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  #1  
Old 02-05-2005, 09:25 PM
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scraper69 scraper69 is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: mi
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Looking To Grow.... ?

im lookin to grow this season,,,just a bit nervous... i need to ad heavy.. to get enough work..right now we do one crew (3)men, a few days of lawn and a few days of installs (pavers plants Landscape work) however i cant seem to make enough at this.. so my thought is to expand Two crews.. one lawn and one landscape.. although i need another truck . hopefully a 6yd dump..cost is crazy! especially if i go deisel.. any experience with this venture. advice wanted>>>> plus i would need 2 more employees.. to really make it work.. its either too much work and not enough guys or too many guys and not enough work! thanks
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  #2  
Old 02-06-2005, 09:05 AM
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scraper69 scraper69 is offline
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Has anyone taken this jump..? from small to med size comp? i know its risky. but business in itself is risky. I am putting all my stuff on the line to jump to the next level, but not sure exactly how to start off, and grow
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  #3  
Old 02-06-2005, 09:22 AM
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paponte paponte is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Islandia, N.Y.
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My biggest concern when axpanding are good formen. I can get laborers no problems, but finding someone that is good enough to be a team leader is the hardest part IMO. Equipment, trucks, and trailers tend to come easy, but the people behind them are what count.
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  #4  
Old 02-06-2005, 01:49 PM
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scraper69 scraper69 is offline
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have a foreman that could run lawn crew.. i would head up land crew, and need 2 others and a 5yd truck
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  #5  
Old 02-06-2005, 02:44 PM
Randy Scott Randy Scott is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Wisconsin
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We're going from 4 full timers to 6 this season. That doesn't include me in either number. I realize now that we're making the step of me working in the business to me working on the business. I have decided that I cannot rely on myself for any manual labor in the field. Last season I ran myself ragged trying to do estimates, delegate work, promote the business, and all the newly added paperwork. There just aren't enough hours in the day for this type of scenario. You will not be able to make it work well at all. The sooner you realize that, the better off you'll be. To keep half a dozen people busy takes a lot of time and effort. From all aspects of the business. You might think you have a lot of work to do until you start getting it done more efficiently and with the added labor. Before you know it, half the season is over and you didn't sell enough work for later in the season.

It's very hard to let go, but it has to be done. You can kid yourself all you want, but you can't do it all. At least not very well or in the profitable fashion that you will need to.

You have to make a decision as many have in growing their business, you have to take yourself out of the field. Your other choice is to have additional help for estimates and selling work along with a bookkeeper. I chose to do those roles while my help is in the field. It's tough enough to let go in the field, there was no way I was going to let go of the interior tasks.

Yes, the tough task of buying equipment to supply the help is always a challenge. Like you said, you have to take risks. If not, punch someone else's time clock and let them have that burden.

Personally, it's almost getting a little late to start your game plan for this scenario starting this season. Working on new budgets, marketing ideas, and looking for help. I have about 80% of all these tasks done or put into motion. Which I started working on months ago. It takes some brainstorming and sleepless nights to gather your thoughts and ideas to make this transition, and hopefully make it work as well. You might want to chug through this season as you are and plan for next year. Might be a good year to really fine tune procedures and employees so that it is a bit less of a worry next season. The smoother the operation the smoother the transition.

Just some things to think about. The bigger you get the more critical everything becomes. Little mistakes become big ones. There is a larger ripple effect as compared to a one or two man show.
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  #6  
Old 02-06-2005, 03:53 PM
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gardenkeeper88 gardenkeeper88 is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Northern Indiana
Posts: 346
we jumped into a 2nd crew last year. We went to 2 two man crews. It takes 2 men a little longer to get each of thier jobs done but we didn't have to add as much new work to keep both crews busy. This year we are adding an applicator for the fert. end. This will help me so thats 1 less thing that I have to do. He will also help on a couple of days each week on the other 2 crews so we can add some more with them as well. We can add a 3rd person as needed also. Things went real well last year but i'm looking for A foreman as well this year. Good luck
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  #7  
Old 02-07-2005, 01:15 PM
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scraper69 scraper69 is offline
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Location: mi
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Hey garden keeper, how was the expansion from 1 to two crews.. did you have 1 lawn and 1land? I think 4 men total.in 2 crews is efficeint, and regarding taking myself out of the picture..No not yet. Im not speakin of growing that big, just lookin to grow the landscape end, and get myself out of the Lawn end of business. I already have a foreman for this (lawns) i would be the landscape forman and we could all team up if things get busy or if things get slow ( lawn crew works with land and vice versa) You dont think this will work??? and advertising is in process now. You cant really sell landscape jobs with snow on the ground. nobody here is even thinkin about summer yet.. give your opinions to this
My overall idea is even if the two crews dont pan out exactly as i like. I still need a 5-6yd dump to make our landscape jobs go smoother. the 3yd is ok but inefficient. Just cant seem to make enough$$$ with 3 men on one crew cutting lawn 3 days and installs 3 days.. need to branch off
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  #8  
Old 02-07-2005, 02:54 PM
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MacLawnCo MacLawnCo is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,847
i hate to be the rude one, but i think you have a larger issue at hand.

you mentioned twice, that you cant make enough money. getting larger is only going to compound that problem; not fix it.

I cant tell you exactly what you are doing wrong, but if you want to put up some financial ratios and vague stats, we all can get a much better idea of where your issues are.
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  #9  
Old 02-07-2005, 04:47 PM
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scraper69 scraper69 is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: mi
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you gotta spend money to make money. I just cant see staying where your at. if you cant produce more you need to expand. and 3 men can only do so much on one crew? with two, there would be a lot more work getting done, provided i have the work. Its a risk, i know, but am willing to jump in
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  #10  
Old 02-07-2005, 06:04 PM
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tonygreek tonygreek is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Lancaster, PA
Posts: 2,516
some random thoughts:

out of curiousity, is "you gotta spend money to make money" your sum response to macLawn's question or are you digging up your financial projections for us to chew on? if you haven't done that, any advice people might give has zero bearing on your business because the phrase quoted has no bearing on what you seem to want to do. "spend money" doesn't mean "add significant headcount and overhead" if you have no solid, strategic marketing plan to financially support those goals. it could be applicable if you are adding additional service lines, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

spend money to make money is like an amatuer golfer trying his hardest to get that sweet back-spin on the ball when it lands on the green. if you haven't flown the ball past the pin, the back-spin looks great, but you're farther from the hole.

buying an expensive truck to make current work "smoother" is not a cure. buying an expensive truck to handle additional work is.

look over your last couple/few years of work and figure out what type of backlog you've consistently had.

and as randy said above, it's really late in the game for those types of goals, for all of the reasons he listed.
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