This discussion hit on a bunch of important topics. First it talked about how to get going full time in lawn care when you have a full time job elsewhere. Next it talked about how to utilize employees to help you achieve this goal. Lastly, it showed how to gain lawn care customers through home health agencies which has got to be one of the greatest lawn care marketing ideas that I have seen on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, in some time.
One lawn care business owner wrote “I was doing property preservation jobs with my company but I have lost the contract we had. When this happened, I was in the process of turning my business into a lawn care company anyway and have made some good contacts and will have lawns this year, about 20-30. But because of losing the property preservation contract I lost a lot of money and I had to find something else to help me make ends meet. Luckily, I have been offered my old job back and because of my current economic situation, I have to take it.
I do anticipate in the future that I will get more lawns because I haven’t even advertised yet, but at the moment I don’t have time or money to do it. The 20-30 lawn care customers I have now are from cold calling home health care agencies in my area. Home health agencies take care of people in their homes. So I figured if these people can’t take care of themselves then they certainly won’t be able to take care of their lawns. So I just did some cold calling and landed one agency. If I had more time, I feel I could get more home health agencies to sign up with me but I am in a wicked financial bind right now and can’t do it.
My biggest problem currently is having the time to mow the customers I have, when I go back to my full time job. How would you suggest I go about doing this? My new job will be super busy and I won’t be getting off until about 5:30 everyday.
I was thinking of hiring a former student of mine that gets off at 2:30. I have a truck and trailer that he could run when he gets off and I have another mower that I can run when I get off. Is this advisable?
I don’t think I will be able to pull double duty and do both full time. I will work at my day job from 8am-4:30pm. Some days I will have to work later. If I do get off at 4:30 I would be heading to the first lawn by 5pm. That only leaves 3 hours of daylight to mow. I will also have to work some weekends as well. This situation is driving me crazy. Just as things start to pick up, it seems I gotta stop and go in another direction.”
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Another lawn care business owner suggested “I would mow the lawns after hours and on weekends to get it done. I always like to be on the job, I don’t trust other with my livelihood.
If you get a couple of good helpers, the three of you could easily knock out 20-30 lawns on a Saturday, as long as you didn’t get rained out.
Next I’d say do what you can to save up six to eight months worth of wages and go full time mowing and landscaping. Then you could work solo for a while. As things pick up further, you can hire staff as needed and scale up.
With the staff you hire, you need to make sure you train them well so you can trust, to a point, that they will be able to perform the work to a satisfactory level. If you can’t trust anyone you will never be able to expand past a certain point. I know from experience if the boss can’t trust his employees, he will always have to be on site, after a certain point you should be able to hire a foreman and this should free you up to grow your business even further.
You have to be careful though burning the candle at both ends. I feel when you are running a one man show and working full time it won’t work for too long before you start to feel burnt out. Especially if you have a lot of lawn care customers. If the business is making enough money to hire someone as you are working a full time job elsewhere, you should do the work your self, make your money from your business, and quit your full time job.”
A third lawn care business owner shared “I had hired some help this last year and found out two things. First and foremost, I really didn’t need to waste the money hiring help. I was just lazy and wanted someone else to do the dirty work. Next I was very close to cutting him loose on my clients while I relaxed at home and enjoyed the profits but the first job I supervised him on was the death of that idea. He took 45 minutes to trim half a bush that I do in 10 minutes flat. I have not had any idea of trusting anyone sense then. I don’t mind having help on the job but I will not think of letting anyone represent me alone until I get so busy that it’s necessary and until I find the right clean, professional, hard working person to do so.
Lesson learned for me is to hire staff when you need then, not just when you want to be lazy at home and have your staff work.”