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big vs. small

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by tlcgrounds, Mar 10, 2002.

  1. tlcgrounds

    tlcgrounds LawnSite Member
    Posts: 133

    I see this trend happening. I see a lot of guys who start out solo and work hard to build a reputable service and want to take things to the next level. I believe running an operation much larger than 2-3 people changes the role of owner altogether. Instead of being out in the field making the revenue and being a well skilled stealth lawn technician, they need to be a business man analyzing margins and labor hours. THey are so busy selling and managing the office work load that spending time doing the hands on things is not an option or even in the job description. I could explian it best by comparing most of us to True Green and many huge outfits like that. It's comparing corprate America to sole propreitor America two very diffrent life styles. I believe the resaon why many guys are scaling down is because we are hands on workers not desk jockeys.
  2. kutnkru

    kutnkru LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,662

    I have to say that I ABSOLUTELY DISAGREE with your theory. Is it impractical to expect to be out in the field all the time - No. When I was in a partnership with my brother I rotated amongst the mowing crews (because its what I enjoy).

    When it comes down to paperwork - Yes, you will have to put in extra hours at night. Yes, you will have to relive yourself of duties to bid at times but for the most part - you should always be able to be out here if thats where you WANT to be.

    If its truely going to be a conflict of interest than just like TGCL have an office with associates/assistants all you want to - for that matter have many -LOL!!! If you find the right people to put behind the labor lines, then you should be able to keep yourself out in the trenches without a problem day after day after day!!! ;)

    I was fortunate enough to be in a position to hire my filly to take care of it all for us allowing me not to be couped up in an AC'd Truck or office all day. Bottom line is this: Where theres a will ,,, Theres a way!!!

    BTW this is also why many of those whom have HUGE operations like JAA and others will tell you that for many companies of their magnitudes its not uncommon to find a 3-4% profit margin, unlike solos and smaller outfits who average about 33-38%!!!
  3. KathysLGC

    KathysLGC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,345

    That is why I will be teaching my girlfriend everthing I am learning so I can still be out there and she can sell and do all the paper work. I can't wait untill the work looks for me.
  4. stslawncare

    stslawncare LawnSite Bronze Member
    from DE
    Posts: 1,484

    thats the nice thing about this job, some days do office work some days in the field, better yet rainy days do office work nice days do field work.
  5. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,841

    tlc, I think you are right to some degree. Once you grow your business large enough it's difficult and probably even unwise to be out mowing and such when you could and should be out landing new jobs, marketing, taking care of books, overseeing crews, etc.

    And you're right that a lot of guys here at lawn site would rather be doing the work than they would be running a business.

    But there are also a lot of us who are on the other side of the spectrum as well. I, for instance, LOVE running a business. I love driving around in a nice new truck all day, talking to prospective clients, overseeing projects, running errands, etc. And I enjoy the office work too. I was a buisiness major in college and this all comes natural to me.

    Furthermore, there's no way I could mow lawns every day for the rest of my life. There's no challenge in it for me. And I don't enjoy sweating my ass off every day and getting all muddy. Maybe that's just me. I did it for the first few years, but only because it was a means to an end. I was always working toward getting to where I am now. I was always counting on the day where I could hire other guys to mow and do landscaping work and I could run things.

    The beauty of this business is you can have it either way. If you like staying small and aren't good with running the business end of things, then it's better to stay a laborer. You can make great money at it, no doubt about that.

    But if you enjoy marketing, running a big business, making even more money, etc. than that option is available as well.

    Some people think the stress of having employees, running a lot of jobs, managing hundreds of clients, etc. is too much. Others think the rewards are worth it. But aint it great that we have either option available to us.

    I don't think either one is necessarily better. It just depends on your personality, which one is better for you.
  6. PAPS

    PAPS LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 404

    Since I started.. i have grown to the point that this year.. i will probably take 2 days off from the field to sell more work, more business related issues. However, it all has to do with the quality of help you have. You and your company is only as good as the help you hire. I would not be able to be where i was without some quality employees... and I tell them that all the time.
  7. Tim Canavan

    Tim Canavan LawnSite Member
    from Houston
    Posts: 218

    This is why you got into buisness for yourself, I hope. It's your choice, not someone else's. That's the beauty of it. How far do you want to go? Are you a worker or a buisnessman? Do you enjoy what you do?
    Develop some kind of a goal for yourself and get there. Just remember to run your buisness, don't let your buisness run you.:cool:
  8. kutnkru

    kutnkru LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,662

    Jim explained it much better than I did, but brings up some GREAT points.

    This is truthfully IMHO the reason why so many mangement - stupid visor types can come into the field, smooze their way into contracts (because they have GREAT people skills) and then hire a good labor force and continue to compete without that much difficulty.

    Personally I like the mudd and the muck, but Im a big boy like the a farmers from Upstate so its a little different for me. I looked at it like this. I came to the realization early on that a suit and tie was never for me. I could work heavy construction and equipment operations for a short term, or I could make half as much for a few years and then double my salary without having to box myself into a cubical.

    In the spring I put on a suit and tie but its temporary while bidding and with the cooler temps it keeps me warm too -LOL!!! :D Then Im back to kahki shorts and hard physical labor, but its what I like to do.

    Besides everyone knows that you put a big boy in suspenders and we look like an Ox -LMAO!!!
  9. wrtenterprises

    wrtenterprises LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 312

    Well said Jim!! I am curently a solo operator, and have spent many an hour contempleting this same question. There are numerous benefits and rewards to growing your business in either direction, but having the option of doing what's best for you is truely great.....
  10. Fantasy Lawns

    Fantasy Lawns LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,913

    Well said Jim .... I also love running the business side ..... my office is +50% in my truck out in the open anyways.... I love the "sell" that's the challenge ..... one can't be in the field all the time for everything unless we wish to stay a solo .... an yes the $$ can be very good small....

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