Growing an irrigation business

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by pgp, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. pgp

    pgp LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    Looking for thoughts or personal experience from others... After nearly 20 years in the irrigation industry I think it is time to try to expand into other counties and/or states. We currently work in 3 counties in the northeast. I beleive there is no limit after looking at other large companies that have achieved sucess in many states. My thoughts are that the employees would be the biggest roadblock. Currently have 3 service trucks and 2 installation trucks. Does anyone have a similar situation or experience in growing past your geographical location? Thanks in advance for your stories or advice.
  2. txirrigation

    txirrigation LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 977

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  3. txirrigation

    txirrigation LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 977

    Yes, you loose track of quality and any kind of reputation you had will be shot by managers that don't give a rip.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  4. Mustang

    Mustang LawnSite Member
    Messages: 36

    I think that's exactly what pgp is looking for help with. How do you overcome this scenario?

    I can't say I have done this myself but it is something I am seriously considering as well. I think it all comes down to stepping up and expanding the systems and controls you have in place that have made you successful in the first place. Hiring good people and structuring compensation and benefit programs that reward and encourage growth. I imagine there will be a fair amount of travel for you or your partner(s) (if you have any) to establish and monitor such an expansion. For that you would also need to make sure the proper people and policies are in place so the success you have achieved in your business as it stands now does not suffer.
  5. pgp

    pgp LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    Benefit package is something I would consider and I beleive it is a good way to retain the best employees. (Finding them is always the challenge) I also considered using gps tracking software for all the trucks. Inventory is also a concern... I guess best handled through quickbooks and getting a daily report of parts used. It's not easy to be everywhere and have eyes in the back of your head.
  6. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,226

    To maintain good employees, create direct and precise systems to have in place to do everything. Installs, repairs, office work, managing, driving, when to fuel vehicles, when to clean the shop, what to do during down time, when to show up, when they will be expected to work overtime, how to keep track of inventory, when to update inventory, when to restock inventory, when they can make or take personal calls. Basically, create an employee manual with your expectations, and have them sign it. Then give them a list of what you will provide - wages, bonuses, days off, respect, when and how they can get promoted or raises, etc. Give certain employees more responsibilities. maybe Billy is in charge of keeping track of service to vehicles. Johnny is in charge of keeping track of overall inventory between crews. David is in charge of keeping the shop clean and organized.

    I've asked my employees to come up with three goals for this year. It could be learning a new aspect of the industry - pumps, two wire, locates, audits. It could be selling upgrades to make systems more efficient. It could be taking on some of the office responsibilities. Something that they can learn and achieve, instead of just being a monkey with a shovel.
  7. Rainman7

    Rainman7 LawnSite Senior Member
    from NY
    Messages: 291

    After 20 years its probably time to get out of the business:laugh:. The other compainies in the other states have less cut throat competition and more regulations which brings up profit. Better idea is to move to one of those areas or get into the distribution side of the business :drinkup:
  8. Mdirrigation

    Mdirrigation LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,793

    Stay small and keep it all . unless you are the dominant contractor in your imediate area , why do you want to move fatrher out. windshild time is expensive coming and going . Concentrate on increasing your base where you are located. Both your margins and control will be better. My competition is spreading out further , I am picking up their close customers because they have spread themselves thin .
  9. txirrigation

    txirrigation LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 977

    Honestly, the best thing to do is to buy a company in the area you want to move into with a good reputation, and streamline their operation. Promote a manager that is already there, and give him/her a raise. Set up monitoring systems, and hope for the best.

    Why not expand your services in the area you are already in?
  10. mitchgo

    mitchgo LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,956

    Not trying to be a hard ass... But I don't own a company.. so tell me otherwise.. ( I really mean this) And I've had a couple drinks so psh me off please.. But!

    I just don't understand after 20 years of owning a company you are still needing advice on what to do? I'm more then likely half your age and need no advice on what to do if I chose to own a company.. Id just do it :/ Maybe that is the reason why I haven't made this decision?

    An anycase.. As you can read online in any company in any industry.. Expansion means investment! What does investment mean? Investment is a Gamble! Gamble is a % of the risk you are willing to take for yourself. So what's your risk?

    Breaking it down. If you owned a business and was looking to expand... you should expect a few things..A business .. In it's current area should expect to have high profits with and expanding client base.. A prospering outlook in your own area is what's needed.. Basic economics is to try and corner your market and control it. This is fairly well regulated to most professionsals as we all want to make a living. ( Except for the ****** hack landscaper) .. So once you are doing well in your own market ( Which I'm sure you are in 20 years!) It's time to take a chance.. chance means the risk you are willing to take .. If I invest 110k for 1 new person into a truck.. parts.. a place and crewman into a unknown area that someone else already controls the market.. I better be ready to accept risk..

    The mere fact you are on here suggests that you aren't ready. Otherwise you would do it.. I of course wish you the best of luck and as well support local friendly competition..

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