Does it come to a screaching halt???

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by DFW Area Landscaper, May 19, 2004.

  1. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    A ton of my customers have come from people who see me out working and ask for a price.

    My concern is that if I am able to grow my business to the point of having a crew do all the labor, will the new business stop? Of all the folks who have seen me out doing work in their neighborhoods, all but one have approached me directly and asked for a price on the spot. Only one customer has written down my phone number off the side of the truck and called me later on.

    Anyone have any light to shed on this subject????

    I once read a post by Jim Lewis entitled "You're Fired" where he caught an employee passing out his own business cards when approached like that.

    DFW Area Landscaper
  2. HighGrass

    HighGrass LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Z5 MA
    Posts: 1,237

    Sometimes you have to hit me with a brick but it sounds like you have 2 concerns that cover a common problem. Trust. Am I right? I would think if you got so big that you were relying heavly on a crew, then spot inspections and follow-up would be an absolute. Your still doing work...but more management.

    I always wondered if there was some way of making employees sign a contract so they could nver take your customers....?
  3. BCSteel

    BCSteel LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 876

    When I started my business I was working for an LCO four days/week and myself three days/week. If some one asked for a price when I was working for my boss I just gave them a business card and told them to give him a call. I would never take any business from anyone that I was employed for. Seems kind of like shooting your self in the foot.
  4. grasswhacker

    grasswhacker LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,873

    It's called a non-compete clause.


    BOSS MAN LawnSite Member
    Posts: 43

    Heck no the business won't stop!! You'll grow to the point where we are and have a ton of business. We started out with two crews and now we run ten. Our income has almost quadrupled!!!We went from about eighty yards a week to three hundred. And instead of $2,400.0 a week to $9,000.0!! Huge difference. Once you start growing you keep on growing. And believe me the money makes it all worth while!!!
  6. Mikes Lawn Landscape

    Mikes Lawn Landscape LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 458

    Each crew brings in $900.00 a week :confused:
  7. Mark McC

    Mark McC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,565

    If they like the work your company does, they'll find a way to contact you, and HighGrass is right, methinks. If you have crews, you'll have to check their work 'cause you have no other quality control mechanism unless you want to wait for the complaints to start.

    My understanding is that the more workers you have, the lower your margins are. On the other hand, it should also boost your volume, so you should make more money. I get the feeling that some in our industry are hung up on margins rather than dollar amount back to the owner. Bass-ackwards!!!
  8. turfcare

    turfcare LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 276

  9. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,841

    I don't quite understand Boss Man's math, but I agree with what he was saying. If you free yourself up to be able to build your business I think you'll find that you will eventually become SWAMPED with business.

    Part of it is the more trucks people see of yours around town, the more successful they think you are and they equate that with doing good work. I always get comments like, "I see your trucks all over town and in my neighborhood so I figure if you guys must be pretty good."

    Another part of it is once you aren't pushing a lawn mower you have all sorts of time to think about marketing and promoting your business. So you'll get leads from all sorts of new ways you didn't have time to do before. You don't have to depend on just people walking over and asking for a price. People will be responding to your other marketing too.

    Finally, it's important to train your crew to at least know some general pricing. But they need to understand that they can't tell a prospective client a firm price. They should say something like, "Well, I know that Jim charges the people at this house about $150 per month. I don't know if your price would be more or less. Jim would have to take a look. Here's one of his business cards. Is that your house there? Would you like me to have him stop by later today and leave you an estimate?"

    Then test your guys on this stuff once in a while (have a friend stop by while they're working) just to keep them honest. As you read from my previous thread, you never know who you can trust. Keep in mind that was just one or two employees who were bad apples. Out of 40 or so employees I've had over years, that's not a high percentage. Most of them will do things the way you ask them to.
  10. BOSS MAN

    BOSS MAN LawnSite Member
    Posts: 43

    Can't figure out the math?? We run ten crews a day, each crew doing six yards a day. So far that is 60 yards in a day. Still with me?? We charge $30 per account. That's $1,800 per day. Still with me?? At $1,800 per day, times a five day work week equals $9,000 a week. What in the hell is so hard to figure out about that?? We take care of roughly 300 accounts a week, plus several commercial accounts. Add it all up!!

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