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Jimbo MD
12-28-2009, 09:37 AM
Hi to all, Friends call me Jimbo, non friends usally don't call me at all.I have a small Landscape company in central MD. My skills that pay the bills are fine pruning, landscape design / Build, and we do a few patio's a year, there usally tied in with some landscape jobs. Looking forward to talking with you all and hopefully I can learn a few more things.
Jimbo

Steve
12-28-2009, 09:57 AM
Hi Jimbo,

Welcome to our forum!

We often talk on here about the importance of finding a niche with your business and it seems like you have done that.

How did you choose those services you offer? Do you find it is better to offer more services or focus on a few specific services?

Jimbo MD
12-28-2009, 01:07 PM
Hey Steve, Bear with me, I'll figure out how the forum works in the next few threads. Basically I worked for a big company for 20 years and was involved in some great projects, alot of fine pruning, combined with great landscape and hardscape design. I just basically put my time in. This a great forum, I've been looking for something like this for a long time.
Jimbo

Steve
12-29-2009, 08:41 AM
20 years in a company is a long time! Do you feel you were able to learn a lot from them?

Did any of those lessons you learned, help you get your business started?

Do you think there were maybe a top 5 list of lessons you learned about running a lawn care business from them? If so, what would be on that top 5 list?

Jimbo MD
12-30-2009, 08:49 AM
Hey Steve, How's everything in your world ? I would say that all the things learned at a big company has created a top 5 list I use now as a standard formula.
This is how I appoach everyjob
1.The customer is always write. ( I actually learned that one from having 4 females in the house )
2.While the job will never be perfect, when finished it should be as close to perfect as possible.
3. This the one that you see at the end of the year. On purchasing materials, set a goal on each job to try and save 10% more and during the job try to save 10% more. You have to think a little more, but I'm telling you it works.
4.Volumn, when you go into a neighboorhood, you should always think about owning it, even if it just starts with one street.
5.Overhead should veiwed monthly. The economy has changed, alot of contractors are one step away from the curb on any given day. It's like my biker friends say, " if it don't make you go faster, get rid of it".

Steve
12-30-2009, 10:03 AM
3. This the one that you see at the end of the year. On purchasing materials, set a goal on each job to try and save 10% more and during the job try to save 10% more. You have to think a little more, but I'm telling you it works.

Why does this become important at the end of the year? What is the logic behind it?

So for instance if you were doing a landscape job that required 10 bushes, would you try and only purchase 9?

Jimbo MD
12-30-2009, 12:35 PM
Hi Steve, The theory in it is if you save 10% on each job, weather it be materials, labor, having materials delievered, working late, ect. you will end up saving money. Every contractor out there can look at every job from the previous year and say " if I did that different, I would have an extra $100.00" if you do that 20 times, that's $2000.00 at the end of the year.

Steve
12-31-2009, 10:22 AM
What is your suggestion to practically do this? Should you first figure out what you need for a job and then go through it and total it up. Then say, how can I cut 10% from these costs and go with that?

When you look back at jobs you have done, where there places you almost always could save money on? If so, what area stood out?

Jimbo MD
12-31-2009, 08:20 PM
I have found having materials delievered is a big savings, not only on time & fuel, but also wear & tear on the vehicles. When I have a large planting job I fax the list to 3 suppliers, this always saves money. Craigslisting left over materials for free is a great way to save money at the landfill, usally on hardscape jobs there is always a 1/4 pallet left over, those craigslist people will show an hour after posting them.
Jimbo

Steve
01-01-2010, 04:39 PM
Craigslisting left over materials for free is a great way to save money at the landfill, usally on hardscape jobs there is always a 1/4 pallet left over, those craigslist people will show an hour after posting them.

Is it ever worthwhile at all to charge for these left overs or is it just better to get rid of them?

Jimbo MD
01-01-2010, 06:04 PM
Unless you going to continiously use the same materials, I just get rid of them, thre's no way to order an exact amount of pavers, if you finish with a 1/4 pallet left over, home run, just give the rest away to someone who wants it.

Steve
01-02-2010, 09:02 AM
4.Volumn, when you go into a neighboorhood, you should always think about owning it, even if it just starts with one street.

What is your suggestion on how best to go about owning a neighborhood? And do you mean for lawn care maintenance or other services?

Jimbo MD
01-02-2010, 05:24 PM
The only way to own a neighboorhood is by offering lower prices. But since your dealing in volumn all you have to do is keep going from house to house without the loading / driving time. The more houses you do in a neighboorhood, the more they will call you for other services.

Steve
01-04-2010, 10:47 AM
Now that is interesting!

When you have the potential to get a bunch of customers right near each other like that, do you have some sort of rule of thumb % that you are willing to drop your price for those new additional customers where it still makes it worth your time?

Jimbo MD
01-04-2010, 06:56 PM
I don't have % that adjust to. I kinda know what everyone charges, so I adjust to that.Sometimes you don't make the money you should, but if your delivering a good, consistant service at an affordable price and your doing the majority of the work in the neighboorhood, people will always pick you first.

Steve
01-05-2010, 12:36 PM
1.The customer is always write. ( I actually learned that one from having 4 females in the house )

Do any situations stand out from your experience where you felt the customer was absolutely wrong but you bit your tongue and told them they were right and you did something to resolve the issue where it cost you?

Have you found this business rule to help you out in the long run?

Jimbo MD
01-05-2010, 01:06 PM
Man I could write you a few stories on that one, I've seen a few customer / contractor screeming matches and everyone ends up looking bad. I think the best thing to do is if it is a non warrenty issue and it only cost you a few hours, let them be write, fix it and move on.

Steve
01-05-2010, 01:33 PM
Man I could write you a few stories on that one

I'd love to hear one of them. I think we all learn better from shared experiences.