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Topic: State of the economy, Good or poor?< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
rms
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Posted: 11 Nov. 2005,23:25 QUOTE

Talking to various paving and landscaping contractors the general consensus in the south East is that of a noticeable pick up in trade over the last couple of months. Certain trades such as fencing suppliers and erectors have been and remain very slow this year.

How's trade in other parts of the Country?

No bullshit responses please.
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Nigel Walker
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Posted: 12 Nov. 2005,14:47 QUOTE

Im in Wset Cumbria    North West of England

Personally I am extremley busy - booked up until April 2006 with approx. 10-12 enquiries a week coming in at the moment.

Talking to local builders merchants and suppliers there seems to be a very noticable drop in work in the area for the building trade bin general. I seem to be one of the few who area remaining busy or getting busier.

In the paving/landscape business there seems to be a lot of so called 6 monthers    ie  people who work from May to October and then disappear for the other 6 months.
I am constantly busy all year round even if the weather trys its hardest to disrupt my plans !!!

I will be expanding in the new year to cope with all the work.


Nigel Walker
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rms
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Posted: 12 Nov. 2005,20:43 QUOTE

It's good to hear that you have plenty of work on Nigel. What would you say is the main source of new business at the moment (recommendation, yellow pages, internet?)
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Nigel Walker
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Posted: 13 Nov. 2005,12:55 QUOTE

I would say that approx. 70% of my work at the moment( and future work) has come from recommendations, repeat work from previous clients or neighbours of the clients who have seen my work.

20% from Yellow Pages  and the other 10% from internet, local pages, van signing, advert boards etc

I get a lot of  enquiries from Yellow Pages but i tend to pick and choose and give priority to recommended clients.
The Yellow Pages advert seems to be more of an access point for contact numbers.

You can usually tell from the initial phone call whether they just want the cheapest price possible or whether they want a quality job and pay a premium. And you can certainly tell from the initial site visit !

You can tell the serious people - when you tell someone that you cant do anything for 4 months and they say thats ok I will wait - you know you have got a quality client.

I always ask people when they want the work done. The answer tends to be 'Im in no rush, just sometime in the next 2 weeks will do'   They then get the hump when I tell them 4 months but still ask for a quote. Needless to say I very rarely arrange visits to these type of jobs, unless they are rcommendations

A lot of people go on about dodgy contractors and cowboy builders. There are a lot of dodgy clients out there as well.
You have to have a sixth sense to sniff out the bad apples. Touch wood. I have only had one bad client in 5 years.


Nigel
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Tony McC
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Posted: 13 Nov. 2005,16:56 QUOTE

Overall, many contractors are reporting that the last 3 months have been a bit on the slow side. We always see a tail-off in the number of enquiries at this time of year, but I've spoken to around 50 contractors in the past month and three-quarters of them say it's quieter than they would have expected. Most of them have enough work on the books, but are concerned that if the economy has a wobble after xmas, next summer could be difficult, especially with the scale of material price increases that are being predicted in the trade press. The general consensus seems to be that labour rates will have to remain static to help the customers come to terms with the materials prices, which is no good for any of us! :(

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TarmacLady
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Posted: 14 Nov. 2005,14:43 QUOTE

from the supplier end -- all the major DIY sheds are down 9-10% over the last few months.  Some of them have issued moratoriums on taking on new vendors or adding new product offerings until things stabilise a bit.  

I see some of the builders' merchants are issuing profit warnings for 4th quarter, as well.

Sure hope *someone* starts buying soon -- I'm still looking for a vacancy!


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Tarmac Lady

Well-behaved women rarely make history.
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slickboy
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Posted: 14 Nov. 2005,23:44 QUOTE

We are landscapers in Lancashire and we have noticed a definite slowdown in enquiries recently. We are not listed in the yellow pages or any directory 'till next year for reasons i won't bore you with here, plus we are only a few years old as a business so we can't rely on reccommendations too much and we are "invisible" to potential customers. We have loads of work on for next spring and summer but had a wobble recently when two projects were suddenly cancelled. I am of the belief that a drop in business due to economy etc. is a challenge to be tackled rather than a problem to be bemoaned and so we printed shedloads of leaflets, fancy ones on card, and pounded the streets posting through letterboxes. It's demoralising but the result was LOADS of enquiries- 'we just got your leaflet" etc. the work is out there. If the economy does go tits up though I don't know how badly that could hit us i'm only twenty six so I was at school during the last recession  :(
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Tony McC
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Posted: 15 Nov. 2005,00:40 QUOTE

Have you registered for the Contractors List, Slick? Once you're registered, I can amend your membership status to 'Contractor' (or 'Landscaper') rather than 'Apprentice'.

See the application form page.


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paultaylor
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Posted: 15 Nov. 2005,13:13 QUOTE

info@preston-paving.co.uk

Actually I am glad somebody brought this topic up because the general impression I get from builders, other paving contractors etc, people who have had many years worth of constant work are becoming a little slow.  In general i think public spending is slowing down.  We are seeing in real life what happens to people who cant repay loans etc and it is having a devastating effect on the trade.  But we are also seeing a steep increase in different companies appearing all over the place.  Im based in Preston, Lancs and just this year from last, I look around, and the amount of competition out there is phenominal.

We are very much a junior company, just me, my brother and my dad, but we don't have masses of cash flow to throw at advertising, so we are counting on word of mouth, recommendations etc.

The good guys always win in the end, or is it the other way around??? ???
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rms
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Posted: 15 Nov. 2005,21:37 QUOTE

We found August and September very slow for new business. October and November have been much better, which is good as December to February is usually quiet. We have now booked up enough work to take us into February. All things considered the economy has slowed down this year. We are still optimistic about the future and at the end of the day, what goes around comes around. :)
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Ian CHP
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Posted: 16 Nov. 2005,21:47 QUOTE

Most of my work now is recomendation, in the last few weeks I have received as many calls as I normally do in summer. I'm currently booked up until May 06 and by the time that arrives the year will probably be covered. My main problem is staff, I just can't find any, I have 1 lad on now who is good and a grafter and is learning quickly but on the down side has no transport, I took another lad on last week, who was supposed to be experienced...........lasted 3 days...... I put an advert in 2 local shops for a labourer and never received a call in over 2 months.
There is loads of work about, for those who don't mind getting cold and wet and are used too and able to work in such conditions.
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rms
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Posted: 16 Nov. 2005,22:45 QUOTE

Hi Ian,

With such a long wait for your customers, do you lose a few jobs because of the lead time? I mean, 6 months?

You must be bloody good or bloody cheap!
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Ian CHP
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Posted: 17 Nov. 2005,16:55 QUOTE

rms,

I would,nt say I'm cheap as there always seems to be someone doing it for next to nothing, I know for a fact that I have been the dearest quote on a few jobs but have won them just through being honest with the customer, showing them previous jobs and throwing ideas at them.
Why rip up a driveway of 3 x 2's to block pave it at say the cost of £3k when you can relay it stick a feature in it or round it for just over £1k, the customers happy because they can then have the patio done round the back and still have £500 left for garden furniture.
As for being "bloody good" over 15 years of ground work experience, working for some really poor companies teaches you the way things should be done rather than bodged or covered over, again I just treat customers honestly, let them have all the input they want and treat them the way I would want to be treated by someone working at my house.
I've not really lost any jobs through the lead time.
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rms
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Posted: 17 Nov. 2005,21:27 QUOTE

We'll go for bloody good then!

It's helpful when customers are prepared to wait for while, but we find that an increasing number of people want it all and want it now. Believing in the idea 'You're a long time dead!'

A good friend of mine who had made a couple of million pounds just in the last 3 years (not a paving contractor!), and feeling that everything had come together, went on to develop stomach cancer and die this year at the age of 48.

Makes you think about getting the most out of life.
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Ian CHP
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Posted: 17 Nov. 2005,22:23 QUOTE

I now make a point of telling any enquiries that if i do go and estimate for a job then they will, if accepted, go too the back of a very long queue,
Good, maybe, yes, bloddy good, hmm, not in the same league as perhaps Tony etc, but I've never had any complaints or had to return to jobs for anything major.
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TonyMcC
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Posted: 17 Nov. 2005,22:36 QUOTE

There are different types of customer: there are those that are looking for a quality job, and if that means waiting until next June, then they're prepared to wait; and then there's those that want it done yesterday, as quickly as poss and as cheap as poss. If you can attract more of the former, it makes business planning that much easier, but a few of the "quick-as-you-can" brigade can be handy for when you've a few loose days or when some bugger cancels because the mangey dog is having pups or Auntie Edie has carped it.

It's important to explain to potential customers that quality is worth the wait. A decent driveway or patio will see them right for a couple of decades - surely it's worth waiting a couple of months to ensure they get the right job, using the right materials with the right tradesmen.


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TarmacLady
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Posted: 18 Nov. 2005,14:55 QUOTE

Which of you lot want to pop over and redo my drive -- January in Florida, low bidder only!  :laugh: :p
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Nigel Walker
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Posted: 18 Nov. 2005,18:37 QUOTE

Tarmac Lady


I am on holiday in Orlando at the end of February.
Although I wouldnt want to lay a drive on my hols, I would love to come and work in the nice hot sunshine  ooooh  sunshine.
It has been minus 4 today in the lovely Lake District

I would be more than happy to return to sunny Florida and do your driveway !!!!!!


Dream , dream dream dream


Nigel
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Ian CHP
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Posted: 18 Nov. 2005,20:18 QUOTE

Quote (TarmacLady @ 18 Nov. 2005,13:55)
Which of you lot want to pop over and redo my drive -- January in Florida, low bidder only!  :laugh: :p

Which of you lot want to pop over and redo my drive -- January in Florida, low bidder only!  :laugh: :p


ME,ME, ME, ME, you pay for the flights accomodation etc I,ll do it for nowt,

however it may take quite a while :cool:
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rms
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Posted: 18 Nov. 2005,20:54 QUOTE

What's the average rate for a driveway in Florida?

Florida might have a sub tropical climate but those hurricanes are a pain in the arse! I know because my Cousin recently moved there.

I think i'll stick with the UK and a holiday home in Tobago or St Lucia (when I make enough money)
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220 replies since 11 Nov. 2005,23:25 < Next Oldest | Next Newest >

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ruler

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