Bill Webber, Tree lopping and yard maintenance

Kununurra WA | December 2018

What is your business? How long has the business been operating?
I started out beginning of last year as a part time thing. I’ve got a lawn mower that I picked up for $135, it cost me a little bit to get it going. I also picked up a whipper snipper and chainsaw.  I mostly do lawns because they’re consistent. And tree lopping when there are winds and storms and cyclone things. I’ve got a contract with the school, one with the Catholic school, one with WA Health. I hardly have any private customers.

What were you doing before you made contact with Many Rivers? What was your previous work experience?
Flying. I’ve got about 5,500 flying hours. At one stage I was managing a cattle station, 1.25m acres. I did that for 7 years. I was an aerial stock locating technician. A helicopter cattle musterer. My wife is a teacher and so we moved out here. She saw there was a need for trees to be lopped and tied up.

Who referred you to Many Rivers? When?
I was actually doing some casual work for a bloke in town. He’s a machinist, another one of your clients and I picked up work with him. Mark is one of Tracey’s and he told me all about Many Rivers.

Why did you want to go into business?
I was sitting around, we saw a need, that was it.

What services did you receive from Many Rivers? How did it help?
Heaps of guidance, I knew nothing about running a business. Tracey talked me through it. She said I was selling myself short. We worked out a business plan, she helped me set up the right bank accounts. Such a help.

What did you find the most useful about the assistance from Many Rivers?
The whole lot. She’s amazing.

Did you get a loan from MR? How did you use the loan?
No, didn’t need it. I just needed the business help.

Do you have any current employees? If so, how many employees? Are they full time or part-time?
I have stepson and I employ him when I need him. He gives me a hand when there are some bigger jobs.

What has been the biggest challenge to date?
Getting people to pay. At the beginning I had some private jobs. I don’t trust many people, especially when it comes to money. Some people just won’t pay you. And bigger companies will always pay you, but some of my invoices from before Christmas still haven’t been paid. They can take a long time.

What has been the biggest success to date?
When I first started, my wife and I did the first job, after work over 3 days. And that was an invoice for over $5,000. That felt like a big success. I have a lot of contracts now and because it’s the wet season the lawn mowing has taken off. With the trees, I’ll go and see them when trees fall down.

What do you hope to achieve in the future?
Not sure. We’re moving from here, moving to Broome, I’ll be week on week off. I’ll still be doing the maintenance at teacher housing and the clinic, and if big jobs come in. There might be a cyclone in Broome and I’ll do more trees there.

I don’t have a website because all my work has been word of mouth. Everyone knows me in this community, there are only 400 people living here. I’ve been a groundsman at the school even. Everyone knows me.

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