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EXECUTION I Finally "Poked the Cat"

Discussion in 'Progress/Execution Threads' started by greenr, Oct 18, 2018.

  1. greenr
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    greenr Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER

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    I've been a forum member for a few years now and I've had little financial success. And its been all my fault.

    I'm an IT data guy (62 years old) that always has to analyze the sh*t out of everything before I do anything. Everything has to be planned down to the gnat's a$$. Works great for some things, but not business. At least that's been my experience so far.

    I don't have a job and for the last year or so I've been "getting ready" to provide Adwords and Google Maps ranking services to contractors. Roofers, remodelers, you get the idea.

    I bought courses (some expensive) to learn the process and I actually ended up doing some low cost work for a few contractors - building web sites and doing Adwords. It's such a difficult sell for me that I finally gave up on it. Most contractors (at least those in my area) are booked months out. So even though their sites are terrible, they could care less because they're super busy and making money. I chose the wrong vertical.


    This thread is something to track my progress as I completely "shift gears" and move into something non-techy.

    About 10 days ago I started looking into cleaning out our garage and I needed extra storage. A shed like we wanted costs about $3,000. So I thought - "screw that, I'll just build one myself". I priced out the materials and they are only about $900.

    Then my analytical wheels started turning.

    CAN I BUILD THESE AND MAKE MONEY?

    And that's when I "poked the cat". If you're not familiar with that term, see Chapter 39 in Unscripted.

    I placed an ad in my local area and to my surprise I got about 1 response every other day from potential customers.

    THE CAT LET OUT A SOFT MEOW! That's all I needed to hear.

    So now I am pursuing this opportunity, but I have to work through a few challenges that include:

    1) I live in California and to do this kind of work you need a contractor's license. I don't have one.
    2) I don't have a truck.
    3) I don't have anyone in mind to help me build these.
    4) I've never built one myself yet.

    A single meeting that I had today solved all of these issues at once.

    We had a new deck put in two years ago. I hit it off with the contractor, I did some Adwords work for him and we've kept in touch. Today he solved all my problems.

    He's 73 years old and almost blind. Probably legally blind. He told me that he brings in $1,500 a month in Social Security and his rent is $700. He said he could really use more money, but he can't really do much work any more. Pretty sad.

    Here's what came out of my meeting with him:

    - He's willing to be a small part of this and so I'll be able to use his contractor license number. Problem solved.
    - He has a truck we can use. Problem solved.
    - He has reliable help that we can use. Problem solved.
    - I will pay him a fair amount on every shed that is built. His problem is solved.


    For now the one single most important thing I have to do is contact the people that were interested earlier and make a sale.

    Once I do that we can go through the building processes and see how things go.

    Best of all... all the stuff that I learned and couldn't get other contractors to buy can now be used by me in this business. Website, Adwords, Google Maps, etc.

    I'll continue to update this as things move forward.
     
    Mutant, GregDott, Legend and 19 others like this.
  2. MJ DeMarco
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    MJ DeMarco Raving Lunatic Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Awesome story, hope to see more! And thank you for sharing it.
     
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  3. SebPP
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    SebPP New Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Thanks for yout story.
    It teaches us that it is never too late to start a business and to finally never give up.
     
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  4. Andy Black
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    Andy Black Any colour, as long as it's red. Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Nice.

    As one ex IT guy who now does Google Ads to another... good luck!
     
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  5. NaPal
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    NaPal Done > Perfect Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Great post! You won't know if the people will pay until you put yourself out there.

    It's the darnest thing. Sometimes people will pay when you think there's no way in the world you'll make a single $.


    EDIT:
    Also an IT guy currently working for a way out :)
     
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  6. greenr
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    greenr Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER

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    Thought I'd post a update.

    Saturday (3 days ago) I had my first sales call. A guy wanted a 10' X 14' shed. I met him at his home. He was honest enough to tell me what kind of quotes he had gotten up to that point.

    I looked at materials and I priced the shed out and came up with a number that was about 10% less than the bids had so far. There is still a fair amount of profit in it for us.

    I justified the discount to him as a way to get jobs under our belt quickly and also get some positive testimonials that we can use in our marketing. That made sense to him and he liked the price.

    He did not order a shed though.

    I talked to him again today and he and his father are deciding whether or not to build the new shed in a new location in his yard or tear down their existing old dilapidated shed and build the new one there.

    In the last day or so I put up a quick website that I can send potential customers to (atlasshed.com). It's only three pages right now, but I'll add to it as we finish jobs. The goal is to send enough traffic via ads that I don't have to stress about needing to convert every inquiry to a sale.

    Today, I'll create a Google My Business listing and setup an Adwords campaign so that I can drive traffic to the website and hopefully start getting more calls.

    I also need to come up with a good way to walk potential customers through the design process where they figure out what style and size shed they want along with options like how many doors and windows, etc. Probably have to sleep on that a night or so.

    One other interesting note. I was initially thinking about sticking with smaller backyard type sheds because it's easy, but a couple of the inquiries I gotten so far has wanted prices on building bigger "garage-sized" structures. Maybe I should consider doing those too.

    Anyway... that's it for now.
     
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  7. greenr
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    greenr Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER

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    I made my first shed sale today. Sold it for $4,800 and got a down payment of 10%. Things haven't gone smoothly so it feels pretty good getting to this point.

    The "crew" that my contractor buddy was going to let me use has never built a shed and they don't speak English. I've met them; they're good guys, but it makes it very difficult to communicate.

    I fixed this problem (I hope) by placing an ad that lead me to a guy that has built over 1,000 sheds and knows a lot about that part of the business. He's expensive and kind of flaky so I think this will be very short lived, but it's at least a way to get started. He will be building the shed I sold today.

    I think that my safest bet is to build a couple of sheds myself. That way I can train the people that I'll eventually have to hire to replace my current guy. I hate having to rely so heavily on one person!

    There's a lot I don't know that I'm still trying to figure out:

    Pricing - I spent a fair amount of time the last few days trying to price out different size sheds. I did notice that there are a couple of things that have fairly high perceived value that is very low cost for me to add to a shed. I think that I may use these as something to offer for free so that I can shorten the sales cycle.

    Sales - I don't have a lot with a bunch of sheds people can come and see like Tuff Shed and other competitors. I don't even have a book of pictures yet that I can take into homes. So I'm struggling with that AND just the sales process itself. I'm reading up on that and I think these might be fairly easy to sell once I define the process.

    Sales Tax - not sure about charging and submitting these. Seeing my CPA in the next day or so to discuss.

    How to streamline/minimize costs for the building process - there are several steps that my current guy is doing that takes 3 days in total (at least that's what he says). The steps are:

    1) buy materials
    2) pre-cut the wood
    3) stage the materials at the customer site (if it's hard to get to)
    4) build the shed and clean-up the site
    5) get rid of scrap at dump (probably not after every job)

    In my mind, the only two tasks that require skill are 2 and 4. Seems like task 2 can even be done by a less skilled worker if all the cuts are defined for them.

    Anyway, had a minor win today, but still lots to do.
     
  8. VIVEKSINGHJADONS
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    VIVEKSINGHJADONS VSJ Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER

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    Thanks for sharing an inspiring story. It shows that one can do anything at any stage of life.
     
    greenr likes this.
  9. Hijena1
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    Hijena1 Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Great story and thank you for sharing. Your age is just onother great inspiration.
    I wish you well !
     
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  10. mpcharles
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    mpcharles New Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Great story so far mate, I will be following.

    Got any pictures of the type of sheds you will be making or thinking about?
     
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  11. greenr
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    greenr Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER

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    mpcharles... here are the types of sheds we'll initially be building. We'll eventually get into home offices, man-caves, etc as we get the process figued out better.

    4sheds-2.jpg
     
  12. NaPal
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    NaPal Done > Perfect Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Good job taking action!

    Your 3-page website is perfect! I like it. DO NOT get caught up making your website perfect. Just get something stupid simple up and operational, and start selling! You're website's endgame should be a phone call, email, scheduled appointment.

    Have you thought about offering a defined number of pre-assembled sheds?
    I was trying to think about how you could make the build process quicker. Maybe pre-assemble the sheds in your garage (base, walls, roof) to make assembly time on-site at the customers quicker.
     
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  13. greenr
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    greenr Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER

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    The comments about my age have surprised me. Didn't expect that. Even though I might be up there "age-wise" - I sure don't FEEL old. I have aches and pains, but I still relate to young people and can be immature as hell (in a good way). Having more fun now than ever.

    Guess I'm just a "late bloomer".
     
  14. Legend
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    Legend New Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    I'm not sure if it works the same in California, but in TN you can get a Home Improvement (HI) License for projects that are 25k and less in value. Much quicker/cheaper than getting a full fledged Contractors license.
     
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  15. greenr
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    greenr Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER

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    Hey NaPal...

    As far as the website goes - You're right, I just needed to get something presentable up to give me at least a little credibility. Believe it or not I've already gotten calls from it. I believe they came from my Google My Business listing when people are searching for terms like "shed builders near me" or similar.

    Today I should be able to add a pricing page that has prices for all standard sizes and options. I've done a lot of analysis on that and it's finally complete. That mey help weed out the tire kickers - I hope.

    I agree with you about pre-assembly. That's what Tuff Shed does and then they can build the shed on site in less than a day (usually). That's my ultimate goal too. However Tuff Shed has "factories" and that kind of stuff.

    Still working through the whole build process, but we'll eventually fine tune it.
     
  16. greenr
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    greenr Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER

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    You have to have a Contractor's license in California if you do anything over $500 and that includes materials and labor. Lots and lots of rules here!

    The rules used to really bother me, but now I'm looking at them as a barrier to entry.
     
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  17. Legend
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    Legend New Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    This is awesome
     
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  18. NaPal
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    NaPal Done > Perfect Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    @greenr you need to change your Google My Business configuration.

    You need to have consistent NAP (Name, Address, Phone). Right now I'm not seeing an address :(
    Yes, you need to put in an address and make it visible! This will greatly help your Google ranking.

    My business uses my home address.

    P.S. I have gotten several customers because they saw I was literally right down the road.

    upload_2018-11-14_13-9-32.png
     
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  19. greenr
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    greenr Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER

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    My address IS actually complete in my listing with Google. Includes street address and everything. There was one step in the setup where G asks if customers come to you (like a store). I checked that box no and that's why my physical address does not show.

    There's a guy that I follow for Google My Business (GMB) listing info and he seems to think the jury is still out on whether the address being visible actually helps GMB rankings. Although I do think he believes it might help a little. I may end up changing that setting.

    NAP is very important - so when I start creating my listings in directories I'll be consistent when I do that.
     
  20. NaPal
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    NaPal Done > Perfect Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    That’s the exact setting I’m referring to


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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