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Growing Too Fast??? Opinions PLEASE!!! from the more experienced

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Whites Lawn Care, Nov 29, 2007.

  1. Whites Lawn Care

    Whites Lawn Care LawnSite Member
    Messages: 38

    I Have been doing maintenance since 97 so i have seen some good times and seen some really Crappy ones. About 2 years ago I almost lost my butt due to a bad employee, long story short made gestures to a female customer, was my lead foreman/sales guy and when i got rid of him he tried to overtake alot of my properties. I hung low for awhile as there was nothing i could do because of not signing a non compete clause and alot of customers dropped me because he cut my prices way low. Anyways I am now rebuilding and picked up a great contract this year about a 30 acre business park total land, parking lot and buildings. I can do this myself in about 25 to 30 hours a week only getting help from guys i know as needed Now this company is wanting me to travel about and hour away to do another property of theirs that is about the same size maybe a little bit bigger. Currently I have the equipment to handle such jobs 2 walkers, 2 bobcat walk behinds, a Z, little wonder 10 hp, billy goat, 773 skid steer etc and i can fit it in my schedule but it is gonna require atleast 2 or 3 ore guys.i figure it is probably gonna take 4 guys 2 days aweek to maintain including myself.

    Guess my question is what do you think is growing too fast. I wouldn't't be taking on anymore initial expenses because the equipment is all paid for but I would be putting myself in the position to have to go from being solo to hiring employees. In the past this has been PITA for me. Anyone been in this position? can you give me some advice what you would do???
  2. tthomass

    tthomass LawnSite Gold Member
    from N. VA
    Messages: 3,498

    Talk to your suppliers.......get to know their spanish guys. Get in with the spanish guys, ask them if they know anyone looking for work. I had them coming back at me with guys ready to quit their jobs just to come work for me off of their buddies word.....not that I'm special.......point being they all always seem to know each other. They know who is happy where they are and who isn't etc. One guy was making $7hr labor.....I start at $9hr. He could work for me, less hours........one whole day less a week to be exact..........and make the same money.

    So, spanish guys will take care of your laborers no prob and you can probably pick up guys with experience. Then you either train one to be a foreman to go in search of a foreman. That will enable you to have time to do sales, even if only two days a week, and rebuild your business.

    A non compete isn't all its cracked up to be. You could nail that guys balls to the wall for directly going after your customers but if they chose to go with him (hard to prove a difference) and he's not bad mouthing you........nothing you can do I'm affraid.

    No you're not growing too fast. You have the equip to get the job done and you have the experience. They're big contracts but you're talking about two days a week......you still have three more days to fill. Get the contract and handle the job. Take a step back now and you'll take another step back later and you'll only hold up your own growth.

    Growing too fast would be hey I've got three days a week of work I COULD get.......should I spend $30,000 in equip and hire three guys in hopes of filling in the other two days of the week? By the way, I've been at this for a about a month now but its just cutting grass.......anybody can do it.

    -That I would call growing too fast and too stupid.
  3. tthomass

    tthomass LawnSite Gold Member
    from N. VA
    Messages: 3,498

    btw, ever make it up to Danville, VA? I'm from there.......my parents were just in High Point yesterday picking up a load of furniture from the manufacturer's for their retail store.
  4. Whites Lawn Care

    Whites Lawn Care LawnSite Member
    Messages: 38

    been throught there a few times not a regular trip though. Thanks for the input that was kinda my thoughts guess sometimes it just helps to hear advice from other objective opinions.
  5. Gatewayuser

    Gatewayuser LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,765

    Well the question is are YOU ready to make that step again? I think you have learned your lesson about employees and what they can do to your business if not handled right. A couple of years ago I had made some bad decisions about employees and had thought about going solo again. Well last year I got a handle on it again and changed the problems now everything is A-plus. You asked this question I believe because you know your not ready to jump back into the employer game. Take it slow or plan really well and be VERY careful who you hire. I wish you luck!
    P.S. I have and employees for 4 years.
  6. Brianslawn

    Brianslawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,004

    he said it not me.

    btw.... some say 10% growth every year is what you shoot for. those people, unfortunately are all idiots. i say roll the dice. its all or nothing.
  7. NewHorizon's Land

    NewHorizon's Land LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 687

    The spanish guys will help you out. All you have to do is like what tthomass said. Talk to the spanish guys at your local suppliers. Tell them what you plan on starting someone at and see how MANY will be calling you or waiting for you to tell them when they start. I do not think you are growing to fast.

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