Advice on growing my company...

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by mcclureandson, Feb 24, 2005.

  1. mcclureandson

    mcclureandson LawnSite Member
    Messages: 242

    I'd appreciate some feedback from small (1-3 fulltime employees) to medium (4+ employees) regarding the best way to manage the growth of my business...thus far I feel as if I've followed a solid business plan. I am comfortable with the manner in which I run my business now. I know my margins/costs etc.. I have established a small maintenance base of weekly/EOW customers (50+/- generating approx $5000/monthly gross sales) and typically do an additional 10k in misc 'onetime' mulch, clean-up jobs etc...also do several small landscaping jobs annually (2-5k sq/ft sod, small walls, pavers, drainage etc...). The vast majority of this work came from word-of-mouth. Now I have begun to advertise and have spent the time and money to produce quality, four-color flyers, four-color direct mail postcards, yellow-page ads etc...and the work is pouring in (well, pouring in for me...12K worth of installs scheduled within the next two weeks, in addition to my maintenance schedule which is close to resuming full speed, and more bids out waiting a response). It's so early in my season and I have only distributed 1/5 of my marketing stock so I anticipate the response rate of direct mailings/flyers to increase substantially (even if it hits 1.5/2.0% I'll be happy) here's my question...

    What is the best method for handling an increased volume of work when you are fairly certain it's going to keep coming or increase? I am leaning toward hiring additional part-time employees (I usually operate with only one laborer) and renting additional equipment to speed my time through these next few weeks until I can sense a trend. This will cut into my profit margin for these new jobs but I can't do a 10k install with one laborer in 2 days (which I need to do because I'm not running a seperate maintenance crew). If it continues at this pace I can bring the best of these part-timers on full-time and stop renting equipment and start buying the machines I've found most efficient, right? I've built what little I have on quality and being to maintain this now that I'm being spread thin?

    Let me also say I am fully insured, knowledgeable on the type of work I advertise for and accept, pay my license fees/taxes, use uniforms and (as far as maintenance equipment goes) have new or nearly new gear which I keep looking sharp. Thanks for any advice.
  2. mcclureandson

    mcclureandson LawnSite Member
    Messages: 242

    no one else has made the stretch and wants to comment?
  3. CNYScapes

    CNYScapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 916

    Hire em when you need em, and let them go when you dont. Were not making friends here this is business.
  4. kootoomootoo

    kootoomootoo LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,369

    Growth is great but it can quickly grow faster than you can....Cash flow can become a big problem. Staffing, quality control. Mowing sucks but I am sure you could grow your mowing side 100% without changing much. Cash flow is the most important thing. New work might kill your cash cow ie "the mowing"
    if you get torn between finishing a 20000 install or mowing a few yards. Ideal situation would be to grow your mowing to $10000 a month and have it where you are the hands off manager.... Then you become the landscape install contractor, grab a helper and off you go. I think Jim Lewis would be a classic example of this. Its a great business model for younger guys.

    Concentrate on maintenance for 3-5 yrs. ie Suck it up.
    Build a reliable team.
    Have the maintenance run itself
    Spend the next 25 years doing installs.

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