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View Full Version : How big is too big?


Steve
10-18-2007, 06:09 PM
Have you ever thought to yourself, how big you would like to grow your business? How big would too big be?

How many crews would be too many?

How many employees would be too many?

What would be just right for you?

pmblair
10-18-2007, 11:27 PM
Heh... right up my alley...

I was actually talking to a friend about this recently. He said that he was more than comfortable with the size of his business as it is. He said he tells people every month that he cannot take on their lawn because he's "full". I told him to send them MY way.... he asked how many I would take from him... I said ALL of them! When he asked how I would manage after so many, I told him that we would start hiring people and making new crews...

I have 10+ years in retail management... my partner has 4+ years in retail management... I have been in mainstream management, upper management, operations management and office management. I have TONS of ideas, books and docs to read up on, but I think we can grow it to a national level if it ever progressed that far. This really ties in with the franchising thread we've been running with. I think in the future, I would LOVE to have franchises... or maybe just other offices in other parts of Georgia... then through out the South Eastern US.... then the country..... then, we'll do what we do every night, Pinky.... TRY TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD!!! MWAhahahahahahahaaaaaaaaa!!!

::clears throat::

Sorry.... got a little off there...

Steve
10-19-2007, 02:23 AM
Well, I think it is a fun thought! Why not make your goals super huge and then you won't ever get bored http://www.gophergraphics.com/forum/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

I do hope your friends sends you more business, that would be great!

Little's
10-19-2007, 10:06 AM
I do 90% of my workload myself. I have 1 person who I trust and is the hardest worker I've ever met, who helps me when I need it. I keep it simple. Its better that way in my opinion.

pmblair
10-19-2007, 01:19 PM
Yeah, it's better if you only want a small business... some people do and there's nothing wrong with that.

Steve
10-19-2007, 02:03 PM
Patrick,

Do you ever think about expanding and how you would do it?

I know you have been in retail for many years so you have probably heard this story. When J.C. Penney wanted to expanded his store from 1 to others, he trained a manager and set him up in a new location and gave him 30% of the store profits to motivate him to do the best he could.

What motivation ideas would you have to motivate a staff?

pmblair
10-20-2007, 12:04 AM
Ok, I'm going to tell you what my partner and I have been talking about...

Since there are two of us, when we're ready to hire on more people and split up into crews, we'll hire two people and have them work directly with us. Then, we'll split up... one will go with him, the other with me. After a while, those people will know what we do, how we do it, and what we do not do. They'll know what we expect out of them. Then, when we're ready to hire more people, we'll add two more people... one with my crew, one with his... we'll make the people already with us our "crew leaders" and let THEM train the new people. That way, we get a chance to see their training and management skills in action. We'll know that we can trust them and they'll know that we do. Then, we'll break off from them. We'll let the 2 crews of 2 guys each go and do the work. While they're doing the work, we'll check up on them, talk to current clients to ensure good work quality and excellent customer service. We'll also work on new potential client leads. We'll talk with vendors and other business people to create a network in our area. All the while "keeping a loose eye" on our crews. After so long, we'll have a talk with the "crew leaders"... they'll start getting bonuses. They will also get percentages from new contracts they bring in themselves. Added incentave! Get them hats or shirts made that say "Crew Leader". Then, when we start getting bigger and bigger, we can run up to 4 crews at a time (our 2 crew leaders running two, Jason and myself running the other 2)... we just keep training that way and promoting from within when the need arises.

Steve
10-20-2007, 01:20 PM
I like that you all have a planned layed out like this! I like the foresight. I am looking forwards to seeing you guys grow and expand http://www.gophergraphics.com/forum/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Clean Lawn
10-20-2007, 10:12 PM
I plan on working my husband to the bone. Go go go woman bosses...I am sorry did I say that out loud. Right now I started CleanLawn with a real life friend of mine. Basicly the business is 60% me and 40% him because I am the one funding this venture is why I am the greater shareholder. My husband and my partner go out and do all the lawn maintenance contracts. My partner has done so many lawns in his work history I swear he could do them with his eyes closed and everything would be perfect. He is not very good talking on the phone with new customers though. He gets nervous and makes a mess of it. So, I take care of all incoming calls, scheduling new estimates and work, and when we do our landscaping work that is where I would join someone out in the field. That is more my baby creating beautiful gardens, flowerbeds, etc.. I am currently work on a webpage, packages for landscaping and lawn maintenance, we are starting our new referal program and working on some new fliers.
We talked about the need for an employee in the future and how we all feel about what we would want. For obvious reasons I want someone I can trust because they are out there doing work under my name and anything they do wrong is a negative reflection on myself and the business. So, we would send him or her into the field with Allen (our partner) and my husband for training if they needed that first. Then they would all work together until the new person was comfortable with what he would be doing. Then either Allen or my husband could work with the new person and the other and myself could work landscaping jobs, new estimates or small jobs. Then if the needed presented itself again we would bring on another person and train him with Allen or my husband and the previously new person. For the same reasons I would want to see his leadership qualities and how he worked being more of a crew leader to this new person. I would also check on both newcomers when they were in the work place. I would even go so far after they were completely trained to send them to small jobs on their own and see how they did.
I don't know about all the other family folks out there but I have a 2 year old that cannot wait to grow up and work for CleanLawn cutting grass and driving a big blue truck. Those are my sons actual words and for my best and closest friends little boy that is 1 1/2years old and his whole world is mulch! Oh my god does he love it! He will be my landscaper. http://www.gophergraphics.com/forum/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif
I would love to see my business continue to grow. I don't want to ever feel like I needed to turn someone away because I was too busy but I know it does happen. They call and come to people because of the reputations our businesses build for themselves.
We are also selling the home we have now to buy a home with at least 2-10 acres of land. I love to plant and grow flowers, fruits, vegetables....everything I can. We are going to build a greenhouse so that I can personally grow plants, flowers, etc... for our customer base. This will help cut down on my costs and allow me to do even more wonderful things for my customers down the road. Give them better prices for landscaping work. Find out their favorite plants and flowers and grow them for them and give them to them for holidays and birthdays to show them how much their patronage and support means to my family, my partner and our business.
I am also looking into the local community college at their horticulture classes to see if there is anything interesting that would benefit me by taking it for my landscaping and lawn business.
But right now that is my dream and each day I get to live a little but more of it and everyone that posts anything here on this forum helps me to do it. You all are a great inspiration to me and also inspire me to be even better at what I do then I ever dreamed possible. Your support for everyone here and always helping everyone with new ideas and new ways to information on everything from marketing to the herbicides in certain tree leaves! Thank you so much you are all so awesome! http://www.gophergraphics.com/forum/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Steve
10-21-2007, 01:42 AM
WOW Thank you too!

What a great post! Do you have any pictures of the new place your are moving too? Any pictures of the property?

Any thoughts on growing Christmas Trees ?

I think a green house would be an awesome thing to have http://www.gophergraphics.com/forum/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Clean Lawn
10-21-2007, 01:47 PM
We haven't found where we want to move yet. The house we currently own is up for sale by owners and we have looked around a little. We did find a old house that was built in 1905 and was absolutely unbelievable. It had a large lot beside it but it wasn't 2-10 acres but we could of gotten away with what we wanted on it without any problems.
If we had more land Christmas trees would be a fun idea too!

Steve
10-21-2007, 03:15 PM
How important is it for you the zoning of the property? I don't know how the area is zoned but would it allow you to run a commercial operation off it? Or at least a farming operation? Do you have any insight as to how all that works?

Clean Lawn
10-23-2007, 12:32 AM
I know several nurseries in the Hampton Roads areas started in residential areas that became residential/commercial over the years and in a small town I think I could get away with it especially since it would be on my property as would my lawn care business being run out of my home. Plus I would be using the nursery for business for myself. If I found I was getting more then I would ever need in a million years then I would offer to other lawn and landscaping business owners I know from this area before I went commercial with it. But I will look into it more down the road when we are closer to a seller for our home now and we have found where we would like to move.