At the end of the rope!

Like I’ve stated in a previous post we have been doing this for about 11 years now. I feel like we keep hitting brick walls. And not literally. I am unsure if our pricing is too low or too high. We are closing work but seems like the consistency has been dropping. I don’t know if it’s because of what may be going on in the economy or not. But I feel like I want to give up. I enjoyed the industry and the satisfaction that it provides after each job. But I feel like I’m working too hard as the owner operator we have 4 employees. Payroll is kind of ridiculous and the insurance is killing me. We play the game on 100% legit (tax’s, insurance,) and do plenty of big contracts. I’m wondering if there is someone out there who is dealing with the same type of feelings or has dealt with them. We have 2 trucks 2 trailer and plenty of equipment. What the heck do I do? We do great work and have pride in what we do. I may not be making sense but I figure I would put it out there and see if you guys have any feedback.


Maybe you washed almost everything in the area? If you are planning on giving up, try doing something dramatic like raising your prices or some new marketing techniques. Maybe you could expand?

I have no idea what you are talking about with the econmey. It seems to be the best it’s ever been right now.


Maybe the economy thing was a far shot out. That’s what I meant about not making sense. I’ve put everything I’ve got and many years into this and just a little scared. I don’t come from money and work for everything I have. I appreciate your feedback and you are correct time to do something extreme. With a positive motive. Try raising prices a little bit and do more advertising. Thank you

It may make sense to boost your oknline marketing with Facebook or find ways to get around the retired crowd.

Why not put out cookies at churches with some pamphlets next to them.

From a business perspective the thing to do would be to let an employee or two go, raise prices–focus on higher profit margins per job. If what your saying is true, that may be a way to get some weight off your shoulders. Going full legit with payroll taxes, workmens comp–can really take a toll on a business. My second year in business I went W2 with two employees, and that stuff really made it difficult to run a business. At one point in the season I had 4 employees for about two months, but with all the red tape it made it hard…went back to two and smooth sailing. Then instead of trying to figure out how to market and advertise to get more work, you will go to being able to pick and choose the jobs you want to do.

Higher profits per job avg + cut expenses = Successes.


Troubleshoot. Look at how you’re hemorrhaging money first. I’d be willing to bet an important toe that some of it may be from your expenses.

If I had a lot of balls in the air as it sounds like you do, I’d sit down with my statements and my accounts payable to see why I’m not making money, but I’m still busy. I had a situation last year where I ended the season with 3 big checks within days of each other, shut down for the winter, and two accounts payable came due for SH and one for lift rental and bingo bango there goes $4000 out of the checking account.

I don’t forget about junk like that, but I sure did that time. Didn’t break the bank thank goodness, but a $4000 surprise still made my stomach sink.

Sitting down with the accountant he pointed out some annual fees that are digging pretty deep into my pockets too. Grainger Red Pass at nearly $200 a year, Amazon Prime for business, etc.

Again, personally, I’d start with expenses. That’s the easiest way to course correct a wayward budget.


Dow dropped 666 points after an already rough week yesterday, and the feds are likely to raise interest rates in March. We’re already preparing for some price drops in the short term as the market corrects.

If the sails won’t serve, take to the oars.


With 4 employees I doubt small things like Amazon prime or a Sam’s club membership is even a factor. He probably pays more in workmen’s comp, and income/payroll tax then most on here make in a year. For a 12 month operation each employee needs to add $100,000 in revenue to justify their employment. After their wages and taxes/insurance and with additional increase income tax from added revenue you will make about 30k profit max. If your not doing 400k + you need to re align your business so it’s profitable.


I couldn’t agree more. Except if you can’t wrangle the small stuff, you’ll never wrangle the big stuff.

Troubleshooting 101. The simplest things can cause the biggest problems. Start there.


After so many years, are all your clients repeats?
Perhaps there are issues in management, are you At every job, or do you have two team leads?
How’s your branding? Nice presentable trucks and uniforms?
Is your current marketing strategy working?
Don’t transfer your current emotional/psychological feelings to your employees, let them feel like they’re doing great. Maybe pull yourself out of the equation, have someone micro-manage for you?
What was your goal? Are you fulfilling it? What steps are you taking to reach it?

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Every cent counts when it’s bleeding you to death every month. Small amounts add up to large amounts. Think of McDonald’s breakfast. You get a coffee and a few burritos every day and next thing you know you spent 160 to 200 a month just on breakfast. Thats like 2k a year.

So hiring an employee to do your 20 to 30k gutter cleaning wont be woth it after expenses? I was hoping for 10k profit and i drive the guy around.

Lot of good advice from everyone. There is so much that can effect your $$. :thinking:

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Yes, i understand your feelings in the matter.

One of the best solutions is to simplify. Reduce back to owner operator or one helper. Do raise prices. Push the limit slightly and see what happens. Employee costs are ridiculous. Yes, the economy will only get worse.

The world system is not set up for success. It is designed for us to fail. Fact. We all are fighting against the current.

Simplifying is the only way to beat it. Reduce expenses. Sell what you can. Reduce or Eliminate debt. Borrowers are slaves to the lender. Every dollar you save is a true dollar. Every dollar you earn is not.

Upselling. I know what is said about window cleaning not being as profitable but that is arguable. Once you get the tools, the only cost is soap, gas and rubber.

Doing more at the same location is one of the best ways to increase profit. No travel, less setup and breakdown.

It’s good work. But it will be a dog fight no matter what field you’re in.


I like, thank you!

Not if your doing it legit, W-2-payroll taxes, workmens comp, paying into unemployment insurance… and then after gutter seaso you let him go and he starts to draw unemployment or you are seasonal because of the winter weather and you have to let the state know your a seasonal business so they can adjust what Unemployment insurance rate to counteract the amount your employee will draw during the winter…good luck, you will loose money on that employee . Skate by with 1099 that “subcontractor”, then yes it would be worth it.

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Well I am guessing my only option is to 1099 the guy and rent equipment to him.

I am just wondering what happens if he gets hurt or damages something.

That’s good stuff! @thepressureson, my past experience with employees exposed the truth that no one will ever represent my company like I can, and that often those folks for whom I felt responsible seldom reciprocated. SO, if your equipment is paid for, you might consider parking the machines for a few weeks while you take a look at the commitment level of your (possibly ex) employees.

We use retirees and a college kid that want to work 20 hours or less per week. They come off the bench only on busy days or big jobs so the jobs are paying for them to work and then some.

They’re never working on days I can run solo. I’ll likely avoid hiring full timers for another year or longer.

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Do you have them on payroll? Or 1099 them?