Help! Is there anyone making money out there as they grow?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by guitarman2420, Jul 4, 2011.

  1. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,725

    There are a million free porn sites that might help make your employees happier :rolleyes: Sorry had to comment on that.

    I am curious as to why you make less then 0 on the mowing. Could be so many reasons bad accounts the drive time could be to far. My second crew went through the trouble of clocking their mileage this week and they drive 81 miles a week on their cutting list of 107 lawns.

    I have lawns that I question why I bother and perhaps if you were in the field on the cutting crew you would see what I'm talking about. I guarantee not all your lawns lose money some may even give you real decent profits and are carrying some real dogs. If your not going to be with the guys id have them write a log next week 9:10 left shop 9:17 reached Smith's yard 9:42 left Smith's yard. What you want is to see where your losing the money hey I made 120 dollars from 2 pm to 3 pm but made only 85 dollars from 3pm to 5 pm. That might be an problem you'd want to look into and see if you can fix it.

    Rule out the accounts the equipment and the trucks then the routs and finally your going to need to look at the employees. Some may be great some so so and others suck. You may either need daily list you expect weather its lawn cuts or actual dollars. With us a 2 man crew should see 800 dollars a day anything under 500 and I am losing money. So I got a newbie 2 weeks ago with me very weak set of skills and so I'm seeing 700s a day not happy since most of that is my doing and that's going to be the hard part for you. Some guys are so good even if the guy they are with sucks they can still bring in a profit. Your problem is going to be figuring out if the guys are both so so or if you got a real gem and hes being pulled down by dead weight. If that's the case getting him a real crew member is an easy fix.

    It also sounds like you grew way to fast and that definitely means you have some debt which you are paying on. And that could be the reason your seeing so little profits 2-5k a month in truck and equipment loans can serious hit the bottom line especially in the off season which no one ever seems to think of when they say they are making a profit in summer.
  2. guitarman2420

    guitarman2420 LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Midlothian, VA
    Messages: 617

    That's what I do NOW - I have some old agreements I'm stuck with
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  3. Patriot Services

    Patriot Services LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,506

    3 trucks for 5 guys sound like 1 truck of overhead too much. Are you the 5th man running a supervisor truck?
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  4. madisonpressurewashing

    madisonpressurewashing LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 366

  5. P.Services

    P.Services LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,319

    This is a great question that would provide one of the best reads on lawnsite if only the "big dogs" replied to it. No use in a solo guy that doubles as a handy man trying to give you advice. You need the guys that use to be in your shoes but conquered the problem. One other thought I'm having is maybe you could benefit from bringing in a industry consultant to really sit down and come up with a solution. Yeah it will cost a few grand but it may just take that.
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  6. guitarman2420

    guitarman2420 LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Midlothian, VA
    Messages: 617

    Have 2 out for a while. (4th of july event) Thx for great feedback. Will reply later
    Posted via Mobile Device
  7. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,725

    Actually we are not that different in size I don't do landscaping I do maintenance and will hit 250,000 this year minus out your 30% landscaping and were nearly identical in size.
  8. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,899

    Sorry I omitted all the whiney bs so I could see the facts and get to the point. If you have not already you need to read procuts How to fail thread.

    The short version is you have the expense's of a bigger company but not the volume. You are trying to cover your salary on the backs of too few workers which keeps your hourly rate high and limits your growth. I found that I needed to have at least 9 guys in the field producing income to support just myself and part time office help. Less than that and there was no profit and often losses. Now I have 12 employees and things are looking up. I am in the same market as you. I have 4 trucks in the field plus mine. I wouldn't sell the truck I might park it but shopping for trucks takes too much time away from day to day operations IMHO. You will need it soon enough if things work out.

    As far as employees I have found that if you fish in a cesspool (craigslist) you will catch turds. Start by using an online service that costs some $$ I use here. I look for candidates that have a proven work history at any company. Minimum 2-3 years employment at each company. My hiring system is one of my most valuable systems and when I follow it to the letter I get great employees. The work we do is not rocket science so if you have a short training manual to review before you put them out in the field you can eliminate most mistakes up front. This will also assure your methods are used not the person who happens to be driving the truck that day.

    You didn't mention any "extras" that your maint. crews are selling. We make a tidy cut by fixing sprinklers, changing L/S light bulbs (or lamps for you purists), fertilizing, cleaning fountains/ponds, tree trimming, etc. The key is to do it while your there for regular service so you don't have the overhead of another rig and high cost employee running all over.

    I need to get back to work myself but if you search my old threads I have posted my hiring system and there is a thread on production % that will be very valuable too. Also check out my e myth thread lots of good info there. I read something from Tony Bass today that said the only difference between a 1 million $ per year company and a 100 million $ company is the quantity and quality of their systems. You don't get big without systems.

    Good luck happy 4th
  9. vencops

    vencops LawnSite Bronze Member
    from NC
    Messages: 1,537

    I'll open with the pertinent info. - I am a solo (most times).

    But, I'll say this.....this allows me to personally up-sell each and every one of my customers.

    I can't imagine "most" employees having the drive to do this. I could be totally wrong, though. And, IF you're not at your accounts, personally, it's hard to do any sales of "extras".

    I'm hoping to move my LCO work (which is a small percentage of my overall bus. model) to the squirt/fert. side, next season (actually, starting this fall). I'm lucky that I have a great base of quality accounts that pay the bills. I'll continue to do maintenance for these folks (based on their request that no one else touches their property).

    This is a great eye-opener for a lot of folks. I'll bow out and follow, intently.
  10. Get Some...

    Get Some... LawnSite Senior Member
    from Kansas
    Messages: 651

    Unless the "solo guy that double's as a handyman" also ran a similar operation and decided it best to be a "solo guy".

    Beside's what work's for one person may not work for someone else...differant personalities manage employee's differantly....some folk's just work harder and get alot out of employee's....some do not.

    The guy that meet's a crew at their first job with some coffee and donut's once in a while and take's that time to shoot the BS with them..... will get alot more out of his help than the guy who nit-pick's them apart.
    It's all about maximum production for the hour's put in.
    Efficient routing for fuel saving's, marketing target neighborhood's for travel time and fuel saving's, ect.......

    Different stroke's for different folk's.

    Medium sized business is the hardest to make a profit at....... in the end it's all about what will make your life more pleseant.
    After all life is short, so a person might as well enjoy it.....
    I personally would rather kneel in the dirt planting Hosta's than look at cost sheet' long as it ain't too stinking HOT...... :)

    I wish the OP good luck at finding the solution that is right for him and his buisness.

    Now let the big dog's bark....:laugh:

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