Just A Few Thoughts

Newlook

Member
There's been a lot of talk about "Getting Out From Behind The Wand". I find myself in this position and feel my time is almost there. So I wanted to share some thoughts about "When The Time Is Right". This is not a "Dig" at anyone or any situation. I am not this most knowledgeable or successful Contractor here, but we are gaining ground daily and have done quite well to be in business for 5 years now.

First as a Business owner only you will know when that time is right. You were smart enough to build a Business, you will be smart enough to know when to step away from the wand.

Employees are the ones that will allow you to do this...Fully Trained Employees, and this takes time. Your Senior Wash Tech, Crew Leader, whatever should be as knowledgeable (Or More) as you. He will be the key to leaving the wand. You will have to have complete confidence in him as the Leader of his crew and the face of your Business in front of the Customer, remember you won't be there. He is the one that will be responsible for the job being done correctly, and the one responsible if it is not.

Equipment, whatever aspect of washing you do, you've got to have the proper equipment. If you have a large project, 1 or 2 four gpm machines ain't gonna get it. Have a back up unit for the back up unit, and the parts to support your equipment. The break down of a machine because of a $50.00 part can cost you thousands of dollars in down time and productivity.

Don't bite off more than you can chew. Listen to that little voice in your head, he got you to where you're at. Don't be afraid to say you can't do the job, or you can do it but will need some outside help. Be smart and push the ego aside.

Have A Plan. Whether building a Business or starting a project....Have A Plan before you start. Write it down like you're writing a novel. Where to start, where to stop, problem areas, precautions, etc. This should be something that you and your crew leader will be on the same page with, and should probably be written together with him (Or Her).

Letting Go should be a smart Business Decision and not "Peer Pressure" this should not be rushed by anything or anyone.

The Business Plan I wrote in '05 says that I would be full time this year, I am. Projected revenue was exceeded in June. Business Plan says that I should be able to step away in 2 more years. The Plan hasn't failed me yet, so I'll stick to the Plan.

Plan For Success, Not Failure.


Please add any thoughts or advice to guys that may be planing to step away.

Thanks.

Good post Guy!
 

greg/sd

New member
I have got from behind the wand a few times over the years and something always brings me back. the economy,employee's quiting or not showing up when you need them. Nowdays I depend on every job and every customer to continue a business relationship with me. I cant afford someone screwing my companys name up or breaking my equipment. The only person I can really count on is myself.
 

AC Lockyer

New member
someone should sell a great disability insurance plan then. If you cant get out from behind the wand you might get hurt and cant get the work done. Something to think about.

AC
 

bigchaz

Moderator
I'm finding nowthat the biggest trouble is the in between period. You can have helpers and go out with them and that's one thing or you completely leave the wand and your guys do all the work. The inbetween period is where you have to somehow have enough work to support a crew and still be there helping out until they are safe to transition to being by themselves. And a good full time employee who can manage things and fly solo is going to want at least 40 hours a week and thats just actual site time, not all the behind the scenes to support the employees schedule.

Good point on paying enough though, I had a friend that was absolutely awesome, responsible, detailed, quick, etc. He got a gig paying 18/hour with benefits...hard for me to swing that in the busy season let alone the 2 month winter downtime.
 

cajun cleanin

New member
Just a thought, did anyone ever make a hand burger better than Ray Crock? I think McDonalds is a great example of building systems against the potential failure of your weakest link.

AC

It's not about the best burgers that make McDonald's the biggest.It's the fact that they control the best corners of every city in america.

On the subject I find that if I stand over the help it just makes me mad.I have to get them set up and going and then leave and come back and check on them to keep my sanity.
 

jlpressure

JL Pressure Washing
I'm finding nowthat the biggest trouble is the in between period. You can have helpers and go out with them and that's one thing or you completely leave the wand and your guys do all the work. The inbetween period is where you have to somehow have enough work to support a crew and still be there helping out until they are safe to transition to being by themselves. And a good full time employee who can manage things and fly solo is going to want at least 40 hours a week and thats just actual site time, not all the behind the scenes to support the employees schedule.

Good point on paying enough though, I had a friend that was absolutely awesome, responsible, detailed, quick, etc. He got a gig paying 18/hour with benefits...hard for me to swing that in the busy season let alone the 2 month winter downtime.

That is one of the major factors, having the work for your crews, it takes time and luck. Luck meaning until you have enough work, you are lucky enough to have a good guy or 2 or 3 that hang around and dont find other jobs and you are back at square one.

I have been off the wand for I guess 4 years now. I love it, but you know sometimes I think I am more tired doing everything else

I would be better off if I was a better businessman, meaning knowing tech office stuff better, being better organized and just being smarter. Now I run my biz good, but its kind of caveman style, heck my computer is nothing but a big typewriter for me. I say I'm not organized, but I am, but I am by the way (I) do things. The way (I) do things takes longer. I know if I was smarter, my biz would be bigger and better. Problem is even if I bring someone in, I would need a genius to figure out my mess and then have them set it up right would take a lot of time. But then where do you find someone like that.

As for being off the wand Guy and others make some GREAT points, you have to be prepared and ready to work hard at making it work. I have a couple great guys, a have a few other great guys, but there's always some issues, personality defects, great worker 90% of the time but could care less about my company. Sometimes I just want to fire a couple of them, but I know they do good work 90% of the time and I have seen whats out there and may not get another good worker for some time. I have 4 guys that have been with me 4-7 years, two of them I fired a couple years ago because they were F'in up showing up, they asked for job back months later and said they won't let it happen again and they havent.

I guess I would say anyone that wants to get off the wand, your biggest headache will be employees, so be prepared to jump back on the wand if needed.

I have been darn lucky in many ways, I havent had to jump back on and its given me time to grow my biz

But like I said it gets real tiring, looking at job, marketing, sales, writing up proposals, invoicing, checking work, customer service, checking on complaints and the list goes on

I went on vacation and I was lucky, I let my crew do what they do best and didnt even call but once every other day and the job went great. But if we have to travel man I got to go and show them, set up the hotels, food etc etc. My 2010 Chevy is 15 months old I have 49,890 miles on it. Shows whats involved in running the biz

I always want to grow, I enjoy growing my biz almost all the time, but there's times I say man I wish I could just relax, I think I'm just getting older.

I suggest to anyone that wants to get off the wand, make sure the time is right, make sure you have a good amount of work and make sure you do quality control constantly. No one cares as much as you. But if you do get off the wand enjoy it and grow your biz. I would NEVER be able to wash and run JL Pressure Washing. I don't want to wash, I don't like getting wet

The reward for being off the wand for me, is when I have managers say what a great job, never seen a company like yours before, refer others to me and keep coming back. I love the PWing Biz and if you do too and want to get off the wand DO IT, just do it right

The Condo King started as a joke, but its what I truly want to be. I have a goal and until I reach that goal, I will keep plugging away

Good luck Guy if you choose to get off the wand!
 

bigchaz

Moderator
I heard Larry was trying to get out from behind the "wand" as well but that's an entirely different topic
 

jlpressure

JL Pressure Washing
It's not about the best burgers that make McDonald's the biggest.It's the fact that they control the best corners of every city in america.

On the subject I find that if I stand over the help it just makes me mad.I have to get them set up and going and then leave and come back and check on them to keep my sanity.


Very true. I go in the shop in the morning, take them to the job and go within an hour at most and let my foreman take care of everything, then check most jobs the next day. I have a great crew 97% of the time, they get er done and get er done right. I'm good with 3% of the times I have to bust some B's and make sure they know whos paying them
 

Guy Blackmon

Roundtable Host 2009
Jeff, I was hoping you would chime in. You transitioned off the wand fairly quickly. Thanks for your advice.

Larry is a great example of someone who enjoys staying in the mix. He has a great business with a loyal customer base. And this works for his business model. Larry what's your take on this?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Mark 8262

Residential and Commercial Pressure Washing Specia
It's not about the best burgers that make McDonald's the biggest.It's the fact that they control the best corners of every city in america.

On the subject I find that if I stand over the help it just makes me mad.I have to get them set up and going and then leave and come back and check on them to keep my sanity.

JC, you should hire that guy in Fairhope, I hear he's not too bad. You probably will only have to train him a week or two. I think his name is Russ or something like that
 

Clear Shine

New member
Guy, great post as always. I am in the same boat as you pretty much. I vary rarely ever send my guys out alone. I am at the point that I don't do much, just supervise on the job site if I am there. I don't understand people who hire just hire someone even for a couple months then think they can turn them loose. Maybe thats just me, but it takes a long time to learn the small problem things and know how to handle them. For example, I had a pretty good size job lined up and 2 of my guys were going with me to work. Concrete work one-time around a commercial account office type building. I got sick just as we were leaving and I asked them if they thought they were up to going and getting setup on the site alone. I didn't really have a choice, but they went and did a fantastic job. I showed up about 6 hours later just to check up on them and were totally up to my standards. Both of these guys have been with me on and off for the past 2 years, but I still felt uncomfortable turning them loose on their own. They both made me very proud and finished it in about 12 hours. Needless to say, they both got a bonus for doing such a great job and stepping in when I got sick. But I still felt uncomfortable turning them loose and that was after 2 years of working for me. I have for about a year now either set my guys up on the job and left or stayed on the job to keep the HO busy if the HO was home.

I will probably try in the next year or so try to totally step out from behind the wand. I have the luxury of pulling from about 6 different part time guys that work for me. I would love to build up enough business to have a full time 2 man resi crew, and a 2 man full time commercial crew. I will transfer my 2 man resi crew to do commercial during the down winter months. I have a plan in place, it is just taking time to get there.

I guess what I am saying is that in order to step out from behind the wand, one would have to have great employees and in order to keep great employees, you have to pay them great. In order to pay them great, you first need to charge enough to keep great people. This is why hacks will never be more than what they are.....
 

HP Pro Clean

Roundtable Host 2009
Hey everyone! Just a quick note, I'm one of the newbies out here in the wash business. However, I have been "in" business for the last 24 years. I like everything I have seen on here tonight. I agree nobody is going to be as efficent or have as much attention to detail as the guy with everything on the line. In my experience though having employees truely "engaged" working for a common goal is a moving force. All it takes is a true leader! As a leader it's our job to keep the team engaged, it's really quite interesting how far recognition carries someone. For my business I have also set down and laid out a business plan and a piece of the plan is for me to find a leader that I can grow and mentor to take most of the day to day burdens off my shoulders and allow me to expand other areas of the business. Still though, it's my baby, my business, my future, so I can safely say I will never be completely hands off, someone will have to keep the leader engaged. Well I have a ways to go before I get to that point but I will get there. (It's in my plan)
 
Jeff, I was hoping you would chime in. You transitioned off the wand fairly quickly. Thanks for your advice.

Larry is a great example of someone who enjoys staying in the mix. He has a great business with a loyal customer base. And this works for his business model. Larry what's your take on this?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Thanks for the pat on the back guy. I do have a take on the subject but I am on my phone at the moment. I will post my take a little later.
 

apple

Moderator
Great post and thread Guy.

Its kind of like that old saying of which came first? The chicken or the egg?

We've got to have the work to warrant having full time employees, but we've got to get off of the job to get that work.

I have cast my hand with going after the work myself and relying on an average, slightly more than part time crew. That has meant myself babysitting alot and dealing with the fires when they come. Ive had 1-2 guys handle 80% of our residential work load this year. On some days I line them out and leave, on some days I send them with a workorder and follow up with the homeowner. I myself am present on all roof cleanings and Im on Every larger job even if Im only managing. That will even change in time, but not now. I grew up in a family business and have done quite a bit of hiring and firing, so this isnt anything new to me...

The new part for me is selling and getting that work. And thanks to some great help we are well on track there.

This year has been a stressful, but has also been a VERY great learning experience.
 

Squirtgun

New member
Dude you can disagree with me but the personal attacks are gona end.

AC

If you are going to play in this sand box you better grow a thicker skin no one here is exempt from being called to the mat.If you can't stand the heat go play with yourself on your forum.
 
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