how do i?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by lawnboy82, Apr 30, 2001.

  1. hey guys. i have a problem. i only have right now i believe about 15 lawn accounts. that isnt my problem though. my problem is that i need to become more productive and still cut hours that i work. i am gettin tired of this. today i got up i believe at 10:30, couldnt get up at 9, too tired from yesterday. i got to the job by myself at i believe 12 oclock. i worked until about 8 oclock by myself, (people were home) they fed me dinner and lunch and whatever. did that, then drove about an hour to a commercial site where i keep my stuff. today i was just doing chipping. so i had a large wood chipper behind my truck. got to the commercial site at i would assume about 8:45? it was dark already so i set up the chipper and just cut up a very small downed tree and ran it through the machine. no big deal but i could have gotten hurt and nobody would have found me until i think about 6:30 the following morning. so then i left there and came home, got into the house at 9:30 pm. (sunday). yesterday i got up and left the house by 6:15 am to get the guys and get to the job. didnt get home from working until 10:30. no dinner either. that was saturday. friday i cut only 2 lawns and did some other stuff. but i didnt get home that night until 11 oclock. my problem is that i am finding that even with a 2nd guy i am working long and strange hours. heck! last weekend saturday night i was out doing excavation by myself until 11pm in the pouring rain. i feel that if i keep working these long hours either i am gonna get badly hurt or i am gonna hurt somebody else, or do some property damage. now this is my second year in business. last year at this time between what i ended the previous year with and what i started the new year with was i believe around 40 - 50 accounts. i ended the year with only 15, 20 tops. last year granted i was still in high school, but between school and work i would put in 16 - 18 hour days just about every day of the week, and when it was a weekend i would still do the 16 - 18 hour day. i mean i dont know, 7am until 1am. i think that i am heading in that direction again for this year and i really dont think i can afford to do that again. i put the fliers out there because my accounts were low and didnt get a single one of them because i set all of my prices high. most of the lawns were about 10 dollars high per cut on average. ex. 40 dollar lawn i put down for 50. so i really dont know what to do here. the grass i can just get a ztr for and not have to worry, my thing is about how to cut hours back on side work and still get more work done. i mean i so far i have only finished about half my cleanups and day in and day out new people are asking me to do cleanups for them. i really dont know what to do here. if i get another guy then i gotta keep him for a while, and that is gettin hard to do when my guy brings a new friend every day. any advice would be of great help. right now i turn 19 in a month and i dont wanna be burnt out by 25. and the way its going now i will be burnt out by 21.
  2. i forgot to mention that i do a lot of tree work, not a whole lot of landscaping, and cut grass. the tree work is about equal to the amount of landscaping / lawn care that i do.
  3. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 14,700

    This seems to be a common problem with tree work. A friend and competitor of mine here has the same problem. He is switching over to doing tree work from cutting grass. He says he makes a lot more money doing tree work but he works every weekend, doesn't get started going until noon on any given day and it's dangerous work.

    You do sound like you are burning out already. You need to set yourself a work schedule and stick to it. You <i> must</i> set aside 1 day a week where you do not work. I realize that you have tons of work to do. Get a calander and start booking jobs. It is not unusual for tree companies around here to be booked for months.
  4. Craig Turf Management

    Craig Turf Management LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 354

    It sounds like you have too many irons in the fire my friend. You're doing tree work, and excavating, and clean-ups, and mowing and lord knows what else. I can't solve your problem, but I do reccomend that you take a step back and look at your business from outside your truck. What's your niche? If you spread yourself so thin all the time, something is going to get missed. And you're right getting hurt trying to make a dollar would suck. It's just not worth it. If you are so busy that you are constantly getting home after dark, either turn away some work, or get more help. And by all means take some time for yourself and enjoy this short life we've been given.
    Take care of yourself. Bill Craig
  5. KD'sLawns

    KD'sLawns LawnSite Member
    Posts: 160

    Sounds like you are starting to burn out already. I agree with the other two posts. You need some help in your business. For you to be getting home so late and working seven days a week, physically and mentally you will be worn out within a month. Get you a daily planner and schedule everything. On Mondays, only schedule what you can get accomplished by dusk and the same for the rest of the week.
    Working past dark, especially alone is a bad idea. All it will take is one time for you to get your hand or arm caught in a branch you are chipping. You will either bleed to death or start a new career.
    Maybe you can put an ad in the paper for some qualified help. If you could find about two people to work for you then you could get back into some type of order. If you could trim and cut the trees down then, the other two could do the shredding and chipping while you do your lawn maintenance or move to the next tree site. I would pay any help, by the tree and not the hour that way you can be sure they won't be screwing you for the time.
    ALWAYS, take time off. At least one day a week you should take time to relax and have a social life. You may have to turn some work down, but be honest with your customers and ask them to keep you in mind for next time.
  6. jeffyr

    jeffyr LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 876

    Focus more on what you intentions and goals are. Running around like you are will only burn you out and make you bitter (Angry young man). I also find that sticking to a set schedule helps --start at 8 and home by 6--that sort of thing.
    Can you hire help when you need it ? Even if it is someone to run errands, buy supplies, dump waste, etc.

  7. TJLC

    TJLC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,308

    I think this again goes back to overloading yourself to the point of exuastion and being too far in debt.If you are working 10-16 hr days SOMETHING IS WRONG. Like the posts before this said, you need to step back and look at things. I RARELY work more than 6-8 hr days. Tommorrow is another day, pace yourself. It's no wonder you are burnt out. Good luck and take care.
  8. CSRA Landscaping

    CSRA Landscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,232

    I have to agree with what these guys have said. Getting burned out stinks and it takes forever to recover from it. Don't take it all so seriously all the time. Do set schedules and do try to stick to them, that helps tremendously. Also, I'm assuming that you're not married and at this rate, you never will be, since wives like to know they have a living husband and one that is occasionally home, esp. if there are kids involved. Relax, take your time, get it done right and all the rest is sure to follow. Good luck and God bless.
  9. thanx you guys for all of your help. so you are saying that i should hire more people, plan my work out better, and relax one day a week. ok! now here are some things that i have some problems with. in reading that. and i am sure that you can answer these new questions that i have as well. i have one guy working for me on the books now. last year he started about september working for me. i pay him $14 an hour on the books. he knows the route already and knows how to use the machines, cut grass, other stuff, liscence, etc. last year nobody really ever complained about his work. this year however i am finding that some customers are complaining about the cleanups he is doing. he has a key to my truck, and i pay for his cell phone so i can contact him when necessary. (my phone) i dont like to push him or yell a lot. he has been bringing one of his friends with him each day. couple of them worked out well. others not so well. but when i like one guy i cant get him to come back because he will be somewhere else. oh yeah and also this employee has about i think 10 of his own lawn accounts. so he doesnt work mondays or fridays. then i have a friend (american) who helps me out now and again. he is lazy. and complains a lot. but he speaks english fluently and does well with the large machines, but he cant cut grass or do tree work.
    as for scheduling work when i get somebody who calls me they want their work done now! i tell them about 2 - 3 weeks and then that 2 - 3 weeks becomes more like a month because i get tied up somewhere else, or somebody else says oh do this for me. and i like a fool see $$$ in my face and have a hard time saying no.
    like i had said i had looked at about 10 lawns and have priced myself out of all of them pretty much. i figured that if i was gonna get them i would just get good money instead of wasting 2 days a week for a couple of bucks. most lawns i have looked at are at least 50$ a cut. i would like to make some good money here. and it is kind of funny that i get all this work and the money just goes right back into the business. today i am going to go look at one lawn that the guy called me last wed. i believe and i am just getting to look at it now.
    today i took off kind of. i had to go to the bank, return the chipper, and now i have to go look at some work and get another check. so today isnt that bad. but still the rest of this week is gonna be heck. i think i need to make some severe lifestyle changes here soon.
  10. jeffyr

    jeffyr LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 876

    Too big too fast ?

    Maybe you should cut back on the work until you get a workflow and sched that works and add slowly. At first I thought that 12 properties per week (part time) was overwhelming. I could barely catch my breath--cutting all of the 2 days of my weekend for these 12 places. Now I have 25 and I get them done in a day and a half no problem (unless it rains !).
    What I am saying is if you bite off more than you can chew you'll choke. Growth takes time IMO.


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