Contracting services to subs

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by jake65, Oct 26, 2005.

  1. jake65

    jake65 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 75


    I will be a new startup business in the spring. I was curious to ask if anyone who is limited to services they offer or otherwise, contract out the larger jobs or other services they can not handle or have the qualifications for. The majority of my services will be the basic lawn maint, mulch, ect.... to start with. I want to advertise other services as well not to limit myself to just lawn care. I already have selected the contractors for example hardscapes and pesticide. I know both of these contrators. Eventually as the business grows and I am able to learn each of the trades, I will be able to ween off of the subs and hire crews to do the jobs contractors once did. Assuming the contractors are reliable, is contracting a good way to go about the limitations of services of a startup Co.?

  2. cedarcroft

    cedarcroft LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 442

    I think so. I currently sub out any large masonry projects to someone who is alot better and faster than me. I can do it, but my skills are not as good as someone who only does that particular trade. my only advice is to not spread yourself too thin. stick to your core competency and build that, then work into other things that you have a passion for. this should probably be on another area of this forum.
  3. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,692

    Keep in mind your subs usually want to be paid when they finish the work not when you collect from the customer!
  4. jake65

    jake65 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 75

    I would make that a point to the customer on that peticular job, that payment is due upon completion. This would be a job outside the scope of maint. Anyone else have an opinion using subs? Thanks ed2hess and cedarcroft for your $.02

  5. Precision

    Precision LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,995

    I sub out fert and bobcat work. I don't advertise that to my clients, but if they ask, then I am very upfront about it. I also explain that the sub gives me a better price due to volume so they pay no extra for the middleman and have the convience of dealing with only one person. So far everyone is happy with that.

    Things to be sure of. Make sure they are liscensed and insured. Insured as much as you or better. Check with your insurance agent on how subbing out will effect your GL.
  6. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    Yes, that is a good way to do it. That's pretty much how I did it. Only you have to watch out for your subs. Often, they will get the job done and everyone's happy, but the more you learn about how to do it right, you'll see that they AREN'T doing it the right way - or at least as good as it could be done. For instance, before I became my own irrigation contractor, I had another irrigation contractor working for our company who did sub-standard work. At the time, I didn't realize it because the sprinkler system worked, the customer was happy, everything was groovy. But thankfully, I didn't learn everything I know about irrigation systems from him. And as I taught myself more (mostly through books, tutorials, and the help of my suppliers) the more I realized what shoddy work he had really been doing. So eventually I got my own irrigation contractor's license and we parted ways. Nowadays, we do only top quality systems with top quality components. Point is; Just be careful how much you "learn" from your subs. You might just learn how to do things the wrong way.

    Another thing you can do is split work with your subs. For instance, long time ago, we hired a landscape contractor back when we were just doing mowing and clean-ups. Although he was licensed to do everything, he really only liked doing irrigation and sod. But he didn't like planting and rock work too much. So we made a deal. He did the sod and irrigation, then he supervised us as we did the planting and rock work. Then, we learned that part of the trade. And because we were working along side him with the sod and irrigation, we also ended up learning some of those skills too. Point is, you can split the work with your sub. Most LCOs have something most subs don't have - plenty of workers. So you and your workers can do the prep. work, for instance, and the sub-can do the finish work. This works well for concrete, sod, etc. There are lots of things you can do where you do the harder part and he does the more fine detail finish work. Then you both split the profit according to how much work you're doing.
  7. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Messages: 8,745

    Jim made some good points

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