Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by walshdevo10, Aug 9, 2006.

  1. walshdevo10

    walshdevo10 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 57

    I had this problem in the past and want a little advice. I have been doing this for 4 + years now solo. About 1 1/2 years ago I deceided to go for it and expand, as in several employees etc. Well I got the first one hired. At this time I was doing 61 myself. Within a couple weeks I was up to 78 accounts with 1 employee. I noticed that we just couldn't keep up. To this day I really haven't figured out what the problem was. He was working hard as I was too. Now of course ya can't be paying an employee when you can't keep up with enough accounts to pay him. I was a store manager with Walgreens for 10 years before doing this so I know the business side but for the life of me I can't figure out how to grow the business without hitting the same pitfall. The goal would be to become a business owner not just self-employed, (not getting any younger), something to pass on to the son or sell later on for a good nest egg. It just would not be fair to an employee(s) to hire them on to only have to let them go because of lack of accounts etc.Of course not many things in life are a guarantee. Now the previous time I advertised out the ying yang which I would do again if I went for it. Basically the bottom line question is...what has worked for you in the past in this situation to cover the gap from hiring to aquiring enough accounts to pay employees and have some $$$ for yourself and the business? I'm married with 3 kids so there goes the idea of using capital from the business to cover the expenses. Everything goes back into the business as working funds or home to pay the bills, nothing in savings. Credit sucks thanks to my ex-wife. Maybe I just can't do it until I get better credit? I just don't want to lose what I have worked so hard for if I get injured etc., or would be nice to take a vacation when the kids are actually out on summer break! Yea right!! Thanks in advance!!

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,981

    What's your windshield time like?? That's one of my problems, I have about 60% of my lawns pretty tight but the remaining 40% are here and there. Nothing way out of the way but on the days with the 40% I really noticed that it was hard to pull out a big day.
  3. Jpocket

    Jpocket LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,282

    A tight route really helps, but you also gotta watchn your pricing. If you know that you and a helper can only do 70 lawns comfortably, then you have to price those 70 so that you can pay your help, and have a reasonable net $$$ on your route. Thats what im figuring now. It may also make more sense to do 65 higher priced lawns than to do 75 lower priced ones.
  4. Thirdpete

    Thirdpete LawnSite Member
    from Chicago
    Messages: 236

    if you can only do another 20 lawns a week because of an employee... say youre charging 30/lawn... another 600/week... and you're paying him how much? youre only making a few dollars an hour off this guy after all is said and done. maybe get a more productive employee?

    or you could get mroe efficient equipment (standers instead of wb's if feasible, a Z maybe, etc). if you have the $, maybe upgrade equipment a little bit and get another employee... so that you can spend all your time aquiring new business.

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,981

    Also when the solo guy expands, he's so used to doing A+++++ work that it's hard to settle for slightly less quality...but to be expected with employees even if you're on-site with them. You have the tendency to take too long trying to replicate the perfect job that you used to do. Most customers won't even notice if you miss a big chunk of the backyard :laugh: Perfection will slow you down :nono:

    Even though I'd rather ride the velke all day, the best way to achieve the desired blend of speed and quality is to put New Guy on the mower while I handle the edging/trimming/blowing.

    GBSLAND LawnSite Member
    Messages: 23

    Well since i have 2 crews goin out everyday (Me bein on the second one). Productivity is the big. How much are you making an hour? How much are you making a day? Are you making enough in a day to cover your dailey expenses? I price all my accounts so i know i would net $750-1100 per crew after paying the guys. Some days you won make your goals but you should be close. Baisiclly what im trying to say is its all about pricing. If it takes you so much time to drive to accounts like some of the guys said above then maybe you have to charge more on those accounts to make what you want to. Hope this helped you.

  7. howardsells2000

    howardsells2000 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 355

    GBSLAND, I work solo and I'm averaging about half of what your crews make a day. I was wondering how many cuts are they doing in a day, are they residentials or big commercials. I'm just curious because I would like to learn your secret.

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