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View Full Version : Question of the day ???


jdubb44
02-28-2011, 05:33 PM
How many accounts did you have before you decided to hire a full time employee to help with your business ??

sweetz
02-28-2011, 05:52 PM
85,000 - They were all next to each other & they were 1 sq ft ea.

tradeyouraccounts
02-28-2011, 06:03 PM
85,000 - They were all next to each other & they were 1 sq ft ea.

8500 next to each other would be a dream route :laugh:
70 Accounts before needed help.

sweetz
02-28-2011, 06:30 PM
8500 next to each other would be a dream route :laugh:


That's a fact!

It all depends on the size of your accounts and a BUNCH of other things.

Richard Martin
02-28-2011, 06:36 PM
It has nothing to do with numbers of accounts. It has to do with workload. If you are doing more than you can handle on a regular basis then you may need an employee. I don't have a lot of accounts but half of the accounts I have are full service including bushes, mulch etc.

I said "may need an employee" for a reason. You need to look at operating efficiencies before hiring anyone or additional employees. Are you as efficient as possible? Do you drive your route to minimize stops and distances driven? Is your equipment the right size to minimize mowing time. I had a helper back in 1999 and 2000. I had a Gravely 50" geardrive as my main mower. I bought a 60" Dixie Chopper in 2001 and was able to get rid of my helper.

ACA L&L
02-28-2011, 08:11 PM
wel whe my night job and day job stasrted to blend together and i wasnt sleeping......Hired a guy and went down to 6-7 hour work days and kept night job at wally world as loss prevention guy......to keep bennys.......once we added another truck it was time to take the step....oh yeah.

Southern Pride
02-28-2011, 08:51 PM
This is one of the best questions I've seen in a while. I just started last season and have 25 accoutns now. Sometimes it feels like I need someone just part time to help me, especially when it gets to be August and when it's blazing hot. I say this because when it's that hot/humid I try to work 7a.m. - Noon and no more. As hot as it got last season, I don't see how some of these guys (especially the ones working for $8-10/hr) put up with working out in that heat around noon.

Anyway, I think the answers you find will vary vastly depending on each individuals goals, and how busy they really are, and how good their work ethic is (aka how lazy they are). There are essentially two types

1. Some guys, like me, want to go all day cutting by myself. I want 100% of the money and I like being responsible for 100% of the work. Simply because I don't believe anyone I'd hire would be anywhere close to as good at me with the trimmer and especially edging. Also, I especially don't trust any of the guys I would hire (even friends) running my mower. If they broke something I know most of them would not be able to pay. Also, I can't really count on anyone to be consistent with work. I simply can't rely on them to always be there to get things done. I do hire out work every once in a while when it truely is needed. One day I would like to hand it over to two guys who I can completely trust, but honestly I would love to do about 5-6 yards a day solo 5 days a week and stay there. There is such thing as becoming "too big" where your profit margins are not really increasing anymore even though you've bought work trucks, all these mowers, and gained alot of clients. Just something to think about.

2. Other guys don't care how much labor costs, they really just want to sit on their ass and collect checks no matter how much labor costs compares to how much they're really reeling in. To them, their workers are truely 100% of why their business continues, and they figure they will continue to grow and there is no way for their business to grow with them running solo, thus they need to sit on their ass. Alot of times, they really wouldn't be able to handle doing any yards themselves and if their workers collapsed on them they would go under with the drop of a hat. I NEVER want to be that guy. I know this because I ran two seperate companys 4 years of my life for LCO's exactly like this.

I'm not trying to lump it into 2 categories that are that black and white. Sure there are plenty of LCO's with plenty of workers that are out there busting their ass along with them, fully trust their guys, and those are the ones who truely are the threat to the most commmon 2 types of LCO's. I seem to have gone off rambling again, but I hope this helped at all or anyone else knows what I am talking about.

Griffin

ed2hess
02-28-2011, 10:39 PM
If you are a good salesman and manage get help as soon as possible. It never made sense to me to work alone from the first day I started 35 years ago. On the other hand you have to be in an area that has workers available for this type of work. Plenty in our area don't know about up north.

Southern Pride
02-28-2011, 10:43 PM
How does it not make sense to work alone, especially when you just start? (1-20 accounts) I don't understand.

kilgoja
03-01-2011, 01:15 AM
i don't get it either lol...i prefer to work alone and plan to always do that if i can....i don't want the added headache of hiring people and having them quit on me or getting worker's comp and buying more mowers and so on and so on...i like to keep it simple...less worries less headache

SDelPrete
03-01-2011, 08:29 AM
How does it not make sense to work alone, especially when you just start? (1-20 accounts) I don't understand.

I'm going to assume he said that because who knows YOUR business better then YOU do? No one! So if your out mowing 5-10 lawns on Monday for an example and you happen to get 6 calls but you don't get back to them right away chances are you just lost 6 jobs. Whether they were for mowing or mulch or anything point is there is a good chance you are to late If you wait to call them back.

On the other hand you decide to call them back and they want you to come over right away for an estimate but they are 3 miles away and your next lawn in 1 mile away. Now you have to choose either to ask them to wait or you go out of your way for them then back to your lawns for the day. Repeat that 6 times.

Not sure if your seeing my point but it is simply put that you are the owner of YOUR business and YOU need to be the one constantly bringing in the clients/work load. If not you then who will?

Now if you just want to have a small amount of lawns that you can just mow and go home then I guess that is fine too but what happens when you have 5 full days work, then billing, then you cant get to calls, then it RAINS? Now your taking weekends away from your family to try and catch up on things. SNOWBALL EFFECT and that is no fun.

You end up turning into an employee to your business rather then actually being the "Owner" you "claim" you are.

Agape
03-01-2011, 11:09 AM
I'm going to assume he said that because who knows YOUR business better then YOU do? No one! So if your out mowing 5-10 lawns on Monday for an example and you happen to get 6 calls but you don't get back to them right away chances are you just lost 6 jobs. Whether they were for mowing or mulch or anything point is there is a good chance you are to late If you wait to call them back.

On the other hand you decide to call them back and they want you to come over right away for an estimate but they are 3 miles away and your next lawn in 1 mile away. Now you have to choose either to ask them to wait or you go out of your way for them then back to your lawns for the day. Repeat that 6 times.

Not sure if your seeing my point but it is simply put that you are the owner of YOUR business and YOU need to be the one constantly bringing in the clients/work load. If not you then who will?

Now if you just want to have a small amount of lawns that you can just mow and go home then I guess that is fine too but what happens when you have 5 full days work, then billing, then you cant get to calls, then it RAINS? Now your taking weekends away from your family to try and catch up on things. SNOWBALL EFFECT and that is no fun.

You end up turning into an employee to your business rather then actually being the "Owner" you "claim" you are.

I have less than 20 accounts, but theyre all full service so it takes me and a guy two regular days to do it (7-8 hrs ea) leaving 4 days to do extra work and get fliers out (main advertising). in the past, I've tried to do it my self and then when I'm swamped, try to- advertise a position opening- interview idiots- try to train idiots and I'll tell you from experience that if you wait until you are pushing the envelope of what you can get done by yourself, to hire someone, you will go backwards.
I don't just have a guy help me get done what I can do myself. any time we're not working is flier time, If I'm out and about and I get a call for an estimate in another area, I drop him/them off with fliers. If it's on the route I send them in a 3 block radius with fliers while I give the estimate.
Hire them any time that you're making enough to pay them, but they are there to make you money, not just get done sooner.

SDelPrete
03-01-2011, 11:27 AM
Hire them any time that you're making enough to pay them, but they are there to make you money, not just get done sooner.

EXACTLY...great addition to what I said :weightlifter:

torotorotoro
03-01-2011, 02:19 PM
120 residental ranging in sizes from 7000 to 10000 . not alot of drive time

Southern Pride
03-01-2011, 03:17 PM
I can see you all's point Sdelprete and Agape. However, I'm referring to when you JUST begin and have only maybe 1-10 yards. There is absolutely no excuse for help there. Especially if the 10 yards are the only job you have. I completely understand everyone knowing THEIR business and all of that but even with 25 accounts, I've yet to come into a situation where if I didn't hire someone It would hurt me at all. Again, I'm just referring to the beginning of this business 1-10 yards and that's all you do. There's no excuse for hired labor. At that point they are only costing you money to get done with something faster that doesn't need help or production. I definitely understand the flyer/estimate argument but to me, putting out flyers does not = $ nor does giving estimates. It's getting the job and being done that makes $. Even with 25 accounts I couldn't afford (well I might but I wouldn't want to) pay some guys to drive around and do work I'm completely capable of doing for me. To me it just goes back to what I originally said about varying degrees of lazyness.

Agape
03-01-2011, 03:33 PM
I can see you all's point Sdelprete and Agape. However, I'm referring to when you JUST begin and have only maybe 1-10 yards. There is absolutely no excuse for help there. Especially if the 10 yards are the only job you have. I completely understand everyone knowing THEIR business and all of that but even with 25 accounts, I've yet to come into a situation where if I didn't hire someone It would hurt me at all. Again, I'm just referring to the beginning of this business 1-10 yards and that's all you do. There's no excuse for hired labor. At that point they are only costing you money to get done with something faster that doesn't need help or production. I definitely understand the flyer/estimate argument but to me, putting out flyers does not = $ nor does giving estimates. It's getting the job and being done that makes $. Even with 25 accounts I couldn't afford (well I might but I wouldn't want to) pay some guys to drive around and do work I'm completely capable of doing for me. To me it just goes back to what I originally said about varying degrees of lazyness.

....And that's ok, but if I only had myself to maintain accounts, it would take me 3 1/2 days to do them and only leave 2 1/2 days for marketing, estimating, and then extra jobs. so if all I want is to do my <20 accounts then I would just work it myself, but when I did that, I would be real busy, have so many calls I couldn't get to them all, and miss out on estimates. When I got caught up it would be dead a couple weeks while I got more fliers handed out. (Not my only advertising, but my most effective). and then I would be broke in the winter. I'm still learning to run employees, but I can't grow by myself the way I want to. I'll go with my guys until I absolutely can't.

Agape
03-01-2011, 03:40 PM
If all my accounts were just mow blow and go, I'd probably NEVER hire. but all my accounts are the full meal deal but one.Now that I have some base accounts, I'm revamping another service plan to make pruning an add on, (as opposed to being included in my ultimate package),that costs enough to either inhibit a customer from going with it, or make it worth while.

Lawnut101
03-01-2011, 04:22 PM
I only had about 20 hours of mowing per week last year. But we do a lot of landscaping as well. So I needed to hire a full time guy, and a few part timers. This year I will have 1 full time guy and maybe up to 4 part time guys. I have over doubled my mowing for this summer. I probably won't even take on much more mowing work, but will focus mainly on landscape/hardscape installs.

Southern Pride
03-01-2011, 05:03 PM
....And that's ok, but if I only had myself to maintain accounts, it would take me 3 1/2 days to do them and only leave 2 1/2 days for marketing, estimating, and then extra jobs. so if all I want is to do my <20 accounts then I would just work it myself, but when I did that, I would be real busy, have so many calls I couldn't get to them all, and miss out on estimates. When I got caught up it would be dead a couple weeks while I got more fliers handed out. (Not my only advertising, but my most effective). and then I would be broke in the winter. I'm still learning to run employees, but I can't grow by myself the way I want to. I'll go with my guys until I absolutely can't.

Agape, trust me I hear you sounds like you are doing the right thing, given your situation. I need to get on the ball with flyers. NOW through April is the time to get out as many as humanly possible. Right now it's just the lawn business I have going so solo is fine but once I finish school (may) and start working fulltime on the Fire Dept. with odd hours I am going to need to hire atleast 1-2 part time guys to run my business. This scares me, because it's very hard for me to turn over the reigns, and gain trust of people to 1. get the work done and 2. Do it near as well as I do.

ACA L&L
03-01-2011, 05:24 PM
Ill tell ya what, the day i added a guy to the crew #1 it was long over due and #2 in less than one year i had doubled the amount of money we were making. With the extra guy i was able to schedule extra jobs right away, we could get complete prune and cleans done for new customers on the first visit, vs a week or two later......adding another guy will increase your workload instantly as well as your income..For me i was dissapointed in myself for not adding another guy sooner.....The quality of work does not go down if anything you are able to do all the detail work, prune how you want, edge if you choose, the worker is there to do all the no brainer stuff.....

ACA L&L
03-01-2011, 05:28 PM
Another point is the how the customer sees your company. When its just you thats what they see just you. But when you have 2 guys out there they think they are getting alot more for there money. Sounds crazy but the customer will not be upset that it takes you less time to complete the job, they will see you as a company now instead of a solo operation. I have had alot of people ask me how many guys do you have? Is it just you? The fact that your still working with the crew is a big bonus as well. you can sell the personal touch, when they have a question about what was done and why, you have the answer without calling your crew leader, you were there and you were the one who made the call........

oldclawn
03-01-2011, 05:58 PM
A good friend of mine mows 60 accounts a week alone, and has for almost 30 years. He does pretty much full service but keeps his accounts in a comfortable range for him as he is a FULL TIME TEACHER, and he just loves being outside working. His wife is an RN and he has never needed a dime of the L&L income, so he pays all his L&L bills from receivables and invests the rest and I can assure you he has absolutley no finacial need to be working at all. It does show that we all have different viewpoints, goals and objectives, and some people just totally love what they are doing!

kilgoja
03-01-2011, 06:15 PM
I'm going to assume he said that because who knows YOUR business better then YOU do? No one! So if your out mowing 5-10 lawns on Monday for an example and you happen to get 6 calls but you don't get back to them right away chances are you just lost 6 jobs. Whether they were for mowing or mulch or anything point is there is a good chance you are to late If you wait to call them back.

On the other hand you decide to call them back and they want you to come over right away for an estimate but they are 3 miles away and your next lawn in 1 mile away. Now you have to choose either to ask them to wait or you go out of your way for them then back to your lawns for the day. Repeat that 6 times.

Not sure if your seeing my point but it is simply put that you are the owner of YOUR business and YOU need to be the one constantly bringing in the clients/work load. If not you then who will?

Now if you just want to have a small amount of lawns that you can just mow and go home then I guess that is fine too but what happens when you have 5 full days work, then billing, then you cant get to calls, then it RAINS? Now your taking weekends away from your family to try and catch up on things. SNOWBALL EFFECT and that is no fun.

You end up turning into an employee to your business rather then actually being the "Owner" you "claim" you are.

I've never gotten 6 calls in one day ever lol...and if a customer can't wait for an hour or so for you to show up then it's not a customer you wanna have to begin with...you want customers that will work with you just like you work with them...there is plenty of time to talk to people between yards on the phone or call them back etc...or even after you get done for the day...i'm not sure what you are talking about to be honest...if your schedule is already full then you don't need any more customers if you are doing a solo business..some people expand and some people don't...some like to keep it at a managable level where they aren't running around like a chicken with it's head cut off all the time lol...as far as billing it's not needed when customers pay you at the time of service...and if you do bill it doesn't take 10minutes after the day of work to send out 5-6 bills since that is how many yards you are gonna be cutting as a solo person per day....unless you are dumb and are trying to work 15hrs a day and cut 10 yards...but that's just not practical...if it rains that doesn't do anything...it just pushes everything back a day...you still don't have to cut on the weekends unless you want to...it all depends on how you choose to do business...for me if it rains on friday i would just cut the friday yards on monday if i already had plans on saturday and sunday...it's really not that big of a deal...i guess it all depends on what you wanna do...some people wanna grow and keep growing and be as big as they can be...me on the other hand would be happy to cut 5-6 yards 5 days a week for 6-7 months a year and stay there...i chose to do lawncare to get away from the rat race...not to join in on it lol...it would make more sense to me to hire a PR person to handle all the calls and customers....that is the part i most dislike about the business...i'd rather just do the mowing...everyone is different...some like to talk on a cell phone all day but it's not my thing lol

Southern Pride
03-02-2011, 03:15 PM
A good friend of mine mows 60 accounts a week alone, and has for almost 30 years. He does pretty much full service but keeps his accounts in a comfortable range for him as he is a FULL TIME TEACHER, and he just loves being outside working. His wife is an RN and he has never needed a dime of the L&L income, so he pays all his L&L bills from receivables and invests the rest and I can assure you he has absolutley no finacial need to be working at all. It does show that we all have different viewpoints, goals and objectives, and some people just totally love what they are doing!

Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner.

That's what some people don't understand. Even if I was well off, without any financial worry in the world, bet I would still be out there (with awesome equipment) doing my "favorite" customers yard. There's nothing quite like landscaping. I could go and get all into it here but I won't...Hopefully I'll be a career fireman soon, and my goal is to be exactly like the friend you describe above. Not all of us are JUST doing landscaping. It's kind of scary to me to think of landscaping as a sole income.

Southern Pride
03-02-2011, 03:22 PM
I've never gotten 6 calls in one day ever lol...and if a customer can't wait for an hour or so for you to show up then it's not a customer you wanna have to begin with...you want customers that will work with you just like you work with them...there is plenty of time to talk to people between yards on the phone or call them back etc...or even after you get done for the day...i'm not sure what you are talking about to be honest...if your schedule is already full then you don't need any more customers if you are doing a solo business..some people expand and some people don't...some like to keep it at a managable level where they aren't running around like a chicken with it's head cut off all the time lol...as far as billing it's not needed when customers pay you at the time of service...and if you do bill it doesn't take 10minutes after the day of work to send out 5-6 bills since that is how many yards you are gonna be cutting as a solo person per day....unless you are dumb and are trying to work 15hrs a day and cut 10 yards...but that's just not practical...if it rains that doesn't do anything...it just pushes everything back a day...you still don't have to cut on the weekends unless you want to...it all depends on how you choose to do business...for me if it rains on friday i would just cut the friday yards on monday if i already had plans on saturday and sunday...it's really not that big of a deal...i guess it all depends on what you wanna do...some people wanna grow and keep growing and be as big as they can be...me on the other hand would be happy to cut 5-6 yards 5 days a week for 6-7 months a year and stay there...i chose to do lawncare to get away from the rat race...not to join in on it lol...it would make more sense to me to hire a PR person to handle all the calls and customers....that is the part i most dislike about the business...i'd rather just do the mowing...everyone is different...some like to talk on a cell phone all day but it's not my thing lol


And Your sir get the 1st place prize for understanding MY PERSPECTIVE of our business. I am exactly like you. One of my best friends has grown his business up so big that his profit margins aren't increasing anymore but now he's non stop 24/7 and stress levels are at an all time high. I NEVER want to get close to where he is. If any crew, no more than 1 crew (2 guys) Around 60-70 accounts/week max. I want enough for ME and maybe 1 other guy to comfortably get done Mon-Fri 7a.m.-3p.m. Nothing wrong with that. Keep it simple.

hackitdown
03-02-2011, 04:15 PM
I was only able to do about 32 solo. I can only average 1 per hour, and I only schedule for 4 days per week to allow for repairs, rain and projects. With a helper we can average 48 or 50 per week in 4 days.

The growth happened slowly. I didn't hire a full time helper at first. I hired guys by the day. Then I hired a young guy for about 20 to 25 hrs a week. He is now full time, and I hire other guys by the day or week.

Agape
03-02-2011, 05:08 PM
A good friend of mine mows 60 accounts a week alone, and has for almost 30 years. He does pretty much full service but keeps his accounts in a comfortable range for him as he is a FULL TIME TEACHER, and he just loves being outside working. His wife is an RN and he has never needed a dime of the L&L income, so he pays all his L&L bills from receivables and invests the rest and I can assure you he has absolutley no finacial need to be working at all. It does show that we all have different viewpoints, goals and objectives, and some people just totally love what they are doing!

being a full time teacher and 60 accounts a week is a mathematical impossibility, I could be wrong, but my BS meter is pegged on this one.

XLS
03-02-2011, 08:04 PM
agree Agape. also if any man thinks he is running a LCO yet he spends his day in the field he is full of himself and is nothing more then a yard guy . you have to go into this as a business man and hire the workers if not you will always be in the field simple.
when we start up a location i send a lady into that area and she talks to people and finds employees and does the advertising for them for a week once she has 15 or so people to support the new employees she starts training one of them as a manager and he learns how to sell like her .while the 2nd guy does the work ....... at about 20 a week she calls it done and its up to them completly. then once a month she returns durring the first year to help with advertising and its simple . i have had her trainning a manager at 5 accounts in a area because they could support the location.

Southern Pride
03-02-2011, 08:07 PM
eh, now my bs meter is pinging.

XLS
03-02-2011, 09:14 PM
i will ask what about that has your binger binging

Agape
03-02-2011, 10:41 PM
I want to get somewhat out of the field, but terrified the quality will suffer.gotta find a quality control option before I do.working on it.

oldclawn
03-02-2011, 10:54 PM
All my friends accounts are residential, none larger than 12,000', none more than 20 minutes from his own home, we have daylite savings time here and can mow till past 9 most of the summer and he gets out of school around 2 most days. We do his mowing for him when he is on vacations or otherwise unable and it's a pretty tight run, and very profitable. We do all his fertilizing and weed control and I tell you he has created a real sweet set-up.