Separate names with a comma.
Missed the live Ask the Expert event?
Not to worry. Check out the archived thread of the Q&A with Ken Hutcheson, President of U.S. Lawns, and the LawnSite community in the Franchising forum .
Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by PROCUT1, Feb 18, 2011.
this must be the fastest growng thread
Interesting story, and another tale of what not to do!
If you are saving money in a savings account, that is banking your cash. If you are making deposits just to write checks that is disbursement.
We should never rely on a single bank or a single source of credit.
Agreeing to a delayed payment for services should not be done unless we can afford to bankroll the project, and then only if there is additional profit for the consideration.
Expenses must be kept in line. Just because you are doing a (relatively) higher rate of gross revenue is not a reason to stop balancing revenue against expenses, in fact it is more reason to be exact.
I disagree with you Procut, I think you did everything wrong, again. I think that you have shown the potential to be successful, but you fooled yourself into thinking that potential is realization. As you said, the line of credit was to expand and grow and you used it for operational expenses, two completely different things. If you had kept things in balance you would not be telling us this story.
Ill fast forward a bit and spoil the ending. It doesnt end with me going out of business and doesnt end in tragedy. But it was a period of time that life was not fun at all.
Im doing fine now. So its not suicide tale.
So I was in a hell of a position. I agree with what some say that its not good to rely on credit. But I disagree in the manner which I used it.
Other than one truck, the one I drove. I had stopped financing anything. And this was the smartest move I could have made.
All of my equipment I paid cash for. All of my trucks, trailers, everything.
I ran and run somewhat older trucks. But they are maintained, and we can fix them in house. They get the job done just the same as the new trucks I had when I was in the lawn business. Minus the 6-700 payments every month.
Plenty of guys around here would bust my chops about my older trucks while they had their new shiny F-550s.
This is part of my story.
I was in a hell of a position.
Imagine the position I would have been in if I had truck and equipment payments to make.
I was in bad shape, but the one thing I didnt have to worry about was losing any of my trucks or equipment. I may not have had the gas to fill them, lol, but I didnt have to worry about anyone taking them in the middle of the night.
I used the credit line for a specific purpose which was to finance the direct job costs. Not to buy new equipment, or get a bigger shop...etc
I feel that was appropriate....Even though it was a lot of money, I dont feel like it was out of control or the wrong way to go about it.
I was using a tool for exactly what it was intended for.
This 'credit line' issue wasnt my only problem. I started digging out of that. Figured a way out of that mess, because at that point, I was still swamped with work. I just had to figure out how to get it done with no money.
Thats where customers who agreed to MY payment terms came into play. I was able to move some jobs around. Get some deposits. And start working again.
I still had everybody and their mother after me for money. But at least I was able to get moving again, and cover basic needs.
So I went from being so busy, that I could barely keep up with the work and needed financing to keep the material flowing. To now, still being busy, having to be more strict with my payment terms, but having a workflow.
I was still in a bad position, because bills had piled up really fast, and by that point with triple interest rates, a bank that wanted to confiscate all my deposits, and poor vendor relationships, it wasnt something that just getting paid a little quicker would solve.
But as long as I had work, and could get it done.....I wasnt jumping off a bridge...
My credit that I worked so hard to protect and I was so proud of, was at this point in a couple of months in the toilet. But even that could be fixed.
Fortunately with the type of work I was doing, I didnt have to mess with "lowballers'' or worry about working for pennies. It was still profitable.
But this was only the start of my couple of years of hell.
Now we start the chapter of.........
Just when youre digging out.....The work comes to a screeching halt.
How do you lose 80% of your business practically overnight.
The credit thing sucked....The next chapter is where it really started to suck
You should just forget lawn care, sealcoating, etc. and write a book about everything!
Im thinking about selling hot dogs
Procut1, money needs to be saved.
If you are going into debt to operate then you are loosing money.
This is called going into the red. If this is happening then you are working too cheap, or you are being careless with your finances. This months revenue pays for next months expenses, and then you continue managing in advance until you are operating this year on last years revenue.
Yeah, if you were loosing money when you were working all over the place, it stands to reason you would totally loose it all when business slows down.
Many a business has gone down the tubes operating on tomorrow's revenue.
I was not a big fan of your last thread, but I read it and thought to myself, "How did he not know all this from the start". This is an old story that has been played out millions of times.
Well here we are again, and you are still saying that you do not want to work for pennies.
The truth is you need to work for pennies, count them and distribute them carefully, and plan your money management months in advance.
You said that a $150. residential job was not worth your time. You should be able to make a percentage profit on any job, regardless if it is a $150. or 150,000. And if you had taken the little jobs, you could count on repeat business year after year. The bigger jobs, will not just call you and say we need your services again. The bigger customers will go out and get five new estimates.
Years ago Punt and others told you repeatedly that you need a business plan to operate a business. And you even agreed with them, but now you are saying that the plan was to borrow so that you could stay in business, and you still think that was a good plan?
There are business accounting classes available at all community colleges. There are great examples of how to write a business plan on the SBA web page. So many have said that this and part 1, were such good threads, and they are for learning what not to do.
For all who do not yet know, learn business planning and strategy, learn accounting, and put your money in the bank and make it a different bank from the one that loans you money.
if you live in your parents basement and mow 50 lawns a week could you please refrain from posting your take on saving money in your little piggy.it is messing up the flow of a great read.