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View Full Version : Third year and tying to keep it going


B-2 Lawncare
10-04-2011, 10:40 PM
In one month my wife and i will be starting our third year in business.
I had two pages of what has happened during the past two years.
But I can sum it up for you guys in a few short sentences. Go big. If don't you are never going to be that big maintenance crew.

mark123
10-05-2011, 12:03 AM
I don't think everyone wants to be big.

Hedgemaster
10-05-2011, 12:07 AM
I don't think everyone wants to be big.

Tell that to the guys marketing those gizmos and pills for your "youknowwhat" on all those late night infomercials!


:D



Yeah. To be honest, I dread the thought of having even ONE employee.

Dragger
10-05-2011, 08:37 AM
I actually like working for myself and by myself a few times this past year my wife has come out to help me and I had to go back behind her and do things the way I liked it done

I can make a bit over a K a week working by myself and not have to worry about what some one else is doing.

Just the way I feel others I am sure will want to spend there time just going out bidding and letting others do the work part for them, that is just no me though

B-2 Lawncare
10-05-2011, 10:04 AM
I don't think that there is any thing wrong with being a one man band, I had more than one headache from the growth and employees this year. I started this business to get out of the oil-filed and to make money.

When my wife wants to help she is awesome. I only want her to work if she wants to. That's why i have employees, the one peace of advice that i can give anyone who is looking to grow. Is when you find that one employee who's going take some wight off of you take care of them!!!!! And get a membership to you gym, man i have got fat.

I hate to talk about my successes, I don't want to be one of the guys who brags. For all you guys know I could be full of S#!++. But I have over taken a lot of the competition and put a big hurt on the the ones who are left. I am planing on expanding to the next two closet towns this next year . I love the fact that when I call my John-Deere dealer he drops what he's doing to take care of me, We are looking at some JD Z's for next year.

Steve
10-05-2011, 07:50 PM
I had two pages of what has happened during the past two years.
But I can sum it up for you guys in a few short sentences. Go big.

What happened to it? I'd love to read it.

Ducke
10-05-2011, 10:05 PM
I like my small one man operation at the moment, Maybe down the road I might hire my nephews to help out but that would be it.
I know guys who loved the job started out just like me but now not so much.
one is a big time company now 100 or so employees but he is so miserable.
His company take up his whole life, He just bought a 1/2 million dollar home, but he is hardly ever home. Sports cars and ATV and Boats with 0 mileage because the company is totally consuming him.
I don't want that, no way. Money is nice but I want to enjoy it not be a slave to it.

B-2 Lawncare
10-05-2011, 11:28 PM
I know there are a lot of guys here who don't want to be anything more than a one man band, which is OK. I love running a crew and the management that go's with it. As a company grow it needs the management to handle the growth.
And there going to come a point where I will hire some one to help run the day to day operation's of B-2, so I can stop and smell the flowers.
I push hard every day and push my guys and a lot of guys cant hang we mow 150 yards in four days. Fridays are four maintenance and washing. We already having a waiting list for next year. Which means more guys and more equipment.
As I see it some guys are happy with a peace of the cake, not me I want the plant that makes the cake mix.

cruzgardening
10-06-2011, 03:47 AM
hey there glad to hear from people like you, i started early this year and the business has grown so fast that i could not keep up with the demand and i had to hire first one full time guy and planning on getting a par-time guy right now, i have so many questions you guys might be able to help me with, i will open a new threat to ask all the questions for now i have to agree with B-2 Go big remember you are still an employee if you work even if you own your own company! even though u don't have one boss you might have 20+ bosses :)

B-2 Lawncare
10-06-2011, 10:02 AM
I would caution anybody looking to expand: you need to have that stable base and have a plan in place on how you plan on holding that base. A business that is on an up-swing right now could become stagnant in the up coming season. I have the cash reserve to sustain the business if such a season were to happen.
Where I live you can never count on the snow, The reserve saved the business that first winter. As the business grows your reserves need to grow along with the business.
Yet again the way I run my business is very aggressive and not for everybody. If there is a market that I want, I will under-cut the competition and make little to no money just to get the work. With the goal of starving the competition out. And then adjusting the price once they have moved on. I dont sacrifice quality no matter what.

SECTLANDSCAPING
10-06-2011, 03:45 PM
Theres a big difference between big and solo. I wouldnt want a 100 employees but I wouldnt want to be in 5 places at once either doing it by myself. A solo op works if your just doing mowing. You can handle a lot of grass with the right equipment. Up north I would never do a fall clean up by myself. It would be nearly impossible. I just finished a brush clean up that took 3 guys 18 hours and a half dozen dump runs. That wouldve took me all week and a few bottles of Tylenol.

Steve
10-06-2011, 06:57 PM
I am planing on expanding to the next two closet towns this next year

Do you feel that the one man operations have a difficult time competing with a larger company like yours because you have the resources to knock them out of the business?

Could this potentially be a reason why one might not want to stay a single man operation for long?

B-2 Lawncare
10-07-2011, 11:48 PM
Do you feel that the one man operations have a difficult time competing with a larger company like yours because you have the resources to knock them out of the business?

Could this potentially be a reason why one might not want to stay a single man operation for long?

Most guys who are starting up, aren't going to know about the resources available to me. I hate to have to sound conceited, but yes a one-man band is going to have a hard time competing with me. Just today, I took the year-old 2305 90 miles one way to get a yearly inspection done, to be sure everything is in tip-top shape for the winter. While there, we looked at a JD X728 with a cab, mower, and set-up to move snow. As of right now, we don't have enough hands to run it, but in the near future I could see a use for it. There is no way that a one-man operation could buy a piece of equipment to just sit until it was needed. Today, we recieved confirmation that we won a large government contract for snow removal and there is no way a one-man operation could cover this massive job. While we are plowing, the boys will be shoveling the walkways. Certainly a one-man band could do that, but they would not be able to finish before the 5:00 a.m. requested time.

Hedgemaster
10-08-2011, 12:25 AM
I guess it also depends on how you define "compete".

Price? Quality of work? Amount of equipment? Amount of income? Number of clients?

I see a gazillion big crews out there every day, but I haven't run across one yet that I'd allow on my own property. Not saying that good lawn care companies don't exist, but what I see out there is not my idea of "success". Other people feel the same way - that's why they hire me - the little guy. ;)

mark123
10-08-2011, 08:15 AM
Do you feel that the one man operations have a difficult time competing with a larger company like yours because you have the resources to knock them out of the business?

Could this potentially be a reason why one might not want to stay a single man operation for long?
Steve, that reminds me of a good point that I've been on the wrong end. Dealers crap all over the little guys. They charge me more for blades, they don't honor warranties, they treat me like an idiot. When a guy that bought 3 ztrs this year walks in they step all over me to get their lips on his buttocks.

One day I'll need 3 ztrs and guess who won't get the sale? I'm seriously jumping ship from Toro because of my local dealer.

B-2 Lawncare
10-08-2011, 09:51 AM
Steve, that reminds me of a good point that I've been on the wrong end. Dealers crap all over the little guys. They charge me more for blades, they don't honor warranties, they treat me like an idiot. When a guy that bought 3 ztrs this year walks in they step all over me to get their lips on his buttocks.

One day I'll need 3 ztrs and guess who won't get the sale? I'm seriously jumping ship from Toro because of my local dealer.

I have a dealer that is less than thirty miles away and they treated me like crap. this is why The dealer 90 miles away gets my money.

Yard Elements
10-08-2011, 11:12 AM
So b-2, if your having so much success share some tips with your fellow landscapers. :) I understand how you feel, on top of the world, but there have been a few million dollar plus companies go out this year. I forget the company name but it was on lawn and landscapes webpage. Also I am sure you are a large, well run company but there is not way you have purchasing power like Brickman's, Tru-green, Valley Crest, Davey Tree Expert Co. I don't remember seeing you on the top 100 list from lawn and landscape. :) Just saying sometimes success breeds to much confidence, be humble.

mark123
10-08-2011, 11:19 AM
... But I have over taken a lot of the competition and put a big hurt on the the ones who are left. ...
If you don't mind me asking, do you purposely target the competition's customers?

dclawnfl
10-08-2011, 02:34 PM
If you don't mind me asking, do you purposely target the competition's customers?

listen anyone that target a service is just a bully,if you cant do it on your own,or if you do it to knock out someone else then maybe they are doing it to you.i feel that there is plenty of work for all of us.so be kind to each other you never know when you might need that guy's help.

dclawnfl
10-08-2011, 02:35 PM
So b-2, if your having so much success share some tips with your fellow landscapers. :) I understand how you feel, on top of the world, but there have been a few million dollar plus companies go out this year. I forget the company name but it was on lawn and landscapes webpage. Also I am sure you are a large, well run company but there is not way you have purchasing power like Brickman's, Tru-green, Valley Crest, Davey Tree Expert Co. I don't remember seeing you on the top 100 list from lawn and landscape. :) Just saying sometimes success breeds to much confidence, be humble.

villa and sons.

dclawnfl
10-08-2011, 02:41 PM
Steve, that reminds me of a good point that I've been on the wrong end. Dealers crap all over the little guys. They charge me more for blades, they don't honor warranties, they treat me like an idiot. When a guy that bought 3 ztrs this year walks in they step all over me to get their lips on his buttocks.

One day I'll need 3 ztrs and guess who won't get the sale? I'm seriously jumping ship from Toro because of my local dealer.

i had the same problem.send that dealer pizza at 11;45 am,and make sure its paid for my your company name with a thank you.they will take you first.

B-2 Lawncare
10-08-2011, 05:36 PM
So b-2, if your having so much success share some tips with your fellow landscapers. :) I understand how you feel, on top of the world, but there have been a few million dollar plus companies go out this year. I forget the company name but it was on lawn and landscapes webpage. Also I am sure you are a large, well run company but there is not way you have purchasing power like Brickman's, Tru-green, Valley Crest, Davey Tree Expert Co. I don't remember seeing you on the top 100 list from lawn and landscape. :) Just saying sometimes success breeds to much confidence, be humble.

Who are you? Are calling me out, or are you a funny guy? You are absolutely right - I don't have the purchasing power of a tru-green, never said I did. You are confusing confidence and ****iness. Having confidence in my success and abilities is motivational. Taking a shot at me through a post is being ****y.

B-2 Lawncare
10-08-2011, 06:11 PM
If you don't mind me asking, do you purposely target the competition's customers?

Let me ask you would you target the competition's customers?
Are you asking because you are wondering if you should? Yes, I would and have done so.

JeffK26
10-08-2011, 07:10 PM
If saying it like it is is on a thread is being a p***y, then starting a thread to spout how big and bad you are, how you put other guys out of business and purposely target other's customers is being ****y.

Confidence is knowing you do a great job and can have any customer you want....****iness is taking customers from someone else to prove that you can....

There is no reason to walk up to someone's home and try to talk them out of using another guy just to use you except to stroke some kind of ego that has either gotten out of control, or never really existed in the first place.

B-2 Lawncare
10-08-2011, 09:04 PM
If saying it like it is is on a thread is being a p***y, then starting a thread to spout how big and bad you are, how you put other guys out of business and purposely target other's customers is being ****y.

Confidence is knowing you do a great job and can have any customer you want....****iness is taking customers from someone else to prove that you can....

There is no reason to walk up to someone's home and try to talk them out of using another guy just to use you except to stroke some kind of ego that has either gotten out of control, or never really existed in the first place.

First take a look at the start of the thread just want to give a little incite, which I was asked to share. I guess for you it's a good thing we don't compete for the same market share, It nothing personal. And I am not going to say sorry for crowing a little Lord know ever one else does on this site.

mark123
10-08-2011, 09:16 PM
Let me ask you would you target the competition's customers? I would not.
Are you asking because you are wondering if you should? Yes, I would and have done so. What do you feel when another company, successful or not, solicits your clients?

dclawnfl
10-08-2011, 09:21 PM
I would caution anybody looking to expand: you need to have that stable base and have a plan in place on how you plan on holding that base. A business that is on an up-swing right now could become stagnant in the up coming season. I have the cash reserve to sustain the business if such a season were to happen.
Where I live you can never count on the snow, The reserve saved the business that first winter. As the business grows your reserves need to grow along with the business.
Yet again the way I run my business is very aggressive and not for everybody. If there is a market that I want, I will under-cut the competition and make little to no money just to get the work. With the goal of starving the competition out. And then adjusting the price once they have moved on. I dont sacrifice quality no matter what.

thats not a good thing,companies will learn this about you and tell customer,friends,and so.b4 u know it you are the guy walking down the road looking for the helper job.it's ok to be hard working but to play the cut throat game.no offence just sating it comes off as (jerky).

Yard Elements
10-08-2011, 10:36 PM
Who are you? Are calling me out, or are you a funny guy? You are absolutely right - I don't have the purchasing power of a tru-green, never said I did. You are confusing confidence and ****iness. Having confidence in my success and abilities is motivational. Taking a shot at me through a post is being ****y.

No bro I wasn't "calling you out" I assure you I'm no online tough guy. Did you see the smiley faces. You just were saying how the smaller LCO can't do what you can do. I was letting you know that you can't do what Trugreen, Brickman's, Valley crest, Davey Tree expert(yes they cut lawns too) do. I was just saying there are a lot of companies at a lot of levels and you sould respect the competition. Also my point was that you can't "starve" out the big guys by low balling them like you said you do. I would me more than happy to let you have the people you could low ball away from us. We charge generally more than most companies and they know that up front. But I know my stuff. Like they say there is more than one way to skin a cat. :) LOL HAHAAH

Also calm down a little about your small operation none of us are Making Billions, Shoot i doubt many have passed the Million mark. No need to get all worked up :)

Hedgemaster
10-08-2011, 11:02 PM
ALL UR LAWNZ R BELONG 2 ME!


:D

It's true. I haz a thread about it around here somewhere. :p


Meh. Maybe I don't have what it takes to be "big time", but I don't view anyone as my "competition". Partly because I know I do better work than most, so there's nothing to compete against, and secondly, there's so much work to be had around here that I can't imagine why anyone would want the added stress of "competing" with anyone else. Surely, some do though, and they are more miserable for it.

JeffK26
10-10-2011, 12:26 AM
I agree with Hedge...

No need to compete when you're good at what you do...I've learned that from pretty much any job i have ever had, from building homes to the Army. Most guys with the bada** attitude fall hard. Especially when they're pushed to live up to a standard they can't live up to.

I have no desire to go big, i wouldn't mind two crews someday, but that's about it.

jymie
10-10-2011, 10:17 AM
I know there are a lot of guys here who don't want to be anything more than a one man band, which is OK. I love running a crew and the management that go's with it. As a company grow it needs the management to handle the growth.
And there going to come a point where I will hire some one to help run the day to day operation's of B-2, so I can stop and smell the flowers.
I push hard every day and push my guys and a lot of guys cant hang we mow 150 yards in four days. Fridays are four maintenance and washing. We already having a waiting list for next year. Which means more guys and more equipment.
As I see it some guys are happy with a peace of the cake, not me I want the plant that makes the cake mix.

How do you handle the billing end of it. 150 customers, do you have them all pay a month in advance? Collect each as you do them? Put them on Credit Card auto billing?

B-2 Lawncare
10-11-2011, 09:45 AM
How do you handle the billing end of it. 150 customers, do you have them all pay a month in advance? Collect each as you do them? Put them on Credit Card auto billing?

Basically we bill allmost all residential customers monthly, I have a few old ladies who pay in cash every time we mow. We live in a retirement community so most clients like getting a monthlly bill. And most pay on time but we do charge a finance charge for payment later than 10 days. The deparment of Ag pays by credit card, which is nice. The us post office pays by check and gets charged the finance charge every month. The Bureau of land management or BLM pay by check. Two of the banks and one of the gas station get sent their bill through email. So a little bit of everything, My wife uses quickbooks which is great and works well. Basically if my wife didnt do it there would be no way I could keep track of every thing and would be paying a accountant. Sorry I guess I kind of rambled.