General manager who can grow a company from 1.5m to 5m

BrendonTW

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
Oklahoma City
Curious. To any of you out there who have done it, in the rare event that you are out there. Or for those who have hired someone for it;

What would it taken to bring in a general manager who has "been there, done that" strategically grown a company from a million or two up to 5-10 million? $150,000 per year? 250k? 10% profit share? Equity?

It's done all the time in other industries in larger organizations.

It's a public forum, so I can't stop you from posting all the "THAT'D NEVER WORK" posts, I already know it would "never work" -- but what would it take if it could work? Are there any such people out there who aren't owners but are highly successful operators who can build a team of sales people, production managers, account managers, etc. to grow a company they don't own?
 

TPendagast

LawnSite Fanatic
Curious. To any of you out there who have done it, in the rare event that you are out there. Or for those who have hired someone for it;

What would it taken to bring in a general manager who has "been there, done that" strategically grown a company from a million or two up to 5-10 million? $150,000 per year? 250k? 10% profit share? Equity?

It's done all the time in other industries in larger organizations.

It's a public forum, so I can't stop you from posting all the "THAT'D NEVER WORK" posts, I already know it would "never work" -- but what would it take if it could work? Are there any such people out there who aren't owners but are highly successful operators who can build a team of sales people, production managers, account managers, etc. to grow a company they don't own?
It’s done all the time in this industry too
I’m one such manager, I’ve done it over a half dozen times in my career and I also consult to help others do it.

you do know you could hire a consultant for this purpose if you couldn’t find the right talent.

as for cost.
To grow from 1.5 to 5 million in revenue (and retain or grow your profit margin) you’re probably looking at a total expenditure of between 1 and 1.5 million.
Depending on how and who and how long it takes to arrive at your goal.

however, remember, you don’t need (or necessarily want) more revenue
You want more margin.
They’re related but CAN be mutually exclusive too.

would you rather have 1 million in sales with 10% margin or $500k in sales with 20% ?

I have seen people grow their way straight out of having any margin.
So be careful with your goals and don’t get too hungry.

but for the record
Someone like me could be had for a package in the range of 150k per year with a 10 year employment contract. That’s total compensation (phone, expense account, company vehicle, health, salary, vacation etc ... or any combo there of)
You should be able to get someone to relocate for that offer to, especially if you’re willing to cover the relocation expenses.
 

TPendagast

LawnSite Fanatic
Where would one find this person?

try advertising on Landscapejobs.com or Hortjobs.com

problem is how do you know who your hiring?
You could use a consultant for that too.

I’m almost done with what I’m doing here
I may be open to something like that (I have one or two more transformations left in me)

but that’s what you’re looking for
The guy who enjoys the build
But gets bored once you’ve “arrived”
By then the systems and the training and the team are in place and it’s time for a new venue/challenge.

I’m not the only one.
There’s more out there.

I could help you interview for one if you needed.
 
OP
BrendonTW

BrendonTW

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
Oklahoma City
Thanks for those responses Ted. May give you a call just to chat a bit and pick your brain.

I guess I should say it's not done around here. Everyone here is an owner/operator and each company man wants to be "the main man". Only two companies here that I would consider truly in it for the cause rather than the status and income, appear to desire to be set up as a truly professional organization. I have respect for those two.

Not really looking for a consultant, but would be looking to bring in a GM who will grow and set up for regional expansion in 10 years.

Not really looking at all right now, just was curious.

I'm discovering I may rather be an owner than a manager.
 

SLSNursery

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
West Haven, CT
Additional food for thought. If this individual you're looking to hire has this demonstrated past experience scaling a company, why would they not jump in and do it for their own benefit and earn 100% of the equity?
Just the opposite of what Brendon mentioned. Some individuals want to manage but not own. In Landscaping we’ve been slow and steady with growth maintaining good margins to ensure profitability. To spin something up to between 5 and 10 million will take lots of capital. Probably more than what Ted mentioned or at least that amount year over year. You’d need to increase capacity by adding staff (recurring costs), equipment and facilities. A manager might want a piece or profit share but may not have the desire or means to finance that type of investment. Maybe no appetite for the risk. Not sure what it’s worth for a true GM. I would agree with Green Mentorship’s numbers on The operations guys. Operations and General Managers are two different animals though.

I helped found a company in a different industry (IT consulting and cyber security). We accelerated the growth and rapidly got up to some substantial revenue with decent profitability. Multiples of what you asked about. Agreed that the overall scope is different, but we have technicians for network maintenance and engineers for network build outs and infrastructure projects, salespeople for making deals. Very parallel type of setup to Landscape Contracting with some maintenance and some installation. At the higher revenue numbers with multiple divisions at work you end up needing mid level managers at pretty high cost, especially if you want productivity and accountability. That’s no different in our industry. If you can find the GM, they would have to be able to build this out. In my experience, it took all of the things you mentioned depending on the person and the skill set. Multiple $150k employees, some equity splits for those interested folks, great benefits, competitive commissions for the salespeople. There was no magic bullet, it took teamwork, and in our case time. Sometimes you find guys who can build out the operations but maybe not the sales team. Rare to find folks who can do it all well, even for bug money. You’d need to find a GM candidate who knew his or her strengths and weaknesses. And, like Ted said, could help keep decent margins the whole time. Otherwise, why do it.
 

TPendagast

LawnSite Fanatic
Thanks for those responses Ted. May give you a call just to chat a bit and pick your brain.

I guess I should say it's not done around here. Everyone here is an owner/operator and each company man wants to be "the main man". Only two companies here that I would consider truly in it for the cause rather than the status and income, appear to desire to be set up as a truly professional organization. I have respect for those two.

Not really looking for a consultant, but would be looking to bring in a GM who will grow and set up for regional expansion in 10 years.

Not really looking at all right now, just was curious.

I'm discovering I may rather be an owner than a manager.
Owners make financial decisions
Like when to invest in major expenses like a new front end loader or how much the Advertising budget is
What services to offer
Target customer?
Branding

I mean there is so much to do when working on your business there’s no real need to work in it
That’s what the manager is for
Handles day to day ops, training, sales
You set the benchmark
The manager meets or exceeds those expectations.

you can’t do 5 million on your own
So if you’ve got companies in your area in the revenue range
They have additional talent involved
They may not be called “general manager” but titles are just titles
The owner isn’t doing it all alone, that’s for sure.
 

TPendagast

LawnSite Fanatic
Last operational cost study I saw said an operations manager national average compensation was $55-65k. That was a few years back. I'd think you could get 2 rock stars for $150k per year.
Ops/general manager/branch was 65k in 1999-2001
There’s other things involved in compensation than just paycheck
Perks
Bennies
Expenses
Vacation
Bonuses
It all ads up
 
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