PDA

View Full Version : I've lost my mind but I think I'll try it


DFW Area Landscaper
08-25-2005, 11:20 AM
Next year I think I will buy three more F-150's and change everything to one man crews.

The one man crew is so perfect. People will go out of their way to compliment the work of a one man crew. People are MUCH more likely to complain about the work of a three man crew. I am certain of this.

Keeping a one man crew busy is so easy. If there is no work for a one-man crew...door hangers. When there are three of them, it is a baby-sitting chore to have all three of them do door hangers. They are just more likely to screw off when they're in groups. The attitudes of the one-man crews are much better too. Keeping work available for multi-man crews is a real PITA and is often impossible. Plus, if there is a little extra drive time or a break down with a one man crew it is not the end of the world.

The thing that really bothers me is, with a three-man crew, the ONLY way to make it work is to have someone working for me who earns poverty level pay. I hate it. It makes me sick. I can barely afford to do it at the prices I am able to charge and the crew helpers are busting their butts all day in the heat for absolute crap pay. Turnover at this position is one head-ache after another for me and for what they are earning they would be better off stealing and taking their chances of going to jail. Literally. I am just glad they haven't figured it out yet. At least in jail they wouldn't have to work all day and they'd probably have less-cramped living conditions. It might actually be a better life.

With one-man crews, and the efficiencies of the one man crew, I can pay one guy a great wage, about $150/day, and I simply won't have churn. He will earn a decent living. Customers will be happier. I will deal with far fewer complaints. But my return on capital investment won't be nearly as good. That is the only draw back to the one man crew. I don't make as much per year on the same $$ of investment. But you know what? I really don't think I care. At least I'll know that everyone who is working for me is earning fair pay. And I won't have the head-aches associated with churn at the crew member position. And my complaints will be nearly non-existent as compared with muli-man crews.

I think I will do it and see how it goes.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

Howie's Lawn Care
08-25-2005, 11:25 AM
What's wrong with two man crews? If they pass out door hangers, they each get their side of the street.

dmc456
08-25-2005, 11:51 AM
2 men crews are the most effiicient. The only problem is when old people complain not of quality but the speed.

They compain that cutting a lawn in 10 min for $30 seems a little high, but they don't want to pay more if we go slower either.

DFW Area Landscaper
08-25-2005, 12:39 PM
2-man crews are not solving the issues of schit pay for the helper and churn associated with that schit pay.

Call me crazy, but I am 95% certain I will go to this structure next season. I am thinking I will have 5 one-man mowing crews along with a one-man shrub & application crew.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

DFW Area Landscaper
08-25-2005, 01:06 PM
I've just run through the back of the envelope numbers and I think it makes sense with six crews. I will not get rich but I will be able to make a living without returning to corporate america and everyone who works for me will be able to earn an acceptable living.

The big question mark is repairs. I am budgeting $17,000 per year for repairs on 6 F-150's, my Nissan Frontier, 5 enclosed trailers and all the equipment associated with these things. I think that ought to cover it but there are no guarantees. That is the number I hope I can stay under and not make any repairs myself.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

MTR
08-25-2005, 01:07 PM
One man crew must have the right mower and equipment to finish job in decent time frame. One man crew with a walk and one man crew with a Z will produce very different volume of business, don't forget he has to mow, trim, edge, and blow...and if "hedging" ( most labor intensive without alternative ) comes in on that day, he is stuck for longer time cause there is no extra men to help out. Don't forget that.

Runner
08-25-2005, 02:17 PM
Complete non-efficiency. There is a simple formula...two guys can do it in LESS than half the time. It just works out that way. There have been studies, and there have been trials with guys even on this site. 2 man is THEE most efficient use of manpower.

sheshovel
08-25-2005, 02:35 PM
Why don't you try one man and two man crews and see what best works for you.With a two man crew hey $78.00 a day per man is nothing to sneeze at anyway.You would cut down your turnovers and still make some $$.But investing in all those trucks to drive one man crews around
might be cost prohibitive AND one man "crew"s tend to turn into new one man operations,they say to themselves
"Hey why aren't I doing this and making all the $ for myself?""I'm making better money now all I need is to get a loan and buy some equipment and I could do this"!
And their off.......and running

DFW Area Landscaper
08-25-2005, 02:50 PM
Sheshovel,

The thought of "hey, I could do this myself" is a risk with any worker.

Last fall when my back went out, I told my helper that I would probably go get a job and he could take over my accounts and pay me something for my equipment over the course of time. He did not like that idea at all. He wanted me to stay in the business. I don't understand it. I guess these guys who speak very little english would rather have a job than have to talk to customers. I struggle with getting them to knock on doors. The gate is locked, the customer is home and they drive off without mowing the back lawn. The customer sends me an e-mail...I was home...why don't they knock? I just can't very easily get them to talk to my customers. They resist.

$78 per day is not my idea of a good job for anyone. $150 per day is something I will feel good about. My one man crews are making that now and I am confident they will not leave me for another opportunity. Obviously, at $78 per day, I wouldn't be able to say that.

I am just sick and tired of dealing with the churn at the secondary positions. I guess you could say I am willing to take a major pay cut to not have to deal with it. Even when the secondary people quit it is a real PITA. They are almost just as important as the driver...just not quite as important. I need a dependable employee for the secondary position and at $20-$25 per cut on most lawns I can't figure out how to make it work.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

DFW Area Landscaper
08-25-2005, 02:56 PM
Runner,

I have found the complete opposite to be true. I have found that a one-man crew is much more efficient than a two man crew and two is more efficient than three.

Basically, I have found that two men can mow about 6 lawns more than one man in a long day. Adding the third crew member is another 4 or so.

So basically, you go from one-man at 17 lawns per day to two men at 23 lawns per day to three men at 27 lawns per day. After factoring in the head-ache factor, I think I would rather have one-man making really good money than two or three men (with two or three times as many head-aches) all making schit money.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

bcg
08-25-2005, 03:07 PM
Why don't you just pay piece work like JustMowIt? If you can keep them in work, let them control how much they make. 2 man crew pay the driver $6 and the helper $4, if they can do 25 lawns a day, and they should be able to with dense routes, the helper is making $100/day, the driver makes $150 and everybody's happy. You feel good because you're paying more, workers feel good because they have some control and the customer is happy because they want to make sure they do good work the first time around so they don't have to go back for nothing.

Did you not get H2B workers? I thought I read at one point that you were going that route?

robby
08-25-2005, 04:18 PM
DFW, i tend to agree with you about solo being more efficient. I guess much of it depends on what kinda speed your solo guys decide to work at. Just speaking for myself, I've been solo for 12 years and I find it hard to believe that any 2 man crews around here are doing twice as much work as me in a day. I've watched too many of them over the years, and many times i've done a yard solo as quick as 2 of them did their similar sized yard. Or maybe its just the difference of how a selfemployed is motivated to work faster than an employee working hourly.

DFW Area Landscaper
08-25-2005, 04:35 PM
Well, I guess I will be the guinea pig for lawnsite. I will be the first to try running mulitple one-man crews next year.

As I said earlier, the only real wild card is the repair costs.

Anyone have a good rule of thumb for repair costs per year on a truck/trailer? I am estimating $2,500 per year per truck/trailer.

I am not that worried about repairs to the 21" mowers and Stihl stuff. This equipment is solid and if it wears out it can be replaced. I have yet to wear out any of my Honda or Stihl equipment.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

willretire@40
08-25-2005, 04:52 PM
You want to get f-150's to run 21" mowers. Are you paying your guys piece work and why are the only doing 27 lawns a day with 3 men. I think alot of lco say that it is not much money in running crews or less you have atleast four of them b.c you are not giving them enough yards for one day. A three man crew should be able to cut 40 yards in a day with a 48" and 36" mower. One mow and the other 2 trim edge and blow. i have seen a 7000 sqft yard done in 8 min. that includes pulling up to the house and leaving.

South Florida Lawns
08-25-2005, 05:03 PM
One main issue is having all those trucks on the road. That is a big expense with wear and tear, not to mention insuring all of them. However the benefits seem to out weigh most of the problems that you could encounter. If you have enough trailers I would rent out 5 more trucks for a week or so and see how well everything goes. How many weekly accounts do you have?

rodfather
08-25-2005, 06:34 PM
One man? Never...Period

Remsen1
08-25-2005, 06:46 PM
Here's a suggestion. I don't know cause I've haven't had the opportunity to try it yet, but it sounds like you need a change. I think the biggest ineffeciency with multiple man crews are the times when workers are waiting for each other.

Waiting for each other to get to the shop.
Waiting for eahc other to put their smokes out and get in the truck.
Waiting for another to take a leak at the rest area.
Repeatedly waiting at each stop for one or another to finish their task.
Waiting waiting waiting.

I'm not really an advocate of one man crews even though I am a one man crew. Am not an advocate because, I find it tiresome, to have to keep going back to the truck, keep shutting one machine down to start another, keep putting one thing away and getting another out. What I want to do some day is have a three man crew of sorts, but they also have 2-3 vehicles. The first vehicle would be a light duty truck, maybe even a compact truck with a special made bed to hold a mower. He pulls up first and starts mowing. Then the next guy (or pair, i haven't settled on this) pull up in an even smaller vehicle, maybe even a car or tiny SUV. And they start trimming. At some point they will pass the mower guy and then they will begin arriving at customers houses first, they may even start trimming the next day's mowings. No waiting, when they are done, they come back to the shop then they go home. If they get the entire weeks work done in 4 days instead of 5 then they'll get a small bonus and they don't have to work on the 5th day. In order for it to work, the key is, nobody can ever be waiting for anybody, or very little waiting anyway. So if the trim guys work in pairs they may need two of everything (trimmers, edgers, blowers) so they can help the other guy finish instead of waiting for him to finish.

Howard Roark
08-25-2005, 08:35 PM
I support you 100%, only because I would like to see what happens. But after all expenses, insurance, and payroll I can't see this adding up. My helper and I can do 15 lawns in 5 hours. I go on my way solo after that due to his other job, but I've no doubt we could keep that pace all day. I'd crap myself trying to do this pace solo.

Good luck please keep us informed!

lawnlubber
08-25-2005, 09:34 PM
[QUOTE= At some point they will pass the mower guy and then they will begin arriving at customers houses first,[/QUOTE]
Remsen1 I think you need to split up the trimmer and blower for this idea to work. It is important that the clippings are blown off after the mowing and trimming is done, otherwise why bother?

TWUllc
08-25-2005, 09:44 PM
One man? Never...Period
I agree. Not in this lifetime. But then again, prove me wrong. :waving:

Precision
08-25-2005, 09:45 PM
I think the problem may lie in incentive (or lack of it) as opposed to the inefficiency of a 3 man crew. Unmotivated people work down to their hourly rate. You can't increase the efficiency of an unmotivated person with a raise they didn't earn ( if ever).

But by creating a bonus system, using peice work pay, commission or whatever you will end up with employees who are hungry and want to earn the extra. You will still have churn but some will eventually stick and kick butt.

We are not hiring the top of the food chain. Most people with any schooling or native intelligence get hired at better rates or at least at physically less demanding jobs.

Pay more, yes. By gift or fiat, no. It just won't help.

next year for my resi stuff I am going to peice work.

Brianslawn
08-25-2005, 09:47 PM
2 men crews are the most effiicient. The only problem is when old people complain not of quality but the speed.

They compain that cutting a lawn in 10 min for $30 seems a little high, but they don't want to pay more if we go slower either.

we've had a lot of those speed complaints, too. old lady just the other day complained i was going too SLOW. sometimes they run out of things to complain about.

grass disaster
08-25-2005, 09:50 PM
what are you going to do when your 1 guy decides to quite suddenly?

or maybe he has a tummy ake and stays home?

maybe his grandma died?

Brianslawn
08-25-2005, 10:27 PM
ive always liked the idea of piece work. locals around here in general have turned down the opportunity, though. most just want high hourly pay to sit around in shade. the ones that have worked for me that ive payed like that, ive gotten lots of complaints.... sloppy job, only did front yard, didnt even mow, but employee claimed to have. non of those people spoke spanish, though, so like TJ discovered, that might be the key. also the people at the unemployment office are usually there for a reason. not always, but usually not cause they cant find a job but they dont want too. then they just work long enough to go back to their favorite hang out.

Kelly's Landscaping
08-25-2005, 10:50 PM
My partners 2 man crew did 37 lawns yesterday I know I made out ok when I have had to work solo in the past but I make more with the 2 man crews and I do not go home so tired. Must we a Texas thing but being alone all day sucks I would go out of my mind. Now 3 man crews are harder to get right and I think you found that out all to well. I do plan on turning my crew into a 3 man crew next year in preparation for the following year when I add a 3rd crew its the only way I can think of the train them to my standards. With me running a 3-man crew (now that my list is very thick and will be even more so next year) I think I will do very well. As for lawn counts my partner counts his lawns I do not I count the dollars and as a 2 man crew I bring in 700-800+ a day and with a 3 I plan on 950-1200 a day and I do not care how many lawns that is mine range from under $20 to $120 money is money.

Evergreenpros
08-25-2005, 11:18 PM
It's noble you want to pay your employees far above market value for their services. A lot of former businessmen have done the same.

I have tested this same senerio in my other business with EXTREMELY disappointing results. More pay does not mean better workers, more productivity, lower turnover, or anything. However, there is one thing that is for sure, your bank account will shrink. Then you will be left with overpaid people and a nonprofit business, cripes you turned yourself into the government.

The explanation to this is simple: If a guy has the motivation to go out and work all day long by himself with no supervision, take care of equipment, get everything done, why on God's green earth is he not working for himself????????

Because they can't do all those things, period. It's not about being afraid of customers, it's not because they don't have the money, it's because they lack the motivation, the drive.

$150 a day? plus workmen's comp, employer taxes, etc? he's up to 180-200 a day. He's got to mow 7-9 lawns just to pay for himself. Not counting the unholy expense of that truck, equipment, gas, and insurance. Won't it cost $50-60 a day just for the truck? (insurance, gas, payment, etc)

Want to try it? Try one truck. Don't take your best man, just take somebody at random, in fact hire somebody new off the street. See how it goes.

You can't duplicate yourself and that's what you're trying to do.

Instead of taking time looking for employees you will spend time looking for your trucks and wondering why they haven't shown up to their 2nd job when it's 3pm.

When entering the marketplace there are certain variables out of your control. One if which, in this industry, is a high turnover. It's the nature of the biz, it can never be solved. Improved? yes, but only slightly and at great expense. It's like trying to do this job and refusing to get dirty, it just doesn't add up.

moremowing4me
08-26-2005, 12:33 AM
Complete non-efficiency. There is a simple formula...two guys can do it in LESS than half the time. It just works out that way. There have been studies, and there have been trials with guys even on this site. 2 man is THEE most efficient use of manpower.


I have not found this to be true in my applications. Not saying that it isn't for most but I know that it isn't in mine. I do mostly resi. and I average about 30 min. per yard by myself. When I add a helper it comes out to about 20 min. per yard. I think that the main problem around here is that I am somewhat in the country so the drive time mounts up. Then essentially there are two people not producing during this time.

nriddle77
08-26-2005, 12:55 AM
DFW, Why are you planning on using F-150's? I thought I thought your crews used mostly 21" Honda's and maybe a 32" Ferris plus a trimmer, edger, and blower. If that is the case, couldn't you get by with a smaller truck and save some money that way?

ProLawns
08-26-2005, 01:04 AM
Take a look at this from a different angle. Say you had six one man crews each with their own truck, mowers etc. Someone suggests to you that you could operate more efficiently if you got rid of three trucks and the trailers and mowers ect. that went with those three trucks and set up two, two man crews. What a big savings you would instantly have with the reduction in maintenence, insurance etc. on those trucks and mowers. And by putting two men on a crew one man could be trimming while the other man is mowing and whoever finishes first blows. Yards are done almost twice as fast this way with a huge expense reduction. When I work alone i'm wishing that I had someone trimming while i'm mowing and when I have a helper we both finish up about the same time and if theirs a yard down the street the guy on the Z heads to the next yard while the other guy finishes up and brings the truck so no time is wasted standing around. If you're solo you have to load the mower, drive to the next yard, unload the mower and start and this takes extra time. I've worked both ways and on residential properties two man crews are the most efficient and cost effective especially with yards close together.

dishboy
08-26-2005, 01:07 AM
I have been solo for over twenty years and this season my sixteen year old son joined me. Sometimes we can cut the time in half but not consistently, every lawn everyday. This may not be entierly fair as I am very fast at every task as I have done this for a long time. To keep times fast employees have to be monitered constantly, as their minds play strange tricks if you catch my drift. I can make more money in a day with two as the wage is more than justified in the amount of revenue increased. A one man crew with a motivated worker will always be more effcient as nobody waits.

ProLawns
08-26-2005, 01:12 AM
Two motivated workers are faster than one.

dishboy
08-26-2005, 01:28 AM
Two motivated workers are faster than one.

Never in a small yard. you might cut the time in half if timing is dead on but will never beat that time.

lawn_jockey
08-26-2005, 03:55 AM
[QUOTE=Remsen1]Here's a suggestion. I don't know cause I've haven't had the opportunity to try it yet, but it sounds like you need a change. I think the biggest ineffeciency with multiple man crews are the times when workers are waiting for each other.

Waiting for each other to get to the shop.
Waiting for eahc other to put their smokes out and get in the truck.
Waiting for another to take a leak at the rest area.
Repeatedly waiting at each stop for one or another to finish their task.
Waiting waiting waiting.


I think you are on to something here. If one guy is done and there is still a guy weedeating then why is there not another weedeater on the truck. Why is there not 3 mowers. Where is the extra blower. Everybody should be enjoying the AC at the same time.

Soupy
08-26-2005, 04:16 AM
Two, one man crews will outperform one two man crew everyday. So it would seem likely that Six one man crews would outperform three, two man crews.

The only problem is the cost associated with that many crews. There are many factors to consider, such as will you save enough in windshield time (the second man won't be eating up windshield time), will you save on the standing around waiting for the other guy to finish his task time, the goofing off time, etc. It really depends on your operation. If your talking a truck with a push mower, trimmer, blower then it might be feasible to run that many trucks.

Something I am considering for next year is making two one man crews out of one truck. This is achieved by taking 2 part timers and working them both 6 hours a day. One works the first shift, and one the second shift. I think this will result in more completed work because they are kept fresh.

ProLawns
08-26-2005, 08:02 AM
Don't forget about start-up costs. One of everything per man. If it's financed you have to figure in the interest as an extra expense.

Tvov
08-26-2005, 09:15 AM
[QUOTE=Remsen1]

If one guy is done and there is still a guy weedeating then why is there not another weedeater on the truck. Why is there not 3 mowers. Where is the extra blower. .

Yep, this is why I have at least doubles of all equipment for a two man mowing crew. Two mowers, two trimmers, two blowers. Does two things; takes away excuse of "well, he was using the blower", and is backup if something breaks down.

DFW, as mentioned earlier, if your crews are using 21" mowers, why are you running fullsize trucks?

You are bringing up some interesting thoughts, and a good thread.

Tvov
08-26-2005, 09:18 AM
To keep times fast employees have to be monitered constantly, as their minds play strange tricks if you catch my drift.

Actually, I don't know what you mean. Are you talking about drugs, drinking while on the job??

willretire@40
08-26-2005, 06:28 PM
do the bump

PMLAWN
08-26-2005, 06:50 PM
You need to look at the productivity of the rig. As prolawns said - 1 truck will cost X to put on the street. If you can come close to doubling the production of that truck rather than the same production from 2 I believe you will be more profitable. Also helps the day pass for 2 workers to be together. There is no doubt in my mind that 2 guys will do twice the work of one but if you team the right ones you can come close. Never 3 guys for me. If you are worried about the 2 working together to skip or cheat than rotate them around. And with the way you pay by the job than they should push the other to move fast.

Mile High
08-27-2005, 02:14 AM
I have never seen a two-man crew make more money than a one-man crew in terms of man hours measured by our software program CLIP. A one-man crew can mow at $60 to $80 in the spring and well over $120 in the late summer and fall. Put a second man on there and watch those man hour rates fall. You would thing that if 1 man can mow a lawn in 30 minutes, then 2 men could mow it in 15. Does not ever happen for me. Two men mow it in 24 minutes. Give a one-man crew 25 lawns to mow a day. (I am talking small residental mows now, what we do) Put another guy on that crew and how many mows can they do together, 50? No. 40? No. Maybe 30 if they go crazy. Put that extra man on a rig by himself and give him 25 lawns to do.
The only down side I have with one-man crews, is if one guy gets sick or doesn't show to work, you don't have another guy ready that knows his route and mows well enough to mow. We get by by rearranging some work.

mike28nc
08-27-2005, 03:11 AM
Next year I think I will buy three more F-150's and change everything to one man crews.

The one man crew is so perfect. People will go out of their way to compliment the work of a one man crew. People are MUCH more likely to complain about the work of a three man crew. I am certain of this.

Keeping a one man crew busy is so easy. If there is no work for a one-man crew...door hangers. When there are three of them, it is a baby-sitting chore to have all three of them do door hangers. They are just more likely to screw off when they're in groups. The attitudes of the one-man crews are much better too. Keeping work available for multi-man crews is a real PITA and is often impossible. Plus, if there is a little extra drive time or a break down with a one man crew it is not the end of the world.

The thing that really bothers me is, with a three-man crew, the ONLY way to make it work is to have someone working for me who earns poverty level pay. I hate it. It makes me sick. I can barely afford to do it at the prices I am able to charge and the crew helpers are busting their butts all day in the heat for absolute crap pay. Turnover at this position is one head-ache after another for me and for what they are earning they would be better off stealing and taking their chances of going to jail. Literally. I am just glad they haven't figured it out yet. At least in jail they wouldn't have to work all day and they'd probably have less-cramped living conditions. It might actually be a better life.

With one-man crews, and the efficiencies of the one man crew, I can pay one guy a great wage, about $150/day, and I simply won't have churn. He will earn a decent living. Customers will be happier. I will deal with far fewer complaints. But my return on capital investment won't be nearly as good. That is the only draw back to the one man crew. I don't make as much per year on the same $$ of investment. But you know what? I really don't think I care. At least I'll know that everyone who is working for me is earning fair pay. And I won't have the head-aches associated with churn at the crew member position. And my complaints will be nearly non-existent as compared with muli-man crews.

I think I will do it and see how it goes.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper


DFW...you live in TX and you have Okla State Univ icon beside your name. Did you play at OSU? I am from Stillwater (trans plant to NC after the military)


Mike

Shady Brook
08-27-2005, 08:33 AM
"Evergreenpros
LawnSite Member Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Western Washington
Posts: 170

It's noble you want to pay your employees far above market value for their services. A lot of former businessmen have done the same.

I have tested this same senerio in my other business with EXTREMELY disappointing results. More pay does not mean better workers, more productivity, lower turnover, or anything. However, there is one thing that is for sure, your bank account will shrink. Then you will be left with overpaid people and a nonprofit business, cripes you turned yourself into the government.

The explanation to this is simple: If a guy has the motivation to go out and work all day long by himself with no supervision, take care of equipment, get everything done, why on God's green earth is he not working for himself????????

Because they can't do all those things, period. It's not about being afraid of customers, it's not because they don't have the money, it's because they lack the motivation, the drive.

$150 a day? plus workmen's comp, employer taxes, etc? he's up to 180-200 a day. He's got to mow 7-9 lawns just to pay for himself. Not counting the unholy expense of that truck, equipment, gas, and insurance. Won't it cost $50-60 a day just for the truck? (insurance, gas, payment, etc)

Want to try it? Try one truck. Don't take your best man, just take somebody at random, in fact hire somebody new off the street. See how it goes.

You can't duplicate yourself and that's what you're trying to do.

Instead of taking time looking for employees you will spend time looking for your trucks and wondering why they haven't shown up to their 2nd job when it's 3pm.

When entering the marketplace there are certain variables out of your control. One if which, in this industry, is a high turnover. It's the nature of the biz, it can never be solved. Improved? yes, but only slightly and at great expense. It's like trying to do this job and refusing to get dirty, it just doesn't add up. "

Take what this man said to heart, as this is very sound advice, and will prove to be true! There can be no money in such a venture, more headache's associated with keeping track of all that equipment. More liabilty with more guys on the road. I assume you vehicle insurance would launch throught the roof, and good luck finding six guys with real drivers licences, not to mention decent driving reccords. Most of these guys that work for us are not mature. Some are good hard workers, but when they have to work alone prove to be trouble. They are not self-motivated individuals, and it shows when they are alone. Most of my workers do not like to work alone, and they have told me. Two together alone can work, but most will get bored quickly. Also the fatigue level is much higher when doing all the tasks for each and every yard. As was pointed out, you want to self-replicate, and the bottom line is, you workers are not you. You may mow 20 lawns solo, and your workers will likely mow 12! It is nice that you think of your people, but this idea will go over like a lead balloon!

MTR
08-27-2005, 12:24 PM
High turnover? Yes, I totally second that! For example, a lawn across street from one of my accounts has his lawn service changed every 3-4 months! just like new solo guy with a z comes and go, new landscaping co with 3-4 men crew running around like crazy for 10 min doing his yard come and go, new pair of older guys with decent 2 wb set-up cutting his yard for 3 months come and go, besides I can't recognize those "new" guys that tag along doing trimming and blowing for the past 6 months! It is like drop one off this week picking up another helper second week somewhere, ridiculous. I keep this homeowner at bay cause I smell trouble, so I set my price that he can't touch...so I can watch more of saga to come...

King City Lawns
08-27-2005, 03:37 PM
There are many ups and downs to this idea. First off all though a one man crew is more cost effective if you are only concerned about never paying someone tot wait on the other guy to get done. However, a single person is much more likely to get fatigued through out the day. The repitition will eventually DECREASE production. Try to remember back to your days a one man show, didnt you have days by yourself that were very hard to find the motivation to get going? The second man, if they are chosen and placed together carfully, can provide the needed support to get the job done. Also, some things are just more easily done with a helping hand around.


Shawn

Vikings
01-22-2007, 09:52 PM
So did you ever go to 6 one man crews?

J&R Landscaping
01-22-2007, 10:24 PM
It kinda sounds like a good idea to me. A 2 man crew sounds better in some ways then a 1 man crew but I do see you point! There is a decent sized company around me that is running Ford Rangers pulling 5x10 trailers around.
Did you ever go through with it and how is it working out??

DuallyVette
01-23-2007, 12:21 AM
DWF is MIA

HOOLIE
01-23-2007, 01:21 AM
DWF is MIA

No...he just started a thread the other day. Maybe he will update everyone...

Envy Lawn Service
01-23-2007, 02:32 AM
I've just run through the back of the envelope numbers and I think it makes sense with six crews. I will not get rich but I will be able to make a living without returning to corporate america and everyone who works for me will be able to earn an acceptable living.

Well, I think you have finally reached the point of enlightenment.

I've said my peace on this subject many times over in the past few years.
It's ok though man... the rest of them can live in denial...

You know as well as I do that the people speaking against you about wages have the same level of employees you have. That's just how it is.

Also, everyone easily forgets they are not dealing with your type of market or lawns either.

Anyways man... I suggest you sharpen your pencil and go over the numbers a few more times and compare your one-man & two-man options.

I say that because it's like 1:30 AM here now as I post this and it's hard for me to 'visualize' your operation well enough to make expense projections. But I'll get some sleep and then offer some suggestions.

YardPro
01-23-2007, 08:00 AM
why are you buying full sized trucks for a one man crew????

i would get them 1/4 tons ( rangers, or s-10's, etc..)
they are cheap, disposable, and fuel efficient. they will tow a small trailer with a WB, or a ZRT fine...

mcclureandson
01-23-2007, 08:27 AM
Anyone who's had employees for awhile knows a one-man crew is a terrible idea. I wish you luck...

Stillwater
01-23-2007, 08:38 AM
Yes you lost your mind and Like ENVY said.
Whip that pencil out and put a edge on it, Becouse something is fatally wrong in your set up and cutting procedure, if you crunched numbers and discovered 1 man crews are more efficient than 2 man crews. I don't care about your geographic area and it does not matter where on planet earth you are mowing or what size or kind of mowers you have. 2 man crews are more efficient, anybody take physics in high school in this thread?

Stillwater
01-23-2007, 08:46 AM
1 man crews, I almost soiled myself when I read that

DFW Area Landscaper
01-23-2007, 11:58 AM
This is a very old thread from late 2005. I finished last season with a 1-man shrub & chemical application crew, two 2-man mowing crews and a 1-man mowing crew.

This year, 2007, I intend to ramp up to the following:

(1) 2-man chemical app/shrub crew
(3) 2-man mowing crews
(2) 1-man mowing crews

I just purchased 3 new F-150's for a total of 7 and 2 new enclosed trailers for a total of 6. One of the F-150's is dedicated to chemical apps with (2) 50 gal Lesco spray rigs with electric hose reels. The other 6 F-150's pull our trailers around town, which is a really good form of advertising. It's like having 6 huge billboards rolling around town at all times. I could have used smaller trucks since we use only 21" mowers, but I like the advertising I get from the huge signs. I have a tremendous amount of brand name recognition in the towns I serve.

Here is a pic of one of our older trucks & trailers:

http://www.meierslandscape.com/residential/content/view/16/36/

We have decided to implement 2-man crews as a normal way of doing business. We will have (2) 1-man mowing crews this year and expand them to 2-man crews in 2008. It would be easier to just have 1-man crews, but I can't justify the headaches associated with maintaining that many trucks for the profits I get from a 1-man crew. It takes an entire day just to get the trucks inspected each year and that assumes none of them fail.

I think this is the end of my expansion. I can earn excellent money from this investment and hopefully be able to relax (to an extent) in the winter months. This winter has been a non-stop errand due to the expansion. Just buying all the stuff and installing it is a ton of time for a single crew (bed liner installation, signs, hitch installation, shelves in the trailer, purchasing all the stuff and the drive time associated with it). I won't have any of those chores next winter and I am already looking forward to it.

Next winter, I hope to have some time for Netflix and video games. If all goes according to plan, I can still retire at 45 (8 years) and either sell this business or just shut it down entirely if there is not a buyer to be found.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

Stillwater
01-24-2007, 07:20 PM
DFW

My Brother in law started this business, he retired awhile ago, yes it is possible to retire at 45, he did at 47, no problem it can get to the point where it is self-sustaining, I have cut back on my hrs. But thats about it. I remember him always pounding in my head the words "Over Head" "Why Did You Buy That?" "What Was Wrong With The Old One?" I don't think I will retire anytime soon, But I do want to take time to go on a few WW2 MIA searches.

mrgreeninc
01-24-2007, 08:40 PM
I have tried 1, 2, 3 and 4man crews. 2 man has worked by far the best. If I can't make enough to pay a good wage to all I don't take the job. We all have to mahe a living for it to be good.

oldturf
01-24-2007, 09:47 PM
In my experience, I am absolutely convinced that a one man crew is by far more efficient and will run them whenever possible. I can make money on one man crews much easier than with multiple crew members, on residential accounts. My big accounts simply can't be done with small crews but I still keep them as small as possible to make sure that they have more work to do than they think they can get done. It keeps them busy and working harder.
At least in my opinion.

Stillwater
01-25-2007, 02:42 AM
HI, oldturf......
I am curious about your post, before I get into the dozen or so reasons why I don't agree with you, I am interested in exactly what is was that convinced you 1 man crews are by far more efficient than 2 man crews.

How many accounts total do you cut per week?
Do you have liability insurence covering all your crews?
Do you have Workmans Comp. insurence?
are these lawns super small like postage stamp lawns?
What do you mean by more efficient? more profitable? or just efficient. I would like to comment on your post but I want to make sure I understand where you are coming from

brucec32
01-26-2007, 10:47 PM
old thread....lol......

Precision
01-27-2007, 12:49 AM
This is a very old thread from late 2005.

Here is a pic of one of our older trucks & trailers:

http://www.meierslandscape.com/residential/content/view/16/36/



Later,
DFW Area Landscaper
DFW, I was looking at your web site and notice what seems to be a contradiction on the lawn pricing page. in the list it says EOW is $3 extra but in the body it says $5 extra and it also says something about a $7 premium. I was confused so I assume joe customer would be too. Just some FYI otherwise it looks really nice.

Stillwater
01-27-2007, 10:29 AM
His mow prices are cheap, if he was in my area I would hire him to mow my lawn!

Firstclasslawn
01-28-2007, 11:41 AM
That sounds like a great Idea, it really does, and it also makes sense that then you would be able to pay him more per hour and he would want to do a better job for you, btw do you have any ideas of how I can obtain more business without the income at the moment to advertise ?? also any ideas on how to print door hangers cheap ???? Thanks bro