View Full Version : Hiring The Right Consultant

Rob Spread & Spray
09-04-2004, 09:29 AM
Is there any one part of your business that is giving you the most trouble?

How many of you have hired Green Industry Consultants to come in and help you with some part of your business?

How did you go about choosing them?

Did you interview them as you would an employee?

What was your ROI?

James Cormier
09-04-2004, 10:23 AM
Originally posted by Rob Spread & Spray
Is there any one part of your business that is giving you the most trouble?

How many of you have hired Green Industry Consultants to come in and help you with some part of your business?

How did you go about choosing them?

Did you interview them as you would an employee?

What was your ROI?

Rob, Ive used a non green industry consultant in the past, He was a retired president of a national shoe company, now he is a consultant.

I used him mostly for budgeting,purchases and planing for the future.

I spend around $1,500 a year using his service.

Rob Spread & Spray
09-04-2004, 10:57 AM
That's cool Jim.

Hey you still planning on coming out this way?

Tony Clifton
09-04-2004, 10:58 AM
I used a consultant from Vander Koi a couple years ago when I was going to buy another company. I would reccommend hiring one but make sure it is a good one, and be ready to pay 1000-2000 for a couple of days. Wilson-Oyler is another group I would strongly reccommend, both are incredibly knowledgable, and actually helped build Valley Crest. I would reccomend a green industry consultant and not somebody from another industry simply because I feel this industry is more difficult to understand and operate. Labor intensive, equipment intensive, dealing with perishable materials and it is service oriented,,,,how many other industries have all of these factors?

Tony Clifton
09-04-2004, 11:00 AM
Rob, I saw compass system on the bottom of your post. Are you using this system and if so how is it working for your company?

Rob Spread & Spray
09-04-2004, 11:26 AM

I use some of it in my spray business and it works well. Thats the neat thing about it, you can use what ever bits and pieces of it you want. It may not be for everyone.

I also work FOR Compass but out of respect for the owners of the site and other paid advertisers I can't really get into much more than that. Send me a PM if you would like to chat.

I have spoken with Tom Oyler, he is most certainly a bright man. Got a chance to see him speak at an ALCA event last month in Jersey City. Very cool!

Tony Clifton
09-04-2004, 11:34 AM
Rob, I sent you a PM

09-06-2004, 09:37 PM

Are you an Andy Kaufman fan?

09-07-2004, 01:42 AM
One of my residential customers works as a business consultant (not in the green industry) Anyway, I found this out after his wife thought my mulch estimate was too high. I was discussing it with him, explaining that I usually make better money mowing vs. mulching, plus after working 55-60 hours a week mowing, if I'm gonna take on any extra work, I'd like to make it worth my while. Then he told me what he did for a living. He said I should consider adding treatments as a new service. As he put it "people pay $30 for a mow, that may take you 45 minutes. But they'll pay $50 for fert, that'll take you, what, 5 minutes? When you're getting maxed out you want to take on only high-profit work" I felt kind of stupid, I've been in this line of work for years and never really thought about it in those terms. So this guy has helped me informally here and there for free, just to be nice.

I guess I use Lawnsite as a consultant. I don't want to get too used to how I do business, its always helpful to consider other opinions/ways of doing business.

Rob Spread & Spray
09-07-2004, 08:48 AM

Your client is cetainly correct in his thinking here. I have talked with a number of guys who either subbed it out or were thinking of getting rid of that division.

This service is typically known in the industry to have one of the highest profit margins for the work being done.

Now the problem with guys never having done it is going through the licensing and aquiring the right insurance. Then there is the proper training, the book training, typically due to studying for the exam is one thing, the field experience, will take some time. Often times guys will just say forget it.

I have helped a few guys get set up from scratch or tweak there existing structure. It usually works out pretty good to where they are happy they did it. If you are mowing that many lawns now, you have the best leads allready available.

Go for it!!!!!!!!!

09-08-2004, 12:56 AM
Hey Rob,

Getting licensed for next season is definitely in my plans. I'll admit I got turned off to treatments over the years. I used to be licensed at my old job, I just got tired of all the customers who didn't water and would call 2 weeks later with the typical "the lawn doesn't look any better now than before" complaints. I'd go to check it out and still see fertilizer granules everywhere. Part of the problem is people don't want to think about their lawns. That's why they hire us. Unless they are irrigated they tend to not pull out the ol' hose and sprinkler, and they blame us for not getting any results. And every customer seems to have some horror story about an LCO not putting anything down and leaving a bill for service.

All you can do is be knowledgeable about the service you're providing, and stress the importance of watering to activate the chemicals.

Rob Spread & Spray
09-08-2004, 08:20 AM

There is only one way I have found to solve this problem and that is to educate the clients ahead of time and in writing.

Do it verbally and in writing at the time of signing a contract (required here in NY) COntinue to do it on their invoices and with leave behinds, and then one more time in newsletters.

This should cut down severly on calls from clients.

09-10-2004, 01:06 AM

I agree with you 100%. Another idea I had, and maybe some other guys do this, is to take pictures of the lawn periodically, so you have visual proof of progress. People never remember exactly how bad the lawn used to look 3 or 4 years ago.

Rob Spread & Spray
09-10-2004, 08:44 AM
I used to carry a Polaroid with me and keep those pictures in clients folders, but with the digital cameras today and email you could do some neat things to be proactive. I think it would take a combination of both you could leave the polaroids at the house at time of invoice, but then you have no backup.

Anyone else have ideas they would like to share?

Acute Cut
09-10-2004, 10:40 AM
Make sure your consultant has the TIME to actually meet with you. ALso, if he says he is going to do something and doesnt-- Notice the RED FLAGS! No sense getting so far and then falling short on the final approach i guess.

09-10-2004, 09:14 PM
My father is a consultant. Get ready to pay up. I know the company he works for charges $1,250 per hour and he is busy year round. He flies out every week to different companies all over the US so don't think they can't find any work.

Rob Spread & Spray
09-10-2004, 10:15 PM
What kind of consulting does he do?

11-29-2004, 12:14 AM
Yes, what type of consultant should you hire?

A business consultant?