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Steve's Place

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by steveiiturf, Nov 6, 2013.

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Whats Holding You Back From Growing Your Business?

Poll closed Nov 27, 2013.
  1. Lack of Good Labor

    3 vote(s)
    20.0%
  2. Not Enough Sales

    5 vote(s)
    33.3%
  3. Cash Flow

    4 vote(s)
    26.7%
  4. No Direction or Plan

    1 vote(s)
    6.7%
  5. No Key Support Staff

    2 vote(s)
    13.3%
  1. steveiiturf

    steveiiturf LawnSite Member
    Posts: 50

    Efficiency and systems are a great place to put your energy into. Whats nice about creating systems is that they will pay dividends throughout the year and also help your employees know what is expected of them. If you have any friendly competitors in your area you can always ask them what they are doing in those areas. They might just be willing to share some ideas with you.
     
  2. Armsden&Son

    Armsden&Son LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,357

    Thanks Steve....

    I actually LOVE to read... voraciously I might add.... I will definitely check out Gitomer...

    It's funny, my whole life people have told me that I would be a great salesman... My response was always that I am too honest and I would never be able to sell something that I couldn't get behind (Think used car salesman)

    But selling myself, my business, my services..... It's a whole other ballgame. I am more passionate about landscaping/lawn care than anything in the world. It's actually a matter of having to tone it down for me rather than pump it up like with most guys....

    Do you find that this is the same with you? If you don't mind my asking, and without giving away the farm, can you let us in on a few things that you discuss with your sales mentor?
     
  3. Armsden&Son

    Armsden&Son LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,357

    Steve!

    Just thought I would reach out... My name is Shindaiwa T242 but my friends call me Shindy for short.... My cousin, Scag SWZU told me about you... Told me you were a great guy and also an advocate for our kind. I know that you have mostly worked with mowers in the past but would you consider working with us string trimmers as well in the future? I, I won't be able to pay you as much as my cousin but I really think it's important that our story gets told as well. In the world of preventative maintenance, the mowers take all the spotlight and people forget about us trimmers all the time... You should see my roommate! Mr. Redmax.... This poor guy has been in the trailer since 1999 and he told me he only had ONE visit to the doc in all that time! Every now and again someone will pull him off his rack and he's so mad and grumpy that he will make them wait 5 minutes before he starts! Anyway, thanks for your help and keep up the good work..... All of us guys back here in the trailer are counting on you!
     
  4. steveiiturf

    steveiiturf LawnSite Member
    Posts: 50

    Hey Amsden, great post!! I see you read my Turf article this month. Maybe we should get the trucks point of view as well:)
     
  5. steveiiturf

    steveiiturf LawnSite Member
    Posts: 50

    Yes, the best thing I learned from him was to just be myself when selling. Don't try to be a slick salesman. Also to know where you are year to date, month to date and week to date with your sales numbers. This is important because if you have a sales goal then you always know the score and where you need to be on a daily basis.
     
  6. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,659

    What I find with myself at least is if I'm constantly tracking and focusing on my sales goals, I find it hard to be myself if I'm behind on my weekly goals, I feel pressured to "Make something happen"
     
  7. steveiiturf

    steveiiturf LawnSite Member
    Posts: 50

    How is everybody doing with sales so far this year? Being in the commercial maintenance market we are still waiting on some large contracts to commit for the upcoming season. I think a lot of the procrastination is due to the very snowy winter we had in my part of the country (Cleveland). Some very large commercial clients have still not decided on who they are going to go with this year. This is good because we still have a lot of possible new work but it is also bad because we don't know all of what we are going to have this year in terms of new contracts. How are things in your markets?
     
  8. JContracting

    JContracting LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,878

    Slow. It's still cold here, snowed an inch today but melted off especially with the help of salt, but we're heading to the single digits tonight with the potential for more snow Thursday night. Possibly the light at the end of the tunnel with 40s on Fri & Sat and mid 50s forecast for Sunday.

    I've sent off some commercial bids that wanted them relatively in March, others are waiting until early/mid April for a due date. I've also began sending renewal contracts out but I've been a little hesitant because it's been so cold and people. I just sent out an email with some minor edits to my designer for the EDDM postcards I'll have for residential maintenance & installs. Planning to have them sent out as soon as the snowpack is just about gone and the temps warm up. The main focus (call to actions) are towards maintenance, I plan to do another round of EDDM mid May focusing on residential installs.
     
  9. steveiiturf

    steveiiturf LawnSite Member
    Posts: 50

    I wrote an article for Turf about finding and retaining top notch employees you can read it here:
    http://www.turfmagazine.com/article-10567.aspx
    How are you all doing with finding good employees? I put some ideas out there in my article, what are some ideas you all have for finding and retaining great employees?
     
  10. Armsden&Son

    Armsden&Son LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,357

    Hello Steve!

    And a happy Spring to you sir!

    I thought the article was great. As you know, I am currently solo but employees are part of my business plan and model and I hope to start hiring within the next 2 years.

    One of the things that you touched on that I think is so important is job descriptions. And funny enough, Jarod from ETW has mentioned this in his thread at some point as well. Not only does it help to give the employee a specific vision or set of guidelines for what they need to be doing but it creates accountability as well. Having clear cut job descriptions can really help cut down on finger pointing when something goes wrong or isn't being executed properly.

    Positive reinforcement is paramount. I have had managers in the past that didn't know the meaning of the phrase and it really cost them. It cost them not only employees, but also getting 100% out of their employees. Because if a worker is not feeling appreciated, it's not always the case that they can just up and quit. People have families, mortgages, etc. Even worse than an employee leaving is that same employee staying, but only giving you 50-70 percent of their efforts.

    Gift cards, pats on the back, flex time, employee of the month, company truck to take home, stock options, these are all great ways to show that you not only think they are doing a great job but value their commitment to the company. Because as you said, lets' face it.... our industry is not the ultimate destination for the younger generation of working Americans.

    Thanks so much for the article and the thoughts Steve. I was glad when I read it because I am luckily in the position to be ahead of the curve. Some guys are thrust into hiring employees because all of the sudden the phone is ringing off the hook. They never even thought about employees they just know that they need them, and they need them NOW!

    So for me, the most important thing I can do for now is to have a PLAN in place so when I do hire those first couple guys I can have systems in place to keep them long term. (That is, if they know which end of the rake to use. LOL)
     

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