OWNERS what role do you play? on the JOB or on the Road?

I read a lot of chat about calling customers, post cards, pricing, etc here. How many of you are on the job? The reason I ask in our previous business I grew it very rapidly at the start and tried play every roll which caused mayhem on my end. We were in landscape construction so its alot harder to find a person experienced enough to lead crews and run equipment (we were taking about 2 year to get someone up to snuff and by then they have a year left of university to go and were gone. )

Should mention we are a 2 on a scale of 1-10 on being newbies to the industry, However I do have a self employed background with employes and the headaches that are attached.

Ultimately from the start I would like to build our business with employees and use me to focus on finding/retaining work and the day to day operations (customer service). Yes employees can be a pain but at the end of the day you cant do everything and I personally think that’s important lesson to learn.

How many of you are on the job? or Both. I always found its hard splitting between the actual work and organizing, books etc.

Do you find it hard to train/find employees?

When we first started I would spend all day cleaning windows, and all night playing catch up with calls and quotes. I probably lost quite a bit of business because I just couldnt keep up. Last year we hired some one to help return messages three days a week. I still spend all day cleaning windows. Nobody cares about your business as much as you. Employees are great but you need to dedicate the time to them

We average about 1500 jobs per season, two crews, two guys per crew

We’ve been in business almost two years now. I have a partner and we share responsibilities running the office and running one of our crews. We currently have four full time employees but two of them are pretty new/slow so we usually put them as part of a three man crew. I’d like to have both of us totally out of the field by 2014. Yes, employees can be hard to find/train, once you find a good one you do you’re best to keep them.

I am doing it all clean windows all day.answer phone,scheduling,books,and have a hard time finding people to work.one part time with payroll,one cash payout.my wife helps on occasion.i am already behind for March.

In our past I found doing everything ticked more people off then not, since I could not return calls asap. Being in the field half the time trying to schedule things I would forget stuff in between jumping in and out of an excavator. However I did learn to step our game up which did work great but quality did slightly go down. My big thing now days is family at the end of the day in my opinion when I’m home I have a family that comes first.

Anyone hire summer staff effectively?

Customer interaction has been a key to the success of my business so I make it a point to be on almost every job. 95% of my business is generated through referrals so I believe customer interaction is crucial. I have considered starting another crew but I’d rather just keep all of my guys together and get the jobs done quicker and not have to worry about what is going on with another project. However, I will send them out alone on the smaller jobs. Usually I do all my estimates in the evenings and books on Sunday evenings.

I’m still in the field. I was hoping to start this spring in the office but I’m not quite there yet. I have been forwarding my calls to my wife the week that big ads hit the mailboxes. This has helped with the steady stream of calls and lets me work. She schedules the jobs so I don’t have to keep running to the truck to schedule an appointment. I hope to has a second employee in the field by mid spring so I can spend less time in the field. Just need to find the right person and know that I can keep him busy. It’s been tougher than I thought to get out of the field.

I spend most of my day talking to people… The only other things I really do are budgeting, review reports, and marketing stuff. I handle the general direction of the company…

Thats sounds like where I would like to position my self. In past experience doing that lands WAY more jobs and gives you the upper hand on your competitors. How do you keep the quality up to snuff on the jobs?

We keep the quality up with a good follow up system for the most part…

Follow up as in you checking quality or phone calls to customers?


We do both


On my own - so I do everything.

But i love the work side of things… up the ladder, wfp, everything… I enjoy a good project!

I like dealing with customers regarding their service, talking to them, listening to their requirements, getting little insights into their own lives etc.

I hate doing and preparing the estimates/quotes/accounts/chasing due payments etc… The stuff thats always gets done at the end of the day when you just want to relax after a days work.

If i could find someone to do that side of the business for me i’d be happier.

Chris back when you made the move to remove yourself from the field, was it a gradual deal or did you just make an instant transition. I have been trying to gradually remove myself but think the only way to go about it now may be to do it like removing a band-aid. With all the great info on this site it would be awesome to see a few different strategies to remove yourself from the field full time. Any insight?


It was probably over the course of a year or so I phased out slowly.

Sounds similar to what I have been doing. Thanks

My husband and I own and operate the business. We conquer and divide.

I do all computer related activities- bookkeeping, website, email correspondence, design and order advertising pieces, order supplies and other materials, I also do estimates, contracts, waivers, etc. I work with our accountant for tax preparation and call pre-existing customers in the spring. Also I send out thank you cards to all of our customers.

Tyler does all the physical labor. He also fields most of the incoming phone calls and coordinates with the crew to get the jobs done. He is also responsible for maintaining the truck and equipment.

We find it works out very nicely and it plays to our individual strengths.

Sounds like you make a great team…