Well i may have screwed up

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by joshua74133, Jul 31, 2014.

  1. joshua74133

    joshua74133 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 161

    So i bought this business that was full of unhappy clients that all told me they were on the verge of firing the previous owner... last year i employed the old owners son (before i knew how unhappy they were) much to my surprise while i was in the hospital getting a cancer check up that pile of crap was pissing in bushes, showing up high or hungover and doing a half ass job at which i did not find out until the start of the season because no one wanted to stress me or upset me while in the hospital.

    Well in the end i lost a big commercial and 15 resi's which made it impossible to afford an employee.... so i figured i would do it all myself and up until this week everyone was happy but now with the rain and heat have cought up and overwhelmed me. this week i got a email from my biggest year around which said it was a highlight in their board meeting that they feel im not big enough to handle their job and they are concerned. then he starts nit picking (which he has never done) then asked for a proposal for the next season already.

    i feel like doing this on my own may have caught up with me and may have lost me this big job.... what would you guys do to try and keep it knowing money is real tight
  2. TTS

    TTS LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 615

    Honestly I wouldn't fight to try and keep them. Replace the one big one with several small ones that are easier to flex into your schedule somewhere for next year when it gets hot and rainy.

    Just making a gut instinct call based on what you said without knowing your full story but it sounds like you need to put your health first. If you have a rough day and need to hang it up early its easier to move several accounts around to fill the rest of the week rather than one big one.

    I would be honest with them and agree that its too much to handle now and decline to bid for next year. That way if you do have an employee again in the future and think you can handle it the door is open for you. You shoot them a crazy high price (someone will recommend it) or argue to try and keep it that door may well close forever.
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  3. Patriot Services

    Patriot Services LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,262

    Is hiring a part time helper for the commercials out of the budget? Some college guys would be fine with just one good day of work. Then again once nitpicking starts its usually a downward slide.
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  4. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,372

    This is correct.

    I don't know why guys focus so much on "big" jobs, especially when they are solo.
    I wouldn't sweat this, Keep them this season and work on replacing them deliberately with smaller ones knowing you won't be doing them next season.

    ASk to schedule a meeting with the concerned members to address their issues personally and then ask them, pointedly if they thought they should loose their jobs if they had a brief health issue that hospitalized them, and what type of work a Temp in their job would do, during their medical leave?
    Is this the type of work they are hoping to get? a big company who hires temps? Instead of having the CEO working directly on their project, they would RATHER have temps?
    IF so, that's not the type of work you do.
    Great, you've already replaced them, meeting over.

    If they see things with you eye to eye, you've increased your work, in the attempt to replace ten enough, to warrant hiring a helper again.
  5. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,983

    This is the best thing you can do.

    Though life's experiences has shown me that they have decided to dump you and the aforementioned strategy will not work. This is just the first step for them greasing the skids to push you out the door.

    Though I still say it is the best shot you have at saving the account. Though the odds are steep against you.
  6. easy-lift guy

    easy-lift guy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,372

    Fall back, regroup, marshal all of your resources. If you believe you have done everything to remedy your current situation gradually rebuild with what you have and move forward. All the best.
    easy-lift guy
  7. Service.com

    Service.com Sponsor
    Messages: 804

    hmm that is tricky. We had some similar problems when I stepped out with other guys doing the work etc. When buying a new business that first impression is crucial, especially with unhappy clientele from the previous owner. Could have been the saving angel!

    Alrighty, to the current predicament.

    If it is tough doing it yourself with the size of the operation, maybe downsizing will be a blessing in disguise. We made the mistake of hiring a few guys out of desperation and it hurt us in the long run. The first guy you hire is the most important. Take your time with that process. We downsized a bit and it really helped with breathing room and kept stress levels down after we could not find the right help. It sucked losing some but better for us overall. When you are ready to ramp back up you can.
  8. joshua74133

    joshua74133 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 161

    thanks guys, i scheduled a meeting with the guy that has been throwing the fit for Monday ill let you know how it turns out.

    i hired 2 guys to work one good day every week to take one of the stresses off me but now the stress of paying bills.... ohh well.

    it sucks being so close to getting big then falling so far because of one pot head.
  9. Service.com

    Service.com Sponsor
    Messages: 804

    Fragile is the road to success.
  10. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 19,350

    Id work through it. Id go imeediately and do what ever it takes to make the big account look real good, even if it requires an investment of mulch, and a couple of laborors, on your part.

    Then Id submit next years proposal with a short explanation of the lapse in quality.

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