I have a strange question...

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by topsites, Apr 1, 2007.

  1. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    In the first 2-3 years, did running your business push you to extreme limits, maybe even over the edge, and more than a few times?

    I'm just wondering, because it sure did it to me, and a lot.
    Things get better in time, I suppose, it's just bugging me, wondering how many other business owners feel the whole thing pushed them way harder than anything else ever did...

    I guess I just answered my own stupid question thou lol...
  2. Puller504

    Puller504 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 20

    What, specifically do you mean by "over the limits"? Physically, financially, emotionally, weather-related? Answer is usually some days YES! That's the joy of "being your own boss". Don

    TURFLORD LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 834

    Well, I used to have 6-8 employees and now I'm solo. Quality of life has gone up dramatically. So, to answer your guestion; Was I stressed out and overworked back in the day? Hell yeah, but not anymore.... maybe just a little.:)
  4. z_clark

    z_clark LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 369

    Owning a maturing business has been MUCH easier on me than owning a new business.

    Every year it gets easier. I have noticed the biggest change when going from year 3 to 4 (this year), and I assume it will continue to get easier.

    THE UPS As a maturing business we get much better advertising results because people are familiar with our name. We have much better employee retention as they are used to working for us. Most importantly: I have time to work on the business and not in it.

    THE DOWNS With a maturing business does come more customers thus more liability, more equipment to keep up with, more employees to keep up with....etc...
  5. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,342

    Stressed-------------everyday of every waking hour. When I started, it was just a way to make a few extra bucks on weekends. It soon grew to not being able to meet the demand. Then instead of going out and doing one or two easy jobs, I was taking vacation time from work to catch up my side business. The the hireing of employees, and all the related stress that go's with that headach. Then the need to take on more work to keep the employees busy, which leads to more growth and needing more equipment and then more employees. Its a vicious cycle, the more you do, the more visible you are and the more people that want your services. So, what do you do, continue to grow, or downsize to a more comfortable level that you can manage by yourself. We made the decision to continue to grow and hope to eventually get to the point where we just run the business and the employees work the business. The stress isnt as bad if you set yourself some reasonable goals and work toward reaching them. If you reach those goals sooner than you had planned, you breath a sigh of relief because you can then realize your business plan is working and you are headed down the right path and puff, the stress is gone.
  6. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 7,961

    We are at a transition place too. Running two crews to the max for mowing and have more installs than we can shake a stick at. We need to hire but have not had too much luck.

    Running a $800 ad in the Sunday paper today. I hope we find some good guys.

    I am setting up a work order system that is in real time with GPS as we speak.

    I hope all these things help us but they sure cut into the profits. It is kind of a leap of faith that we will be able to pay the new guys, and get the work too.

    I think with the steps we are taking now, will help us manage growth in the future, configuring QuickBooks properly, scheduling software, GPS fleet management, etc. While this is over kill for two trucks, I would rather spend the time and effort now.

    Is there stress, a little to say the least. I think the financial burden of setting up the 4th or 5th crew/truck will be much less than setting up the second and third.
  7. paponte

    paponte LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,366

    As a business owner you have to sit down and see what ares you are stressed in, and come up with systems to relieve that stress. I have "graduated" from busting my @ss, to running a business and and occasional truck or machine. Maintenance gets taken care of, have a great construction foreman, and am now working on a full time office staff.

    Office work is now my biggest "stress" area that I need to eliminate. Anything that eliminates my involvement is stress relief to me. Being the "go to" person is another stress. Pay more and hire more competent employees. IF between everyone in the company they cannot intelligently solve a problem, ten and only then will I get a phone call. I hire positions... not people.

    We are landscape contractors, but first we are business men. Run your company as a true business, and it will get easier. :)
  8. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Yeah, that's cool, I'm ok today for the most part, but the first few years were decidedly rough, it does seem to get a little better every year.

    As for how challenged, certainly in most ways lol, thou the physical part I felt was the most fun to overcome, the financial one was interesting to say the least, emotionally (or maybe I should say mentally) is where I feel like I lost several pieces of myself somewhere... I can't really say if finances were harder than the mental part, but it affected my mood for some time.

    A lot of it had to do with accepting how things are in this world, to come to grips with the terms that most folks out there will take you for a ride if you even remotely allow it (even if you don't want that), and I'm not getting into it at this time, but that's the gist of what I felt really pushed me, the dog-eat-dog aspect of it all and how it never ends lol, thou with a consistently thick skin things do improve.

    It's all good thou, not to say I'm glad to hear you guys had to deal with this, but it feels better knowing I'm not the only one.
    Which, basically, I guess I could've figured as much out by myself heheh.

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