Sometimes, it helps to get tips (free tips are even better!) when starting a lawn care business.
For that reason, we are members of PLANET, now called NALP, or National Association of Landscape Professionals which can be found here https://www.landscapeprofessionals.org/.
Through our roughly $340 annual membership, we get tons of free help, tips and advice. One major benefit is what they call a Trailblazer visit- or a free visit from a landscaping mentor. We have the option of either visiting their place of business (which we have done the past two years) or them coming to visit our place of business, which is what we opted for this year. We saw how a couple other landscape companies operated, so we want someone to come and see our business so they can see how our business operated and give us some free tips for landscaping business.
Tomorrow, our trailblazer is coming and this is what we have so far on our agenda:
Show org chart 2015
**Finances! We are reasonably efficient, admin underpaid, no benefits, cheap rent, virtual office- why no money??
This year, what happened?
- Aggressive growth
- Equipment neglected 2014; suffered consequences 2015
- Change in employee payroll system (switch to hourly)
- Not enough good employees- a lot of OT pay
- Charge rates too low/crews inefficient due to dead weight employees
- Waited too long to fire employees that never should have hired in first place
Recovery from 2015 plan:
- Sell GMC (minimum $10k)
- Get money from customers faster- prepay/deposits in spring
Discuss plan 2016:
- Marketing budget: minimize amount spent on outside marketing and hire inside marketing person instead. Focus on hiring good people, that is their primary job. Secondary job marketing for work.
- Finance Bobcat (mulch deliveries). Finance another truck.
- Shop- Either large portable office or a new shop but $$
- Same growth (25%) but focus on upselling to existing clients. A little more work but at higher prices.
- Health benefits for employees would be nice..
- Raise prices- should we raise mowing? (density!)
Admin time 8/29 to 9/4:
382 total hours
43.55 Omar (field)- may have worked couple days in field
31.72 Kim (office)
38.12 Shannon (office)
38.95 Justin (office/mechanic)
229.66 field hours
Admin:field = 152/(229+152)= 40% admin hours; 60% field hours
Mechanics- how come they can just charge us hourly, no service?
These are obviously just cliff notes, but you get the idea. We will add more to the agenda as it comes up.
What our plan is is to have him meet at our shop at 7am, then get breakfast with him. He will watch our crews head out for the day and give us tips on how can can improve this aspect of starting our landscaping business.
After this, we will review Quickbooks and some other numbers. He will come with us to visit some job sites and talk with the Office Manager. We will treat him to lunch. We expect it to be overwhelming- so need some good sleep and brain food for the time being!