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CHEESE2009
07-11-2010, 02:05 PM
So my business is doing alright, though I'm going to put it on pause for a bit as I can't keep up with it's needs.

I can't take on more customers without more helpers in all sorts of fields. I need someone in the office, a foreman - etc...

The thing is, I can make a profit with the business & pay myself & a full time employee - nothing is really wrong.

Though to see how much money I'm throwing away on 'needed' helpers is discouraging, & I'd like to see more money go into the business.

I started my business with peanuts, but I've managed to get a truck, trailer, zero turn, 2 trimmers, 4 self propelled lawn mowers & afford a full time employee & pay myself - from 2009 till now I have been lucky.

The business is left with money, but it's not enough to really grow - just maintain itself.

My goal is to get myself out of doing the work, which is the ideal plan & for my business to be self sufficient.

I heard a little story about how being a business owner is different from being self employed. I wish I kept it to show!


ANYWAY here is the reason for the post;

I have been offered a job, part time. I have worked for this company for 4-5 years before at different franchise locations, this store is located right beside me.

I have offered to work evening shifts. Though is this a safe move?

I finish my lawn work usually 3pm/5pm & can alter my routes so I can be home at a good time & ready to go in to this job.

I feel so encouraged, considering I have an idea of where this new money can go! RIGHT INTO THE BUSINESS! Being a slave for my company is going to make this job a piece of cake! - EASY MONEY!

Before I worked for myself, I hated working for others... But after working like a dog for myself with so many headaches, this extra job is going to now feel like heaven.

Anyway, I go do some weekend lawns (sucks)

I just killed an ant, crawling on me in my own bed... Gotta love bringing the critters into the home from work!

JP Landscaping
07-11-2010, 05:14 PM
If you can make more money doing this evening job than you could speding that time mowing, then it is a good choice. But if you can make more money mowing lawns during that time, then it sounds like a bad idea.

I had a slow month, las month and was contemplating getting another job, but I make more money working 3 days a week for myself than I do working 5-6 days full time at another job. So I'm better off working for myself.

If I was to take that extra work, I wouldn't be able to schedule more work for myself if I got busier. I have decided to stick it out.

Steve
07-11-2010, 08:16 PM
The business is left with money, but it's not enough to really grow - just maintain itself.

You are touching on a lot of good points here but I want to ask you about this one first.

What is your view on this? Why is it making money but really not enough to grow and what do you feel your options are to change this?

picframer
07-11-2010, 08:26 PM
You are touching on a lot of good points here but I want to ask you about this one first.

What is your view on this? Why is it making money but really not enough to grow and what do you feel your options are to change this?

To me the answer is simple, find services you can offer that do not require a substantial investment the clients want, I did this starting in April of last year, we are now 17 staff, it's difficult to manage at times but there are so many niche markets we can tap into it's simply amazing.

CHEESE2009
07-11-2010, 10:35 PM
Sorry my post before was kind of rushed.

I'm going through "growing pains" with the business.

I have been declining all sorts of business because I would be responsible for too many accounts, and hiring help can be risky.


The choices are

a) Hire help, wait for more lawns
b) wait for more lawns, hire help
c) invest with this new job I've been offered, hire help, wait for more lawns

A) If I hire help before I get enough lawns, I'd be throwing money away.

B) If I wait for more lawns BEFORE I hire, I'd have to do a lot of work myself before hiring a new helper can be justified. This means the quality of my work would go down, as I will be personally overbooked & rushed.

C) With this new job, I would be able to hire a few guys without any risk - no money leaves the business. My time is obviously more strict, though the money can pay people to take care of my stresses. I'll be busting my arse, but the aftermath should be worth it.

Eventually the business will grow big enough I can hop back into it, drop the other job & just profit profit profit - with an iron fist!

I can just imagine, paying for all my new equipment, repairs, etc through this job...

Why didn't I ever think of this before?!?!

Anyone have any experience balancing two jobs?



NOTE:

It's not like I can perform any outdoors work during the evening anyway - so this job is a bonus. ... it's not like I need sleep or anything...:o:eek:

CHEESE2009
07-11-2010, 10:48 PM
To me the answer is simple, find services you can offer that do not require a substantial investment the clients want, I did this starting in April of last year, we are now 17 staff, it's difficult to manage at times but there are so many niche markets we can tap into it's simply amazing.

Making up-sells or even gaining new clients - I really just don't have the time anymore!

The lawns I currently maintain take up all of my time - I don't take on any more garden jobs, hedge trimming jobs, gutter jobs, etc.

I just focus on lawns, no time to do anything more.

So the question is, how do I allow the business to be able to take on this work?

Doing everything myself is just like jumping into cement.

I only have one truck, & I wish I could trust someone enough to take it out & get my lawns done - giving me time to organize & follow through with other these other jobs.

I'm trying my best to justify everything I do.

Ideally, I'd like to hire someone for minimum wage to do all of my lawns. Though the damn risk is so frightening. And working alongside this hired helper would be a total waste of money - the point is to do less work as a business owner, not continuously tying yourself down.

Hmmm.....................

picframer
07-12-2010, 05:07 AM
You need to find employees that will take the bull by the horns and run accounts the way you would, it's easier said than done and I have experienced severe pains past year in this area. I ended up hiring the grounds keeper of a large golf course and the grounds keeper of a camp ground, then a clients brother moved here from another city, he was the manager of a landscaping company, all three are worth their weight in gold, I never have to concern myself they simply take care of their group of employees and business as I mainly excavate while they look after landscaping and lawn care.

I do pay performance bonus's, it can be difficult if we only offer lawn mowing as the margins are tight, in my case we offer so many services that are massive profit margins in all works out in the end and allows me to do this, it is an incentive at least in my case that really pays off.

All of this however is honestly a PITA when it comes to paperwork, I do have an office manager and she does a great job, she has a part time assistant to help her.

In short, I really lucked out in several area's when it comes to employees, in two years I have only had to let 2 go, we are 17 to 19 at the moment and what I mean by that is I have two employees that work off shore on rigs, they are away 30 days then back 30 days, when they are home they work for me, they are amazing workers or I would never go this route.

You are simply experiencing business growing pains, it hurts, trust me I saw it for almost 16 years when I was a banker, I have owned three other companies and went through it with all of them. This Lawn Care/Landscaping/wood chipping company I have now was the most painful but the dust has settled and we are running on all cylinders but I will be honest, I nearly had a nervous breakdown from stress a few times getting to where I am today, there is no easy cut and dry answer IMHO to what you are going through, I wish there was, there is in some industries but this one you and I are in along with others is a tough one at times.

bruces
07-12-2010, 12:49 PM
you stated that ideally you would like to find someone for minimum wage to do all of your lawns .have you ever worked for minimum wage ?if so would you be willing to work for someone else cutting the lawns for minimum wage ?how good of a job would you do in that situation ? I am sorry,but under most situations minimum wage and a good job often dont come in the same package .I beleive there is an easy answer to your problems,hire workers on a percentage bassis ,contingent on their doing a job acceptable to your customers needs,so they have a real chance to make a living ,and your worries about the job being accomplished correctly ,and your equipment is taken care of .

CHEESE2009
07-12-2010, 04:30 PM
Minimum wage leaves me the ability to add bonuses to whoever is hired.

Paying new crew luxury bucks never works. Anything you pay them will never be enough - when you offer them a bonus or anything else/more, they expect it & are never grateful.

My crew has the ability to make what they want. Most of them sigh when it comes to doing MORE work. But if they do MORE work & they work efficiently (they all drag their asses), they can make some decent money.

It's all set up for them, they just have no motivation.

Often times staff feel as if they deserve all the perks & benefits - & that their pay check just isn‘t enough. These type of people are usually careless towards keeping a positive company image & have a serious lack of self motivation.

Steve
07-13-2010, 01:19 AM
To me the answer is simple, find services you can offer that do not require a substantial investment the clients want, I did this starting in April of last year, we are now 17 staff, it's difficult to manage at times but there are so many niche markets we can tap into it's simply amazing.

Andy,

Do you feel that Scott needs to find services that will produce more profit per hour than what he is currently doing?

Also, when one is at this point where they are super busy but aren't making enough money to grow, are they not charging enough for the services they offer? And if they are not charging enough but the market won't bare any rise in cost, does this then go back to finding other services that make more profit per hour than he is currently offering?

picframer
07-13-2010, 05:35 AM
Andy,

Do you feel that Scott needs to find services that will produce more profit per hour than what he is currently doing?

Also, when one is at this point where they are super busy but aren't making enough money to grow, are they not charging enough for the services they offer? And if they are not charging enough but the market won't bare any rise in cost, does this then go back to finding other services that make more profit per hour than he is currently offering?

It's what we did and man did it ever work, mowing is low on the pole for us however it's a way in the door, Organic Sprays, Pressure Washing are two classic examples, there is massive profit margins in both plus it's another way to get in the door, out spraying this weekend I picked up 5 pressure washing accounts/job.

If you are super busy and not making money, then there is a serious issue, could be rates, staff training, poor planned route schedules, wrong equipment for the job at hand etc.

If the market will not bear the cost then find a niche where you can make the profit, it's not hard, then you grow the company with part of those profits to expand your service offering.

Our company is now a one stop shop, almost anything a homeowner needs we can do and we offer.

I have 8 crews, some are cross trained and what I found key is find services that you can do when it rains for example, pressure was or spray lawns etc.

You have to keep your eyes open while at a clients or driving by a place, it's how I grew this company and we currently have 119 jobs on the books to do and getting 6 to 14 inquiries a day. If we pay attention, we will make money not only this business but any business.....I should write a book:) Another key is low pressure sales, I tell clients first thing, not that I am trying to get more money from you but I noticed.........we could do/fix that for you, it would cost $XXXX.XX, no pressure but if you are interested give me a shout. Just those words seems to get me over 90% of the jobs, you see the client see's this approach as a non threat as many, including myself, do not really care for sales type people that much out just to land the job, a have a low pressure, friendship type approach and it works and works well.

robgee05
07-13-2010, 02:30 PM
Sorry my post before was kind of rushed.

I'm going through "growing pains" with the business.

I have been declining all sorts of business because I would be responsible for too many accounts, and hiring help can be risky.


The choices are

a) Hire help, wait for more lawns
b) wait for more lawns, hire help
c) invest with this new job I've been offered, hire help, wait for more lawns

A) If I hire help before I get enough lawns, I'd be throwing money away.

B) If I wait for more lawns BEFORE I hire, I'd have to do a lot of work myself before hiring a new helper can be justified. This means the quality of my work would go down, as I will be personally overbooked & rushed.

C) With this new job, I would be able to hire a few guys without any risk - no money leaves the business. My time is obviously more strict, though the money can pay people to take care of my stresses. I'll be busting my arse, but the aftermath should be worth it.

Eventually the business will grow big enough I can hop back into it, drop the other job & just profit profit profit - with an iron fist!

I can just imagine, paying for all my new equipment, repairs, etc through this job...

Why didn't I ever think of this before?!?!

Anyone have any experience balancing two jobs?



NOTE:

It's not like I can perform any outdoors work during the evening anyway - so this job is a bonus. ... it's not like I need sleep or anything...:o:eek:

As long as you don't let the job take president over things you could be doing to help your business at night. (the books, marketing, estimates, SLEEP LOL) I also agree with JP on the whole add new services IDEA-Pressure washing, painting, pavers etc. If your already making full use of daylight it could be a problem. But if you can up sell enough extra services it could pay for the employees and new equipment.

robgee05
07-13-2010, 02:47 PM
The lawns I currently maintain take up all of my time - I don't take on any more garden jobs, hedge trimming jobs, gutter jobs, etc.

These are higher margin jobs that you need to find a way to service. GL Man

CHEESE2009
07-13-2010, 08:41 PM
This has nothing to do with up-sells.

I offer what I can, with what time I have. Offering other services doesn't give me more time, not in this world. I need more time in order to offer more services or take on new business.

I'm not saying I need to bid better, no. My income has been doing great - though in business - it can ALWAYS improve, though at this point I am unable to do it alone.

I can fund a crew to do the labor, though in reality that doesn't give me enough time to grow other operations as managing crew would then be added to my to-do list.

Basically, I need someone to manage my lawns so I can take on more work myself - that's what this is all about. Also, I don't want to take money out of my business when it's possible for me to pay for expenses with an evening job. The company can afford it, but it doesn't have to. I want to keep putting money into the business until there are at least 2 SOLID crews.

So when I'm finished with my lawns, I head to my night job at 5PM-12AM. Considering I'm up till 3AM every morning anyway, I don't see a major problem.

It still has the growth potential because I will be generating more money than "assistants/crew" are worth in the lawn maintenance field with money to spare.

In other words, I make XXX$ - I pay only XX$ on helpers. Basically, I am becoming the customer of my business.

HOW?

I make money with my night job to hire more of MY OWN CREW to manage XXX lawns. All I'm doing is paying my guys, while the real customers are continuously funding the business - the business that pays me for doing now even less work!

If I pay someone to run a few aspects of the business that in return pays me, I'll be doing the right thing! I'll be working a regular job with the added benefit of a self sufficient company generating my real income. When I'm ready, I'll jump back in full time (breeze) & start ANOTHER crew (funded 100%) in which I will manage - & repeat the process until I can retire young.

All I'm doing is speeding up the process, & using a tactic all of us have used.

We have all worked for other jobs, some of you worked at McDonalds before you started your business - why stop if you don't have to, especially when you have past the point of purchasing start up equipment - consider it a new investment HIRE CREW. Make more than you pay out & you'll profit profit profit....

Working 2 jobs to invest in starting a company = difficult

Working 2 jobs actually now 1 1/3 when someone else is managing your business = Smart, steady. Your income is basically three times larger, and you do less work give or take.


So I'm looking to make a self sufficient business the quick way, take my evenings away if it means more business income.

Example #13453959
For every two-thousand dollars I make with the new job;
Breeze: $1,500.00
Crew: $500.00

Time spent working at new job;
140 hours

Timer spent working at Breeze;
Hardly anything!

Income;
Humongous!


Ok.. I'm going to grab a beer. lol...





I need someone who can do the following;

Answer phone calls
Solve various issues within the 'lawn maintenance' field of the company
Give estimates
Schedule/follow routes
Lead/manage a crew
Maintain Equipment (clean out)
Refill on Gas/Oil
Maintain Lawns Efficiently
Load & Unload Trailer
Drive with a trailer
Collect Payments

and the list goes on....

Now doesn't that seem like a dream?

I have so many cell phones ending with '5590' I'd like to be able to have my customers call a specific number for every single one of their needs.

JP Landscaping
07-14-2010, 12:21 AM
From what I see you have reached your capacity as a 1 man crew. the next step would be to hire someone to work along with you to do these accounts. You won't be able to grow your business unless you hire workers because you can't take on more work by yourself.

So the problem here seems to be hiring the right people. Stay away from friends and family unless they know for that time, they are your employees and are expected to perform.

Aother option is: because you are at your capacity, you can start charging more for your services or you can pick the types of jobs that have the higher profit margin and focus on those. When you get a call for a new lawn client, take it only if the profit margin on that one is higher than the lowest paying customer. This way you drop you low earners and get higher paying jobs.

Look at your accounting very carefully. If your business is not making enough money to set aside for growth and you have to find another job to pay for repairs and maitenance for the business, then the business is not doing well. If you are fully booked or overbooked, your business should be making enough money. If not, then maybe growth wasn't accounted for in your overhead and you are not charging enough.