Contractors need to know when the time is right to take on risk and what the outcomes might be for the company.


As contractors, you know risk is part of the game. You take on risk when you start a new job, open your own business or take on that large customer with a tough job.

Without risk there is no reward, right?

Both contractors featured in this issue, Midwest Mole and REM Directional, have taken risks to help grow from small operations to companies that now serve much of the U.S.

Related: Business Owners Consider Brand, Make and Model When Deciding to Buy or Sell Equipment

Midwest Mole, based in Indiana, offers directional drilling and other pipe rehab and installation services. It has grown from a handful of employees to over 90 now. REM Directional, based in Alabama, started by laying water and sewer pipe with just two employees in 1998, but now has over 60 employees and does directional drilling throughout the country.

Both contractors had tips on how to be successful, but almost every tip centered around taking risk. Here are some reasons why risk-taking can be essential.

Risk often brings opportunity. We tend to view risk-taking negatively — as dangerous and unwise. While some risks certainly don’t pay off, it’s important to remember that some do. REM Directional took the risk of changing its services from pipe laying to directional drilling and it led the company to big growth in the last 20 years.

Related: When Buying New or Used Equipment, Businesses Consider Maintenance Record, Resale Value, Financing

Taking risks shows confidence and helps you stand out. Taking a risk is a great way to present a company as a leader, not a follower content with the status quo. Since expanding services to become a one-stop shop for customers, Midwest Mole has gained prestige, and is regularly contacted by engineers seeking input on upcoming projects.

We learn from risk. Crews at REM Directional learned by taking on the big, tough jobs. In the long run that helped them improve, becoming familiar with the work and performing even better on the next job.

Success won’t fall in your lap — you have to pursue it. Taking risks may be a necessary step in pursuing success, and it can help overcome fear of failure. In the Down & Dirty feature, Action Hydrovac took on the tough job of vacuuming out soil from the courtyard of a hospital. They had to do it without water and limited access. They succeeded, and as a result have earned other work.

Related: New or Used?

Taking risk requires preparation. Risk-taking doesn’t occur in a vacuum. Smart contractors prepare and educate themselves on the possible fallout. All contractors profiled on these pages over the last three years have said they weighed the benefits and risks of every opportunity presented to them. Sometimes, the reward isn’t worth the risk.

FOCUS ON DIRECTIONAL DRILLING

There is a heavy focus on directional drilling in this issue, and not just in the profiles. Product Focus is filled with HDD and boring tools and equipment. There’s also our annual HDD & Boring directory — a great place to see what manufacturers are out there and what they have to offer.

ARE YOU A RISK-TAKER?

What kind of risks has your company taken on over the years? I’d like to hear about the unique jobs you have done and how you took on risks to grow. Email me at editor@digdifferent.com or call 800/257-7222. I look forward to hearing from you.

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