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  #1  
Old 12-11-2001, 10:41 PM
lost mountain lost mountain is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Atlanta, GA
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Managing Maintenance and Installation growth

Buisness has been very good for our first season with this new company. Lots of install/sodding...good maintenance start with year-round accounts. Right now it's only one 2000 Ford 150 5.4 liter and a landscape trailer. Have a loan with Ford Credit on the truck. We want to do as much install AND maintenance as possible. But the 2 "divisions" conflict with each other as far as schedule goes. Any advice on growing into a truck and trailer for install and one for maintenance? Then what about a bobcat (which we sub-out now) down the road (and this takes planning with the type of truck)?
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  #2  
Old 12-11-2001, 10:51 PM
landscaper3 landscaper3 is offline
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Join Date: May 2000
Location: Southern, Maine
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Use your 150 for maintence (your maintenance equipments tends to weight less) get a 250 HD or 350 for pulling the larger things. Only real question is can you and do you want new? If not go with the 92 and up Ford 250's they have a solid axle verses I-beam the 350 has a solid axle anyways if a 4WD is needed! You could even look into a Mitsubishi most Ford truck dealers (our location anways) carry that line. You can get a cab over 2wd or 4wd, from dump to landscape bed. You may want to look into a Bri-Mar dump trailer worth there weight in gold when in your case no dump. They can be had with landscape gates to load mowers and skidsteers!
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  #3  
Old 12-12-2001, 05:22 PM
lost mountain lost mountain is offline
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I'm sort of wondering if anyone has any advice, not on which equipment to buy, but when and how you may have met this challenge in growth and investing into the company. Any good strategies?
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  #4  
Old 12-12-2001, 06:40 PM
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fshrdan fshrdan is offline
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Location: Woodstock, GA
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Lost mountain,
My biz is only 2 yrs old now. This spring I got 2 trucks and 2 trailers. One for installs and one for maint. I did alot of installs this spring and need the extra trailer. I had 2 full time guys on maintenance accounts, and I would do installs with some Mexicans. It only took 3 cancelled maint accounts for me to make changes. I would cringe when I saw my properties cause of the weeds in the beds, etc. I also realized how important maintenance work is because of my drop in install work last summer cause of the drought. Now I'm concentrating fully on maint, and do installs when I have time. I'll write more later...
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Old 12-12-2001, 07:13 PM
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fshrdan fshrdan is offline
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As I was saying, my #1 limiting factor was people. I had a good friend working for me on maint and it ended up straining the relationship. Also, this is a guy I thought I could really trust.

For the time being, I'm concentrating on maint because my quality was slipping and it was not the image I want. I was growing too fast and don't know how to handle it. It's very hard to turn down landscape jobs because it is so lucrative. I have enough maint to keep me busy 4 days of the week, and if the 5th day isn't a rain day, I normally have some job lined up. For instance, last Thursday was my off day for maintenance, and I ended up laying 14 pallets of fescue sod. Nice bit of change while still not compromising on my maint quality control.

You can bet as soon as I find a high quality maint foreman, I'll be back to going after installs, though.
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  #6  
Old 12-12-2001, 09:16 PM
lost mountain lost mountain is offline
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Location: Atlanta, GA
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Thanks fshrdan!
That's a key aspect right there: you need a 2nd truck/ trailer as soon as the work dictates (and your able to pay for them) ...BUT....you cannot fully mobilize the rigs until you have a maintenance foreman that is quality minded (and is being sufficiently rewarded) That's the catch and it's a timing thing too. It also makes it a more expensive proposition: it's not just the 2nd truck and trailer but you've got to be prepared to pay for the more expensive guy and the extra insurance, etc..
And the above scenario has got to be made to work (in my opinion) because install does pay so much more....but the maintenance is more consistent.

How do you deal with bobcat work? Rent? Sub out? I sub out because I get a tandem axle dump-truck with the deal (and this guy's simply better than I am and it's real cheap. But like the issue above: there are potential schedule conflicts with him and his own biz

PS: I've done the friend/ biz thing before too and never again. It's always full of regrets.
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  #7  
Old 12-12-2001, 09:18 PM
lost mountain lost mountain is offline
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"OK...Fisher Dan...Forest Gump...I get it..."
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  #8  
Old 12-12-2001, 10:00 PM
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fshrdan fshrdan is offline
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I normally rent a bobcat when I need it. I sure would like to sub work out sometimes, though. What part of the city are you in? Would you mind sharing this fellow's name? I especially like those two key words "real cheap".
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  #9  
Old 12-12-2001, 10:41 PM
lost mountain lost mountain is offline
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Location: Atlanta, GA
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I'm in the Lost Mountain area (Powder Springs/ Marietta). This guy's in Douglasville. Let me remember to check with him and see. I believe he likes to charge more if the site is further away (which only makes sense).

One more question: Which nurseries do you like to deal with? Ever do direct ship?
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  #10  
Old 12-13-2001, 08:58 AM
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fshrdan fshrdan is offline
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Location: Woodstock, GA
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Southeastern Wholesale Nursery on Buford Hwy. is about my favorite, unfortunately I'm not doing much work in that part of town anymore. Come to think of it, I think there's a site in Marietta... never been to it. I moved up to Canton recently, so I'll be using Pike Wholesale more now. They have a new place in Holly Springs. Buck Jones is a mile away... unfortunately every time I go there I promise myself never to go back. they usually don't have good material, and it's like you're paying retail prices.

I once sent a plant list to Pike Wholesale, and they pulled the order and delivered it. The plants were great! I don't know why I don't do it more, I'm just nervous about getting crap delivered I guess. Who do you like to use? You have a Shemin down your way, do you hate them too?
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