Keeping employees busy

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by redbuckcavs, Nov 24, 2007.

  1. redbuckcavs

    redbuckcavs LawnSite Member
    from indiana
    Posts: 135

    I know this may be an Off - Topic thread , but I have to find more work for my employees to prevent them from looking for different employment. I own a lawn care company (fert & Squirt only) with 700 customers. Looking back on this past year we lost about 1.5 days a week doing absolutley nothing (unbillable) ---Too windy one day, too dry the next week, now it rains every day and soon winter will be here. I know there are add on services (mowing, cutter cleaning, Lighting) however I want to do something that has NO bearing on the weather conditions.
    I thought about talking to a Factory to see if we can subtract some of thier work. One example would be if they need 10000 pieces run every month we could do this on a " rainy day" and at the end of the month complete this order!!!!! This could save the factory Labor and keep my employees busy during inclement weather. Has any one on this board tried something similar to this ?
  2. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,231

    700 customers is enough for one and a half employees, IMHO. I learned at Tru Green. Then and now I don't stop for anything. Wind, rain, heat, or cold and work most all Saturdays. Have everybody come in on rainy days. Change oil, do sales work, call past due accounts or do fertilizer-only and grub control on rainy days, (using hose). Outside work has to take place in outside weather--accept what you cannot change.
  3. MStine315

    MStine315 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 789

    I am thinking the same thing, Riggle. What about deep root feeding trees, aeration. Think of things you can sell to your existing customer base than will benefit them and can be done in inclement weather. The other thing Riggle touched on is, this is an outdoor business. Make hay while the sun shines. There's no reason your guys can't get their hours in in say, 4 days. So work longer on weekday hours, then Saturdays if need be. We have driven home in the dark and filled trucks by the lights of the shop on many occasions. I don't ask my guys to work weekends, but, believe me, if they need their hours, I don't have to ask them. I also do commercial work on Sundays, but again, would never ask anyone else to, except in times of extreme circumstance. As far as the factory work, to each his own. I have enough trouble keeping my own business organized, let alone a whole other off-shoot, lol. Seems like it would difficult, but again, to each his own.
  4. somo1

    somo1 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 152

    Have you thought about doing block leading. What is it? Block leading is going out and gathering information in neighborhoods to complete marketing data ex.(size of lawns,addresses,prices,etc.) Doing this in the bad weather will help you market to potential customers that will help you tighten your lawn routes. The more customers in one area the better. When you have all of this information compiled you can send out postcards to them with prices and saying that you treat these neighbors in their area. By doing this you get a response back stating that they want you to treat their lawn, this saves time and money from going out and doing estimates that may not amount to anything. If you go to subdivisions with the same size lots and houses, generally they will be the same price, except for lawns with alot of landscaping or a pool. The key to the game is to get tight routes, this saves money on driving expenses, which is your #1 expense. It also allows you to market to alot of customers with little expense. You may get a low response but it keeps your employees busy and gives you invaluble marketing information. If you price what it cost you to run one estimate this is a big money saver for the cost/customer ratio. Good luck. Oh by the way, put your customers to good use making your business grow, not someone elses.
  5. rcreech

    rcreech Sponsor
    Male, from OHIO
    Posts: 6,057

    Great idea....and I have heard of this as Real Green pushes it hard. It just scares me to give someone a price without measuring their lawn. There are too many "unknowns" in a lawn you have not physically walked on. Also the "estimated guess" of their lawn size may be way off.

    I have looked at lawns from the street and thought they were 10K lawns...but then the back yard was much larger then it looked and end up being 15-18K lawns. Sometimes it is hard to tell just doing a drive by!

    Just too risky IMO with fert prices the way there are.
  6. somo1

    somo1 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 152

    You don't just drive by and price a lawn. Measure a customer in the area or go up to the door like a salesman would. If the homeowner is not home measure their lawn, don't leave anything remember this is to build up your database. If they are home just politely ask if they would like an estimate if they don't go to the next house. Remember that the purpose of the block leading is to gather marketing data as quick as possible with minimal expense. You want to go to areas with similar size lots and homes, such as spec. subdivisions. Real Green is where I learned this and it works thats how Joe Kucik grew his Scotts Lawnservice to 9000 customers in 3 years. If you have LA3 software it helps to print of a block leading report so that you don't remeasure current customers. Good luck
  7. somo1

    somo1 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 152

    Remember that measuring a lawn is not rocket science, sure you want to get as close as possible. But everyone knows that you cannot be exact, lawns aren't square. The idea is to be as close as possible so that you don't over/under fertilize a lawn, it is also to condense your route and make as much money as you can without drive all over the place. If you have good employees that treat lawns well the size should only be a reference for billing and product ordering.
  8. MStine315

    MStine315 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 789

    More great ideas, guys. I know our little town has an ordinance against door to door sales without a permit. Just something to think about before you start knocking on doors. (I'm not trying to be the lawn police here! just fyi)
  9. humble1

    humble1 LawnSite Silver Member
    from MA
    Posts: 2,499

    Well can you get around the ordinance since you arent selling anything at that point, you are only measuring the lawn to send an estimate at a later date.
  10. MStine315

    MStine315 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 789

    I imagine that'd be ok. I was referring to knocking on the door. I'll have to ask our local gov. That's a good way to get around it. Actually Turfscape a few years ago had an awesome marketing idea that was very similar to this. (not to get the thread off track, but maybe this'll help redbuck) He did a reverse address search at and just entered the street, no house numbers and it'll give you the names of everyone on the street who is in the phone book. Then, measure the lawn and send them a personalized estimate with their name on it. They're more likely to open it if it's not addressed to "resident." I fooled around with it a little, but never had a chance to see how it reallly works. Great theory, though.

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