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2nd Year growing pains


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Old 03-16-2009, 10:00 PM
tomcat172002
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Default 2nd Year growing pains

Hi,

I have a question regarding growth. This is my second year doing lawn maintance. My first year I got 13 customers it took me about 1 1/2 days to service them. Last year I did several things to get new customers, flyers and adverstising in the church bulliten. Since I live in the Cleveland OH area it stopped snowing in March and I started getting calls in April right before I bought my equipment. This year I already had 3 people ask me for quotes. I got 2 of the 3 people but what I am afraid of growing too fast too soon. Right now I work a full time job but its 4 days a week leaving me 3 days off. I know I heard about 10% growth per year but starting 13 that would only be 1.3 customers this year. I feel I could handle 20 customers before I would need to figure out how to become more productive. Last year I increased the size of my mower from a 36 to a 48 and that helped out. One thing I was thinking of was that I have 2 customers that are about 20 minutes north from my house. The rest of my customers are 30 minutes due south of there. So driving time just for these 2 is 50 minutes a day. The 2 new customers that I picked up are in a developement that I have 7 already. The time for me to get to them is under 1 minute. Would anyone advise me about dropping customers in only my second year? I know drive time is a factor and by getting new customers closer together would help out. What's do you guys think about my growing? Also at what point should I hire another person?
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Old 03-17-2009, 12:03 AM
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there is nothing wrong with dropping customers to tighten up your routes and be more productive. Just explain to them that you will no longer be servicing that area. If you can try to find someone to take it over before you inform the customer you will be quitting. Just let them know you have someone willing to take over where you left off, if they want them to. It will be fairly easy to pick up more customers to fill the spots.
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Old 03-17-2009, 08:22 AM
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Quote:
I got 2 of the 3 people but what I am afraid of growing too fast too soon. Right now I work a full time job but its 4 days a week leaving me 3 days off. I know I heard about 10% growth per year but starting 13 that would only be 1.3 customers this year. I feel I could handle 20 customers before I would need to figure out how to become more productive.
I think worry about growing too fast is something we do in our minds to freak ourselves out. Ultimately you shouldn't worry about it now. Get your business to the point where you are turning customers away and you will figure out how to handle that new stage.

The 10% growth per year I think applies once you have yourself situated and you are running at a full time level. Early on, 10% growth really is nothing. You want to add a lot of customers when you are just getting started so you are busy and so you can see that your business can indeed work!

Quote:
Would anyone advise me about dropping customers in only my second year? I know drive time is a factor and by getting new customers closer together would help out. What's do you guys think about my growing? Also at what point should I hire another person?
If the customers are too far out of the way and it's really causing you problems, then sure pass them on to someone else. It's always better to find another lawn care business owner in a surrounding area to hand them to because then in the future they just might hand you some customers outside of their area. Use that opportunity to build good will.

Hire another person when you can no longer do all the work by yourself.

What's your view on all that?
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Old 03-20-2009, 10:01 PM
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Steve,

Thanks for the reply I always like to see what you think. Right now because of my full time job I am hoping that I can keep this a one man show. What I am afraid of growing the company that it will take 2 people to run it. Then if the second person up an leaves I am going to have a real problem. I think I can do about 20 accounts before I need to put the brakes on the advertising or figure out what to do next. Good help is hard to find and at first I could only give someone part time hours. I guess this is just part of the learing process.
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Old 03-20-2009, 10:49 PM
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Tomcat,

Don't sweat needing help man, I through one little ad on craigslist last night, Oh my god.... It's sad just how bad things have gotten &it really makes me feel blessed to have a business that's good & getting better all the time. I have printed out the resumes of applicants who have some applicable experiance & should be considered... I have a folder now (in less than 24 hours after the ad was posted) with about 15 resumes. I have guys willing to relocate to Florida from Maryland, South Carolina, & Knoxville Tenn. for an $8/hr job! It's insane! People want to work & you can find help available on your schedule. I'm sure of it.
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Old 03-21-2009, 12:29 AM
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Default Reliable part time help

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomcat172002 View Post
Steve,

Thanks for the reply I always like to see what you think. Right now because of my full time job I am hoping that I can keep this a one man show. What I am afraid of growing the company that it will take 2 people to run it. Then if the second person up an leaves I am going to have a real problem. I think I can do about 20 accounts before I need to put the brakes on the advertising or figure out what to do next. Good help is hard to find and at first I could only give someone part time hours. I guess this is just part of the learing process.
If in your area, you have paid firemen, look for part time help there. They usually are on 24 off 48, are mature, reliable, and usually loyal (not interested in going it on their own).

They have worked out very well for me in the past.

Steve
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Old 03-22-2009, 01:03 AM
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does your are have any labor places. my town has labor ready, labor link, man power..... you could get a guy from them for however many days you need them a week and not have to worry about paying workmans comp. or any thing else on them. find someone that does a good job for you and request them.
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