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I talk about escaping the cubicle all the time. Today I get to interview an actual “escapee” who has a business that is very suited to farmers trying to produce off-farm income.
David Bunye spent over two decades living the “cubicle life”. This was wearing on him, and he was looking for a way out. He lives in Florida and needed to clean up the land that he owns. To do this he rented a piece of equipment to clear the land. As he was operating the equipment he thought to himself, “I really like this”. That got his mind going. From that point on, all of his free time was devoted to investigating the business of land clearing and trying to determine if it was a viable opportunity for him.
David finally decided to make the leap, but the question was how would he fund this business. I ask this question on some interviews, and I skip it on others. I am so glad I asked it on this interview, as this is the most create way of funding a business that I have ever heard.
David had some knowledge of model airplanes from the WWII era. He also figured out that a lot of people were selling these at well under market value. He started finding and purchasing these model airplanes, and then re-selling them on Ebay for a profit. He did this for a significant amount of time, finally gathering enough extra capital to purchase a dump truck!
With the dump truck David was able to start his land clearing business. But in the beginning stages, all he was doing was hauling things off with the truck. After some time doing this he borrowed the money to purchase a Caterpillar skid steer with the “forestry package”. He also purchased a trailer to tow it on and other implements. He converted the use of the dump truck to his tow vehicle and hauled his implements in the dump bed. ShadowCat Land Clearing was officially born.
David found his niche with land clearing. There are several, larger companies that are very busy and very expensive. The fact that they are very busy means that they are less responsive to customer desires and only offer one option, which is a total clearing.
David is taking advantage of the space left between the “do-it-yourselfers” and the big companies. He tailors his land clearing to the desires of his customers, and leaves their properties with a “park like setting”. He is also cheaper than the larger companies, which is where he likes to be.
David has successfully made the transition, and now he is thrilled to go to work and is no longer on a countdown to retirement.
ADVICE FROM DAVID:
SLOW: David advises that you make your transition slowly. This helps you to avoid overwhelming debt, and it also allows you to prove your idea before you abandon your day job.
KNOW: David says that you really need to know your market. This is what helped him to find the small space that he exists in, and this is also what helped him to thrive.
FINANCES: You had better know your finances going in, and understand what it is going to take to keep the business operating. A new hydraulic filter for David’s equipment it costs $20,000. So, he needed to understand the money necessary to be put aside to cover expenses like this.
BEST BUSINESS ADVICE DAVID HAS EVER RECEIVED:
“Treat the customer right”. David was able to make this transition because he found a narrow niche. If he did not treat his customers well, he would lose this competitive edge.
David “can talk to anyone” which allows him to work with retired land owners, farmers, ranchers, property managers, etc. He believes that communication skills are very necessary.
Where Off-Farm Income And Matt Brechwald Can Be Heard:
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