A Smart Business Doctor Success Story

A Landscaping Case Study

Landscaping Contractor Has No Idea of True Costs or Profits!

The Challenges

A small landscaping contractor, in business for about 7 years, a very young owner with no formal business education has grown a lawn cutting, hard landscaping and weed spray lawn business into fast growing business. Sales increased every year over the previous 7 years, except this past year, no growth, for the first time.

The owner, only 28 years old, found himself putting out fires constantly, and acting more as a babysitter to his employees than a Manager. The business was running him, instead of him, running the business.

Turnover began to get very high, growth became stagnant, employees complaining they were working too many hours, injuries on jobs started to occur, quality of work and complaints began to be a big issue, and customers were starting to hold back payment on work performed because it was unsatisfactory or incomplete. The telephone (call backs) for new business, were sometimes taking 2 weeks, and cash flow started to become a factor.

These problems are all very systemic for a business without a business plan and a business that does not have a strategy, in place, to control growth.

The Solution

Smart Business Doctor assessment conducted, determined that the business was clearly built on blood, sweat and tears, and had no formal business systems in place to control costs, manage quality, control growth, manage efficiencies, and the business was not designed to produce a predetermined profit. The business was operating... "shooting from the hip"

Smart Business Doctor staff began a weekly, mandatory, management/employee training workshop with all employees. Surveys were conducted to provide valuable information and feedback on employee and management input regarding workplace concerns. The focus of workshops, covered all areas of quality control, working with each other, responsibility to profits and costs, image of the company, accuracy of reporting etc.

A complete communications and accountability system was put in place for the foundational structure of the business.

Estimating and Bidding procedures, policy and process were installed and trained each person.

Sales/Estimators now had goals and objectives to meet and formal training on how to estimate jobs. A complete IT integration of business software, with the use of (tablets) in the field to obtain accurate information, costs, overhead factors, contracts and customer database to provide competitive pricing to new prospects and to allow (on-site) contract signing for the customers, along with the ability to collect deposits and take credit card payment on demand.

Calendar sharing, message communication, email communication and data that was streamlined into a process so, the owner could review bids immediately for quality and accuracy.

Customer service increased, sales increased, employees more engaged and empowered, contributed to rapid growth again.

Another primary problem that resulted from uncontrolled growth was, the owner really did not have a grip on true costs of all the services provided. Material costs were not being marked up, sometimes not even added to and billed to the clients, overhead calculations were non existent and profit margins were never truly established.

Since the owner never really knew his costs for any service they provided, profits were always a guess, and residual, in most cases, each job ended up not being profitable.

The staff built templates of true costs, overhead allocations and predetermined profit margins for each job. A complete "Job Costing" system was developed and trained, whereby, the tracking of expenses, including labor and materials were done on every job and a complete reconciliation was conducted at the conclusion of every job.

A complete overhaul or complete building of a QuickBooks Pro accounting and bookkeeping system, bidding and estimating system, job costing system, business plan, cash flow plan and an asset protection assessment was completed to protect the company from liability issues.

The Results

The results were staggering on how the business was elevated to the next level of professionalism, accountability and quality in a matter of several months.

"Bottom line, Smart Business Doctor probably kept me from BIG TROUBLE, or saved me from multi-million dollar lawsuits, my business was totally out of control, I had so much liability exposure and I was running scared that I would never be able to get my arms around my problems. I had no systems in place and what money I was making, was totally, by mistake. Jeff, the Project Director taught me how to be a businessman, taught me how to take control of my business, taught me how to manage. Without him, who knows where I would be today. Smart Business Doctor is not cheap, but worth every penny I paid, and I receive a return on my dollar spent, every day."

Shawn B. Buffalo, NY

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