Growing Pains (Not the TV Show )

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Ducke, Nov 24, 2013.

  1. Ducke

    Ducke LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 353

    :help: Hey everyone real quick run down and then the question.

    Started my company in 2011
    tripled my customer base and profits in 2012
    this year I doubled my business again and profits to match.
    Now I tried hiring a guy back in June, picked this guy pretty quick as the season was on me full swing and work was backing up.
    Well to make a real long story short I fired him after only 6 weeks for complete incompetence,
    The guy was cost me more then he was making me.
    Running over plants, solar lights, down spouts, sprinklers and wreaking the equipment (Three sets of blade in 6 week on my new Honda ).
    I got burnt and ended up finishing the season on my own, I am 53 not 18 and I am beat I need the winter to rest but that a whole other story.
    I need some advice from guys that have been there and done that.
    What tips can you offer me for the coming season ?
    I have been working for the 35 years and done a lot of different things but I have never had to hire anyone.
    I real want to go to the next level with the company but there is no way I'm going to be able to do it with out staff.

    Thanks in advance
  2. nashlawn01

    nashlawn01 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 463

    Use to I out of 10 were good employees. Now it's like 1 in 25. Keep hiring and firing. Eventually you'll find a keeper
  3. grandview (2006)

    grandview (2006) LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,465

    Cruse down to Degrassi st and hire one of the kids.
  4. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,378

    Keep your rates high and use more efficient equipment for running solo. Pick and choose your client base.

    Because of the nature of the work it is hands down more difficult to find worthy help. I would not do this for someone else in all honesty unless the pay rate was high such as well over $16 to maybe $20 an hour. Being solo has a host of issues such as injuries or getting sick, family issues, and host of other complications that can arise. I have heard it all...such as you can't grow and expand, you'll get older and can't hang with the work.

    In my area I know what the other Co. Are charging with 2-4 man crews and their quality is horrid IMO but there rates are cheap $25.

    Going rate here for clearing a driveway of snow is $25. I'm up against flat rate snow plans as low as $200 for the entire winter.

    I'm always looking for greener grass.

    I recommend the book "The E myth revisited". There is a landscape version but I'm not sure there is enough difference to make it worth it.

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    Last edited: Nov 24, 2013
  5. Mike NY

    Mike NY LawnSite Member
    from NY.
    Messages: 114

    Hire 2-3 part timers to cya, hire slow and fire quickly. Set expectations at the beginning for all new employees.
  6. Barrett Landscaping

    Barrett Landscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,629

    From my experience there will always be a degree of BS that comes with having employees. In order to combat it as much as possible I have always used the strategy of paying a little more for guys with experience and use the extra pay as an incentive to work hard. As a result I get them to work a little harder and faster. Like other have said its a major PITA having employees but if you want to be able to do bigger jobs, grow, and not beat the crap out of yourself its a necessity. I am 21 and I can't imagine doing what I do by myself.
  7. ringahding

    ringahding LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 611

    Find that guy "Diamond in the rough" ...It may take time, but you have the entire winter to find that one. And pay em GOOD !

    Come Spring, hire a laborer. Yes you will still be able to be hands on, to train and pass along your expectations.

    Fact is I'm going off your words regarding how you have grown in the past two years.

    It seems as though you are going to get even more business next spring, so 2 employees seems essential.
  8. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 19,631

    Im 49 and have no plans of ever hiring someone, do what you can and live within your means. The problem I face is working like crazy in the summer to pay for the slow winters. Im in the process of build a winter business but that's a couple of years down the road.
  9. Glenn Lawn Care

    Glenn Lawn Care LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,645

    Its hard to find good help in this line of work. It may take you a while to find a keeper.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  10. Ducke

    Ducke LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 353

    Thanks for the responses guys.
    I really don't want to be a giant in the industry just a small company and be able to live comfortable.
    maybe two employees in the Field and one in the office once I get an office other then the spare room in my house. So I will try again but this year I am going to advertize early to try and find someone before all the good ones are gone. but in the mean time I have Christmas lights to do and snow to plow soon I hope.

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