A day in the life of Richard Hodson

Richard Hodson has been the owner and operator of TruGreen professional lawn care franchise in Arden since July 2007. Here he describes a typical working day.

6.30 I’m awake so I enjoy a cup of tea in bed. This simple pleasure is one I never had in the past, as I was so anxious to get to work. Working from home has numerous benefits; one of these beings not having to travel to your workplace.

7.45 I set off after reading through my schedule for the day. During a typical day I will visit about eight excisting customers and meet with at least one potential new client. Since most of my customers are residential, I generally arrange my first appointment for around 9.00am so I have plenty of time to deal with any emails and arrange the following week’s appoitments.

9.00 I start work and, given the seasonal nature of lawn care, my workload is quite varied over the course of a year. The spring and autumn are especially busy, with May and October generally being my best revenue months. Summer is nicely manageable allowing me some leisure and family time. January and February provide me with the opportunity for a longer holiday, van and machinery maintenance, year-end accounts, admin, etc. It’s also a time to reflect on my business. Since lawn work is physical, spending the winter months working at my desk allows my body to rest.

10.00 A typical early spring day will consist of seven to 10 appointments, where I will put down a moss control or spring fertiliser and spray a weed control according to what type of weeds are present. The phone is busy in the spring with new enquiries – the lifeblood of any business – so these need to be treated with some urgency and appointments made. By mid to late spring and early autumn we are scarifying and seeding lawns which is quite heavy-duty work and the number of daily calls reduces as the work is more labour intensive. Given the increased workload I may take on additional labour during these periods.

11.00 My hours of work rise and fall with the seasons. I often work beyond 12 hours a day, six days a week at busy times; this drops to maybe several hours a day in the quieter times. I enjoy and appreciate the ebb and flow of seasonal working. Carrying out manual work outside also keeps me healthy, slim, fit and strong. I no longer use a gym or find reasons to exercise as I get all I need automatically from the work!

13.00 After having lunch, I’ll make a few phone calls to arrange appointments to visit those customers who don’t use email. There is no such thing as a lunch hour and sometimes, I don’t have time to stop to eat. If I need some technical support, I’ll call our Technical Manager.

18.00 Once home, I prepare invoices, new quotes and deal with other tasks such as banking, monthly accounts and quarterly VAT returns, placing stock orders and paying suppliers, tracking receipts, examining the performance of websites, etc – there’s always something to do and I frequently don’t shut down the computer until 9:00pm or much later if I’m home alone. I enjoy all of this – I am a Jack-of-all-trades by nature and I love being involved in every aspect of the business, with the exception of IT of course!