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View Full Version : Growing, Growing, Growing! (The Grass & My Business!)


DSLND
09-14-2008, 10:31 AM
All this rain is nuts, I only got about 1/4 of my yards done last week, and now things are going to be crazy this week.

To the point, my business is getting out of control. It seems like I'm adding more and more properties each week, and I cannot get my phone to stop ringing. Up to this point, I loved adding new business, but now I need some help.

I currently have a guy who works with me. He is a retired gentleman, 76 years old (NO LIE), and he is by far the best worker a guy could ask for. He really helps me out a lot, and I have trained him well. It is nice to have him, because if something goes wrong with a mower, I can send him to the dealership during the day, while I am at school (have done it before with my Lesco's).

To this point, I have never sent him out on his own. But this week I need to. We are so far behind, that I think I can send him out with a 21", and a trimmer and go do some of my crap yards, small yards, and other properties that he can handle with the 21". He knows the route, and knows what I expect out of him, and what each individual yard needs, so I find no problem with this.

But looking more towards next year, I had the idea of going back to working solo, but I am unsure if I can handle all of the yards by myself. I will have my license then (thank god!) and can work from 3-dark every night, and Saturday all day. I think I can do it, but I think I will burn myself out. I love working solo, thats one of the reasons I do this, because you get paid to talk to yourself, and not too many others when mowing:laugh: In all actuality, I only have the helper because I have to right now, and sometimes he can drive me insane (he was a retired truck driver, full of stories, and never afraid to share:dizzy:)

I think the tool to add next year is a 60" ZTR, for my 6 acre personal home, and my larger yards. That would really save me some time. Then I will have one heck of a mower setup, 60", 48", 32", 21". Perfect!


What do you guys think? I mean, if I wanted to, I could add guys, and have a three man crew, but I think that would make me go insane with all the BS I would have to put up with, I'd like to wait a while before that.

Add employees, or keep things smaller?

I'd rather invest in equipment, rather than people.



Thanks!

-Mitch-

AJ Lawnscapes
09-14-2008, 10:42 AM
If I was in your boat, I would drop school and expand. If you have the business like you're saying you do, just go for it. It's what we strive for.

Work for ourselves, while those we employ do all the work.

Kennedy Landscaping
09-14-2008, 10:52 AM
Stay in school, add equipment, and work hard at it is what I would have to say. I am in school myself. I too am pretty far behind seeing that it has rained since Wednesday and finally quit yesterday mid morning. I should be mowing today but I don't really like to mow on Sundays.

DixieFerris
09-14-2008, 01:17 PM
Why is this in the commercial forum? Shouldn't this be in the Just starting?

DSLND
09-14-2008, 01:37 PM
Uh, yeah. Not dropping school. I gotta get through, even though it sucks! I do plan on getting my Associates Degree as well. I plan on attending community college for landscaping related courses.

Thanks for the help.


-Mitch-

TomberLawn
09-14-2008, 02:00 PM
Staying in school is definitely a wise thing to do. It's all about opportunity cost. Sure, you might could make a few hundred dollars a month more if you quit and start working full time, but think about the future. You need to learn about business so you can expand big time. You can teach just about anybody how to trim and mow, but marketing, management, financing, and accounting is something you need to know how to do.

Equipment will probably provide a better return on investment than more people. A bigger mower might cost a couple dollars an hour more than a smaller mower, but it will mow more grass in an hour. Add another guy running the small mower and you add $10-15/hr of overhead. At this stage in the game, you need to strive for maximum efficiency. When you are as efficient as you can be and still have work to do, then add some more help, and make sure they are as efficient as you are.

fool32696
09-14-2008, 02:06 PM
You have to give employees the opportunity to show what they can do. Some will shine and others will get fired. Take the chance and let him run the route or do the easier lawns and do random checks to make sure his work is up to par. If he's trustworthy and does good work he's capable of running a crew and you're able to grow the business and stay in school. I'm sure I'd be MUCH farther along if I didn't spend 4 yrs at UF but I wouldn't trade the experience for anything. AT LEAST finish high school. I recommend a 4 yr college to anyone. It's not all about what you learn, it's growing into mature and educated person.

lawn crafters
09-14-2008, 03:37 PM
how many acconts do you have? and i would get a ztr because i used to use just a 22 push mower and bought the lesco 36 after and it made me prevent a helper because id o all .25 to .50 acre houses

freshprince94
09-14-2008, 04:40 PM
Yeah, don't drop school. If something happens where you can't do landscaping you want to have a fallback.

I would go for that 60" ZTR if I was you. Especially for your own 6 acre yard, I assume you're not paid to do that so you want it to go as quickly as possible. I wouldn't get another Lesco for parts sake.

I wouldn't send the helper by himself if it was me.

howierd3866
09-14-2008, 05:50 PM
Mitch....you already got a employee and workmen comp and gen. lib along with commercial auto for him driving you around and busniess lic. I wont down size and go back solo..stay in school and keep getting yards because now days its hard for people to get work.When you get out of school your company will be large and so keep it going.

meets1
09-14-2008, 05:54 PM
Did I miss something? High school or college? Commercial thread or beginner thread?

Herrick
09-15-2008, 09:12 AM
If I were you Mitch, I'd start bumping my prices up... start weeding out the PITA accounts and concentrate on the ones that are making you the real money. Definately stay in school, but also don't over extend yourself to the point that your grades are slipping, or that you are letting your quality slip. Weed out the bad accounts, stay just busy enough that you feel comfortable handling the work. Don't be afraid to turn work down, or price it high enough that you don't mind busting your tail to get it done.

DSLND
09-20-2008, 11:13 PM
This past week was absolutely insane. Most properties had to be double cut, etc. All that rain made things more difficult, but we were able to fight through.

I did send my helper out on his own.

He only got sent to small properties, where he could run the 21", and save me time later on. I only gave him 2-3 to do per day. He worked Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and did a total of 7 properties, saving me a whole day of after school mowing, and all of the customers were pleased!

This worked great. He came out to my place, got the rig, went and mowed, and then picked me up from school, where I could change clothes immediately, and we could get some serious mowing done. I don't think there was a night where we did less than 8 properties, plus whatever amount he did while I was at school. This was great for us, and I plan on continuing to do it this way, especially with the days getting shorter.



Now.. This upcoming week, is going to be fun as well. We have a lot of work to do on top of the mowing. Bushes, clean ups, and I need to get some aerating done. I may send out my buddy who is my age, and works for his parent's landscape company (I use him all of the time, and he knows what he is doing, his parents have trained him well), and the old man and have them go mow, with my truck and the big trailer. Then myself, and a friend of mine who is looking for some extra cash will go do bushes and flowerbed clean ups. Basically I will have a guy who can run a rake and a blower, which is what I need to be more efficient. So we will take my dad's Jeep and the little trailer. Its kind of neat to think that two crews will be out, kind of a accomplishment if you ask me. Its something I'm not crazy about, but I think I need to do it, just for a day or two.


-Mitch-

CALandscapes
09-20-2008, 11:33 PM
Mitch,

Sounds like you're on the right track. The step of putting employees out on their own, essentially unsupervised is a large one to take, and many don't, thus staying small and prohibiting their growth. The fact that you were able to have the foresight and take this risk speaks volumes about you and your potential for future success...

I can remember the first time I sent two crews out; I could hardly think my head was spinning so fast.. I still get nervous at time to time with crews on jobs, unsupervised, but it's something that must be done in order to achieve growth.

As you continue to learn to deal with employees, train them, manage your business, and sell more and larger jobs and accounts, you'll be thankful for taking the risk and having the trust to send employees out on their own...

Best of luck! :usflag:

-Chase

corey4671
09-21-2008, 12:15 AM
Why is this in the commercial forum? Shouldn't this be in the Just starting?

Just starting? MITCH??? HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!! YOu could probably stand to pick this kid's brain buddy!!

howierd3866
09-21-2008, 08:47 AM
Just starting? MITCH??? HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!! YOu could probably stand to pick this kid's brain buddy!!

OK lets pick it if you are under 16 how can you have a truck in your name or your company name..its is in your company name right ? also how about the "dads" jeep its in the company name too... I'd ask early about w/c--ins on employees---ins on truck and trailer---is the old man on your ins. for driving your truck--is your other buddy cover on your w/c---so on and so on...Now don't get me wrong I'm glad to see you out there working and still going to school but we on this site want to make sure you are legal or if not help you get legal so nothing happen to and your company..good luck

Lawn Enforcer
09-21-2008, 09:59 AM
OK lets pick it if you are under 16 how can you have a truck in your name or your company name..its is in your company name right ? also how about the "dads" jeep its in the company name too... I'd ask early about w/c--ins on employees---ins on truck and trailer---is the old man on your ins. for driving your truck--is your other buddy cover on your w/c---so on and so on...Now don't get me wrong I'm glad to see you out there working and still going to school but we on this site want to make sure you are legal or if not help you get legal so nothing happen to and your company..good luck

He's legal-and he has a great head on his shoulders. Look through his threads and posts, he's not just a rook'

howierd3866
09-21-2008, 10:36 AM
He's legal-and he has a great head on his shoulders. Look through his threads and posts, he's not just a rook'

ok just went thur most of his post didn't see anything about ins.--w/c ins--how he can have a truck in his name at that age---where hes looking to hire someone with their own truck to pull his equipment around which is a no no--where he want to plow snow at his age with someone next to him and so on and so on..again not downing him for doing very very well for a kid his age..BUT we are here to help everybody and I see he needs to get a few things so he can be legal... again I just ask and have not got a answer not here to back mouth nobody but help.. if he has none of this his dreams will be just that..

MJS
09-21-2008, 10:38 AM
OK lets pick it if you are under 16 how can you have a truck in your name or your company name..its is in your company name right ? also how about the "dads" jeep its in the company name too... I'd ask early about w/c--ins on employees---ins on truck and trailer---is the old man on your ins. for driving your truck--is your other buddy cover on your w/c---so on and so on...Now don't get me wrong I'm glad to see you out there working and still going to school but we on this site want to make sure you are legal or if not help you get legal so nothing happen to and your company..good luck

Gatta feeling that you haven't been 'round LS long enough to know the whole story. . . . check out this thread: http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=201834

howierd3866
09-21-2008, 10:49 AM
Gatta feeling that you haven't been 'round LS long enough to know the whole story. . . . check out this thread: http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=201834

again please read his story... its still does not answer any of my question..if that ok with you guys thats find then but don't get on to the next guy who has none of these things that you and I have to have and he working chearper and you all get mad...now I dont care what he charges but again just want him safe and legal so his dreams becoming more than just dreams...