Well, I made the decision that family comes first...

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Jon99, Feb 28, 2004.

  1. Jon99

    Jon99 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 375

    Our daughter will be 4 this year so we decided to head to Disney for a week over my wifes spring break (she teaches), so we will be gone from April 3-10.. While its the correct move in our lives right now, I am still worried about how I, as a solo LCO, will handle this situation..

    I can check my voice mail and answer my cell phone while in Florida, can have my brother or mother check the Caller ID to grab the numbers of anyone that called and I can return the calls..

    Problem comes with giving out estimates.. My brother knows the business a little and I feel I can trust him to give reliable quotes on residentials, but how should he pose himself??? Brother doing a favor??? Partner???

    The last two years its been towards the end of April when we started mowing, but just in case, he will also do any possible mowing I might need done..
  2. FFMED74

    FFMED74 LawnSite Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 242

    I think it is good for the family and the vacation, but I have the same problem this year, can take a vac. in partial week of march and first partial of April. Here is what I am going to do, I have a very close friend who used to be a LCO and last year he covered my mowing for me and I paid him x amount. I am going to use him for estimates and pay him for the time. I recommend that your brother poses as a full fledge rep of the company, because in your stead he is what your company is and will be what your potential customers see to make their decision. Have him dress appropriately.
  3. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,360

    I have a different perpective on this. Yes, family comes first. Family should always come first in any business. But family coming first doesn't mean a vacation at an ill timed point. Family coming first means they are provided for. They eat, they keep a roof, they have the needs meet. Then a vacation is just that, a time off and relaxing after the hard part is done.

    Too many failures in this business. Many times its a lack of determination or work ethic. Comes in many different areas. You knew that this is a SEASONAL business. Being seasonal you must get the work handled when you can. It will not be there for you when you get back. Missing cuts in that time, missing new customer opportunities and add ons not only mean money gone now, but have long term effects on company growth and winter budget.

    Guys with crews and crew leaders that have been in this biz a while can go on vacations at any time. They also have earned that right.

    Solo and owner/operator crews must learn to adjust the vacation times to fit. As a solo you have a lot of time off for vacationing. You have committments to customers in a very busy time of the season. Maybe you will not like hearing this stuff, but someone needs to say it. You must remember your the owner, must start thinking like an owner not an employee anymore. As an owner leaving in the busiest part of the season is irresponsible. An employee wouldn't care but an owner who's livelihood is that business would.

    I'm not talking from lack of knowledge. My wife is a CPA. I have a stepdaughter that is 10. For years we have been traveling together. We know with school and her work timing that spring traveling can't be done. When spring break hits I'm already very busy. Schools out for the summer and her load is light, I can't take off for a week to leave the business. So how do we handle this?

    We take several long weekends throughout the year. Usually Fri night, sat and sun. Sometimes with daughter, sometimes alone. Our vacation time has become the week of thanksgiving. Since school is already out wed, thur, fri, we just take her out of school on mon and tues and she does the makeup work. We leave on saturday and stay gone until the next sunday. We sometimes take a small trip on the Christmas holiday timeframe.

    Best thing is we go to some really nice places and they are never overcrowded. Hawaii, Disney, Cruise, etc.
  4. mow2nd

    mow2nd LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 603

    I think family should always come first, dont get so caught up in this business that you lose touch with your family.

    Have a great time on your Vacation!!!
  5. Soupy

    Soupy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,125

    I agree with Hoss.. I'm located in Illinois and we usually get 2 mowing's in March. First week of April is when we start showing up every week.

    If you worked for someone and they told you that you could not take the time off to go on vacation. Would you quit your job and go anyway?
  6. johnhenry

    johnhenry LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 488

    I agree with what Hoss said .Very well put
  7. Jon99

    Jon99 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 375

    In northern Illinois, the last two seasons I started my route the last two weeks of April and I started earlier than some guys did and with the vacation only 5 weeks away I don't think its possible that the mowing season will start before then... If some might need to be mowed, I can get them on Thursday or Friday before we leave and hit them again 10 days later or my brother is more than capable of handling things...

    Some people might not agree with our decision, but we only have one daughter and I am not going to miss the chance for her to see Disney World.. To us, the most important thing we have is not any account, but rather a 4 year old.. My wife teaches and I substitute teach and officiate basketball games during the off season months, we enjoy children and certainly aren't going to turn our backs on our own..

    FFMed74- Thanks for the advice.. With cell phones, voice mail and a responsible brother I feel fairly comfortable..
  8. FFMED74

    FFMED74 LawnSite Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 242

    I will add this, I am willing to return from Branson early if I have people keeping me busy. My daughters spring break is that week and can't get around the dates we have. Life is short and they grow up tooooo fast!!!
  9. FFMED74

    FFMED74 LawnSite Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 242

    BTW Hoss I appreciate your open and very fair opinion. You are right, but I see both side of the discussion. It can be a tough call, I tried to get away earlier, but due to the fire department OT schedule and such, classes, teaching and all it worked out this way. The one thing I love about this site is that nobody pulls punches, it is laid out and on the table. Thanks to all who have helped me so far and I hope I can be of assistance to many of you.
  10. Jon99

    Jon99 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 375

    We have the same problem here, with my wife teaching our only option for a real vacation is over Christmas or Spring Break, a lot of her family lives out of state and Christmas is the only time she shes them.. Putting family over the business one week a year might not allow the business to grow as much as I would like, but after working 12 years as a financial analyst ,putting in some hefty hours and dealing with the stress of that job, I feel this is the correct path for me right now..

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