The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Community => Coffee Lounge => Topic started by: Backinwellies on May 10, 2013, 11:07:10 am

Title: Alternative income?
Post by: Backinwellies on May 10, 2013, 11:07:10 am
My OH would like to reduce his decorating work in Oxford and work more here in Wales.  He has decided that he would rather maybe train to do something else than decorate locally.  He is interested in most things mechanical and thinks maybe that is a direction to go in.  I wondered about some sort of contact work ... maybe buying a digger and doing drainage work.   Any suggestions as to what you might need to pay a contractor for on your smallholding?
Title: Re: Alternative income?
Post by: plumseverywhere on May 10, 2013, 11:13:40 am
Fencing by someone who understands livestock  :)  In our case...goats!!  We are lucky that we have a local friend who does this work with a post rammer, his dad kept goats so he understands about tensioning (because they rub) and electric strands and where to run them etc.
Title: Re: Alternative income?
Post by: OhLaLa on May 10, 2013, 11:19:30 am
Plums is spot on. Fencing by someone who knows what they are doing. Could start here tomorrow!
Title: Re: Alternative income?
Post by: Bionic on May 10, 2013, 11:20:40 am
The farm down the road from us does that sort of work. i.e. the farm that you pass on your way up the hill. You could ring them and ask for a quote.
Title: Re: Alternative income?
Post by: ellied on May 10, 2013, 01:24:56 pm
I have to get in a man with a JCB to fix field drains and divert surface water if one goes at short notice.  He also digs ditches and foundations and if already out will somewhat grudgingly clear huge muddy areas to a heap so I'm not wading in gateways.

I also need a fencer, a man with a tractor sprayer for weeds etc, and someone with chainsaws and ladders willing to climb and lop/fell trees and log them for me.  My barn needs repair work at roof level and may need new tele poles and a wee wall built.  And every spring I have to persuade the hay man to come and dig out my deep littered barn..

I find I am always back of the queue for agricontractors because they need to go to the bigger farms first and get their main income/clients sorted, with just 10 acres and things like spraying needing done in 2 lots so I can switch stock to empty fields til the sprayed weeds have rotted away, it means him coming twice for 4 and 6 acres at a time.  Cost shoots up accordingly.

So if he can find a local agri college and get certificates in things like tree work, chemical spraying etc and invest in some big plant machinery, I reckon he'd never be short of work.  Maybe a tractor even just to do general farmwork on contract and get himself known?  But a decent mechanic is also never out of work so if that's where he fancies going, it will save you a fortune in bills too, maybe he could do a bit with AA, RAC etc on the side?

Title: Re: Alternative income?
Post by: Womble on May 10, 2013, 01:29:41 pm
Yes, the above is spot on.  I really need to get our fields limed for instance, but none of the local guys seem interested in just 5 acres.
Apart from that, if we knew of a decent local person offering fencing, drainage and tree work, we'd definitely use them.
Title: Re: Alternative income?
Post by: bazzais on May 10, 2013, 03:31:12 pm
At a first thought maybe a mini digger - something thats small enough to be transported without a haulage licence and agile enough to get through tight gaps.

Of course you would have to compete with the 'hire your own' lot - but in all honesty most people who hire them end up on their side in a ditch or doing a Peter Crouch kinda dance all day with the equipment, knocking holes in stuff all over the place.

Everytime I take my digger out on the trailer someone always asks to borrow it - hardly ever borrow or hire stuff out as kit gets wrecked - but when people can see what you do in a day for the money they dont regret it.

All you have got to avoid is doing 'mates rates' - you got to cover fuel, repairs and then labour - most people s**t themselves when giving a quote - but believe me they regret it later if they try to do it themselves.

You may not be able to do as big a job as a JCB - but you can def widen the field of oppertunity as opposed to bigger kit jobs.  Easy and cheaper to get longer distance jobs.
Title: Re: Alternative income?
Post by: Bodger on May 10, 2013, 04:17:12 pm
Somebody with a tractor and a small hay bailer would do well in our area.
Title: Re: Alternative income?
Post by: bazzais on May 10, 2013, 07:59:39 pm
I've got two mates and what they do is find out what work they can rent themselves out doing one year - then hire purchase the kit and make a go of it the next.  Most kit does not devalue by much over a year if its looked after and you buy it and change it at the right price and time.

What you have to be careful of is there is a big difference between decorating and all these other skills.  There is big competition out from people that already know what they are doing and already have the kit.  Also (much like decorating outside) alot is seasonal.

Maybe specialise in dry stone walling or other old skool techniques - they are coming back not only with general people wanting their place to look nice - but people rolling in it always want nice expensive work done that is time consuming as they have the money to get someone else rather than doing it themselves.

You'll find that many people often have three four or five different mainstream ways of making ends meet as well as hobbles and hobbies to help along.

I know they say jack of all and master of none - but sometimes it helps to have more strings in the bow.