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Steve
01-07-2009, 06:06 PM
Donna wrote this in another post.

My name is Donna (aka the "plantnerd")and this is my first ever attempt to post to a forum! I found you by accident while looking for landscaping software on the net. I need very much to organize my business as you will see below. Nice to meet you all and look forward to learning from all of you.
Last year was my 20th year owning a commercial (retail) greenhouse business. I originally started out with just perennials which grew to annuals,vegetables, herbs, water plants, and finally nursery stock. In summer of '07 I was finally talked into (by customers) into going out and installing plants. Word spread, business stacked up. This led in '08 to adding lawncare, (scheduling headaches),having a crew, (apparently mostly robbers,)buying equipment, (stolen mostly by said robbers), having lots of business but losing my shirt , mostly due to actual dishonesty of certain employees, but also just plain bad management on my part.and in general having a rough time just experiencing all the newbie mistakes and pitfalls that I had tried very hard to guard against. I mean really I have been in biz for 20 years and have experienced all this before**but in smaller amounts. and Yes I planned this time last year as well**but unless you are young and strong enough to do it all yourself, (i'm 57)you have to depend on others, who just don't have the level of comittment or follow through that an owner has**. So you would think I would give up**-NO WAY****in short ** (surprise!)I LOVED IT, I enjoyed getting out of the office and the greenhouse and PLANTING something. I haven't gotten to do this for years**which is why I got in the biz, in the first place. Obviously I am a stubborn WV woman who likes a challenge. Actually I can also see that there is much money to be made here if handled properly. My other problem (which led me to find this site) is that I am being held back by the fact that I cannot draw a professional design for my customers. (stick figures really don't cut it!!!)Hence the search for good landscape design software. Any ideas? Personnel issues aside, learning to bid properly and scheduling equipment, crew and billing were all problems that it appears this site can help me with, Maybe I can help someone else with perennial knowledge and others with WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN STARTING INTO LANDSCAPING. I am experienced in that! Looking forward to reading everything on here.
Thanks!
Donna R

Hi Donna,

Welcome to our forum!

Wow you got a lot going on there! I guess my first question for you is out of all of this, what do you like doing most with all your interests?

plantnerd
01-09-2009, 12:48 PM
HI Steve,

Absolutely love this site and have already seen so much that will help me. My personal favorite thing to do is the actual installation of the plants**crawling around on the ground and putting a plant in mother earth**and seeing the whole plan come together! This is what gives me happiness and a sense of peace away from my chaotic business** I love doing a good job for the customer, over the years I have heard so many landscaping horror stories, so I am a one woman crusader for doing the job properly-which means timely arrival, listening to the customer,good follow through on promises made, proper behavior on the job site(not making messes or throwing cigarette butts on the lawn) leaving it clean and better and prettier than it was when we arrived, even if that means cleaning up neighboring debris that is going to blow onto our job. In our town it is illegal to blow grass etc into streets and gutters because it causes flooding. I have long been involved in city issues in my other non working life and am on several boards, in fact one that tries to educate and enforce this. So when I went into grass cutting one of the first things I told my guys was that you blow the grass into a pile and pick it up**never put it in the street. IMagine my embarrassment when they screw this up! My work and my life are all based on doing whats best for everyone, customers, employees, city, countryand finally**me! What has been frustrating with the new avenues we have attrempted in the last year is when we are not living up to these goals. I do not want to be just another "never shows up" landscaper. But I loved the excitement this last year has brought. So I can already see that this site is going to help me reach my goal of a successful responsible and well respected business.
Donna
Donna

Steve
01-09-2009, 01:19 PM
You bring up some very good points.

I think many entrepreneurs have a love of something. They do it well and the customers love the expertise and knowledge the entrepreneur brings to the table. Then as you try to scale it up, it becomes very difficult to bring in a crew of others who share in your love of the business. Because the employees don't find the love in it, they do work that just isn't up to your level and it makes the entire process frustrating for the entrepreneur.

This is why you see so many solo operators in the lawn care business.

One way to get over this is to have an employee manual that spells everything out and make it easily digestible. Also, giving employee a financial incentive to do good work will also harness the greed factor which is a very powerful force.

but also just plain bad management on my part.and in general having a rough time just experiencing all the newbie mistakes and pitfalls that I had tried very hard to guard against.

Can you tell us a little about what newbie pitfalls you found and what would you do differently now? Since we have many new lawn care business owners here, I am sure they would greatly appreciate your insight on this topic.