The Book - Bart Beck

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About Bart Beck

ODD JOBS

After I had made money enough with the Sunday papers to buy a wagon I became acquainted with one of the major concepts of the contracting business. That is, if you are going to own equipment, you must keep it working as much as possible. So in order to justify the ownership of the wagon I took on all sorts of odd jobs. One of the better paying ones was hauling ashes. In those days, most everyone burned soft coal in their furnaces or heating stoves. There was no regular trash pick-up, so by the time spring came around, every home owner had accumulated a big pile of ashes that needed to be disposed of.

Now here is where I learned another concept of the contracting business, and that is, do not take a job by the hour unless you have to. Look it over real good and give the customer a flat price on the whole job. By doing it that way you are getting paid for extra effort and know-how, that perhaps, your competition cannot come up with. You will get a bad job, once in a while but, in the long run, you will come out ahead if you work hard and use your head.

As time went on and I got older I worked in the Cemetery, which was right across the street from our home. The work, over there, consisted of cleaning up, in the spring, raking leaves in the fall and mowing lawn all summer. The mowing was all done with hand propelled, reel type, lawn mowers. The rotary mowers had not been developed yet. They didn't come along until about 1940. The pay for the Cemetery work was 40 cents an hour.

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