Mike Hassett decided to exit the construction industry after his first business struggled in the Great Recession. He was in his early 20s, and he admits he had lessons to learn.
More than a decade later, he has a different philosophy for his new company, Green State Excavating of St. George, Vermont, founded in 2020.
“I wanted to be ‘the big show,’” Mike says. “I wanted my name all over dump trucks and pickup trucks and excavators. I’m a hundred times better off financially now than I was then. I just want to keep my business small, manageable and enjoyable.”
A year into business, Mike is already winning work through customer referrals and is happy with his decision to take another shot at owning his own company.
Here’s advice on starting your own construction company from a successful businessman that learned first-hand.
Building a Construction Business by Finding a Market
Finding Customers To Build Your Business
Find jobs by advertising your services locally. Mike did this on a regional website called Front Porch Forum. Past clients now recommend him on the website to other posters seeking excavating contractors. It’s proof that attention to customer service is paying off.
“It’s rewarding to get on there and see two or three former clients chime right in and say, ‘You need to call Green State Excavating,’” Mike says.
Leasing vs. Buying Construction Equipment
When Mike closed his first company, he had to sell some pieces of equipment he owned, while those he leased went back to the dealership. He’s learned from that experience.
When starting his new company, he knew he wanted to lease all his machines. He likes the dependability of newer equipment. He also likes having an agreed-upon residual value of his mini excavator with his dealer, G. Stone Commercial of Vermont.
“A lease gives me a checkpoint after three years,” Mike says. “If, after three years, the construction market is still good and the excavator is worth more [than the residual value in his lease terms], I can buy it. I could even buy it, then sell it and capture that difference. If the construction market tanks and the excavator is worthless [than the residual value], I can walk away.”
Machines To Start a Business
Doosan mini excavators are popular choices when starting an excavation company.
Learn more about these versatile machines.