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  #2631  
Old 12-16-2012, 08:34 AM
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etwman etwman is offline
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Memorable opportunity

Last week I had a very rare opportunity to travel up to Toronto Canada with two of my friends who own landscape companies here in the states. We spent two days up there touring an incredible high end landscape company and spending a day with their upper management discussing an array of things.

At the same time we were in the company of the President of Dynascapes. He is a great person who truly cares about improving a design and manage program.

The brainpower that was in that conference room was probably some of the most powerful I've ever experienced in my green industry career. We've established great relationships with a phenomenal company in Canada and formed friendships that will help us all grow. This company would rank in the top 40 in the U.S. in sales volume, needless to say they have their stuff together.

Never stop learning, and I've said it before, surround yourself with people who have like minded goals and dreams.
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"Earth, Turf, & Wood, Inc. is a high-end residential landscape & hardscape company that offers superior employment experiences for employees, exceptional opportunities for our architects, a premium service to our customers and value to the community through service and stewardship. We attempt to honor God in all we do by encouraging teamwork, pursuing excellence passionately, serving those who lead, and demonstrating stewardship of resources."
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  #2632  
Old 12-16-2012, 11:10 AM
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RLS24 RLS24 is offline
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Jarod, I think this may have been asked somewhere among the pages here, but I feel like I could spend days trying to find it haha. At one point I did read this whole thread front to back, and I know you started off as a really small company and built things up from there. I was wondering at what point did you start taking a paycheck from the company? And how did you figure out what to pay yourself?
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  #2633  
Old 12-16-2012, 02:19 PM
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etwman etwman is offline
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My advice on this would be to hold off trying to pay yourself as long as you can. If you have a spouse that can support you financially in the first few years then do it. The more you can leave in the company as it starts up, the faster it will grow, and the more financially stable it will become. Buy wisely, when the time comes to pull a salary don't get greedy. This is not a get rich quick scheme, it's a marathon, not a race you will win in a year.

I think it was the beginning of year three before I pulled a paycheck. It's not that you can't do it earlier, you just have to be careful.
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  #2634  
Old 12-16-2012, 04:20 PM
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gallihergreen gallihergreen is offline
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You've got a real impressive operation going on. Congrats.
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  #2635  
Old 12-16-2012, 07:00 PM
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Fert33 Fert33 is offline
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Jarod,

I just hopped on here after not being on in a while. I cannot believe that this thread is still going. I was working with you when those first pics were taken at Les and Brenda's. Amazing, that seems like so long ago. Saw the job you are doing on Rank Rd. quite an array of things going on there. Did they install a pool? I see the day's of no working on Saturday's has ended....It's looking good.
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  #2636  
Old 12-16-2012, 09:56 PM
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The whole project is based off of our plan and construction management. The pool company got their shell in about two months ago. We started work there two weeks ago. I'm guessing there was a crew there Saturday but I'm not even sure. Middle of last week I opened this one Saturday up for work since it rained last Monday. I wanted my guys to be able to get overtime for the holidays if they wanted it. It was totally optional and I'm not even sure who took it.
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  #2637  
Old 12-17-2012, 03:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by etwman View Post
My advice on this would be to hold off trying to pay yourself as long as you can. If you have a spouse that can support you financially in the first few years then do it. The more you can leave in the company as it starts up, the faster it will grow, and the more financially stable it will become. Buy wisely, when the time comes to pull a salary don't get greedy. This is not a get rich quick scheme, it's a marathon, not a race you will win in a year.

I think it was the beginning of year three before I pulled a paycheck. It's not that you can't do it earlier, you just have to be careful.
Thats kind of what I've been doing, I try to put most of my expenses back to the business as legitimately as possible. Obviously its hard to get my 600-channel HDTV cable bill as a business write off, but my truck, fuel, cell phone, etc I put all as a business expense. I basically just try to take enough away right now to help with the household bills and such, but at some point I would like to take more to start personally investing it for myself.
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  #2638  
Old 12-17-2012, 04:36 PM
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KerryWalker KerryWalker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by etwman View Post
It's all about money...but, it's also about WORK and charging properly for it!

Wish not...DO!
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True, but it's not all about the money. You have to do what you like to do. Truthfully it's really about:

1. Not having non-billable hours, they'll kill you everytime. If the guys have worked 45 hours that week, you should be billing 45. Are guys running out to lunch? Why? They should be on the job site. Every time I see a truck/trailer parked at a McD's at lunch there is no way they are only taking a 1/2 hour. By the time they get there, eat, and get back to the site you're paying them to eat.

2. Exceeding the customers every expectation and don't cut corners.

3. Having the right equipment most of the time. You'll never have all the equipment you need, but you can get pretty close. More importantly you have to charge for that equipment each day, whether it sits on a jobsite or gets used. Example, each of those Freightliners get charged $141.00 a day to be attached to a job. When we do a landscape/hardscape/grounds care job the computer brings up what equipment is needed and charges for it correctly either to compile an estimate or bill. If you don't charge for equipment you won't be able to replace it when its worn out. And you had better figure in fuel and insurance into that as well.

When everything comes together just right that's when you start making money. With new businesses I'd say it's 4-5 years before you really start reaping rewards. It's one thing to think your making money it's another to really be doing it. Ask yourself at the end of your season what's left over? Can you make it through the winter with adequate start up funds? Are you banking on snow removal to carry you? You shouldn't be! Tough questions but reality sets in quick. I'll be the first to tell you that this industry is not an easy one to make huge money in, it can be done, but you have to be prepared to turn away business. I can't even imagine how much "unneccessary work" we have turned away in the last five years. I bet our sales would be triple but our bottom line would be the same. One of the things we do to weed out the "unneccesaries" is our appointments are only from 8-4 M-F. If you want us to do your project you'll make a sacrifice from your job to be there during those hours. If not, you don't want us that bad. Do you know how much less running around I do? Huge! Do you know how much higher our job retention rate is? Enormous.

Just some things to ponder over.
Do you bill for equipment when you are only mowing a lawn? And if so, what is a good starting figure?
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  #2639  
Old 12-17-2012, 05:10 PM
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KerryWalker KerryWalker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by etwman View Post
I started the company in the fall of 1999. We started out primarily maintenace with very small design build projects. We were never really strong in mowing, mainly commercial sites and a few residential. I knew early on that I did not want to aggressively pursue mowing and we redirected the company about 5 years ago to where we are today. We will stay in that direction. Read The Pumpkin Plan by Michael Michalowitz. Good book that talks about all this.

$0 to start it out. I went to a bank with my wife for a small loan for our first truck. The loan officer questioned my business plan simply because this industry has such high turnover and there's so much competition out there. I cautiously responded that doesn't bother me. From the start I did not want to ever borrow any funds from family or friends. I've very adimant about that. If it were to fail or succeed it was on me. I wanted to be able to sit accross from my good friends / family at a dinner table and know that there are no strings attached. You could argue this both ways, but that was a decision that I made from day one.

The irony in this? We still deal with that banking institution today, and the vice president will stop by often just to say hi, thank you, and remind me that "we have money if you ever need it, its companies like you we want, and trust me were not saying this to too many businesses right now."

Look no one is perfect with finances in this industry, its a beast to manage, but you have to be disciplined with it. You have to have budgets, know your expenses, and know when to take wise risks, or you're done. Its a simple as that.
The Pumpkin Plan by Michael Michalowitz. Another fellow lawn guy talked about this book in this post. What is it all about? Is it about the business of lawn care business? And where can I get it?

Thanks.
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  #2640  
Old 12-17-2012, 05:23 PM
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etwman etwman is offline
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We don't mow grass anymore, and haven't for years. So I could even begin to tell you what the rates should be. Truth be told it all depends on your company, you have to know what you need to charge to cover expenses. Rule #2 of business. Rule 1 is defining your target market.

The pumpkin plan is about being focused on what you do. It's not green industry related, but a lot of it is relative. You can get it on Amazon.
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