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being forced to expand- are we ready?

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by bullit340, Oct 26, 2011.

  1. bullit340

    bullit340 Member
    from Mass
    Messages: 87

    Many guys on here handle many large accounts. I have never been comfortable taking on more accounts than my core steady year round employees can handle. Now we are being asked to do another large account which I do not have enough employees to handle, I would have to hire out loader operators, sander operators and shovel guys. I am completely nervous about putting a new account in someone elses control, especially guys I dont really know. I can put one current employee to manage but they do not have too much snow exp. Would you guys wait til I my current guy has more snow experience before I put the responsibility on him, or would you take the job and hope to hire some decent operators?
     
  2. thelettuceman

    thelettuceman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,216

    Take your business to the next level.
     
  3. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Time to bump up one of your guys to a site manager .Even if its just to report back to you so your not running all over the place.
     
  4. Raymond S.

    Raymond S. Senior Member
    Messages: 513

    Personally, I would never grow at a rate faster than what I felt comfortable. I always have to consider worst case. Worst case; you are unable to manage the personnel on your new accounts, you lose this new work as a result of poor service (hired the wrong subs, poor management, simply bad luck) and the added distraction effects your core accounts leaving you with a black eye that will take a while to heal. That's not to say growth isn't a good thing. Only you know how well your guy will adjust to managing subs and picking up in the bs involved with it.
    If it's a large enough account and you really want it, can YOU pull away from your core accounts and manage this other one? Perhaps you could do this until you get a feel for the new operators. I just wouldn't "hope" to hire good operators. I know I sound pessimistic but it always sounds good in October til the first storm hits and your up to your azzhole in snow and find out your new guys have as much experience pushing snow as you do making lollipops, what are you gonna do? It's 2:00 am and your back's to the wall...what are your options? If you've got options then I'd say you should go for it. If you're totally SOL when things go sour at the new site, then I'd say it's too much.
     
  5. bullit340

    bullit340 Member
    from Mass
    Messages: 87

    It seems as if whenever you take on a large project you would need to hire an operator or shovel guys of some sort. I may have bad luck, but in my experience I have had guys sign on or promise to be there to shovel or run a loader and at the last minute they are a no show. We have been left scrambling and I hate being in that situation. Guys with no stake in the game except a paycheck, seem to have zero loyalty. I have found guys with refrences and experience etc... will jump ship whenever to do what is in their best interst at anytime. Guys that at least are regular employees have a stake in the success of the account or project, thus some bit of loyalty.

    Currently we have the backup stuff in place when things go wrong, as they do in snow. By taking on this new account, we would be spread thin and if things went wrong there would be a noticeable difference in quality. We could use the money, but in my eyes snow is such a high risk game like a pressure cooker. Not sure what we are going to do. I think most co would take it and figure it out later, maybe I am too cautious.
     
  6. Advantage

    Advantage Senior Member
    Messages: 766

    ...................

     
  7. born2farm

    born2farm 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,310

    If you think you can handle it then go for it. I get nervous from the moment I sign the contract untill the end of the season. Make sure you have all your ducks in a row and go for it. Get some good backups lined up and put the new drivers through a screening process to try and weed out the fly by night beer money plowers. Get one of your guys set up as a supervisor and show him the ropes. Not sure what your role in your company is as far as if you plow or strictly manage, but take the time to train him as a supervisor the first storm or so. A few lost hours in the first storm could pay off big time when your a$$ deep in snow and need the guy to shine. Not only will it help you expand to more work in the winter, but he will be more comfortable managing a crew in the summer. You do not necessiarily need to pick the most experienced guy for this position either. Pick a guy who learns quick, can some what easily teach people and most importantly, a guy that the rest of your crew RESPECT. You can take the best plower in the world. But if he is a dick to the crew, they will not listen to him.

    This is somewhat the same situation I was pushed into this year. I had routes all set up with who was doing what and I felt comfortable with what my guys had to handle. Then a local contractor went out of business and all of his contracts came open. These were contracts that are not normaly bid year in and year out. They are contracts that once they find a contractor they stick with them. He has had them for over 20 years. So I put my bid in, won most of the contracts and now I am stressing out. I have had to bring two subs on, and I am looking to add a skid steer yet this year.

    I am not here to tell you what to do, but im sure you know contracts dont come easy. Take the time, plan it out and I think you will be ok. Good luck in what ever you decide to do.
     
  8. bullit340

    bullit340 Member
    from Mass
    Messages: 87

    update

    I figured I would give an update on my account that I stressed over. It was all for not because we did not get the bid. The property manager was changing because the last contractor kept hitting cars. I know production rates for my company and the proper equipment to do the job. I ran the numbers many times and was nervous about the all inclusive $45k price tag I came up with. Winning bidder- all inclusive including salt and trucking of snow on site $18k. I love this business
     
  9. Plow man Foster

    Plow man Foster PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,153

    Thats whats happening with this business now-a-days... Its happened to me a couple times this year. But i have told my customers that im not going to work for nothing! So the price is what it is. Most of my customers i have been doing for 16+ years. I will say, it is upsetting to see them go to a guy who is low balling but thats just how it goes!
     
  10. Raymond S.

    Raymond S. Senior Member
    Messages: 513

    Wow...must be somebody's recent ex-employee who decided he'd go cash in on all the snow plowing work and make the big bucks like his boss. To think, you actually tried to rip them off by almost $30k!!!
     
  11. phillie

    phillie Member
    from indy
    Messages: 97

    My opinion would be to use your crew on the new property and sub out one of your current contracts with a site foremen from your company. This way if something happens its not a first impression (lasting impression). I know you didnt get it and that sucks but that is how I would handle it.
     
  12. IDOCTORTREES

    IDOCTORTREES Senior Member
    from MONTANA
    Messages: 792

    You have to stretch to grow,,,,
     
  13. bullit340

    bullit340 Member
    from Mass
    Messages: 87

    we dont work for nothing and have costs to recover. I told the guy you know where to find us when if it does not work out. Funny though, he knew my price was more appropriate for equipment recovery etc... but in todays economy all that matters is the bottom number. The property manager does not have to care if the contractor is meeting his numbers as long as he saves money on the bottom line.

    It was only one bid, not a big deal. Deciding to go for it has made me rethink my snow strategy a bit. I am going to make sure I spend this season training my guys to run and manage storms on there own. That way we are ready for more expansion down the road.