1. Missed the live Ask the Expert event?
    Catch up on the conversation about fertilization strategies for success with the experts at Koch Turf & Ornamental in the Fertilizer Application forum .

    Dismiss Notice

I may not make it. What should I do?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by DiscoveryLawn, Jan 26, 2005.

  1. DiscoveryLawn

    DiscoveryLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 408

    I used to own a full service lawn and landscape maintenance company but now I only do lawn care applications.

    I am really starting to have a lot of physical problems (back, knees and some mystery pain in both of my feet). I am only 34 years old but I realize my days are numbered as far as continuing to work in the field. I hope to get one more year out there while I try to grow as fast as I can to be able to afford hiring a certified technician. Right now, I do not have enough clients to fill a complete route.

    I am very concerned that I will not make it (physically) to the end of the year. I have a PG, which helps, but just loading fertilizer now a days is killing me. I need to at the very least have a backup plan now.

    I am considering:

    1) Should I hire a trainee now so when I have to step out of the day to day labor I have a man ready to go? Problem with this is, right now I do not have enough fert clients to pay a salary. Therefore, I would absolutely HAVE TO ad at least 300 new clients. If I am running the route, when will I find time to gain that many new clients?

    2) Should I hire a full time certified tech now to run the route and I do sales full time? The problem with that is I am very very quality and service oriented. Therefore, I would prefer to train a tech from the ground up with him working with me directly for at least an entire season before he goes out on his own. I am not excited about hiring someone with experience from another company bringing in bad habits or bad training to my clients lawns.

    3) Should I gamble and just try to do it myself as long as I can and if my back goes completely out figure it out then? This is the last thing I want to do but I may not have a choice.

    4) Should I hire someone to work along side me to perform the physical labor, receive technical training, do sales between applications and basically be my right hand until I have a full route? Again, I need at least 300 new clients by the end of Rnd 1 to be able to do this. Anything less than that comes out of my (necessary) salary Anything under 200 (new clients) I will lose money.

    Does anyone have other suggestions? What are you comments about the options I am considering?

    Obviously I need :help: !!

    Thank you,

  2. James Cormier

    James Cormier LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Ma
    Messages: 1,217

    You got PM
  3. i_plant_art

    i_plant_art LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 558

    sounds like you have yourself in a predicament. i would look into what it would cost you to hire someone to work with you maybe part time during the season and work on training them. Also i dont know if you have been seeing a doctor or not but i would look into seeing a chiropractor. they can do amazing things for you before you get to the point where you need surgery or have to quit working, check them out you will be amazed. hope things work out for you.
  4. tonygreek

    tonygreek LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,867


    If you're trying to still grow that business, i think your only real option is to hire someone. If your back goes out, and then you try to figure it out, you know what will happen with your existing clients. Have you figured out how many hours bringing in an apprentice would utilize? How about just a laborer? You might try checking with the local tech schools or sinclair for interns, although last i knew, sinclair doesn't have turf mgt.

    i recall reading previous posts about dropping the other aspects of your business to concentrate on applications, but are there any other high margin services you could add back in?

    if there's any way that i can help, please let me know. i could always send some good part-timers your way to help you get through the rough patches.

  5. MacLawnCo

    MacLawnCo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,847

    id be glad to lend you a hand in a number of ways. if you wana get together and empty your mind, in sure Tony and I would love to sit down and give you unbiased opinions and suggest some strategies. I know that, as an entrepreneur, my dad is always really thankful when he can bounce ideas off me as well. just an idea
  6. gogetter

    gogetter Banned
    Messages: 3,256

    David, I can't really say which one of the options you listed is best, but I have to say that I really feel that you should be working to figure out what's causing your back pain!

    Between the right exercises, stretching, the right chiropractor (not the kind that just cracks your back, but one that works with traction, etc.), and if absolutely need be, surgery, you should be able to beat this for the most part.

    I have a bad back also, doctor recently said it was sciatica, a pinched nerve that shoots pain down my legs!!! I couldn't stand for more then a couple minutes at a time before having to sit or lay down.
    Doc sent me to a chiro and he has me on tables that message and stretch my back. Then he takes my legs and does all these stretches. He never even does a single adjustment (back cracking). I'm a LOT better lately! Just my normal back pain again, but nothing debilitating like before.

    I will say that I am definitely working towards employees because of my back problems (among other problems, asthma, lack of desire to be working my ass off when I'm 55! LOL!).

    Best of luck to ya!! Keep us updated too.

  7. James Cormier

    James Cormier LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Ma
    Messages: 1,217

    David, It was nice talking with you today,you got me thru 15 driveways or so. It 11pm and Im heading out soon to clean up, Im getting tired of snow fast up here.

    I glad to read some of these responses here, good job guys!

    I didnt think about #4 when we where talking, and that one kinda makes sense, if you could find someone the just help with the physical stuff, like loading the truck, machine, filling out paper work and blowing off driveways. Maybe a part time basis so you can go out and sell on certain days, then save other days for production. Who knows that person may turn into #1 within time.
  8. tonygreek

    tonygreek LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,867

    david, to echo mac, i'd be more than happy to try and spitball some current and future strategies. besides being an owner/operator, he's an accountant (or soon to be), and i'm an enigma.... :)

  9. DiscoveryLawn

    DiscoveryLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 408

    I plant art and gogetter,
    Yes I know I need to get in to see a doctor again but I do not have health insurance anymore. However, I am buying another policy in April. I have already been diagnosed with arthritis in my spine and if it is related to that it will not be covered by a new policy for one year anyway.

    Mac and Tony,
    Thank you guys so much for the offer. I will take you up on meeting sometime to brainstorm some ideas. Look me up in SBC Yellow Pages.

    I really appreciate all of the advise I received from you over the past year and I look forward to being in a position to help you out one of these days. I too enjoyed talking with you and you were a big help.

    I agree that #4 is going to be the route to go. However, I still have to figure out how I am going to afford the extra payroll. I actually crunched the numbers on what it will take to do this. I will need a between 108 and 134 new clients before the end of Rnd 1 just to cover the additional salary (including employer share of taxes and BWC). I will then need another 140 to 170 to pay myself a salary (finally) and $$ for growth.

    So the bottom line is I need an additional 248 to 304 new clients before the end of Rnd 1 to be able to do this. Any additional $$$ spent in order to do this will increase the number of new clients I need to obtain in order to cover the added expense. In another thread I mentioned that my advertising budget is limited to only $9500.00 (this includes $4500.00 in my yp ad) right now unless the sales come rolling in.

    I am still trying to figure out how I am going to generate this many sales before the end of Rnd 1.

    Any suggestions??

  10. James Cormier

    James Cormier LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Ma
    Messages: 1,217

    Start now!!, David, I was always one to wait until spring to start selling, but I know there are people out there right now marketing, I would suggest start telemarketing right now.

    Maybe someone that is telemarketing right now can suggest some database programs to use, Ive use INfo usa, ProCD in the past, not sure if they are still around.

    By far this is the cheapest way to get customers, I know it sucks, I hated doing it, but I think YOU gotta use this tool this season. Start with something like this

    " Hi Mrs Jones, My name is David, Im calling from Discovery lawns, We have a few estimates set up in your neighborhood for our lawn program, we hope to be doing these as soon as the snow melts enough to see some grass. I was wondering if we could provide one of these free lawn estimates for you?"

    Or ( this is the way I telemarketed my last few years doing it)

    Hi Mrs Jones, My name is David, Im calling from Discovery lawns, We will be mailing out our brochure on our 5 step lawn program to some of you neighbors, its free and their is no obligation, I was wondering if I could mail one out to you? "

    Then the next day I drive around and look at all the lawns that said yes, and guesstimate the size from the truck, and then mail them out a full brochure with estimate form. This is kinda like a direct mail/telemarketing program that worked pretty good for me.

    Now to the person you will hire to help with work, maybe a temp agency will be the better way to go, I know the type of people you get are questionable, but its probably the cheapest,and if the person doesn't work out it much easier getting rid of them, Plus you can wait until the last moment to get them on board.

Share This Page