What should be next?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by howardsells2000, Aug 20, 2006.

  1. howardsells2000

    howardsells2000 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 355

    I have established about as many mowing accounts as I can handle alone. I will probably finish this season by myself. This job is my only income. What I'm wondering is, if I want to make big money and be successful in this industry, what exactly should be my next step? I'm not sure if I should hire someone as a helper and take on more mowing accounts or should I try to hire a couple guys to take over my existing accounts and try to acquire more and more accounts to keep me busy. Or should I remove myself from the mowing all together and work on marketing my business?

    I know at the present time if I was paying a crew to go out and cut all of my properties, I wouldn't have enough money left over after payroll, equipment and other expenses to live on. But maybe if I could have more than one crew out mowing, maybe there would be enough left over. Of course I would have to acquire more accounts if I wanted more crews. I'm just not sure what direction I should be trying to go.

    I read on this site from others that say mowing is a good way to get started but that you won't make it from just mowing. Where should I be heading? How do you grow your company?

    I hope this makes sense and doesn't make me sound like an idiot.

    Thanks for your input.
  2. Total.Lawn.Care

    Total.Lawn.Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 840

    From a business stand point, you said you have all that you can handle by yourself. Then the next step would be to get a helper. This should allow you to get the same amount of worl done in at least, 2/3 of the time, maybe even less, adn allow you to take on more customers. When you get all that you can handle with you and a helper, get another helper if you have the equipment to keep all three of you busy working at most jobs.

    I think once you max out the number of accounts that you and two other people can handle, then it is time to start looking at another crew. At that point, I think I would take your best helper to lead that crew and give them 2 helpers and about 2/3 of your accounts and you continue to cut with one helper at least 2-3 days a week, or about half a day every day, and you will then have time to work on advertising and expanding you business.

    Just a run of thumb when it comes to business. What allows me to expand with minimal increase in overhead costs. That is the thing to remember. If you kill ALL of your profits by expanding, why expand. We are in business to make money, not give it all away.

    YARDGNOME LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    Now is the time to be very critical of your business. I think in times like these we look outside to solve issues and start to look to promote growth prior to be a little introspective.

    I would say that the first goal should be to look for possible efficiency solutions. Ask yourself the following questions:

    1) Do I have everything I need to maximize my efficiency while maintaining the quality that I desire?

    2) Given the circumstances, am I as efficient as I could be given the quality benchmarks that I have set?

    3) Is there something that I am doing that is either a) increasing cost of operation or b) lowering profitability?

    4) Are my accounts the ones I want? Are they in the same area with established routes. Can I approve the quality of accounts and/or are there some I can replace that make me more profitable or efficient?

    You get the idea...

    If you are happy with the answers above, then look to set some one year, three year, and five year business goals. Go about achieving them...
  4. GreenUtah

    GreenUtah LawnSite Senior Member
    from SLC, UT
    Messages: 866

    and to make that more specific, are you using equipment first, that is the most efficient on your properties(i.e. the biggest mower that fits on props/customer will allow)? Have you sold neighbors of your existing accounts to tighten up your route? Are you turning away work now that you are physically unable to do? Before investing in additional labor, especially if your numbers do not support a profit with additional labor (a key that you should take a long hard look at your current pricing scheme) make sure that you are getting the most form the labor you are already spending, yours. Machines are always cheaper than a worker and tightening routes allows more work to be done in a shorter time. Maximize in these two points, make sure that you charge enough to support labor and still make a profit( you need to pay yourself the labor AND the company still needs to be black on every job to ever grow. It's a common trap for guys not to figure their own time and labor, including running, in their true expenses and account for replacement costs and profit for growth in addition to labor and equipment operating expenses) If you don't address these items now, when will you? when you have 5 guys depending on you and a hundred customers that don't/won't take a giant price hike from the too low levels you've already established?
  5. The mayor

    The mayor LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 592

    Don't forget to get ahold of your insurance agent on adding a employee. You will be quite suprised on how expensive the workmans comp is in this industry. It made me re evaluate my situation.
  6. howardsells2000

    howardsells2000 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 355

    Thanks for the input, please keep the comments coming.
  7. Onyx

    Onyx LawnSite Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 2

    When just starting to expand you could hire help as sub contractors and pay them in full then at the end of the year give them a 1099 for their earnings. This way you could start with low overhead, then when you get rolling in the dough you could hire these sub contractors as permanent employees.
  8. GreenUtah

    GreenUtah LawnSite Senior Member
    from SLC, UT
    Messages: 866

    no one gets paid at the end of the year and sticks around to actually do any work, sub or not. The IRS also take a dim view of trying to pass off those who use your equipment, on your customers accounts, working hours that you set and calling them a sub. Subs are fine, as long they're a freestanding company/contractor using their own people and equipment on their own schedule. They also won't be wating til the end of the year to be paid in full.

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