Taking the 2nd Big Plunge

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by yardsmith, Mar 1, 2000.

  1. yardsmith

    yardsmith LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 628

    not sure how to phrase this, but how & why did some of the big guys go from the mower seat to full time administration of their business? I'll prob. be on the ground floor of my bus. driving truck, running the ZTR, etc. for at least 3 more years. Wanted to know what made you decide to give up the hands-on & let your crew/s do the 'work-work'<br>Obviously you got to the point where you knew the $$ was there, etc. I (at this point anyways) can't ever see myself not out there running the equipment & driving from stop to stop, etc. Wondering what its like on the other side where you 'graduate' to the less physical, more managerial/executive position.<br>When did you decide it was time to 'jump in'?<br>Hope this makes sense.<p>----------<br>Smitty ô¿ô<br>
  2. mountain man

    mountain man LawnSite Member
    Messages: 141

    Smitty:<br>It starts by not micromanaging everything. When I was spending the evening returning phone calls and half the night on paperwork, I knew I had to stay in the office more during the day. If you want to ever get to the point where you are not at all the jobs, then start now grooming someone for increased responsibilities. Start by sending a guy out to do a basic task such as mowing two/three easy yards and build on that. It may sound minor but those few office minutes are valuable. The hard part is being able to let someone else go out and do a job without you. Probably all of us like to micromanage or we wouldn't have gotten into this business.
  3. Lazer

    Lazer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,446

    I think with today's technology/communication, you can do both.<p>We have 12 of us at our firm year-round and nobody sits in the office much at all.<p>I personally plow every trip and do lawn applications almost every day during the summer season.<p>Nextel, portable computer, etc. allow you to work on the road/manage employees/deal with customers - all in the same day.<p>I'd never want to be in the position where I wouldn't want to get my hands dirty - my customers and employees appreciate that.
  4. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,969

    Smitty, you could also work on getting big enough to hire a manager to run your business. Then you can just go out and work on a crew. One of the better landscapers near us did just that. Only old time customers know that the guy digging the hole owns this big business, and he is happy because that is what he likes to do, rather than the headaches of management.<p>----------<br>Jim<br>North central Indiana
  5. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 1,276

    I was just perusing this forum, and while my company does not offer lawn maintenance (we're primarily a residential hardscape co) , I thought this was a great question for me to give my two-cents worth. <p>In any job that you do, it's important that you do what you enjoy. Life is too short to spend on something you don't like doing. It sounds like you're thinking about starting to remove yourself from the 'day-to-day' and getting into more admin/mgt. Make sure that's what you want. If you really enjoy doing the 'work-work', find a way to keep that as part of your daily routine, like Lazer has. Maybe you'll handle the most important accounts (biggest $, greatest visibility, etc), and delegate the rest. There are all kinds of alternatives for handling the administrative end, from payroll processing all the way to making all of your employees (yourself included) become employees of an employment service, where the service will handle all payroll, all tax filings, workers comp...everything. You keep all the control, they just handle the dirty work. That way you can grow the company, yet still spend time doing what you love.<p>Marketing, design and building the business are what I enjoy and I try to organize my time that way. I love the work-work, but it seems to kick my *ss a little bit more each season. <p>I know of a multi million $$ company president of a trucking company that spends most of his day under his trucks fixing them. He's a millionaire, but every day he's the dirtiest, greasiest employee at the whole place. It's what he loves. He just found the right people to put around him to make the business go. <p>Good luck in growing your business!
  6. Lanelle

    Lanelle LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,361

    This is a physically demanding business. When you are young, the idea of not feeling up to doing the hard work is difficult to understand. After all, that's never going to happen to you, you tell yourself. If you last long enough in this business, it will happen eventually. Then, management looks very attractive. Learning how to manage while you are young will pay dividends for a long time even if you want to still be out in the field.<p>----------<br>Lanelle<br>
  7. osc

    osc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 502

    I sympathize, last year I gave up an $85,000 account because I could'nt be everywhere at once and I feared damaging my rep because of poor quality. I still had a great year but I had trouble finding good employees

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