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View Full Version : Be Careful - Learn From My Mistake


NewLeafca
06-02-2010, 10:19 AM
Well it was Memorial Day weekend and I took the weekend to have some fun. My buddies and I took our dirt bikes up to the mountains this weekend to camp out and do some ridding. Unfortunately on the trip I got a little reckless and had crash. It was not a serious one but enough that I hurt my leg and am unable to walk for a few days.

I am new in the business and have 14 clients right now. I do not have any other help just me. So yesterday I called all my clients and told them that I was injured and that I would try to get to everyone's lawn at the end of the week. I am hopping that I will heal up by then. If I am unable to get to them this week then I will adjust their monthly bill for the missed week. They all understood and was thankful for the call so I don't think I will loose any of them as clients.

So my point is this. If you are new to the business and working alone you got to think about what you do on your off time as well. If I would have injured myself worse then this I would have not been able to continue the work and have to give up the clients. Then when I healed up try to start all over. Yeah it kind of sucks but if you want to keep your business going and build it up you have to let it run your life somewhat for a while. Just thought this might help out some of the other newbies in the bizz.

racerdude711
06-02-2010, 11:22 AM
I agree. Business does run your life to some extent when your working for yourself without any help. I can't go on vacation, unless its like for a day, because I will miss out on mowing, and I can't go on vacation in the winter because it might snow when I'm gone. Can't wait until I'm a little older and get an employee or two.

Steve
06-03-2010, 12:52 AM
Do you feel it would be worthwhile at all to find another lawn care business owner in the area where you could help them in such situations and they could help you?

Possibly due to injury or vacation time?

Or do you feel that would not work?

picframer
06-03-2010, 03:58 AM
Do you feel it would be worthwhile at all to find another lawn care business owner in the area where you could help them in such situations and they could help you?

Possibly due to injury or vacation time?

Or do you feel that would not work?

This may be a good idea in principal but it opens the door to a host of issues, possibly even loose a customer or two because they may like the hired company for some unknown reason even when we feel we do not have any issues with the client.

I am somewhat fortunate in that I have staff to fall back on however when injury occurs to me as the owner it's painful in more ways than one. Around two weeks ago my carpel tunnel came back after a 7 year sleep, it was decided acupuncture might help, it did however something went amiss in that a back injury of almost 18 years ago came back to the point I struggled to put socks on in the morning and it has really put a damper on what I can do, it's getting better but due to the fact I mainly work in our landscaping and excavation side we are falling behind when we are already a couple weeks behind.

I have staff trained on all the equipment we have however two sites we are on require an operator with years of experience, finding a replacement is almost impossible, many of the good equipment operators either have great jobs or they have left for very high paying jobs in the oil industry, I have a good friend who went west as an excavator operator making a thousand dollars a day gross and he is not even at the top of the food chain.

I wish you a speedy recovery, it makes it very tough when this happens.

NewLeafca
06-03-2010, 08:18 AM
Do you feel it would be worthwhile at all to find another lawn care business owner in the area where you could help them in such situations and they could help you?

Possibly due to injury or vacation time?

Or do you feel that would not work?

I would have to agree with picfarmer on this. I think it might just make things worse then better. I was walking a bit better last night so am going out to try a few of the smaller ones today and see how it goes.

MountainViewGreenskeeper
06-03-2010, 03:31 PM
ya ive been worried about this for a while not just getting hurt. But getting sick. Usually when I get sick I am dead sick cnt do much. So I dont know what im gunna do as a 1 man crew but just tuff it out i guess and avoid as many problems as possible.

But have to agree bringing in another comapany might cause more problems that its worth.

robgee05
06-03-2010, 05:44 PM
My brother and I our partners so we can cover 1 another. But another thought you may have is loss of income or supplemental disability insurance. Even being down one week without $$$ coming in could be real bad. Ive had aflac at my job and it was great. I was out once with broken ribs and another time with knee surgery. Maybe different coverage for business owner, unless you get workman's comp on yourself and pay a small salary so you can collect off job disability. Not really sure how that works, might want to ask professional. There are supplemental disabilities that cover on the job injuries too. I think Allstate has one.

racerdude711
06-04-2010, 12:41 AM
A friend from school has a small lawn service and he called me 2 days ago and said he was going on vacation for his graduation celebration and that he needed someone to cover his accounts. So I agreed to do it, and got two compliments today from his customers because my work was better than his. The first comment was because I edged the property with my trimmer real quick, and the second was because I blew the grass of the back patio and around a pool. The last guy wanted to know if I was gunna be the one taking over for my friend when he goes to college, so it seems he would like me to do it. And my friend did mention that he might give me the clients when he goes to college which would be awesome, but the only problem I have is that I think he doesn't currently charge enough $$$. I guess I could just finish off the year after he goes to college and maybe at the beginning of the next spring, raise my prices a little. The properties are all water front on a very nice lake in a very high priced neighborhood. They are all a good 3/4 acre or more. And he currently charges like $25-$30.

robgee05
06-04-2010, 02:10 PM
WOW 25-30 to cut 3/4 acre. Will he come cut my grass. LOL. Anyway Im sure if you tack a little extra on there the customer will understand why he paid less to your friend. If he has 3/4 acre on a lake Im sure we wont mind a little extra for better service.

Little's
06-04-2010, 11:13 PM
Thats the reason I dont do drive anything that has a motor other than my truck and my boat. Im currently looking into disability insurance. I had a friend who owns a good business and got sick with cancer. Luckily she had plenty of employees to cover all the work, but she still ended up working even while she was sick.
Im gonna make more calls on Monday.

hotwired
06-06-2010, 04:09 AM
1. Don't worry too much if your friend hasn't priced them properly, as long as they're in teh "ball park." It's much easier to increase prices (reasonably) with a "captive audience" that knows you do good work than it is to get NEW customers. (they already KNOW you do good work, and if you go up, and they want to switch, they now have to take on the work of making phone calls, and the risk that the new guy will not be as good, and they'll have to start over again)

2. I think it's almost a no brainer to have relationships with a group of "friendly" competitors. If you have 50 lawns, make sure you have enough relationships to be able to dole out 10 lawns to 5 different competitors. I actually have lawns that I sub out to a couple of competitors that I've mentored in the past. It's been an exceptional experience.

Disclaimer: This is just my opinion, and many have told me, "Ken, you just ain't right!!"

Steve
06-07-2010, 03:04 AM
If you have 50 lawns, make sure you have enough relationships to be able to dole out 10 lawns to 5 different competitors. I actually have lawns that I sub out to a couple of competitors that I've mentored in the past. It's been an exceptional experience.

When you say dole out 10 lawns, do you mean just give them the lawn or are you subcontracting the mowing to them?

What benefit do you feel is gained from doing this?