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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is my first season as a legit business.

I find that there are just not enough hours in a day to cut the lawns, maintain the gear and do the office work.

I have two employees that work well, but require constant supervision.

What I was wondering was;

When did you start sending crews out alone? Both time wise and approx revenue figure

Do you think the owner is more valuable on a crew or in the office in the early stages?


Anyone that has the time to describe thier start up in detail from a managment / operations, it would be truly appreciated.

I think I am doing OK, but would feel more comfortable with your input.


Thank you,

Adam
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I just wanted to keep this thread current.

I would really appreceate some info, I would love to hear from some of you on a rainy day.


Adam
 

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Adam

In my early years I worked with a 5 man crew. Worked 6 days a week and Sunday's myself, even did flower planting after dinner. Workaholic. Worked on machines evening, nights, Sunday and when we had a short Saturday or Monday. Paper was kept very simple, except end of the month billing. Made the time for that, that was the money coming in.



Basicaly I did whatever was necessary to get the work done. And had somewhat of a social life.


I broke away from the maintenance side of things when the burden was to much and customer complaint was "Where am I?" "When is my work getting done?" Meaning side work and more importantly shrub pruning. Our work load is very light in August

Once I got away from the weekly end of the business I never looked back.

Now? :D
 

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First years are toughest. Used arcane equipment while in college, hired friends which didn't work, and learned from my mistakes. Did a lot of "mule" work, and always made sure that quality of work never was lacking. After 5 years I take this more serious as its now my fulltime job. Have 2-3 employees depending on time of year, and can't get away from the job as much as I would like....these things take time. This is really my second year fulltime and I am doing well.
 

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By the way years ago on this site there was a forum which let people explained there start and growth in this business. In my opinion they were the best threads..unfortunately they disappeared awhile back....would love to see a link to them...I am sure others remember
 

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I feel that all newbies in the biz should hold off on ANY employees for the first few years.

Get a taste for working your but off ALONE before you jump right to EASY Street.

Same with ZTR's. I feel it is necessary to learn the ropes on a WB. Why? Well thats the way I did it, and I don't wany ANYONE getting by the EASY way!

This fourm is EASY Street for SO many people, sometimes it makes me sick about how much VALUABLE information is at your fingertips. All this VALUABLE info was years of guys like me, and older forging the way, blood, sweat, tears, and counting money!

Heck there weren't even computers when I started out. Unless you call PONG or Intellivision a computer!


Sorry to get off topic, and don't take what I said above the wrong way. I just think you'd be better off MAXING out what YOU can PERSONALLY do before you jump to hiring employees.

Heck I've been debating employees for at least 15 years, and still can only account for myself to get my work DONE!

;)

Good Luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the posts, keep them coming.


TLS, I started off at 13 mowing with my dad's 21 toro, made enough money to buy a 1977 16 HP hydro wheel horse tractor w/48 inch deck.

My last two years were with a partner, we bought an old truck and two 21inch toro prolines, sthil blower, shidaiwa T-270 and a 12x 6.5 landscape trailer.

This is my first year alone since I was 17 (I'm 20 now) and I bought an 88 F-250 4x4 deisel, 17 hp 44inch Z-master and a shid. dh230 hedge trimmer.


The reason for my post was that this year I find it overwhelming.

I was wondering when you guys started to delegate work, and how to go about it. Is it easier to find workers, or office help etc?
 

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Office help?

I know million dollar companies that are run out of a bedroom with an answering machine.

Sure I'd love to have a secretary do my billing, etc. But, no way could I ever teach someone how to do EVERYTHING that I do, and have it come out right.

That is one reason that employees are a big step. I had a few friends and neighbor kids working for me over the years, but they could never.....trim as good, mow straight lines, not forget areas, show up on time, work 13 hours a day with only 1 13 minute lunch break.....

Get my drift? :D

With the equipment that you listed, you cant support employees.

I personally feel that you can make more money SOLO than with employees. It significantly adds to your overhead.


Just my $0.02
 

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Nothing against being a one man band, but to really make money and have a successfull business you will need employees. However don't take them on until your maxed out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
TLS, I know EXACTLY what you mean.

My guys seem to forget spots, not the same ones all the time, just like they are on another planet sometimes.

I actually now have
2 comm. 21's
2 trimmers
1 Bp blower
and the z-master
3 of us go out and mow 3 days (30 hours) per week.

I'm not planning on any more equipment for a while.

I spend 3 days mowing (wed, thur, fri) and mondays and tuesday's trimming shrubs and doing small installations.

The paperwork gets done at night.

I need to be able to get my mowing gear generating rev. 5 days a week.

What I was getting at when I said spliting to to crews was mainly supervision related.

Did those of you that have grown past this stage find it better to have a bigger mowing crew, ie 4-5 people even though it is less productive, but be there to supervise, generate more rev in 3 days and still do extras. Or, would you still mow with 3 guys, but five days per week and find one or two more to go do the extras.

The reason I am so stuck on employees is due to a thread which I think may have been posted by Jim Lewis, about leverage and selling other's time. It just makes so much sense.

I totaly agree that other than you other owners, no one would be as productive as me alone, but that puts a limit on my revenue.

Hope you can understand what I'm getting at, it's late and the billing is getting to me:dizzy:
 

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I never mowed a day in my. Why would you do the job that you could get someone else to do for $9/hr.

My neighbor asked me one day if I made 20K to 30K per house how many I would need to sale to make a billion dollars. She had a point. Be careful where you aim because you might just hit there.

Simple: OPM and OPT

Say you made just $1/hr/ worker and you had 50,000 employees like say microsoft has. How much would you make an hour, then?

Even a lawyer billing at 150/hr is limited to x amount per week. Hiring employees and the sky is the limit/
 

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edgewater. just curious what you're using for paper work? it sounds like you've got your finger on the equipment and workload, but need some paperwork lightening.

I recently went with Gopher 2003 and it's awesome. at the end of the day i just come in and click the 'complete jobs' button and it does it's thing, then at the end of the month i hit 'generate' and it makes the invoices, all i have to do is print them and mail/deliver them.

check out their free demo.
 

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Originally posted by parkwest
I never mowed a day in my. Why would you do the job that you could get someone else to do for $9/hr.

My neighbor asked me one day if I made 20K to 30K per house how many I would need to sale to make a billion dollars. She had a point. Be careful where you aim because you might just hit there.

Simple: OPM and OPT

Say you made just $1/hr/ worker and you had 50,000 employees like say microsoft has. How much would you make an hour, then?

Even a lawyer billing at 150/hr is limited to x amount per week. Hiring employees and the sky is the limit/
Looks like someone just got his Dave Del Dotto "your path to riches" progam in the mail today.
Gee, it looks so easy. Just hire a bunch of people and them to go do the work, then sit back, have a pina colada, and count your money.

Now, does anybody know where I can find 49,999 trained reliable employees? I want to go on vacation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
You have figured me out. I'm doing paper work manually. (on excel, but no accting program)

I was looking at a few posts a while back and debating gopher and quick books.

Not sure which would be more helpful.
 

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Since you already have employees, this program may not suit you as well as it does me since it does not do payroll.

MySoftware's MyInvioces and Estimates.

It's $29.99 at just about all Staples stores.

Does my inviocing and cash flow very well. Totally customizable. Prints out just about ANY report you can think of (Sales tax, Quarterly's, by customer, however you want)

It's clean and easy. Not bloated like some of the others. Clip, Gopher, and the others all include a lot of things that I will never use, and are rediculously high priced.



As for you guy's employees......

What do you do with them for 4 months during the winter? What do you do when they ask you about medical benefits, vacation, sick days, etc.??

If I could find somone .......

1) With a brain in their head

2) Willing to learn, and able to be trained.

3) Able to work from April 1st to November 15th

4) That didn't NEED benefits

5) That could operate my machinery 1/2 as good as me.


Then I'd have a crew cab full of them! Pay isn't that big of a deal, I'll negotiate that, and probably pay well if I would find such a person.

Around here the only ones that meet my list are Mexicans, and I would have a real hard time explaining to my customers why I have a Mexican on their property. That is, IF you can hire JUST ONE Mexican!!!
 

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I looked at it this way.

The demand on us for work became a problem. Working with a 5 man crew, plus me made it a 6. The more work that came in the faster we all had to move, and the more I wanted to cheat with regards to the work.

It all started with the shrub trimming. It got to a piont where I had to get out ahead of the main crew and trim, let them cleanup. Now that was productive. The daily numbers were great and bottom line was fantastic. Came August, when were all spent from the heat. Our work load was reduced and guys were able to take days off, including myself. This was great cause the hype started all over again once we began the fall seeding, planting and second trimmings then going into fall cleanup.

OK now what I have done was make the main crews burden less. Have a crew out trimming cleaning up after themselves. Add a guy to the maintenance when do applications, taking him away when not.

My thing is, have enough hands around for the work. This way none of the men are working all that hard every day they come to work. I run a civilized business.
 

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Originally posted by brucec32
Looks like someone just got his Dave Del Dotto "your path to riches" progam in the mail today.
Gee, it looks so easy. Just hire a bunch of people and them to go do the work, then sit back, have a pina colada, and count your money.

Now, does anybody know where I can find 49,999 trained reliable employees? I want to go on vacation.
Hey, that's funny. Is Dave Del Dotto still around? I went to a real estate seminar by the guy about 20 years ago.

I thought the guy was a good speaker. Paid for his books with the money I made off my first tax lien certificate. LOL
 
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