Too much fear or nit-picking stifles progress.

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by mdvaden, Mar 11, 2007.

  1. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,944

    Last week, I was telling someone about another landscaper, who saw me dragging a $2 blue tarp with limbs, 12 years ago. Said I should have a worker so my tarp wouldn't get damaged :laugh:

    It's a friend...

    I'm not into paying an extra $500 per month or more to save my blue tarp that will last 2 months anyway.

    Same person, when we worked at a university campus landscape dept. together, washed shovels and dipped then in sand soaked with the old motor oil to make the shovels last longer. Ended up getting everyone doing it :laugh:

    Well, most shovels broke in 2 years anyway like before, but we lost all that time oiling them, got some oil film on stuff, got sand around the shop, and lost the room for the big can of oily sand. :laugh:

    Similarly, I've seen people measuret to rediculous precision, when high-dollar materials were not involved, only to loose much more labor cost than was saved. :)

    Some landscapers hurt their business, but being too afraid or cautious of lawsuits. In fact, the trampoline pit thread is what got me to posting this stuff. I'm not saying to avoid concern, but some landscapers get too paranoid about being sued. They take the fear from real legal hazards, and transfer those fears to non-existent hazards.

    Anyway, for any new guys on the block, be detailed about your work, and think things through, but don't micromanage everything, or let fear direct your growth.
  2. CkLandscapingOrlando

    CkLandscapingOrlando LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 652

    I'm with you on that.It's not always a legal thing.Some people just like the control of doing things their way.I use to work for a guy who would show up and change the whole program up just to feel like he was the man.If it did'nt put us back so many hours for nothing I would'nt have cared.
  3. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    I agree, for the most part fine-tuning to precision is for established (bored lol) businesses who've already turned a profit, as a way to finagle out another percent or so, but in and of itself fine-tuning really is a big waste of time.

    Fine tuning is for the Nascar driver who has a car does 203.74 mph's down the straights, but for the win he has to push something a little closer to the limit so as to squeeze 204.127 mph's out of it...

    Taking the above examples, if the business isn't turning enough profit or if the car won't do but 170 in the first place, then fine-tuning will not fix it. And in that sense in most cases fine-tuning is for the birds, at least for the first 3-5 years or so.
  4. LindblomRJ

    LindblomRJ LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,570

    Fine tuning for a large company with revenue of $1 million a year. They are able to get a 1% increase in productivity or savings that is an extra $10,000. Hardly a waste of time.

    Even the small companies who fine tune some small things are able come up with an extra $1,000 here or there or collectivity. Its worth time.

    The tarp analogy is great. Its a good way to look at things.
  5. hackitdown

    hackitdown LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,505

    I have a competitor/friend who does everything the most complicated possible way. As an example:

    He laughs at my "dirty mower", I laugh at him wasting 5 hours per week washing his mower. where I spend about 2 hrs/yr washing mine. His customers have to fill out forms and sign multi-page contracts...several finally just gave up and called me. He considers my open trailer lame, but it takes hime twice as long to load, unload, fuel equipment, or just grab a g.d. rake. My pickup isn't a "work truck" like his big dumptruck, I spend $75 per week on gas, he he spends $150. He carefully measures every lawn for pricing, but square footage doesn't always tell the whole story.
  6. lawnguyland

    lawnguyland LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,108

    I agree with all you said except that my customers have to fill out contracts each year (once) as well, and that's not complicated, it's smart and the law. Here you must have a signed contract to put down any pesticide. He's smart for that and not so smart for the rest!
  7. CkLandscapingOrlando

    CkLandscapingOrlando LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 652

    Ex mark says that the worst thing you can do to your mower is wash it but alot of guys think its right up there with sharp blades.I think fine tunning is great if its for the right reasons.I was talking more of like doing things just to do it.I was the install forman and we had about 15 pallets of sod.It was all spoted out for little walking.Half way through the owner shows up to get the bob cat and moves all the pallets around.Then he loaded up the cat and left.Notice I said they were spotted.Not so much after he left,but he felt like the boss.******

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