The 6 Biggest Earthmoving Business Mistakes and How To Fix Them.

earthmoving business mistakes

Let’s face it, the industry can be quite up and down at times…

Add to that, unpredictable weather conditions don’t make our lives any easier.

These unplanned events can put a serious dint in your earthmoving businesses cash flow.

If your cash flow isn’t as healthy as you’d like then don’t fret. It’s possible you could be spending too much time working in your business and not enough time working on your business.

In my 25 years of earthmoving business experience, there are 6 common mistakes Earthmoving business owners make.

If you can avoid making these mistakes most of the time, then your earthmoving business should experience steady growth.

What comes with growth? That right – profit and cash flow.

Without further ado, here are the top 6 earthmoving business mistakes. To further help you, I’ve also listed what you should be doing to fix each mistake.

1. Being Everything To Your Business

earthmoving business mistakes
Running a Business in Australia

Source: Summit

You may well be very talented and be able to do everything. But it’s not the best use of your time…

It also results in you working long hours and completing every single menial task that comes your way.

If your spending all your time working on menial tasks, who’s growing your business? Who’s focusing on the big picture? Where will your next job coming from?

It may be hard for you to hear but you can’t do everything well. I know I can’t. I don’t know anyone who can.

How To Fix It

Hire people that are smarter and better at the skills you aren’t good at. Start with hiring someone to do the admin work in the office. Earthmoving business owners are notoriously bad at administration work, myself included.

Then, move on to hiring someone to do your plant maintenance and extra people for the site.

The result… Your time is freed up for you to focus on the big picture. Growing your business and obtaining more work.

2. No Marketing

earthmoving business mistakes

Source: Sky Rocket Group

This is one of the biggest misunderstanding in the industry. Everyone thinks marketing is simply advertising… They think “all I have to do is call up XYZ magazine and place an ad…”

In reality, advertising is an incredibly small function of marketing.

Marketing is business and business growth. It answers fundamental business questions such as:

  • How will my customers find out about your earthmoving business?
  • Who are your target customers?
  • What’s the perception of your business by your target customer?
  • How do I turn a prospect into a sale and a loyal customer?

Have a solid marketing plan answers all these questions and more.

Can you answer these questions?

How To Fix It

Having a structured marketing plan from the beginning is a great way to start. All your marketing efforts should be measured for ‘return on income.’

As part of your marketing plan, it’s essential for you to know where your customers are coming from and who they are.

Where do they hang out? You need to find this out and be where they are to capture their attention and convert them from leads to valued and loyal clients.

3. No Financial Knowledge

earthmoving business mistakes

Source: Assignment Portal

Let’s face it, I’m not an accountant and neither are you. This isn’t an excuse though for not understanding the basics of accounting and finance.

You need to know how much of your business is making on a weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly basis.

What’s the break-even point for a job to become profitable? How much do you need to make weekly to pay your guys? How much does it cost to float your machine?

Not knowing these figures is a recipe for disaster for any business, let alone an earthmoving business.

If you don’t know these figures, how do you know if your making any money…?

How To Fix It

Get a good accountant that can help you with budgeting and knowing what tax deductions you’re eligible for. This is imperative.

After reading earthmoving business mistake #1, you now should have an admin person ;).

Get this person to get your books up to date.

Compare your actual costs with your budgeted costs. Are you coming out ahead?

Set business targets. You should also be aiming to beat last years figures. This is how you measure business growth. Is your revenue, profit and unit sales increasing?

4. Lack Of Machine Maintenance

earthmoving business mistakes

Source: American Maintenance

You don’t need me to tell you that machine downtime is extremely costly for your business.

It results in missed deadlines and loss of income.

The earthmoving industry is extremely fast moving and as a result, we often fall behind in machine maintenance.

Completing that job earlier means you can start the next job quicker.

This thinking process maintenance ultimately lead to business failure.

How To Fix It

Machine downtime can be kept to a minimum with maintenance maintenance maintenance. Instead of dealing with surprise breakdowns, you can prevent them.

Factor schedule in when pricing a job so you can plan ahead.

Does one machine need work? Then put your other machines on the site. That way, the machine is ready to go for your next job.

This saves you money, getting the job completed on time and on budget.

5. Toxic Work Culture

earthmoving business mistakes

Source: Planning Engineer

You’re nothing without your people. Do you have a high staff turnover?

It doesn’t come as a surprise that businesses with great work cultures are always more successful than those who don’t.

We all know that guy… The boss that loves ‘flogging’ his workers for all they’re worth. Yelling at them for every little thing.

Take a step back and think how your behaviour affects your employees.

How To Fix It

Take genuine interest in your staff and help them learn and further develop their skills. Offer them progression opportunities in your company.

This also comes down to hiring practises. Hire people that complement your business and will fit in with the work culture. Be sure they have the same values as yourself and your workers.

A bad hire is extremely costly for both your business and its culture and only leads to heartache for both parties.

6. No Customer Service

Earthmoving business mistakes

Source: Call Centre Memes

If you have no customers, you have no work. Maintaining customers is hard.

Ensure you go above and beyond with each job to help delight and retain your customers. You never know what work opportunities these guys will have for you down the track.

How To Fix It

Have a customer service plan in place. If any potential problems of disagreements comes up, ensure they are dealt with in a swift and respectful manner.

Your workers should all be educated on how they treat the client. You need to educate them on the things they can and shouldn’t say.

If your customers love your work then they will become loyal brand ambassadors. They’ll spread the good word to their business customers, their friends and their families.

This results in more work for your earthmoving business.


Well there you have it. The top 6 earthmoving business mistakes and how to fix them.

Did I miss anything? Do you have anything you’d like to add?

Let me know by commenting below or by heading over to our Facebook page.

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