47 Comments

  1. Brian; you aren’t alone. I had to get out of the business due to what you are going through. The reality is no one wants to do the work. But I really enjoyed working solo vs having guys work with me. Your pros and cons are all dead on.

    The biggest thing about going solo is your health like you were stated. Or just being worn out/fatigued.

    If found that my back couldn’t handle the beating and had to force myself to get out. If you love the work it shouldn’t matter if you have to scale down. And worse case scenario you cash out and work for someone else and make more as a sales person. There is a great book called “out of the maze”.

  2. Also wanting to make one more comment about quality. Just because somebody else is doing the work doesn't mean that the quality is going to lack. If you have systems and process than you can ensure that everyone in your company is performing the service the way that you want it done. All of my guys are way better than I ever was at this point and it's because of our systems and process.
    Nothing wrong with being a solo guy I just think that some of the pain points I hear mentioned about having multiple employees really aren't true when you break it down.
    I'm a fan of your videos by the way 😁👍

  3. Im surprised you accept paper checks as payment in 2019. Give cc's and ACH payments a shot, it will change your business forever!👍
    Also, for small properties we use GoiLawn to measure and bid properties. Costs 2.50 per property pull, a lot less than driving somewhere. 👍
    I was solo for years, hated it! Its like grinding out at the poker table. I think it was good for me to do the solo thing but being solo forever puts a ceiling on your earnings.

  4. Have you thought about going to Manpower or Labor Ready for an extra person.  You pay them a flat rate per hour/day, and they worry about the taxes and unemployment, worker's comp, etc.  Just a thought

  5. Having the same problems with staff here in Brisbane Australia. It's been 40 degrees Celsius ( 104 Fahrenheit) here for the last 2 weeks – cant find anyone who has a good attitude for more than 3 days and can keep up with my work rate.

  6. Like your vid, I still prefer to run solo as for keeping your company going during health problems. I am on yr 5 after 2 yrs landscaping I had A stroke and fortunately I was able to pull in a company/friend that helped me keep my contract fulfilled for about 3 months so I could get back at it.

  7. File forms for small claims court (and send to him via State Marshall)….and add HE PAYS all legal/court/interest fees etc. That adds up FAST…..a $500 dollar bill quickly becomes a $1k bill owed to you! I've done it 5 times with late customers…..has worked each time!

  8. I pretty much eliminated the risk of customers owing any money by accepting prepayments each month for the services they sign up for. also saving a card on file is mandatory. This applies to residential customers. I know commercial accounts are a lot different with their terms of payment.

  9. I see the connection here, this community is not blind man. Three guys back to back all of a sudden doing teachings with a backboard. What has happened to you guys? Perfect example of lawn guys turning to youtuber’s. Come on Brian your better then this man, ever since you went to that southern conference meeting you changed completely. Who’s paying you man? Who is buying you? The circle?
    Used to look up to you but now your just like the rest just trying to become a speaker/influencer.
    I hate what this community is becoming, just a few real ones left the rest is just trash. SMDH

  10. I hear you I've always wanted to go and have lots of guys but the headaches are not worth it at the end of the day I look at it like this I work for myself I look for help when I need it and when I don't have anything to do it's time to relax

  11. I was a commercial electrical contractor for several years. I started my business with just enough cash to get $1M general liability insurance coverage, a electrical supply company opened a account for me for larger tools needed and material. Within a year at 27 yrs old I had 30 employees and blanket contracts on new restaurant buildings and schools. For 8 years, nothing but a babysitting adventure of 30+ guys with most being older than myself. I worked with them on the jobs, done all office work, payroll and done engineering and architectural designs nights and weekends. Over all of those years, with payroll, $40k+ month material bills, truck and tool maintenance I ended up actually making about as much annually as my foremen on the electrical business portion, but I was putting in twice as many hours a week for the electrical business than the employees. But working about 30 hrs a week engineering and making more than I was with electrical business annually. Well, at 35 yrs old I was having severe chest pains and collapsed at home. First thing they done at hospital was heart cath., the doctor came in to talk to my wife and I and said "Your arteries are clean, no blockages. Your heart is strong, but if you do not reduce your stress, you probably will not see your next birthday". This comment from a cardiologist will get your attention, really got my Wife's attention. After looking at the numbers and constantly dealing with nonsense from employees, I reduced my contracts and set all of them down. Told 5 of them they could stay and all others that they needed to look for jobs because I was taking less work, no longer needed the help but didn't want to do a lay off. Within 2 months they all found jobs. It sucked because I was covered up with contracts and could have went the other direction and hired 15-20 more guys, but my doctor had already gave me a heads-up where that was going. After 1 year I done the same with the remaining 5 guys, told them I would work with them and give them time to find jobs. For the next year I worked solo, 7-days a week and the only time I took off in that year was Christmas morning then went to a jobsite that afternoon while my wife visited her family. This was not from greed, this was to honor time frames on new buildings being completed. I made more money that year with my electrical business than I did any other year with employees, then over doubled that with my engineering and architectural work that I was still doing nights. Even though I worked 7 days a week, the stress was reduced by about 98% and income increased almost 100%! Then stopped taking electrical contracts and directed all time toward my engineering design business which was excellent decision.

  12. Being solo = not having a sustainable business model. Cut 2 of your fingers off like I did on October 4th 2018 and crush all of the bones in 3 fingers off the same hand. Tell me how the hell you are going to get any work done?

    I had 3 employees at that time and I still had alot of shit to deal with… Not being able to use that hand. If you are a business owner you are a leader, you make the standard, nobody gets in the truck until your standards are met… The more hands and feet you have the more money you can net, plain and simple. If you own your company and want to make it a success with a crew it makes sense to invest in them and in yourself ( learning about leadership ) and implementing leadership… I spent 9 years on active duty in the Army. There is a solution for every situation that comes along, not figuring it out and saying having employees sucks is a cop out.

  13. By the way…sometimes people misunderstand me. I think your doing a great job Brian. I hope solo works out for you. We are a father and son team (hopefully you get to experience that one day yourself). But im 49 and i realize my days are numbered. We cant stay a 2 man team for many more years. This year, i hope to find a guy to add into the mix. time will tell. Good luck Brian and keep up the good work on youtube.

  14. im commenting as i watch the video..hence the multiple responses. Employee turn over….Doesnt it make sense that turnover is high when your paying $12 per hour and they can earn 10 or 11 in air conditioning? I dont understand why companies arent paying their employees $15 per hour or by the job where they can make up to $18 per hour. Pay them well and guess what, they are more likely to want to stick around. Lets say you have 2 guys making $32 per hour together. They should be mowing at least $90 per hour (thats low). Even with addtional expenses like taxes, workers comp, etc….your still making $40 per hour profit on those two guys. I simply dont understand why other companies are so tight with the pay…and then bitch about turn over. I'm confused.

  15. Solo myself with wife working on the books part time. I do mowing she does trimming and is a big help for cleanups. Trying to tighten area served even more this year. Goal is being as low as possible in debt when solo.
    God Bless you this year in your company.

  16. Hand it over to a collection agency you will give up 30% but atleast your getting something. As far as the lien letter and he is a small biz owner he is probably going to call your bluff. IMO

  17. The "backup plan" for a solo business is going to have to be to network and find some good, like-minded, quality-working fellow law care professionals that you can partner up with for illnesses, family vacations, etc. to be able to help each other out in the time of need. Not an easy find, but that is my goal to do so. Hats off to Brian with Brian's Lawn Maintenance for his tight knit trio.

  18. I know in this business I’m going to work basically sun up to sun down in the early spring and during fall clean up times. My goal is to work a comfortable pace the rest of the year. I’d rather have 1 helper so I’m out there not killing myself every day of the week. I’d rather pay a guy to take a little bit of the load off of my shoulders. That’s just how I’m planning on doing things for the next couple years.

  19. Brian,
    You made several good points. I've been semi-solo since 1986 and worked a regular job as well. Yes I'm tired but I tried the employee thing for a couple of years and it just wasn't worth the headaches. I'm 59 years old but I feel like I have several more years ahead of me. I'm planning on retiring soon from my regular job and focus entirely on the business.
    With regular employees your constantly having to find more work to keep the guys busy and there's always something breaking. I have had one very dependable guy that would step in if I got swamped. I lost him this year as he's retiring. I may try to do it all myself along with my wife's assistance.

  20. Employees (laborers) are not overhead, and they should not be expensive. Overhead is everything not associated with billable time- i.e. building payment, electric bill, secretary salary, manager salary, etc. Employees actually bring down your overhead costs by being able to divide that overhead cost between multiple employees – i.e. $1,000/month shop payment for a solo person is $1,000/month per person, with 10 laborers that cost is spread across all of them reducing it to $100/month per person which reduces the hourly rate you need to charge. If employees are viewed as expensive then there may be a pricing issue because employees should be assets that make the business profit. Employee wages and payroll expenses should be figured into the businesses hourly labor rate.

  21. Brother it's great seeing you back making videos. Keep them coming. I like how to me you are one of the most sincere realest people here on youtube with your videos and really do a lot to try to help others out. Also love how you try to stay up beat and not allow the bad stuff to drag you down, it's a matter of when knocked down to get back up and keep at it.

  22. Brian… several pros of being solo not mentioned are: You are putting less hours on your expensive equipment, so it may last you at least a year or two longer. Also, when you don't feel like you have to keep another guy moving (so you actually make a little profit after you pay him) you can move and work at a pace that you can sustain for the long haul. Thanks

  23. OMG $545?!?! Why are you not CC only?? Dude… that's a rookie mistake. Go CC only as soon as you can. P.s., at least in Texas (I'm not sure how it is in your state) but they wont allow us to lien a property for unpaid lawn maintenance work. I'm not saying i agree with it, but the rules for liens in Texas are that the work has to fall within the "improvement" category. And mowing the lawn doesn't technically qualify as an "improvement" to the property. Just a thought, but have you considered about turning their butts over to a collection agency? The threat of the negative hit to his credit score may make them get off their butt and pay you.

  24. Hey man, I've been there also with customers not paying their bill. We started doing seasonal pricing with a solid downpayment and then we keepna card on file for monthly charges. All bigger jobs we typically require a 5% scheduling deposit and then another 45% 2 weeks prior to starting the job. Remaining balance due upon completion unless it's a very large project then we might require another 25% after reaching a certain milestone… those were hard learned lessons on my part… I keep going back and forth on the employee question myself…. i think you just have to find one solid guy that can be your right hand man and back you up when needed. Then maybe have another just $10/hr helper for when it's really busy.

  25. Hey Brian, Man that Sucks, That an Actual Acquaintance would do That, At the very Minimum he should Pick up the Phone and Let you know if he has a Situation Going on and what is his Plan to Pay you. I do know what you mean because I do Help out Friends ETC. But I have never had one not Pay Me YET 😳 I Think that would be a Very Uncomfortable Feeling, I Hope he Pays you Brother. Great and all True Pros & Cons on Being SOLO, I'm SOLO and I'm Constantly Trying to Take Care of Myself so I don't get Hurt or Sick because if I do "Its OVER" you will loose your Customers and you can't Really Blame them, Because at the End of the day, they do need their Yards Done, because Either they are to Busy, Cannot do it or Don't want to do it. Down here in Broward County Florida where I'm at their is a Lawn Service in every Other Yard and you will get Replaced in an Heart Beat. Lot's of Competition down here for Lawn care. Thanks for Sharing and Great to see you back at it Brother 👍🏻 Be safe out their 🇺🇸

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