Maniacal Project Manager

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by TPendagast, Oct 20, 2012.

  1. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,323

    yea mark how do i know you?
  2. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,323

    Actually, none of my investment is in control of the majority owner. Titles to the equipment bought with my money is in my name still. I can, and have discussed taking my stuff and leaving, there is only about 20k or so in liquid funds that she would owe me if I were to choose to leave.

    Have everything I need to start my own if I so chose.

    However, is not my goal to start my own. If I was to do that I wouldn't have sold my older companies and moved on.

    I'd really rather run my side of the show, teach a few tricks and ride snow machines.

    I've helped several people with their businesses before, and when things got really rolling, I've just moved on (twice before I've literally made myself obsolete).

    It's just I've never seen something like this guy before, well, not with 8 years in business, usually say 3 and they don't open their doors back up on year 4.

    There are several regional issues here that are playing to their favor that you don't see anywhere else. Namely the utter lack of any serious real competition (at least by lower 48 standards) the "normal" companies up here use a lot of equipment from home depot. I'm not talking about the common johnny side job who doesn't know any better, I mean most of the guys up here are that way.

    There is one company that uses walkers and another company that uses john deere commercial equipment, but they only just started using that stuff. Before that it was black and decker yard wrecker.

    The fun thing is most of the customers are transplants from Washington/California or elsewhere, who have money and so they know better as they have had properly done landscape services in the past. But the discipline of "landscaping" up here has only recently shifted from rusty old snow machines on display in the front yard, to what the rest of us consider 'normal'. So the locals are not on par yet. The company im affiliated with was the first of it's kind to use commercial lawn equipment. When they bought it (and they had it shipped from the lower 48 when they did) everyone was like "hot dang where didja git dem thingies"

    So, there isn't the normal circumstances existing to compare things to in the lower 48.

    Also, up here, there is a lot of ignorant "The ALASKAN way is better, we'll learn ya" which is a rather comical ignorance, seeing as everything that's up here is brought from the lower 48. Like there is a whole new way to mow, or push snow that only alaskans have discovered, or that in alaska, plants dont need water! (seriously if you saw it, it would either make you laugh, or cry)
  3. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,128

    You have no idea of how correct you are.

    You used to use CLIP, maybe still do. You used to use 2 different names and no one knew which personality was being addressed when responding to you.

    Maybe you still do.

    Unfortunately, I was never blessed to meet you in person. We were in the same hotel and apparently conference room(s), but my loss.

    Great, so some guy from Connecticut is going to learn them Alaskans and Eskimos how to do things the right and proper way. Good for you.

    Did you ever think that maybe they do know something about moving snow, especially after last year? Probably moved more snow than you have seen, Mr Pendagast.
  4. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,323

    Amusing assumption that my snow and ice management experience is limited to Connecticut. Or the assumption that Ive never been to or worked in Alaska before.

    Prior to CLIP and Connecticut I did snow operations here in Alaska, where I lived and worked from early 97 to late 99.

    More recently, I moved from the Rocky Mountains in Idaho where I regularly sit on a snow bank when I watch fouth of july fire works, since the snow there, at 5000 above sea level doesn't fully melt until the weekend following the 4th. Sound like a lot of snow? Yea it is, because we regularly get more snow there than most populated places in Alaska.

    Your assumptions about Alaska are also amusing, Eskimos dont plow snow, they simply just live and move on top of it. Contractors up here are transplants from elsewhere. People who work up here and are reliable are generally employed up on the slope 2 weeks on 2 weeks off.
    Anchorage is a different climate than where I am located at, colder here with less snow, the colder it gets the less likely it will snow at all, because in fact it gets too cold to snow for a good portion of the winter.

    So, no they haven't plowed more snow than I have seen, quite the contrary.

    Normal snow events here ranged around 2-4 inches will drifting being more of an issue.

    So when I was in connecticut? I was an alaskan guy in CT, not the other way around.

    Challenges here are supplies, due to the shipping of materials and equipment. So the trick is all in managing logistics, but you wouldn't know that because your assumption is it's just like where you are, but with more snow.

    Everyone thinks that.
  5. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,128

    That's the good ole Ted\Ed I remember. Ever so humble.
  6. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,323

    More "fun" assumptions from Mark. Guess you'd fit in well here Mark maybe you should move.

    It was my "assumption" when I moved here I would just get a ho-hum job, futz around and ride snow machines as my primary activity while I raised my two young girls.

    Upon arriving here, and finding that simply having a driver's license was a "commodity" because anyone who could drive, and didn't have a criminal record that was rife with felonies was already employed by an oil company, I couldn't even apply for a job without people bombarding me. I actually went on a web site, filled out SOME of an application and then left the window open because I got bored and went to watch TV with my kids. I got a phone call the next day from, what I guess was the owner or a hiring manager, who somehow could see my activity on their site, and could see my online resume from the parent site, and practically badgered me to finish the application.

    Wow, hmm that's weird.
    I had similar experiences where ever I inquired.

    When I walk on a job site, and talk to customers, even when there is something already going on, that I'm not overseeing. Customers light up and say "wow, I'm glad YOU'RE here"

    Huh that's and odd reaction, I didn't but talk to you for 5 minutes, whats up.

    The General consensus? 1) I actually showed up 2) I'm not Drunk

    It's NOT due to my general aura of "awesomeness" it's because everyone else thinks the "alaskan way" is to show up when you've run out of drinking money and need some more.

    The "alaskan way" is to half-neck it because the poor customer doesn't know any better. The "alaskan way" is to lie to people a lot, then lie some more. The Alaskan way is very xenophobic and everything from "outside" (what the call anything not here) isn't as good as what's here, which is extremely ignorant because the only way things get 'here' is to come from outside!

    And as Far as those people who are doing things "the alaskan way"? The guy we are speaking about in Particular is from Massachusetts! Oh my gosh, it's so amazingly different from CT I forgot. maybe your right, all hail the incredible experience from Mass. Next Maybe I should look for a consultant from Rhode Island.....

    Yes the problem is my lack of humbleness, that's why I was so surprised when I looked for jobs here, because I expected to outshine people by showing up to work and putting water on plants. (oh and grass! my my! who knew that needed water!)

    final note, 12-13 years ago, everyone just drove on top of snow, it was called 4 wheel drive and the parking lots were piles of packed rutted snow, But now, since the economic crash in the lower 48, ALOT of lower 48 has moved here (and I mean a lot. I was actually disappointed at how many) and they have brought their expectations of service with them... "the alaskan way" isn't cutting it with them Carrs and Fred Meyers and Lowes all need to be plowed properly like they were in Washington or Montana or I don't know some place normal.

    Oh but you wouldn't know that. Because you've never been here.

    Edit: And the owner actually got a contract back, that she almost lost, WHY because she told the guy I was going to do/oversee the work, the guy never even MET me (I tired three times but he wasn't available) but the mere fact that 1) I was going to do the work and 2) that I had had "east coast" experience, sealed the deal and she got the contract back because 1) she promised the "other guy" wasn't going to have anything to do with it and 2) the competitor who wanted to do it was "local"
    So much for that theory, huh!
    It's not the East coast awesomeness really, I left there BECAUSE that's how people think and behave. It's because they know I'll actually show up, do the work, and not let them down. (letting you down? thats the ALASKAN way)
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2012
  7. txgrassguy

    txgrassguy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,083

    Well, you are stuck with one of two actions the way I see your predicament.
    First, sit down with the majority owner and detail the problem(s) and solution(s) as you feel appropriate. As a factor of the solution(s) and actual end date for incorporating is an absolute necessity.
    Or 2, say "**** Off and Die", take your equipment and go elsewhere.
  8. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,983

    Enough said: The guy we are speaking about in Particular is from Massachusetts. Damn those liberals. They are always ruining the neighborhoods.
  9. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,323

    Yes, well obviously.

    The first option is the best. The thing I haven't tackled before is how do you tell someone THEY are the problem. I mean it's the white elephant in the room. EVERYone knows it. His vendors, his family. People make fun of him behind his back, it actually made me angry when I walked into a vendor and they said what they said, I was like what the heck, this guy has bought ALL his machines from you? I went to the office and advocated a change in vendors, then THIS guy jumps down my throat about how I'M alienating "our" friends.

    What the heck those guys aren't "friends" and he has no IDEA (apparently) what they think of him. As the year has gone along, its quite clear, the vendor is not in the minority. I've had to field customers complaints about him, vendor and subs jokes about him....

    It's less of an issue with "separation" through incorporation (that I can handle) and more of an issue with "how do you do a non-drug related intervention"

    Trust me, at one point in time I thought the problem might be alcohol or drugs, but it's not.

    How do you handle in such a way the guy doesn't put his worldly possessions in a sack, tie it to the end of a stick, throw it over his shoulder and just walk away??

    How can you deal with a situation like this without shooting the guy in the head. We want to turn the thing around, not sink it (or him).

    The other issue is, we are really poised to be THE go to landscape company in our venue (the competition isn't in much better shape) but in the past year-year and a half the company reputation is really slipping, because this guy has branded himself and not the company, and with his lack of production/follow through he's dragging himself/the company down.

    I think the guy is actually got a second problem going on, he's also burnt out. 8 years of spinning wheels and not "making it big" has taken some toll.

    How to put some sting back in the guy? (especially with winter and him saying 'i dont want to do anything with snow plowing...its boring')
  10. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,323

    Wait, im ******ed when it comes to politics, is MASS more Liberal than CT?

    I usually just consider the whole place "the commonwealth of New England" maybe they should reorganize and form an actual "state" rather than being little counties with state labels?

    seriously though, Is CT considered "conservative" and Mass "liberal" how odd.... we have counties bigger than the area there that separates them, in fact I think Ive been on personal property a few times that's bigger than both states combined.

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