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General Business Discussions A place to talk about general business discussions.

Smaller is better?


General Business Discussions

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  #1  
Old 07-26-2006, 06:54 PM
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Have you found that when it comes to business size, smaller is better too?

Kirk Voss is co-owner of an rv-park and he says how he likes his business being small. He likes to be able to have the time to talk with his customers.

Do you like a small sized business? Do your future business dreams involve keeping your business small or making it much larger?

Smaller is better at Sunset Landing on the Siletz River - Just a little more than a mile up the Siletz River Highway, past the larger RV parks and the new construction that dots the river, there is a smaller, quieter place: Sunset Landing.

Which is just how the owners like it.

"I like being small because I like how personal it is," said Kirk Voss, co-owner of the RV park. "Hopefully, people don't come in, feel like they pay, and then they're lost." With just 35 spaces for RVs and tents, he can see most every spot on the property from his home.
He especially likes "the one-on-one conversation you can get with somebody and not feel like you're just their paycheck."

His mother-in-law and co-owner, Chris Terwilleger, said they bought the park because the family wanted to move to the coast from Portland. She, too, however, likes it small, calling it "more friendly and intimate." Indeed, the first thing they did after buying the park was reduce the number of spaces from 41 to 35.


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  #2  
Old 07-26-2006, 07:01 PM
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There are pros and cons to being small. I know that when I was a medium sized company years ago I could take more days off and take on more work. But I also had more headaches and more callbacks from customers. Being small I don't have to worry about employees or payroll, also I never get callbacks from lawn maintenance. I have only had 3 callbacks this year, and that was for just weed control. Yes I admit, I wish that I had the employees sometimes for I could take some days off from work.
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Old 07-26-2006, 07:05 PM
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Which direction do you see yourself taking your company in the future? More employees or no and why so?
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Old 07-26-2006, 07:59 PM
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I was just thinking about that today (I was sitting home because of rain) and thinking where I should take the business. The last two years I have been seriously doubting myself constantly of what direction I should take the business. Whether it be the size or the services offered I still do not have a clear cut answer.
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Old 07-26-2006, 11:22 PM
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For me, I have an ultimate goal for yearly salary. When I can get to that goal and not be in the field anymore, then I'll be happy. That goal is going to take 2-3 maintenance crews. So I'd say I'll still be fairly small.

I see too many horror stories about guys that are doing great solo averaging $60 an hour or more and then they get employee's and poof they're down to averaging $25-30 an hour with alot more headaches and some are still in the field. My goal is to need one employee after next year, and then the following year get out of the field and have 2 crews running (4-5 guys).
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Old 07-28-2006, 11:07 PM
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While I can see some advantages of being small, for me it's all about growth. Not for the money or some ego-statistic, I just can't go out and do 150 lawns per week, come home to my money in the bank and be happy. It's about creating and finding new ways to grow, which I believe is our overall means as humans anyway.

But honestly, If I take a break and just go through the motions I get very bored, very quickly, despite the money.
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Old 07-29-2006, 08:10 PM
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I think you all have illustrated very well the two paths business owners' find themselves having to choose from.

On the one hand they can just go it alone. On the other they can build and grow their business.

Do you feel there is a correlation between the path choosen and one's desire to be working ON their business versus IN it?
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Old 08-02-2006, 10:09 PM
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I would agree. But then again, perhaps I'm older and have held more jobs in my day than some.

It may sound a tad "E-myth", but there is a fine line in this industry between merely pushing a lawnmower (i.e. having a job) to really building a business and making a profit. Justmowit has called this the biggest bump in the road to get where they're at. I would agree, to a point.

My point, is that quite honestly I don't mind going out and doing lawns at all. Does it take me away from other tasks that could mean more profitablility to the company? I would say yes, but certainly not for a full day. And the point will come when this definitely needs to happen, and most likely soon.

But for me to get out of the truck, and just be in the office, I would have to be ok with losing $700 per week, or $2800 per month in money to do so.

As for a post above regarding people losing money from going solo to a 2 man crew, well there is always what I call that "grey" area in there. I can do 13 lawns max solo profitably, however If I want to get to 30, obviously I need to hire someone at lawn 14. If I don't get agressive to get more customers from 14-18 or so, I may actually lose money or lower my margin.

You can't just take on more helpers and then not increase revenue accordingly.
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Old 08-03-2006, 06:23 PM
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Very good points Howard,

Quote:
Originally Posted by [b
Quote[/b] ]but there is a fine line in this industry between merely pushing a lawnmower (i.e. having a job) to really building a business and making a profit.
What's your view on the % of LCOs who are content with "merely pushing a lawnmower" vs. "really building a business and making a profit"?
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Old 08-03-2006, 09:13 PM
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That is what I feel like I am doing this year and last year. In 2004, the first year that I went back to 90% solo I had an awesome year and marking a huge profit. But the last two years I have been redefining the business and my profit has tanked big time.
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