Very nice post Procut. It takes a real man to stand up and say "I failed". I'm glad you're around still to try to teach some others here to play it smart with business.
Last year was my last year solo. I had reached the glass ceiling of working solo, I had out grown my home based business and the town zoning guy was crawling up my azz because I had too much stuff around. I either had to scale back slightly and just do lawns and small projects or I had to go bigger. Personally I wasn't content with just lawns, so I decided to grow. In December I went out and rented a building to store my gear at, in the spring bought a dedicated truck for mowing and hired 2 guys FT. Quite a change from my DIY past. I told myself I would keep a close eye on all expenses and make sure the year was going smoothly. Well, 2 new employees, more trucks, equipment, more accounts, headaches, insurance, damages, and gas sure came at me fast. We were so busy with work that I just had to pray we were "making" money. Fortunately the cards started falling into their places as I became a better task manager and learning to only take on work we were good at. We only took on work at our prices which I was comfortable with. Anything I wasn't comfortable I walked away from. We turned down a planting job that would have been in the 80-100k range. that one job was more than my entire years gross a couple years prior. I decided it wasn't worth the risk of a pissed off customer (still our cust to this day) because we couldn't deliver the product on-time. Overall I would call the year a success.
Last week when I was running the numbers, thinking about putting another lawn crew on the road this spring. The cost to put another crew together wasn't worth it, at least not yet. There too much payroll, advertising (something i've never done), equipment, fuel, etc to buy. I would have too many expenses to make it worth while. I may put another crew on the road further down the road, but for now, its about company growth while maintaining our current size. To accomplish this I am scrutinizing every dollar this winter. First up is some equipment changes, gonna trade in the walk behind for a stander to cover more ground in less time, second up is hiring a company to apply PGRs to our properties to reduce/eliminate weedwacking, thirdly we're sending out insurance requirements out to bid to a few companies and making sure we're getting the best rate.
Again, nice post Procut, I'd say this thread should be sticky at the top.
Efficiency = Profit