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FourSeasons
01-11-2008, 10:08 PM
I went to eat at a Denny's about a month ago. Before leaving I talked to the manager and asked about the landscape maintenance. He told me they had just signed on a lco to take care of it that takes care of all of the Dennys in the area. But said he would give my card to the Regional manager in charge of those descisions and gave me the number for the RM anyways. So I just put it in the file and left it at that.

Yesterday I get a phone call and guess who? Its the RM of Denny's in my area. He wants to know if I want to bid on the landscape maintenance for the Denny's in the region. But first asks if I am able to handle that big of an area. I told him no, I pretty much just stay in my county.
He made the area to be covered sound pretty big. So I declined. Figured it was out of my range for now.

I think that it was the right choice.

I was talking to my potential business partner today and told him what happened and he was there with me when we talked to the original Denny's manager.
He disagreed with me and told me this could be a huge oppurtunity and that I should have accepted the request. He said I should call the RM back to see if it would still be possible to put a bid in. Also, that there are alot of Dennys in the region and I could hit one area per day of the week doing the Denny's in that region. As far as one hour away possibly even farther drive time.

So here are my questions:
Did I make the right choice?

Should I have told him yes I can handle it and bid on them?

If I should have told him yes, then is calling back and requesting to bid on them the proper thing to do?

Say I got the "job" is it really that smart to spread myself that thin?

I had a couple other questions but I can't remember them now.

I asked the RM why they were not happy with the current provider. His answer was similar to this - "I don't really want to go into details but, if I'm paying x amount of dollars for service; then I expect x amount of dollars in service back. I don't feel that they are doing the job as they should." Which leads me to another post. Something that I notice alot.

I eat there a couple times a month and I have seen the current provider. It was 2 guys with an enclosed trailer with some small "homeowner" version honda mowers. Definitley not a big outfit.

Well after all of that what is some of your guys PROFESSIONAL opions.

Thanks

Steve
01-11-2008, 10:58 PM
Rob,

This is a great question.

My answer is going to be based on my own personal business philosophy and that will differ from others.

If you are standing on one side of a crevice and on the other side is the Denny's RM and he is asking you if you want to jump over and you are not comfortable with jumping, say no. In my view it's better to grow at a comfortable and controllable rate than it is to have to be forced to scale up quickly.

Your potential for a longer business life is greatened, in my opinion, by growing at a rate you are comfortable with.

Are there others that have made the jump and survived? Yes, but I have seen plenty of business owners get in way too deep, too quickly and never, and I mean NEVER got out of the hole. It can get so bad, that you never have a chance to run a business again. Or have the desire too.

If you want to call the RM back and tell him the reason why he is having problems with his lawn care provider, it's because very few businesses will be able to perform to their standards on such a scale, but if they considered cutting up the area into smaller sections for smaller lawn care providers, then they might find more success.

This is an angle you could consider.

What's your take?

And what's your view on this new potential business partner idea?

FourSeasons
01-11-2008, 11:07 PM
Quote[/b] ]If you want to call the RM back and tell him the reason why he is having problems with his lawn care provider, it's because very few businesses will be able to perform to their standards on such a scale, but if they considered cutting up the area into smaller sections for smaller lawn care providers, then they might find more success.

This is an angle you could consider.

What's your take?

And what's your view on this new potential business partner idea?

Wow! very good point Steve.
He told me right off the start that he wants one company maintaining them. I can only think of 2 companies around here that would even be able to handle this task. That doesn't mean that they do not exist. But I think this is a very valid point.

I don't want to stretch myself out like that. I would be more than happy to do the 4 in my area which are all in 20 min of me. But thats about it.

I didn't really want to call him back but i was being pushed to. I like calling him back with this as a possible solution.
He was in a hurry to get off the phone and I hate talking to people like that. Because its hard to get them to listen to you. This is another reason why I didn't want to call back. Maybe he hasn't thought of this though.

Im curious to hear Tim's point of view also.

The business partner- I think I mentioned it in another post. We are still talking about it. It takes alot of agreeing to do. But can push the business further faster.

Steve
01-12-2008, 01:45 PM
I sent Tim and email, hopefully he can jump in here. Does anyone else here want to offer their view too?

realhuntin
01-12-2008, 05:54 PM
Hey Rob,

My point of view on this is; Do it ONLY if you feel you can handle all the accounts with out suffering any of your current accounts and falling to the same situation the current provider has.
You need to ask this GM what does he expect, is this other guy not doing what he said he would do or is he cutting corners every week? Find out the whole story on this. This GM might just be one of those guys that no mattter what you do or how you do it might no satisfy him.
Yes this is a good opertunity but I have to agree with Steve on this;
"Are there others that have made the jump and survived? Yes, but I have seen plenty of business owners get in way too deep, too quickly and never, and I mean NEVER got out of the hole. It can get so bad, that you never have a chance to run a business again. Or have the desire too."

Finally go with your gut, it is normally the right choice. Your first thought was "No, Sorry I can't handle an account this big at this time" Go with the gut feeling.
I don't like deturing anyone from growing but to me it sounds as if you have already made your choice, and I respect that choice, it shows me you know what you can or can't do at this point in business and that is more important than anything. Don't second guess yourself. You will know when the right time is.

As far as your posible partner, I didn't know you where wanting to take on a partner. ONLY my opinion DON't. I know to many people that has tried this and it never has worked for any length of time, and it all comes down to money who takes what and who is taking more and who is doing more then it turns into a big mess. Just my opinion on partners.

Thanks for asking my point of view on this.
Good Luck
Tim

Steve
01-13-2008, 04:35 PM
Thanks Tim for your insight.

Rob, keep us posted as to what you decide to do and what the outcome was. http://www.gophergraphics.com/forum/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

pmblair
01-14-2008, 01:12 PM
Rob-

Here's my take on things...

I would say do not bid this account. If the RM wants only ONE LCO providing service for the entire region, it may be a good thing not to have this account. Look at it like this... if you're driving 2+ hours round trip on any given day, then that's potentially 2+ hours that you're not making money. On the other hand, if the account pays well enough, and you don't mind the driving, then maybe you should take it... but again, as Tim said, you may be comprimising accounts closer to you.

As far as a business partner goes, it's not an easy thing... I mean, it's not impossible, but it seems you guys are already starting off on the wrong foot. Jason and I made an agreement before we even bought a business license... we'd either agree on things mutually, or we would ask our office manager (my wife) her opinion. If that swayed one or the other of us, then that's the decision we would go with... if it was something that we were still not agreeing upon mutually, then we would put it on a back burner until we could agree on it..... if it's a decision that has to be made immediately, then we'll weight the pros and cons... whichever of those wins helps us make the decision.

Just remember, YOU are your own boss.... if you take on a partner, then you have someone to answer to.... even though he's not "your boss", he is still a co-owner which means that you'll have to explain yourself to him from time to time... is that something you don't mind doing? Weigh the pros and cons of having a business partner. Why are you doing it in the first place? Is it necessary to keep your business running? Would the business go under if you didn't have him as a partner?

All these questions are answerable only by you... ask yourself these questions... answer them in your mind and in your heart... and do all this before you shake hands and/or sign any partnership agreement (which I HIGHLY recommend, no matter how well you know or think you know your potential partner).

FourSeasons
01-14-2008, 11:33 PM
Thanks for the help guys. I agree with all of you but I am still debating Steve's idea.

Patrick- I don't need a partner I am doing fine by myself. I was actually going to ask you how you and your partner solve problems, but you answered my question before I asked it. That has to be a pretty difficult thing to disagree on certain issues.

The reason I was considering maybe partnering up is because I thought maybe with 2 people the business could be pushed forward faster. He also has valuable resources in the community. I listed them in another post I don't remember which one.

I don't need a partner. And its not to share the work load. I hire someone for that. I thought maybe the business would grow faster with 2 people running it.
But it always comes back down to money. The root of alot of problems.

Thanks for the insight.

pmblair
01-15-2008, 12:55 PM
No problem Rob...

It's not as hard to come to an agreement on things as it may sound as long as you and your business partner are like-minded. Jason and I are pretty much a perfect match.

I don't really think you need a partner to push the business forward. I would say that maybe you should hire on another full time person (if you can afford it), train them to do things YOUR way, and then push the business yourself. That way you know the business is going in the direction you want it to go... plus, it's more cost-efficient to pay someone $X per hour than to split the profit with a partner.

FourSeasons
01-15-2008, 01:51 PM
Quote[/b] ]It's not as hard to come to an agreement on things as it may sound as long as you and your business partner are like-minded. Jason and I are pretty much a perfect match.

I don't really think you need a partner to push the business forward. I would say that maybe you should hire on another full time person (if you can afford it), train them to do things YOUR way, and then push the business yourself. That way you know the business is going in the direction you want it to go... plus, it's more cost-efficient to pay someone $X per hour than to split the profit with a partner.


Patrick-
I agree with you.
The partner thing got put on the back burner for now.
I wish I was busy enough to hire someone full time year round. I'll be there in a year or two though.

Steve
01-15-2008, 02:30 PM
As far as the partner discussion goes, it seems sometimes in business you really want someone besides you that you can bounce ideas off of and someone that will be there with you. A brother in arms so to say. This seems to be a very important human need.

Yesterday I had this discussion with a person I know who invented this device that he wanted to patent and he wanted me in with him. I was telling him, you absolutely don't need me on this. He kept saying no, you need to be in on this, I need help.

But I think it came down to more psychological comforting than actual help.

Ultimately there is nothing wrong with it. We all like and want security.

Do you think this is the case with most partnerships? Do you feel there are more partnerships when the entrepreneurs are newer to the business world as opposed to when they have been around for a while or does this desire never change?

FourSeasons
01-15-2008, 02:53 PM
Quote[/b] ]As far as the partner discussion goes, it seems sometimes in business you really want someone besides you that you can bounce ideas off of and someone that will be there with you. A brother in arms so to say. This seems to be a very important human need.

Yesterday I had this discussion with a person I know who invented this device that he wanted to patent and he wanted me in with him. I was telling him, you absolutely don't need me on this. He kept saying no, you need to be in on this, I need help.

But I think it came down to more psychological comforting than actual help.

Ultimately there is nothing wrong with it. We all like and want security.

Do you think this is the case with most partnerships? Do you feel there are more partnerships when the entrepreneurs are newer to the business world as opposed to when they have been around for a while or does this desire never change?


Steve-
You bring a new light to the partners concept and a very good point. That I didn't even realize. I don't need any finacial help. Its nice to have the above there in the quote.
Yeah its nice to have kind of a security and a person to discuss business and help make decisions.

StartALawnCareBusiness
01-15-2008, 03:22 PM
Hey Rob:

I might have a similar experience that can help you.

For awhile, I handled lawn maintenance for Long John Silvers. *Most long John Silvers' locations have tiny mowing areas. *

The actual work took 10 to 15 minutes tops, per location including blowing off walk areas. *Hauling my lawn care equipment was the real time consumer. *I recommend doing commercial contracts early in the morning so there aren't cars in the parking lot and customers walking in work areas.

I calculated my bid on total time (travel time plus work time). *Afterall, no one can drive all over the county for free.

All was fine until one day the RM happened to be at a location I was servicing. *I think he was ticked that I was making X amount of dollars for 15 minutes work. *The relationship was never the same and I eventually lost that contract.

Regional managers are ALL about saving every single penny they can. *If he has already fired the other people working for him, maybe he's a real pain in the butt to work for.

I agree with Tim and Steve. *If you're not comfortable with this, do what you already know and leave that headache to someone else.

Keith

Steve
01-15-2008, 07:22 PM
Quote[/b] ]All was fine until one day the RM happened to be at a location I was servicing. I think he was ticked that I was making X amount of dollars for 15 minutes work. The relationship was never the same and I eventually lost that contract.

Regional managers are ALL about saving every single penny they can. If he has already fired the other people working for him, maybe he's a real pain in the butt to work for.


Keith,

This could actually be turned around for Rob and used as a selling point to convince him, it is cheaper to hire local contractors than ones that have to drive all around and bill for the drive time.

jeffslawnservice
01-15-2008, 07:33 PM
I am glad this topic came up because I too am contemplating about a couple of contracts that are coming up for local daycare centers in my area. There are 23 in all through out the area BUT the daycares are split between two facilities managers and I have got in good with the one manger. (thats another story in its self) The problems! I am fire fighter I work one day on and one day off! Its just me, myself, and I, I have really not thought about hiring an employee cause this only going to be my second season. I have from time to time hired family for a job or two. My WIFE said if I can get the account than she would help (thats another story). I know I can handle half of those accounts, I know I can't handle all of them without help!!!!

About the partner thing, ME I like to have all resposibilty for my work especially with my name on it. That way I can't blame nobody else except for me. I quess I am going to have to learn to trust inorder to grow as a company. Like steve said I think its a comfort issue because somebodies there to put an honest response. I HATE to say but I still ask my wife what I should say or write to costumers.

Well I am done. Rob thanks for putting that out there!!!!!!

Steve
01-15-2008, 07:38 PM
Hi Rob,

Very good insight.

As a fireman, I am guessing you are planning on sticking with that as a career and doing lawn care on the side for extra money?

If you aren't planning on going fulltime with the lawn care business, why take on more than you can do yourself? Keep it simple, keep it manageable and keep it small.

Could you build it and get staff? Sure! Do you want to? Well that is something to think about and is a job in itself.

What's your view on this?

pmblair
01-16-2008, 09:57 AM
Quote[/b] (Team Gopher @ Jan. 15 2008,10:30)]As far as the partner discussion goes, it seems sometimes in business you really want someone besides you that you can bounce ideas off of and someone that will be there with you. A brother in arms so to say. This seems to be a very important human need.
I agree, Steve. Sometimes it's really good to get someone else's input... a fresh take on things... however, I don't think that this alone would warrant the need for a partner.

That's why WE'RE here! = ) WE'LL be anyone's partner out there... I think we've all proven that time and again... lol But seriously... if you need someone to bounce ideas off of, why not bring it to the forums? ...or if you'd rather have someone "in person" to talk to, there are all kind of business groups out there (remember the discussion on BNI?)...

Ultimately, it's all about your own personal comfort level.... with jobs, customers, partners, etc.... whatever YOU feel comfortable with should be the route you take... you may stumble... you may even fall... but you learn from your mistakes (when and if you make them) and you move on.... =)

Steve
01-16-2008, 06:44 PM
Hi Patrick,

Quote[/b] ]I agree, Steve. Sometimes it's really good to get someone else's input... a fresh take on things... however, I don't think that this alone would warrant the need for a partner.

Many of our readers may be considering starting a partnership and thinking about the pros and cons.

When you say you don't think this alone would warrant the need for a partner, could you share with us some insight as to what other things there are that do warrant it?

Thanks!

All Aspects Landscaping
01-31-2008, 10:39 AM
man... I 100% agree with the guys.... trust your instincts.... as it will get you far in life... if you spread yourself out that thin making dennys happy, somebody else will suffer...

My feelings are the same about the partner... stay by yourself... all things will work out.... even growth..

At the end of the day, you dont have to answer to anyone... and same goes for dennys... tell that guy that it just doesnt work for me... thats it... dont explain yourself at all...

In my 33 years, (i know im still young) ive learned a few things
1. Do what ever it takes to be happy
2. Life really is short (you dont understand this until you have children)
3. Find something or someone to love.

thats it guys... I try to live this theory every day...

good luck

FourSeasons
01-31-2008, 10:56 AM
Yes- I just decided to stick with my decision for the dennys.

And the partner thing we havent talked about anymore. I think I'm going to stay "single".

I want to start with maybe dennys size properties for a start in commercial but not a huge chain like that. Not if its going to require to take care of the whole region.