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  #541  
Old 05-10-2007, 09:30 PM
Tony Clifton Tony Clifton is offline
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I am with you CGLAND.
On the other hand I agree with what Jarod is saying as well.
I think it all depends on the people you have, your market, how well your business is set up, and how much time you are willing to put into your business.
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  #542  
Old 05-10-2007, 10:47 PM
mrusk mrusk is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cgland View Post
I agree w/ you McKee, but If you are known in those sects as a professional and the one to hire then you must be doing something right. As far as your builder analogy......you are not comparing apples to apples. Landscaping or hardscaping is comprised of an impressive laundry list of tasks. Landscaping could include anything from light excavation and soil moving to planting a 1 gallon perennial. hardscaping could include natural stone (an art in itself), paver patios, retaining walls, steps, stamped concrete, etc. (all of which could be specialties in and of themselves.) A sheetrock guy won't hang your rock then do your roofing or a HVAC guy won't install your air conditioner then do your finish carpentry. My point is, We as landscapers/hardscapers need to have a broad range of skills to be both successful and efficient which equates to profitability. Some of us are able to manage those skills and excell, while others fall on their faces because they are not well rounded. If your company is well rounded, and you have the people that can perform the tasks, then you can offer 5,248 different services. (as long as you have the proper clientele and are not spreading yourself too thin.) Don't get me wrong, you can't have one crew that hardscapes 3 days a week, cuts grass one day a week, and does some irrigation on the fifth day. That won't work, but if you have divisions set up that specialize in just one thing then your company is more able to market itself to each individual client base more effectively and professionally.

Chris

As much as i agree with jarod, i also agree with you. You need to have dedicated crews for each task. You need to run each divison as its own company without employee cross over.
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  #543  
Old 05-11-2007, 07:38 AM
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McKeeLand McKeeLand is offline
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Your are right Chris and it can work that way if you are willing to run several different divisions, or small companies. i just can't see giving the same amount of myself to several companies as just one. some guys can handle that, or have partners, i just can't do that right now.
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  #544  
Old 05-11-2007, 02:44 PM
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cgland cgland is offline
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I agree. If you are a one man show (ownership wise) and don't have the means or the need to hire top notch, field specific personnel, then it will never work. You can't do everything!

Chris
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  #545  
Old 05-11-2007, 03:36 PM
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TWUllc TWUllc is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cgland View Post
I agree. If you are a one man show (ownership wise) and don't have the means or the need to hire top notch, field specific personnel, then it will never work. You can't do everything!

Chris
Bingo. .
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  #546  
Old 05-11-2007, 09:27 PM
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etwman etwman is online now
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This is interesting. This could all be beneficial to all of us if we keep this under control. There's some good information here in these previous posts, and yes Chris I do see your validity. I think this type of chat could help alot of people.

Okay let's take a different angle on this and look at three different case companies in the order in which I feel is the least profitable to the most. And these are no particular companies just three different examples of what I have observed and studied in this industry. Once again this is totally my take, others I'm sure are going to express their thoughts so I'll keep my kevlar jacket on.

Company #1 - One owner, three crews, 9 employees. This owner pushes and advertises everything. Landscaping, hardscaping, mowing, decks, pergolas, pool maintenance, fertilization, and the list goes on and on. I can't for the life of me understand how a company like this can be profitable and know everything there is to know about everything they do. I really think they are setting themselves up for a huge mess. They have no operations guy, just foreman of crews and they float depending on where they are needed. They blanket the yellow pages advertising everything from A-Z. Let's call this the least profitable company and I think there are quite a few out there like this, often times they expand from mowing into this mess. Why? Lord only knows. These are the ones that build patios that haven't a clue what they are doing and cause an unholy mess.

Company #2 - Something with multiple divisions, division leaders, etc. Landscaping Division, Pool Maintenance Division, etc. Can this be profitable? YES I do believe it can, BUT, I think you had better have three crews under each division leader. Three crews that are busy full time, let's say three on each crew. If you don't have this you're going to be too top heavy, which means you're going to be paying that division coordinator too much money to manage something that could be done by a foreman. OR OR! you are going to be scrounching up smaller, non profitable work for those crews to attempt to keep the division leader justifiable. I saw this happen in several companies I looked at in college and they eventually either trimmed way back to save themselves fast or folded . You absolutely have to be smart and very efficient to move into this avenue. To make that move into a division coordinator you had better be cranking out some good numbers because that guy is going to come with a price tag around his neck. Add to that he had better know his stuff from sales to operations real good for what he is doing. It's almost like having three individual companies in one if you have three divisions.

Company #3 - Let call this the nitch company. They do one thing and do it right. They don't mow, the margins are too thin. They have figured out what in their industry is most profitable and go full force with that one idea. Like McKeeland said, "I have come to the realization that it is better to be a specialist at a few things and do them well ,than to be a jack of all trades and master of none." I honestly do believe this is the most profitable avenue in this industry. Have 3-4 crews just doing that one thing. If you do irrigation well, they do irrigation. If you are a master at hardscape, then do hardscape. At what point do you think about adding another division? You don't, you add a spin off company. You don't mess with a good thing.

Company #2 may do more in sales but may not be as profitable. And that's fine as long as they are happy because they are turning bigger numbers. With company #2 if you have a weak division a stronger one will have to carry it for a while diminishing your bottom line. Company #3 can correct that problem alot faster because they only have one focus. Will Company #3 have a better bottom line at the end of a year....probably.

I don't want this to turn into a pissing contest we can all act like grown ups here and share some good info.
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Last edited by etwman; 05-11-2007 at 09:31 PM.
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  #547  
Old 05-11-2007, 09:50 PM
mrusk mrusk is offline
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ETW-

Lets add another company into the mix. My company. I took a 90 degree turn and am now just going after six figure jobs subbing out the things i do not know. Basically we just do the design and hardscape/plantings, and sub irrigation, fence, pools, masonry, lighting, etc, etc.

Bascailly, i came to the realization that on jobs this size, if the homeowner is the GC, its not a job i want to be on. Doing jobs this site is no different than building a house, yet so many home owners think they can manage it themselves.
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  #548  
Old 05-11-2007, 10:59 PM
Adam's Lawn and Garden Adam's Lawn and Garden is offline
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mrusk-

When you look at it though, a sub pulls up to joe smiths yard and starts to install an irragation system. Who's company is it advertising yours or his? Who's company is benifiting? Plus that's a lot of subs to keep on top of ain't it?

I'm just confused

adam
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  #549  
Old 05-12-2007, 07:36 AM
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etwman etwman is online now
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I'm not a big advocate of subs, that's why we don't sub anything out. If you are going to go that route you had better have some really good, top notch, "jump when you say jump" subs. If you don't there goes you entire reputation. I've seen some really bad outcomes with this and I'm not willing to take that risk. We don't even go the step in reccomending someone else for work that's too small for us for fear it'll come back to burn us.

Doing jobs like this you're headed back to minimal margins again because all your subs have to make good money, unless your doing a phase or two yourself. We've never lost a high end job because we failed to be GC on a larger aspect.
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  #550  
Old 05-12-2007, 07:45 AM
mrusk mrusk is offline
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ETW- Right now I do 1 job at a time and am always on site. So sub quality is not a issue.

I would not of gotten this job i just signed if i was not handleing the entire job.

Honestly, i grew up in construction.

Designing, coordinating, and running jobs is what i want to do.
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