New solos take it slow

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by burns60, Jul 24, 2005.

  1. burns60

    burns60 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 291

    I don't really know where to turn. I have over booked myself, and realize it now. My committments have me stretched and stressed out. I now realize that I have too many yards. My Grandsons have visited me the past few weeks and I have not had very much time with them. I have a nagging health issue that I don't have time to have checked out. (sinus problem from all of the grass and leaves and dust I think) A death in my family that would require about 3 days off to visit and go to see the kin. I took several more jobs this year because I had several accounts that are for sale and have not sold. I am not complaining, because I have been blessed with good business and weather thus far. What I am trying to say to some of you that may just be starting out is, go slow with the growth of your business, and don't get ahead of yourself. The money is good, but not worth giving up so many things that are dear to you.
     
  2. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    I've been on both sides of that.
    Been over booked and been under booked.
    Matter of fact, I just met with a sophmore owner today with the same problems.

    There are several good options to your situation, but at this point I'm not sure if you want to hear them. (?)
     
  3. Mo Green

    Mo Green LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,487

    I'm real close to the point of being stretched a little to thin right now. It's not really where I want to be, but it seems as though it is either feast or famine.
     
  4. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,112

    You have to learn to say no to potential money and that is one of the most difficult things you have to learn to do in this biz.You always think you can squeeze in one more job.
    And it dosent help when they practicly beg you to do the work for them either.So drop the ones that don't pay well and raise your rate on the rest that will thin um out quick.
    Unless your stuck in a contract with all.If not drop the ones you don't have an agreement in wrighting with...with notice of two weeks. OR you could sub out work to others or hire some help or give some jobs to a new person just starting out.
     
  5. YardPro

    YardPro LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,563

    that's why you need employees.
     
  6. burns60

    burns60 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 291

    I have received, already, some supporting advice from you fellow LCOs. Thanks for the advice and support.

    I would certainly welcome anymore ideas. I guess I know the answer, but am afraid to take that next step with this business, which started as a retirement supplement and something to do to keep me occupied.

    What I am leaning toward is downsizing for sure for next year. Then I see the potential and I think about going ahead and growing. Anyone been at this crossroad, and what made your decision as to which way to go?

    Thanks
     
  7. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,372


    I tried to downsize this year.

    The way I went about it was to raise my clients that I wanted to keep, 10-25% for the month.

    The ones I didn't want to keep I raised 30-50% for the month.

    I lost 1 account, due to the guy selling the business, the new owner has his son doing it.

    I ended up picking up 4 more accounts.

    What I'm trying to say is, unless you're already on the very high end for your market, raising your rates won't get people to drop if you're doing a good job.

    You'll just have to come out and tell people that you're not interested in doing their account anymore, which is hard to do.

    I hate telling people that, just incase you lose some other accounts, it's hard to go back to them.

    I tried raising the rates, figuring if I lost 10-20% of my accounts, and if I needed to pick some up down the road, I could go back to those accounts and see if they like the new guy or not and work something out with the pricing.

    I always feel if you just tell someone "no", then down the road how are they going to look at you if you come back to them and want to do the yard again?

    I used to have 6 "guys" working for me, had men and women.

    It's just not for me, I don't have the manager's attitude, I was always too nice, then would get frustrated and end up doing everything myself anyways while I told them to watch what I was doing.

    Anyways, I'd work on downsizing. Just talk with some of your customers that you like, tell them you're thinking about raising rates for next year $5 or 10%, however you charge for the accounts you're doing. See how they go for it. If they say "yeah, I'm sure that fuel is getting to you", you have a decent idea they're for it.

    If they say something like "man, you're already outrageous, my cousin's son was thinking about doing this", you'd probably not want to raise their rates.

    If you can get 1/2 your customers to increase their rates, then you can lose 2-3-4-5-6 accounts and you're not out too much money, on general terms of course.
     
  8. OnMyOwn

    OnMyOwn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 372

    Since 1992, I've ran solo, middle of the road and large. By far, I fully believe that in most circumstances, solo is better. What is the saying, run with the big dogs, or stay on the porch. I have "by far" made the most money when I ran solo and kept my overhead at next to nothing. The larger you grow the greater the client expectations, government intervention, employee issues and headaches.

    It is hard to penetrate a market that is as saturated as the lawn care industry. You are just another spoke in the wheel. I would recommend that you find your niche and run with it. Exploit your talents and pricing, whether residential, multi-family, or commercial mowing.

    Enjoy your business and operate it on your terms, not your client's terms.

    These are the only pearls of wisdom I have concerning this matter.

    Good Luck with your decision.
     
  9. Scotts' Yard Care

    Scotts' Yard Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 343

    It sounds like you're temporarily overwhelmed by unusual circumstances. Could you get larger equipment and possibly some temp help to get you though this rocky period and then when things get back to normal return to your standard routine?
     
  10. S man

    S man LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,562

    Actually I could use a few more lawns.
     

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