Are You Standing in The Way of Your Lawn & Landscape Company?

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by Sean Adams, Jan 21, 2013.

  1. Sean Adams

    Sean Adams LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,597

    I wrote this for my blog but I figured I would share it here....

    This post is specifically for the lawn and landscape business owners who are still out in the field working. And this is very important.

    If you are still out in the field physically doing the work, leading a crew or multiple crews and much of what is accomplished each day is dependent upon you, it is time to ask yourself whether or not you are helping the business or hurting the business.

    Here is an example.

    Let's say that you have one crew for now that consists of you and two employees. All three of you go out and do the work each day. In this example, we will use a maintenace business.

    You tell the employees to arrive at the garage or storage area at 7 am sharp. They arrive, but where are you? Well, the night before you were at the shop until 9pm working on equipment and then you were working on estimates until 1 am and you are exhausted. You arrive at 7:15 am.

    Then while you are out working your phone rings and it is a customer who has some questions for you. One employee is trimming and the other is using the push mower. You are operating the 60 inch zero turn, but you had to stop mowing and shut the mower off to conduct this 10 minute phone call. Once you are finished, they are standing there waiting for you to finish mowing.

    Then at 2:30 pm, the phone rings again and it is your dealer informing you that your other zero turn that needed fixed is finished and you have to come get it before they close at 5 pm. You drop the 2 employees off at a customer's house and you race to the dealer to get the mower. But when you get there he is busy waiting on someone else and you stand around for 15 minutes. You arrive back at the job site and the employees are sitting at the end of the driveway waiting for you.

    You pick them up and head to the next job. While driving your phone sets off an alarm reminder that at 4 pm you have to give an estimate for a commercial property and actually meet with the commercial property manager. You want to run back to the shop and clean up a little bit first. You drop the employees off at a bigger job out of the way so they are kept busy while performing the estimate. The estimate takes longer than expected and your phone has been ringing repeatedly from your employees trying to inform you that the mowers are out of gas and you left the gas can on the truck - the truck you drove to give the estimate.

    Now does it normally go like this every single day? Probably not every day, but it certainly happens more often than it should.

    Is it time for you to send the employees off on an organized route to do the work while you take care of all the details and estimating and marketing and meetings, etc.?

    NIXRAY LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 521

    Yet another great piece by the one and only Sean!
    Posted via Mobile Device
  3. Sean Adams

    Sean Adams LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,597

    Thanks! I appreciate that.
  4. lawnpropm

    lawnpropm LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 593

    Sean is definitely well educated on these issues. Anyone who is serious about improving anything in their business be it marketing, estimating, or day to day operations should look him up and spend a few minutes on the phone with him. That goes for any size operation.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  5. knox gsl

    knox gsl LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,256

    I have seen this happen in my business and others in the same boat as me. I am in the process of getting a route built and the small dedicated truck to run it. You are correct in this case the 2 workers could go out and do the work in their own rig set up for mowing while you used a smaller truck. They could finish the route in about the same time and would have all the tools and equipment they needed and the owner could be clean and presentable to talk business with new customers. I am looking forward to that day!
  6. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,699

    I think this is ridiculous. If someone's time management is this poor then they shouldn't be in business for themselves. There are plenty of bosses that run crews and do it successfully. At this point in a company's growth stage, unless the boss can keep himself busy with sales and company management, then he should be in the field. It doesn't make sense to pay an employee to do the work while the boss sits at home playing around on Lawnsite all day.
  7. MDLawn

    MDLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,284

    Ridiculous is a little harsh. I think the problem lies within what people want to do. Some just love to ride a lawn mower, work outside, and drive their truck, nothing wrong with that.

    Others have a different mindset. I think both have a joy for working outdoors and landscaping in general. But the other person starts to view that they want to run their business rather than be in it. Just like Sean is showing its hard to wear every hat and be successful at it. It's not really a time management thing. Are you saying you wouldnt answer your phone because you're working in the field? Missing calls is missing out on opportunities. People want INSTANT responses these days, not answering machines. Maybe you can generate enough money to have a crew and take a modest salary but now you have time to completely devote to sales to increase your business. But again maybe the first person wants roughly 40 customers and just do all the work themselves with a part time helper here and there. Again nothing wrong with that. That means you do the actual work, billing on nights and weekends, running estimates nights and weekends, fixing things nights and weekends, etc...

    Not sure if you have a family of your own but the last thing I want to do anymore are those things when my kids want me to play. I've learned this in the most odd way though. I currently do this stuff part time. My full time allows much freedom in the summers but I'm not only wearing a full time job hat but the rest of the above. Right now I'd rather pay someone else to do the work and just take a smaller cut and focus on the sales and other business odds and ends. A good boss doesn't sit at home a play on lawnsite. They are fully immersed in the workings of the business, just not at the laborer level...... But again some desire to just be solo, not a problem.
  8. Sean Adams

    Sean Adams LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,597

    Very well said...
  9. jrs.landscaping

    jrs.landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 2,764

    Good post... the only problem I saw with it is I would have showed up at 6:30 to do the pre trips on the trucks and make sure everything was ready for the day. The owner of that company is a slacker IMHO.
  10. MDLawn

    MDLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,284

    Thanks and I think everything you write (multiple threads, personal emails, lawncaresuccess, etc..) explains everything a business owner needs to be successful. Guarantee success? Of course not, but man it takes A LOT of the guess work and mistakes out of stuff. For example most anyone can get a diploma or college degree (information), but applying that knowledge is something completely different.....

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