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LwnmwrMan22
05-29-2010, 11:38 PM
I'm losing the drive.

This is my 21st year.

I'm used to working 60-100 hour weeks. I've worked 12-16 hour days every day since May 1.

I'm quite far behind because of weather, fertilizing, grass starting / going through flowering, but I just don't care.

I had a customer complain today and I told them to find someone else, I didn't even try to correct the situation.

I called a buddy today and told him that I'm going to give his name to 2 other customers, that I don't want to do their houses anymore.

I'm getting burned out. I've hit a ceiling for what I can charge, that was about 5 years ago.

I'm not the highest in the area, but I do well. Most of the competition doesn't believe that I charge what I do.

This price point was before the $2.50 gas and $3.00 diesel.

I've got too much overhead, and too many yards.

I'm burned out.

It's not even June yet.

lone wolf
05-29-2010, 11:44 PM
I here exactly what you are saying. But, if you are giving up, you have any accounts in the north metro area of the twin cities?

nepatsfan
05-29-2010, 11:44 PM
I'm losing the drive.

This is my 21st year.

I'm used to working 60-100 hour weeks. I've worked 12-16 hour days every day since May 1.

I'm quite far behind because of weather, fertilizing, grass starting / going through flowering, but I just don't care.

I had a customer complain today and I told them to find someone else, I didn't even try to correct the situation.

I called a buddy today and told him that I'm going to give his name to 2 other customers, that I don't want to do their houses anymore.

I'm getting burned out. I've hit a ceiling for what I can charge, that was about 5 years ago.

I'm not the highest in the area, but I do well. Most of the competition doesn't believe that I charge what I do.

This price point was before the $2.50 gas and $3.00 diesel.

I've got too much overhead, and too many yards.

I'm burned out.

It's not even June yet.
You need to find some good help man. People that can carry the torch for you. Are you a solo guy? I know that I work probably 60-70 hours a week but its not all physical labor...estimates and checking on jobs. Maybe if you hired another person to help you it would cut down your workload and help you to pick up even more and grow so you dont have to do the physical labor anymore. I find that every time I get feeling like you in this business I make some sort of change to make it interesting. Add a service, or think of more ways to make money.

mdlwn1
05-29-2010, 11:48 PM
Dude...talk to another business owner..quickly....a retired owner would be perfect. Someone needs to help you re-gain perspective...thats all. Maybe one of your customers can do your books for free service or something. No shame in turning away work...hell one year I turned away more than I grossed.........Talk to someone much older who was moderately successful..the SBA has people like this but it can take a few weeks to get rolling. Sometimes (often) they can help you re prioritize where you should be spending your time and effort...tough to see while your in the thick of things.........

topsites
05-30-2010, 12:16 AM
Yeah but LOL!

Burn-out is a stage that can be recognized, I have learned to spot the warning
signs in advance and take steps to keep it from happening.

You go through this once or twice, tell me in 21 years this is your first time, whatever!
Once you been through it, the only question remains is when is enough truly enough?

So why not do like I do, just work part-time so to speak.
It's not really part-time in the true sense of the word, but I can assure you I don't put in the overtime you do :p
See the smiling face.

Like why I keep saying, it's ALL the same money at the end of the month.
Just take it easy for a while, chill, take a day off, take two days off, take the whole week off,
then next week do it again and the week after, and so on.

Your mind's worth more than all of that anyhow, tell your customers however you want,
I do it all the time, it's just no big deal to me, F the money.

Peace out

LwnmwrMan22
05-30-2010, 12:44 AM
No, every year I get burned out come late August, early September for a week or so.

I just need a break.

This time is different. I just flat out don't care about my business.

I've got an 8 and 5 year old. I miss playing Wii with them.

I have a 5 year old 18' fishing boat that I've had out 10 times in 5 years. I have an 8 and 5 year old that need to be on that boat more than 2 times / year.

mbrew
05-30-2010, 01:13 AM
There's not enough info here to give specific advice. If your billing per man hour is high and there is too much work, that leaves expenses and I don't know why yours would be so high after 21 years. There are some good operators here that I'm certain will give advice if they have more detail to work with.

One thing is certain, your current schedule is not healthy for you, your family or your customers. Let others help you find some balance.

Good Luck,
Mike (who suffered severe burnout on my last job)

Chilehead
05-30-2010, 01:33 AM
I think you just got overloaded too early in the season, and are overwhelmed with all the pressure it has created on the various facets of your life. I've been where you are: not enough hours in the day, people nagging you, financial pressures, unexpected hangups, stress, stress, and more stress.
Sometimes this happens, and for you--it's now. Don't worry, be happy.:):drinkup:
Considering the unemployment conditions, 80-hour workweeks mean you're slammed with work-- a rarity these days. I would have to say that hiring at least one new guy would decrease the stress more than anything. I'm at my wit's end too with the 80-hour workweeks. No one wants to show up for their first day of work, and even more won't fill out a job application. It's half past midnight right now, and I was up at 6:00am. I am wound like a spring. All this goes with the territory. We just have to make the best of it.

topsites
05-30-2010, 01:38 AM
Here's what I'm saying...

I've got an 8 and 5 year old. I miss playing Wii with them.

So f'n play the dang Wii with them already, what are you waiting for, a written invitation?

Throw that caution to the wind, take the boat out, take the kids with you, F the work.

Because I can tell you one thing...
When I don't feel like working?

I know this is going to sound hard to believe but...
Guess what?

<<< Spoiler Alert!!! >>>

< << < Do NOT read further if you do NOT want to see the answer ! >>>>

You have been warned.

When I don't feel like working?
I DON'T WORK!

omg omg

Tinkerer
05-30-2010, 01:46 AM
Burnout can be chemically based as our bodies make adrenalin and other chemicals we function off of. The glands in our bodies that make those chemicals can get overworked and stop working for a while before they get back up to functioning.
I just mow a local 3.5 acre lawn with the owners Toro ZTR every 10 days. With the heavy rain we got early this week it was very due at 7 days so I mowed it saturday. If I wasn't busy with my 2 incomes I'd offer to work for you. Aren't you in the west metro?

MikeKle
05-30-2010, 08:12 AM
I go thru this too, pretty often actually, It is usually this time of year though when you can never get caught up and the rain doesnt help, and when the grass needs mowing every 3 days! I have dropped 2 this year, the one was a pita with obstacles everywhere, and I didnt have the time or desire to deal with that yard this year, so I dropped them, not a big deal to me, as I picked up 3 easy yards to replace them. When I get burned out, and dont feel like mowing anything, I always whine and complain and say if any customers call and complain they are getting dropped right there, but then there are other days when I feel like mowing from 6am to 10pm at night. Also you have to tell yourself that this is spring time and come july and august it will likely be slower. and sometimes it just helps to take that day or two off and not even look at the mowers, even if you are backed up, a couple days are not going to make that much difference anyway.

LKCLawnService
06-11-2010, 10:52 PM
This rain is really killing all of us. I have 16 accts and a full time job and i want to say screw it half the time also, but just remember how much the grass will be growing when its 90 degrees outside;)

meets1
06-11-2010, 11:58 PM
Dude - you gotta roll. Its what ya know - its what you do and its how its done!

4 inches of rain here the last 2 days. More tonight - I am texting my guys work order at 3:30 a.m. watching the rain, wind and branches falling out of trees.

I have a or will be this summer - 2,4,6 yr boys. Summer rec began - I make the time to show up to at least 1/2 there time of play. But I also know I have a "few good men" that can take things over in moments notice and I don't worry amymore about the job - etc there doing.

I still hammer though - estimating, checking billing and changing oil at 4a.m. to jump start the day and set an example to the rest of the fella's int he morning.

Either way though - I here what your saying and only youy can address the situation - take day, enjoy the boat, and really just do nothing!

I keep checking this thread to sew how things are going but I wish ya the best.

mowerbrad
06-12-2010, 12:16 AM
This industry is a tough one, especially on the solo guys. Unlike the larger companies, you as the owner can't take time off and go on vacation for a week. This makes it very tough because everyone needs a little time to not work and just "get away from it all".

It sounds like you need to spend some more time with your family. Hire a helper to cut your work load down so you have more time to spend at home.

Don't continue to do something that you don't enjoy/like.

Mike Blevins
06-12-2010, 12:25 AM
This rain is really killing all of us. I have 16 accts and a full time job and i want to say screw it half the time also, but just remember how much the grass will be growing when its 90 degrees outside;)

Its good you guys are getting the rain. I Just looked at the local news forecast. We have a 30% chance the rest of the week for rain. We are also 7 inches below for the year already. I have already had customers call to cancel for next week. I remember last year I was really getting tired of all the rain we had. but I also remembered the year before when everything dried up and I mowed my last yard in Sept. I can relate to the "burnt out" syndrome also. It usually starts around August for me, but if it don't stat raining here I'm not going to have to worry about that.

Lawnut101
06-12-2010, 01:39 AM
I go thru this too, pretty often actually, It is usually this time of year though when you can never get caught up and the rain doesnt help, and when the grass needs mowing every 3 days! I have dropped 2 this year, the one was a pita with obstacles everywhere, and I didnt have the time or desire to deal with that yard this year, so I dropped them, not a big deal to me, as I picked up 3 easy yards to replace them. When I get burned out, and dont feel like mowing anything, I always whine and complain and say if any customers call and complain they are getting dropped right there, but then there are other days when I feel like mowing from 6am to 10pm at night. Also you have to tell yourself that this is spring time and come july and august it will likely be slower. and sometimes it just helps to take that day or two off and not even look at the mowers, even if you are backed up, a couple days are not going to make that much difference anyway.

And new customers calling want you to drop everything and come out and look at what they want done! Well, not all them, but some anyways....

Lawnut101
06-12-2010, 01:40 AM
Just take some time to relax, pray about it, and remind yourself that you could have a boss that you hate.

meets1
06-12-2010, 10:48 PM
Time off - exactly - maybe that is why lwmrwman is not replying at this time - time away from the lawn industry - Good for you man!

LwnmwrMan22
06-13-2010, 09:38 AM
Time off - exactly - maybe that is why lwmrwman is not replying at this time - time away from the lawn industry - Good for you man!

I'm here.

Just keep trying to figure out what exactly I want to do, what direction to go.

I ended up selling one of my 24' enclosed trailers last week, which allows me to pay off 2 bills.

I've paid off two others (albeit small ones) but it's a start nonetheless.

I hired a second guy last week as well, started him out at $10 / hour.

I did go with my son on a field trip last Tuesday, took the day off and just walked away from the business for a day.

It's still not as much fun as it was 8-10 years ago, but I'll make it work.

Money will be tight this year, but I just have to remember that I'm getting out of debt, which then I can hire more guys, and have more time for myself.

mbrew
06-13-2010, 10:11 AM
I'm glad to hear from you, and it does sound like there is at least a ray or two of sunshine out there for you. I work with people who are in debt and it can seem like a long road out, but nobody I know that has done it has regretted it. There's a bunch of people to give advice and encouragement here when you need them.

Best wishes,

lawnlandscape
06-13-2010, 10:44 AM
My company is over a month behind with our work. But, this is exactly where I want to be this time of year. We do lawn mowing, lawn fertilization/weed control, landscape design/installation, tree/shrub removal, mulching, aeration, dethatching, retaining walls, just starting to get into patios, spring/fall cleanups, stump grinding, and snow removal.

I have a couple of guys that work for me, and I am out on the field working along side them on our landscaping jobs way more then I ever was before. I asked 2 of my guys how they would feel about working weekends for at least the next month a few weeks back.

I have never done this before, but I have 2 guys working Monday-Sunday. Last week they both got 87 hours that week. Everyday they start at 5:30. Most of the time they come back when its dark. 60 of those hours, I have been spending on the field with them. Personally I have been working about 100 hours a week for over a month, and with the work load we have, I will continue to do this for at least another month.

Most days when I come home, my wife and daughters are sleeping, I give them both kisses, then go to bed. When I get up to leave in the morning, they are still sleeping.

Do I get tired? Very! What keeps me going? Knowing that I am working my @ss off so my wife can stay home with the kids and we can still live a decent live. Earlier in my life, I worked pay check to pay check, and I know how that feels, and I never want to be in that situation again.

I also know that this is not endless. For us, usually around August its hard to keep my guys going even 40 hours a week for the fall season. Yes, we do snow removal, but this the the time of year I load up my coffers. Besides, in winter all I do is sit around waiting for it to snow, and do some advertising. a 20 hour week during winter is a good one. I have built up, and fattened up for this.

The first thing that stood out from what you said was something about how you can't raise your rates, because your already to high.

Workload determines rates. Sounds to me, like you could bump up your rates. (at least while your so busy) I price things very differently depending on how busy I am.

Another poster before me commented about priorities. I think its very important to work on your bids and followup with potential customers. This is even more important that you current customers. You would hate to end up with a situation in a month where you were so busy doing your work, that you never bothered to get anymore, then you sit without anything to do.

I find when I am motivated and have drive, I can complete work twice as fast. You either need to suck it up and get motivated, or you need to hire an employee. Although, it would have been nicer if you planned a little better, because hiring an employee right in the thick of it (unless you know someone who would be perfect fit) will suck. It will only make you go SLOWER, because you will have to hold their hand for a few weeks until they get the hang of it.

LwnmwrMan22
06-13-2010, 01:00 PM
95% of my work is on flat fees and we're already locked in until next April.

I raise 1/3 of my account 5-20% / year, rotating so every 3 years they get a price bump.

When you've been doing a $50 account for 10 years, eventually it gets to be $75 and a new guy comes in at $45.

I know that just sounds like an excuse, it's not.

Any new work I bid at my high rates.

Once I'm out from the debt load, there will be more employees and I'll be fishing more.
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meets1
06-13-2010, 01:13 PM
Ya got plan implemented. Stick with it. I am looking for an enclosed-wish I new. Stick with as I no you will. Good luck.
.
Posted via Mobile Device

yardatwork
06-13-2010, 01:24 PM
I hear you. I used to have three crews running...two mowing and one landscaping. A few years ago I eliminated the second grass crew and started doing more of the work myself and noticed I was able to either work an hour longer (per day) with just me and a helper or we were getting done quicker. Haha...the second crew was milking me for sure. So one problem solved. Then I started slowly eliminating the landscaping crew...well not eliminate fully, but only focus on existing clients/mowing clients. I rarely pick up new landscaping people. So...second problem solved. I now only run one crew...myself and a helper. We work five days a week, roughly 30-35 hours...and...my take home is more or the same as when I had the three crews. With more crews brings about more fixing, lost equipment to replace, higher payroll, three trucks running = more gas and maintenance expense. I removed the problem clients, kept the good paying clients and clients I view as friends. My clients also want to see me doing their job or at least on the job and no one else. They feel more secure if I'm doing all their work and that makes me feel good knowing they have that much faith in what I do. For me...my business is set up perfect and I'm financially satisfied. I'm also not burnt out, I have time for rain make up days, and I typically have my weekends to play!!

LwnmwrMan22
06-13-2010, 01:39 PM
I hear you. I used to have three crews running...two mowing and one landscaping. A few years ago I eliminated the second grass crew and started doing more of the work myself and noticed I was able to either work an hour longer (per day) with just me and a helper or we were getting done quicker. Haha...the second crew was milking me for sure. So one problem solved. Then I started slowly eliminating the landscaping crew...well not eliminate fully, but only focus on existing clients/mowing clients. I rarely pick up new landscaping people. So...second problem solved. I now only run one crew...myself and a helper. We work five days a week, roughly 30-35 hours...and...my take home is more or the same as when I had the three crews. With more crews brings about more fixing, lost equipment to replace, higher payroll, three trucks running = more gas and maintenance expense. I removed the problem clients, kept the good paying clients and clients I view as friends. My clients also want to see me doing their job or at least on the job and no one else. They feel more secure if I'm doing all their work and that makes me feel good knowing they have that much faith in what I do. For me...my business is set up perfect and I'm financially satisfied. I'm also not burnt out, I have time for rain make up days, and I typically have my weekends to play!!

Right, this is where I'm heading back to.

Thing is, I went down this road about 12 years ago, getting 2-3 crews and hated it.

I decided that this time I was going to pay guys $15-20 / hour, get "motivated" help, rather than just $8-10 / hour guys, but since they don't have a vested interest in the business, they still don't care.

I'll be back to working myself 5 days / week within 3 years.

jvanvliet
06-13-2010, 04:50 PM
I'm here.

Just keep trying to figure out what exactly I want to do, what direction to go.

I ended up selling one of my 24' enclosed trailers last week, which allows me to pay off 2 bills.

I've paid off two others (albeit small ones) but it's a start nonetheless.

I hired a second guy last week as well, started him out at $10 / hour.

I did go with my son on a field trip last Tuesday, took the day off and just walked away from the business for a day.

It's still not as much fun as it was 8-10 years ago, but I'll make it work.

Money will be tight this year, but I just have to remember that I'm getting out of debt, which then I can hire more guys, and have more time for myself.

You sold a 24" enclosed trailer?:cry:

LwnmwrMan22
06-13-2010, 09:08 PM
You sold a 24" enclosed trailer?:cry:

That would be 24 FOOT, not inch. :rolleyes:

TJLANDS
06-13-2010, 09:57 PM
I now only run one crew...myself and a helper. We work five days a week, roughly 30-35 hours...and...my take home is more or the same as when I had the three crews.

Good for you, but it just doesn't sound right,
Not picking on you, but the only way a business with three working crews can make less "net" than one is poor management.

Solo guys(1 crew) have it rough, What will you do if you get hurt or sick.
I say take the step up, hire better workers and grow. Growing pains are part of being in business. Getting burnt out is a bad feeling, if you had a reliable crew you could get away for a while, even one whole day off feels great. Even when I was growing my business I made time for the family and kids and myself.

The work will be there when you get back, trust me

milo
06-13-2010, 10:32 PM
No, every year I get burned out come late August, early September for a week or so.

I just need a break.

This time is different. I just flat out don't care about my business.

I've got an 8 and 5 year old. I miss playing Wii with them.

I have a 5 year old 18' fishing boat that I've had out 10 times in 5 years. I have an 8 and 5 year old that need to be on that boat more than 2 times / year.
lol last year i was going to quit, than after talking to my accountant this may be my last season. for the money i make and the cost to do business and the stress and wear and tear it does to you its not worth it

Scagguy
06-13-2010, 10:54 PM
I know what you're going through. I'm way past burn out stage. When I started this business not quite 4 years ago, I told myself that I was going to work my ass off and be a contender in this town. Well, that has happened but at great personal sacrifice. Last week I blew off a 5 figure installation because I'm tired, mentally and physically. I was thinking about taking a vacation towards the middle of next month when I turned the job down. I'm spending the rest of this evening planning said vacation. The only people that can reach me while I'm gone is my family, no one else and they better not call unless someone died. I'll pick up the pieces and deal with the crap when I get back. I agree with Ron White when he said " I don't care, I'm 3rd generation don't give a f**k". That's exactly my mindset right now.

LwnmwrMan22
06-14-2010, 12:19 AM
Good for you, but it just doesn't sound right,
Not picking on you, but the only way a business with three working crews can make less "net" than one is poor management.

Solo guys(1 crew) have it rough, What will you do if you get hurt or sick.
I say take the step up, hire better workers and grow. Growing pains are part of being in business. Getting burnt out is a bad feeling, if you had a reliable crew you could get away for a while, even one whole day off feels great. Even when I was growing my business I made time for the family and kids and myself.

The work will be there when you get back, trust me

If you search my threads, in August of '08 I broke my foot on the stairs in my house. I was completely solo at the time. I posted what I went through.

I had a couple of guys that helped me out, who were EXCEPTIONAL workers.

I worked my butt off to get accounts, including landing a muni account with 19 parks.

The first winter, I took out a loan to pay 2 guys to keep working full time splitting firewood. We were doing quite well with our pricing, but needed help to get more wood split.

Then the economy took a dive and firewood prices nosedived. We still did okay, but did not meet breakeven that winter.

I pushed through last summer, but I had to lay the guys off last fall, just giving them hours when it snowed.

They were not able to feed their families on 10 hours every 3-4 weeks, even with unemployment in the meantime, so they went to other jobs.

One guy came back, but he was not enough help. I hired another guy last week, and their both good guys, hard workers, but stuff still happens.

The truck came back with a big dent in the tailgate. The mowers need more maintenance due to "abuse". Not bad abuse, but rather just what would happen when you're the employee, not necessarily the owner.

Like I said before, the most money in my own account was right after I went from 130 accounts / week with 6 guys to the prime 30 accounts myself.

Within 3 years, 90% of my debt will be gone, and I'll be back to doing that again, dropping back to the prime accounts, using one helper than can cover all 30 if I want to disappear for a week or so.