Worrying about cutting my lawn care crew loose.

It is the dream of most every lawn care business owner to one day reach the point where they are having their own lawn care employees service properties to free up time so the owner can focus on building the business. This is not an easy step as we will see from this discussion on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum. With a little planning and foresight the transition process can go fairly smooth.

One lawn care business owner wrote “so far this year we have been growing at a healthy rate of about 1-4 lawn care customers a month. Most of the time it is averaging 2-3. That isn’t bad really when you consider the only money I am spending is on a website every year.

Anyways today was my last day with my lawn care crew. Tomorrow I am letting them take over the lawn maintenance accounts so that I can do more marketing, running the business, among a few other odds and ends stuff. I have been preparing for the day it would happen but it’s just one of those things like a new parent where you can prepare all you want but you are never quite ready to hand the keys over both figuratively and literally.

I really am just wondering for those that have done this already, did it work out for you?

It is going to be really weird seeing my truck drive off in the mornings. But alas I will be moving on to find another landscape truck and start growing some more.”

A second lawn care business owner said “I run two lawn mowing crews in the spring/summer/fall and two snow plow crews in the winter. Right now I am down to one three man mowing crew.

First you need to have three or four people who you have interviewed and are ready to go to work. That way if a worker quits, you have a replacement ready to go. Replacing a supervisor is a lot more difficult. I lost my last supervisor to a high paying oil-field job. I can’t compete with their pay.

Now I have had to step back in and help run the lawn mowing crew until I can find or train a replacement.

This process has been the biggest restriction to growth, and it is very frustrating. I pay very well and I pay more, the more responsibilities I give to an employee.

As far as the growth part goes. One key to success with it lawn crews is to never turn the crews loose without supervision of some sort. You need to be either driving by once in a while to check on things or following up on their work by asking  customers how the work is going or even better both! Have you thought of the ways you are going to keep tabs on your employees?

You are going to need to follow behind the crews to check up on them. I find that sometimes the staff will cut a few corners when no one is looking. It’s important that they don’t do this as customers can and will inspect their property for shoddy work. Cut a few corners too many times and the customer will send you packing.

If I visit a site after they serviced and find they didn’t do a complete job or if the customer calls to complain, the crew has to go back to the property to address the issue. After a couple of times of making the crews go back to redo what they missed they start looking for that kind of stuff and make sure they don’t mess it up.

Be ready to take calls from customers who are mad for the smallest things and be prepared to resolve these issues because they will come. No one is ever going to treat your business and your customers the way you treat them. That is why all staff needs supervision. There is a lot more to it but some times you just need to do it and learn as you go.”

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