Business transition: keeping me up at night!

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by goodgreen, Sep 11, 2013.

  1. goodgreen

    goodgreen LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 374

    Seeking ideas for LCO's that may have been this route: I'm 64 and have been a sole owner/operator since 1999. Age is gradually catching up to me having endured prostate cancer and recently diagnosed with degenerative disc disease in my back. I keep thinking I should just hire an experienced employee to take over (with the possibility of eventually buying the business). I could just micromanage and focus on some other less taxing areas for myself.

    My questions are many in this regard. Where do you find such qualified help? Are they able to utilize your equipment? What does this do to your liability insurance premiums? Do I need to provide them with healthcare? Are such employees rough on your equipment?

    Who might be best to talk to locally for advice on this transition? Any ideas would be most welcome! :weightlifter:
  2. UNIQUElawncare

    UNIQUElawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 33

    I can tell you from experience in a previous business that employees can make you or break you! a good employee at a higher pay rate will save you money over a not so good employee at a cheap rate. Do back ground checks on all prospects and be assured they are trustworthy and responsible. You want an employee that treats the business as though it was his as well. I can go on and on about the subject of employees and the good the bad of it all, but in short keeping a tight reign on your business is key!
  3. easy-lift guy

    easy-lift guy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,372

    Contact SCORE. This organization has had to at one time or another faced the same questions you have posed.
    You may be able to find the answers to your questions this way.
    easy-lift guy
  4. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    Regardless, you need an employee.

    You would be amazed at how better you will feel spreading out some of the labor with someone else.

    Was having the beginnings of major back issues until I finally got to the point of hiring a couple of guys. One full time and one part time when needed.

    Yes, I still have back issues, but it has diminished immensely. Not as much pain overall and I've only had one or two spells of back spasms this year compared to almost constantly before.

    It has also helped me to focus on the office and clerical work more, thus bringing in more work, thus helping to pay said employees.

  5. goodgreen

    goodgreen LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 374

    Thanks for the responses. We do have a SCORE office in the vicinity, and I had thought that would be a good contact. I have used individual assistants in the past, and had good luck with nearly all of them. So I know I can do it again, just need someone to handle a bit more responsibility.
  6. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 19,624

    If you can afford to retire it sounds like a good time to sell out and do it
  7. JCLawn and more

    JCLawn and more LawnSite Fanatic
    from MI
    Messages: 5,281

    also looking at your equipment list, there might be some better options for mowers that won't beat on your so much. Even a kid to string trim would help you a lot.

    TYTILIDIE LawnSite Member
    Messages: 78

    I have a friend in the business that is local to me. He likes to be a one man show and only do certain types of jobs. He always laughs at me for dealing with all the drama of growing and playing the whole commercial game but it is exactly this reason why I do what I do. The thought of my life practically ending because I wanted to work alone scares the **** out of me. I keep warning that the day will come when he just plain flat out wont be able to do it anymore. He always laughs and calls me a puss. Heh, we'll see who the puss is :lol: At any rate, good luck with what ever you do, I can't imagine trying to start dealing with employees at your age, that is enough to cause a heart attack, believe me, two years ago I had chest pains every other day for about a month or two.
  9. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,943

    I will be 72 in another couple of weeks, and have worked solo for 18 years. I am still in good health, and do not have health issues as the OP speaks.

    However, at some point, I too will have to "get out." I still work the business 50, 60, and as much as 70 hours in peak times. I works six days, never on Sunday. But, how to "get out?"

    Frankly, I would never find an employee to turn over the workload. I can't imagine sending somebody out with my equipment, to properties that I have worked for years, many of them over 12 years. If I thought working the business in the field left me with problems, having an employee with my equipment, my customers, would give me a headache like I've never had before.

    At this point, I think the only way out is "cold turkey," that is, a clean cut from the business. Yes, I would still fret and stew on how well another LCO is doing with those properties, but I also know that I could not do anything about it -- that being a good thing.

    I've read lots of threads about transferring accounts to another LCO, selling the accounts, or whatever terms one would like to use. I know of only two LCOs that I would ever consider discussing a transfer/sale. Nobody else does work like they do, nobody else handles themselves with customers as they. In this case, I know the track record of these folks. An employee to do the field work, as some have suggested, has no track record. I could never live with myself if my customers ended up with a bad experience as a result of any transition.

    Just my thoughts, ... sure that some will disagree.
  10. TuffTurfLawnCare

    TuffTurfLawnCare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 667

    I don't disagree with this at all. This is the difference between "self employed" and "business owner". The self employed want to work for themselves, control every aspect of the business. The business owner wants to hire people and delegate work to employees so that they can work ON the business not IN the business.

    The end game for the two is usually quite different though. The self employed will usually end with all money earned, and proceeds from sale of equipment and perhaps clients. The business owner will be able to collect "residual" income from the business as a silent owner if the systems are inplace to to keep it running. If the business owner wants out completely, the business can be sold without so much as a hiccup in the daily service, and at a much higher price as the business up and running and has a value as a business, since the operations are dependent upon 1 or 2 people working. If a persons end game is to slowly distance themselves from the work by a certain age, or to sell it off as a fully functioning high value company, then systems need to be in place long before this time has come.

    There is nothing wrong with either way, its a personal choice we all get to make while we run the businesses as we see fit.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2013

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