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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I don't really know where to turn. I have over booked myself, and realize it now. My committments have me stretched and stressed out. I now realize that I have too many yards. My Grandsons have visited me the past few weeks and I have not had very much time with them. I have a nagging health issue that I don't have time to have checked out. (sinus problem from all of the grass and leaves and dust I think) A death in my family that would require about 3 days off to visit and go to see the kin. I took several more jobs this year because I had several accounts that are for sale and have not sold. I am not complaining, because I have been blessed with good business and weather thus far. What I am trying to say to some of you that may just be starting out is, go slow with the growth of your business, and don't get ahead of yourself. The money is good, but not worth giving up so many things that are dear to you.
 

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I've been on both sides of that.
Been over booked and been under booked.
Matter of fact, I just met with a sophmore owner today with the same problems.

There are several good options to your situation, but at this point I'm not sure if you want to hear them. (?)
 

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I'm real close to the point of being stretched a little to thin right now. It's not really where I want to be, but it seems as though it is either feast or famine.
 

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You have to learn to say no to potential money and that is one of the most difficult things you have to learn to do in this biz.You always think you can squeeze in one more job.
And it dosent help when they practicly beg you to do the work for them either.So drop the ones that don't pay well and raise your rate on the rest that will thin um out quick.
Unless your stuck in a contract with all.If not drop the ones you don't have an agreement in wrighting with...with notice of two weeks. OR you could sub out work to others or hire some help or give some jobs to a new person just starting out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Envy Lawn Service said:
I've been on both sides of that.
Been over booked and been under booked.
Matter of fact, I just met with a sophmore owner today with the same problems.

There are several good options to your situation, but at this point I'm not sure if you want to hear them. (?)
I have received, already, some supporting advice from you fellow LCOs. Thanks for the advice and support.

I would certainly welcome anymore ideas. I guess I know the answer, but am afraid to take that next step with this business, which started as a retirement supplement and something to do to keep me occupied.

What I am leaning toward is downsizing for sure for next year. Then I see the potential and I think about going ahead and growing. Anyone been at this crossroad, and what made your decision as to which way to go?

Thanks
 

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burns60 said:
I have received, already, some supporting advice from you fellow LCOs. Thanks for the advice and support.

I would certainly welcome anymore ideas. I guess I know the answer, but am afraid to take that next step with this business, which started as a retirement supplement and something to do to keep me occupied.

What I am leaning toward is downsizing for sure for next year. Then I see the potential and I think about going ahead and growing. Anyone been at this crossroad, and what made your decision as to which way to go?

Thanks
I tried to downsize this year.

The way I went about it was to raise my clients that I wanted to keep, 10-25% for the month.

The ones I didn't want to keep I raised 30-50% for the month.

I lost 1 account, due to the guy selling the business, the new owner has his son doing it.

I ended up picking up 4 more accounts.

What I'm trying to say is, unless you're already on the very high end for your market, raising your rates won't get people to drop if you're doing a good job.

You'll just have to come out and tell people that you're not interested in doing their account anymore, which is hard to do.

I hate telling people that, just incase you lose some other accounts, it's hard to go back to them.

I tried raising the rates, figuring if I lost 10-20% of my accounts, and if I needed to pick some up down the road, I could go back to those accounts and see if they like the new guy or not and work something out with the pricing.

I always feel if you just tell someone "no", then down the road how are they going to look at you if you come back to them and want to do the yard again?

I used to have 6 "guys" working for me, had men and women.

It's just not for me, I don't have the manager's attitude, I was always too nice, then would get frustrated and end up doing everything myself anyways while I told them to watch what I was doing.

Anyways, I'd work on downsizing. Just talk with some of your customers that you like, tell them you're thinking about raising rates for next year $5 or 10%, however you charge for the accounts you're doing. See how they go for it. If they say "yeah, I'm sure that fuel is getting to you", you have a decent idea they're for it.

If they say something like "man, you're already outrageous, my cousin's son was thinking about doing this", you'd probably not want to raise their rates.

If you can get 1/2 your customers to increase their rates, then you can lose 2-3-4-5-6 accounts and you're not out too much money, on general terms of course.
 

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Since 1992, I've ran solo, middle of the road and large. By far, I fully believe that in most circumstances, solo is better. What is the saying, run with the big dogs, or stay on the porch. I have "by far" made the most money when I ran solo and kept my overhead at next to nothing. The larger you grow the greater the client expectations, government intervention, employee issues and headaches.

It is hard to penetrate a market that is as saturated as the lawn care industry. You are just another spoke in the wheel. I would recommend that you find your niche and run with it. Exploit your talents and pricing, whether residential, multi-family, or commercial mowing.

Enjoy your business and operate it on your terms, not your client's terms.

These are the only pearls of wisdom I have concerning this matter.

Good Luck with your decision.
 

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It sounds like you're temporarily overwhelmed by unusual circumstances. Could you get larger equipment and possibly some temp help to get you though this rocky period and then when things get back to normal return to your standard routine?
 

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I think the key here is to plan for everything -- growth, slow times and everything in between. Like some of the other posters here have said, run your business on your terms. Set your goals and then plan your action to achieve those goals.
 

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Think the whole thing is in the pricing. At 50 properties I was doing quite well solo making 40 or so an hour after expences doing about 26 or so. Add in an employee and it changes the whole shooting match. Make a little more but am working harder.
 

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burns60 said:
I have received, already, some supporting advice from you fellow LCOs. Thanks for the advice and support.

I would certainly welcome anymore ideas. I guess I know the answer, but am afraid to take that next step with this business, which started as a retirement supplement and something to do to keep me occupied.

What I am leaning toward is downsizing for sure for next year. Then I see the potential and I think about going ahead and growing. Anyone been at this crossroad, and what made your decision as to which way to go?

Thanks
Well, some of what I was going to say has already been covered.
But I'll give you my version of it anyways.

To begin with, this all can be very complicated and confusing. So the first step is to attempt to simplify things so it is easier for you to sort out. In order to do this you have to commit to being very honest and objective with yourself, as well as critical if need be.

The thing is, these situations and the decisions that need to be made because of them are all very much so PERSONAL. So we can all sit around and talk stratigies all day, but little of it is going to amount to anything because of the personal stake that you have in these decisions.

So this all begins with a little personal soul searching on your part while sticking to the rules of being honest, objective and critical if need be with yourself.

I'll be back with more in a bit to get you started disecting things....
 

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I've said over and over here that often times we will actually tell ourselves a lot more about what we need to know than we realize once we just start to talk about things, and doing so in writing is more helpful than anything....
Here is what I mean.
burns60 said:
I don't really know where to turn. I have over booked myself, and realize it now. My committments have me stretched and stressed out. I now realize that I have too many yards.
Right there in a nutshell is the problem as you see it identified.
So you have to ask yourself:
How did I get here?
Why am I only realizing this now?
How am I streched?
Why am I stressed?
Is too many yards really the problem?
burns60 said:
My Grandsons have visited me the past few weeks and I have not had very much time with them. I have a nagging health issue that I don't have time to have checked out. (sinus problem from all of the grass and leaves and dust I think) A death in my family that would require about 3 days off to visit and go to see the kin.
Right there in a nutshell is how you see your obligations affecting your personal life too much. When I read that, I pick up a hint of resentment or a feeling of being trapped in the business. I also pick up on a feeling of loss of personal pleasure and some guilt.

So this is where you ask yourself:
What is the order of priority in my life?
What is the order of necessity in my life?
How can I balance priority, necessity, personal health and personal happiness?
What would be required of me in my situation in order to do so?
burns60 said:
I took several more jobs this year because I had several accounts that are for sale and have not sold.
That sounds like another problem that needs to be solved, which might help a great deal. I assume you took the new jobs with the anticipation of covering for the jobs you intended to sell.

So you have to ask yourself:
Why are those jobs for sale in the first place?
Why haven't they sold already?
What can I do to help them sell?
Do I really NEED to be PAID for them?
Should I just GIVE them to someone who is deserving, but less fortunate than me?
burns60 said:
I am not complaining, because I have been blessed with good business and weather thus far. What I am trying to say to some of you that may just be starting out is, go slow with the growth of your business, and don't get ahead of yourself. The money is good, but not worth giving up so many things that are dear to you.
Sounds like you realize your blessings and you are thankful for them. But it also sounds like you feel as if you have sold a piece of your personal happiness. Your good fortune is beginning to invade your personal life.

So you have to ask yourself:
What have I done to give thanks for my blessings?
What am I willing to sacrafice for good fortune and sucess?
What extra sacrafices am I making that I do not want to due to my situation?
How can I maintain the level of sucess I need without giving up what is dear to me?
burns60 said:
I guess I know the answer, but am afraid to take that next step with this business, which started as a retirement supplement and something to do to keep me occupied.
That's a strong statement there... sounds like too much of a good thing that just somehow got out of hand.
So you have to ask yourself:
What is the next step?
Why am I afraid to take it?
How much of a supplement do I need?
When do I really retire?
burns60 said:
What I am leaning toward is downsizing for sure for next year. Then I see the potential and I think about going ahead and growing. Anyone been at this crossroad, and what made your decision as to which way to go?
So where you really are with this is trying to decide rather to buckle down and bring this runaway under control so it can be whittled down into something you can personally handle and still have a personal life. Or if you want to just let it keep building steam and bring in some hired help.

So you have to ask yourself:
Why exactly am I leaning towards downsizing?
What is it that is tempting me to trying to grow?
Does that reason have anything at all to do with how I got stuck here in overload?

Once you answer those questions for yourself you'll have more of a handle on things. Then you can start working towards molding an action plan that works for you personally.
 

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I know a lot of you guys are not going to like this but, I think this is the perfect situation for a partner.
Everything he posted indicates if he had a partner, he could do the grandson thing, do the family and funeral thing and generally generate less stress.
If I were in your shoes, I would look for someone to mentor and become your partner. You need to really think ahead about all of it before cementing the relationship though. Maybe you know someone in your exact situation. The two of you together could get more done without the worries of us solo operators.
Anybody else think this may be the answer?
 

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I'd say what you need is a part time helper... Give you a few hours every day.. So you finish the route earlier in the day.. This way you can have that free time to spend with the family.. Also I know that helpers are headaches.. But, in this case your only getting a part-time just to supplement to your work so you can finish earlier.. If for some reason you get a no show you'll have to work late... But how often will that happen if you get a good guy. Raise your rates to compensate the helpers added payroll.....
Or just hustle for a few years bank some dough than take it easy.... payup
 

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This may seem over simplified but I think you should decide how much you want to make and what days and hours you want to work. Then get rid of everything that doesn't fit.
I don't know how to take time off other than treating it like a rain day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
A lot of you have taken your time to help me solve my dilemma. I really appreciate each and every suggestion, and am considering some of the offered suggestions. That is what I was looking for; a different perspective, and some ideas from some of you that have been there.

Some of you may be wondering, "well what is he doing at home this Monday am, when he needs to be mowing". Well, actually I took off to go do the doctor visit thing and get some treatment started for acute sinusits.(you all should not play around with this ,as it can develope into something quite serious) Now I am at home enjoying being with my Grands before they "hit the road". This pm I will "get back on the horse" and back into the heat.

Thanks so much!!!!!!!!
 
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