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Old 04-05-2012, 08:34 PM
ConnerM ConnerM is offline
LawnSite Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Rosemount,mn
Posts: 31
The truth

Originally Posted by humble1 View Post
This is a great thread. Before I go on to me- You also left out employee theft- they mow lawns on the side w/ your equipment and you still are paying the overhead.

You may think I'm full of it but here goes. I used to have 9-10 full timers.45-60 hours a week, plus Sat P/T guys. We had a mowing crew, installation crew, brick drives,walks patios, irrigation, design and plant installs. 2 guys would hydroseeded 5 days a week. One summer we installed over 600 residential lawns. I was in my mid 20's and cocky as hell. Before I got married I was looking at buying a $130,000 dollar boat, yep I would have financed that too. I thought I was king chit. Thank God I didnt. I got married in mid 90's. One Aug I had about 100,000 in my checking account, I was going to get rid of our 4500-5K a week mowing route because we were making so much in installs. My new wife said are you crazy- that is dependable income. So after much discusion( or in my mind her giving me shite) I kept the mowing route. So moving forward. One Sun in Aug we go into the Ford garage I figure what the hell I got about 100K in the bank, I will buy this mustang for $35K. My wife talks me out of it, more like a fight, I was pissed. She thought things might not be this good blah blah blah. So a few days later I sit down to do paperwork, because now all I did was put out fires, do estimates etc. I wasnt working in the field as much. I wrote over 100K in checks,payroll, suppliers, quarterly's, truck and equipment , yard rent, etc. I went down to my accountant almost in tears. I couldnt believe that I didt have payroll for the following week. He said "You learned a lesson that no buisness college in this country can teach you" I said whats that? Its the first hand knowledge of knowing what it feels like to not know your operating costs. He asked what my labor rate was? $X per hour we were on the higher end back then. He says what are your fixed costs per hour. I had no clue. I had to lay off everyone except 2 guys. I put equipment for sale. I then was out doing the mowing route. I started getting calls why we wernt there etc. Turns out my trusted foreman was mowing accounts on the side using my other 2 guys as his labor. I was paying all 3 guys time and a half over 40hours, plus the gas and equipment, all the overhead. I had no idea how long the lawns took to mow. I never time tracked anything.
I bought clip, got back to basics. Ran a smaller crews. Big enough that I could keep my thumb on them. Bigger isnt always better.
I did get a better plan and have a full understanding now of costs. I always try to help friends in the biz. I own everything I have, except my house, I put 20% down on that. Things are looking up for once. I got out of landscaping and into fert/squirt with lessons learned. Yup I will say it my wife was right!!
I like that all this is the truth and that you are able to come on lawnsite and tell us you failed procut. As for the post above at my old company that was huge and were i would like to be one day they made all the crew leads fill in the paperwork filling in how long it took us to do the job and how many crew members there were
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