View Full Version : Small Business Challenges

05-20-2010, 08:32 PM
Well, I started off the week by firing one of my employees. He's been having issues with quality and speed and I finally told him last week that he either needs to crap or get the heck of my pot. I don't think this is the job he wants to be in, but I think he needs money. Unfortunately I'm not in the charity business and on top of that, he's ruining my reputation. So, I let him go. Then on Tuesday, I'm trying to get caught up from all this crazy rain we've been getting non-stop, and my Exmark (which I'm proud to say has been serving me well with over 1600 hours) finally lays down on me. The wheel motors have been getting weaker lately and I've noticed we don't travel as fast as we used to on her. Then, my deck just up and stops working while finishing up..I think it's something minor, and a few other minor things like noisy deck spindles and needed carb work. So, I go back to the place where I bought her and ask him to look her over and let me know what I need to do to fix her. He recommends I trade her in. My only problem with this is I dearly love my Exmark, and I have become pretty darn good with making her do just about everything I need her to do. So, reluctantly, I say "what do you have?" We walk to the back, where he keeps his used inventory and shows me a 2007 Dixie Chopper. It has a 60" deck, 33 hp V-Twin, and is rated to mow 6.4 acres/hr. It sounded good and was very responsive. So I took it home to try it out for a few days. I mowed with it yesterday on six of my accounts and I have to say I'm impressed. The ride is much better than on my Exmark, and it has more than enough power. It also has a chute deflector that is something I was wanting to purchase for the Exmark too. Overall, I really like the quality of the Dixie, and I really like the fact that it's built "consumer friendly". You can actually work on this thing without having to take it to a dealer for a special tool. I'll be taking it back first thing in the morning with my $2000 and making the deal. I will definitely miss my old Exmark, but I think I am making a good decision. If all goes well this year, and I retain my large accounts next year, I will be in a better position to buy a new unit.

05-21-2010, 05:41 PM
Well it looks like things turned out to be alright after all of that! Congrats!

What are you gonna be doing about the employee situation now?

05-21-2010, 08:20 PM
I think that you made a wise decision with the Dixie! That mower usually costs $11,000 and is rated the fasted and best lawn mower in the world!


05-22-2010, 12:49 AM
Well Steve, I put an add on Craigslist stating that I was accepting applications for the position. Unfortunately, the kid that was working for me was a good friend's son. It was kind of a surprise because last year he did pretty good work. I think he was a little jealous of the guy I hired to be his supervisor...like he thought he should have been the supervisor or something. The way I run my business, seniority doesn't get the promotion, proving to me that you can do the job the way I want it and earning your pay does. I used to work for the railroad and I got so sick and tired of guys whining about their seniority and why they didn't get the jobs they wanted. Of course, it was all union, and the unions made a big deal out of it all. I HATE unions! So, i took notice of it and promised myself that if I ever ran my own business, I wouldn't be like that. So anyways, now I'm advertising for a part time laborer. I started this other guy out at $10/hr and I shouldn't have. So now, I'm advertising it for $8/hr with a possible raise after 30 days. I think I'll pick two guys from the apps and work them together, kind of like a competition for a week. Who ever works out the best will get the job. The other will be paid for his time and thanked, but let go. We'll get a little competition between the two and make them prove they want to work for me. As far as the Dixie Chopper goes, I paid for it today and brought it back home. The sale person is great and he let me have my striper off the Exmark back and also let me trade the new blades I'd just bought for it in on new ones for the Dixie. I see Dixie uses a series of chains for their version, but I was looking at the deck last night and noticed I can weld some brackets on the deck and make the Exmark's striper work perfectly. The only thing I can see about the Dixie that's a curse and a blessing I guess is that they have a filter for everything on that silly thing. It's gonna cost me a fortune to just change fluids and filters..haha. Oh well, I'd rather have the peace of mind knowing that the motors and pumps are running clean, than having to replace them all the time. I also really like the fact that all the spindles and pulleys have grease zerts too. The Exmark doesn't offer that.

05-22-2010, 10:12 PM
That is really interesting! Keep us posted on how the new employee situation works out.