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I think I may go back to being solo.

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by exmarkking, Jun 30, 2013.

  1. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 16,996

    This is my plan B lol
  2. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,984

    Problem with this industry is that pricing does not make it easy to pay employees a living wage.

    There are too many other jobs out there that pay the same money, indoors, ac, heat, bathrooms, benefits, 1/10 the physical effort.

    The key is to find profitable work that your business can do in addition to the edge, trim, mow, and blow.
  3. matt spinniken

    matt spinniken LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 298

    Edge, Trim, Mow and Blow should be profitable for any company in my opinion. Learn your numbers and be completely honest with yourself while doing so, once you do you can price lawn cutting at a point where you know you can make money with employees. Have employees record everything they do, make up a sheet and have them fill out arrival and departure times and increase prices on lawns that take too long with employees. Use your recorded times to help your bidding skills for new lawns and to keep track of employees production.

    You can make good money in this business and many do....look at Jim Lewis, Earth Turf & Wood etc. I also recommend picking another niche service to compliment your mowing that can be profitable. Some of the better ons are fertilization / weed control and pest control. Also IMO, its best not to spread yourself to thin and try and do every service possible, you will make more money by learning to say no to more people.
  4. LindblomRJ

    LindblomRJ LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,570

    If you do end up with an ideal employee, they work for you a couple of seasons they soon become your competition. The other thing, an employee will never do as good a job as an owner, that's the nature of the beast.

    If you have employees your role changes a bit. You also have to be owner, manager, and foreman to unsure the work is done right and the quality of work meets expectations. Not only do you do quality control you also make sure there is production.

    Now, there is loads off appeal in running solo. The only thing I caution you on is having a contingency plan in place if you're sick or injured.
  5. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,351

    I cannot motivate myself to work with out the pain of losing money on employee wages to focus me to push to get anything done. If this was not to work out for me I think I would either hook up with a major company looking for a manager. Or I would make a move in to the golf course industry and set a goal to be a superintendent in 5 years or so. I already have a pesticide supervisors license in ornamental turf so getting the sister license for golf courses wouldn't be that hard. Looking back I have been a manager at every job iv ever had since I was 16 I am the employee I dream of finding one day but know first hand how rare I am.
  6. djagusch

    djagusch LawnSite Platinum Member
    from MN
    Posts: 4,231

    What's your population base for your employee pool?
    Posted via Mobile Device
  7. exmarkking

    exmarkking LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,012

    Hey guys,
    I'm the op and so far there have been some great posts. Keep them coming. I'm in the final stages of weeding out the lower end accounts to make it more manageable for the switch to solo. So far so good. I think my life will be simplified and ill have more of a life, and time to spend with my family. After running the numbers, yes I won't be making as much money but its really not that far off from what I can generate being solo. So it's a personal thing, you have to weigh out what's more important for YOUR life, and for me it was more time for my family and less stress. I'm lucky that I live in a good area for landscape companies. There are high end neighborhoods around every corner just 10 minutes from my house so if I ever wanted to give it a go again, I could always advertise and pick up more accounts and add a guy or two and be right back where I was before. My goal it to make close to the same amount of money that I was, but be able to offer higher quality and more personal relationship with my customers, and not have to work the huge amount of hours I was before. This will give me time to also explore other hobbies/interests that I haven't had Time to do.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  8. PLS-Tx

    PLS-Tx LawnSite Silver Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 2,385

    This is what I'm doing, except it's me and two guys.

    I have done it with me and three guys but I prefer me and two guys.

    If we only have small lawns to do in the afternoon I will let one of them go home early. Keeps them happy and payroll down.

    A while back our payroll was $1700 for one week. :dizzy: I don't plan to ever let that happen again nor to ever plan on being solo again.
  9. seabee24

    seabee24 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 619

    I would agree with this statement 100%. If you have the expectation of finding good guys and keeping them, expecting they will have a good life and stay with your company long term you have to be able to pay them over $15 per hour. Be honest, most of us could not support a family on less than $15 per hour. Why would you think your workers could? So what choice do you leave them? They have to leave or start their own. Where the problem comes in, we simply can't raise prides high enough to support that type of wage. That's not the only thing this industry can't afford. When was the last time you hired a guy and were able to give him 2 weeks orientation training? Many other industries this is common practice.

    I'm not saying you can't make it in this industry but your fighting a really tuff fight for multiple reasons.

    Each of these is a bad enough problem by itself, but together is almost nuts. Weather seriously impacts productions and profits, employees, fuel, working 8 out of 12 months, heat, manual labor,

    Heck even garbage men make more per hour, and by me they sit in the a/c truck and run a joy stick to pick up the cans. They are in a cab, and work 12 months per year.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  10. exmarkking

    exmarkking LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,012

    So by the very small percentage of companies that make it big time, would it be safe to say, if you want to earn a descent living, stay solo, whereas if you dream of running some huge big profit landscape company, maybe think of other industries that aren't seasonal, weather related?
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