Ever feel so lost because its so busy?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by nobagger, Jun 25, 2007.

  1. nobagger

    nobagger LawnSite Gold Member
    from Pa
    Posts: 3,065

    I'm gonna go nuckinfuts if I dont decide to sh!t or get of the pot with hiring some more guys. This has been our busiest year to date, working 6-7 days a week since April. I find myself short with some people, and for lack of better terms, blowing potential customer's off only because I'm too busy mowing or working with the other guys. When or how do you know if its time to hire some more help? My fear is hiring a guy or two and trying to keep him busy all summer, and the expenses vs. the profits, the quality of work he will produce and is it really worth it or just scale back to where me and my original 2 other guys can keep up. Can you really do this type of work P/T and be successful? We are fully insured, pay our taxes etc. I work Mon-Fri 7am -3pm at a State job, we mow 48+ customers both res. and com. and a condo complex of 52 units per week. Luckily my route is very tight except for one day a week which is ars backwards but it works. We are into the 1st week of August with work but Ive lost a few due to being that far out and I cant really say I blaim them for not wanting to wait. The calls are still coming for reg. lawn care (mowing etc) and I hate saying no but I possibly cant take any more work. I know some of you guys are saying it must be tough having too much work and thats what I used to say, but now I'm in a even worse position so be carefull what ya wish for,lol. Any advise on making the jump into hire an actuall additional crew, sorry for the long post but the Wife is tired of hearing about it and other friends dont understand, just want mowed for free,lol
     
  2. johnnywill08

    johnnywill08 LawnSite Senior Member
    from MA z6
    Posts: 383

    you're like me, bitchin if its too slow, bitchin if you're overwhelmed.... much better this way. i'd hire some part-timers to do unskilled stuff like runnin wheelbarrows of mulch, diggin holes for plants, etc... pay em short $$, but decent (no in wage, but not full-timer $$) and let em go when necessary.

    i feel your pain, but keep the customers happy and you'll sleep better!

    good luck!
     
  3. bullethead

    bullethead LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 273

    Do you want to build a business or not? Personally, I don't think you can do it without employees. It's going to cost you some money to get another crew going (new equipment and underutilization of the new employees) but everyone that has ever built a business has had to undergo the same set of problems. You have forego short term profits to do it and might even take a paycut - but that's life of being a business owner (you get paid last). Determine what your goals are and never take your eyes off of them, eventhough it's going to get a little uncomfortable at times.
     
  4. Liquidfast

    Liquidfast LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Posts: 739

    It wasn't too long ago when we were begging for customers and bending over backwards to do everything we could to earn biz. Now, I get panic attacks thinking about how far behind we are. I dread it when the phone rings for fear of having an unhappy customer call.

    I prefer it this way over being too slow and not enough work but I did hire new people this year and happy to spend the xtra bucks on them.
     
  5. johnnywill08

    johnnywill08 LawnSite Senior Member
    from MA z6
    Posts: 383

    i actually took a paycut to expand this year... new truck, new mower, extra guy. but the future dividends are worth it. last yr it seemed i had lots more disposable $$, with the new payments and dbling of labor expenses, i'm netting less, but ex[ect it to pay off for next year or even fall cleanups this year. hopefully do 20-25k in those cleanups...
     
  6. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,501

    Somewhere along the line I would think you would have to consider giving up you full time job and concentrating on your business to become your full time job. No way in hell would I do what you are doing, then again my business is substantially larger.

    Something for you to think about...
     
  7. cldc2007

    cldc2007 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 12

    ....you have to weigh the money you will lose by not getting to the work or doing a crap job because you are rushed and the money spent on the new crew....i think you will find the money lost by doing a rushed job, warranties, etc, will cost you more than hiring a guy or two....heck that will push you to find more work, then you will be full on that crew and you will start over again...I went through the same thing this spring....started a new crew, it was expensive, but you suffer through and find new work to fill them up....if you look at your services/schedule, you could find something everyday for a crew to do that will make your jobs look better.....pruning, weeding, chemical apps.....
     
  8. cldc2007

    cldc2007 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 12

    If people don't want to wait...offer them a discount on the job to wait until the slow time of year.....give them incentive to wait, tell them to put the money in a money market account and earn some interest on the money until the late fall....then you will be booked all year with minimal warranty issues....
     
  9. HOOLIE

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,981

    Sounds like you're trying to fit a full-time operation into part-time hours...stressful for sure. I don't know how you part-timers do it, working until 3-4pm then hooking the trailer up and going out til dark. It gets to the point (and only you can determine where that point is) where you have to make some decisions about the direction of your company.

    I used to turn away work too, when I was solo...foolish on my part, should have hired help much sooner. I turned down next-door jobs simply because I was so overloaded the thought of working another 30 minutes a week was too much. I wish I could have some of those jobs now.
     
  10. coonman

    coonman LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 682



    I agree with Rod. I don't know how you can possibly keep expanding and keep your full time job. You are not going to do justice to either one at this rate. You already have a full time business not part time. I am working 40 hours a week at my job also. But my part time mowing, which consists of 12 lawns that I kept from my old full time route takes only about 9-10 hours a week. The bulk of mine is Saturday 8am-1pm and then just an hour here and there through the week. I just don't see how you will be able to manage employees, while you are stuck at your job. Good luck!
     

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