Caleb and Brittany Share Their Story (Part 2)

auman landscape Oct 16, 2023

Caleb and Brittany continue sharing their story in this episode of the Kid Contractor podcast. After starting to date seriously, they worked together on various landscaping projects for Caleb's company. Brittany also helped plan an FFA banquet where Caleb's company donated labor and design ideas.

Things took a turn when Caleb realized the financial troubles his business was facing. He was honest with Brittany about being on the verge of bankruptcy and in major debt. To her surprise, Brittany decided to stick by his side to get through the tough times ahead. They read Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover book, which helped them develop a plan.

Caleb filed for bankruptcy and closed down his old company. Brittany then started a new company, Almond Landscape, with Caleb helping to run it. They worked hard but money was still tight. Caleb spent some winters working on ranches in Oklahoma to earn extra income. Brittany supported them during this challenging period.

Eventually Caleb's tax...

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Caleb and Brittany Share Their Story (Part 1)

On the latest episode of the Kid Contractor Podcast, Caleb and Brittany Auman re-released episode 100 where they shared the story of how Caleb started his lawn care and landscaping business many years ago.

Caleb recounted his early days working for a neighbor's lawn care company after school and on weekends. Though he enjoyed the work, he wanted to be his own boss. With a loan from his grandmother, he purchased a trailer and started his first year of business with just a mower, trimmer and blower.

In the beginning, Caleb admittedly underpriced many of his jobs as he was learning the ropes of running a business. But he gained experience and worked hard, taking on any job he could. One of his first larger projects was planting several trees for a client.

Caleb shared how he was inspired to get more into landscape construction after building his first retaining wall. He went on to enroll in the design/build program at Columbus State Community College to further his skills.


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Lessons from a Season of Small Jobs

small landscaping jobs Oct 11, 2023

Auman landscape had an unusual season this year, taking on many small projects than their typical larger-scale jobs. On a recent episode of the Kid Contractor Podcast, Caleb and his wife Brittany discussed the lessons they learned from this experience.

They found that the effort required to schedule, estimate, and execute a small $3,000 job was almost the same as for a much larger project. Taking on so many little jobs meant Caleb spent a lot of time meeting with clients and revising proposals. This took his focus away from pursuing bigger opportunities that could fill their schedule further out.

The couple also talked about how to get out of the cycle of constant small jobs. They realized they need to prioritize marketing and sales efforts towards the larger projects they want. While revenue was up this year, Caleb's stress levels were also higher from running around to manage so many jobs and clients.

For next season, Caleb and Brittany plan to promote only the type of work...

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Rethinking for the Future

In a recent episode of the Kid Contractor Podcast, Caleb discussed the value of self-reflection in evaluating where your business and mindsets may be outdated. A recent experience highlighted for him how improvements in equipment, systems, and perspectives could both boost his work and confidence representing his company.

Rather than relying on the status quo, Caleb realized staying competitive requires modernizing where needed. This allows feeling proud showing up for clients while avoiding complacency that leaves an opening for others.

To hear Caleb's full insights on rethinking your approach for long-term success in business, I encourage you to listen to this episode of the Kid Contractor Podcast. Reflecting on constantly improving yourself and operations seems more important than ever to stay on top of your game.

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Success Takes Time but is Within Reach

success in business Oct 06, 2023

On this episode of the Kid Contractor Podcast, Caleb and Brittany Auman discuss the misconception that success happens overnight. They debunk the idea of the "overnight success" and emphasize that achieving business goals is a marathon, not a sprint.

Caleb shares his experience building his landscape company over 20 years through diligent work, financial discipline, and an ongoing commitment to learning. He acknowledges that the visible signs of success, like owning paid-for equipment and a large shop, are only possible because of the foundation built below the surface through savings, investing in skills development, and handling challenges along the way.

Brittany adds that focusing on continuous self-improvement through industry events, training programs, and online resources can help expedite progress. However, they stress that real success is the result of a long-term mindset and grinding through difficulties without giving up.

The Aumans encourage listeners at any stage...

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Building Your Brand for Long Term Growth: Lessons from a Conversation with an Expert

company branding Oct 05, 2023

On a recent episode of the Kid Contractor Podcast, Caleb had Adam Fullerton of Branded Bull on the show to discuss the importance of consistent branding. Adam is the owner of Branded Bull, a company that helps other businesses develop their brand identity.

During the conversation, Adam stressed that branding is about more than just marketing - it's about how a company presents itself and connects with customers on a deeper level. He explained that every aspect of a brand, from the logo and website to vehicles and uniforms, needs to align with the message a business wants to portray. Consistency across all touchpoints is key to influencing purchase decisions.

Adam used the example of showing up to a job site in an unbranded, rusty truck versus one that looked polished and professional. He explained that the customer would immediately perceive the businesses differently based on that first impression alone. The same holds true across all branding - it needs to look cohesive so...

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Scaling a Lawn Care Business: A Conversation with Doug Ryan of DRE Landscaping

scaling a business Oct 02, 2023

Caleb recently had Doug Ryan, owner of DRE Landscaping, on his podcast to discuss Doug's experience growing his lawn care business from a small neighborhood operation to servicing over 140 residential properties. Doug started mowing lawns as a kid in middle school and steadily took on more customers over the years.

By age 20, Doug decided to pursue landscaping full-time after seeing the money potential in the business. He now runs a three-man crew focused on mowing, seasonal maintenance, and some commercial snow removal accounts. Doug shared that efficient routing has allowed him to scale his residential mowing business significantly. He aims to hit 300 lawns serviced by next season.

One challenge Doug discussed was keeping customers happy, as even small mistakes can lead to complaints. He's also learned that while he enjoys doing the work, he can only scale the business by bringing on additional employees. Doug recently invested in a larger shop space and equipment like a skid...

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Kris Kiser Joins the Kid Contractor Podcast

equip expo Oct 02, 2023

On a recent episode of the Kid Contractor Podcast, host Caleb Auman welcomed Kris Kiser, President and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), to discuss the highly influential Equip Expo trade show. As the leader of both OPEI and Equip Expo, Kris provided invaluable insight into the history and impact of the annual event.

Kris detailed how Equip Expo, formerly known as GIE Expo, has grown over its 40 year history to become one of the largest trade shows in the country. Attracting over 50,000 industry professionals each year, Equip Expo is a one-stop shop for the latest equipment, technology, educational opportunities and networking events. Kris also shared how the show generates significant economic benefits for its host city of Louisville, cementing its importance for professionals across the outdoor power equipment and green industries.

Listeners gained a behind-the-scenes look at the immense coordination required to put on such a massive trade show....

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Stop Charging Per Fixture - A Better Way to Price Lighting Installations

In a recent episode of the Kid Contractor Podcast we discussed a common mistake contractors make when presenting and pricing lighting packages. John Kerzelis of Green Foundry Co emphasized that charging per fixture is a big no-no that puts contractors at a disadvantage.

Charging per fixture doesn't account for the different levels of labor and difficulty associated with installing various lighting types. A low-voltage path light installed in a garden bed takes much less effort than a fixture requiring core drilling or mounting high off the ground. It also doesn't allow for customizing a system based on a homeowner's specific needs and property.

Instead, John recommends taking a more holistic approach by considering lighting design, types of fixtures used, and installation challenges posed by the project site. Factors like access, elevation changes, base material conditions, and more need to be part of the pricing calculation. This approach gives contractors...

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Crafting Your Contractor Reputation: How Focusing on Image, Branding and Customer Experience Drives Long Term Success

Building Your Company's Reputation Through Image and Brand One of the most important factors for any business' long term success is establishing a strong reputation and brand identity in the marketplace. On a recent episode of the Kid Contractor Podcast, Brian Fullerton joined Caleb Auman for an in-depth discussion about how contractors can craft an image that portrays competence, confidence and value to their customers.

Brian shared his experience choosing a builder for his custom home project. He looked for a company that displayed past work on their website that fit the style he wanted. During conversations, he wanted to feel reassured that the builder had experience with projects of that scale and complexity. Making the right choice was important since it was a significant investment. Brian didn't want it to be a builder's "crown jewel" project but rather something within their normal scope and capabilities.Delivering an excellent product is key to building reputation. Customers...

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