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Finding work


nb844
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First off I'm new here so hi.

 

I've been self employed for 5 years doing farm work, over that time I've managed to acquire a tractor, post rammer and all the tools required to fence professionally. Now I've got all the experience I feel I need to go full time fencing I've run into a problem, I can't find any work! All the work I've had has come from word of mouth, but I seem to have taken that as far as it will go. I've tried advertising in the local paper and giving out business cards to anyone I can but it doesn't seem to be helping.

 

How did everyone else get going?

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I think its one of those scenarios, the pendulum swings either way. From nothing to too much. Just take what you can get in any work then see what it leads to. Ive not advertised yet but I should. The problem being Im too busy with the other work I do.

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Generally word of mouth for me, have done minimal advertising in past, but generally only with people we work for such as local race course / horse arenas or the local school. We advertise in there magazine. you have to remember when you are very busy, that is sometimes when you need to keep looking at jobs, if you work through it all without looking at more work you can end up with nothing for a week or two.

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for me its famine or feast, the busiest spell is the 2- 4 weeks before people turn out cattle in spring when they decide that the field that has been empty all winter, requires to be re- fenced usually no less than 1000 meters of total dismantle and new fence, just days before the put cattle in!

 

i am fortunate i work part time at an auction mart so i meet potential customers on a regular basis,  and i also workd for the forestry commission for 6 years, introducing me to land owners that have become customers, it has also allowed me to learn about H and S , and risk assesmenst etc.

 

i also feel word of moutb is the main source of work i also put tags on my work with my details, if people see it and rate it then they know what to do

 

the old saying is correct " who you know , notv what you know" 

 

but above all quality of work, honesty and integrity,

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Worked on a job back in the spring where there was a few contractors at the same farm in order to meet the deadline. Got chatting to one guy who proceeded to tell me I was far to cheap. One day when he wasn't there I had a look round his side of the farm and let's just say I was far from impressed with what I saw! Very disheartening to see that contractor working all over the place knowing he's charging way more than me for work I'd be ashamed of.

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Just keep at it and you will build up a big customer base over time, just may need to fill the gaps with farm work In between the fencing jobs, just remember it takes 10 years to build a reputation and one day to loose it .! So do it right and don't cut any corners and you'll soon be busy.

When I started up I advertised in a local mag but found one of the best things was taking a stand at the local Ag show each year only cost few hundred to do and meant your face to face with your future customers.. It's no quick fix and still took a few years of doing it to really make inroads into the Ag community but worked for us.

 

Good luck

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It is quite a competetive industry and takes a while to get your name known. I have been trying to push our fencing this year and have with relative success. I setup a website and Facebook page ( tractorjon.com) and put a listing on eBay. All my previous work was word of mouth and recomendations and generally always got the jobs. When you get leads via advertising people don't know you so thought a website gives them an ability to see some of your work.

 

I also do Hedgecutting work and few other things as don't think I could find enough fencing locally to do 365 days of the year.

 

Keep doing a good job and hopefully the work will follow (hope your not in my locality though!)

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I know it can be frustrating as there are some absolute clowns around me who advertise calling themselves professional contractors etc and have all the gear and when you see their work it is quite shocking. Somehow they manage to get big contracts with local council etc who clearly don't know a good stock fence from a bad one but once they are an "approved contractor" because of the necessary accreditation then it is difficult to get a look in. Good work shines through in the end though and as long as you get on and people like you, you'll be fine.

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