# of accounts vs. quality of service

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by klsgc, Apr 3, 2014.

  1. The Turf Guys

    The Turf Guys LawnSite Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 135

    I gotta agree with Efficiency 100%. Especially on his 2nd point. In my area it is common to see the bigger guys give away Free Fall Aeration and Free Winterizer. Those customers have a new company EVERY year.
  2. Mscotrid

    Mscotrid LawnSite Bronze Member
    from USA
    Messages: 1,456

    When you decide to grow the hardest problem you will incur is relinquishing control to others. You have to set the standard on performance and quality and never lose sight of those goals. You will have to hire mid level managers to oversee your field or office staff. There is a huge growing curve going from small to large and the survival rate (professionally and personally) is low making that transition. On top of all that when you sit down with your accountant at the end of the year sometimes you will be surprised on how little your bottom line actually moved during that rough mid-level company plunge. Hire well. Pay them well and hold them accountable. Get rid of bad seed employees quick, they can negative impact on the workforce.
  3. klsgc

    klsgc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 311

    Great input guys. A couple things: I am happy with the income from 4 techs. I am all the sales/management/bookwork manpower so I am a little concerned if something happens to me it would be a tough learning curve for someone to hop into the drivers seat. Going to 10 techs would allow for a management layer to alleviate that. I'm kind of at the sweet spot right now for margins. If I go bigger I would really have to make a jump so I can afford to invest in more management and the systems and hr nightmare to go along with it. The biggest hangup for me is being able to hire additional techs and keeping the quality up. Efficiency said he thinks cancellation drops as you grow? I am not totally convinced. Not saying its not possible but I have talked with several big guns around and they are around 15 to 25 percent. I think the management cares but all it takes is a few bad techs in the field to screw it up. Anyone out there with 5000 accounts that can say the quality and cancellation rate is the same as when they were 2000 accounts? I just feel if we stay the same for 30 more years i will get bored and be wasting opportunity. Another option is grow it to sell...
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  4. klsgc

    klsgc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 311

    Really? Nobody has a comment on this? Any decent sized business has got to have something to say.
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  5. andersman02

    andersman02 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 572

    Didn't read everything but we are also a smallish company.

    Me, father and mother are full time.
    We have 1 tech that runs the permagreen on LG properties, helps with sales and is our "production manager" one other tech who is a full time tech during application time and sales during spring. We hire 4 techs in the app season. Hire some more people but thats landscape and maintenance. Our 2 guys listed above have been with us for over 20 years. The other 4 techs for about 8 years on average.

    They are EXCELLENT workers and do excellent work. We pay them well. We pay on salary plus commission for sq ft done.

    One thing we are doing to get more out of them is giving them the tools to do more. Our liquid tankers get average of 30 lawns/day, 1 tons that 2 step are at around 20. For us, liquid has given better results.

    Our 1 tons will be going liquid this year.

    more jobs done/worker/day. Better results. Less fatigue for workers, better pay for workers. Win/win.

    My point? If your looking at getting more work and are worried about quality, look at how you can help your best workers to get you more money by doing more work with out over working them.

    Better routing/ scheduling? More efficient equipment? Etc etc. You don't always need to hit more workers to grow....
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    As to the size of our business, we apply to roughly 2.5k lawns. Not sure wether you'd consider that big or small
  6. greenskeeper44

    greenskeeper44 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 427

    thanks for sharing that...great info! I agree on your approach! I wish I could chime in but we are small 900 accounts......our cancel rate is 6% right now but we are no where near 2500 or 5000...one day...one day....need to hire efficiency as our sales manager
  7. georgialawn88

    georgialawn88 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,075

    andersman, pm sent
  8. klsgc

    klsgc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 311

    6% on the entire year? That is crazy good. I get 3% just from people dying and selling their house. We are at 6.5% right now but I am guessing my cancellations are not over.
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  9. kbrashears

    kbrashears LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 777

    I'm around 5% cancel rate. We aren't very big. Just about 450 accounts.

    The way I see it, one normal tech should be about to handle around 7.5 mm square feet of accounts. A super tech around 9. I hired my first full time employee this year. He's doing pretty good dragging the hose. I just bought a new 60 gal Zmax and I'm putting him on the old Zmax next week. We'be been training. I'll let him spray my yard first, then the baseball fields here in town....then, well, pray for us. lol
  10. Georgia Lawn

    Georgia Lawn LawnSite Member
    Male, from Ga
    Messages: 99

    Although it was a different industry, the company that I used to work for had quality growing pains until they structured their operation so that every sector of the operation was setup the exact same. Every office, every truck, every anything was in the exact same place no matter where you went. By doing this we cut out lots of confusion, labor cost, and lost production due to unorginization. Also, everyone was trained to do almost every position so that if someone called out, quit etc.. someone else could step in fairly efficiently until a permanent position was filled.
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