General business questions

wheatus

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
Southern Indiana
It is completely possible to tell someone why you don't think something is a good idea and what they should do instead without being a jerk about it.

If you can't look at your situation objectively and figure out where the issues are then you don't belong in business. A lot of business is making decisions on imperfect information. You aren't going to have internet strangers to feed you the right answers. And once you bring employees into the mix, you have *much* more responsibility and your decisions can affect those who are depending on you for their livelihood.

After two years in "business" you don't know your market well enough to price a contract. You don't possess the basic equipment to complete the work you are obligating your company to perform. You are clueless about the labor laws and insurance requirements of your state. And the concept of liability apparently escapes you. Excuse me for thinking that you are a blight on our industry.

If you can't handle some unfettered criticism from an internet stranger, you are in for a rough time being in business and dealing with the public.
 
OP
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aquaman183

LawnSite Member
When I co-owned the business I did not agree with a lot of the decisions that the co-owner and his wife made. I didnt really have much say in anything. His wife took care of all the money...taxes, insurance, expenses, billing, etc..I never saw any of that and did not like that. So I never really saw much of that side of the business which is why I am trying to gather more information about the "business" side of it. Before I was doing more of the labor work, talking to customers etc..

My partner also was responsible for most of the bi-weekly cuts we do, I did not really like doing things like that, I'd rather have monthly yards. But again, just a few reasons I decided to buy him out.

But to recap, Off the top of my head I think I have 15 total clients. But roughly 10 a week as some are bi-weekly, so I have some one week and some the next and a couple as needed. But those are tooo good to be true. I have one guy that pays $30 as needed and has a decent yard, but he is a veteran. I have a soft spot for veterans.

I am 24, not a teenager, but I currently don't have any kids. I have a full time job that I just switched to working 4 days a week to give me more time to start working on growing my business.

I would like my own truck, but at the same time I am currently debt free and own everything I have. I am okay with buying stuff as a business expense if I can make enough money to justify it, but trying to stay debt free for my personal finances.

I plan on working harder to get more monthly clients. I will shoot for $120 a month unless someone thinks that I should try to get more than that for your average yard. Like I said, I do a fantastic job and my current customers love me. They know they're getting a good deal for what I provide for them.

As far as a short term business plan..
I think if I get 20 monthly contracts I can seriously consider a bigger mower, that would allow for faster yards and the ability to mow bigger properties.

Aside from that, I would like to get my own enclosed trailer at some point and obviously a truck. Just not sure which order I should try to get those three things.

Thanks again everyone.
 

DIYOKC

LawnSite Member
I am a veteran with an MBA, I dont live in florida, I live in Oklahoma, your prices seem low as far as trying to sustain or grow the business. I would say or encourage you to get licensed to spray if that is possible or financially feasible in your area. The margins should be better and you open yourself to a wider market! But like I said, my exposure to Florida was buying my airboats from Diamondback in Cocoa, FL, not landscaping.

I agree with wheatus, some business decisions are made with very limited information. The info people give you is candid, and I am sure, based on their good/bad experiences.

An opinion, truck first, trailer second. Good luck, Jeff
 

Kelly's Landscaping

LawnSite Platinum Member
Location
Milford CT
24 years old but you still think and act like a teenager. Now you may have been kept out of the actual running of the business. But I have had non related employees that asked real questions about each decision I made because they wanted to learn as much as possible. It doesn't sound like you did and it doesn't sound like to comprehend what a insane gift that truck is.

As far as Florida goes I can say in the 14 years I have been on lawn site I have become acutely aware that Florida prices and practices are nothing like the rest of the country. You are known for exceptionally cheap lawn prices so much so the rest of us have been stunned at times. Your in a state that stays warmer most of the year and therefore allows 40-50 weeks a year of service. At first glance that sounds great. It means you don't have long periods of each year that are off season. But it also means you don't have those hard times to thin out your excess landscapers like we do up north. The result is you have one of the most competitive locations in the country and its not unheard of to see prices like 60-80 a month for weekly service posted here on lawn site from Florida. It's the reason you have one of the few dedicated state forums here. I suggest you locate it and start reading and my condolences for what you will soon discover.
 
OP
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aquaman183

LawnSite Member
I'm not ungrateful that someone trusts me enough to use their new truck.
I just like to be independent and not have to borrow people's things.
I agree with you guys, truck first then trailer.
Should I get a bigger a bigger mower before the truck, or after the truck/trailer?
Obviously I need more accounts first, just thinking ahead.

I do want to learn as much as possible, I did not have a mentor to teach me anything. My partner was not someone I could learn from..if you know what I mean, lol.

DIYOKC:
I will look into getting licensed to spray, not something I have any knowledge about but will try to do some research and get familiar with it.
I would like to be able to provide services for people to help their lawn look good and not just cutting their grass.

Thanks again everyone!
 

Cut n Strut

LawnSite Gold Member
Location
Midwest
hmm, I definitely couldn't do it for that, lol.

also if anyone has any good reads about workman's comp, or employee insurance i'd appreciate it.

My advice would be to run it yourself while you learn about all the other stuff. As far as hiring someone now, that's crazy! Do you think they will make enough money to want to stick around untill you get the business built up enough to justify having them. Sounds to me like a dream that's about to end very badly if you don't re think some things.
 

Business is Good

LawnSite Member
Location
Crestwood, Ky
My other business (staffing agency) is totally unrelated, it's a huge responsibility to have employees. First, it's a risk vs gain assessment that needs to be seriously considered. Second, they are relying on you to be stable as you are, likely, their main source of making a living for themselves and possibly a family. At this point, I'd steer clear of the risk of workman's comp. It can literally put you out of business. If you can do the work yourself, for now, even if it means more than 40 hrs/wk, I'd suggest a solo op. until you get steady and learn more about the business you are in, in the field and in the office so to speak.

Good luck whichever route you choose.
 

JLSLLC

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
The Garden State
Buy a truck with some dents in it and get to work. Even a small truck like a s10. Don't use or borrow anyone's stuff. Your selling yourself short and I think you should go out in the field and get your feet wet more. Good luck.
 

grassmonkey0311

LawnSite Gold Member
Sounds like the OP needs to build the business himself, then hire out. It's too small right now to hire employees to run. If you don't have all the equipment needed for an employee to handle it.....it's too small.
 

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