What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why?
Never buy something from someone or have it repaired from someone just because it’s the least expensive…
No specific story b/c it has happened to me so many times and it comes back to haunt me every time I do this. You would think you have learned enough times, but you always feel like this is going to be the time when I really save the most and it’s the time that you pay the most.
Surround yourself with good people. Don’t ever let a good employee go work somewhere else. Find a place for them and keep them employed…
I let my lead employee leave for 2 years as he wanted to try to start a company on his own back in Mexico. He had worked for me for 7 years. He was amazing and a fast learner and leader. His absence we felt in the year and a half that he was there not like no other. Big shoes to fill.
Spend the time to teach employees their trade…
Sometimes you think just because it comes easy to you that it should come easy to everyone. The extra time you spend with them at the beginning of their work career will pay off in dividends. Example: We staple lights in trees and if you staple the wire it will short the GFI. Well we had one employee that we told but didn’t check his work and he must have stapled a wire about every 5th time he shot his staple gun. It took us so much time to go back and fix when if we would have made sure he was doing it correctly and/ or removing it immediately it would have saved of days of work.
Invest in good equipment…
This is something i have always done after I learned the hard way. We had a landscaping company for 7 years prior. We dug everything by hand. One of my employees was like Bruce we need a little mini jackhammer with spade to do the digging. I was like I am not spending $1,000 to buy that machine. He went out on his own and bought and said if I don’t like it after that he would pay for it himself. I saw it and was in awe. I paid him back immediately and realized that machine has since probably saved me 100 times that in labor.
Its ok to say to no to jobs…
We started out doing houses and we must have done 300 houses one year. I couldn’t grow any more. My accountant told me the only way you are going to grow is not say yes to every job. I always had the mentality that if I am making more than sitting at home to take it. He helped me realize I am a better owner when working on jobs where I could give clients a great experience. Taking on too much creates too much stress. You can’t make everyone happy and some jobs are just best to leave to someone else.
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