View Full Version : Need to change, but how PART 2 "Routes"
Envy Lawn Service
03-21-2004, 04:41 AM
I guess I should start with a link to the 1st thread for anyone wants to check it out.
PART 1 (http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=62899&perpage=20&pagenumber=1)
OK, now...... I've been working on things and a lot of details are still not ironed out. But it won't be much longer now. To review, the idea was to cut some windshield time, converting some into profits and the rest into family time.
Anyways, when I went to work on it, I decided to 'literally' map out my current routing/scheduling situation, then try to map out how to change things in my favor. I started by deciding to leave my mornings alone Monday thru Thursday. Monday thru Wednesday mornings I'm good and I have Thursday mornings open for rain delays, extra services or errands. The main thing is this puts me home for lunch 4 days a week which is good for the family and good for my health.
I would like to make the Thursday morning production hours, especially now. But I feel leery about changing it because it worked out pretty well last year. What do you all think? Where in the schedule do you all make time for rain???delays/extras/errands???
03-21-2004, 05:57 AM
If you have that much work, then you should hire someone to help. Especially if you are going to except new clients this year.
What we do is cram as much work into Monday and Tuesday. we leave Wednesday open then back to cramming on Thursday and friday. If it rains on Monday or Tuesday we make that up on Wednesday. If we forecast rain on Thursday or Friday then we move our schedule up a day and start Thursdays work on Wednesday. We don't have a huge problem with rain here, so when possible Wednesday is used to take care of up-sells. We also work Saturday when needed.
You might not feel you can justify an employee, but your employee should pay for their self. An employee will keep the work flowing which will bring in more money. I'm sure you can drum up more up-sells (which I'm guessing you have passed on in the past) to pay for your employee and still get all the work done in time. If you find yourself still to busy because of the added work then you keep adding employees. This is how the system works. If you want to remain solo? Then you have to except the income you can generate in a reasonable work week and cut your work load back to fit your needs.
Envy Lawn Service
03-21-2004, 07:22 AM
I'm working on the sub-contracting and random extra hand end of things. I may sub-contract some out lying accounts and other 'back labor' work as well as use a hired hand for the day to help knock out a thing or two here and there. But I want to make sure I'm keeping it legal. Other than that, that is as far away from solo as I want to be. I'm all about keeping it simple for the time being. I've been through the employee headache before.
As for the scheduling, last season I was doing pretty much the same thing, just different days and ways. Cramming Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, and cruising through the evening work and windshield time those evenings. Then the open Thursday morning for whatever, another cruiser evening. Fridays were pretty packed up all day. Then Saturday and Sunday catch up or extra jobs. But more often than not, the schedule was out the window because we got so much rain.
This year I just want to stick to working towards tightening things up and working in some smaller jobs.
Envy Lawn Service
03-21-2004, 07:29 AM
....in addition to scheduling and tightening things up, what kind of distance do some of you cover in an afternoon???
When I actually went out, got the mileage, then sat down and mapped it out I realized I was even more spread out than I realized. Like I said before, I just went where the money was.
03-21-2004, 08:04 AM
I don't know your area, but we focus on the properties that average 8-15k (mostly 10k). These are the best paying jobs in our area. I also keep my route tight. All of our work is inside a 5 mile perimeter. But our workday is usually done in 2-3 neighborhoods a day and doesn't consist of much driving. We can do 20 lawns a day easily. This is one guy mowing and the other trimming and blowing. I use to do about 15 a day by myself, but I was in the same boat as you are now. I now get home before 5pm everyday and we don't start before 9am.
03-21-2004, 11:25 AM
We cut commercial properties on monday, then residential is tuesday, wednesday, thursday. Friday never has any scheduled mowing. If it rains earlier in the week we finish up the lawns on friday, and if all the lawns are done then the lawn crew helps out the landscaping crew on their project. I usually look forward to the lawn guys helping out with the landscaping on fridays, we kick some serious but with both crews working.
Envy Lawn Service
03-21-2004, 09:37 PM
Don't be bashful now boys! I'm about to get heckled here myself. I had scattered work as far out as a 25 mile radius. It was easy to drive in excess of 50 miles on any given afternoon.
I've had a hard time with it personally, but I have to make some cuts somewhere. So I've decided the only way to do it is just be honest with the customer about the 'trip' situation and offer to extend service to those willing to pay a "trip charge' + last year's rate.....if I can't sub them out.
In theory, what I wanted to do was build 4 short or looping afternoon routes for Mon-Thurs and an all day route for Fridays. So I had set out for my route map to look like this for Mon-Thurs....
But it's not working out that way as I go along. More or less I have pretty much decided to cut off my east and west travel for the most part. I'm doing this because my chances are more favorble to the north and south for stringing some of my existing stuff together with other stuff to form routes.
To the North, I'm looking at cutting things back to 9 miles one way to the farthest exsisting customer. To the south it's looking like about 13 miles. I think I can get enough to work all week inside those limitations.
Anyways I've been submitting bids in waves of distance, basically trying to get back answers from closer prior to accepting work farther away.
Compaired to a lot of you, I live in the country. I'm just trying to get a feel for how far the average service radius is.
03-21-2004, 09:41 PM
well, what I did was cut down my radius from 32 miles, to 10 miles. Yes, I ditched a lot of customers but it was well worth it. Cuts down on windshield time, gas expense, have more available time, and in the long run had more money in my pocket from not doing the long distance travel. My ultimate goal is to get down to a 8 mile radius.
Envy Lawn Service
03-21-2004, 10:30 PM
Now that's exactly where I'm coming from. I'm wanting to do what you have done. If I could move 2 miles south, I'd only be going 11 miles each way by my current plans. ;)
But I'm raising rates a bit on the 9 miles north account and the 13 miles south account. So I may not be quite that far out after all. I won't know for sure for a while yet though.
Ideally, I didn't really want it working out the way it has with the north-south thing. But given the area and my situation over the winter with my back... this is about all I have to work with. North and south is where the opportunity is. I just have to be careful with the scheduling, otherwise I defeat the purpose to some extent by having to drive right back through where I just worked yesterday...
Luckily I've been able to work towards 2 parallel routes in each direction with the shorter route eventually running into the long one in both cases. The short routes run into the long ones after roughly 6 miles. So I 'think I can make that work out. I'll just have to be careful and patient for all the details to get ironed out.
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