want to grow the business

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by samsaira, Mar 1, 2012.

  1. samsaira

    samsaira LawnSite Member
    Messages: 31

    I started my lawn care business last year and was swamped! In a good way. I want to add another truck and a trailer. My question is, if I am with the first truck also cutting grass etc.. how can I keep an eye on the other truck? If there is a problem with the other crew at a house they are cutting, then I would have to drop everything and go help solve the issue.

    I would be losing productivity, money etc... what is the best way to deal with this? Any successful people out there who expanded and can advise me? thx.
  2. Lugnut

    Lugnut LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 551

    Did you grow to the point of actually needing 2 full crews or can you get away for another year with one large one? If you can do this then next year you can promote your best employee who worked along side you to crew leader and there shouldn't be too many issues, as you know his work and he knows the routine and how to service a property to your expectations
  3. samsaira

    samsaira LawnSite Member
    Messages: 31

    Thanks for reply. Yes I grew to a point where i need 2 full time crews. I did it last year with a couple of friends and we were overwhelmed. They don't want to do it anymore and I am hiring 2 full time employees with me on the one truck.

    Don't know how they will work out. There is a demand for a second truck. I don't want to turn away customers again. I'm afraid I'll start getting a bad reputation if I do.

    Good suggestion that you gave about promoting employees for next year.
  4. edensgate7

    edensgate7 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 142

    You won't get a bad reputation if you turf customers away! I have had many people that I have turned down over the years tell me to call them when I am taking customers again and that they understand that I don't want to grow so fast that their quality of service is affected in a negative way.

    You definitely will get a bad reputation if you grow too fast and lose your quality of work. Make sure you train whoever you send out a season or two before trusting them with $20000 plus in equipment and half your customers to take care of. If they fail to do the job right it will be your fault not theirs because they didn't have enough time being shown how you run the business. Lugnut is right on with the promoting idea. A good crew leader can't run a crew the way an owner would after only a few days in the truck.You will have issues I can gaurantee it. It takes months and most times even a couple of seasons to teach someone to be able to come close to running things like you would in all the situations that come up in this business.

    I turn down customers every year in order to maintain a steady manageable rate of growth. I actually just lost a good employee to the army that I spent three seasons training and showing him how things are done. Last year I sent him out alone with a crew for the first time and he didn't skip a beat. I didn't have any calls asking questions all the time, I knew he know how I wanted my equipment and customers treated. He got the job done and was happy doing it. I had the best year I have ever had in 16 yrs of business. Just a word of advice from a guy who's been around the block a few times:) Hope this helps!
  5. samsaira

    samsaira LawnSite Member
    Messages: 31

    thanks for your reply edensgate7. I will definitely take your advice to heart.
  6. Bunton Guy

    Bunton Guy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,894

    Learn to schedule work further out. It's a nice way of keeping the jobs that are worth waiting for & weeding out the impatient ones all at the same time.

    If someone is really interested in having us do the work they will wait. If they are a PITA price shopper they will just say no thanks and move on.
  7. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,631

    If the equipment and truck are sound and the crew is any good those calls will be few and far between.That said Iv been though bad patches where I actually got chills every time my partner called cause the last 10 times were all bad news why wouldn't this be as well. But we run 2 crews and text each other throughout the day with any problems or things we feel the other should know about its also fun to brag how far you are into your day.

    As for dropping everything its part of being the owner or the boss but its a 2 way street. While iv had to rescue disabled trucks and mowers before iv also called in for help as well. When one of our trailers had a wheel snap off and I was 2 miles from home but still had a fully loaded trailer it was nice to have someone to call. He raced back to the shop unloaded his mowers so he could come take mine and lighten the load so I could limp home with 3 wheels. Or in other cases we just take each others trailers when a truck dies and needs a tow. But if you fear that your guys wont be any good hire 2 and run a 3 man crew while you see how they perform and if they will be able to operate with out you. If I have someone that misses trimming or blowing off or just does stupid stuff over and over despite being told then there's no way hes going to be out of my sight. And I would never hire someone int he spring and expect them to run anything that's a good way to destroy your rep and much more.
  8. samsaira

    samsaira LawnSite Member
    Messages: 31

    Thanks great advice. Alot to think about.
  9. samsaira

    samsaira LawnSite Member
    Messages: 31

    The problem with scheduling the work further out is that people wanted it done "yesterday". Granted they must be just saying that to get me in to do the job sooner than later, but I had tried that and people say, "Oh, my grass is very long....". They tend to wait till the last minute to call someone to cut their lawn.

    I understand what you said about "window shoppers". Thanks

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