Single owners

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by rcreech, Aug 6, 2007.

  1. rcreech

    rcreech Sponsor
    Male, from OHIO
    Posts: 6,072

    I am to the place with my business that I am get overwhelmed at times being a 1 man show (although my Dad does help me from time to time). If I can do a good job of marketing and advertising this winter and in early spring..hopefully my Dad can join me full time next year.

    I am just curios to how many of you one here are 1 man shows.

    And for you guys that started out as 1 man shows and grew, are you glad your grew your business, or do you wish you would have stayed smaller?

    Just dealing with trying to get help on Saturday's I can see where people are not dependable. They say they will show up and they don't.

    I also heard that the paperwork is a nightmare...taxes, SS, workman's comp etc.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. carcrz

    carcrz LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,085

    I'm still in my prime, so I enjoy doing this stuff by myself. I could see here in about 10 years though hiring some employees once again. Like you said, the costs & headaches can be quite a burden. For me, I guess I just got tired of excuses & most of all, got tired of writing checks that I knew I could keep to myself w/ a few more hours & a few less headache clients. Overall, I am very satisfied w/ my move.
     
  3. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,353

    I am a one man show. I like it fine. It can be lonely--but once you are OK with that it, works. Lucky my wife does most of the books. I send out the bills.

    Remember you can always outsource certain aspects--like your bookkeeping. You can let a mailing firm send out brochures and Etc to generate leads, at the proper time of year. You can have a sweet voice at an answering service answer your phones.
     
  4. scweedman

    scweedman LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 500

    I was a one man show hired first full time this year before i just used summer
    help. My full timer quite after 6 months and a raise. So i am back to summer
    help. Summer help has its down side usually young and they only work may
    to august. If you and your dad work well together thats great. Finding good
    help to me is the greatest problem for most owners. Its hard to stay small
    but its hard to find help to grow. Then you grow and you don't have the
    help you are screwed.
     
  5. ampeg76

    ampeg76 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 297

    first, weedman, nice fairtax linky, i've been reading about this and was surprised to see it in your sig:)


    i'm solo also, i dread the day i have to hire help
     
  6. Rtom45

    Rtom45 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 456

    So what do you solo guys do if you get hurt? I had a buddy who had to work hurt 'cause he had no backup. If he was hurt bad enough that he couldn't work he might have lost his business.
     
  7. rcreech

    rcreech Sponsor
    Male, from OHIO
    Posts: 6,072

    I have really never thought about it....

    If you think about it though, it's really no different then a larger buisness that may have five employees. If one of their people get hurt they are going to be behind also....and just leaves them to get more help.

    If I got hurt, then I would do just as any business and hire help.

    I have several friends my age that farm and are very familiar with using pesticides. I am sure they would help me in a pinch as we help each other all the time. A little training and I could turn them loose!
     
  8. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Posts: 5,860

    I started with one truck, one lawn, and me. No mowing - just lawn & tree/shrub app's. My wife (a bonded bookkeeper) did the books once a week, as she had a full-time job. Ended up with just over 200 customers the end of the first year (1990). Made a profit too. 2nd year, I hired a part-timer (Des Moines firefighter), and I started subcontracting mowing. 3rd year I hired a full-time guy. 4th year there were three of us. 5th & 6th years there were four of us. By 2000, there were eight full-time applicators and 3000 accounts. Currently, we still run eight full-time applicators doing just over 3000 accounts. 3 mowing crews mow (about 180 accounts), and I still use the same mowing subcontractor. For the past several years, pretty much all I do is run estimates, do service calls, as well as the tree/shrub applications. Three girls in the office (2 part-time & one full-time..my wife). In the early years, I often racked up as many as 88 hours some weeks. Now the most is around 65 hours (most weeks = 45 to 55 hours a week). Note: It helped that I had several years of previous experience with ChemLawn (not TruGreen), and have a wife that really knows the books. We raise our prices when appropriate, and we drop unwanted customers when necessary. The use of ride-on equipment has also helped keep our full-time applicators to eight. Just got July's production numbers -- my best PG Ultra applicator has brought in $74,000 since late March.

    My reason for wanting to grow the business is because there will become a time when I will nolonger be able to physically do what I currently can do. Also, what if I get injured? Anyway, we have no long-term debt. We now own four properties (2 commercial & two residential) which are also paid off. Please do not think I'm trying to brag, I'm just trying to let you know "my story".

    My advice: Go for it, cuz if you do a good job, you will grow. Take care man, and stay cool.
     
  9. rcreech

    rcreech Sponsor
    Male, from OHIO
    Posts: 6,072

    American,

    Sounds like you have a great business going!

    Right now I am a little over 200 residential accounts and have several nice commercials and a school which is a little over 11 acres. My avg residential is 25K.

    Looks like you have about 375 lawns per man. I must be weak as 200 keeps my very busy. I am thinking I may be able to add another 30 or 40 and that is about it.

    What size are most of your lawns? How many apps do you apply?

    My only concern with growing is hiring employees. I have heard horror stories from guys that have employees and just wonder if I should stay small so I don't have to worry about guys not showing up, doing bad work etc.

    As they say....nobody does it like we do!

    Do you have many headaches wity your guys?
     
  10. turf hokie

    turf hokie LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,744

    First year solo part time working for another company

    Second year 1 very part time part timer

    third year (went thru two full timers that could get to work on time among other things) so I stuck with the part timer and worked my butt off.

    year four got a second truck and hired a friend of mine to run it. (17 years experience and he helped me start a tree and shrub division) Ended up with so much work we hired a second full timer.

    We are just about averaging the numbers that american posted per man so far this year. We may put another truck out next year.

    The growth is a little to fast for me at times but it is hard to turn it down when it stares you in the face.

    Unlike American however, we still have some short term debt. That would be one downside to growing quickly.
     

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