Managing crews from afar

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by velocicaur, Apr 5, 2007.

  1. velocicaur

    velocicaur LawnSite Member
    Messages: 38

    Say for example, business goes extremely well the next 4-5 years and I have a crew or two mowing and maybe one full time spray guy. Is it possible for them to run themselves? I would check on them every weekend, maybe during the week, but other than that, they would be responsible for the equipment and such? I would definitely have to find good workers, and one foreman type person that is responsible for most of it. I would still be responsible for collecting and paying bills, but that should be possible from an outside location.

    The reason I ask is that I am still in school, but I would like to attend a professional school that is 3 hours away. Could I create a business that would supply myself a small, but better than nothing, income while in school.

    If something like this would not be possible, maybe I should not attempt to run something like until after I get out of school. I'm really interested in trying though. Just looking for some opinions. Thanks.
  2. 1cooltreeguy

    1cooltreeguy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 630

    It is possible but you will still need to be at the ships wheel on a daily basis. Even a well trained foreman will only live up to expectations if you are inspecting regularly. Bulid in consequences if goals are not meant and rewards if they are. Good luck - work hard to get it where you want it and then enjoy the benefits.
  3. Tim Wright

    Tim Wright LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,034

    Of course its possible, and it is called business. I don't think I would tell your employees what I was doing though, and I would keep closer tabs on things than what you are counting on right now.

  4. RedWingsDet

    RedWingsDet LawnSite Gold Member
    from Detroit
    Messages: 3,556

    I tired that last year. I was going to college 3 hours away. I couldnt do it and still have a profitable company. Work was getting done, but taking 2x as long because of slackers. After one wasted semester, I came back home, but still going to school, just not a huge university. Since those employees previsouly couldnt find three words called respect, quality, time, I had to hire all new people,I now have expierenced employees (atleast 7 years expierence). So this year should be fantastic!

    Good luck. My advice is either stay around your home and do community college IF you are looking to make a carrerr out of it, or atleast 10-15yrs, but if your just looking for work to put you through college while your not even around, forget about it your just wasting you time and money.
  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    When the cat's away, the mice will play.
  6. velocicaur

    velocicaur LawnSite Member
    Messages: 38

    Thanks for the responses.

    I am worried about employees slacking off - but going with a large amount of experience would be my best bet.

    I'm graduating from college this semester, but I'm not ready to hit the books for a solid 4 years again. Looking for something to do in the meantime and have it be worthwhile when I go back later.

    Thanks again.
  7. J Hisch

    J Hisch LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 952

    I have been in business since 2002. I have 3 mowing crews, with leader on each and 1 full time thec. covering 400 accounts with a mix of residental and commercial. They pretty much run themselves. I give them daily route work and out the door they go I usually dont hear from them unless there is a problem. The only drawback I see is when decision need to be made or a customer need to talk with you you will have a problem, plus they will only have the work ethic that you instill in them on a daily basis. You will need 1 darn good manager period....
  8. ooo

    ooo LawnSite Member
    Messages: 235

    Give the foreman a percentage of each, and the helper(s) a smaller percent. Any complaints they get, they fix on their time. Tell them you will be doing random checking, and though a customer may not complain, if you see undesireable work they will also be doing on their time.
  9. naughty62

    naughty62 LawnSite Senior Member
    from iowa
    Messages: 369

    If your running 400 plus accounts your going to need reliable supervision . A well organized shop and take em by the hand and walk em though every possible scenarios.Some of the biggest man hour killer are little things ,like having two guys watch someone tear the shop apart looking for a bolt or a plug. driving whole crews back to shop to replace a belt or fix aflat.Not having a list of back up work ,when that piece of equipment shuts down that whole job site.Tagging of broken equipment .You should be able to open the shop doors and see and read what was done .There is nothing like showing up to a bunch of guys ,that don't have the serviceable equipment or a schedule .You should have someone that is capable of doing small estimates like mowing, power raking, apps, ect. Most owners guard their bid schedule like a trade secret.Is this because most of their competition is ex employees.
  10. jbone

    jbone LawnSite Member
    Messages: 125

    you could also have a friend or two check in on them. Thats what my friends father seems to do. If him or his son arent able to keep an eye on them I may just drive by quick to make sure things are going ok. You should see the suprise on their faces when I pull in to the complex:laugh:

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