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jimmbo407
10-07-2005, 06:00 PM
My wife and I are having a disagreement :realmad: . So I'm going to see what all the experts on this site think. I have a friend that owns a solo op and, I own a solo op. We sometimes help each other out, he will work for me or, I will work for him. We also use each others equipment when on our respective jobs. I think this is working out fine, however my wife thinks this is bad for business and thinks I should be using the time I am helping my friend to build my own business. She says I am sleeping with the enemy. What do you all think?

rodfather
10-07-2005, 06:06 PM
I think I would spend more time developing MY own business. It's ok to help another out once in a great while (they're sick, mower's down, etc.), but I personally would not make a habit of it.

128Steve
10-07-2005, 06:08 PM
I noticed you are a fire fighter and doing this as a second job. With accidents and stolen equipment a possibility, one might need a friend in the future.

Hope my wife would be happy I am working two jobs for our family. :confused:

QualityLawnCare4u
10-07-2005, 06:15 PM
I dont see anything wrong with it. There has been more than one time I wished I had a fall back on guy. Tell your wife not to be coldhearted, what goes around comes around. Now if I did not completely trust the guy or he tried to steal my accounts thats a different story.

John Gamba
10-07-2005, 06:29 PM
My wife and I are having a disagreement :realmad: . So I'm going to see what all the experts on this site think. I have a friend that owns a solo op and, I own a solo op. We sometimes help each other out, he will work for me or, I will work for him. We also use each others equipment when on our respective jobs. I think this is working out fine, however my wife thinks this is bad for business and thinks I should be using the time I am helping my friend to build my own business. She says I am sleeping with the enemy. What do you all think?


Dont become partners. And if you need a partner, pick your wife. She will keep you stright

Lawn-Scapes
10-07-2005, 06:51 PM
I think you should use that extra time to sleep with your wife more often. :p

I think she is right....

AboveTheCut
10-07-2005, 06:58 PM
If you and he have comparible operations and you both have equal amount of equipment, etc., why not just become partners and focus all free time building your business. you both could potentially benefit from this. I wish I had someone that had a solo op similar to mine that would help me.

Brianslawn
10-07-2005, 07:03 PM
finally someone starts listening.

consolidation would be a better term for it. how do you think i always get the huge accounts and tight routes. payup

thartz
10-07-2005, 07:23 PM
I think your doing the right thing by providing mutual aide (as long as it is mutual).Now i'm not trying to offend you but would your wife be willing to help you to replace the times when you get help from your other LCO? I help 2 other LCO's and we even have went as far as to switch some accounts to help each other consentrate our routes.I know there are a lot of people out there that will criticize this but by doing this we also help to drive out the low ballers by keeping our prices and our companies thriving by keeping overhead costs down by lowering our downtime and by monopolizing the better lawns.Not to mention the motivation we provide to each other.Most folks that have never been in this business can't understand your frustrations.It's the walk a mile in my shoes syndrome.

Precision
10-07-2005, 07:35 PM
I think your doing the right thing by providing mutual aide (as long as it is mutual).Now i'm not trying to offend you but would your wife be willing to help you to replace the times when you get help from your other LCO? I help 2 other LCO's and we even have went as far as to switch some accounts to help each other consentrate our routes.I know there are a lot of people out there that will criticize this but by doing this we also help to drive out the low ballers by keeping our prices and our companies thriving by keeping overhead costs down by lowering our downtime and by monopolizing the better lawns.Not to mention the motivation we provide to each other.Most folks that have never been in this business can't understand your frustrations.It's the walk a mile in my shoes syndrome.

Great for you. I only have two guys in the area that I would even consider doing something like that with. Most are so territorial and STUPID.

thartz
10-07-2005, 08:00 PM
If smaller companies in this industry would help themself by educating it's competition rather than being jealous of one another or worring who has the most "toys" on their trailer we would all benefit.There will always be strength in numbers and as a new LCO if the younger guys would realize there is more to this than "cuttin' grass " and try to learn from others and then help pass that info on to the next new LCO our industry would have profit margins where they should be.Isn't that why we are all here in the first place?

bobbygedd
10-07-2005, 08:36 PM
kill your enemies (in the proverbial fashion, of course).

Brianslawn
10-07-2005, 08:58 PM
kill your enemies (in the proverbial fashion, of course).


i thought youre supposed to tutor them for a fee. :confused:

bobbygedd
10-07-2005, 08:59 PM
yes, my friend, and then, after the check clears, you kill them (in the proverbial fashion, of course)

Brianslawn
10-07-2005, 09:01 PM
yes, my friend, and then, after the check clears, you kill them (in the proverbial fashion, of course)

ah, yes.... and steal their customers, too. i learn greatly from you ole wise one. :laugh:

bobbygedd
10-07-2005, 09:05 PM
laugh if you want, it's easy money. they would have succeeeded without me, as quickly as they will fail, with me. it's a mindset, not a teaching. they needed to posses one thing from the beggining, that they didn't, and that was a "i will not quit" attitude. they never had that, and i can't give that to them, not for $50 an hour, $75, or $100.

Brianslawn
10-07-2005, 09:09 PM
"they would have succeeeded without me, as quickly as they will fail, with me."

is that your consultant firm's slogan? bet that only works in alabama, arkansas, and JERSEY!!! :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

thartz
10-07-2005, 09:10 PM
Your not tutoring for free if your bringing the quality of the industry in your area up and able to make a better salary as well. If you kill your enemy than you have no one to fight with;what the h*** kind of fun is that?

gman44
10-07-2005, 09:13 PM
Im lucky enough to have back up if nesc. I was down with a messed up shoulder this spring and another solo friend helped me keep up with cutting . I have helped him in the past and althou Im not keeping score , I think we are pretty even as far as mutual aid . We dont steal from eachother and I know if I go on vaca during the summer all my accounts are still mine.

Envy Lawn Service
10-07-2005, 09:14 PM
In a cut-throat industry such as this, it helps to have all the 'true' alliances you can make.
It's beneficial to everyone.

But you do have to be mindful of how much time you allow these activities to consume.

As far as your wife is concerned... Well, it is often hard to judge them properly. Sometimes it is hard for a spouse to understand the other's business interests, and when it is the wife waging the criticism... well it is hard to be sure what they are getting at... simply because women seldom actually say what they mean or express what it is that's really bothering them...

This could be rooted in love, money, envy, dissappointment, selfishness or outright genuine concern.
But she is your wife, not mine...
So it's your job to discuss this with her and get to the root of things.

Lucky you :D

thartz
10-07-2005, 09:19 PM
As the saying goes "keep your enemies close; your friends closer".

Brianslawn
10-07-2005, 09:24 PM
its the other way around thartz

thartz
10-07-2005, 09:31 PM
Not if you're the head of a superpower country.

thartz
10-07-2005, 09:32 PM
Check that you're right;my typing error.

Brianslawn
10-07-2005, 09:36 PM
is north carolina a superpower country.... maybe in college basketball....

we all make mistakes :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

jimmbo407
10-07-2005, 10:08 PM
Well my wife and I mainly started this thread in jest, however there is a lot of food for thought here. Maybe the best advise is to use the extra time I have to spend with my wife. But I think it is good to have mutual aid partner, and maybe consolidation is the answer. Thanks all for the good feedback, maybe there is more thoughts out there??

Howard Roark
10-07-2005, 10:52 PM
Maybe the best advise is to use the extra time I have to spend with my wife.


No no, let's not jump to hasty decisions now. Use it to build your business. :D

This is a classic example of dividing friends and business. Truth be told, money does crazy things to people. I've seen families ruined over it. It really depends on who is stronger and successful in a business sense. If you are, then you'll always have the upper hand and be one step ahead. If he is, well then...if you're smart you'll keep in touch and pay attention! :laugh:

Good luck!

The Captain
10-07-2005, 11:56 PM
Dont become partners. And if you need a partner, pick your wife. She will keep you stright

Listen up!!! John is telling you what many of us have learned the hard way. Partnerships with friends usually ruin the business and the friendship. Sadly they also can ruin a family.


Jim

Brianslawn
10-08-2005, 12:00 AM
Well my wife and I mainly started this thread in jest, however there is a lot of food for thought here. Maybe the best advise is to use the extra time I have to spend with my wife. But I think it is good to have mutual aid partner, and maybe consolidation is the answer. Thanks all for the good feedback, maybe there is more thoughts out there??



nothing ventured... nothing gained.

Woody82986
10-08-2005, 01:38 AM
My best friend and I both own solo op lawn care businesses... We help eachother when we really need it, like if one of us gets stuck or gets really behind or if a mower goes down. Other than that we work separately all day and then hang out afterwards trading stories.

sheshovel
10-08-2005, 03:39 AM
NEVER EVER go into business with a freind..I repeat NEVER EVER,unless you want to loose a good freind,this is Sheshovels advice on the whole deal.

LwnmwrMan22
10-08-2005, 10:12 AM
I agree, never go into business WITH anyone, except a spouse.

Hire people if you really have to, but don't partner up.

As for having people to help you out, I'd look more for some retired people from church, a retired relative or someone that only works 2-3-4 days / week, someone that could help you out for a day or two.

Call me cynical, but you never know when that other solo op or other LC business is going to need a couple more accounts to pay the bills some year. Next thing you know, your customer looks out and sees "your buddies" truck mowing the yard and thinks you've gone out of business, so they hire "the new guy".

Brianslawn
10-08-2005, 01:01 PM
since I suggest it a couple yrs ago, 2 companys means double the insurence not just added on expense but 2 seperate policys.Double books. double scheldules etc.


good point mac. thats what ive been trying to say for a while. all the small lcos have their own set of everything, but can only do enough yards to go a little above breaking even. they cant find any employees cause everyone that wants to cut grass for a living is too busy struggling with their own mow biz. when you consolidate you cut cost and have more yards closer together. instead of going into a neighborhood and doing one or two yards, you do 10 or 20. you dont make money driving, and if the truck is parked all day you save money, too.

just like mac says.... why waste money on two of everything when you can consolidate! payup

Jpocket
10-08-2005, 02:20 PM
I agree more with your wife, you should be building you business so that it can stand on it's own, I would'nt get so involved in someone elses operation. Yea maybe help out when someone is in a pinch, but other than that I would be just that a SOLO op. Maybe work on getting bigger accounts a "TRUCK" etc...

Lawnworks
10-08-2005, 06:06 PM
NEVER EVER go into business with a freind..I repeat NEVER EVER,unless you want to loose a good freind,this is Sheshovels advice on the whole deal.

I disagree. I hire my friends... really turn out to be excellent, trustworthy employees.

Lawnworks
10-08-2005, 06:08 PM
The only thing I would have to do with another company is buying them out. What kind of consolidation are talking about Brian?

rodfather
10-08-2005, 06:09 PM
I disagree. I hire my friends... really turn out to be excellent, trustworthy employees.

Hiring friends to be employees is not what we are talking about here. We're talking about taking on a business partner.

jimmbo407
10-08-2005, 08:28 PM
It looks like there are varied opinions on this matter. Do you all think that the area you are in has somthing to do with it and also how large of a company you want to build. So far helping out a friend has had no ill affect but I suppose if we both grow to be larger companys there could be arguements.

Brianslawn
10-08-2005, 08:40 PM
NEVER EVER go into business with a freind..I repeat NEVER EVER,unless you want to loose a good freind,this is Sheshovels advice on the whole deal.


never ever hire a christian woman. theyll screw you over in a heartbeat. you got your experiences i got mine. what works for one may not work for others. im not saying form a partnership, but merge to one company, one licence and insurance policy. develop a chain of command. set salaries with remainder of net money going into company account for future biz use. you can split the town up an each cover your own section (big city). you save on gas, cause youre not driving all over town. you got more yards closer... he does some of yours, you do some of his, etc. or with employees you got more managers with no training needed. something else you can do is one does all high $$$ full service yards, and other does cheap mow n go. there's no set rules... just sit down with someone you know in the biz and see if you can figure something out to make both more profittable. hedge trimmers, chainsaws, tractor, and other stuff everyone needs but hardly uses.... just get one of everything under the company name instead of each get there own, then having to store it. save more $$$ there, too. selfish people dont build big bizs very quick and everyone always talks about employee problems.

nothing ventured nothing gained

Brianslawn
10-08-2005, 08:45 PM
It looks like there are varied opinions on this matter. Do you all think that the area you are in has somthing to do with it and also how large of a company you want to build. So far helping out a friend has had no ill affect but I suppose if we both grow to be larger companys there could be arguements.


youll benifit more in a large city and if you want to have a big company. if you want to be a smalltimer, then stay that way. you need an actual company set up and develop a chain in command. money goes to company and everyone has set salaries. one billing system, etc.

LwnmwrMan22
10-08-2005, 10:17 PM
never ever hire a christian woman. theyll screw you over in a heartbeat. you got your experiences i got mine. what works for one may not work for others. im not saying form a partnership, but merge to one company, one licence and insurance policy. develop a chain of command. set salaries with remainder of net money going into company account for future biz use. you can split the town up an each cover your own section (big city). you save on gas, cause youre not driving all over town. you got more yards closer... he does some of yours, you do some of his, etc. or with employees you got more managers with no training needed. something else you can do is one does all high $$$ full service yards, and other does cheap mow n go. there's no set rules... just sit down with someone you know in the biz and see if you can figure something out to make both more profittable. hedge trimmers, chainsaws, tractor, and other stuff everyone needs but hardly uses.... just get one of everything under the company name instead of each get there own, then having to store it. save more $$$ there, too. selfish people dont build big bizs very quick and everyone always talks about employee problems.

nothing ventured nothing gained

It looks easy on paper.

Just wait until the other guy doesn't think you really need to buy a new mower when you're putting $200 / week into it.

Or doesn't really want to expand, he's already at where limit is, even though when you started it was something totally different.

I'd hire 300 employees before I ever became a partner with someone, ESPECIALLY someone else already in the business that has his / her way of running their business.

Brianslawn
10-08-2005, 10:51 PM
It looks easy on paper.

Just wait until the other guy doesn't think you really need to buy a new mower when you're putting $200 / week into it.

Or doesn't really want to expand, he's already at where limit is, even though when you started it was something totally different.

I'd hire 300 employees before I ever became a partner with someone, ESPECIALLY someone else already in the business that has his / her way of running their business.


yes, but can you manage 300 employees by yourself? or will you eventually need to hire managers with experience?

LwnmwrMan22
10-08-2005, 11:38 PM
yes, but can you manage 300 employees by yourself? or will you eventually need to hire managers with experience?


Okay, if I HIRED managers, wouldn't they still be considered an employee??

If I got to needing to hire 300 employees, I'm buying out everyone else anyways so there are no partners.

Even if you lived in Chicago, NY, or LA, and running 300 employees at 2 guys / truck, that's 150 crews to mow, or landscape it's obviously more guys / truck, and if you were doing large HOA's, with 5-6 guys / location it's not 150 crews, but yes, you'd have managers, crew leaders, maintenance guys, paperwork people. Again, all employees. NOT partners.

Employees you can direct on what needs to be done. Partners have different ideas on what needs to be done.

yrdandgardenhandyman
10-09-2005, 01:02 AM
"they would have succeeeded without me, as quickly as they will fail, with me."

is that your consultant firm's slogan? bet that only works in alabama, arkansas, and JERSEY!!! :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:


Take their money? Give nothing in return? Must be how you handle your customers. That must be the Joisy way. payup :)

It's getting to be the Iowa way too. How long you been away, Brian?

Brianslawn
10-09-2005, 05:46 PM
too long yrdandgarden



LwnmwrMan22.... i understand your thinking, thats why i said develop a chain in command. president, vice president, managers, assistant managers, etc. have a corp or llc set up and everyone becomes an employee of the company. buy out their interests and have them be a manager under you if you have to. if a manager decides to quit and go back on his own its the same as an employee quiting for a 'real' job at walmart. you dont split whatever as a partnership, you have fixed salaries or wages. as for what extra money in companys pot goes for... if you feel company would benifit from a new mower and there is more than enough extra to cover it, then no one else should object. stuff has to be repaired or replaced sometime. ive never heard anyone object to getting to use a new mower that their company bought.

LwnmwrMan22
10-09-2005, 06:51 PM
too long yrdandgarden



LwnmwrMan22.... i understand your thinking, thats why i said develop a chain in command. president, vice president, managers, assistant managers, etc. have a corp or llc set up and everyone becomes an employee of the company. buy out their interests and have them be a manager under you if you have to. if a manager decides to quit and go back on his own its the same as an employee quiting for a 'real' job at walmart. you dont split whatever as a partnership, you have fixed salaries or wages. as for what extra money in companys pot goes for... if you feel company would benifit from a new mower and there is more than enough extra to cover it, then no one else should object. stuff has to be repaired or replaced sometime. ive never heard anyone object to getting to use a new mower that their company bought.


Yes, I agree that's how to grow your business. However, if it's just you and one other guy, coming together just to run under one name, THAT is a partnership, and THAT will not work.

Your insurance will not be any cheaper with a partner, only because you'll either have to have less work, or you'll both still be doing your own lawns.

If you have more work, you still need more equipment, therefore more insurance to cover that equipment.

If you're both going to service the accounts that you already have, you still need the equipment to do those accounts. Yes, if you each have 30 yards to do / week, you can probably do all 60 working together, but you'll probably still need 2 backpack blowers, if for no other reason than to have a backup.

The ONLY, and I mean ONLY time I'd have a partner, would be to take on someone that did landscaping, and we could go after LARGE LARGE properties, ie LARGE commercial developments.

Go after those, both when they were being installed and then maintain them.

Other than that, it would be employees first.

Woody82986
10-09-2005, 08:45 PM
In the last few days, my friend who also owns a lawn care business have been toying around with the idea of partnering up next season and forming one company for reasons that we deem to be fair and balanced in our eyes. One reason is that we want to try working with someone instead of being alone all day long. We also think that we will be able to branch out and grow a little more quickly than we would be able to as individuals. It is getting tough around here to compete with all the otehr small LCO's so we want to try to grab ahold of a larger share of the market. Combining our routes would help us save costs of running two trucks and while we won't save 50% on our fuel bill by running jsut one truck, it will save us a nice percentage. We are still running the numbers to see if it may be feasible, but we are liking the prospects so far.

Lisk
10-09-2005, 11:11 PM
Listen up!!! John is telling you what many of us have learned the hard way. Partnerships with friends usually ruin the business and the friendship. Sadly they also can ruin a family.


Jim

i agree, im only 22 and my father always told me,...."partners never work!!" sadly i had to find out the hard way. I'd say spend the extra time building your business....it'll be worth it in the long run.. payup