When to hire office help

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Steve, Nov 25, 2019.

  1. Steve

    Steve LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from NE FL
    Messages: 1,684

    I know there is really no magical number on when you should hire part time help, but more of when you feel like you should and for me I think its now, but I'm not entirely sure and don't want to make the mistake of doing it too early. I currently have 55-60 customers and before I went on biweekly schedule I was mowing 4 solid days with about 50-60% being year round customers. Working 8-530ish with no breaks except bathroom and drive-thru I don't like being idle and then I get home around 6 and need to clean up.

    With many ways of contacting me, I've found it easier to funnel all points of communications to one or 2 apps, but yet there are times I'm missing calls, texts, emails, voicemails. I'm not the most organized person, but if I have something in front of me telling me to do it I will knock it out no problem. I have a 3'x4' dry erase calendar board in my room that I use to help with planning, and then move everything to Yardbook once its set in stone but I'm still not happy with my customer contact and scheduling. One of the issues I am having is a current customer contacts me and I'm slow to respond. A few of my friends here use a reputable lawn guy, but one of the biggest complaints I hear about him is communication and scheduling so I need to be better than him at that.

    My goal for next year is to hire a helper in the truck around Feb and push landscaping sales. This will also free up maybe 2 days worth of work once weekly maintenance begins in April, allowing me to grow and keep doing landscape sales.

    This past summer I had a friend who worked from home so I gave her limited access to my Facebook business page to reply to messages on the initial contact to get the address and then I would schedule the quote. It seemed to work out ok but she has since got another job and not at home that much anymore so I'm thinking about revoking her privilege. I do have another friend who is a stay at home mom, looks out for people looking for lawn care and putting my name out there, especially in her very nice golf community and other nice areas. She does do craft projects and sells them on Facebook, she and an ex used to have their own business doing painting and pressure washing so has experience with scheduling and self employment life so I've been thinking about asking her if she would like to help me. If I went that route how would I pay her, its not full time work yet? X amount per lead, more if they take my service?

    So as a goal for spring 2020, is have a helper in the truck and a helper scheduling and contacting customers. Does that sound unreasonable at this stage?
  2. La Chandler

    La Chandler LawnSite Member
    Messages: 237

    Your forth employee.
  3. Andrew H

    Andrew H LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,883

    They have answering services that’ll answer the phone for you and send everything over in an email.
    Here’s the problem
    You’ll have, unless you do winter work, how do you expect the pay someone in the off season.
  4. Green Mentorship

    Green Mentorship LawnSite Member
    Messages: 233

    Almost without a doubt, you're not ready for office admin help. Growing a business requires you to wear many hats, at odd hours, way before you can afford to hire the tasks to an employee.
  5. JFGLN

    JFGLN LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,668

    I'm thinking about hiring a service next spring. One that will enter leads into my CRM.
  6. prezek

    prezek LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 650

    55-60 customers? Do they all call daily? If no, you shouldn’t need help answering calls.
  7. La Chandler

    La Chandler LawnSite Member
    Messages: 237

    Sorry I disagree. You should have an administrative assistant as soon as you can possibly swing it, even if it is only your wife, mother, girl friend, etc. You need to give the image of a professional business, plus scheduling, complaints, new customers, dealing with supplies and repairs, etc. Meantime you concentrate on the business.
  8. Green Mentorship

    Green Mentorship LawnSite Member
    Messages: 233

    You're wrong. Those items you want to outsource ARE the business.
  9. prezek

    prezek LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 650

    I did it myself up until about 300-350 maintenance customers. Then my wife took over everything. 650 regular maintenance customers currently and during our busy season, she MIGHT work 25 hours. Tough to hire an admin when you could only guarantee a few hours a day/week.

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