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Starting a lawn care business. How to start a lawn mowing business, lawn care business, or landscaping business. If you are starting a lawn care business, ask your questions here.

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Starting a lawn care business.

How to start a lawn mowing business, lawn care business, or landscaping business. If you are starting a lawn care business, ask your questions here.
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  #11  
Old 02-10-2008, 01:21 AM
All Aspects Landscaping All Aspects Landscaping is offline
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silly stuff that the guys love... the most lawns in a day in the least amount of hours... the longest one guy can work on one head full of trimmer line... who can do the 50 yrd dash the fastest...we try to give away $50.00 every two weeks to one of our employees somehow... just a little extra incentive to get work done... save trimmer line...whatever it takes... besides... sometimes its funny watching those my guys run a 50 yard dash... plus i dont make it easy... we set it up in heats so they really have to earn their money...lol
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  #12  
Old 02-10-2008, 09:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [b
Quote[/b] ]Best thing I think to do is grow slow... find that guy.. train him right and give him a truck after 1 year...
James,

What is your view on how or when to make that jump to the first employee?

Do you need to be solo and going at 110%, pulling your hair out of your head before you make the jump to your first employee? Or should you start off with a part time helper at first and scale up?

Is it even possible to scale up with a part time employee if the jobs aren't consistent? If you don't have enough steady work, how can you keep them around?

Is this why you need to make the jump to your first employee being a full time employee?
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  #13  
Old 02-11-2008, 09:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [b
Quote[/b] (Team Gopher @ Feb. 09 2008,8:38)]Ultimately do you think it is better to just be a single owner operator and that's it? Sometimes calling in extra help once in a while? Is it just too much of a pain to have to hire on employees?
I wouldnt have another employee if they paid ME to work
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  #14  
Old 02-11-2008, 10:15 AM
Larry's Lawns Larry's Lawns is offline
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interesting stuff guys.. Nelson seems to see having employees in about the same light I now do in being one. It just isn't gonna work and isn't worth the effort. ** having dealt with hiring and training a staff before, I can understand that. It can be disappointing to put that much hope and effort into somebody and not get the reward you're looking for. - believe me, I can see the value in working alone as much as anybody. But I'm getting old :~} and pushing myself through the extremes without help gets harder and harder. So is the dilemma.... I would find it interesting to hear from those who have chosen to work alone and have success doing so.

As for having a family member available for 'as needed' help, I just don't have that option. I haven't had great luck with the 'day help' either, probably only about 1/2 the time it turned out to be a benifit. I'm starting to think in terms of what social groups may be the source of finding who I need. Any thoughts?

And there are a couple more thoughts here I agree with, which is a nice change. Growing slow is right in line with my nature, and is the plan. Nice to hear others say it's the right way. and then.. the 'be the respectable boss, not the friend' and the competitions and rewards discussions have been my style in previous lives and have worked well for me. If I grow to that level, I'm sure it will work again. These were great ideas on inspiring their daily interest and keeping supply costs under control. I'm wondering if there is alot of additional data tracking envolved though** such as ** how do you validate how much trimmer line an employee used in a day and how much time in that day he spent trimming??
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  #15  
Old 02-11-2008, 01:51 PM
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Hi Larry,

Here is an older post to a similar question that might help you too

Quote:
Originally Posted by [b
Quote[/b] ]Thanks to Clifford from Sideline Property Management for asking the following question:

Question: At what point did you decide to take on your first employee? Was it determined by revenue, time constraint or did you set a specific profit amount that would determine time to add help?

Answer: Good question Clifford, the decision to take on employees is a big one.

I took on a part time helper in my first year and in my second year I took on a full time employee who turned out to be with me for the entire time I operated by business.

On the one hand, employees mean extra work and expenses so the inclination might be to stay small as long as possible. However, the game of landscape maintenance is one best played with two people. In other words a two person team is more effecient that one for most residential settings. So, my advice is that even if you intend to stay small, get big enough to keep you and a helper busy.

The first signal that you may need help is quite simply that you are very busy and your phone is still ringing with new work. If that is your situation then you should calculate the cost of hiring a helper.

1) Look at your profit and loss data. If you are not profiting without an employee, hiring one will not help you.

2) Add up all the monthly costs that go with hiring an employee and don't forget to included the 'hidden' costs like Workers' Compensation and matching of certain source deductions.

3) Then determine if it is feasable to take on staff based on your current revenue and profit.

It may be that you can only afford a part time helper until you build your business some more. It would also depend on how fast you are able to grow and how difficult it is too find work. You may be pleasantly surprised if you take on a helper that you get enough work to keep you both busy.

For more practical information and useful tips see chapter 8 of my book which deals with how to hire, train and manage your employees.

I hope this helps Clifford. All the best with your business this year!
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  #16  
Old 02-11-2008, 06:09 PM
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Thanks Steve. I printed that out for future reference. It adds some comfort to have agreement in your logic, so it's very helpful when other's experiences support the plan.
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Old 02-11-2008, 06:46 PM
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I know it may seem as if I am comming off as sour grapes here, but I have LOTS of experiences, way too much experience.

I was an easy guy to get along with, gave days off requested, paid them higher than industry standards at the time, paid health insurance, paid for phones, AND let them drive my truck with my gas as personal vehicles.

Untold to me, one of them was parkng the mowing trailer at their apartment. One morning at 10:00am, not 7:00am, I get a call that all three mowers and the trailer were stolen.

My point is, is that was just some of the problems I had with them.

I told them if they showed up at 8:00am(start time) Id pay one dollar more per hour for that day, never happened.

It wasnt just those employees, I had issues with EVERY empoyee. I will build up a good sized company again, but it will only be me!


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Old 02-11-2008, 09:27 PM
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Hi F3Nelson,

I do appreciate your insight! It is helpful to know the down side of things too.

Can you tell us other problems you ran into with employees? That way those reading this post will have a heads up and be aware to watch for these problems.
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  #19  
Old 02-12-2008, 02:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [b
Quote[/b] (Team Gopher @ Feb. 11 2008,10:27)]Hi F3Nelson,

I do appreciate your insight! It is helpful to know the down side of things too.

Can you tell us other problems you ran into with employees? That way those reading this post will have a heads up and be aware to watch for these problems.
I pretty much ran the gammit, the whole spectrum, the whole if it can go wrong it will, and at the worst time.

Actually my brother was my first employee, and he was a very good one. He actually learned the business very well, and ended up becoming the lead salesperson instead of being a grunt.

So I think to myself, cool, I'll hire my other brother(not Darrell)and see how that goes. It didnt work at all. I found out once he dropped off the guys on his crew to mow a property, and he decided to take his jet ski to get fixed while the crew members were working!

He was a pretty bad employee but I kept him on anyway(another rule, dont do business with family) untill finally one day I asked him if he had mowed an important property and he said yes.

Well, for some reason I checked on it, and it had NOT been done, I had to let him go. (again dont do business with family) It took him a while to get over it, but we are all good now.

I can agree with the guys that say, if you have ONE really, and I mean really good employee, you could get more done. But then your employee will want more money, more time off, sick days......green M/M's everyday before you start......you get the point.

Ive been small and Ive been big in the Lawn business, and I'd never go BIG again!!!! Just me, my truck and my mower and LOTS of cash!
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Old 02-12-2008, 02:44 PM
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Would even a single employee that was with you at all times be helpful or no?
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