Separate names with a comma.
Discussion in 'Original Pictures Forum' started by HPSInc, Dec 7, 2010.
Always cool to read your thread. Congrats on all your success.
I second this opinion
Holy cow my 8th season is coming to a close. This year was pretty crazy and proves there is still so much I need to learn. As for equipment, I sold the black ford pickup and got a crew cab diesel ram pickup to replace it. I wanted more cab space and a diesel. The mileage on the v10 was horrific and had no room inside. It was a nice truck but I don’t miss it. In spring I purchased a used snapper 52” mower with bagging kit with 200 hours on it, 2 New Holland Diesel snow machines with cabs and blowers. They also came with mowing decks and a broom attachment. Also a toro gas powered snow machine with cab, and a Jacobsen Diesel snow machine that was a beater. I bought everything from the same guy for $18000. I sold my big toro snow machine that I built last winter, then sold the Jacobsen that was a real project I wanted nothing to do with. I’ll try and get some pics up eventually.
I feel like I’m about to contradict myself from things I’ve said in the past, but man....it seems like the guys you treat the best, cater to the most, and give the most power to are the ones who can and will screw you the most. I started the year with my mowing foreman returning for his 3rd season and a full time employee who doubled as our shop mechanic that jumped on board at the end of last fall. By June the foreman went ghost mid week and told me nothing. One of my employees let me know he was talking about quitting and ultimately found a new job. Apparently he was a little disgruntled and badmouthing me to the rest of the guys. The mechanic wanted to take his place, so I gave him a crash course and and really just needed a glorified babysitter to keep the guys in line it isn’t an extremely difficult position for anyone with a brain. Now he’s not a dumb guy, but he crashed and burned within 1 month and ultimately found a new job and left.
The problem with my long time mowing foreman was he could not get the work done without having more help that necessary. He always forgot things and missed things that should have been done. Basic things. He always blamed the crew for everything and never took responsibility and always pushed back on how I thought we should do things. My business, my rules, but you try to play nice to keep people happy. The mechanic forgot nothing and missed nothing, but couldn’t handle the guys whatsoever. Literally started fights and had an overall bad vibe, even with me. He was hot one minute and cold the next and you’d have no idea why.
Once they both were gone, I felt a weight lifted from my shoulders. From July on I was back to mowing foreman and shop mechanic. I hired a couple more employees and ran it everyday how I used to, how I wanted to.
At the end of the day having a crew leader and mechanic cost me in many ways more than it was worth. Both of them leaving was a blessing and I got things back under my belt like they used to be. My payroll and operating costs went down tremendously. We got less complaints and things got back to being done how they should.
I thought I wanted a big company with crew leaders and mechanics and all that jazz and that’s the direction I was going, but my experience so far has not been the best and I don’t like feeling at the mercy of others. It was definately something I had to experience first hand, I wasn’t slowing down and wanted more more more. I always wondered what size business is best for ME. Dealing with “main guys” has been more of a headache than dealing with the here today gone tomorrow type employees who are just basic laborers. I netted nearly the same with less work and less employees than last year. Facts, I grossed 75k less this year, and STILL took home a 6 figure pay day. Unless I plan to go real big, there’s no good reason to linger in the middle just to pay that money back out and have guys do things for me who really just give me a headache anyways while not making me a whole lot more money just so I can not work in the field but call me all day long with problems that wouldn’t be there if I was running the crew myself. I plan to further scale back next year while putting my efforts towards better pricing on accounts & becoming more efficient, and less on piling on the work.
I can see this all must really keep you up at night. (You posted at 3 am)
We’ve come to a similar conclusion over the last couple years, we get bigger but profits don’t. I’m not in the game of having a big business, and tons of employees, I’m in the business of money.
Funny how what you think you want can really change. I’m really Happy that you can see it in a positive light, it’s hard to come to the realization that you’re not making any more money, and then fire a bunch of guys.
If they quit and you go back to the way it was, maybe it’s a blessing in disguise like you said. No one will care about the business as much as you do. And if you do find someone that performs and cares as much as you then that is someone to invest in.
Don’t burn yourself out taking on all the roles though
Post pics of the new stuff though I’d love to see it
The big red toro is not the same one I had before, I sold that one, bought another one and had to do a ton of work to it, then ended up selling that machine as well. I also forgot I bought another little red toro when I was in a pinch, used it for a couple months and sold it as well.
What kind of jobs are you putting these machines on in the winter?
Are you buying them all with blowers, or set up for grass?
The can am defender purchase went a little like this....came in for a leaf blower, left with a can am defender. It was on the showroom floor with tracks and bumpers and all this cool stuff, I added a full stereo system and brought it home the next day. I also got my house built up front and knocked down the old house that was just in front of my shop and put a fence all the way across it. Then I purchased the property next door adding another 2 acres to my lot and am zoned manufacturing as well 300 ft back. It was kind of crazy because as soon as I started my home build the lot became available. Not the best timing but I couldn’t let someone else get it. As it was the current owner didn’t live in the area and nobody lived in the house next door and I wanted to keep it that way. Im not sure I want to put pics of my house up but it’s a 4 bedroom 4 bathroom ranch with a 3 car garage and open floor plan. I also had another baby, so now I have a girl and a boy and I’m done having kids lol.
As for business stuff I’m a bit of a tool nut so I can fix a lot myself. I have welders, torchers, tools out the ying yang...Anything really difficult I now farm out to a nice little shop that’s right around the corner and I have a good relationship with the owner. Im just not sure I’ll find a guy to run a crew properly like myself so I plan to run it myself atleast next year and see how it goes. Things always change but I pretty much made more money the past two years only to spend it on other people. I can make the same with much less overhead, so either I’d have to go real big or just settle in to where I am. I CAN and have sent my crew out without me here and there but it’s not something I’d want to do everyday. I have a guy who’s been with me two years and I let him tag in if I’m not there but I don’t let guys get too comfy anymore. They get cozy and it just starts to slowly go down hill and once you realize it, things are a mess. My experience atleast.
Good god I need to check my Photos over better lol, anyways I use the snow machines at HOA’s to buzz the driveways. Some of my
Machines come with mowing decks when I get them but I never use them to cut grass. I have 4 scag 52” standers and two 52” riders with bagging kits. The decks are good if you want to sell the machine because someone else might want it for a year round type deal when I just park them and use them in winter. I only have two on site this year. I leased out my big Kioti tractor to another contractor this winter. I didn’t want to do as much snow this year. I passed on putting it at a big account but I really just needed a break and didn’t want to continue the madness like I’ve been doing the last few years. I still buy these machines up locally for a couple reasons. One being if I want to go hard one winter I’ll have the stuff to do it and another is a little petty but I want to decide who gets them and who doesn’t. I’d rather see other contractors spending big bucks on skid steers with blowers while I scoop up all these little money makers for Myself. Call me crazy I dunno
I can’t edit but it’s crazy because guys I bid against use bobcats with blowers that in my opinion don’t work as well, quads with plows, trucks with plows which destroy the places, or walk behind blowers for the driveways which just sucks for the guys using them and you need a few people to get through a place. I can put one machine on a property with 80 homes and have all driveways done in 3-4 hours will no mess.
labor has always been a challenge...but seemingly the hot topic of recent with the economy booming and work piling up, while the values and motivation of the workforce is changing rapidly.
I like the snowblowers as your choice for communities. I like the no mess part. We use smaller vehicles with plows, but have always wanted an inverted blower on tractor for a neater product.
Mind if i ask what your crews are like? how many guys? summer/winter? What does your work consist of? Maintenance/construction/plow%?
Thanks. Good luck with the house, kids, and new game plan to cut back a little!