Cost to run solo?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by grassbusterdesigns, Oct 14, 2013.

  1. Utah Lawn Care

    Utah Lawn Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,555

    Where I live the mowing season is only 6 months. It's almost impossible for 1 person to Net over 60k/year mowing solo. If one can pay someone 15/hour to net them 40-50/hour then that 25-35 extra goes in the owners pocket. Your 60k max goes up to 100k for example. This is pretty basic, but I just wanted to point it out.
  2. 94gt331

    94gt331 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,718

    Sounds like I'm around your size operation maybe. I've been having a better year than priors, but my overall goal is to downsize back to myself and a part time guy. I feel I can make enough money to live a decent life. I allways wanted to grow and get bigger, but over the last few i years realized this way of life isn't for me. I don't want to be responsible for anyone else but myself and family. Having a crew keeps me allways worring about everything, like keeping them busy 40hrs a week and making sure to not miss there paycheck each week, and I have to work harder just to keep them working effiently everyday so we can try to turn a profit eveyday. I feel for what it's worth, it's just not worth it sometimes. My downsize will probaly take me another full season or 2 before I go back to solo, want to make a few more goals and pay off bills. I want to leave my house everyday knowing it's only my life on the line and not anyone else's. Not to take anything away from my crew, they are a great group of guys and they do well for me and I try my best for them, but I'm allways exhausted from the effort. I take the good with the bad andI'm thankful for now.
  3. Dr. Cornwallis

    Dr. Cornwallis LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 854

    I would downsize and go solo; keep your best accounts and sell the rest. I'm a solo operation and plan on staying that way. A family friend that I learned the business from (my neighbor actually) runs an operation doing around 100 accounts a week with 3 employees (himself and two helpers). He is constantly bitching about how crappy the help is, how they tear up his equipment, steal **** from clients etc... etc... To me it just doesn't seem worth it. The main reason I got into this business is because I wanted less stress than my 50 hour a week corporate sales job; not more. Said friend is now looking to downsize to a part time one man operation after 12 years. I never plan on taking on work that I can't handle my self.
  4. Blade Runners

    Blade Runners LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,021

    Very well said.
  5. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,378

    I do wonder if the numbers for a solo would be much stronger for an applications type Co. that only minors in mowing and when they do include mowing focus only on quality and forget quantity. This is the direction I see myself going towards... since my clients are hard pressed to find a higher attention to detail. :rolleyes:
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  6. PLLandscape

    PLLandscape LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,495

    Why is this?

    It's funny how everyone's perspective on this topic of having employees is usually negative and they hate the concept of it, their employees stink, can't retain them, landscaping is horrible, etc.... Out of 10,000 threads of negativity to employees I find threads by Pro Turf, ETWman, TThomass, Eagle Landscape, and others who have nothing but praise for their employees and how they are where they are because of them. Some are involved in intricate high end installation and others are of the maintenance variety. They aren't free of problems but they all share one thing in common. They are not the main technician anymore but are the business owner involved in day to day operation of working On the business vs. In the business. Not doing both. If they are doing it right and doing well what are the rest doing so wrong? Granted, some just want to ride a mower everyday, drive the truck, and get dirty. Nothing wrong with that. Roger makes some great points but how come Pro Turf, who does the menial work of mowing, mulching, etc.... makes it work? Not that anyone has that answer but it obviously can work.....

    Me? I would love to get to something where I do have employees and I work on the business more than in it. But many of the points above are good things to consider. One thing ETWman said in his thread when I mentioned about possibly not being able to afford great employees his response was, "You cannot afford to not have them".........


    Went and found the quote:

    "Hire people into your company that can bring things that you don't know. You'll never learn everything. Some of the best landscape company owners I know don't know the specifics of all the plants. That's why you bring people to the company that can help you grow.

    People say well I can't afford to hire these type of people. You can't afford not too."
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2013
  7. matt spinniken

    matt spinniken LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 353

    If a company goes from three crews to one solo operator it will become more profitable but not only because it has no employees. When you keep only the most profitable clients and the clients that were bid correctly, that can have a huge impact on the bottom line. So becoming more profitable actually has less to do with going "solo" and more to do with having the right clientele in my opinion. For the record I have three crews and love it.
  8. Holleywood

    Holleywood LawnSite Member
    Messages: 59

    If it was easy everyone would do it
    Posted via Mobile Device
  9. etwman

    etwman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,552

    I don't lurk around this site much but this thread caught my attention this morning while sippping a cup of coffee and I just wanted to expound on this a little as it pertains to employee hirings.

    Here's something I hear from so many companies owners on this site. "My employees are crap, they don't listen, dumb, don't follow directions, break equipment, show up late, etc. etc."

    Look at the end of the day guess who is responsible for all this? YOU, the company owner! Suck it up and deal with it.

    1. You can't blame an employee for breaking equipment if you don't train them adequately on how to use it correctly.

    2. You can repromand an employee for doing something wrong if you haven't drawn firm lines in the sand on expectation. Example, job descriptions. Our project manager job description is 4 pages long.

    3. If you do address an issue as it happends its your fault. I live by the phrase, "whatever you allow you encourage."

    4. Hire slow, fire fast. If you are frustrated with an employee who continues not to company policy why are they working at your company? Marty Grunder will say to me often, "if you had the opportunity to hire the employee again tomorrow, knowing what you know now, would you?" If they answer is no, what in world are you doing with them now?

    5. Employees won't stay here, I can't retain them. Look if you aren't organized, professional, do phenominal work, and provide a great atmosphere for them to work in why would they want to stay. Would you?

    These are just 5 things that come to mind.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2013
  10. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,659

    ^^^^ pretty much sums it up, I want to grow my business, with out employees you only go so far, as a solo I was maxed out. I went through quite a few employees this year but a lot of it was my own fault, I started my hiring process too late in the year and wasn't prepared for the level of training that I now know is required, but as the season went on I did manage to get a few that actually WANT to stay and grow with the company. I always emphasize that if your just here for a paycheck you won't last long with me as many found out. I want people that truly have a desire to grow personally AND professionally. It's not an overnight process though. I have a long way to go but for those that stick around they will be rewarded. SO YES! I ADVOCATE HAVING EMPLOYEES!

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