1. Missed the live Ask the Expert event?
    Not to worry. Check out the archived thread of the Q&A with Ken Hutcheson, President of U.S. Lawns, and the LawnSite community in the Franchising forum .

    Dismiss Notice

Which way to go...Opinions needed

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by RainmanMN, Dec 3, 2007.

  1. RainmanMN

    RainmanMN LawnSite Member
    Posts: 19

    First off, a little background on me and my company.

    My Father started the business in 1987, went full time in 92. I took over totally this season. Currently we have around 700 active residential accounts, with another 50 commercial.

    This past season we had 85 new installs, while still doing all the service on our current customers. We actually had to turn down some installations at the end of the year since we just couldn't get to them.

    I know we need to revamp the organization of the crews and myself to have everyone in the position to be the most profitable and provide the best service. Here are the options that I'm kicking around.

    Keep the 4 man installation crew for strictly installs, and hire 1 full time service tech. This could potentially add 15-20 additional installs a year. This scenario would allow me to get almost completely out of the field. Which has me a little scared.

    Hire an office girl/person to handle the phone, billing, scheduling ect. Which would free me up to handle some of the service/installs. My main fear here is teaching someone how to schedule service (knowing how long a manifold repair will take ect.)

    I know we are right at that "tipping" stage in business where we are changing from a small to medium sized business. How did others go about it, any suggestions?
  2. hoskm01

    hoskm01 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,690

    If it were me, and I am nowhere near your situation, I would rather be in the field and have someone trained up in the office, rather than answering the phone and doing scheduling all the time. A little attention at first and your "officer person" should be good to go pretty quick.
  3. Flow Control

    Flow Control LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,267

    First impression, looks like you are looking for the position where you are the boss and just want to organize everything. I don't think a company with those numbers can afford to do that. I separated my install and service department years ago and it has worked for me. I use an answering service so I don't have an office employee. If I had to determine where my presence is most needed (once you get over the fact you can be everywhere at once) I wish I could answer the phones and schedule. But I have the equivalent to 2-3 foreman on one install crew and service techs with 10 years experience. So my employees don't need a babysitter (for the most part at least.) Unless your area is experiencing a building boom, I would buckle down and concentrate on service and go lean and mean. So maybe take your 4 man crew and make it a 3 man crew and the other one be the service tech. Look into a answering service to supplement when you are not in the office.
  4. RainmanMN

    RainmanMN LawnSite Member
    Posts: 19

    Thanks for the reply, I guess I should have prefaced by adding that I do have a foreman that can handle the installation part of the process. And no the building has slowed way down, but we were actually never busier on installs.
    When you say you split up install and service, I assume you mean that you have service guys and install guys correct? Again I appreciate the comments.
  5. Flow Control

    Flow Control LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,267

    Yes, we have service techs and install crews. They don't mix under normal conditions. If I feel like there was a problem with an install (pipe to shallow, poor workmanship, etc.) I send the entire crew to fix it so they understand that service techs time can be better spent elsewhere then fixing their mistakes. My service techs typically are people that have been in the industry over 10 years and probably were a foreman for 3+ years and are in their 30's and don't have the physical endurance for digging 24/7 anymore.

Share This Page