Adventures with Lyrical: Buying a Business (REPOST)

Tmac

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I'm not wanting to let him go, he's a good guy, but he's off. He's not stupid. He managed to do something I never finished (getting my CDL, I stopped at my permit). But he has zero interpersonal skills. If I tell him to go do something, he takes it so literal, there is no room for interpretation. I told him to drive one truck, they need him to switch later in the day, he won't switch because he's married to what I told him.

He just told me that a decade ago, he flipped a 180k logging truck, and it cost the owner 145k. He faded the brakes on one of my trucks going downhill last week. And yesterday, he started talking to himself.

He's like a high functioning retard. Can you say that word any more?

Normies tend to prefer the term autistic or “on the spectrum”.
 

Shonuff

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That’s wild, haha.
And now the fucker has disappeared. I liked him, but the guys couldn't stand him. Because he'd follow them around on the jobsite like a puppy. I was paying him almost 1k more a month than his previous job was, and with full benefits too. So now we are left hanging. We are still booked for most of January, but are slowed down with only one driver.

Dealing with CDL drivers has been the biggest issue I've had over the last couple of years. Not covid, running out of work or cash flow issues. Temperamental, or mentally challenged, or antisocial CDL drivers.
 
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Tmac

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And now the fucker has disappeared. I liked him, but the guys couldn't stand him. Because he'd follow them around on the jobsite like a puppy. I was paying him almost 1k more a month than his previous job was, and with full benefits too. So now we are left hanging. We are still booked for most of January, but are slowed down with only one driver.

Dealing with CDL drivers has been the biggest issue I've had over the last couple of years. Not covid, running out of work or cash flow issues. Temperamental, or mentally challenged, or antisocial CDL drivers.

One of my customers was having similar issues before where they'd get temperamental drivers and folks that would just not show up after several weeks. He's been solving this problem by creating a more professional hiring process. He was telling me two days ago that they've been attracting better drivers, just by improving the hiring experience. They're not doing anything different after they're hired, but the hiring experience makes the right impression.
 

Shonuff

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One of my customers was having similar issues before where they'd get temperamental drivers and folks that would just not show up after several weeks. He's been solving this problem by creating a more professional hiring process. He was telling me two days ago that they've been attracting better drivers, just by improving the hiring experience. They're not doing anything different after they're hired, but the hiring experience makes the right impression.
My problem is that there are a lot of Corporate trucking companies here. They offered one of my drivers 10k signing bonus, $40 an hour, home every night and full benefits. And then when he went there, there was no signing bonus, the pay was 28 an hour, and it was over the road. These big companies are making insane offers, and sometimes they live up to them, sometimes they don't. But them making the offer is jamming me up.

The other thing is, everyone here works. Even the Manager. I have had to put up with truck drivers sitting at the truck and smoking cigarettes, waiting for the guys to load the truck. I'm not going to paying out the high dollar they are demanding, when they may only be driving two hours a day.
 

Tmac

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I'm not going to paying out the high dollar they are demanding, when they may only be driving two hours a day.

Oh, yeah that makes things difficult. Why not make everyone that already works get a CDL and then anyone can drive?
 

Shonuff

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Oh, yeah that makes things difficult. Why not make everyone that already works get a CDL and then anyone can drive?
Because either they don't have the intelligence, or can't stick to it. Or they'd rather spend all of their spare time drinking beer, going to the casino or chasing pussy. Even with a financial incentive, they don't follow through. Over the years, I've bought people online training, but I'm the only one that's gotten even their permit. I need to work my pretrip inspection to finish.
 
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Shonuff

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Sanrith Descartes said:
Fair enough. the area I would question is this statement. My assertion is opportunity cost goes beyond a low skill $14 an hour body and instead gets rolled in to the time I am spending not grinding for additional revenue. That is my #1 gig at this point, driving the revenue growth. As with you, I have employees doing their parts of the business. When I am shitposting on FOH I am between calls to grab more customers.

I was just curious.
I'm not in a position where I have to grind for work any more. Whenever we slow down, get busy again. But I advertise enough, between billboards, local TV, google, youtube TV, Facebook and mailer that I'm constantly getting calls.

My wife and whoever is running estimates grinds for work. Sometimes, I'll run two Estimators and she'll work the phones. Its a team effort. Cross training pays. Anyway, she worked so many shit sales jobs, like selling knives door to door and timeshares. If you can work a shit sales job and do OK at it, you can sell anything. She hated those jobs, but those pay dividends now.

I haven't made a customer call since I started trading every day since last February, and we are booked a month out.
Its more a numbers game anyway. Our close rate stays pretty steady, so its more important for me to make sure my advertising is on point. Like today, after I traded, I'm working on a targeted mailer for people with HHI of over 100K.
One change I've made is targeting higher net worth individuals through mailers, youtube TV, SEO and Facebook. Honestly, the higher net worth individuals don't care about price as much as they want it done right.

I also have a system for targeting our past customers. 50+ years in business, we have thousands of customers I target. And a lot of them are still alive. I mail them quarterly (by I, I mean I pay a mailing service to do it) and my wife calls the bigger customers when she has time. I considered targeting their homes using geofencing, but haven't done that yet. There is an outfit that says they can target my repeat customers with four ads a day, every day, for 1k a month. Haven't done that yet.

I'm not real worried about my competition, there are probably 200 companies in the area, and our google impression share is larger than my top 5 competitors. Not one of them has a brain in their head.

I don't push customers, I pull them to me. And to be honest, with inflation being the way that it is, no one is looking for a discount on anything. Sad times, but easier to hold margin (for us anyway). We are charging 14% more than we were last year and are booked a month out.

Google Nov.JPG
 
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Shonuff

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I forgot this. Got a letter from a Fortune 100 company that it was terminating my contract as a vendor. They demanded 10% lower prices, and I'm not doing that. All of my costs are up at least 10%. They have to pay my costs, or they don't get my services. I don't play the game some companies do, where the smaller company pays the bigger company off, just so they can brag about doing business with them (in the hopes of drumming up new business). Give them one price concession, and they'll demand it every year.

Was a shitty letter to send over the holidays.

I'm not selling them my product at a lower rate than what I charge a middle class customer. They have Billions. I have no desire to boost their bottom line.

Sometimes we fire customers, sometimes they fire us, but sometimes, the bigger customer just aren't worth it. We know when they demand price concessions, and we deny them, we are essentially firing them. We help out non profits and that's it.
 

Tmac

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I've been spending like $5k/mo on trade magazine ads. I'll maybe get a brochure download from the website or setup a demo in a month from it. It just doesn't feel like good money spent.

I'd much rather spend the money capturing people online where I can spend $100 to convert a customer instead of $5k. HOWEVER, my smallest customers pay $5k a year and my biggest customers pay $90k a year. So, it's potentially worth paying $5k per month.

Anyways, I canceled the trade magazine ads bc I just can't track any sales back to it. I'd like to do SEO, but I don't think my customers are out googling for better software. I'm also already on all the "Best X software" websites.

Think SEO would help?
 

Fogel

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I've been spending like $5k/mo on trade magazine ads. I'll maybe get a brochure download from the website or setup a demo in a month from it. It just doesn't feel like good money spent.

I'd much rather spend the money capturing people online where I can spend $100 to convert a customer instead of $5k. HOWEVER, my smallest customers pay $5k a year and my biggest customers pay $90k a year. So, it's potentially worth paying $5k per month.

Anyways, I canceled the trade magazine ads bc I just can't track any sales back to it. I'd like to do SEO, but I don't think my customers are out googling for better software. I'm also already on all the "Best X software" websites.

Think SEO would help?

Have you tried updating your business cards?

1642011272052.png
 

Shonuff

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I'm going to post this here, Tmac, if you get offended, I'll delete it. It's important.

Who do you use for SEO consulting?
I used wordstream for years, but now they've said unless you guarantee 5k spend in one social media channel every month, you don't qualify. I stopped with them. To be honest, if we get too busy, I turn off all advertising. But you had to guarantee them a minimum spend.

I don't plan on reupping, I've spent 30k in consulting fees to be #1. Sounds like a lot, but that was over four years. And they eventually ran out of things for us to tweak.

Oh, and no matter what, make sure that they don't do all of the work for you. You need to figure out how to stop paying them, you want to learn more, and also, they don't write the best creative. I had to change my ads, because they were writing the weirdest copy. They are number crunchers, they don't know shit about creative. Nobody knows more about your customer and wants important to them than you do. This is important. You don't want to be spending money, have people look at your ads, but don't actually click it. In our peak months, I may spend 10-15k a month on google, youtube, FB and Insta. You don't want to waste your budget.

Let me know if you find a good company. A plumber friend of mine is looking for one.
 
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Shonuff

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I've been spending like $5k/mo on trade magazine ads. I'll maybe get a brochure download from the website or setup a demo in a month from it. It just doesn't feel like good money spent.

I'd much rather spend the money capturing people online where I can spend $100 to convert a customer instead of $5k. HOWEVER, my smallest customers pay $5k a year and my biggest customers pay $90k a year. So, it's potentially worth paying $5k per month.

Anyways, I canceled the trade magazine ads bc I just can't track any sales back to it. I'd like to do SEO, but I don't think my customers are out googling for better software. I'm also already on all the "Best X software" websites.

Think SEO would help?
So, Marketers always want to know how people found them. I'd get on the phone and call people, and see how they found you. You can then adjust ad mix from there, based on what they said. Screw print, no one reads anything paper related. We cut all of that, and business went up (because we shifted to social media).

If you really want to get into it, if you are on the "Best software" sites, lead them to your site, and then do a Facebook pixel. You can then set up a FB retargeting campaign to all of your site visitors. And you can do the same thing for google.

You could run campaigns on FB and Insta, because they are spying on people. If they mention your goods and services, the mic is on and they feed you the ad. Like yesterday, I was telling my wife I slept like shit. Go to my PC, and I'm getting served ads for sleep supplements. You may not like these companies, but you need them to be spying for you. We get customers all the time saying they were just discussing getting tree work, and then, lo and behold, there we are on their PC, tablet or phone.

You could also try targeting decision makers via LinkedIN, and also, they have this new thing called geotargeting. If I want to target a company, I give the address to the service, and then they can feed them ads on the Internet. I have not tried the latter. But if I wanted to target the decision maker in a big company, I'd do it using these methods.
 

Shonuff

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Of the above, I've done everything but LinkedIn and geotargeting, but these are next on my list. I just finished a 10k job, and they wrote a check right when the job was done. I like high HHI people. I don't want to talk to someone that is going to complain about price. I don't want to talk to someone an hour to close a $250 ticket. I have heavy and expensive equipment. Little jobs just increase my labor, gas and repairs. At this point, I'd rather have 10 new customers at 10k apiece, then to have 400 customers at 250 apiece, even though its the same revenue.
 

Tmac

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Tmac, how your past customers say they found you?

We usually find them at conferences or calling out of the blue. There's a few mom-and-pop that I think found us in trade ads, but they probably account for $50k annually, which means I'm losing like $16k a year on those magazine ads.
 

Shonuff

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We usually find them at conferences or calling out of the blue. There's a few mom-and-pop that I think found us in trade ads, but they probably account for $50k annually, which means I'm losing like $16k a year on those magazine ads.
I don't call out of the blue. If I have an address, I use postcardmania and they send mailers to them. Direct mail needs to be done monthly to get a decent return. I get more mileage from mailers than calling. Right now, I have a mailer targeting the top 1,800 most expensive homes in the area, set biweekly until Spring. I also use direct mail for past customers. I think they charge me about $1 a mailpiece, but its on high quality embossed paper.

I like using the direct mailer companies because they automate the lists for me.
 

Tmac

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I don't call out of the blue. If I have an address, I use postcardmania and they send mailers to them. Direct mail needs to be done monthly to get a decent return. I get more mileage from mailers than calling. Right now, I have a mailer targeting the top 1,800 most expensive homes in the area, set biweekly until Spring. I also use direct mail for past customers. I think they charge me about $1 a mailpiece, but its on high quality embossed paper.

I like using the direct mailer companies because they automate the lists for me.

I think this is something I should try. Thanks.

How did you get that specific set of addresses? I obviously won't use the same methodology, just curious.
 

Shonuff

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I think this is something I should try. Thanks.

How did you get that specific set of addresses? I obviously won't use the same methodology, just curious.
No problem.

All of the mailing companies can pull your target customers by demographic. At least the decent ones. Postcardmania claims to be 80% accurate. We actually tested HHI by looking up home values, and they were probably 95% accurate. You can sit there and try to target neighborhoods, and it will take you weeks to get addresses, or you can pay $30 for them to do it in 24 hours. It used to take me and multiple people three weeks to do a mailer. And we did nothing else. Now, I let them do it, so I can do other things. I had them pull every address in the most expensive neighborhoods, where people don't care about what they spend. I've used them for years, you just have to be careful when you have a complex mailing strategy. They screwed up one of my strategies pretty badly once.

I don't know what type of software you are selling, but you might be better served by FB/Insta/LinkedIn/geotargeting. I assume a small percentage of the higher income people need your software? I don't have much info.
 
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Tmac

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No problem.

All of the mailing companies can pull your target customers by demographic. At least the decent ones. Postcardmania claims to be 80% accurate. We actually tested HHI by looking up home values, and they were probably 95% accurate. You can sit there and try to target neighborhoods, and it will take you weeks to get addresses, or you can pay $30 for them to do it in 24 hours. It used to take me and multiple people three weeks to do a mailer. And we did nothing else. Now, I let them do it, so I can do other things. I had them pull every address in the most expensive neighborhoods, where people don't care about what they spend. I've used them for years, you just have to be careful when you have a complex mailing strategy. They screwed up one of my strategies pretty badly once.

I don't know what type of software you are selling, but you might be better served by FB/Insta/LinkedIn/geotargeting. I assume a small percentage of the higher income people need your software? I don't have much info.

We're in a smaller ag related industry, so each state across the Southeast might have like 300 customers that could use our product. There are associations that have huge mailing lists, but they typically don't give those out and if they do they're typically on paper and not an easily transferrable file.