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Would like to hear from the 2-3 crew companies about expanding

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Right Touch, Nov 13, 2013.

  1. Right Touch

    Right Touch LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 382

    Is there anything specific that anyone has done to expand or is it push your existing crews to the max until they cant handle anymore then slowly add on other crews? With larger companies I understand they have large contracts and can go to a bank to get the large loan for the truck/trailer/equip but for us guys it seems such a slow process. Did anyone out there have an "ah hah" moment where they realized they finally made a great expansion choice?

    TJLANDS LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,669

    Hiring the right person for the job is everything to me.
    Having a crew leader that you can trust to get the job done right
    and control costs is paramount. Weigh all your costs and pay enough to get good key people. Paying less and dealing with issues is a mistake.
    Also My key people are salaried, another very important decision.
    Keeps hourly employees from getting lazy/ slow.

    this was the biggest help to me for growing my business
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2013
  3. snomaha

    snomaha LawnSite Senior Member
    from midwest
    Posts: 896

    Adding irrigation 16 years ago was an "ah hah" moment for us. I remember waiting at an HOA for an irrigation sub to show up and he never did. Made the decision to take it in house and now its a 1/3 of our business.
  4. JContracting

    JContracting LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,878

    Subscribing. I plan to build my company to a 2 crew operation by next summer. One landscape design & install & one lawn & landscape maintenance.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  5. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,659

    I whole heartly agree, it's having enough work to keep payroll going that seems to be the challenge once you get over that hurdle.
  6. Clean Cut Lawns

    Clean Cut Lawns LawnSite Member
    Posts: 132

    What program are you running? Do you have an office person?
  7. BLC1

    BLC1 LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Posts: 714

    He said he was running Service Autopilot
  8. dnc19694339

    dnc19694339 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 208

    Yes, Im running Service Autopilot. I do have an office person, she works 9-3 m-f. She knows the program better than me now.
  9. GreenGuysLC

    GreenGuysLC LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 325

    I am in North Bama and I am in your range. I Run two full time lawn crews, and a summer part time crew. The part time also fills time as a irrigation and Landscaping Crew. I only carry 3 full time through the winter and the rest of my 8-10 guys are on a seasonal/part time schedule. Being in Bama though they will work pretty solid up until December .. and will return in March. I wish I had an answer to keeping them during the winter but as of now I don't. Some growing pains for me were time management, accounting and maintenance. I have more than doubled business each of the last 3 years. This year I will be in the lower 300K range. We do a pretty good mix of Residential and Commercial. We seem to keep a steady line of landscaping work as well. Things that I have learned and has helped in my growth.... 1. HIRE A GOOD SUPERVISOR!! I run 2-3 lawn crews and do have a "crew Leader" on each truck, but I have ONE Supervisor that is in charge of the whole shop. He helps me make sure the crews get their schedule, equipment is dispatched on the right routes, and the equipment stays maintenance. He make pretty good money.. and he is well worth it.
    2. I can no longer run a crew.... I have to run the business... I spend most of my week doing the "paperwork" of the business. I do all the pricing and job quoting, and while I am driving around, I also do random QA Checks on properties. And with #2 came #3! USE A GOOD Program!! I too use Service AutoPilot and it has helped me tremendously!! It does my invoicing, assist in scheduling, and I also use the mobile version so my crews log in and out of each job allowing me to time track and see what is profitable and what is not. Also see who is dicking around. There is much more I would like to see out of it... but I love that it is web based and for the most part.. pretty easy.
    I still have the pains of finding good trained employees and filling out the crews with hard working and professional people.. but feel right now I am doing ok. I have took a slow approach to getting into the landscape and irrigation side.. and have almost dodged the fertilization..
    This year however, my goals are to establish a solid Landscape Crew, as well as take on Fertilization and Weed control. I have already purchased a truck and am searching for a tank now. I will start this service by taking over my customer properties that we have previously subbed out. That will get our feet wet and establish revenue to hopefully build on that as well. Growing has pains.... more money... more employees, more equipment, more hassles... need for bigger shop.. need for more trucks.. need for more more more...but .. if you can manage your growth and learn that you must manage your business and let a trusted supervisor run the crews... you can do ok. Once you get into the 250k to 300k range.. you can afford a good supervisor... and at that point.. you should be doing more administration.. and less back work. I don't regret my growth.. it does allow me more freedom to take off for family when I need to since 30 customers properties aren't on my shoulders for that day. Hope this helps some... feel free to pick my brain... unlike some on here... I don't mind helping a guy out.. hell I need help too.. we are all in this for the same reason and all can benefit from sharing some info.
  10. Aussie-Gardener

    Aussie-Gardener LawnSite Member
    Posts: 182

    Hi Guys

    Interesting thread

    I vary between 1-2 crews but I am always running one of them. What is the best way to start coming off the tools without hurting my profit too much.

    Did you start with a day a week and build up.

    I agree staff is very important but also hard to find good quality guys.

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