My competition calls me for business advice .

nepa irrigation

LawnSite Member
very true bgger isnt't always better. I'm also small one man and family if needed, put kids through college nice home toys tc, winter in fl . The thing is to charge appropriate, we are here to make a living, others run for a $10 repair (beer money)
 
OP
M

Mdirrigation

LawnSite Platinum Member
Location
Maryland
That depends on what he wants to do at 65?

Retire?
Where’s the money going to come from?
Hopefully in ten years he has something he can be president of and pay someone else to run day to day operations.

He thought he was there , he was paying someone to run the day to day . But he neglected to check the day to day .

Retirement , now thats something the young guys in this business dont think of enough . They want cool equipment , pretty trucks etc . What they dont realize is when they are 35 , they are just 15 years away from 50 . Once they reach 50 its 15 years to 65 . You need to be thinking of retirement in your 20's .

I got some great advice at a young age . I didnt listen to it right away . I didnt start on my retirement until my late 20's . But I did . And I sit here at 57 , and can retire anytime I want . But I havent . I can still work , bring in cash , and I still like working . To have a larger retirement .


Thats one section that should be added to this forum

"The road to retirement "
 

TPendagast

LawnSite Fanatic
He thought he was there , he was paying someone to run the day to day . But he neglected to check the day to day .

Retirement , now thats something the young guys in this business dont think of enough . They want cool equipment , pretty trucks etc . What they dont realize is when they are 35 , they are just 15 years away from 50 . Once they reach 50 its 15 years to 65 . You need to be thinking of retirement in your 20's .

I got some great advice at a young age . I didnt listen to it right away . I didnt start on my retirement until my late 20's . But I did . And I sit here at 57 , and can retire anytime I want . But I havent . I can still work , bring in cash , and I still like working . To have a larger retirement .


Thats one section that should be added to this forum

"The road to retirement "

Well people live longer usually now than they once did
My dad was the first male in our family to make it past 55, I’ve got some uncles in their 80s, but before that retirement was “work for twevty years and get a pension”
Now you really can’t find that outside of government or the union... and even union deals are questionable now.

In my opinion there is traditional retirement (which most entrepreneurs won’t settle for anyway) which means doing nothing and living off savings, and then there’s company funded living in your old age.
You build something and then let it support you.
You don’t need to sell it to retire
Remain the president
Just let the ops manager run things
Even when your old you can you’re your own ops and look at the financials once a month.
Talk to customers
Visit some job sites

What else are you going to do when your old?
Your going to get bored
No one with ambition just wants to do nothing
They just want the freedom from day to day grind.
So just build something and promote yourself past having to do everything you don’t want to deal with, while not giving away the farm to someone else.

That’s my two cents
 

kellanv

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
Austin, Texas
After nearly destroying my ankle a couple of weeks ago I sure am glad that I have a good team behind me.

Personally I think both ways can be valid. We've been growing in revenue 30% a year for the last 5 and I can certainly say that when you are smaller most things are easier. Tracking COGS, P&L, labor efficiency etc. can all be done pretty quickly without dire consequences. Once we got much over the $1M mark it became painfully obvious that it was stupid easy to lose your shirt and profitability. A little bit of time wasted with 2 people isn't that expensive. Wasted time with 12 certainly is! We had a wake up call last year when our profit barely moved despite making 30% more in revenue. We had to really dig deep to not only become more efficient but also focus our strategy on the things that have the most profit.

A big part of that is having the right people. I would rather have a few people that are great at their job and in the right seats than 20 warm bodies. We have been working at getting people in the right seats and have had to make some very tough decisions in letting people go that no longer fit the role we needed as we got bigger. Now we have a great core team and I get to do mostly the stuff I'm good at and enjoy.

We have also invested quite a bit into a new software platform that will allow us to become more efficient through managing our efficiencies, finances, inventory, routing and labor real time. We are entering what is known as the death valley in growth of a company so the ability to survive the gap to $5M depends a lot on being able to generate enough cash to put back into assets.
 
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Mike Leary

LawnSite Fanatic
Getting out of the biz WAS hard on me when I sold and retired (I still wake up at 4.30 am ten years later), but after a while, 'doing nothing' is just fine: I dink with the motor home, talk with others on the road, talk with you guys; that's been fine. I never planned for retirement, but due to a string of 'employee issues', I had had it, all of a sudden. A friend who had a lawn service, wanted to expand and knew of my upscale client list offered to buy me out. He had no money, but I trusted him. We had a lawyer write up a contract where he paid off the debt monthly. Except for a couple of 'burps', he did it. We sold our property, made money on that, I'd paid into SS since I was 14, so had lots in there. We are not high rollers, but we live the sort of life we always wanted.

DSCN4017.jpg
 

weeze

LawnSite Fanatic
that's the key isn't it. who can you trust to run day to day operations if you aren't doing it yourself? not much of anybody anymore. i'm in my mid 40's and i wouldn't even think of hiring help. young people don't want to work anymore and older people don't want to mow grass for $15-$20 per hr....so you are left with no workforce. just yourself. :laugh:

if you made it to retirement in one piece then consider yourself very lucky. i don't know if i will ever retire or not. i may just slow down as i get older. i have an IRA and SS and everything in place but who knows if it will be enough in 20-25 years? i have to work at least 25 more years to get my house paid off. i guess worst case i could sell it but then what? you gotta live somewhere else. all you can really do is take it day at a time. you can't plan too much because you may be healthy until you are 95 or you could die at 65. you just never know what's gonna happen.

i get calls every year from guys wanting a job...but i can just tell it wouldn't work out. they wait until june to call and the season started way back at the beginning of march. they are just wanting a summer job but the season is longer than 3 months. help for 3 months doesn't do me any good when the season is 9-10 months long.

i've even had some call in october once it's cooled off wanting a job. i'm like "are you serious?" the season is practically over...only a few months of a slower leaf season left in the year. i mean if a guy called me in january or february asking for a job for the upcoming season i might take him seriously but no one ever does that.
 
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TPendagast

LawnSite Fanatic
Getting out of the biz WAS hard on me when I sold and retired (I still wake up at 4.30 am ten years later), but after a while, 'doing nothing' is just fine: I dink with the motor home, talk with others on the road, talk with you guys; that's been fine. I never planned for retirement, but due to a string of 'employee issues', I had had it, all of a sudden. A friend who had a lawn service, wanted to expand and knew of my upscale client list offered to buy me out. He had no money, but I trusted him. We had a lawyer write up a contract where he paid off the debt monthly. Except for a couple of 'burps', he did it. We sold our property, made money on that, I'd paid into SS since I was 14, so had lots in there. We are not high rollers, but we live the sort of life we always wanted.

View attachment 373944

I’d like to do that myself (RV retirement)

I almost did it in 2009 (not true retirement ... more like traveling RV contractor) travel to where the projects are, live on site

I get to do that in Alaska a little
Some of my bigger projects are so far away we “camp” to do the work.

I could really do the RV life thing, I envy that
But to be fair, that doesn’t qualify as doing “nothing”

I think if you’re healthy, selling your house (anchor) is the way to go
 

SoCalLandscapeMgmt

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
So. Cal.
He thought he was there , he was paying someone to run the day to day . But he neglected to check the day to day .

Retirement , now thats something the young guys in this business dont think of enough . They want cool equipment , pretty trucks etc . What they dont realize is when they are 35 , they are just 15 years away from 50 . Once they reach 50 its 15 years to 65 . You need to be thinking of retirement in your 20's .

I got some great advice at a young age . I didnt listen to it right away . I didnt start on my retirement until my late 20's . But I did . And I sit here at 57 , and can retire anytime I want . But I havent . I can still work , bring in cash , and I still like working . To have a larger retirement .


Thats one section that should be added to this forum

"The road to retirement "
This! This is what most people forget to think about. The day you start a business you should already be planning for the day that you either sell it or pass it down to the next generation of ownership. Ideally the end goal should to be to sell it for as much as you can get. Like you said, if you wait until your 50's to plan for it then it's too late.
 

TPendagast

LawnSite Fanatic
This! This is what most people forget to think about. The day you start a business you should already be planning for the day that you either sell it or pass it down to the next generation of ownership. Ideally the end goal should to be to sell it for as much as you can get. Like you said, if you wait until your 50's to plan for it then it's too late.
I’d say you have to have something successful first
You can’t plan for retirement when you don’t even know if you can keep the business going.
3-5 years is business establishment
5-7 years is planning/growth
7-12 would be exit strategizing

According to statistics most green industry hopefuls are starting their businesses at or around 35
12 years later they are 47... (on average)
So I don’t think painting 50 as too late is really fair.

Most guys aren’t jumping out of high school, starting a business and making a whole life plan and setting it in stone at 18, nevermind sticking with this their whole lives.

When I was a kid I wanted to be a fighter pilot (watched top gun too many times)
But I’m too tall, weigh too much and didn’t have 20/20 vision so.... not every plan will have navigatable obstacles either.

Retirement age is consistently pushed back on a regular basis, by the time millennials are ready to retire, the official retirement age will probably be 70.
So... 50 might be right on time!
 

kellanv

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
Austin, Texas
that's the key isn't it. who can you trust to run day to day operations if you aren't doing it yourself? not much of anybody anymore. i'm in my mid 40's and i wouldn't even think of hiring help. young people don't want to work anymore and older people don't want to mow grass for $15-$20 per hr....so you are left with no workforce. just yourself. :laugh:

Every industry everywhere has an issue with finding qualified people and it is super easy to scapegoat "millenials" and all the young people as being lazy. I'm young. I bust my ass. I have multiple people that work for me that are young and also bust their asses. I mean hell at mid 40s, you aren't THAT far removed from the "young people" that you claim don't want to work. The main difference is, as a business owner, you cannot just shotgun approach your hiring and wonder why it doesnt work. You also can't have a trash company culture or no company culture at all, and expect to keep guys motivated unless you pay out the nose. We pay our guys well. We also try to create a healthy culture from top to bottom that gives them a say, opportunity to progress through their careers, training etc. that allow them to grow professionally and as people. We give bonuses, throw parties/celebrations for achievements, give praise when warranted and we have a almost non-existent turnover excluding folks we've let go for not being good fits with our culture or their jobs.

I get calls every year from guys wanting a job...but i can just tell it wouldn't work out. they wait until june to call and the season started way back at the beginning of march. they are just wanting a summer job but the season is longer than 3 months. help for 3 months doesn't do me any good when the season is 9-10 months long.

Whats your system for determining fit of an applicant before assuming they wont work out? Do you do any testing? Standardized phone screenings? "Gut feel" typically sucks as a hiring tool. No one wants to work seasonally - especially guys that are any good OR motivated. Why work for <$20/hr for 9-10 months and then have no work for 2 when you could either have steady work all year or make more. Company strategy wise, if you can figure out how to work all year around and hire PURPOSEFULLY it becomes a lot easier. My last job posting got 140 applicants and the guy I hired as ops manager is killing it. Our hiring process has been honed and works very well at getting the right people.

I strongly recommend looking at hiring methods such "Who" and other strategies to find talent, fit etc. It also may take some introspection on your own part to see if maybe there are things about your management style/company that could be improved to draw the talent you want.

I'm not saying that employees are at all easy and if you want to stay solo, thats perfectly acceptable but the "young people just don't want to work" thing is irritating. The main difference is that young people are not OK being disposable labor and they are largely untrusting that companies have their best interests in mind. As far as retirement, you are limited by your own time and health. Hiring people allows you to create a business rather than a job.
 
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