get outta the P/wing business altogether. But my son that is still in College wants to work it when he's done.

Anyways E-me when you get the time.

smwash@pennswoods.net
 

Dan S

New Member
#6
Harrisburg 2.5 Hours away !!

I just saw your signature..............

Oh well shoot an e-mail anyways

Maybe I can still help `ya out !!
 
#7
Hey Dan,

I'm actually in York county but have been traveling throughout the northeast just to get some work. I'll shoot an email to you shortly.

Thanks,
Dave
 
#8
Hey, Dave. What areas of the PW business are you concentrating on? Sounds like you may be limiting yourself. Maybe there are other PW's in your area that are taking your biz. That's ok. Find out what they're NOT doing. Roofs, homes, truck fleets, const. equip, etc. You get the idea. Find your niche and go with it. Don't limit yourself to a market that may already be saturated. Good luck!
Randy
 
#9
It just takes time. The first full year you if you gross 30 grand you are lucky and doing well. Try telling this to a lowballer who thinks I am gouging charging $100/hr
 

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