Best small business organizational structure?

Reider

New member
In your opinion, what is the best small business organizational structure? This would be for a exterior cleaning business that has a max of 10 to 12 employees.

Do you keep it simple and use a flat structure like: CEO/President -> Managers/Lead techs -> Assistant techs? This structure seems like it would encourage more ownership of business success with the workers, but not free the owner from enough duties.

Or do you get more detailed/complicated with a hierarchical structure like:

CEO/President
Division Managers
Operational Managers under certain division managers
Service Managers/Lead Techs under the operational managers
Assistant Techs under each service manager

A benefit of this structure would be freeing up more time for the CEO/Owner to focus more on the business goals and direction while allowing more time for family or other ventures. A down side might be a slower channel of communication or decision making.

I'm trying to decipher what would be best for the future of my business. This is my third season, and I have finally stepped out of my comfort zone and hired my first full-time employee. My goal is to get out from behind the wand as quickly as possible while focusing most of my efforts on growing a profitable business. My gut feeling tells me to keep it simple and go with a flat structure, but I don't have the entrepreneur experience that many of you do.
 

Ron Musgraves

Exterior Restoration Specialist
Staff member
This post will get very interesting


Text me anytime for anything if you need Help 480.522.5227
 

Scott Stone

New member
Here is how I am set up, and it works for me, but may not necessarily work for you.

General Manager/ VP CFO/ Human resources Office Manager


Leads 5

Technicians.

I am the General Manager, my wife is the CFO, and my sister in law is the office manager.
As general manager, I am in charge of processes, day to day operations, and all purchasing and equipment. I also assist in the hiring
As CFO and Human resources, my wife does the books, manages the day to day money decisions, and does the scheduling and hiring. We work together on the hiring, because she does the interview portion of the hiring, and I do the hands on portion. I am amazed at how many are stupid and start talking about my wife, because they don't think we are married.
The office manager handles all of the day to day paperwork, is the guard of the gilded tower, by not letting salesman in, and basically does anything that my wife does not feel like doing.
The leads are in charge of checking the bus stops, and verifying that their subordinates are performing the work that they are expected to do. We check at least 25% of all the work that is performed on a shift. They have also been trained on how to repair bus stops, and perform those tasks in the course of the day.
The technicians perform the revenue producing work.

We are at about 40 employees, but I think that we are pretty flat in our management structure. Incidentally, I can leave for a week or two with few, if any, problems. It helps that our leads all have their particular talents. One is a retired master sergeant, and that helps a lot.
 

Ron Musgraves

Exterior Restoration Specialist
Staff member
Don't hire people you have to baby sit!! Get rid if them if you find yourself doing it.

I'll post on this subject soon. Been thinking about the best way to answer the start up guy. Most pressure washing companies don't have one sales person much less five.

I also do not recommend guys run out and hire sales people. Listen to what I tell you first. It works and it's proven. Over and over


Feb Event Houston free free text me for more details !!
 

Johnson

New member
In your opinion, what is the best small business organizational structure? This would be for a exterior cleaning business that has a max of 10 to 12 employees.

Do you keep it simple and use a flat structure like: CEO/President -> Managers/Lead techs -> Assistant techs? This structure seems like it would encourage more ownership of business success with the workers, but not free the owner from enough duties.

Or do you get more detailed/complicated with a hierarchical structure like:

CEO/President
Division Managers
Operational Managers under certain division managers
Service Managers/Lead Techs under the operational managers
Assistant Techs under each service manager

A benefit of this structure would be freeing up more time for the CEO/Owner to focus more on the business goals and direction while allowing more time for family or other ventures. A down side might be a slower channel of communication or decision making.

I'm trying to decipher what would be best for the future of my business. This is my third season, and I have finally stepped out of my comfort zone and hired my first full-time employee. My goal is to get out from behind the wand as quickly as possible while focusing most of my efforts on growing a profitable business. My gut feeling tells me to keep it simple and go with a flat structure, but I don't have the entrepreneur experience that many of you do.

The first example is fine. We run power washing businesses not Fortune 500 corporations
 

innovativewash

New member
Here is how I am set up, and it works for me, but may not necessarily work for you.

General Manager/ VP CFO/ Human resources Office Manager


Leads 5

Technicians.

I am the General Manager, my wife is the CFO, and my sister in law is the office manager.
As general manager, I am in charge of processes, day to day operations, and all purchasing and equipment. I also assist in the hiring
As CFO and Human resources, my wife does the books, manages the day to day money decisions, and does the scheduling and hiring. We work together on the hiring, because she does the interview portion of the hiring, and I do the hands on portion. I am amazed at how many are stupid and start talking about my wife, because they don't think we are married.
The office manager handles all of the day to day paperwork, is the guard of the gilded tower, by not letting salesman in, and basically does anything that my wife does not feel like doing.
The leads are in charge of checking the bus stops, and verifying that their subordinates are performing the work that they are expected to do. We check at least 25% of all the work that is performed on a shift. They have also been trained on how to repair bus stops, and perform those tasks in the course of the day.
The technicians perform the revenue producing work.

We are at about 40 employees, but I think that we are pretty flat in our management structure. Incidentally, I can leave for a week or two with few, if any, problems. It helps that our leads all have their particular talents. One is a retired master sergeant, and that helps a lot.
Scott,
What questions do you ask in the interviewing process? We are cleaning house this year because im tired of babysitting as Ron has touched on. We need another 8 employees and have a small interviewing process.
 

Tony Shelton

BS Detector, Esquire
I can offer a smaller example. It is a different kind of work than what most of you guys do, but it carries over the same if you are doing regularly scheduled commercial work.

First off, most of us are all cross trained to take up slack if someone is unavailable.

My job:

1) Closing sales. Shelly can also do this.
2) I deal with the scheduling. The scheduling is generally always the same, but during the last few days of the month I have to go through it, make sure it meshes with Chris' night time concrete cleaning schedule and resolve conflicts, add in new accounts and schedule any one-time or annual jobs that have to be fit in. In my absence Chris does this.
3) Bids - Once a bid is needed I schedule and perform the onsite bid. Chris and Shelly can both do this in my absence.
4) Running parts and bringing backup equipment to sites in emergencies. Shelly does this in my absence.
5) Site inspections. Shelly and Chris also do this.
6) Customer relations - Shelly also does this - IT takes more time than you would think.
7) Dealing with regional training and sales for regional guys we have started up. Travel for promotion.
8) Collections
9) Dealing with temp agency for help on the days we use extra guys. Chris also does this.
10) Classroom training

Shelly's job:

1) Bookkeeping/Billing - I can also do this if she can't for any reason.
2) Dispatch - I can do this if she can't. Chris can also do this.
3) Initial and ongoing sales contacts and followup with the goal of getting me in front of the potential customer. Abby and Fayth also do this.
4) Inventory control - setting up filters for upcoming installations/service - I, Abby and Chris can do this also.
5) Ordering inventory - I can do this also.
6) Payroll - I can do this too.

Chris' job:

1) Lead Supervisor - Shelly and I are the backup.
2) Driver on jobs that require the lift. I'm the backup.
3) Lead on large coil cleaning jobs. - Shelly and I backup.
4) Physical Training -
5) Deals with labor.

Cameron:

1) Lead supervisor on non-lift jobs and replacement (instead of cleaning) jobs.
2) Lead supervisor on minor coil cleaning jobs.
3) Inventory control

Abby

1) Supervisor over temp labor on high rise hatch jobs on big days when Chris and Cameron have to run separate crews.
2) Outside sales - door to door commercial - on slow work days.
3) Inventory control and prep.

Fayth

1) Fayth has the job of cleaning filters here at the office that are changed out or pulled out of service. It averages about 1/2 hr to an hr per weekday.
2) She also does door to door sales with Abby and PM sales with Shelly on non-schooling days.

Robert

1) Does all Truck and equipment repairs. Everything from oil changes to complete rebuilds.


All the other non-skilled labor work is taken care of by the same bunch of Temps that we have used for 6 years now. For the life of me I still can't understand how the same 6 or 7 guys would work for a temp agency for all those years.

This setup can easily handle $1,200 to $7000 workdays. $1200 on the low hourly jobs of two people changing out filters and $7000 on those days when we run three crews consisting of Chris,Cam,Abby along with two temps each. For example Cameron and Abby are doing our worst account of the month today with our only account that is over 60 miles away and are doing about $900, but tomorrow, three of them will do $3700 and the next day $3150 with three of them and Sunday $2049 with two. Chris will work two of those days only so it doesn't interfere with his powerwashing schedule.

On the powerwashing side:

Chris does - Sales, bids, supervisor on large jobs. - Last year Chris pruned a lot of slow paying or collection accounts. He barely ever went out in the field. But this year he is back out in the field till he replaces the ones he cancelled.

Jill does - Sales, bids, customer contact, bookkeeping

Robert - cleans jobs alone or with Chris.

Cameron- Helps Chris and Robert part time and on big jobs.

This setup can handle between $800 and $2400 per night depending on the type of work. Last year he had 5 nights a week but he is down this year some.



My first goal was to get myself out of the field. I managed to do that two years ago.

My next goal was to get Chris out of the field most days. With Cameron and Abby trained I've been able to get Chris down to about 10 days per month, mostly just on days when we use the lift.

It's hard to cross over that point where you trust someone outside the family to do the supervisory work right. But that is my next goal.

I'm not going to pay that person less than $38k. I won't be comfortable with that till I get another $80k in accounts. Hopefully that will be within the next few months. Then I can move everyone up a notch and take Chris out of the field except on complicated coil cleaning jobs.

Chris needs another $50k in accounts to get out of all night work for the powerwashing. He's getting close and will hopefully be there before summer.

This is similar to the way we grew our previous businesses. It's like a big bubble, Everyone takes on multiple jobs to the point where it feels like you can't take it anymore, then as accounts increase it reaches the point where hiring another supervisor is just what you have to do.

It's much easier if you have recurring commercial work. I don't know how you guys deal with the uncertainty of one time work. That would drive me crazy! I'm way too OCD for that!
 

apple

Moderator
This is going to be a great thread.

Currently we look something like this.

My jobs are:
Sales
Book keeping
Production/employee management
back up labor

My wife and mother in law split the duties of office manager
This includes
Assisting with book keeping
Sales prep
All of the other tedious business Managment details that I dont have the patience for.

They really handle a lot of the burden and free me up for sales.

I spend way to much time dealing with production. I know for us to go much further I'm going to have ti put a working manager in place there.

With the sales program we've put in place we could insert a sales person but that is my favorite part. Maybe when we reach 5 or 6 trucks?

Tony is right maintenance work is where it's at. Our plan is to continue simplifying our process and then duplicate the heck out of it.
 

Reider

New member
I agree with Andy, thank you for sharing this information everyone. It helps me envision a better plan and what works and may not work for my business.

A common theme so far seems to have a flexible and evolving system. A simple flat structure seems to work with many, but as the business grows, so does the structure possibly adding hierarchy to it. I look forward to hearing more thoughts on this topic.
 

Tony Shelton

BS Detector, Esquire
One thing I didn't mention is that this is full time work for all of us. That might make a difference Shelly and I haven't had a job in 15 and 17 years and Chris and Jill have not had jobs in about 6 or 7 years.

It takes a lot of work and faith to get over that hurdle.



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AZ PowerWash Pros

New member
This is how I am set up. Still working on the Sales crew part...

Company:

AZ Exterior Cleaning

(Divisions)
AZ PowerWash Pros
AZ Lot Sweeping
AZ Window Cleaners

Staff:

Owners
Office Manager
On-Site Supervisor
Warehouse Manager
Sales Manager
Sales Employees
Lead Technicians (for each division)
Technicians (for each division)
Sub Contractors

We change things when they arrive and seem needed. Learning everyday.

I believe that getting out from behind the wand is crucial in growing your company. And once you do you will make much more money. I saved up to cover myself for 3 months before I decided to hire. When I had 3 months of bills stashed away I hired and moved away from the wand. The funny thing is, I never used the 3 months of money because I started making more money then ever before. I woke up and focused on growth.

The key to being successful, in my opinion, is to free up as much time in the day as you can so you spend more time thinking about ways to grow your business and make more money. If you are thinking about cleaning properties then that is what will occupy your time. Also jobs don't seem as difficult when someone else is doing them. So a job that you would have normally not been interested in making $95 profit on becomes more appealing when you are making $95 profit doing nothing. (just an example) The hardest part is finding the right employees!

Good luck Jason! I know you will do very well. You are already thinking the way you should be.
 

Reider

New member
Thanks Ty! I like your idea of having different divisions. I know a few others (like Greg from TimberSeal) are doing the same thing and are having good success.
 

Roy Sanders

New member
A good thread right here. Would like to see more like this. Alot of good info being put out there for us to look into and learn from. I like the divisions also. Being a carpet and hard surface cleaning company and trying to open into the fleet washing side too I would like to try to keep them as divisions. Their own companys within a company.
 

Tony Shelton

BS Detector, Esquire
I guess ours are set up similar. Both Vegas Pressure Wash (commercial) and Native Power wash (residential) are DBA's of Sonitx inc (Hvac cleaning only) and we have a separate division for regional work.

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