What would you prefer to do????

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by Mark B, Feb 2, 2003.

  1. Mark B

    Mark B LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,020

    If you could do it over agian what would you go after? I read where devildog said keep it small. So my question is. If you were doing it over agian would you go after the install work or go strickly doing service work???? I'm courious what some other contractors would do. I prefer doing service work but I'm doing some installs for something to do. I think service is better because you are more then likely get your money and you might make more money over the long run. Plus I think it less hectic. My 2 cents.
  2. turfman59

    turfman59 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 801

    I would be happy to take any and all work, clients and employees from anyone that drops there guard, Fear Me I am the person that has been locked up running someone elses business for 25 years. Finding this site and the people and resources have been the best thing that has happened to me professionally this is a great business. the one thing that I would say is that this business is a marathon not a Sprint Thanks again Bruce
  3. J&R

    J&R LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 835

    Marry a rich woman and never work again! LOL
  4. SamIV

    SamIV LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 324

    Have you heard the saying "Stay small and make it all." I had 5 employees last year. Just me now and I'm much better for it.

  5. I think I would have gone with employees sooner. All the work I missed out on the first 3 years.

    Also, I would have started using the computer sooner. I am sure there are 2000 people out there that I have worked for that I can no longer get in touch with.....

    Staying small is great for now....in 10 years do you want to be digging up mainlines and glueing pipe? What about if you get hurt on the weekend softball game? What about if you get in a car wreck? Hurt your back? Break a finger? Get my point?

    Staying small doesn't always mean 1 person. With very little debt and the proper structure, a guy can make GREAT money with 2 technicians. I should know. Also, add an install crew to that to do the larger repairs, the commercial redo's, the new drip systems and other stuff, now you're talking!

    Now, if I can only figure out how to make the same money working my butt off 12 hour days in summer, getting muddy, burning my hands on the torch accidentally cuz it is 120 degrees outside and 10 minutes isn't long enough for it to cool off, fixing broken 1.5 inch mainlines under 4 laterals right next to a tree stump. And still get to play golf 2 days per week, go quad riding one day per week, make all my son's baseball and basketball practices, take my daughter to "story time" at the library, see my wife for lunch once in awhile, and not get physically whipped every day. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm

    Grow smart, don't just grow. But do grow, or fade away into the pit I call, solo op land.........your body will get older, you will have kids someday, you will want the finer things in life and...you will want to retire. You cannot retire by selling your 25 year old business that you answered phone, sold jobs, did work, did billing, did bookwork, and so on......nobody will buy a business like that. Oh wait, yes they will. I paid a guy 2500 bucks for his phone number, a Wire Tracker, and some shovels....he was in business 12 years. Now he works at a parts house, behind the counter.....he is not retired with my 2500 bucks.

    Think of your future! Build a business that will work for you. If you are working the business all you have done is bought yourself a job. An expensive, 24 hour a day job! Believe me, there are days I wish I could go back to being a solo.....like when someone calls and complains about the heat, or needs a raise, or has to go to the doctor 2 days this week, in the middle of our busiest time, or cuts the phone line to the house, or breaks the pool line that is set in concrete, and we have to drain the pool below the skimmer to fix it.....for free! Those days, I wish it was just me. But believe me, those days are fewer and farther between than they used to be. I am not knocking the solo, believe me, I respect those guys too, but think about these things I have said......sorry so long.
  6. Mark B

    Mark B LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,020

    Thanks for the reply. I think you are right in some cases,but I put the post up for some of the guys that might be lurking on the board along for myself. I'm alsways trying to expand my business for some crazy reason. I have really enjoyed the past 7 months full time my business has almost doubled in those 7 months. I love myself. I think people need to ask question like that just to help out the other guys in the biz. I lkie ot stay small myself because I an addiction with surffishing at the OBX tha big drum,stripers,codes,etc. I believe there is more to life then working all the time. This is my favorite past time. I'm not one of these guys by the way. This spring maybe?:D
  7. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,712

    This businees opportunity or demand is different throughout the country. Here in NJ most everyone does installs and service. For many, the installs are the biggest source of service customers. We northern tier contractors have an (advantage?) that systems need to be winterized each fall and restarted in the spring in addition to in season repairs. For us to gather enough clients to be full time from service work only, would be nearly if not impossible. Our clients generally expect service on what we sold them. New service clients are gained when someone else falters in their duties and the client feels a need to look elsewhere.

    I know in warmer climates where the work is more "year round" you can have companies doing mostly installs and others do mostly service. I have no clue as to how that works.

    I don't think many of you guys realize that building an irrigation business is nothing like building a lawn care operation. In most basic theory only, anyone with a lawn is a potential client for either product or service. In reality it ain't so. Many times more lawn owners are potential lawn accounts because the service costs less aad must be perfomed more frequently.

    An irrigation system is a capital investment that tends to restrict clientel to those with more disposable dollars. And unlike landscaping that can be seen from the curb only the results of irrigation can be seen for only part of the season in areas of decent seasonal rainfall.
  8. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,156

    I would have still done a large majority of service but pursued more installations. Plus I would have hoped to have a better handle on running the business, not just doing the work. Knowing what my overhead was and how to recover it.
  9. devildog

    devildog LawnSite Senior Member
    from sc
    Posts: 270


    Let me step back in here. & are, as usual, right on target in their remarks. I want to add "stay off thin ice". Far too many times I've seen successful young men AND women race off to become the biggest and slickest operations going only to fall thru the ice, not knowing the fundamentals of business. They are simply 1) know your cost of sales 2) know your overhead (aka expenses) 3) know your profit (to get thru the tough times).

    Do not put your family and resources at risk. Be prepared to take calculated risks, only after you understand and comprehend the consequences of failure. Very few of us get past ten years in this business. That should be your goal, to make to ten years. That's accomplished by adhering to the words you've read in the previous posts on this tread and making incremental grow that be sustained each year.

    Employees are, will be forever, the biggest problem any biz owner faces, day in - day out. Its a terminal illness with no cure.
    If you bring one to close, he/she will burn you for years to come.

    Customer service is the hallmark of any successful operation, without it, close the door, get a 9-5. Our employee's know, the only one who says no, is me (and very seldom).

    So stay small, FOR NOW. Follow the words of advice that have been presented....and who knows..... you may get out of this biz with a retirement check. Final thought, if you not investing now, START, in anything.......just start, with regards... devildog

    PS: SprinklerGuy & HBFOXJr, great posts, as usual
  10. Mark B

    Mark B LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,020

    Thanks for the info! My business has grown each year very slowly due to I was employed somewhere else from 7-4. I had the afternoons to work that was great and everything. I have noticed that as each year has passed the jobs I get are a little bit bigger and better so I'm glad that I didn't get those big jobs right off the bat. In the morning I'm going to apply for my first business loan I don't want much and it is still makes me nerverous to do it. But I have to grow in baby steps. I think if we keep the replies going like this someone else will learn more about the biz. I really enjoy the service end of it by the way. My 2 cents.

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