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andyslawncare
04-29-2010, 03:23 AM
I've been going strong with over 60 hrs per week in the field and at least another 40 hrs per week in the office since March.

The money is great, but...
DO any of you who work these hours have a wife, kids, go to school full time, or are you engaged?

I'm just looking for some advice on how you manage your time to spend with your significant other, but still get all of your work done...

I just hired a new landscape designer to take care of all of the plans for plants, but I'm still stuck bidding on everything else; and we offer a lot of services! I don't have the time to train someone else how to bid jobs now either...

I don't want to down size my services, because the growth rate is looking good for expansion of another truck or two in 1-2 years; but for now....???

Any advice for a growing service is appreciated. I need some new ways to deal with all of the stress...

esnipe8
04-30-2010, 04:23 PM
Start at 6, get home at 5, play with my daughter till 7, office work/designs/bids/scheduling, till 9, go to bed! Wife understands, and I bought her a 47" flat screen!
I also am firm on not taking calls after 4:30-5:00 during the week, and no calls and minimal work on Saturdays. Defiantly no work on Sunday. Most customers are family people and understand the importance of family time on the weekends.

Stuttering Stan
04-30-2010, 06:51 PM
100 hrs week? I say BS. That's 14 hrs/day 7 days a week.
Personally, I do 50-60/week. Anything over that will just have to wait till I get to it. My kids are growing fast, I don't want to miss it.

Swampy
04-30-2010, 07:28 PM
Don't put in 100/wk but I put 40 in at the regualer job, am a full time student, and in the Army Reserve. All that besides my landscape business. Personally I have a Girlfriend and she's my sectetary, answers the phone and puts a schedule together for me. But no kids helps as well. Try not to work on Sundays to much unless I'm in the office or working on a truck or something.

shovelracer
05-01-2010, 05:20 PM
I did that 2 years ago and like you the money was great. 5:30am-8pm 6 days labor, 8-9:30 office, 930-10 shower etc. Sunday was 6am-8pm doing everything from repairs to design to purchasing. I made a bunch of money, but only because I was working for 2. It taught me that having a deadbeat bunch of employees is worthless, but having good ones is priceless. I now work half as much, make only a little less, and have my health and sanity. Much better!

AWJ Services
05-01-2010, 08:39 PM
I know Andy and I believe he works that much.

He needs a Hobby.:)

DJJS
05-01-2010, 11:32 PM
I dont work 100 hrs a week regularly but in the spring when we're real busy with cleanups, applications, estimates for new clients etc I probably am pretty close to it, the rest of the time though I work like 60-70 hours a week give or take, like someone else mentioned, great employees make a huge difference, I used to have friends working with me, they were useless except for one who still works with me, the others were terrible though and no longer are with me, I hired another full time guy and a part time guy and they've made a huge difference in my work load. I'm engaged and neither myself or my fiance have any complaints about my hours, she answers phones for me and helps out with some of the office stuff, even helps with my design work sometimes

Caterkillar
05-02-2010, 09:05 AM
What is your role in your company? Do you run a crew? Do you just manage and give estimates? How many crews do you have?

I think we have to remember anything we can do... someone else can do just as well. Delegating your workload and remaining profitable is the key to success. It is possible, we just have to figure it out and make it happen.

AintNoFun
05-02-2010, 11:06 AM
im in the same boat.. i do all the estimating/sales for my company as well as overseeing the crews. i was doing about 14 hours a day and kept telling myself it will slow down, but it never did.. i try getting up an extra hour before to get at my paperwork done, then are around lunch hop on my laptop, knock out a few bids and thats it for the computer till later tonight. after dinner when i get while watching tv with my wife i crank out another few estitmates... it sucks, but that i dont do jack in teh winter to i just keep pushing...

Caterkillar
05-02-2010, 01:35 PM
im in the same boat.. i do all the estimating/sales for my company as well as overseeing the crews. i was doing about 14 hours a day and kept telling myself it will slow down, but it never did.. i try getting up an extra hour before to get at my paperwork done, then are around lunch hop on my laptop, knock out a few bids and thats it for the computer till later tonight. after dinner when i get while watching tv with my wife i crank out another few estitmates... it sucks, but that i dont do jack in teh winter to i just keep pushing...

Sounds very similar! I am debating hiring a manager to ease the burden, but it sure is hard to let go of 40-50k. I am thinking of hiring a manager capable of irrigation repairs to offset the cost. Defining the duties and pay scale for the manager is where I am stuck now.
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AWJ Services
05-02-2010, 05:48 PM
Sounds very similar! I am debating hiring a manager to ease the burden, but it sure is hard to let go of 40-50k. I am thinking of hiring a manager capable of irrigation repairs to offset the cost. Defining the duties and pay scale for the manager is where I am stuck now.
Posted via Mobile Device



The hardest thing for any buisness owner is to just let go and give responsibility to an employee in a managment position.

DJJS
05-02-2010, 08:57 PM
What is your role in your company? Do you run a crew? Do you just manage and give estimates? How many crews do you have?

I think we have to remember anything we can do... someone else can do just as well. Delegating your workload and remaining profitable is the key to success. It is possible, we just have to figure it out and make it happen.

I'm the owner, I'm still in the field almost everyday but I do mainly landscaping, hardscape and those type of jobs along with all our applications, but at least a few days a week I'm still out mowing, doing cleanups etc with my guys. I've got one full maintenance crew that runs 5 days a week all season, when the season really picks up I pretty much run a full maintenance crew and a full landscaping/hardscaping crew. Knowing when I'm out doing estimates or design work that my guys are still out there doing the job the right way took a ton of stress off me

Caterkillar
05-02-2010, 10:42 PM
I'm the owner, I'm still in the field almost everyday but I do mainly landscaping, hardscape and those type of jobs along with all our applications, but at least a few days a week I'm still out mowing, doing cleanups etc with my guys. I've got one full maintenance crew that runs 5 days a week all season, when the season really picks up I pretty much run a full maintenance crew and a full landscaping/hardscaping crew. Knowing when I'm out doing estimates or design work that my guys are still out there doing the job the right way took a ton of stress off me

I try to remind myself of something pretty often. If I am out leading a crew of some sort, I am basically paying myself laborer's wages. If I am running a landscape or lawn crew, that is saying my time is only worth $13-15 per hour.

It sounds like you need to build up your workload to have one dedicated lawn crew, spray crew, and a dedicated landscape crew and find good foreman to run the jobs. It is a great time to hire with the economy the way it is. You can find excellent employees.

Then you will be wondering whether your time is worth $20 an hour giving estimates, meeting with customers, and checking on jobs.

Caterkillar
05-02-2010, 10:46 PM
The hardest thing for any buisness owner is to just let go and give responsibility to an employee in a managment position.

I think you are right. I have seen guys that stick to just one crew because they don't believe anyone can do it as well as they can.

My problem is paying someone 1k a week to manage. That is 50k off of the net. But at the same time, that is saying my time is only worth $20 an hour. Not too many of us would want to work for $20 an hour.

I think delegating is very hard, but at the same time I think it is very rewarding. I enjoy driving by projects that were completed very well with the training I have instilled in my employees.

mdlwn1
05-02-2010, 10:58 PM
100 hrs week? I say BS. That's 14 hrs/day 7 days a week.
Personally, I do 50-60/week. Anything over that will just have to wait till I get to it. My kids are growing fast, I don't want to miss it.

100 hours is common in the spring....many of us have or will do it...called being BUSY.

AintNoFun
05-02-2010, 11:03 PM
I think you are right. I have seen guys that stick to just one crew because they don't believe anyone can do it as well as they can.

My problem is paying someone 1k a week to manage. That is 50k off of the net. But at the same time, that is saying my time is only worth $20 an hour. Not too many of us would want to work for $20 an hour.

I think delegating is very hard, but at the same time I think it is very rewarding. I enjoy driving by projects that were completed very well with the training I have instilled in my employees.


very true.. they say you have to work with your business not in your business and i def. believe that..


The hardest thing for any buisness owner is to just let go and give responsibility to an employee in a managment position.



another good point. while we do mostly landscape work, we dont have as many guys as a mowing operation would, but i have to bid/estimate a lot more work to keep it coming in... im pretty sure if i got a little bit bigger id need a manager, but i dont want to get bigger just more profitable!

FLCthes4:11-12
05-03-2010, 08:55 AM
In my opionion you dont need managers you need laborers. I worked for a couple of large national companies after college before I went out on my own. I saw you have or pursuing a degree. You are going to school so you can be the manager. One manager should easily be able to manage 300,000 gross in work. That should be 2- 3 crews. Find an expirenced supervisor with good lisence and it will cost you $12 per hour plus all the other labor burdens.....or get one through a temp agency...go through them till it works out. We do mostly residental design build and I have one crew. Sometimes its hard not to be in the field with them but you have to get the jobs coming in.

White Gardens
05-03-2010, 09:26 AM
In my opionion you dont need managers you need laborers. I worked for a couple of large national companies after college before I went out on my own. I saw you have or pursuing a degree. You are going to school so you can be the manager. One manager should easily be able to manage 300,000 gross in work. That should be 2- 3 crews. Find an expirenced supervisor with good lisence and it will cost you $12 per hour plus all the other labor burdens.....or get one through a temp agency...go through them till it works out. We do mostly residental design build and I have one crew. Sometimes its hard not to be in the field with them but you have to get the jobs coming in.

I think this is the best post.

I've personally been dealing with the same issue this year and I think I'm going to be hiring a laborer to help me out part-time. I plan on being on all my jobs and in-charge, but he is smart enough to work on his own if I have to leave for supplies or go meet with a customer for an hour or two.

I've cut my work schedule back this year some. In the past 4 years I worked as long and hard as I could when I got a job in order to complete it and get paid, after that I might have had some down-time in-between jobs. This year I'm I'm cutting my hours a bit having to pick up my son 3 times a week from the sitter. Luckily that has shorten those days and my work-load has doubled this year, so it's a pleasant inadvertence to keep me from over-doing it this year. I have plenty of work, so I just need to be efficient and effective to keep the money rolling in.

I agree as above, higher laborers, not managers. You are the face of your business and you should be the one to meet with customers and estimating.

Caterkillar
05-03-2010, 09:40 AM
In my opionion you dont need managers you need laborers. I worked for a couple of large national companies after college before I went out on my own. I saw you have or pursuing a degree. You are going to school so you can be the manager. One manager should easily be able to manage 300,000 gross in work. That should be 2- 3 crews. Find an expirenced supervisor with good lisence and it will cost you $12 per hour plus all the other labor burdens.....or get one through a temp agency...go through them till it works out. We do mostly residental design build and I have one crew. Sometimes its hard not to be in the field with them but you have to get the jobs coming in.

A temp agency??? Really? I wouldn't even trust a temp agency to find manual labor for me unless I had extenuating circumstances. $12 an hour is barely enough pay for a competent foreman/crew leader much less a manager. I also think a good manager would be able to 500k-1mil especially if it is only maintenance.

Caterkillar
05-03-2010, 09:51 AM
I think this is the best post.

I've personally been dealing with the same issue this year and I think I'm going to be hiring a laborer to help me out part-time. I plan on being on all my jobs and in-charge, but he is smart enough to work on his own if I have to leave for supplies or go meet with a customer for an hour or two.

I've cut my work schedule back this year some. In the past 4 years I worked as long and hard as I could when I got a job in order to complete it and get paid, after that I might have had some down-time in-between jobs. This year I'm I'm cutting my hours a bit having to pick up my son 3 times a week from the sitter. Luckily that has shorten those days and my work-load has doubled this year, so it's a pleasant inadvertence to keep me from over-doing it this year. I have plenty of work, so I just need to be efficient and effective to keep the money rolling in.

I agree as above, higher laborers, not managers. You are the face of your business and you should be the one to meet with customers and estimating.

At some point you will need to hire managers to control multiple crews if you plan on really growing your company. You can have well-paid foreman/crew leaders, but at some point you will need managers to keep things flowing smoothly and quality control.

It sounds like you need to hire the guy full-time and try to increase your workload. Remember the more man hours you bill out for the more potential you have for more profit.

You are the face of your business and you should be the one to meet with customers and estimating

Not really. Why should we be the face of our business? Because we are not competent enough to find, train, and motivate someone to meet customers and estimate as well as we can?

FLCthes4:11-12
05-03-2010, 11:52 AM
If I'm correct and I may not be with a temp agency you pay them a flat rate and that includes all the taxes, and workers comp. So it doesnt affect your insurance or increase you paper work load. Also this is the spring so we are all busy and chances are the work is going to slow down. And $12 for a maint. Supervisor is pretty much the average.
And I agree that we are the face of our business'. No matter how much you train and educate employees they do not care about your business as much as you do. Scheduling is the key. You can only schedule 8hrs a day if you choose. Its hard to do maintenance and Install when you are a small company and have a full mowing and app. schedule.

Caterkillar
05-03-2010, 12:26 PM
If I'm correct and I may not be with a temp agency you pay them a flat rate and that includes all the taxes, and workers comp. So it doesnt affect your insurance or increase you paper work load. Also this is the spring so we are all busy and chances are the work is going to slow down. And $12 for a maint. Supervisor is pretty much the average.
And I agree that we are the face of our business'. No matter how much you train and educate employees they do not care about your business as much as you do. Scheduling is the key. You can only schedule 8hrs a day if you choose. Its hard to do maintenance and Install when you are a small company and have a full mowing and app. schedule.

The quality of the employee from a temp agency is not going to be great. I have a payroll service that does the paperwork, so there really is not much at all... maybe 5 minutes per week. As far as cost goes, you are paying the temp agency fees as well which kind of like pissing away money to a middleman. And workman's comp is still going to cost you the same percentage through a temp agency or geting I could understand using a temp agency, if you need 50 laborers for a short period of time, but not for long term.

Wages depend on the part of the country you are in, but $12 per hour still sounds low for a position that manages several crews.

I still disagree with about the "face of the business" thing. I have met some manager's for other large companies that have the owner's best interest in mind even when it gets down to pennies on the dollar. I know it is possible to have someone else run your company just as well as you can... I have seen it done while the owner was at his vacation home deep sea fishing 4 days out of the week. And I have seen it done when the owner opens a branch 600 miles away from his home office. If you want to own a business that is actually worth something, you will not want to be "the face of the business."

DJJS
05-03-2010, 01:59 PM
I try to remind myself of something pretty often. If I am out leading a crew of some sort, I am basically paying myself laborer's wages. If I am running a landscape or lawn crew, that is saying my time is only worth $13-15 per hour.

It sounds like you need to build up your workload to have one dedicated lawn crew, spray crew, and a dedicated landscape crew and find good foreman to run the jobs. It is a great time to hire with the economy the way it is. You can find excellent employees.

Then you will be wondering whether your time is worth $20 an hour giving estimates, meeting with customers, and checking on jobs.

Your numbers are pretty close for maintenance but theres also however much I would be making per lawn even if I wasnt on the property working, plus what I would be paying a laborer to do the work, so it is slightly higher. For hardscape jobs though its much higher. I do it more though because I love being in the field, I'm only 20 years old so that could change at some point but for now I'm making good money doing something I love. As far as the maintenance work, we do just over 90 lawns a week, mostly postage stamps but some larger residential & a few commercials, they keep a maintenance crew busy everyday all day, and hopefully in the summer i'll be running a full landscape/hardscape crew once the demand for that type of work goes up a bit, which it seems its on its way to early on this season. I do plan on eventually having seperate crews, a few maintenance crews, irrigation crew, hardscape crew, landscaping crew etc but until that point I'm more then happy in the field

White Gardens
05-03-2010, 06:27 PM
At some point you will need to hire managers to control multiple crews if you plan on really growing your company. You can have well-paid foreman/crew leaders, but at some point you will need managers to keep things flowing smoothly and quality control.

It sounds like you need to hire the guy full-time and try to increase your workload. Remember the more man hours you bill out for the more potential you have for more profit.

Not really. Why should we be the face of our business? Because we are not competent enough to find, train, and motivate someone to meet customers and estimate as well as we can?

My market is over-flowing with people calling themselves landscapers. It can be tough to increase the workload. Your theory might be correct, but I feel I'm in no position yet to hire someone full-time. We might be having a beginning of the year rush, but I guarantee it will taper off.

I feel comfortable where I am at right now, and I'm growing at a reasonable pace. I have no need to expand beyond my needs right now. Even before I do expand farther I want to have most of my equipment paid off in order to ensure I can pay crews to work.

My customers appreciate my style of landscaping and the work I do. 4 clients have stated that they would always want me to work on their properties and deal with them personally if I should ever grow my business and have crews. That's why I think it's important that I stay the front-runner of the biz and be the face of it. There isn't too many big companies around here that the owners still but effort into their business, and that's why I keep picking up their clients.

Caterkillar
05-03-2010, 11:18 PM
My market is over-flowing with people calling themselves landscapers.

I think every market is overflowing with people calling themselves landscapers. Your area is no different than any other.


It can be tough to increase the workload. Your theory might be correct, but I feel I'm in no position yet to hire someone full-time. We might be having a beginning of the year rush, but I guarantee it will taper off.

Do you advertise?


I feel comfortable where I am at right now, and I'm growing at a reasonable pace. I have no need to expand beyond my needs right now. Even before I do expand farther I want to have most of my equipment paid off in order to ensure I can pay crews to work.

I agree with you on debt. Although I prefer to have no debt in the first place. Weren't you considering buying a new vermeer? I bought a 06 Dingo 425 with 500 hrs for 5k. If you pay cash and buy smart, you will be able grow quickly with little overhead.


My customers appreciate my style of landscaping and the work I do. 4 clients have stated that they would always want me to work on their properties and deal with them personally if I should ever grow my business and have crews. That's why I think it's important that I stay the front-runner of the biz and be the face of it. There isn't too many big companies around here that the owners still but effort into their business, and that's why I keep picking up their clients.

I do not know of any successful landscaping companies where the owner comes out and personally does work for people. This is why you hire good people. You hire the face of your company essentially. To say this is impossible is ignorant. I think when you get to a certain point the type of effort you put in your company changes. You install systems(quality and efficiency), find unique ways to hire the best employees, try innovative marketing, etc. Just because you do not personally plant Mrs. Jones annual beds, does not mean you cannot hire someone to plant Mrs. Jones annual beds just as well as you can.

I have 250 clients and they do not give a flip if I am on their property or one of my employees is on their property... they cannot tell a difference.

Caterkillar
05-03-2010, 11:24 PM
Your numbers are pretty close for maintenance but theres also however much I would be making per lawn even if I wasnt on the property working, plus what I would be paying a laborer to do the work, so it is slightly higher.


If you are running the crew, you are saying your time is only worth $12 per hour. That is what I try to remind myself anyway.

White Gardens
05-04-2010, 09:19 AM
I think every market is overflowing with people calling themselves landscapers. Your area is no different than any other.



Do you advertise?



I agree with you on debt. Although I prefer to have no debt in the first place. Weren't you considering buying a new vermeer? I bought a 06 Dingo 425 with 500 hrs for 5k. If you pay cash and buy smart, you will be able grow quickly with little overhead.



I do not know of any successful landscaping companies where the owner comes out and personally does work for people. This is why you hire good people. You hire the face of your company essentially. To say this is impossible is ignorant. I think when you get to a certain point the type of effort you put in your company changes. You install systems(quality and efficiency), find unique ways to hire the best employees, try innovative marketing, etc. Just because you do not personally plant Mrs. Jones annual beds, does not mean you cannot hire someone to plant Mrs. Jones annual beds just as well as you can.

I have 250 clients and they do not give a flip if I am on their property or one of my employees is on their property... they cannot tell a difference.

First off, I'm not some young kid who lived at home starting their business and squirled away tons of money so I can buy everything with cash in hand. I have a wife who had health issues, and is now going back to school, a kid, and also all the payments in life that we all enjoy as adults. I basically can't buy everything with cash in hand, but when I do have extra, it goes towards paying off anything I have a loan on.

Yes, I advertise on a small scale. Enough to keep me busy, and more advertising than most around me.

No, I can't hire someone with the same vision as me and to label something as small as planting annuals as something anyone could do is an injustice to your clients.

I know plenty of businesses around here where the owner is out doing the work along with the help.

All my clients do give a flip about who does the work around their home. This is why I got these clients in the first place, because other so called successful companies couldn't deliver. That puts me in a position to charge more for my services and give a better experience to my customers.

Here's the deal Caterkiller. I have my business model and you have yours. Don't try to instill what you think is "successful". So far my model has worked and worked extremely well. Even if someday I expand more, I'll still be out pounding the pavement and getting my hands dirty in order to keep my 100% satisfaction rating.

DJJS
05-04-2010, 07:30 PM
If you are running the crew, you are saying your time is only worth $12 per hour. That is what I try to remind myself anyway.

Maybe that's true in your company, but if I'm in the field doing landscaping or anything other then maintenance I make well over $ 12/hour. I'm only 20 years old, own 3 trucks, two of which are completely paid off the other will be by the end of the year, I moved out of my parents house into an apartment just over a week after I graduated high school, all my equipment is paid off so I'm obviously doing something right, might not be how you do it but its working.

Also, I agree with white gardens, there are plenty of successful landscape businesses where the owner goes out and gets his hands dirty, although I havent had anyone want to deal with me and only me, I had a customer last year that moved to florida email me pictures of the property so I could do the design work, even if I couldnt do the actual installation, so I certainly can see his point.

lifetree
05-04-2010, 09:25 PM
I did that 2 years ago and like you the money was great. ... It taught me that having a deadbeat bunch of employees is worthless, but having good ones is priceless. ...

This is the best advice you'll get !!

Caterkillar
05-04-2010, 10:09 PM
Maybe that's true in your company, but if I'm in the field doing landscaping or anything other then maintenance I make well over $ 12/hour. I'm only 20 years old, own 3 trucks, two of which are completely paid off the other will be by the end of the year, I moved out of my parents house into an apartment just over a week after I graduated high school, all my equipment is paid off so I'm obviously doing something right, might not be how you do it but its working.

Also, I agree with white gardens, there are plenty of successful landscape businesses where the owner goes out and gets his hands dirty, although I havent had anyone want to deal with me and only me, I had a customer last year that moved to florida email me pictures of the property so I could do the design work, even if I couldnt do the actual installation, so I certainly can see his point.

No you don't get my point. I am saying your time is so valuable that you are "wasting" your time running a crew. You could easily install a crew leader, pay him $12 an hour, and you could on and do something making much more per hour. Either way you will make a profit... one way you will make that profit "paying yourself $12 per hour or you will make that profit and pay someone else the $12 per hour.

Sounds like you are doing REALLY well for being 20. I am not trying to be demeaning but quite the opposite... your time is better speny working on your business than in your business. If you are out working a crew, you are saying your time is worth the same as a laborer.

FLCthes4:11-12
05-04-2010, 10:18 PM
For me got in the business because I like this kind of work. More hands make the work lighter. I agree with white gardens i've got the whole adult package wife, kids, mortgage, and payments.

Caterkillar
05-04-2010, 10:46 PM
First off, I'm not some young kid who lived at home starting their business and squirled away tons of money so I can buy everything with cash in hand. I have a wife who had health issues, and is now going back to school, a kid, and also all the payments in life that we all enjoy as adults. I basically can't buy everything with cash in hand, but when I do have extra, it goes towards paying off anything I have a loan on.

Yes, I advertise on a small scale. Enough to keep me busy, and more advertising than most around me.

No, I can't hire someone with the same vision as me and to label something as small as planting annuals as something anyone could do is an injustice to your clients.

I know plenty of businesses around here where the owner is out doing the work along with the help.

All my clients do give a flip about who does the work around their home. This is why I got these clients in the first place, because other so called successful companies couldn't deliver. That puts me in a position to charge more for my services and give a better experience to my customers.

Here's the deal Caterkiller. I have my business model and you have yours. Don't try to instill what you think is "successful". So far my model has worked and worked extremely well. Even if someday I expand more, I'll still be out pounding the pavement and getting my hands dirty in order to keep my 100% satisfaction rating.


Actually, staying away from debt is just a mentality. I don't buy it till I can pay cash for it. It is also forces you really evaluate your business decisions. That is why I have a 5k dingo and not a 20k dingo.

So no one in the world can plant annuals as well as you can!!:laugh: Come on man, be realistic... anything you can do can be taught or found.

It just sounds like these particular clients limit your growth opportunity and profit potential.

There is no such thing as 100% satisfaction rating. I am sorry.

It is possible to have a large company and do quality work. Look at ETW. Look at Jim Lewis. Do you think they are out getting dirt under their finger nails? Hell no. They know how to hire competent people, manage their money, market their business... they are business men. Did you know Jim Lewis leases a mini-skid? And no offense, but most of their projects looks much better than any of yours and they probably do not even lay a finger on the job.

DJJS
05-04-2010, 10:46 PM
No you don't get my point. I am saying your time is so valuable that you are "wasting" your time running a crew. You could easily install a crew leader, pay him $12 an hour, and you could on and do something making much more per hour. Either way you will make a profit... one way you will make that profit "paying yourself $12 per hour or you will make that profit and pay someone else the $12 per hour.

Sounds like you are doing REALLY well for being 20. I am not trying to be demeaning but quite the opposite... your time is better speny working on your business than in your business. If you are out working a crew, you are saying your time is worth the same as a laborer.

I see what your saying more clearly now and I do plan on eventually running my business from the role you described, I love what I do though and especially now while I'm young being in the field is exactly where I want to be the majority of the time, I already have 2 guys who work for me that are great workers and know the trade so they eventually will most likely be crew leaders. At the moment though, I'm happy with where I am

FLCthes4:11-12
05-04-2010, 11:03 PM
Caterkillar....so what does your company specialize in? How many employees? and how do you balance the spring time rush with clients, training employees and maintaining family life.....I'm curious how others do it....here is my example of poor planning. Last thursday we laid a paver walk about 300 sq.ft with a 120 sq.ft. landing. I just over laid my edges. I had another job scheduled for friday so it would be Monday before I could get back to it. For the weekend I planned on taking my 4 year old son camping and trout fishing. Well went fishing, family and church on Sunday and it poured rain on Monday getting between my paver and sand and washed it out. Today we pulled the entire walk removed sand, compacted and fresh m10. I doubt the memory of the pavers will last as long as the camping trip.

Caterkillar
05-05-2010, 12:03 AM
Caterkillar....so what does your company specialize in? How many employees? and how do you balance the spring time rush with clients, training employees and maintaining family life.....I'm curious how others do it....here is my example of poor planning. Last thursday we laid a paver walk about 300 sq.ft with a 120 sq.ft. landing. I just over laid my edges. I had another job scheduled for friday so it would be Monday before I could get back to it. For the weekend I planned on taking my 4 year old son camping and trout fishing. Well went fishing, family and church on Sunday and it poured rain on Monday getting between my paver and sand and washed it out. Today we pulled the entire walk removed sand, compacted and fresh m10. I doubt the memory of the pavers will last as long as the camping trip.

I have 10-12 employees depending on the projects. We specialize in complete landscape maintenance and installation... lawn care, landscaping, grading, irrigation, light hardscaping, lighting, annuals, etc. I also own a business that sells used heavy equipment. Usually have someone traveling on the weekends to pick up equipment all over the southeast.

I let my crew leaders train. I don't have much of a family life in the spring right now... mainly because I am not delegating my managing tasks as I should. However, part of that is because I am flipping a 700k house(forclosure), and as soon as that project is done I will be completely debt free and will hire a manager.

I think it is possible to have a good family life and a large business as long as you delegate the responsibilities. I am not there yet and have no one to blame but the reflection in the mirror.

Caterkillar
05-05-2010, 12:05 AM
I see what your saying more clearly now and I do plan on eventually running my business from the role you described, I love what I do though and especially now while I'm young being in the field is exactly where I want to be the majority of the time, I already have 2 guys who work for me that are great workers and know the trade so they eventually will most likely be crew leaders. At the moment though, I'm happy with where I am

When are you going to buy a house? Now is a great time to take advantage of the housing market. Ideally, you could buy a house in Sept-Oct and have work for your guys on home improvement in the offseason. I bought my first house, when I was your age.

Caterkillar
05-05-2010, 12:14 AM
We had a 60 yard mulch job last week that had to be done by a certain and due to rain and extinuating circumstances, my guys had to work through the night. That crew logged 24 hours that day.... kind of a wierd number to see on a time card! Guys weren't too happy, but the client was.

White Gardens
05-05-2010, 12:14 AM
It is possible to have a large company and do quality work. Look at ETW. Look at Jim Lewis. Do you think they are out getting dirt under their finger nails? Hell no. They know how to hire competent people, manage their money, market their business... they are business men. Did you know Jim Lewis leases a mini-skid? And no offense, but most of their projects looks much better than any of yours and they probably do not even lay a finger on the job.

Now your just being a tool.

Never once have I ever mentioned that my work is the best. I look up to people like Chestnut Oaks and Jim Lewis, and others in the industry that have had the opportunity to do awesome work.

I'm happy with what I do and where my business is going, thanks for trying to make me feel like a fool.

I'm done with you.

DJJS
05-05-2010, 12:25 AM
When are you going to buy a house? Now is a great time to take advantage of the housing market. Ideally, you could buy a house in Sept-Oct and have work for your guys on home improvement in the offseason. I bought my first house, when I was your age.

I doubt I would have my guys work on my house, other then one who happens to be one of my best friends, but we are planning on looking for a house this summer, we've just been waiting until she graduates college, so next month. Ideally moving in sometime toward the end of the season so I have some winter projects around the house

mcw615
05-05-2010, 07:46 AM
In 2008, that was me on the 100 hour a week schedule. After doing that non-stop for two years, I got worn out, and was about to shove everything I worked so hard for our the door for someone to give me a work schedule that I know I go in at 7, I know I get off at 5, and I 'work' is not stressed on my mind before work, during, work, after work, while sleeping etc.

For me, I wasn't making great money. I was 18 years old with 6 full time employees. Understood how to do excellent work, but had no clue about the business and accounting aspect of things. Talking about doing $45-$50 yards for $18-$25. After taking some business courses through my local community college I realized I was charging less than the weekend warriors, but worth close to the landscape professional companies. Again I was working atleast 100 hours a week, and at the end of the year I personally only made $8,000 and then didn't have any start up funds for the begining of 2009.

After an entire overview of my company once I began to understand the business aspect of things, I understood my labor, labor burden, overhead and OH recovery, then planned profit. So I changed things up March 01, 2009. Wrote a very nice letter to all customers, really found out people did like my work but half of the customers just said you can't beat that price or they are just looking for someone to mow the lawn. So what fixed my problem the start of last year were right prices, I had one guy work with me for 35 hours a week in the field, then he spent the remaining 5 hours on Friday mornings washing all the equipment, sharpening blades, maintennace etc. and I had to spend about another 10 hours average a week on books etc. and I brought in personal gross $48,000 at 19 years old and with only one employee, working LESS THAN half the amount of hours.

I know this was pertaining to more the maintenance aspect and now design/build but that's my story.

AWJ Services
05-07-2010, 07:14 PM
Hopefully as you get older you will learn to work "Smarter" Not "Longer'.

Things have been so bad here that I am scared to not work as much as possible.LOL

So much for getting older.

Caterkillar
05-08-2010, 11:54 PM
Now your just being a tool.

Never once have I ever mentioned that my work is the best. I look up to people like Chestnut Oaks and Jim Lewis, and others in the industry that have had the opportunity to do awesome work.

I'm happy with what I do and where my business is going, thanks for trying to make me feel like a fool.

I'm done with you.

So what you are saying is the larger companies DO have the capacity to do quality work?

I get what you are saying. With you being on every job you are able to control quality. I know you are not at this point yet, but to say that you could not hire someone that could do your job just as well as you... is just not true.

The problem with your business model is that you can never net as much as a larger company. There are only so many man hours you can bill out for.

Be honest. Would you rather gross 100k at 50% profit margin or gross 2 million at 25% profit margin?


Anything I can do, I can train someone else to do. Lighting, irrigation, grading, hardscaping, drains, etc. No matter how complicated, there is someone else out there with the mental capacity to do it just as well as I can. I just have to find them, educate them, train them, motive them properly($) and install "systems" to implement. If you study any type of large business, you will find they all have "systems" that ensure their success.

White Gardens
05-09-2010, 12:42 AM
So what you are saying is the larger companies DO have the capacity to do quality work?

I get what you are saying. With you being on every job you are able to control quality. I know you are not at this point yet, but to say that you could not hire someone that could do your job just as well as you... is ignorant.

The problem with your business model is that you can never net as much as a larger company. There are only so many man hours you can bill out for.

Be honest. Would you rather gross 100k at 50% profit margin or gross 2 million at 25% profit margin?


Anything I can do, I can train someone else to do. Lighting, irrigation, grading, hardscaping, drains, etc. No matter how complicated, there is someone else out there with the mental capacity to do it just as well as I can. I just have to find them, educate them, train them, motive them properly($) and install "systems" to implement. If you study any type of large business, you will find they all have "systems" that ensure their success.

Here is the problem with your scenario and my location. I live in a metropolitan area of 150,000 people. When I say it's saturated by other companies, I mean it. There is going to be a cap on the amount of gross per year because of that. There maybe only 5 well-established companies that gross more than a million a year here, and through the grapevine, most of their income comes from mowing accounts. When the economy took a dump last year, every bigger company around me was saying that the only reason they stayed in business was the mowing accounts they had.

I don't mow as of now, and that's something I'll entertain when my business grows more and I can take a hit one year in investing for equipment to compete in the mowing sector. As of now, my knowledge of plants, landscaping and landscape maintenance is acquiring accounts that larger companies can't compete with. For example, Each time I get a new account with a Lilac bush in the landscape, it has never been pruned properly to allow them to bloom in the spring.

So, I have to find the balance in there when it comes to crews, hiring, etc. I've already had experienced landscapers from these companies asking me if I'm hiring as the landscaping has dropped off for them and their hours. Do I need them as of right now, no.

I'm lucky that I can specialize in landscaping and landscape Maintenance and still support my family, and that is what is ultimately important to me. If someday I can expand and gross more per year than so be it, but until then I'm happy where I am at this point and if it grows bigger and and badder then so be it. My goal for my business is to create something special that my customers can appreciate, and I feel that I have accomplished that.

andyslawncare
05-09-2010, 12:49 AM
Thanks for the input guys. And yes, I do work 90-100+ hours per week on my business, I go to school full time, and I'm engaged. I would think that most people worked this kind of hours when they started at the age of 16 with nothing. If you didn't work these hours before, you probably didn't start with $200 initial equipment cost. I have been fully supporting myself since I was 18. I am 21 and have $65,000+ in business assets and a home that is paid for. I'm not concerned about finding good help when I'm ready to hire a crew leader. I can grab someone fresh out of my college and they would be happy. My problem with growing is not having the vehicles and equipment I need yet to have another crew.

I'm considering buying another truck next year so I can have a full time maintenance crew and a full time landscaping crew. I figured I could make at least the same as now, and do far less work. This year I have to pay off $6,000 more to be debt free. I could overview and help on properties, spend some time in the a/c in the truck on the computer, buy supplies, and sell jobs each day. We are overloaded with work, and I'm sending away several thousand dollars of work each month. Currently I'm grossing in the $4,000-$7,000 per week area. I'm booked for two weeks and have enough bids to write up to last us for a few more weeks; and the calls keep coming, and I'm not advertising (except for my website http://www.downtoearthlawncare.org) I've already saved enough money to pay the bills during the winter. Now I'm going to save for a loan to get a lightly used truck, 2 more open trailers, a muck-truck wheel barrow, and maybe an sk350. I'm trying to do the debt free thing, but I don't think my growth can allow me to drive 2 extra hours to get a rental machine a few times a month...I think I should just put 25% down on a loan and sell enough jobs to double the equipment purchases next year...?

I'm surprised this thread had this much activity....