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Lawn Care as a Business Only

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by dsmrolla06, Dec 7, 2005.

  1. dsmrolla06

    dsmrolla06 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 305

    I dont want to be out in the field mowing. I dont really care to much to be an expert on lawn care either. I sure dont want to only be in lawn care the rest of my life....

    Im sure theres others on here that feel the same way also. I want to turn this into business that can actually run like a business... My goal is to bring my company to the point where im just the owner, not the owner/manager/salesmen/operator/customer service department...
    No i dont have the experience on lawn care like majority, well many, of you do, but i dont feel that is needed to own a company. I can hire people to know the ins and outs, and be the experts right? One quote i like is that "you are paid by what you do," at least thats somewhat how it goes. It means you shouldnt waste your time doing things that arent making you the most profit. For example say im a real estate agent. Whats going to be most profitable, in the long run, is going to be prospecting, and following up leads. Well why would you then take your time to type up a document that a secretary could do? If your doing a secretary's job, your going to be getting paid like one...

    What im trying to say i guess is that if im out doing the lawn mowing, or im the one having to manage all of the crew, thats how im going to be getting paid. I wont have the time to invest in other more profitable areas. As i said i dont want lawn care to be the pinnacle of my career, rather just another aspect of it.

    Sorry for the long post, maybe some will follow me on this. Suggest and comment away, even flame if you feel you must:waving:
  2. Jpocket

    Jpocket LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,278

    Your at a disavantage because you have to hire people who know the things you don't. Your gonna have much more overhead because you want to sit back and collect. IMO that put a big strain on a smaller LCO, but for a big company what you are trying to do is better.

    You may find yourself operating with no cash flow or on credit during the first few months of the year, because your paying for labor you haven't been paid for yourself.
  3. Thib

    Thib LawnSite Member
    Posts: 7

    If you don't have the experience how will you know if your employees have experience that they need. just my 2 cents
  4. MacLawnCo

    MacLawnCo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,847

    If this is your ultimate goal, then yes it is certainly doable. Infact, anything is atainable; it just depends on how hard you are willing to work for it.

    I would not look to this industry for such a business however. It has many downfalls that make it more challenging to suceed. There are more attractive ventures out there, you just need to look for them.
  5. The Cowboy

    The Cowboy LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 617

    It looks like you are wanting to do something for nothing. Lawncare is not your business then. Lawncare is a tough business to be in, profits are low, and if you don't learn the ins and outs by doing, you will have no idea if the crew is either, unless you hire a good foreman. And that costs money, which you may not have if you did not build up a capital investment through your own labor. I would study a bit, try to understand some of the science behind turf management, and get some practice. If you do not want to do the manual work, hire experienced help and have them teach you what to do right. How are you going to know how to bid a job if you have no idea what it takes timewise or otherwise?
    A good friend bought a franchise of Naturalawn of America 2 years ago. He expected what you expected, to have it easy, but now he is learning that sometimes the owner will have to be the grunt worker as well. At least during the busy season. My friend came from a business management position at Dean Foods, but lucky for him he had a background in agricultural science to pull him through areas where management could not.
    Just My 2 cents. Any man may make it in this industry, but the best are those who have a passion for it.
  6. dsmrolla06

    dsmrolla06 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 305

    Its not that i know nothing about the industry, ive done some commercial mowing for a year, and have a decent idea about how long estimates will take. Im looking to hire a lead foreman that will be doing the estimating. He may not be doing it right of the bat, but it can be worked up to. I didnt say this was going to happen over nite, it wont. But it can be built up. The foreman i plan on paying commision, or % of net profit. This is going to incourage him to have a part in estimating, as he will benefit from correct estimating. From my position, i will be supplying the foreman with the equipment and the advertising needed to succeed. He will in essence be the business, however with low cost. Around here theres tons of guys that are more experienced than me, maybe someone thats looking to start their own but lack the capital. I have that capital. I see myself more as an investor and an entrepreneur than a lawncare owner/operator.
  7. rbriggs

    rbriggs LawnSite Member
    Posts: 106

    I don't think dsmrolla is out of line here. Yes, his overhead will be more because he will have to hire key people and concentrate on managing them. I don't think he is talking about "wanting to do something for nothing." Working ON your business, and not IN your business is a wise decision to make. Not an easy one however. Depending on how much you want to grow, it will be necessary for many of you at some point to come to this realization.
    If you look at LawnUSA or some of the other franchises, that is what they are teaching you to do.
    My opinion is that it is doable.
  8. dsmrolla06

    dsmrolla06 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 305

    Well im glad someone sees my point of view. It may be a couple years where i get to the point where im not spending a whole lot of time devoted to this company. At the start that is definately not possible, but i think it is possible to start out with someone doing all of the labor. If you go to any large sized corporation, say one that sells some sort of product. The CEO's of the company arent going to know everything about that product, from the R&D to the distribution. They are getting paid to make decisions. I want to go this route, not because i hate doing the work, but because i want time. Time is invaluable, and is what is going to make your business(es) grow. If you dont have this, you will only stay at your current size. I look to take on new investments and challenges, but wont if i dont have the time.
  9. dsmrolla06

    dsmrolla06 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 305

    I also want to comment about failing in this industry. I know there is a good chance that this business will fail. So i will try again, maybe in this industry, maybe not. only 20% of businesses survive after their first 5 years. Mine may be one of them, of course odds are against me like everyone else here.

    And just because i dont have experience doesnt mean i wont be able to tell if someone else does... Just because someone in a factory cant weld, does that mean it makes them unqualified to hire someone else that can? If this was the case, nobody would ever be able to hire anyone. A business owner cant be cavelier in his business. At somepoint you have to accept the fact that, even though you believe that noone can do anything better than you, you must find other people to do the work for you. I guess i just cant stress enough how much time matters in business.

    Anyways sorry for rambling, carry on.
  10. walker-talker

    walker-talker LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 4,771

    Many years ago I was able to sit in a seminar with the guy that started Residence Inn. This was something like 20 years ago and still remember a few of his words. "I knew absolutely nothing about this business, but what I do know is people". Like Mac said, this is a tough industry for "owner absenteeism". I too am favor of the business model of working on your business and not in your business, but I also don't feel I could ever remove myself from field work 100%. I can see myself dealing with employees, estimating, office work, quality checks, equimpent maintenance, dealing with complaints and so forth.

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