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Old 07-04-2011, 02:26 PM
Az Gardener Az Gardener is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Phoenix, Az
Posts: 3,899
Originally Posted by guitarman2420 View Post
I've been in business @ 4 years.
I've grown from first year sales of $40k to 400k;
I have 5 full time people and 3 trucks.
I work in the field doing production or maintenance work@ 60% - the rest of my time goes towards sales and quality, etc.
I do have a reliable operations manager, who runs the day to day maintenance (mowing) operations. I pay him 36k a year, without benefits.
I manage the overall business and run the landscaping/project end of things. Our ratio is 70% maintenance and 30% landscaping.
Profits are less than 0 for maintenance and 30% for landscaping.

Thanks for any help I can get!
Sorry I omitted all the whiney bs so I could see the facts and get to the point. If you have not already you need to read procuts How to fail thread.

The short version is you have the expense's of a bigger company but not the volume. You are trying to cover your salary on the backs of too few workers which keeps your hourly rate high and limits your growth. I found that I needed to have at least 9 guys in the field producing income to support just myself and part time office help. Less than that and there was no profit and often losses. Now I have 12 employees and things are looking up. I am in the same market as you. I have 4 trucks in the field plus mine. I wouldn't sell the truck I might park it but shopping for trucks takes too much time away from day to day operations IMHO. You will need it soon enough if things work out.

As far as employees I have found that if you fish in a cesspool (craigslist) you will catch turds. Start by using an online service that costs some $$ I use here. I look for candidates that have a proven work history at any company. Minimum 2-3 years employment at each company. My hiring system is one of my most valuable systems and when I follow it to the letter I get great employees. The work we do is not rocket science so if you have a short training manual to review before you put them out in the field you can eliminate most mistakes up front. This will also assure your methods are used not the person who happens to be driving the truck that day.

You didn't mention any "extras" that your maint. crews are selling. We make a tidy cut by fixing sprinklers, changing L/S light bulbs (or lamps for you purists), fertilizing, cleaning fountains/ponds, tree trimming, etc. The key is to do it while your there for regular service so you don't have the overhead of another rig and high cost employee running all over.

I need to get back to work myself but if you search my old threads I have posted my hiring system and there is a thread on production % that will be very valuable too. Also check out my e myth thread lots of good info there. I read something from Tony Bass today that said the only difference between a 1 million $ per year company and a 100 million $ company is the quantity and quality of their systems. You don't get big without systems.

Good luck happy 4th

“If I accept you as you are, I will make you worse; however, if I treat you as though you are what you are capable of becoming, I help you become that.”
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