Yes to all of the above....
Holy cow you hit the nail on the head.
Year 1-3 I did everything with 2 guys and had very few service calls.
Year 4 Hit around 60 customers and planned on growth. I put a second crew out (that one ran independent) and I was still on a small 2nd crew (hands on trainging) but broke off to do estimates etc and left the guys (with a crew leader) to try and do the jobs. We did not have quite enough work to run a second full independent crew, so this was the "small job" crew
What a nightmare, every single customer that I did not personally install the job, called in to complaign about something, both new and old.
Jobs went from perfect to OK. I ended up dragging guys by their ears to look at jobs and would make them figure out what was wrong and why. Some things were very easy (dumb mistakes).
I was physically and mentally drained. This is not the way to do Christmas. As David said, you cant do this, as the owner you rush appointments (my close rate was 37% last year worst ever), guys stand around waiting for you to get there because they cant figure out the map, forgot the orchard ladder etc.
Year 5 (this year) same 2 crews full time from last year. Without me even showing up on some of the jobs 90% of the jobs were very good. (what a wonderful thing to finally have seasoned and trained crews that finally understand how we do things)
I could find something wrong with every job, but that is me just nitpicking and going for perfect. I told the guys if they can start seeing what I see we will not have any customer issues. I rode them pretty hard with the details and they finally started to see these things.
The guys also realized that there is competetion now and that actually made it easier for them to understand and see how what we do is so much different and I will say it; BETTER than the competition.
I only have one company that I would consider REAL competition and that is a Brite Ideas but he is running from 45 minutes away so I beat him on just being the "local" guy especially now that we offer the HBL line. All the other guys are "price" guys, hang homeowners stuff etc. NOT what we do
Back on point....
We did fall into the tempation of running one bigger crew on some jobs, dont let this happen, you will do this because as David said, some guys are better roof, some branch wraps, some at fluffing garland (serious, it is an art) so pu them together and you have a "perfect" crew, right? wrong...
Just try to schedule the jobs that better suit each crew, and keep them close together as much as possible. It also feels like you are getting more done with a bigger crew, you really are not.
As far as trucks, 2 box trucks, these are so nice to have.
1 pick up for running around and bringing crews what they forgot.
1 trailer used occasionally for the jobs that not everything fit into a box truck
1 cargo van for catching up after rain and for service calls while the installs are still running crazy. This truck did not go out until late and we had essentially trained up our 3rd crew leader.
Last edited by turf hokie; 12-19-2009 at 08:25 AM.