View Full Version : Expanding business

10-30-2006, 08:34 AM
At the present time I have 60 customers which I mow weekly by myself without having to hire anyone. I am trying to decide whether to expand by adding more customers which means I would have to hire help. Is it worth expanding or just continue doing it by myself? Any thoughts on pros or cons on expanding?

Thank you

10-30-2006, 01:00 PM
Hi Barry,

That is a very good question. We have many friends on the forum who have handled this in different ways. Some have hired employees, some have stayed small and some have hired employees only to scale back down after having problems with them.

A good thing about having employees is that you can expand and do more work however you now have to manage them.

What are some of your future business goals? Do you see yourself in the field or more in a managerial role? What would you prefer?

10-30-2006, 01:16 PM
I like to do both

10-30-2006, 01:36 PM
Well then go for it.

If a business owner has an aversion to managing employees I would say stay clear, but if that is the direction you want I think you should explore it.

Wasn't your son-in-law going to get into the industry? Could you hire him? That might make it easier to get into.

10-30-2006, 06:03 PM
Yes, my daughter & future son-in-law started in the weeding business not too long ago and are getting swamped with calls, which is good for them, so I don't think he could help me too much.
We are starting our slow season now, so I have all winter to think about expanding. I was just wondering about some thoughts on the idea and how to approach it. All thoughts are appreciated.

11-03-2006, 09:32 PM
How big are your local competitors? As far as # of employees in your area?

11-04-2006, 07:09 AM
i have no idea

11-04-2006, 07:16 AM
what i need is some body to analyze my business for me. and tell me what direction to go.

11-06-2006, 11:52 AM
Although I am not really in the lawn care business I had a similar situation a few years back. When I first started my own business of graphic design and advertising specialties one of the services I offered was logo clean-up, I didn't expect it would be a large part of the business. Well I began getting swamped with orders for this service and being a one man show could not handle it all in a timely manner. How I solved the problem was jobbing this aspect of the business out whenever I got too bogged down, allowing me to concentrate on more of the design aspect of my business. I could not justify hiring someone because there are times when business is slow. I don't know if that helps but it did allow me to keep the business and I have gotten other business from the customers who just started out sending me this type of work.

11-06-2006, 11:34 PM
John, very good insight. I am happy to see you were able to hire artists to work with you when you had too many jobs, instead of turning them away.

Quote[/b] ]what i need is some body to analyze my business for me. and tell me what direction to go.

The thing I wonder is which direction do you want to go? Has it been a dream of yours to have employees? Or does the idea of having employees scare you?

I don't think anyone can tell you which direction to take. I think this is a step which is taken based on your comfort level.

Once you make such a choice you can then get advice on how to make things run better based on specific situations.

Does anyone else have a view point on this?

11-08-2006, 09:57 PM
What other services you do you offer? Have you thought about hiring on one guy part time to do the "landscaping maintenance" work, or something like. That would free up probably 15 to 20hrs a week for you

11-19-2006, 07:49 AM
thank you John i am till think about it .think are slow down.i am mowering ever 2 week now.


11-21-2006, 04:26 PM
if i what to become the biggest in port charlotte fl. were wood i start. and wood i have lower my price to it.

11-21-2006, 06:58 PM
This is a very good question. The thing I wonder is, should the goal be to be the biggest of the area or the most profitable?

This industry can be very cut throat and I don't think it would be much fun being the biggest company and just squeaking by or even worse, losing money.

I would think, one way to become more profitable would be to become specialized in some kind of installation and become the go to person in your area for that.

Let's see though what other members of the forum think.

11-21-2006, 07:12 PM
If you are getting to the point of where you need help, then my suggestion would be to hire on someone that would work 2 to 3 days a week, your most busy days. That not only gives you time to train the person, but the ability to get more customers for then you can make the person full time.

There are a lot of downsides though, and I know first hand experience about. Here are some things to think about
1. When you hire on someone, you open up a whole new can of worms. Insurance, payroll, liability, etc. It will now cost you more money to do the same work that you did before. Don't think too that by having another employee that all jobs will go faster. The only jobs of where it will go faster is with larger properties.

2. What happens if you hire on an employee, and grow to 100 customers. But before you know it, that employee quits, and now you are stuck taking care of 100 properties yourself, before you can find someone else to hire and train.

3. Expect the quality of work to go down probably. Your quality is going to be a lot higher than employees. To employees, their work is only a paycheck. Employees that work for the green industry that are entry level really could care less about the company.

4. Expert a high turnover rate with entry level employees. Before you know it, you may even see them as your competition

5. Have systems in place and regulations. You have to set ground rules up front with the employee, and don't budge on them. Once you budge, they know that they can take advantage of you.

I have had it before of where I had one employee up to two crews working. I went back to working solo though because the profit margin was really low with employees, they were a constant headache, and the quality of work was not 100% of what I wanted. Will I ever go back to employees? Maybe. But definetly not in the next 2 years.

11-21-2006, 07:37 PM
When you want to shot for higher profitability would you suggest specializing in a niche? Or what would you suggest?

11-21-2006, 08:09 PM
To me, if you want to shot for a higher profit margin, you need to either stay small, or do one particular service very, very good. To the point of where people are lining up to receive your high quality and very expensive service. For example, outdoor BBQ's, patios, hardscapes, micro-irrigation, and color displays/plantings.

11-21-2006, 09:11 PM
ok you have ask my Q now i know which way to go. so i got to find my niche.

thank you very much

11-21-2006, 10:36 PM
Have you thought of what kind of service(s) you would like to focus on?