Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by KerryB, Aug 7, 2002.

  1. KerryB

    KerryB LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 661

    I am looking for a good source of information. I know how important a consultant could be to my business, however at this time I cannot afford a consultation. So I decided maybe the next best thing would be to read some of their manuals.
    There seems to be an endless supply of material out there. I was wondering if any of you have purchased such manuals and which ones you recommend.
    I am looking for information and help with estimating, job costing, equipment costing etc..
    Mr. Vander Kooi and Mr. Bill Phagan seem to be the best choices from what I have read about them and also from some of their articles.
    Any enlightenment would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks Kerry
  2. Lawn-Scapes

    Lawn-Scapes LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,810

    I'd like to know what a consultant would/can do for you (read: anyone)? Seriously.. What do they do? Look at your business.. equipment, accounts and record books? Tell you what you're doing right.. and wrong?

    If I were seeking a consultant.. What would happen after we said hello?
  3. ProMo

    ProMo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,468

    I attended bills seminar a few months ago and purchased his books on estimating and contracts I was doing everything wrong for the last 10 years and am presently making drastic changes. Dont wait until its to late i almost did and wouldnt be in biz anymore if it werent for bill, thanks also to the members of lawnsite
  4. Sean Adams

    Sean Adams LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,597

    Consultation can be an expensive mistake, unless you are dealing with an industry specific consultant. Ask around. See what people have experienced, both good and bad. What is good for some is bad for others. As far as information - there's a lot out there.

    Someone mentioned Bill. I'm assuming that is Bill Phagan. Great source - go to Also, check into Vander Kooi & Associates. They are located at they have some great stuff - books, videos, tapes, software too. Ask for Tim Saul if you call them.
  5. MPhillips

    MPhillips LawnSite Member
    from zone 7
    Messages: 94

    anyone ever get Phil Nilsson's stuff?...I thought it was pretty basic, and somewhat outdated...but it did help me focus on the important business in the end I'd say he help me
  6. smithf36

    smithf36 LawnSite Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 61

    I have purchaed Phils books, Jim Hustons books, and read a lot of different material on our industry and business in general. I have attended different classes put on by several consultants, etc. I will have to say that by far the best bang for the buck is COMPASS. I just attended the COMPASS Academy in Columbus and I learned a lot. I thought I had stuff pretty much figured out although my profits were always low. From now until the end of the season, I will easily save more than the amount it costs to attend - just by implementing a few of systems I learned.

    It was the best money I have ever spent!!! It really was the answer I was looking for - and the support is outstanding. Look in to it before you hire a consultant, its worth it.

    Joe Smith
  7. Sean Adams

    Sean Adams LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,597

  8. Mowin4cash

    Mowin4cash LawnSite Member
    Messages: 160

    Good luck on the consultants. I contacted one of the "popular" consultants on this site a week ago, and have not recieved any hint of reply. Guess business is good.
  9. kris

    kris LawnSite Bronze Member
    from nowhere
    Messages: 1,578

    I can only recommend or comment about one consultant and his books etc. from first hand experieince .... Charles Vander Kooi. Im sure there are a few other good ones out there.
  10. Guido

    Guido LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,087

    I've dealt with a few of the ones with online presence and here's what I think:

    Phil Nillson: Not sure about this guy. Many of us have had run ins with Phil, he's very stubborn (which is not always bad) and he seems to be stuck in the decades past and doesn't want to see things any other way. I have a couple of his books, and as was stated, they are outdated, but some useful info in them. If I had to reccomend one (If I HAD to) It would be the labor time data handbook. Not for his numbers, but as a guideline to make your own time and data estimating handbook. It will help you outline different services and the ways of tracking the time it takes to do different tasks and then you can fill in your own times tailored to your operation.

    Bill Phagan: Great guy, really friendly and knowledgeable(sp?) Very firendly and great to deal with. I have a few of his books too and they were much more intresting then the first mentioned here. They kept me awake and he gets the info accross a lot easier.

    Vander Koi: Never dealt personally with him but have a couple of his books and they are very good reads. Lots of great information.

    Jim Paluch: Great Guy, Great company (all that work there) Great service, and great books. I believe he has 3 books out right now and I have them all. I have only read 2 though (wish I had the time!!) I Highly reccomend the one titled "Growing Dreams". Its in-expensive and a GREAT READ! It really keeps you involved with learning through a GREAT story line. It can be found at Its about setting up systems in your business to speed things along, etc.

    John Allin: DISCLAIMER!!: #1, I know your in the Carolina's and this doesn't pertain to you, but I want to put it up here for others in the Snow Ind.. #2 I'm not sure if JAA likes to be coined a "consultant" because of the way SOME of them (not all, but a select few) tend to like to percieved on the different forums. John is a business man first and foremost (from what I know) and is ACTIVE in the industry in many ways (Unlike other consultants) I have JAA's new book about Managing Snow and Ice and I'm about 3/4's of the way through it. Its a great read, and can help anyone get started in a successful snow removal business.


    There are many great books out there that don't pertain directly to the Green Industry, or even the service industry that can be very beneficial to your business. Read books on Marketing, Managing, Leading people, Business Law, Accounting, etc.

    I like to read, especially about Green Ind, Construction, and Snow Removal. I'd love to hear more about books available that you've found to be good reads. They don't have to be Green Industry Specific either, but should probobly have something to do with business in general. Thanks in Advance!

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