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Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by raish05, Jan 16, 2013.
Your right he can't watch people work I wish ours could do that I hate them
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I relate to you a lot. I started out with my dad 4 years ago. Eventually we had to split. I was younger so I had the energy to work the 9 hour day mowing, then go pass out flyers a couple hours, and make sure our books were up to date when I got home. My dad also is to old for the landscaping side of things,he pretty much rides the mower, which he is awesome at. It we tough when we split, his pride was hurt, I cried, we didnt talk for months. Then, as men do, we kind of got over it, he needed work so he started helping me out, and now he works for me as a crew leader. Of course he is a glorified crew leader who makes $18 an hour and doesnt get orders like the other guys. We are both a lot happier with this arrangement than the tension we had before. At first my dad was co-owner because our dynamic as father and son made it weird for him to be an employee and he helped out financially in the beginning.
At some point I had to realize I had my own family, and I needed to make business decisions that were going to best take care of my wife, and now my wife and son.
I am not by any means saying you need to split from your father. That could be a terrible thing for you and your busniess. I have no idea what the dynamic is with you guys and being able to work with your dad is a blessing. I just know I took on to much stress at one point with my father and what we really needed was a dynamic shift.
As for push mowers, I agree with what was said before. If we cant cut it with a 36" walk behind, its worth the time or energy.
Thanks that helps out. Here's another thing he doesn't want to buy a skid loader to load salt n use on some of our bigger landscape jobs to save on labor he would sooner borrow the neighbors an in return he cut his grass for free
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Check out machinery trader, they have a lot of used equipment for sale. My neighbor runs a pool business in the summer. He asked me to use our skid steer, I told him he could if we didn't need it. His worker ended up driving it into the back of a one ton doing $900+ damage to the door. Not saying it could happen to you but I'm always leary borrowing equipment from someone else.
Sounds like your family business is in that dangerous "middle zone." Your busting butt with all those employees and not making any more money then if you were a solo guy doing 50 lawns a week. This is a hard zome to get out of and there really isn't one right answer to solve this.
The easiest answer is this, though...get more work. Bill more. You stay in this middle zone and you'll probably die.
As far as your crew problems go I too have struggled with this for many years. For us the spring is crazy busy, late July and August gets a little slow then things pick up again in September once all the kids go back to school. There is no two ways about it, landscaping is a seasonal business.
Here is what we have done to deal with these issues:
When we are super busy in the spring and work is so easy to sell we bring in part time help. As long as we have it understood upfront that the position will only last through June or whenever it is there is nothing wrong with that. As an added bonous, every once in a while we come across a great worker that we retain on a permanent bases.
When things do get slow we lay off the temp help and keep the core staff. I know its hard to lay people off but remember that was the original agreement. Even with this we almost always have a slow period in August when our core staff goes from 5 to 4 day work week.
Things always pick up in September and by late October we are crazy busy again with leaf cleanup. That means more part time help.
Hope this helps. It has worked great for us.