If you have a moment, could you tell a bit about your first years

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Edgewater, Jul 28, 2003.

  1. Edgewater

    Edgewater LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 457

    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,

  2. Edgewater

    Edgewater LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 457

    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.

  3. GLAN

    GLAN Banned
    Messages: 1,647


    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
  4. dmk395

    dmk395 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Ma
    Messages: 1,006

    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.
  5. dmk395

    dmk395 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Ma
    Messages: 1,006

    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
  6. TLS

    TLS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,943

    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!
  7. Edgewater

    Edgewater LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 457

    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?
  8. TLS

    TLS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,943

    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
  9. dmk395

    dmk395 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Ma
    Messages: 1,006

    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.
  10. Edgewater

    Edgewater LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 457

    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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