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Fresh_Cut
10-18-2011, 12:21 AM
How do I get to this point?

I understand I can only be in place at a time, I can only cut one yard at a time, use one piece of equipment at a time. I'm only one person and I don't want to work myself into the ground to be successful only to not be able to fully enjoy the benefits until later in life. The end doesn't always justify the means.

I want to enjoy the fruits of my labor while they're still ripe.

I know this means hiring, training, & delegating responsibilities & tasks to employees, but where does one start?

This is the end of my 4th season in business and it's my best one yet! But I'm perplexed a little by what is ahead and how I will get my business to where I want it to be. I'd like to only be doing estimates, supervisory, and administrative duties by the end of next season. Maybe even have a second Isuzu NPR landscape box truck running as well.

Now, my first question to the vets is .... at what point, workload and revenue-wise, do/did you hire your first person?
Was it a part-timer?
Did you wait until you had an unrelenting schedule solo, from sun up to sundown, to guarantee that you'd have enough work and enough money to justify/pay the helper/employee?
Did you plan to have exponential growth once you hired someone (to justify/pay the helper/employee)? If so, what is a reasonable way to plan out this kind of growth?
Realistically, is there a way to plan ahead and hire help without having an unrelenting schedule that leaves you worn out mentally and beat up physically?
Don't get me wrong, I ain't scared of work. It's just that I notice after having my best year yet and being a 1 man crew.... it takes it's toll on the body and mind towards the end of September.

bohiaa
10-18-2011, 03:03 AM
this is one step that is tough...

I understand all the questions you have and will face. KEEP takeing on more work, as you do, hire a part time helper and by all means learn the laws, with hireing a person.
there is WC,SS, and fed withholding.

But in the long run it will pay off. I have one employee that his time is worth right around 125.00 per hour to me.

I_am_a_beginner
10-18-2011, 08:50 AM
First thing, you should sit on a chair and write on a paper your short, mid and long term goals. Write down where you would like to be. What mean sucess for you?

After that, take the time to think about how you can achieve your goals and what sacrifice it needs.

Secondly, You can hire someone to help you working at any point, its your business :p. Keep in mind what you love, if you want to work 4 days a week, work 4 days a week, hire people to clear all lawns in 4 days. If you want to make more money, hire a part timer and work 5 days or do it solo.

If you want to just do administration, you will have to take in consideration how much money you leave on the table by not working with your team(s). If you decide that this amount of money is not "important" for you, go do administration, estimates, etc.

lawnpro724
10-18-2011, 11:18 AM
You need to set goals for your business and your stratagy for achieving them. Start out by hiring a part time person and let him/her know that as the business grows they will work into a full time position. Keep taking on work and as business grows repeat the process. Once you hire someone it becomes your responsibility to keep them busy working and the money comming in. You need to have a solid marketing plan along with a good business plan to follow as you grow. Stay focused.

Glenn Lawn Care
10-18-2011, 02:20 PM
I would like to do the same thing. I just need to find more work and have the work find me. I'm not worried about employees as much as getting a new truck and some new equipment and getting out of my mom/roommates house!

GMLC
10-18-2011, 06:53 PM
You need to set goals for your business and your stratagy for achieving them. Start out by hiring a part time person and let him/her know that as the business grows they will work into a full time position. Keep taking on work and as business grows repeat the process. Once you hire someone it becomes your responsibility to keep them busy working and the money comming in. You need to have a solid marketing plan along with a good business plan to follow as you grow. Stay focused.

Well said I couldn't agree more...You need a solid business plan in place for your goals and a real understanding of cost. As you grow and add employees your profit margin shrinks and overhead goes up, so you need to find that balance between work load and number of employees. There is such thing as growing to fast as well. You will need more and more equipment as you grow which means managing debt. Not all debt is bad but it can destroy a company during a down turn. You will have to diversify your services. I have a 10 year plan in place right now for me to no longer work in the field. I hope to focus on estimates, marketing and growing my company to the point of selling it in 20 years.

DA Quality Lawn & YS
10-18-2011, 07:11 PM
I would like to do the same thing. I just need to find more work and have the work find me. I'm not worried about employees as much as getting a new truck and some new equipment and getting out of my mom/roommates house!

This is a good question - how to balance key equipment purchases with wage labor that you take on.

jsslawncare
10-18-2011, 09:14 PM
Sounds like the same thing we all fight with.

meets1
10-18-2011, 09:42 PM
ITs a tough call. Maybe some of yo u guys inherited money and bought everything with cash or wife has a good job and you can afford to play.

Others may have taken on alot of debt, not meaning all new equipment, but 2nd mortage, things of that nature to get the boat goiing.

Gotta be prepared ( for what you can be) With added work load comes added headaches, along with more people to please, employee to keep busy or they walk, gotta be able to pay decent cuzz one good worker is worth there weight in gold.

I am not sure what your company does but I think you will have to step outside the "mowing grass box" and add other services to your business.

Get a good lawyer, banker and insurance man. Once you have these people in place, now sell your services to those boys or gals and then off to the races!

Either way - best of luck to ya!

cpllawncare
10-18-2011, 10:03 PM
I'm not married, or have a ton of money to throw at this, I spent a lot of my profit this year reinvesting in upgrading my equiptment, I didn't go out and buy top of the line but just went to commercial grade stuff as much as possible, I had a decent year it was my first full time, I should have enough to make it through the winter, if not I will go get a part time job somewhere to hold me over till Feb or March, I want to have a crew by the end of next season for sure, we'll see how it goes. DIVERSIFY DIVERSIFY You have to to make it, I built fences and all kinda other stuff this year to make the biggest majority of my money, not just landscaping.

GMLC
10-18-2011, 10:16 PM
I'm not married, or have a ton of money to throw at this, I spent a lot of my profit this year reinvesting in upgrading my equiptment, I didn't go out and buy top of the line but just went to commercial grade stuff as much as possible, I had a decent year it was my first full time, I should have enough to make it through the winter, if not I will go get a part time job somewhere to hold me over till Feb or March, I want to have a crew by the end of next season for sure, we'll see how it goes. DIVERSIFY DIVERSIFY You have to to make it, I built fences and all kinda other stuff this year to make the biggest majority of my money, not just landscaping.

You will make it. By reading a lot of your posts I can tell you have a good business sense. In my opinion good reliable equipment is one of the most important things. Little to no down time equals $. Its the little things that make a big difference in equipment. Just last week I had to cut in the rain to avoid getting behind schedule. I knew my velocity deck would have little to no clumping and hardly any extra clean up. Once November hits I get swamped with fall clean ups and it is the most profitable time of year for me!!

TriCityLawnCareLLC
10-18-2011, 11:11 PM
Equipment is very important, but don't get too drawn in to equipment upgrades and purchases. It takes time and patience. I suggest reading a thread entittle "how to fail in the lawn care business by someone who did it" It gave me a lot of insight. Best of luck to you.

Fresh_Cut
10-23-2011, 12:53 AM
Some good advice here... keep it coming.

Fresh_Cut
11-03-2011, 12:53 PM
I find that one key to growth is planning and prioritizing