Question for the larger companies

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by JimLewis, Mar 27, 2001.

  1. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,841

    We are growing again this year and busy as heck. We're getting to the point where I am begining to wonder if I should start training my foreman to do estimates for me. Until this point I've done most all of the estimating myself. I will let employees give a quote for lawn care if they get stopped by a next door neighbor or something. But other than that, I've been doing it all. And I like doing it. But this time of year I some times get swamped and don't always have the time to give an estimate to everyone who calls and handle all of my other duties too.

    So I am wondering if it's better to just answer the important bids and refer the smaller jobs to another company - or would it be better to take my foreman out of his duties (working and overseeing our big jobs) and dedicate more of his time to giving estimates?

    FYI, just to give you an idea of our size; at this time we have 7 employees. We do all phases of landscaping. We have about 140 lawn care accounts that two crews handle and the other guys just do installs or side jobs.
  2. Green Finger

    Green Finger LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 839

    Congradulations in your growth. If you hire another guy, hire him as a foreman to do the work(run another crew). Whatever you do, you should try to do all the estimates.
    Have your wife, brother, son do them, keep it in the family. If you don't have those avenues. Hire a person that is totally seperate from the business. (preferrable a college student or an older woman) Make that person report to you only. Believe me if you train them right they can be a great asset.

    Never have the same person that does the work, do the estimates. You don't want the makings of a monster. By you doing the estimates it will allow your schedule to be flexible. You can still inspect the work as it is completed. Also it allows you meet the customers. But don't have your work forman doing estimates.
  3. Freetime

    Freetime LawnSite Member
    Posts: 112

    I think it was you that told me in a post two Years ago that you just have to let someone else take care of it some times. If your Forman knows how to estimate let him go for it just check the bid before final approval. Maybe split the work load and you do the more complex (5-10 day jobs) landscape bids and have your Forman do the lower end faster (one or two day less money) bid.

    Sometimes more work is just that ( more work =more expense=more payout=more paper work=more taxes=more money that does not go to the bank.

    Mo,mo,mo, yo self quickly to de bank!
  4. kutnkru

    kutnkru LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,662

    My uncle who retired from the lawn care biz back in 1988 said this about customers:

    If they jump at the estimate - your too low,
    If they slam the door in your face - your too high,
    If they want to haggle price - your in the ballpark.

    Jim if you are getting that much work thats great, but I would consider raising the price. I would definitely get them up, because you have your name established in the market. Now I would say that its time to get what your quality conscious, service oriented talents are worth.

    As for pulling your Foreman?? I would nix this idea ASAP. His/her talents are out in the field, thats what they are paid for, and what they do well (otherwise you wouldnt have them in that position:)).

    If you have that many employees to keep busy, I would definitely take after what you love to do and thats keep your company busy. If you are having a time conflict consider hireing a temp employee from the agency so that you can keep things afloat.

    I would also think that by slowing things down with the price hike that it will put you in a position to critique better which jobs you want and which you dont. Believe me when I tell you, if you raise the prices during the busy season $3-5000 and they REALLY want you to do the work they will pay.

    If they dont pay thats okay too, because you are booked into summer anyhow. people need to understand that if you want primetime services you have to pay for them. Otherwise let us schedule them later in the season.

    Hope this helps.
  5. cutntrim

    cutntrim LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 474

    You should probably consider other areas where you might be able to have an employee replace you, before choosing to have someone else give out quotes. This is probably the last task that I would assign an employee, and only after knowing that I'd used them to their fullest potential in all other areas of responsibility. If you look, you'll probably find that there are some other tasks that you could have an employee perform in your place, and that will free up more of your time to price the work the way you feel it should be.
  6. Majestic

    Majestic LawnSite Member
    Posts: 42

    I agree cutntrim.Look at where you are spending most of your time.Maintenance,office,at the jobsite,etc.Hire an office mgr,a maintenance man,an on site foreman,whatever.This will free up some of your time to place the bids.And remember when your already that busy prices go up,you dont need them per say,you can survive without a job if you dont get it.Work to live dont live to work

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