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Route's full. Need to expand.

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by zechstoker, Apr 24, 2012.

  1. yardguy28

    yardguy28 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,463

    I think something else to keep in my is this when you NEED help and more equipment statement.

    who says a solo operator will ever NEED to hire help and get more equipment. maybe the goal is to remain solo. in which case the cost of operating the business is less than someone with employees and less money is needed to turn a profit.
  2. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 7,961

    Nothing against the solo operator but how long can someone mow lawns solo and make a living?
  3. yardguy28

    yardguy28 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,463

    I know quite a few in my neck of the woods. and I'm yet another of those quite a few.

    no desire or plan to ever expand beyond me, myself and I.
  4. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 7,961

    Clearly makes things more simple.
  5. coolluv

    coolluv Banned
    from Atlanta
    Messages: 4,514

    I'm guessing your a young man. Talk to me in 15 or 20 years and I'll bet your point of view will change.

  6. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 7,961

    Having employee's is a huge jump and responibility for some but I agree. I can not see mowing and all the other items that goes along with it for 40 to 50 years.

    Maybe he plans on retiring at 50? Could happen with good money management.
  7. zechstoker

    zechstoker LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 975

    If "he" was a reference to me, I'd definitely like to retire at some point, but I haven't really set a goal as to what age I'd like to retire at. I just know I don't want to be busting my @$$ and breaking my back up until the day I take my final nap.

    When this job was offered to me, I was told they'd like to have me running the route on my own for at least a couple years until business picked up to where we'd have to hire another person to work with me. Then I'd be in a supervisor position, and eventually (further down the road), move up from running route to just supervising a crew while I run a pest control route of my own. Basically, just keep moving up the ladder, doing less labor, and more work behind a desk at the office as things progress. Who knows though, maybe one day I'll branch out and go on to bigger things.

    I spent some time yesterday reading about one of the titans in our area to see what they're doing, and how they got to that point. It was 2 guys who started a lawn care business in 1970, maintaining residential properties. They say as time went on, and demand grew, they kept branching out and evolving their business. Today, they're a company with over 70 employees, and they're covering every last aspect of the industry, and have dominated this field of work around here. Like many others, I strive to be like them. Everyday I learn something new, and everyday I evolve just a little bit more. Kinda like Lowe's slogan: Never stop improving.
  8. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 7,961

    He was actually Yardguy28.

    So basically there are 3 options maybe 4 options in thi business.

    Run Solo
    Jump on with someone and grow with them.
    Run the business
    stay a hired hand.

    They all have pro's and cons.

    Like the lowe's saying is the other one, if you are not getting better you are getting worse. The competition will catch up sooner or later unless you keep pushing.
  9. coolluv

    coolluv Banned
    from Atlanta
    Messages: 4,514

    Some will argue this point but in my opinion I own a job right now and not a business. I know Yardguy will argue this point and that's fine. This is my opinion only.

    When I'm able to concentrate on running the business and growing the business then In my opinion I will own a business. But that takes time and Paying my dues. Which I don't mind because Ive been paying them my whole life. I know that if I do things right it will pay off in the end.

    If you can't build the business to work for you then whats the point? Again my opinion only. My goal only. Maybe some others share that goal and some don't. That is my goal.

    I don't want to be throwing pine straw and laying mulch and doing fert and weed control apps. I want to manage the business and have the business work for me. Not the other way around. It takes time to build a good business and I know that.

    You will always be in the field and working your @$$ off if you concentrate on the wrong type of customers. By- weekly customers are not what I want to build my business on. Cheap crappy customers are not in my business model.

    You cannot grow or hire good help with those types of customers. If I can't find enough of those types that fit my business model then there is no point for me to continue on. I will move on to better things.

    So far its a slow process but it is improving every year. I do less accounts than I did before and make more money with way less headaches.

    You can fill a route rather quickly by being cheap and paying others to work for them. Or by making very little profit. You will grow much more slowly but be able to handle and plan for the growth and afford the growth when needed.

    That is the point and that is why I responded to this thread in the first place. I wish everyone would evaluate their business and get the " I got to get more accounts mentality" out of their heads and price work to make money.

    The last customer I picked up told me the last guy quit showing up and he had the neighbor boy finish out last year. His landscape was a mess and I not only charged him to clean it up but I signed him up on a yearly maintenance agreement with fert and squirt. He was using TG at the time. I also got his aeration.

    He complimented me on my service agreement and how detailed it was and easy to understand and he appreciated the time I spent working on it. He also said it was the main reason I got the job. He told me he had everything from hand written quotes on napkins to scribbled on pieces of paper.

    He is a very profitable account. He also requested seasonal flowers which will also be a good extra that is very profitable. Why? Professional image...Professional paperwork...uniforms and on and on.

    That is the type of customer I want. Not the guy looking to have his grass cut for as cheap as he can find from the next Dumb@$$ with a mower. I don't advertise on craigslist or Service Magic because those are the places that the scumbags love. Easy pickings to find the next lowballer that doesn't know whether he is losing money or making money because he is too lazy or stupid to figure it out.

    The OP was paying others to work for them and then coming on here acting like things were fine and looking for advice to expand. He would be like the thousands that think this is a easy business. Gone after he realized he was paying people to work for them.

    At least he learned now... and $35 per man hour is a good start but you should be closer to $40 or $50.

    Good luck.

  10. vinnieobrien

    vinnieobrien LawnSite Member
    Messages: 192

    Dave, I am on the same boat. I want to run a company who deals with good loyal customers. And eventually start weeding out the non good ones.
    Posted via Mobile Device

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