go big or stay small

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by smarino21, Nov 17, 2006.

  1. smarino21

    smarino21 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 345

    i got 100 accts ending this year. I was wondering its either time for me to go big or downsize a little bit . Any suggestions on going bigger.
     
  2. Total.Lawn.Care

    Total.Lawn.Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 841

    Hire good people, keep them busy, make sure then maintain the equipment that you have them working with and work on growing your business. When you first step out to having seperate crews, this is the time to work harder to keep the work comming in. Don't sit back and expect growth all by its self. You need to get that new crew effecient and keep yourself effecient as well or you will not make as much money, even with more work.

    Just my few words of wisdom.
     
  3. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,654

    Raise your prices slightly, voila.
     
  4. smarino21

    smarino21 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 345

    yea i did that price raising thing last year. it worked i lost some customers but next year i cant raise becasue i need to keep them . I knwo but i mean is it possible to add 50-60 new accts. mostlyu ressys/ I want to advertise like crazy to get them i got 100 yard signs made, 10k door hangers, thhats already i am not sure weather to get a shyt load of regular postcards or something and have my guyspass them out or to get in every type of little magazine and stuff liekt hat around here. Input please? sorry the spelling iw as typing real fast.
     
  5. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,501

    A 50 or 60% increase in one year is a lot for sure. Do you have enough equipment with the manpower to handle that much all at once? Most people wouldn't, I'm sure

    IMO, why don't you first go the referral route, that is what we do. I have a referral letter that I send out in late March each year to all our customers asking them if they know of anyone who would benefit from our services, etc.

    BTW, we have been doing just that for the past 13 years...in that time, we have never advertised once.

    Currently, we're at 180 accounts and I am sitting down with 2 owners that are getting out of the business at the end of this year completely. One has 42 accounts and the other around 60. Now taking on both of those businesses even has me wondering if that is too much, should I go for one or the other, should I stay with my referral system, etc.

    As for you downsizing, only you know the answer to that issue. Hope that helps some.
     
  6. Josh.S

    Josh.S LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,085

    Even though being bigger might be more of a headache, I don't think that I would ever downsize.. I still don't know the best way to expand though...
     
  7. Jpocket

    Jpocket LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,278

    Im at the same point in my business...Don't know which way to go.

    I love the lawn maint. business but I still desire more out of life ( NO NOT COLLEGE), I want to start another business. At the same time i don't want to give up the Lawnservice it is brought me this far, and has put me where I am today Not a bad place at all.

    I figure I have 3 options: 1 get a forman and run a 3 man crew doing about 125 weekly ( my current set-up minus me)

    2.Continue growing run a 4 man crew doing about 140 lawns a week with me working 3 days in the field.

    3. go all out with 2 crews over a period of 2 years, and then just run it into the ground.

    In the LONG run I see myself running the biz into the ground, meaning grow to a point, starting another business, then just maintaining the lawn business. Answering the phone depositing the checks, and letting the employees do all of the field labor. If we lose work so be it, and if we gain work so be it. Basically it will exist as long as we retian customers.
     
  8. jasonnau

    jasonnau LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 454

    Kind of the same boat here. Although, I'm not as big. I currently have 46 customers, two of which are decent size commercial accounts. Until this point, I've hired only college guys for 3-4 months when they are off for the summer. This year, it's all I can do to offer not only mowing, but landscape and maintenance as well to my customers when I'm now working solo. These leaf clean ups are killing me. I could easily double business next year if I wanted to. I have most of the equipment to send out another crew, but, I have a hard time trusting I can send someone out as a leader without supervision. I'd have to hire someone and immediately trust them. I trust my college guys, but, they will never be around long enough to be a crew leader. I've read posts that go both ways on the subject of being the big guy or the little guy. All I've found out is that being the middle guy is not the most profitable way to be. I'm at least hiring a solid full time guy next year and taking it up a little notch. I'd like to do more though. I would also like to start another business too. I was thinking about a bar, but, the night life as well as the day job would kill me.
     
  9. howardsells2000

    howardsells2000 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 355

    My situation is similar to yours. I have about 100 accounts and I was sure I was going to hire someone next season to continue my growth.

    However I don't know if you read my thread about workers comp insurance. The cost of it blew my mind and it is required by law to have. Then you have to pay some other taxes that are required by law. Then there is their salary, uniforms and worrying if they show up for work. It has made me rethink the whole thing.

    I have had a good first season and am making enough money for myself. But if I add in all of the costs involved with hiring another person without doubling my accounts I don't think I could make it. I had know idea what it costs. I'm sure I could increase my accounts but I don't think I could double them in one season. Some guys have working spouses or other income. I don't. I have to support myself. I don't know how guys do it.
     
  10. LawnBrother

    LawnBrother LawnSite Senior Member
    from SW Ohio
    Posts: 867

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