Looking To Grow.... ?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by scraper69, Feb 5, 2005.

  1. gardenkeeper88

    gardenkeeper88 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 350

    For me it worked VERY well. We had 2 trucks already. Both 3/4 tons. When we added the 2nd. crew we were overbooked by the end of the season the year before. We knew we could land more Mowing jobs / Maint. jobs so that is what we went after. Crew #1 did primarily the mowing and weeding. While crew 2 took all landscape, Mulchings, prunings and xtras. We have a condo assoc. that takes all of us to do on 1 day. that left 4-4 1/2 days for the rest. Like I said I was overbooked last season working 50 + hours per week. By taking a 3man crew down to 2 and adding more work I was able to keep employee hours real close to the 40 with very little overtime. this helped the bottom line. We got everything done except a couple $3000. landscapes done.to be carried over for first thing this year. I also can't take me out of the labor force just yet. But I am gaining on it to cut back a bit hopfully in a year or two. The nice thing about the lawn crew is once in place it doesn't get slow. ALL our lawns are irrig. We did add a 12000# dump trailer which was cheaper than a nother truck. Look at your numbers very carefully because the other guys are right. I knew that I could add More maint. I was already over booked and ready to expand and yes I was making money with moderate but steady increases each year.
    Good luck Gardenkeeper88
  2. scraper69

    scraper69 LawnSite Senior Member
    from mi
    Messages: 477

    without a doubt. you gota look at your numbers, and yes maint acts or mowing are not the issue, if i advert, (which i never do) i could probably triple.Its the landscape installs that i cant be sure of to have 5 days per week
    As for the truck, like i said, i really need a step up for our installs. We use the 3 yd truck- say on a 3000sq sod replacement, and i loose my foreman for a couple hours of trucking. with a 6 yard truck you take less trips overall in and out. This jump is not extreme, i dont know why everyone is getting all negative?? I already have 75% of the labor i need, i have all necesssary equip, and 1 of the trucks(3yd would use for lawn ) Just need a truck )6yd ) and 1 good employee, as for work, i always find March and April are my months of booking, I dont get many to sign up in Dec or Jan, on either maint or construction jjobs. I know many who have also made this jump, *as mentioned above* Worst case scenerio???? guess i would have a big truck and an extra guy?? keep comments coming,,,, thanks
  3. meets1

    meets1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,850

    I guess to a point were at that stage in the game as well. Were doing 150K, looking at adding another branch company 20 miles away and I am looking at 350K in that area.

    I am moving our main manager over there to run daily ops. I will am adjusting to business owner as to business worker. I have a hard time letting go of the hands on stuff but I also realize I own, run, manage, the business at hand.

    With this though we are jumping into the sweeping & striping business as well. If I can offer mowing, spray/fert, general maintanace of the grounds, were going to offer striping/sweeping as well.

    As with everything, you need to know your numbers, keep overhead low, and starting out - manage debt.
  4. LLCO

    LLCO LawnSite Member
    Messages: 55

    It might be helpful if you quantify what you feel is "enough" money.

    Are you struggling with a volume issue or a margin issue? If you are booked 5-6 days a week with one crew and you do not feel you are getting an adequate return form that crew then you are looking at an expectation or margin issue. If you are not booked then with a volume issue I can better see your point. I am assuming that similar to most operations that I have seen/modeled your maintenance accounts are providing you a lower margin than your install accounts. A typcial trap that you can fall into is that you are not as profitable as you can be but you are going to "make it up in volume".

    Good Luck
  5. jreiff

    jreiff LawnSite Senior Member
    from MN
    Messages: 402

    Just was wondering why you send you foreman, your best man and guy who makes all the decisions when you are not there, to go get sod. Don't send your highest paid guy to get sod, etc. and sit in the truck, when you could be putting his knowledge and experience to work on site. Send your next best guy to do that. Your not paying him as much, therefore not wasting as much money. Just my 2 cents.

    Had the same thing happen here. Foreman would always jump in the truck to run and get everything. When he is the one that knows how the job is to go and should be done. Then the other crew members were not sure exactly how things were to be done. Therefore wasted time.
  6. tonygreek

    tonygreek LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,852

    "This jump is not extreme, i dont know why everyone is getting all negative?? "

    last i checked, a near doubling of headcount and a hope of doubling revenue, all within this calendar year IS the very definition of extreme when you seemingly do not have any formalized strategy or financial projections to support the jump.

    don't take this the wrong way, but i really don't get the feeling that you've come up with an actual plan to do this. have you figured out your hard costs that you will need to cover through growth? do you have the ability to meet payroll as you try to scale up?

    as for the worst case scenario you seem to be wanting, isn't it pretty obvious what that is?

    have you figured out what that extra truck and guy will truly cost you?

    the people who've responded so far seem to have a handle on what they needed to grow, ie solid supporting numbers, so the mention of them as comparison on the basis alone of having made a successful jump is apples to oranges.
  7. scraper69

    scraper69 LawnSite Senior Member
    from mi
    Messages: 477

    LLCO- it is a volume issue with installs. cant get enough! and

    jrieff- exactly( my foreman jumps in truck - but hes also an older guy) and needs that break and the only one with CDL and experience driving efficiently

    Tony- i agree all negative on me--- it not extreme and yes ive been crunching numbers for months- just keep having worst case scenario thoughts
    I have much experience and education in Buisness(mkt, acctg, mgmt ) ect
    just having a hard time making decions????
  8. scraper69

    scraper69 LawnSite Senior Member
    from mi
    Messages: 477

    What would you do?????
  9. tonygreek

    tonygreek LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,852

    "What would you do?????"

    come up with a solid plan and work towards whatever goal you have. short of that, what exactly are you looking for?

    you say you have much education and experience in the key business areas, but so far you've seemed to have tossed all of that out of the equation. if you were using those skills, your decision making process that you seem so troubled with is not a problem whatsoever. none. zero. why is it not a problem? because if you've used those, you've made realistic expectations and revenue forecasts tied to overhead costs needed to facilitate that growth and realized that your view of chasing money by spending money is flawed at it's core.

    short of you sharing your projections so that an apples to apples comparison can be made and advised upon, this thread will continue on only by you bumping it. sorry, but that's the reality of business.
  10. scraper69

    scraper69 LawnSite Senior Member
    from mi
    Messages: 477

    ok tony, education is the financial end of this expansion question--covered. Not saying i dont know how im gonna finance my stuff or what not, just need experienced advice of how people in this trade have taken a 3 man lawn and landscape firm to a 4 or 5 man multi services - seperate crews firm. Just like reinforcement of my plan, i guess.

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