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Growing, Growing, Growing! (The Grass & My Business!)

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by DSLND, Sep 14, 2008.

  1. DSLND

    DSLND LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,205

    All this rain is nuts, I only got about 1/4 of my yards done last week, and now things are going to be crazy this week.

    To the point, my business is getting out of control. It seems like I'm adding more and more properties each week, and I cannot get my phone to stop ringing. Up to this point, I loved adding new business, but now I need some help.

    I currently have a guy who works with me. He is a retired gentleman, 76 years old (NO LIE), and he is by far the best worker a guy could ask for. He really helps me out a lot, and I have trained him well. It is nice to have him, because if something goes wrong with a mower, I can send him to the dealership during the day, while I am at school (have done it before with my Lesco's).

    To this point, I have never sent him out on his own. But this week I need to. We are so far behind, that I think I can send him out with a 21", and a trimmer and go do some of my crap yards, small yards, and other properties that he can handle with the 21". He knows the route, and knows what I expect out of him, and what each individual yard needs, so I find no problem with this.

    But looking more towards next year, I had the idea of going back to working solo, but I am unsure if I can handle all of the yards by myself. I will have my license then (thank god!) and can work from 3-dark every night, and Saturday all day. I think I can do it, but I think I will burn myself out. I love working solo, thats one of the reasons I do this, because you get paid to talk to yourself, and not too many others when mowing:laugh: In all actuality, I only have the helper because I have to right now, and sometimes he can drive me insane (he was a retired truck driver, full of stories, and never afraid to share:dizzy:)

    I think the tool to add next year is a 60" ZTR, for my 6 acre personal home, and my larger yards. That would really save me some time. Then I will have one heck of a mower setup, 60", 48", 32", 21". Perfect!

    What do you guys think? I mean, if I wanted to, I could add guys, and have a three man crew, but I think that would make me go insane with all the BS I would have to put up with, I'd like to wait a while before that.

    Add employees, or keep things smaller?

    I'd rather invest in equipment, rather than people.


  2. AJ Lawnscapes

    AJ Lawnscapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 322

    If I was in your boat, I would drop school and expand. If you have the business like you're saying you do, just go for it. It's what we strive for.

    Work for ourselves, while those we employ do all the work.
  3. Kennedy Landscaping

    Kennedy Landscaping LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,597

    Stay in school, add equipment, and work hard at it is what I would have to say. I am in school myself. I too am pretty far behind seeing that it has rained since Wednesday and finally quit yesterday mid morning. I should be mowing today but I don't really like to mow on Sundays.
  4. DixieFerris

    DixieFerris LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 440

    Why is this in the commercial forum? Shouldn't this be in the Just starting?
  5. DSLND

    DSLND LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,205

    Uh, yeah. Not dropping school. I gotta get through, even though it sucks! I do plan on getting my Associates Degree as well. I plan on attending community college for landscaping related courses.

    Thanks for the help.

  6. TomberLawn

    TomberLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,299

    Staying in school is definitely a wise thing to do. It's all about opportunity cost. Sure, you might could make a few hundred dollars a month more if you quit and start working full time, but think about the future. You need to learn about business so you can expand big time. You can teach just about anybody how to trim and mow, but marketing, management, financing, and accounting is something you need to know how to do.

    Equipment will probably provide a better return on investment than more people. A bigger mower might cost a couple dollars an hour more than a smaller mower, but it will mow more grass in an hour. Add another guy running the small mower and you add $10-15/hr of overhead. At this stage in the game, you need to strive for maximum efficiency. When you are as efficient as you can be and still have work to do, then add some more help, and make sure they are as efficient as you are.
  7. fool32696

    fool32696 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 993

    You have to give employees the opportunity to show what they can do. Some will shine and others will get fired. Take the chance and let him run the route or do the easier lawns and do random checks to make sure his work is up to par. If he's trustworthy and does good work he's capable of running a crew and you're able to grow the business and stay in school. I'm sure I'd be MUCH farther along if I didn't spend 4 yrs at UF but I wouldn't trade the experience for anything. AT LEAST finish high school. I recommend a 4 yr college to anyone. It's not all about what you learn, it's growing into mature and educated person.
  8. lawn crafters

    lawn crafters LawnSite Senior Member
    from RI
    Messages: 440

    how many acconts do you have? and i would get a ztr because i used to use just a 22 push mower and bought the lesco 36 after and it made me prevent a helper because id o all .25 to .50 acre houses
  9. freshprince94

    freshprince94 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,449

    Yeah, don't drop school. If something happens where you can't do landscaping you want to have a fallback.

    I would go for that 60" ZTR if I was you. Especially for your own 6 acre yard, I assume you're not paid to do that so you want it to go as quickly as possible. I wouldn't get another Lesco for parts sake.

    I wouldn't send the helper by himself if it was me.
  10. howierd3866

    howierd3866 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 348

    Mitch....you already got a employee and workmen comp and gen. lib along with commercial auto for him driving you around and busniess lic. I wont down size and go back solo..stay in school and keep getting yards because now days its hard for people to get work.When you get out of school your company will be large and so keep it going.

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