It’s tough enough trying to start a lawn care business by yourself but when you bring in a partner, you are most likely gonna make the situation worse. As we will see in this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, partnerships add another level of complexity to everything and when they go bad, it can be tough to extract yourself from the situation.
One lawn care business owner wrote and said “I started my lawn care business 2 years ago and this is my first year where I feel I am doing pretty good. I got some vinyl lettering for my truck and plan on doing more advertising late may to early june when it will be hotter and people will start growing tired of having to mow their lawns. So I feel I got a good handle on all of that.
Where I do have a problem is with my lawn care business partner. Before I decided to get started with a partner, the one main thing I was worried about was if I could rely on another person. I’m the kind of guy that wants the job done right and completed on time.
After talking with my friend/partner about this before we got started, I thought he was this kind of person too. I have since found out he is not. With him, his plans tend to come first unless I nag at him to get his ass in gear andÂ on the job.
We are at the point where he is never here Tuesdays and is only available to work on every other Thursday and every other weekend. I try to work with his schedule but then he also tells me he has to get home by 5:30 sometimes 6:00 due to other commitments.
Last month I serviced 20 of our lawn care customers alone and only had his help for another 12. This month I was totally alone to handle every one of our lawn care customers.
Me and him are close friends so I don’t want to lose that but I don’t know what to do. Like I said, I try to cater to his schedule but even when I do that, he doesn’t show up and it pisses me off because the customer’s then have to be rescheduled. With all these delays I find myself trying to calm my customers down and end up giving them 10% off their bill due to his not showing up.
I know I can do all this on my own if I could just schedule the jobs to normal business hours and not try and cater to his wacky scheduling needs.
The thing that gets me is that he and I both started this lawn care business as equal, putting in the same amount of time and energy. We both equally THOUGHT of the idea of starting this together. But when it comes to scheduling, making agreements, building a website, email customers, performing the jobs, handling requests, invoices, receipts and even creating a bank account, well that was all for me to do. We even use my truck and my equipment with the exception of one lawn we use that he bought when our primary mower goes out.
So I REALLY need advice on this and how best to handle it. What I first thought would be a great way to work with my friend and make money has turned into a disaster.”
Here are some responses he got on how best to handle this situation from other lawn care business owners.
One wrote “do you have a lawn care business partnership agreement in place? If not you need to get one.
Otherwise you can offer to buy out his portion of the lawn care business. Explain to him how you are footing all the bills for equipment and time doing the actual work. Tell him that you would like to do this alone because he is not pulling his half of the cart and offer to buy out his portion. This way you can still remain friends.
Sounds like he thought it was a great idea until the work started.”
A second lawn care business owner shared “sit down with him and tell him your partnership is not working out as-is. Ask what he wants to do to fix the situation. I might offer him any lawn care clients he got, and take the rest with me as it’s clear his priorities are not inline with yours.
Maybe he will tell you he no longer wants to be a part of it and your friendship is the only reason he still pretends to be interested. If he doesn’t want to leave, tell him that you will need to hire somebody to cover his work, and its coming out of his pay. If he leaves, give him fair value for anything he purchased with you, or demand he pays you for any mutual equipment if he is taking it on his own.”
A third said “just bring it up to him. I am sure he wants out. Give him an easy out and move onwards. I’m sure you will find it to be a huge relief to have him out of the picture as far as your business goes. It’s hard enough scheduling for yourself, let alone scheduling lawn care jobs around a partner too.
If he wants to keep mowing on his own, give him the customers he brought in initially and both of you can go your separate ways. Keep it friendly and you shouldn’t have any further problems.”
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