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  • #16
    Rich,

    When you reflect on your previous experience, which was tougher, hiring your first employee or having to hire and manage a second crew?

    Which was the bigger jump for you, do you feel?

    A lot of small business owners get stuck at both points and I was wondering what advice you had on this.
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    • #17
      Steve, to answer your question, I do not really think that I struggled with either. If I had to pick one I would say it would have been probably , hiring and managing the second crew. Although, even hiring your first employee can be somewhat difficult. The best advise I can give is first off you will never find an employee that is going to have the standards that you personally as the owner of the business would have, the common interest is not the same. You will however find a few great employees. The hardest thing for me as I am sure with many is the hiring and managing of the second crew, primarily this is because the loss that you feel of being able to provide your customers with the superior level of service that you would personally provide. This however is going to be difficult, ( a necessary evil that you must overcome) in order for you to grow the business you will have to (trust your employees, at least to some degree) and learn to be a good delagator. The other common mistakes that I have made is never hire for an immedate spot out of pure necessity. Be cautious of hiring immediate friends, and especially family members. Sometimes those can be the worst mistakes for you to make. The key to finding good employees is to always be looking and to always be interviewing because you never know when that (perfect) employee may come around.
      Dreamscapes Unlimited LLC

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      • #18
        Quote[/b] ]The key to finding good employees is to always be looking and to always be interviewing because you never know when that (perfect) employee may come around.
        How do you suggest doing this? Should you always be advertising that you are hiring?

        If you found someone you thought would be good and didn't really have a spot for them at the moment, would you hire them anyway and make a spot?
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        • #19
          Steve, about advertising, for hiring or open positions. If you have a shop (store front) you could always have a sign up to draw in potential applicants, you could also have a referral program for your employees (refer a friend). *I don't mean to necessarily advertise in news papers that obviously can be expensive. *The other thing is when out and about in my day if I see someone anywhere working that I feel would possibly be a good fit maybe offer them a business card and ask them to call you if they ever consider a different type of work field. ( I am not saying go to your competitors) go to the gas stations, convenience stores, pharmacy stores, restaurants like Wendy's, McDonalds, etc, you would be suprised. In the past some of my best workers came from restaurants and have never done lawn care ever before. * Also, when I used to be in Management Retail chain and Big Box stores I personally was recruited this way for some of the top companies in the world (ex) Wal-mart offered me a co-store manager position to start, my own store within 6 months and I was working at Kmart at the time. Recruited by a District Manager and Super Center Manager price comping and Head Hunting.

          I don't think that I would hire just to get that person if I already had a great crew, but if I did not have that great of a crew you bet,I would make a spot and move into when someone else cut their own throat and dropped the ball and I would have a trained replacement on staff already.



          Dreamscapes Unlimited LLC

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          • #20
            That is pretty fascinating stuff! So you actually were offered a job while you were in Kmart working! Were you blown away by that? It makes you wonder how often this goes on!

            In the past when you hired someone that was working at a restaurant, were they your waiter? And then maybe you asked them if they ever considered working in lawn care? Or how would you suggest approaching the topic?
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            • #21
              Steve, yes I was working when I was approached by Wal-mart management and said that they would really like to discuss opportunities with me, said they had been in a few times and said they were very impressed with my overall work ethic and management style. I told them I would not discuss any opportunities with them while I was working they proceeded with giving me their card and they called me the next day and were persistent for me to come in so my next off day I did go in to speak with the district manager at his office,and they offered me a great position, however I declined to accept the job do to a serious family medical situation. This was one of three head hunters that approached me just while I worked at Kmart for a short period of time.

              When I would ask people ,they could have been the waiter, waitress, cashier, host, anybody who I thought may have had the overall customer service qualities that I would look for. You can teach almost anybody a trade or a skill, However obvious customer service skills and the way one presents themselves is a talent they must master on their own. Conversation would just be brought up in a general friendly talk, no pressure by any means, maybe a compliment on their quality of work or by the way they presented themselves.
              Dreamscapes Unlimited LLC

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              • #22
                I joined the local chamber of commerce right out of the gate, literally as I opened up for business at the begining of last summer, I figured It would be a great way to network, meet other business owner & possibly even pick up some commercial accounts, store fronts etc. *It took them about 40 days to approve the membership & officially induct my company into the chamber. *Which was fine, but by then I had I guess about 30 residential clients & 2 property managment companies that I picked up ( maintaining all vacant rentals ). *I was too busy to go to the meetings!! *They kept calling asking me to come so they could introduce me & I didn't slow down enough to go until December! *Crazy... *Right now I could go to meetings 3 days a week though! *haha. * oh well, that's how it grows I guess.

                But still I have only recieved 1 phone call from someone that was reffered to me or heard about me through the chamber. I don't think I'll rejoin next year.

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                • #23
                  Chuck,

                  Were there other lawn care business owners in the chamber along with you?

                  Do you have any thoughts on what % of those you met at the chamber could be potential customers?

                  Is this just a case of they don't know you well enough yet to contact you or refer you and that would happen over time?

                  Or what's your view?
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                  • #24
                    Chuck, what type of fees did you have to pay ?? Here it is based on your business size number of employees (ex) under 3 employees first year would be $440.00 and goes up from there. I think over 100 employees like $1500.00 or so. I too was looking at it for networking and the exposure you get through their monthly news letter and they do a feature article here on you at your descretion of 100 words. They also will link their web-site to yours and you can offer a discount to other chamber business organizations and their employees. Also there is substantial discounts for savings on workers compensation etc. I thought seriously about joining we use to belong to our BBB, but I felt for their fees like yourself we did not get any new calls to justify their fees we had to pay. Here the BBB will still give potential customers information about us, but will clearly state that we are not a member. This could cause us to lose alot of calls at least that is what I am contemplating.
                    Dreamscapes Unlimited LLC

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                    • #25
                      Gopher-,
                      Yes there are other lawn services in there. *The truth is honestly it might work & generate more business if I had more time to devote to the meetings, business card exchanges etc. * Since joining I get all kinds of solicitations from other members in my PO Box & reality is I haven't even mailed out any myself. * So On second thought I really haven't given it a fair shake, *no real effort in & nothing gained out. * I did meet one gentlman who is vp for acompany that is a prop. mngmt firm for condo associations & I (so I was told after following up) was put on the email list to be informed when their condos go up for bid..... *Nothing yet though!

                      Rich,
                      *I belive I paid about $260 for annual membership Then an additional $25 for a 2nd listing in their directory ( so I'd be under both lawncare & landscaping ) *Like I said above it hasn't done a ton for me but it is an avenue to pursue business & I just haven't really pursued it much. *It does seem to add a level of credibility though when you tell potential clients that your a member. *Good luck & hope that helps!



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                      • #26
                        Musician, Chuck,

                        Thanks for response sorry for my very late reply. I joined two chambers the first of March they offered me a dual chamber membership at a great rate. I also qualified for using a third party administator for discount on Workers Compensation (discount should take 85% off current rate). Now reviewing health care options with them. I have not been able as of yet to go to any of their meetings or events but I will plan on it asap. They have also linked our web-site to theirs and we can be spot lighted on a newpaper they put out and we are in both directories we also can showcase on their web-site a discount for all other chamber business members and their employees. I am working on some of the detail with that now and just have been really tied up with a direct mail that we just did. They seem to offer a lot more benefits of being involved, I guess I will see. You are right I have told a few people potential clients we belong to both chambers and their response has been good. Seems to them it differiantes us from non-members? At least in the views of a few, (Not as of yet in my opinion.)
                        Dreamscapes Unlimited LLC

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