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Teenagers Run Combine Business
While most high school seniors were getting ready for graduation last spring, Henry Snell and Robert Lemieux were getting ready to hit the custom combine trail.
Snell and Lemieux, ambitious 18-year-olds from Rolette, N. Dak., spent the summer cutting grain from Oklahoma to Canada, operating leased and used equipment. Although they didn't do as well as they had hoped before setting out, they "made their payments" and plan to head back out again next summer.
The two youths had both worked the custom cutter trail in previous years as hired hands. This year they decided to try it on their own. "We don't want to work for someone else all our lives and you have to start somewhere," says Snell.
He and Lemieux invested more than $7,000 to launch the business, including $4,000 for a used Peterbilt semi-truck and $3,000 for liability insurance. They leased an International combine and converted an old school bus into a camper, complete with shower.
"It was much harder to find business than we had anticipated. However, we realize you have to start small and work your way up by word of mouth. We did 5 jobs in all. I don't think our age worked against us. If anything, it helped because people admired what we were doing," says Snell. He notes that the only way to find business is to "knock on doors and then do a good job once you're hired."
The two young men were on the road from June 10 to August 10. They say they charged the going rate for their work without trying to undercut other custom cutters. "You can't undercharge and make money in the long run. It's a very competitive business," says Snell.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Henry Snell, Box 555, Rolette, N.Dak. 58366 (ph 701 246-3878).

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1986 - Volume #10, Issue #6