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Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by dmk395, Feb 29, 2012.
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Ive been back pedaling since 08 from 6 guys, to 4 in 09, to where I am now which is solo. The gross has changed alot, but the net is close to same if not better. I was forced to trim all fat in company, and streamline everything. Biggest factor is alot less stress, down side maybe if I get hurt, but I think the business would suffer even if I had guys and got hurt! Theres so much craziness going on in the world that can effect business right now, that the smaller you are, the better! My plan is to be debt free this year.....wait and see what happens with the next president....see what happens with Iran and fuel prices, and re-group in a yr or so. BTW I'm in Weymouth Ma.
I often wonder how companies in this line of work grow so fast. I know why...they price their work cheap. My growth has been slow, but I price things on the high side. I'm not overcharging but I make money on everything. I don't take on bi-weekly customers anymore and I only offer full service with an agreement. But I think that is the best way to structure your business. (my opinion only)
Ive always thought.. what good is having a bunch of low priced accounts and having to pay employees to help with the load only to make a little more than you would solo. I don't want to be solo much longer but I can't yet justify adding full time help.
If your not making money off of your employees then you are pissing in the wind and you need to downsize. Employees are supposed to make you money and that is why you hire them in the first place.
Just my 2 cents.
It's my goal this season to be able to bring on a helper. What has to happen first is 40% of my account are getting a price increase.
The book "the e myth revisited" by Michael Gerber address this very issue of problems with growth. There is a chapter or sub chapter called "getting small again". This way.many of the problems are cured since the owner is wearing all the hats and controlling the chaos.
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Ultimately author comes out says is this venture worth investing in? My goal is to have this determined by the end of 2012. If I conclude that the local market doesn't warrant a decent return for my current offered services with the added expense of a hired helper.....I'm going to look for greener grass elsewhere.
Subscribing...MLI - I got close to the same plan. Hired one more full time guy this season which will make 2 FT and 1 PT plus me. I'll be willing to grow about 20% at most, then think about having a manager run most of the day to day maintenance and I'll cover the weed/fert apps. I'm ALSO trimming some fat this season - gas is going to hurt. I'm gonna delegate more and micro manage less - nearly debt free and can't wait. Good luck this season folks!
Ive been wondering that since I started. This has to be the hardest business to make a decent living in. I know it takes a while and that is the point. How many years do you have to invest and also invest in the business before it pays a decent living. If you look at the business and the amount of return you get... it can be depressing. I have friends in other businesses that are doing waaaaayyyyyyyy better after only a year or two in business. I really is depressing...especially when it feels like your broke all the time and just eeeaaaking out a living.
Ive thought about moving on myself...... but to what? Plus I'm not getting any younger. So....point is.....I don't blame you one bit. Just too much competition and with business cost rising and prices staying the same or lower......it makes you wonder if your pissing in the wind or not. I don't like to quit so maybe I will stick it out a while longer.
I'm a glutton for punishment.
Is your net really better? Very interested...did u jack prices on some and run real good equipment....no help at all?
So many factors to consider. Yes raising prices, dropping slow/deadbeats, trimming equipment/rent for shop/cell phone with basic plan(no $80 per month smart phone)......thats all a good start. Pull the route in closer....so theres less windshield time. Im geared more towards maint. for alot of reasons that we dont need to get into. Once youve trimmed all fat in business....how many accounts do you have to service? Whats the min. you need to get it done? Equipment thats expensive to own will still be cheaper than employees(walkers,standers,etc) Do you run dumptrucks? We run pickups....half the money to insure,no special lic. etc/dot leaves you alone for the most part! Save on fuel, and can jockey around quicker than dumps!
We are in the same markert.....so im sure the hourly rates are close. Most of my lawns are under 3/4 acre....yours are prob. larger areas. If you want to compare notes pm me and I'll shoot you my cell #
I went from 2 crews of 3 to a solo operation. I have more money at the end of the year now and I don't feel guilty about no work for the guys. I think the owner and 1 helper is a good combo.
It is all about "winning in the margins" Check out the book