How to expand your biz

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Expert Lawns, Mar 21, 2003.

  1. Expert Lawns

    Expert Lawns LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,660

    It's that time of year to start bidding and advertising. I have sent many letters and done many fliers. Lets say for instance that i get really lucky and score a good amount of those accounts. Well, I am a solo op who would like to get as big as I can and as of now i only have 1 48'' exmark ZTR rider. Do I wait until mowing season begins and find out that I can not do all my accounts in one week, THEN hire some help and possibly another mower? OR do I take the risk and purshase more equipment right now? How did all of you guys go about expanding? I don't want to be caught at the begining of the season with my head up my arse, trying to cram 9 days of work into 6 or 7 days. Thats not a good first impression on my new customers. Thanks for the input.
     
  2. paponte

    paponte LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,366

    One I saw that I was picking up more clients, I started purchasing more equipment. As far as hiring someone, I always started someone before the busy season kicks in. I can't afford to have someone that is slow and needs to be taught slowing down a crew. Plus I find that they are taught the "right" way when things are slower. :cool:
     
  3. Expert Lawns

    Expert Lawns LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,660

    This is really starting to worry me. I'm getting quite a few calls, and don't want to get in over my head. Please, any advice would help. I sure don't want to turn anyone down, after all, this is why we do so much advertising.

    Paponte: I know of a few guys I could hire last minute with some experience and that are dependable. Thanks for the feedback.
     
  4. adrianvbarrera

    adrianvbarrera LawnSite Member
    Posts: 163

    This is what I have done with my construction company in the past. What do you guys think... will it work for a LCO?

    Assuming that I am about to reach my limit on the number of jobs that I can do quality work considering the amount of equipment and man power that I have. If you don't know this number then you might be in deep $h1T. I would start upping my prices on an increasing sliding scale so that I would start getting less customers at higher prices. Most of the time you will know at what prices your customers are biting. Thus you can determine this sliding scale. If you find out that some of these new customers are not what you wanted....you might call some of the customers that you quoted high and inform them of a NEW SPECIAL you are running.

    Does anyone see why this might not work in LCO?

    It works considerably well in the construction industry which I have 6 years experience in. Sometimes you bid for projects 1 to 11/2 years in advance and they do not tell you that you have been awarded the project until like a month or so before it starts.




    Adrian
     
  5. Expert Lawns

    Expert Lawns LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,660

    so basically you're raising the ceiling right? getting rid of the $25 accounts and taking on the $40 accounts. This is what i got out of it. doing what you have time for and maximizing the profit. if this is correct, i think it would work. BUT i'd rather not get rid of any accounts if all possible and go for the expansion.
     
  6. adrianvbarrera

    adrianvbarrera LawnSite Member
    Posts: 163

    Going for expansion is fine and actually would be optimal BUT due to limited resources such as equipment, labor, time etc you at one point or another must choose your accounts wisely and that would be the higher paying ones.

    In terms of when you should buy....buy when you need it. If you buy anticipating growth and you don't grow you will have valuable resources just sitting there depreciating.
    Things should be tight right before you experience an expansion...if they are not then you are over purchasing resources.

    My Other Contracting firm started doing $1000 projects and rapidly grew to doing $500k projects. Everytime we were experiencing growth we felt a pinch with what we had.
    Now make sure your numbers work....just because you need more machines and manpower does NOT mean that your business is actually ready for them. Just because the new equipment/guy will help do more work it does not mean that it will bring in more profit.

    Adrian
     
  7. Arc Burn

    Arc Burn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 67

    Not to be nosey and you don't have to answer but how's your credit?what i mean is if you wait untill you know for sure you can get all this work,will you be able to purchase or finance the equipment needed on short notice.I know of a few guys who drummed up all sorts of bisuness only to find they could not get the equipment needed!A bad plan gone worse.
     
  8. Clay

    Clay LawnSite Member
    Posts: 236

    If you have labor in waiting, you should probably focus on maximizing your equipment... As a sole operator, I always try to have two of everything. If something breaks, simply use the other, or if you want to have some help, you have the equipment...

    If that is your only Z, what happens when it goes down at a busy time? I would suggest looking at the Hustler super walk behind with your favorite sulky as a backup... which could be as productive (or more so) than your Z...

    I believe in taking your business as far as you can with the best equipment before adding labor...

    Good Luck, Clay
     
  9. lawnagent

    lawnagent LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 529

    Assuming you have good credit, why not keep taking on the yards as you can. Then when you get to the point that you don't feel comfortable with only your mower you have now, buy one then. Maybe you will keep getting them afterward. If you have good credit you should not be out much time, apply today and pickup in the afternoon or next morning.
     
  10. LANDGUARD

    LANDGUARD LawnSite Member
    Posts: 73

    Definetly hold off on the equipment until you need it. Get the very best at that time(try to set aside a couple of hundred bucks every week as though you are paying mower payments and labor). When you are at max capacity doing the work by yourself, or if your properties become dangerous (slopes near water) then get the extra labor. I would keep up the expansion but try to raise the price so that you are starting to pick up the choice properties.
     

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