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View Full Version : Will 100k take me from one (big) crew to two???


mcclureandson
05-07-2006, 09:35 PM
Quick background...I do about 8-9k a month (12 months/year) full-service maintenance and another 10k + monthly with misc new construction, irrigation installs/repair, mulch, plantings etc...but I've only got one truck (06 F-250 CrewCab). I end up hauling four guys around with me all day doing a ton of 10-15k sq/ft residential accounts 3 days each week...dropping them off with a trailer full of gear for an install another 2-3 days each week and trying to find time in between for those countless little misc items that need to be done weekly...busted irrigation head, spot-spray fungicide, install/maint quote etc...I KNOW this is inefficient and it's driving me nuts! I've got a great set-up (gear-wise) for the maintenance side of my business...and nothing for landscaping/irrigation. I'm ready to make a step up to an additional crew...will 100k get me started? And how would you guys spend the money knowing now what you wish you knew then? I have enough work scheduled for the next two months for an additional crew and finding enough billable hours for more guys/gear has never been a concern. My thoughts are...3 acres for dumping/future shop (no more wasted time at the landfill or making quick trips to supply houses for pine straw or bulk mulch...I'd get 2-3 thousand bales dropped in the spring and keep 100+ yards of single-hammered hardwood around as well)...and besides, I didn't work my butt off to get into a 350K house just to have a bunch of gear stuck out back along with the carcasses of a half dozen dead shrubs I haven't found time to haul to the dump from last month's renovation...Also, either an F-350 or Isuzu NPR (leaning heavily NPR) with landscape body...and then perhaps a Toro Dingo with auger, trencher and bucket...what do you all think? Obviously I need help...I'm too busy and trying to do too much with one truck. If getting too much work was the problem and you wanted to spread the load onto a second crew how would you spend the cash? FYI...should have mentioned this is NOT hypothetical.

LLandscaping
05-07-2006, 09:45 PM
What type of landscaping jobs are you currently doing? Renovations or New installs mainly. If you are doing a lot of grading and sod work you might want to consider a skid steer. What size are the lots that you will mainly be working on?

start2finish
05-08-2006, 08:34 AM
you might want to sub out a few things while you organize your second crew, do you have any friends in the business, how long have you been in business?

godzilla
05-09-2006, 07:07 PM
If I was you I'd see about hooking up with a mulch blowing company... they are cheap, and require less work on your part to get a bunch of work done. Besides that, a diesel cab over with 4x4 and a 10' mason dump, and tool box would be a good place to start. I wouldn't invest in land just yet... but then again it's much cheaper down your way.

mcclureandson
05-09-2006, 09:59 PM
Thanks for the replies...I have a mix of new/renovations scheduled for the year but revenue-wise renovations are much heavier. I've billed out +/- 20k each month this year but looking at my books see I've spent around 220 man-hours each month at my place. That equates to thousands of lost revenue (should be over 7k or so at least). I will be over or near 30k for May and most likely the rest of the year through December (leaf cleans and two installs scheduled for late in the year). This month I have a backyard re-do (12.5K) irrigation install (3.5k) irrigation repair/renovation (2.5k - condo assoc at lake) still to get done along with regular maintenance stuff and another 4-5k in misc small installs/mulching/prune and cleans etc...also see I have already done about 9K in the first week and half this month. I sub out large paver/wall jobs, tree work I am not insured for, lighting installs and fountains. Everything else is all me. I can't help but see the logic in buying land...saving 3k per year in dump fees and storage rental fees. Also, if I buy 3-4000 bales of straw each spring and have them dropped ONCE it will shave close to $2000 off my yearly expense...same goes for the hundreds of yards of hardwood I do..those items alone amount to nearly $800/month...AND it is more convenient. Trying to answer questions here...the new installs (I've already done two this year with three more scheduled and expect to pick up 3-4 more from builder associates by year's end...very firm number...could be double that) I have this year are mostly neighborhood minimums...9-10k sq/feet sod, 5-6 zone system, 14 7gal plants, 4 25 gal plants, cooresponding amount of mulch etc...two will push 20k but most get what's listed above for around 9-10k. I could use a multi-purpose machine that could auger, trench, light grade and hual material. Tracked Toro-Dingo would be my first choice but I worry it can't move a pallet of sod or take B/B plants off a truck. A tracked Skid-steer would be useless for most of my renovations. I also think an NPR would be great with a landscape body...a second crew could take it out for maintenance (easier than a truck/trailer combo?) and it could double-up later to haul plants/equipment. FYI...sent out "dropping you" letter to 35 mow-and-go accounts that never went for ad-ons. Have already cut into that 3k/monthly lost revenue with 2K/monthly BETTER revenue by adding 3 new commercial accounts/6 new full-service residentials...all will need ad-ons throughout the year. Any advice would be appreciated.

start2finish
05-09-2006, 10:02 PM
sounds like you have it mastered.

mcclureandson
05-09-2006, 10:06 PM
sounds like you have it mastered.


You're kidding, right? I've got more questions than answers at this point...help from the 'big guys' or anyone else who can remember what it was like to make a jump up while keeping up with a heavy flow of new work would be greatly appreciated.

JJLandscapes
05-10-2006, 04:52 PM
first off it sucks how you can get a house for 350k and be proud of it... 350k cant buy you a condo on LI and i hate my parents for choosing this area to move in lol

but anyways you seem to have more knowledge than 99% of the board only tip im gonna say is... If you are spending 100k on new equipment you better hope you can justify that and the salaries for 4-5 workers im guessing

remember if you add another truck and have twice as much work but only making 10% more in your pocket then its not worth the headache.... And get a good ass manager or crew leader who can make sure the quality of work you need is being done when you arent on site

Brianslawn
05-10-2006, 06:21 PM
get 2 trucks. small ranger for all the little stuff. a half ton for maint. both used and few years old. get two more trailers (open). youre around $15k now. do you got a small tractor with bucket and box blade? not familiar with the dingo, but get it IF you think you can use it a lot. im leaning towards an excavator or ditch witch. you can get setup for 2 more crews for $50k. then you can run 3, or just 2 but rotate vehicles or have backups.

mcclureandson
05-10-2006, 08:31 PM
[QUOTE=JJLandscapes]first off it sucks how you can get a house for 350k and be proud of it... 350k cant buy you a condo on LI and i hate my parents for choosing this area to move in lol

I wasn't sure what you meant by that at first glance...but I get it now. I moved to S.C from Colorado five years ago and my 20 year old, 1000 sq/ft ranch on a four-lane was worth as much as the new, 3300 sq/ft stone/hardiplank house on 2.5 acres with lakefront here in S.C!!! I can't believe the difference in these two markets.

Anyway, thanks for the reply

Summit L & D
06-04-2008, 04:17 PM
Go demo a Dingo. NOW! You will kick yourself for living this long without it. For example, a week ago I demoed the 425. The job would have normally taken us (2-3 guys) about two weeks, but with the Dingo we completed the project in 30 hours (3.5 days). This was a complete landscape renovation up next to a house. If I had used a regular skid I would have torn up the grass, and thus driven the project cost up higher.

As far as the machine not lifting a pallet of sod...you're spot on. But I find that the labor I'm saving everywhere else more that makes up for this minor inconvenience.

Good luck!

andyslawncare
06-09-2008, 12:10 AM
i feel you man...I'm faced with the same decisions!! There is so much work I don't want to say no, but I cant get anyone to lend me money to grow (I'm only 19!!!!), they all say, "you have no credit history!!." I would spend less money and find you someone who has ALOT of experience as a crew leader and find a whole lot more work to cover your cost...it may not pay off for a few years, but it will or else you wouldn't be sitting where you are now.

maybe cut your crew from 4-5?? to 2-3 and moving the others to the new equip until you have enough work to cover another 2-3 guys working. I'm interested to what you run into along the way...I'm adding in a pinestraw trailer this month and a chemical route and hopefull another maintence truck next spring!! Hope all goes well for you!

cpel2004
06-09-2008, 04:04 AM
Do you guys realize this thread is two years old?

nylan8888
06-09-2008, 07:16 AM
I guess better late than never.:laugh:

JohnnyRoyale
06-09-2008, 08:41 AM
Do you guys realize this thread is two years old?

Now thats funny!!!!!:laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh:

mrusk
06-10-2008, 09:21 PM
So you have a 250k a year operation? I'd buy no equipment. Fire 3 guys and do the work with one helper. 250k with 4 guys? Is this for real?

AGLA
06-10-2008, 10:41 PM
It sonds like you are GROSSing $250k with 5 guys. If that is the case, how are you going to cover $100k in re-investment?

Stillwater
06-10-2008, 11:30 PM
[QUOTE=mcclureandson;1402450]I'm ready to make a step up to an additional crew...will 100k get me started? QUOTE]

Is it just me or is this the stupidest question ever asked on lawnsite.com?

nylan8888
06-11-2008, 06:29 AM
[QUOTE=mcclureandson;1402450]I'm ready to make a step up to an additional crew...will 100k get me started? QUOTE]

Is it just me or is this the stupidest question ever asked on lawnsite.com?

It is also the oldest, original post was from 2 years ago.:laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laug h::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh: :laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh:

Stillwater
06-11-2008, 08:05 AM
[QUOTE=Stillwater;2368161]

It is also the oldest, original post was from 2 years ago.:laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laug h::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh: :laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh:


This is funny stuff

TPendagast
06-11-2008, 09:53 PM
If it were me and I was using the Izusu mainy for maintenance/irrigation work
Get a Super Lawn Truck.

Custom orders with a side dumper and box body they are like 50k +/-
look into best investment you could ever make if you have the volume.

go onto google type in super lawn trucks, you will find they website.

however. I'd think Id keep my bigger truck doing contruction and buy two light duty trucks.

Look for something like a ranger or and older nissan hardbody/frontier
Slap pipe racks and tool boxes on both.

One for you and one for the irrigation crew.

You can haul the dingo with the little 6 cyl trucks

Two real good trucks would cost you about 20k

Use the big truck you already have for what it does best, haul and move big trailers, get construction crews to sights etc.

Get a good dump trailer and a worksite trailer.

Your existing big truck can bring the site trailer to the job and leave it there.
Then they guys need only show up in the little truck (tools men and wheel barrows)
Then the bid truck runs around with the dump trailer when needed (doubles as equipment trailer with ramps) and moves what needs to be at job sites.
All the while the second little truck is doing maintenance.

A 6cyl nissan with a 12' single axle trailer with its own trailer breaks will haul 2 60" ztrs. Ive done it day in day out. If you want add an airbag set up to the back of your used pickup for extra support.

Still waay less than any other option.

If you arent running mowers that big, all the better! smaller machines will definately run on that truck.

think of the gas you save with the samller trucks.

Find a storage facility, rent a few garages next to each other, meet there in the morning to dispatch your crews, and don't keep the stuff at your nice house. Just keep trucks there.

Or let trusted formen drive the used nissans home.

But if you are suck on bigger trucks? Super Lawn truck cannot be beat.

It will pay for its self in two years.

Lawnworks
06-11-2008, 10:44 PM
I would just spend 10-15k on a lawn maintenace Isuzu and you are pretty much set. I have 4 isuzus and haven't spent more than 15k on any one of them. I even have one that sits all week just in case one goes down or needs an oil change. Buy a used dingo for $7500.

Super lawn trucks are a stupid investment. They make them about 40 minutes from where I am. I have a box truck w/ a dovetail that I have 15k in that will do the same thing as there 50k truck will do. It was paid for in a month. The $6500 ramp is a waste of steel. The $2500 gas system is probably a good investment though.