why you need systems

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Efficiency, Mar 12, 2013.

  1. tonygreek

    tonygreek LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,909

    Exmark, just start with the easiest way and create a rough, ordered list of steps or flow chart of bidding or your "arrival at the shop to arrival at the first customer". Keep it with you and make notes to fill in any blanks for additions or oversights, and gradually refine to a finished product.
  2. exmarkking

    exmarkking LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,012

    this is something that I feel takes years to get right. I have a general knowledge of what I need and how to do it, but it's so much that it blows my mind. Let me give an example:
    -Potential customer calls
    -system in place to handle call, gather customer info, schedule etc.
    -meet at agreed time at property
    -system to gather info for accurate estimate/price
    -system to present estimate to customer
    -system to get customer on work schedule-
    -service customer property
    -system to keep track of work completed
    -system for billing correctly and collecting payments for customer account

    Something like this?
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  3. Raymond S.

    Raymond S. LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 996

    That's a very complicated way of saying "Answer the phone when it rings and set up a time to meet with a client. Give them an estimate, service the property, and bill them when you're done." Don't make this harder than it is. I could write down a "system" to handle the basics in about an hour. The intangibles of the business are where you need to concentrate (if you're worried about being in a coma for a year and your workers not being able to run the business.) How to set the schedule. How to record jobs and invoicing procedures. When does payroll get called in and to who. How do the taxes get paid. How does unemployment get paid. Where do the equipment payments get made to and when. When is insurance due. How much fertilizer gets ordered for the first round? When is the credit card payment due?
    I don't worry about the simple things that an experienced employee already should know, or will know once trained. I worry about having things setup for them to reference in the event something happens to me and they're left to carry on. You know all the stuff that goes on when they think I'm sitting back at the shop watching the grass grow.
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  4. exmarkking

    exmarkking LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,012

    Very true, I could be over thinking it. There are questions that I forget to ask customers like "how did you hear about us ". Also I would like to start tracking time to have a data base for pricing later on
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  5. southern79

    southern79 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 91

    Check out the school of applied business science online. 26 month online class to help you and employees document process, step, procedure and a whole lot more.
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  6. southern79

    southern79 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 91

  7. Efficiency

    Efficiency LawnSite Bronze Member
    from zone 6
    Messages: 1,855

    not trying to be a jerk - was on a hiatus from this site.

    Im not posting any screen shots etc of this spreadsheet. Its held close.

    But, google the term "cost driver" to get a start on what you need to track. Identify anything your employees do in the process of doing work and start tracking it. Once you have years of production data, start putting that info to work for your business by making a spreadsheet like this. If it takes a guy 12 minutes to shear a med. sized hedge, track it. See if it is constant. What makes it change? Is that a cost driver? If it takes a guy 12 hours to line trim 100 feet, record it. See if its constant. What makes that rate change? etc... repeat.
  8. springbrook

    springbrook LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    Well said! We are in process of enabling and designing systems. First was scheduling and what a difference in efficiency and ease of mind knowing where you will be going tomorrow. Now is estimating. This is such a broad field to wade through and come up with 100's of individual times/ideas/designs etc. Do you know of any "estimate" sheets or a good list of questions to go down through with a potential customer? Thanks.
  9. springbrook

    springbrook LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    Read the E-Myth Revisited, or the E-Myth Contractor, by Michael E. Gerber. Fantastic information on how to develop systems and step away from your business as technician and become a "Manager" of your business. Read it!
  10. springbrook

    springbrook LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    You know what I believe there is a Landscape Contractor book too by E-Myth, Michael Gerber. Havent read this one yet.

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