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  #1  
Old 01-08-2013, 09:53 AM
lawns by design lawns by design is offline
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Location: cincinnati ohio
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Stay big or get small

To all of you whom has been in the business a while what are the pros and cons of going big to small
I started out the trunk of my Honda years back now I have 3 trucks a half ton tundra and three quarter ton ram and Chevy r 30 dump truck which is for sale by the way .
But I would like to grow to at least 30 trucks one day but is it worth it ? Does it get to cost to much ? How many customers would I need per truck to justify something like that ?
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  #2  
Old 01-08-2013, 10:35 AM
nonamelandscaping nonamelandscaping is offline
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The number of trucks doesn't reflect the size of a company, but keep in mind every truck has, plates, insurance, maintenance and depreciation. Never buy more than you need. Commercial trucks loose value over night, specially ones that are not taking care of. You want to grow your company big enough to where if you get sick or there is a family issue you can take off work with no issues and you will know things will still be up and running. You also need to take time to spend with family and vacations. In this industry its a 24/7, 365 day job.... Your profit margins won't change very much from 15 to 30 trucks. With 30 trucks you would need 2- full time shop guys to just keep things going... and that's if its all newer equipment. Grow SLOW. If you bite off more then you can chew you could loose everything very quick. Again you can't rate customers to trucks. There is almost no way to do that. Main reason is weather. Lawn care and landscaping is 100% effective by weather. Just know that for every truck you need 2 -3 guys. Do you really want 60+ yahoos working for you. I doubt it. Specially when you run the numbers and your profit margins would be the same having 15-20 guys. Finding good help is the hardest part of this business. You can buy trucks/equipment very easily. You can find work and get contracts easily as well. You CAN'T find good workers easily. Even with the down turn of the econ you would expect to find better workers. It's not that easy. If you can't tell... ive been doing this a VERY long time... and the only reason I am even replying to this post is that I don't want people to fail in this industry. Its already hard enough from day to day operations. Grow to where you have a full time person other than your self to answer the phone... as an owner... you shouldn't have time to answer the phones. There's better ways to spend your time. Pay someone 10 dollars an hr do that. Get and estimator/designer(s). They can meet with customers all day every day of the week. This person needs to be sales driven. 10-14 dollars an hr with 3 percent commission. Office manager/sales. This person does day to day operations. If you arn't there for a day or a week. They do it all for you. Pay them WELL. If not they will do side jobs or could use valued information for their own profit. Foreman. NEVER hire someone to be a foreman right from the start. In less they are AMAZING. Typically they ARNT. They can say they know it all and can do it all but typically they CANT. Make people work up to a foreman. This give them something to work for. Then when they get that spot... others will think... hey I can do that to. Most laborers will NOT stay with a company very long if they don't think they can move up. Keeping guys long term and keeping your turn over rate low is HARD but is MUST. Offer a simple IRA retirement. basically you put in 3% and they put in 3% each pay check. Its a tax write off for the company and they can actually save something tax free. Only give this to them say after they have worked 1 yr. Also another reason they will stay working for you. Health insurance.... offer a co deal with them. You pay the first 100 a month they pay the rest. TAX write off... and most other companies wont offer insurance. This keeps the guys from going else where.... then other guys working at all companies will say hey... I want to work for them too. I could write a 100 page doc on what to do and what not to do but this is just some of the key things that will be VERY helpful. Again, Ive been doing this a LONG time and know A LOT about this industry. Use this information. STAY SMALL and LONG as you can. Grow at a slow rate.
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  #3  
Old 01-08-2013, 10:55 AM
4 seasons lawn&land's Avatar
4 seasons lawn&land 4 seasons lawn&land is online now
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Have you hired anyone yet? I mean legally? That might make things a little more clear to you once you see what the legal and compliance stuff is like. 30 is a big number. Quality control would be hard at that scale unless your a biz whiz. Is the market even there for that size? I suppose it might be possible near a big city. I mean that many employees requires providing health care policies. I dont think lawn care is profitable enough for that. Not to mention you would need office people and maintenence people.

Edit- Want to add. I doubt there is a such thing as a lawn care company this big without being a franchise. Just because the business man that could make it work would be smart enough to be doing something else for far more money.

Last edited by 4 seasons lawn&land; 01-08-2013 at 11:04 AM.
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  #4  
Old 01-08-2013, 12:14 PM
lawns by design lawns by design is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nonamelandscaping View Post
The number of trucks doesn't reflect the size of a company, but keep in mind every truck has, plates, insurance, maintenance and depreciation. Never buy more than you need. Commercial trucks loose value over night, specially ones that are not taking care of. You want to grow your company big enough to where if you get sick or there is a family issue you can take off work with no issues and you will know things will still be up and running. You also need to take time to spend with family and vacations. In this industry its a 24/7, 365 day job.... Your profit margins won't change very much from 15 to 30 trucks. With 30 trucks you would need 2- full time shop guys to just keep things going... and that's if its all newer equipment. Grow SLOW. If you bite off more then you can chew you could loose everything very quick. Again you can't rate customers to trucks. There is almost no way to do that. Main reason is weather. Lawn care and landscaping is 100% effective by weather. Just know that for every truck you need 2 -3 guys. Do you really want 60+ yahoos working for you. I doubt it. Specially when you run the numbers and your profit margins would be the same having 15-20 guys. Finding good help is the hardest part of this business. You can buy trucks/equipment very easily. You can find work and get contracts easily as well. You CAN'T find good workers easily. Even with the down turn of the econ you would expect to find better workers. It's not that easy. If you can't tell... ive been doing this a VERY long time... and the only reason I am even replying to this post is that I don't want people to fail in this industry. Its already hard enough from day to day operations. Grow to where you have a full time person other than your self to answer the phone... as an owner... you shouldn't have time to answer the phones. There's better ways to spend your time. Pay someone 10 dollars an hr do that. Get and estimator/designer(s). They can meet with customers all day every day of the week. This person needs to be sales driven. 10-14 dollars an hr with 3 percent commission. Office manager/sales. This person does day to day operations. If you arn't there for a day or a week. They do it all for you. Pay them WELL. If not they will do side jobs or could use valued information for their own profit. Foreman. NEVER hire someone to be a foreman right from the start. In less they are AMAZING. Typically they ARNT. They can say they know it all and can do it all but typically they CANT. Make people work up to a foreman. This give them something to work for. Then when they get that spot... others will think... hey I can do that to. Most laborers will NOT stay with a company very long if they don't think they can move up. Keeping guys long term and keeping your turn over rate low is HARD but is MUST. Offer a simple IRA retirement. basically you put in 3% and they put in 3% each pay check. Its a tax write off for the company and they can actually save something tax free. Only give this to them say after they have worked 1 yr. Also another reason they will stay working for you. Health insurance.... offer a co deal with them. You pay the first 100 a month they pay the rest. TAX write off... and most other companies wont offer insurance. This keeps the guys from going else where.... then other guys working at all companies will say hey... I want to work for them too. I could write a 100 page doc on what to do and what not to do but this is just some of the key things that will be VERY helpful. Again, Ive been doing this a LONG time and know A LOT about this industry. Use this information. STAY SMALL and LONG as you can. Grow at a slow rate.
Thanks for all the help I really appreciate everything you've told me This was very valuable information From everything you've told me I can see you of been very successful in the lawn care industry I will print this information often use it to the best of my abilities Especially for the future and the long call in this industry I didn't know that there was a such thing as healthcare and the lawn care field This just in my dreams to one day be a will to go to the shop and see 30 trucks with my company logo on it sounds good right But in reality we see it easier said than done
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  #5  
Old 01-08-2013, 12:31 PM
lawns by design lawns by design is offline
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Location: cincinnati ohio
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4 seasons lawn&land View Post
Have you hired anyone yet? I mean legally? That might make things a little more clear to you once you see what the legal and compliance stuff is like. 30 is a big number. Quality control would be hard at that scale unless your a biz whiz. Is the market even there for that size? I suppose it might be possible near a big city. I mean that many employees requires providing health care policies. I dont think lawn care is profitable enough for that. Not to mention you would need office people and maintenence people.

Edit- Want to add. I doubt there is a such thing as a lawn care company this big without being a franchise. Just because the business man that could make it work would be smart enough to be doing something else for far more money.
I agree with that but Cincinnati is a very large city there is landscape companies here with over 200 trucks . I don't know about health care yet . Seems to much money out of pocket .
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  #6  
Old 01-09-2013, 10:23 AM
baseball9074 baseball9074 is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lawns by design View Post
I agree with that but Cincinnati is a very large city there is landscape companies here with over 200 trucks . I don't know about health care yet . Seems to much money out of pocket .
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What part of cincinnati are you in?
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  #7  
Old 01-09-2013, 12:30 PM
lawns by design lawns by design is offline
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area

i am in the hyde park blue ash area . You ?
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  #8  
Old 01-09-2013, 12:49 PM
baseball9074 baseball9074 is offline
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I'm in Anderson township
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  #9  
Old 01-09-2013, 12:56 PM
lawns by design lawns by design is offline
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Cool

Okay Cool So your close i do some cutting out there a lot do you do any cutting or what all do you do?
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  #10  
Old 01-09-2013, 03:17 PM
baseball9074 baseball9074 is offline
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Originally Posted by lawns by design View Post
Okay Cool So your close i do some cutting out there a lot do you do any cutting or what all do you do?
I'm younger, but I pretty much do cutting and mulch work. That's about it with some other misc. work. What do you do
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