PDA

View Full Version : Everyone Quit Today


Patriots
05-17-2006, 09:53 PM
Since the company began, 2 years ago, I have paid my employees hourly. This past month stop times and overtime had gotten so far out of hand that I was left with the choice of either firing everyone or changing the pay. We went to a per lawn pay, in which they would honestly make more money per week, when they gave me an honest week of work. The first three days they did twice as many lawns in half the amount of time - amazing. Then today they all decide they are working too hard and they want to be paid per hour - told em to get the hell out. The foreman of one crew made $135.00 for a ten hour day - don't tell me I am being cheep.

Long story short - I am looking for six full time guys in Fort Worth if anyone needs a job.

Az Gardener
05-17-2006, 10:06 PM
Good luck with that one, its always good to have a back up plan. You have probably figured that out.

I am always amazed how many different ways things can go given the words said or actions taken. Education is never cheap, you will have some time to reflect on what you could have done differently to avoid this condition. Good luck you will need it.

fulano
05-17-2006, 10:19 PM
I'm new to lawn cutting, but $135 for 10 hrs = $12/hr + time 1/2 for overtime for the foreman sounds cheap. I guess it all depends upon where you live though.

Patriots
05-17-2006, 10:58 PM
Going rate in this area is between 8 - 10 per hour.

nephilim0167
05-17-2006, 11:23 PM
If the going rate is 8 - 10 why not offer 11 or 12? Generally speaking, the more you pay the better group of employees you may bring in which not to sound like an ass but is something you could have done differently the first time around. Good luck to ya.. sounds like you've got your hands full :hammerhead:

richallseasons
05-17-2006, 11:23 PM
how about a combination of hourly with a commission as incentive?

QualityLawnCare4u
05-17-2006, 11:40 PM
In my area the average pay for an employ is 6 per hour and around 7-8 for a foreman. I thing 135 for some areas for 10 hours would be real cheap but not here. I agree though, if you offer better than average pay you will attract better than average employs.

rodfather
05-18-2006, 05:37 AM
Those hourly rates wouldn't cut it (sorry for the pun) in my neck of the woods for sure. :nono:

Patriots
05-18-2006, 05:47 AM
Can't pay them more than your making - going rate for a total lot size of less than 1/4 acre is between 24 and 27 bucks. So if I have 3 guys that are all making 12 bucks an hour and after a ,water/smoke/bathroom break everyother house, it takes on average 30 minutes to mow each house. So using Northern payscales is costs me $18 in labor, and on average $6 per lawn in expenses - you tell me how long before you are out of business.

rodfather
05-18-2006, 05:50 AM
3 guys 30 minutes to mow 1/4 prop? You hire the blind?

LawnScapers of Dayton
05-18-2006, 05:59 AM
I can trim cut and blow a 1/4 acre prop in 15 miinutes or less by myself.....I would not pay them to smoke either......they would have to work that into their time.....and I would never let employees smoke on customers property. You know where the butts end up........

D

Patriots
05-18-2006, 06:43 AM
Now you see why I made a change - this week they were mowing 30 lawns in a 10 hour day - last week (hourly) 20.

SodKing
05-18-2006, 06:51 AM
I would stick with your new method and hire new employees. BUT, be careful about your federal overtime and minimum average hourly wage figures with overtime...

ALarsh
05-18-2006, 08:41 AM
There are plenty of mexicanos in Texas. You can't find any?

Az Gardener
05-18-2006, 08:54 AM
The point I want to make is this did not happen over night, Things got worse gradually over time. Being proactive by having company policies in place and enforcing them will help keep things running better, one bad employee can ruin everything.

topsites
05-18-2006, 09:16 AM
Anytime you feel you need employees worse than they need you, you will have this problem.

Patriots
05-18-2006, 09:50 PM
No things did get worse overnight because they realized the party was over, and it was time to get the hell out of the pool. One bad seed brought them all down, ohh well in a way I am glad that he did. It will be tough for the next few weeks but the company is better off for it.

PaulJ
05-19-2006, 09:28 AM
Question? When you say 1/4 acre property. Are you saing athe entire propety or lot is 1/4 acre or is it 1/4 acre or 11000 sq ft of actual turf or lawn area?

I always go by actual lawn area. the total lot size really means nothing. you can have a acre lot with a 10000sqft house and a 10000 sq ft garage or shop building and a drivsay and pretty soon you only have 5000 sqft to mow.

10000 sqft of turf takes me an anywhere form 35 -50 min to trim/edge mow and blow by myself with a 48". I pay close atention ot detail and straight lines and doing an overal good job.

Jpocket
05-19-2006, 09:47 AM
3 guys 30 minutes to mow 1/4 prop? You hire the blind?


Yea takes us btween 12-15 Mins.

ALarsh
05-19-2006, 04:09 PM
Question? When you say 1/4 acre property. Are you saing athe entire propety or lot is 1/4 acre or is it 1/4 acre or 11000 sq ft of actual turf or lawn area?

I always go by actual lawn area. the total lot size really means nothing. you can have a acre lot with a 10000sqft house and a 10000 sq ft garage or shop building and a drivsay and pretty soon you only have 5000 sqft to mow.

10000 sqft of turf takes me an anywhere form 35 -50 min to trim/edge mow and blow by myself with a 48". I pay close atention ot detail and straight lines and doing an overal good job.
I figure whole lot area. Even though you are not cutting where the house or garage is, you are trimming around them which takes time and money. Of course you could have a 10000 square foot garage, but the properties I service don't have that.

mbella
05-19-2006, 10:37 PM
Since the company began, 2 years ago, I have paid my employees hourly. This past month stop times and overtime had gotten so far out of hand that I was left with the choice of either firing everyone or changing the pay. We went to a per lawn pay, in which they would honestly make more money per week, when they gave me an honest week of work. The first three days they did twice as many lawns in half the amount of time - amazing. Then today they all decide they are working too hard and they want to be paid per hour - told em to get the hell out. The foreman of one crew made $135.00 for a ten hour day - don't tell me I am being cheep.

Long story short - I am looking for six full time guys in Fort Worth if anyone needs a job.

Sounds like you found the "going" rate.

mbella
05-19-2006, 10:39 PM
Can't pay them more than your making - going rate for a total lot size of less than 1/4 acre is between 24 and 27 bucks. So if I have 3 guys that are all making 12 bucks an hour and after a ,water/smoke/bathroom break everyother house, it takes on average 30 minutes to mow each house. So using Northern payscales is costs me $18 in labor, and on average $6 per lawn in expenses - you tell me how long before you are out of business.

It sounds like you need to manage your employees a LITTLE better.

dcondon
05-19-2006, 10:43 PM
Sounds to me like you are being cheap!!!!!!!!!!!! PAY THEM BY THE HOUR:hammerhead:

carcrz
05-19-2006, 10:46 PM
I can't believe that lawns are going that cheap there. I would push for more large commercial accounts to try and make up for lost drive time. Makw sure they use the bathroom when you stop for gas & at lunch. If they don't have to go, they better save their Gatorade bottle!

SodKing
05-19-2006, 10:46 PM
Sounds to me like you are being cheap!!!!!!!!!!!! PAY THEM BY THE HOUR:hammerhead:


They were unproductive by the hour (read: screwing him) hence the change to per diem..You do get more out of the employee when they are earning more for themselves, I see it as a win/win situation...

PROCUT1
05-19-2006, 10:57 PM
As soon as your employees know they have you by the balls youre up the creek. You did the right thing. I would close the business before I would have an employee dictate policies for MY business.

I will admit that working here is quite a different experience than most of these kids are used to. But the good ones find that they have made the right choice.

K.Carothers
05-19-2006, 11:17 PM
3 guys 30 minutes to mow 1/4 prop? You hire the blind?


:laugh: :laugh: :laugh:


kc

thilawncare
05-20-2006, 12:25 AM
Hire mexican!!!!! They are Faster, More Maticulous and Cheaper....

FASTER + BETTER + CHEAPER = Success!!!!!!


Although they may be more reluctant to work for you because of BUSH!!!!!!!
Rediculous!!!!!!

Patriots
05-20-2006, 04:46 PM
UPDATE: 3 of the 6 called this morning begging for their jobs back - under my terms of pay per lawn. I guess they found out real quick that the grass it not always greener on the other side.

maxkicker
05-20-2006, 07:23 PM
3 guys 30 minutes to mow 1/4 prop? You hire the blind?

when i first started i was doing better than that by myself
i was mowing 30 houses in a 11 hr day by myself on mondays then workin for someone else the rest of the week then do my landscape saturday and sunday this is my second year in business and work 2 days a week for my company with a helper 62 lawns and learning irragation working for someone else

maxkicker
05-20-2006, 07:25 PM
im sorry guys i didnt know how outdated this topic was

K.Carothers
05-20-2006, 09:24 PM
im sorry guys i didnt know how outdated this topic was

This thread is fresh.


kc

maxkicker
05-20-2006, 11:28 PM
This thread is fresh.


kc

lol yah i was lookin at the date the last poster joined oops!

Dirty Water
05-21-2006, 12:48 AM
Labor out here is $10/hr Minimum starting pay. A good foreman will make $15-$20.

Perhaps you should raise your rates?

Landscapes-r-us
05-21-2006, 04:40 PM
I can trim cut and blow a 1/4 acre prop in 15 miinutes or less by myself.....I would not pay them to smoke either......they would have to work that into their time.....and I would never let employees smoke on customers property. You know where the butts end up........

D
LOL yeah, my house is about 14,800 sq ft and I edge, mow, weedeat and blow in under 30 minutes and I don't really rush either.

Freddy_Kruger
05-21-2006, 05:07 PM
Sounds like a cospiracy, fire the forman and get some new blood. I would not hire friends of theirs either ie. don't let whatever employess you have get one of their friends hired.

jameson
05-21-2006, 05:36 PM
UPDATE: 3 of the 6 called this morning begging for their jobs back - under my terms of pay per lawn. I guess they found out real quick that the grass it not always greener on the other side.

Oh to be the proverbial 'fly on the wall' at the shop come Monday a.m....

GreenUtah
05-23-2006, 04:31 PM
stick with the piece rate scheme, but as mentioned earlier, watch those overtime schedules, piece rate or not. the skilled will quickly realize how much more money they can make, the lazy will make exactly what they're worth. For those of you who are against this type of pay and charge your clients a set fee per week/month, then either you don't realize that YOU are being paid piece rate or you don't have any employees. Want to see employees magically become more efficient and even involved in the production efficency of your company, giving you feedback on what could be done to help them work better/faster? Go to this scheme. Otherwise, what's the incentive with an hourly employee? the goodness of his or her heart? Micromanage all you want, but without incentive to be faster and better, you'll just be running yourself into the ground trying to figure out what your employees are doing all day instead of buidling your biz. This is the simplest scheme(piece rate).

MMLawn
05-23-2006, 05:18 PM
I'm new to lawn cutting, but $135 for 10 hrs = $12/hr + time 1/2 for overtime for the foreman sounds cheap. I guess it all depends upon where you live though.

WHAT Overtime? :dizzy:

Working 12 hours in a day does not consitute overtime. Overtime is not based on the number of hours an employee works in any one day. It is based on when an employee exceeds 40 hours in any one work period, i.e. work week.

Dirty Water
05-23-2006, 08:00 PM
WHAT Overtime? :dizzy:

Working 12 hours in a day does not consitute overtime. Overtime is not based on the number of hours an employee works in any one day. It is based on when an employee exceeds 40 hours in any one work period, i.e. work week.

Back in my union days overtime was paid if you broke more than 8 hours on a shift. This meant that working 5 tens made me a bundle.

Freddy_Kruger
05-23-2006, 10:20 PM
Back in my union days overtime was paid if you broke more than 8 hours on a shift. This meant that working 5 tens made me a bundle.
Some Unions have a sweet deal, I used to work 12 days on and 2 days off, over time was daily over 8 hours and it was double time. Boy was I a lazy bastard back then lol. Holiday pay was 10% to.

But it's over 40 hours a week here to but that don't coun't count if your piecing out work. At least not here because you are technically a sub. Might be different in the states.

SodKing
05-24-2006, 06:45 AM
Actually it does come into pay as you still have to make sure they received Time and a half for hours worked over 40 hours. They may make more than time and a half when you figure in the added amount they make piecemeal but it cannot be lower than that amount...It also factors into the computation of their average minimum wage figures.

cessnasovereign
05-28-2006, 12:21 PM
I'm thinking about paying my future guys like $5.00 an hour plus like $3 a yard for example, so if my math is correct,that's almost $13 an hour for an 8 hour day if they do 25 lawns between the two of them.. Which would leave almost $600 for me daily, minus costs.

drmiller100
05-30-2006, 02:51 AM
10 bucks an hour, plus 10 percent of gross gross.

you want to watch some good discussions? After second paycheck, your crews will be FIGHTING for more accounts.
they will be flashing cards to accounts next door to current ones. they will be RUNNING.

And the good ones will start to figure out who else is fast, and the good ones will move towards each other, making killer teams.

SWD
05-31-2006, 10:02 AM
My crews are paid hourly, and are happy for it.
Piece pay wouldn't work due to the travel distances between jobs, routinely trucks are running 150 miles per day.
Besides, I don't want crews mowing as fast as possible, I prefer quality over quantity.
The crews know they have it well off. Equipment is newer, well maintained, I provide everything they are wearing from the hat to the boots.
Every Friday, I take them to one of the restaurants in our operational area and buy them lunch.
They receive yearly bonuses depending on how well I have hit my forecast numbers.

PROCUT1
05-31-2006, 10:18 AM
10 bucks an hour, plus 10 percent of gross gross.

you want to watch some good discussions? After second paycheck, your crews will be FIGHTING for more accounts.
they will be flashing cards to accounts next door to current ones. they will be RUNNING.

And the good ones will start to figure out who else is fast, and the good ones will move towards each other, making killer teams.


Wow thats dam good for them since its extremely rare for a larger business to come anywhere near a 10% profit let alone pay it all out to labor.

Mac_Cool
05-31-2006, 02:13 PM
10 bucks an hour, plus 10 percent of gross gross.


I think you mean net, instead of gross.

When paying profit based bonuses I recommend setting aside a percentage of net profit, 8%/month for example, and divide it up into shares.

crew leader/foreman gets 4 shares
each crewman gets 2 shares
so a 3 man crew is getting 8 shares, times 3 crews = 24 total shares

Take the 8% profit number and divide it by the total number of shares. Example: net profit is $20,000 * 8% = $1600
$1600/24= $66.66
crew leader/foreman gets $266.64 bonus
each crewman gets $133.32 bonus

The advantages are that it teaches employees to work efficiently, not tolerate slackers and that mistakes cost them money. Each time they have to go back and fix a mistake they are spending profit and reducing their bonus. The fewer employees the larger the bonus $$, so the employees might decide that a 2 man crew can do the work of 3 and that saves you payroll.

8% is just a made up number, choose a number that fits your business accordingly; it might be 2%, 5%, 8% or 10%. Personally I have always preferred monthly bonuses over yearly. The plan will only work if your employees understand it so if you choose to do something like this take that time to explain it.

You can also pay a SPIFF each time an employee signs a new customer or signs an existing customer to a new service. If anyone has questions you can either ask here or PM me. Hope this helps some of you looking for ways to motivate your employees financially and improve the efficiency of your operation.
:cool2:

drmiller100
05-31-2006, 08:24 PM
Wow thats dam good for them since its extremely rare for a larger business to come anywhere near a 10% profit let alone pay it all out to labor.

net is a funny thing. If you ask the IRS, my net profits really are pretty poor. With the instant depreciation for equipment, writeoffs, and costs, my net is pretty low. Employees that I keep are not stupid. They know the difference between net and gross, and they know paying on net is complete and utter crap. Maybe your employees are dumber then mine, I can't say.

I pay 10 percente on GROSS GROSS. Around here, you can't get good help for 10 bucks an hour. High school kids get 12.

So, my crew consists of one person. He rides around in a 2000 dollar truck towing a 2000 dollar trailer, with a 8000 dollar ZTR mower in the back.

On Fridays, he grosses me 900 bucks, and works 9 hours. so, he makes 90 bucks, plus 90 bucks, or 20 an hour, or 180 bucks. When a neighbor walks up, and asks to be mowed on Friday's, I let my guy figure it out. If he bids a 2 hour job at 20 bucks, then he loses money with me.

If he figures out how to make another 50 dollar lawn fit into his schedule, then he makes extra money.

I sure don't get 3 person crews. None of my jobs are bigger then 3 acres, so maybe on the big jobs it might make sense, but I really doubt it.

PROCUT1
05-31-2006, 08:38 PM
net is a funny thing. If you ask the IRS, my net profits really are pretty poor. With the instant depreciation for equipment, writeoffs, and costs, my net is pretty low. Employees that I keep are not stupid. They know the difference between net and gross, and they know paying on net is complete and utter crap. Maybe your employees are dumber then mine, I can't say.

I pay 10 percente on GROSS GROSS. Around here, you can't get good help for 10 bucks an hour. High school kids get 12.

So, my crew consists of one person. He rides around in a 2000 dollar truck towing a 2000 dollar trailer, with a 8000 dollar ZTR mower in the back.

On Fridays, he grosses me 900 bucks, and works 9 hours. so, he makes 90 bucks, plus 90 bucks, or 20 an hour, or 180 bucks. When a neighbor walks up, and asks to be mowed on Friday's, I let my guy figure it out. If he bids a 2 hour job at 20 bucks, then he loses money with me.

If he figures out how to make another 50 dollar lawn fit into his schedule, then he makes extra money.

I sure don't get 3 person crews. None of my jobs are bigger then 3 acres, so maybe on the big jobs it might make sense, but I really doubt it.


Thats a huge difference if youre doing it on a small scale with one employee. It would never work with a large company and higher overhead.

drmiller100
05-31-2006, 08:48 PM
Thats a huge difference if youre doing it on a small scale with one employee. It would never work with a large company and higher overhead.

Why not? people that work for larger companies don't want to make money?

Larger companies can't have one man crews?

PROCUT1
05-31-2006, 08:56 PM
Why not? people that work for larger companies don't want to make money?

Larger companies can't have one man crews?


A large company with real overhead, a shop, office, support staff, etc generally will not come close to profiting anywhere near 10% on gross sales on lawn maintenance. If your profit is 6% and you pay your employee 10% gross sales you are now at a 4% loss.

There is a huge difference in this business. The smaller operations are the ones making the money. The owner operators or guys with a couple of helpers working out of their house will show a good sized profit and it may be possible to pay the way you do.

Im not knocking your idea at all. I think its a great idea and Im sure it works great for you. But I know that for a multi crew operation, not homebased, it will not work because the mowing margins will not support it.

drmiller100
05-31-2006, 10:32 PM
i think you are confused.

10 percent gross going to my employees as a bonus does not even remotely equate to taking 10 percent off my net.

try again. locally, i'd pay 15 an hour to have an employee with valid drivers license.

so, i pay 10 an hour. plus 10 percent of gross. So, really, i'm paying 18 an hour, if my employee hustles and has teh desire to make us both money.

I'll pay that, in a heartbeat, all day everyday.

Btw, I have 6 employees, a shop, skid, mini-ex, dump truck, sweeper, etc. etc. etc.

mowing is VERY profitable.

Mac_Cool
05-31-2006, 10:38 PM
net is a funny thing. If you ask the IRS, my net profits really are pretty poor.
...
I pay 10 percente on GROSS GROSS. Around here, you can't get good help for 10 bucks an hour. High school kids get 12.

McCall is a nice little upper middle class white villiage but the wages you quote would be excessive most cities. $20/hr is too much for an operator. If you're only running one operator on Friday then you don't have much business to start with. Get out and build your business until you have a 3 man crew and you're paying 120 hrs payroll and see if your 10% gross gross still works.

[edit: you say you have 6 employees, without know the details of your business I can't comment more but I can tell you that paying 10% of gross sales as a bonus will not scale]

drmiller100
05-31-2006, 10:41 PM
i gross 3000 a week in mowing with one guy.

at 120 hours a week in labor, I'd be at 9,000 a week gross.

Is this where you are at?

Mac_Cool
05-31-2006, 11:00 PM
i gross 3000 a week in mowing with one guy.

at 120 hours a week in labor, I'd be at 9,000 a week gross.

Is this where you are at?

No. It's very unlikely you'll be at $9,000/wk

You have one guy earning you $75/hr which is excellent (assuming he works ~40 hrs). In my area, Raleigh, I have paid equivalent employees between $12-15/hr + bonuses (different industry) so you're a little high but not too much.

The trouble is that it doesn't scale because his pay is based on gross. If you promote him to crew leader and hire him a helper then take on say... 30% more work, your gross will increase but your net% will decrease while your net$ increase. You can't afford to pay him more and you can't afford to pay him less, he might quit or become disgruntled and work less efficiently. You can't pay the helper 10% gross because you've only increased sales by 30%. If you buy another truck, trailer, mower, trimmer, and blower and hire another guy; your net$ will go even lower and you won't be able to afford to pay the 2nd guy 10% gross. Running two 1 man crews is horribly inefficient. Hopefully you can understand why you are overpaying the guy (for a business your size) and understand why your system doesn't scale. It'll work fine as long as you don't grow.

drmiller100
05-31-2006, 11:53 PM
why is 2 one man crews inefficient??????

GlennZ
06-01-2006, 09:03 AM
I am also interested why a 2 man crew is more efficient then a one man crew.

Mac_Cool
06-01-2006, 11:36 AM
why is 2 one man crews inefficient??????
Doubles your cost.

You can say that if you double sales you are equally efficient with 2 one man crews but how do you double sales with a one man crew? Work him twice as hard? Do the work yourself? If one guy calls in sick you are 50% crippled and 50% behind for the day. If one guy quits you've lost half your production. If you have one guy mowing: Who is running the trimmer? Who is running the washer? Who is weeding? Who is mulching? Who is cleaning gutters? No one, the equipment is sitting on the trailer, not making money. Now add two guys, twice as much equipment and you have twice as much equipment sitting on the trailers not earning you money.

Two guys may not be twice as fast, but two guys get the site done quicker allowing more properties per day and maybe more services per property with the only added expense being payroll for a helper (somebody to trim, blow, weed, pickup trash, etc.) which shouldn't be more than $6-8/hr in most places.

Let's do the math...

Just made up numbers
Let's say your equipment overhead (truck, trailer, mower, misc) is $15,000
Daily operating expenses on equipment is $300 (gas, insurance, etc)
Daily labor for one guy is $100
Daily gross sales are $1000
Daily net (before taxes) $600

Add 1 guy and double the equipment, double the sales, all expenses double, daily net doubles to $1200, overhead is 25X daily net

Add 1 helper, increase sales by 50%, expendable expenses increase some, overhead stays the same, labor increases by 50%, daily net increase to ~$1000, overhead is 15X daily net
Your daily net profit$ is less but your profit% is higher because you haven't doubled your overhead. More efficient. Fewer headaches.

Remember these are just made up numbers. If you still don't believe me, punch your real numbers in and see if I'm right.

rodfather
06-01-2006, 05:46 PM
Remember these are just made up numbers.

You are correct, they are fairlytale. $1000 for one person? Give me a break...even for 2. 100 bucks for labor? Hello, are you talking about working in some remote providence in Peru?

BTW, I run 3 man crews only.

Mac_Cool
06-01-2006, 09:38 PM
You are correct, they are fairlytale. $1000 for one person? Give me a break...even for 2. 100 bucks for labor? Hello, are you talking about working in some remote providence in Peru?

BTW, I run 3 man crews only.
Congratulations for confirming the obvious. Are you agreeing, disagreeing or just practicing your typing skills?

Perhaps you could tell everyone why you run 3 man crews instead of a bunch of 1 man crews, that would be relevant.

rodfather
06-01-2006, 09:55 PM
Congratulations for confirming the obvious. Are you agreeing, disagreeing or just practicing your typing skills?

Perhaps you could tell everyone why you run 3 man crews instead of a bunch of 1 man crews, that would be relevant.

I like to type...1 man crew is an oxymoron. I run 3 man crews simply because we mow 400 acres a week.

drmiller100
06-02-2006, 12:18 AM
Just made up numbers
Let's say your equipment overhead (truck, trailer, mower, misc) is $15,000
Daily operating expenses on equipment is $300 (gas, insurance, etc)
Daily labor for one guy is $100
Daily gross sales are $1000
Daily net (before taxes) $600



300 a DAY on gas insurance, etc? 80 gallons of gasoline a day????? 6000 a month per truck????? Wrong.

Lets annualize your numbers. Say equipment is throwaway in 2 years, average, and say you mow 20 weeks a year.

Just made up numbers

equipment $7500
100 days a year, 100 bucks a person 10k
gross sales at 1000 a day 100,000


net: 80k. mcdonalds can make a burger for a buck. why can't someone mow a lawn for 50 bucks on a large scale?

drmiller100
06-02-2006, 12:19 AM
I like to type...1 man crew is an oxymoron. I run 3 man crews simply because we mow 400 acres a week.

does each person on your crews have a ztr?

Freddy_Kruger
06-02-2006, 12:58 AM
I think one man crews for window cleaning or lawn care is bogus and not just because I hate working alone. I think three man crews are efficient, can do three average yards an hour.

gardengnome
06-02-2006, 07:57 AM
I think one man crews for window cleaning or lawn care is bogus and not just because I hate working alone. I think three man crews are efficient, can do three average yards an hour.

Yes, and I can run 3 average yards/hour w. a 2 man crew. Am I better then you, no, my perception of an average yard is different.
A multi person crew is inherently less efficient because not all tasks will be completed in the same time frame leaving one or more to be idle for periods of time. Also, a multi person crew will invite the possibility that someone is going to slack. Since paying drive time between jobs is mandatory, a multi person crew with widely spaced accounts is killer on the job cost. (To argue you don't pay for windshield time is fine untill you get that visit from the DOL)
One man crews on the other hand are working 100% of the time, the only waste you have will be if the person is goofing of. To argue against a one man crew because you don't like working alone is bunk.
To argue that equipment wise, a one man crew is less efficient, that's a toss up. You really should evaluate the cost of windshield time of additional crew members and that second or thrid mower you have sitting on the trailer vs. its use compared to an additional one man crew.

rodfather
06-02-2006, 08:09 AM
does each person on your crews have a ztr?

2 Z's and a 61" WB with velke.

GlennZ
06-02-2006, 08:39 AM
Ok, lets runs some numbers:

A truck, trailer, 36", 52", trimmer and blower, gas, cost of inflation, interest, insurance-everything will cost you about $7.72 per hour. These numbers are all based on brand new equipment over a standard life cycle.

Lets base everything on a 8 hour day. That means a setup costs you $61.76 per day.($7.72 x 8 hrs)

Now my goal is to make $40 per hour. If one guy went out he would bring in $320 in gross. ($40 x 8 hrs)

If I sent two guys out on the crew the efficiency will drop by about 25% (each person you add to a crew will reduce the efficiency by another 25%. So 1st guy is 100%, second guy is 75%, 3rd guy is only 50%, the exception to this is a large commercial property where you are there all day. The numbers are not as bad). Why is this true? The one main answer is travel time The second is work overlap on the site.

So the production hours for the day would be 8 hrs for the first guy(100%) and 6 hours for the second (75% of 8 hrs) . So 14 hours times my $40 would bring me $560 gross. So I lost about $80 in gross from having the second guy . It cost me $61.76 for a truck setup. So if I ran two trucks I would actually make $20 more a day.

Granted this is not a huge amount and the reality sets in that you can not get employees with drivers licenses, maybe you don't trust them by theme selves, etc.

If you run a 3 man crew the numbers are dramatically different.

Now if you work longer then a 8 hour day the savings are more since your equipment cost are spread over more hours.

grnkeepers
06-02-2006, 08:50 AM
Could anyone post some actual REAL numbers?

GlennZ you say you loose 25% production of each man you add. Mind divulging how THAT number came about?

DRMiller does the same.
So does MC Cool.

We can make anything sound viable with made up numbers but it doesn't do anyone any good. Nor does it take into account what kind of property we each are doing.
Can we get some in-depth validation going?

GlennZ
06-02-2006, 09:02 AM
This is from 2 sources.

1. I have tracked every single minute spent on every single job for every single customer for the past 4 years.

2. The second source is talking to hundreds of companies about this. I find that most people agree with this is they ever tried it. Even some of the posts on this thread talk about this. I have talked to companies that run 1 man crews and they very happy with the results.

For the record we use 2 man crews, because like I said the reality is that not everyone has a drivers license. Plus another factor is cash flow. You still need to buy all the extra rigs up front.

gardengnome
06-02-2006, 09:05 AM
Ok, lets runs some numbers:

A truck, trailer, 36", 52", trimmer and blower, gas, cost of inflation, interest, insurance-everything will cost you about $7.72 per hour. These numbers are all based on brand new equipment over a standard life cycle.

Lets base everything on a 8 hour day. That means a setup costs you $61.76 per day.($7.72 x 8 hrs)

.
That is such a worthless comment! What do you consider a standard life cycle?? $7.72 per hour?, How many hours per year? What size truck, trailer, belt drive/hydro?
If you are going to run some numbers please be specific. Better yet, allow people to use their own brain, figures from your own operation as a guide will quickly tell you if this is a better approach for you. Lessons learned from personal experience are far more valuable then being spoon fed. As a "consultant" you should know this.

GlennZ
06-02-2006, 09:18 AM
Please do. I would be happy for people to figure their costs per hour on their equipment. The fact is that many people have not done it an do not know. I would encourage everyone to do this.

I have run these numbers with a good number of companies and this seems to be a good average.

Companies need to run their company by the numbers.

drmiller100
06-02-2006, 10:11 AM
2 Z's and a 61" WB with velke.

ok, that sure could make sense, especially on a large property.

What bugs me the most is a 3 man crew with three 21 inch mowers.

Or, basically any time a 21 inch mower is used, I figure I am losing money.

drmiller100
06-02-2006, 10:15 AM
Could anyone post some actual REAL numbers?

GlennZ you say you loose 25% production of each man you add. Mind divulging how THAT number came about?

.
Can we get some in-depth validation going?


When you mow a lawn, does it take longer to trim, or mow? Our lawns are always quicker to mow then trim, except for one.

how much of your day is behindthe windshield? every extra person is WASTED in the truck.

gardengnome
06-02-2006, 10:35 AM
21" less overlap times walking speed times hourly rate = required revenue
48" less overlap times riding speed times hourly rate = required revenue
72" less overlap times riding speed times hourly rate = required revenue

Where exactly is the waste?

Likewise, if there is more then one person in the truck you should account for that in your price. Don't you?

Freddy_Kruger
06-02-2006, 10:48 AM
Yes, and I can run 3 average yards/hour w. a 2 man crew. Am I better then you, no, my perception of an average yard is different.
A multi person crew is inherently less efficient because not all tasks will be completed in the same time frame leaving one or more to be idle for periods of time. Also, a multi person crew will invite the possibility that someone is going to slack. Since paying drive time between jobs is mandatory, a multi person crew with widely spaced accounts is killer on the job cost. (To argue you don't pay for windshield time is fine untill you get that visit from the DOL)
One man crews on the other hand are working 100% of the time, the only waste you have will be if the person is goofing of. To argue against a one man crew because you don't like working alone is bunk.
To argue that equipment wise, a one man crew is less efficient, that's a toss up. You really should evaluate the cost of windshield time of additional crew members and that second or thrid mower you have sitting on the trailer vs. its use compared to an additional one man crew.
Yesterday I was telling this guy Hey dont mow there I already did that, lol.

I pay travel to the first job but at the end of the last its over. No travel back at the end of the day. (not much travel anyway). 2 man crew is good too, 1 man crew is efficient but it pretty much has to be since he's doing all the work but I'm coming more from the point of view that the work has to get done.
I have (my first year) 25 lawns, so I get a guy to help me do them so I can focuss on windows the rest of the week. When I used 3 man (I only got 2 mowers) I was standing around a lot of the time, I did the trim then I wait to blow... but I figured if I had another mower.... well I guess it would take practice to get efficient.

grnkeepers
06-02-2006, 10:55 AM
This is from 2 sources.

1. I have tracked every single minute spent on every single job for every single customer for the past 4 years.

2. The second source is talking to hundreds of companies about this. I find that most people agree with this is they ever tried it. Even some of the posts on this thread talk about this. I have talked to companies that run 1 man crews and they very happy with the results.

For the record we use 2 man crews, because like I said the reality is that not everyone has a drivers license. Plus another factor is cash flow. You still need to buy all the extra rigs up front.

This is exactly what I was complaining about... :dizzy:
You have tracked every single minute for 4 years, make a comment about losing 25% on each man, yet validate the statement with the fact you are a 2 man per truck company!!!!!

How can you make a valid statement about time lost if you don't run the crew size to begin with?

And, once again, you haven't validate property size and type which would have a major impact of any statement that could be given.

GlennZ, in every post I remember that you have done you have always purported one-man crews as being the most effeceint. Yet now you state you are only running two man crews.
How is it that you don't follow your own advice?

grnkeepers
06-02-2006, 11:02 AM
When you mow a lawn, does it take longer to trim, or mow? Our lawns are always quicker to mow then trim, except for one.

how much of your day is behind the windshield? every extra person is WASTED in the truck.

Ever notice how the weedy man, or mowing man, "just happens" to finish at the same time? :confused:

The only real standard to compare lost times with is after you have had the property completed by ONE man and then compare your multi-crew times to that.
I've had 16 man hour apartments completed in 9.5 when one man is responsible for it. This is what I gauge lost time from.

gardengnome
06-02-2006, 11:12 AM
This is exactly what I was complaining about... :dizzy:
You have tracked every single minute for 4 years, make a comment about losing 25% on each man, yet validate the statement with the fact you are a 2 man per truck company!!!!!.

Actually, Stan, you and I know that production numbers for a property are the production numbers. This regardless of the crew size, hence we are now in the realm of efficiency. :weightlifter: If the second crew member makes the crew less efficient it would require the property to be rated higher. Glenn must have ran each property on a one man crew for a season, prior to switching to a two man crew so he can document the increased inefficiency.:dancing:

GlennZ
06-02-2006, 04:39 PM
As I have stated twice already. Obviously one man crews assume everyone has a valid drivers license without a ton of points on them. I do not have that, as many other companies do not. So even though I am losing productivity in doing so I have to live with reality.

Travel time is a huge part of the equation. If 2 guys spend 5 minutes driving to the property that is 10 minutes of production time. You just lost 5 minutes or about $3.30 at $40 per hour. At 8 hours that is $26.40 (or carry the math out to 28 weeks $3696). Most people drive more then 5 minutes in an hour unless you are doing larger properties.

To make up for the loss from the the 2 man crews we have very tight routes. In one area we have over 150 homes within 3 miles.

grnkeepers
06-02-2006, 06:04 PM
As I have stated twice already. Obviously one man crews assume everyone has a valid drivers license without a ton of points on them. I do not have that, as many other companies do not. So even though I am losing productivity in doing so I have to live with reality.

Travel time is a huge part of the equation. If 2 guys spend 5 minutes driving to the property that is 10 minutes of production time. You just lost 5 minutes or about $3.30 at $40 per hour. At 8 hours that is $26.40 (or carry the math out to 28 weeks $3696). Most people drive more then 5 minutes in an hour unless you are doing larger properties.

To make up for the loss from the the 2 man crews we have very tight routes. In one area we have over 150 homes within 3 miles.

Then what you are saying is that one man crews are not the most efficient crew make-up for, not only yourself, but "many other companies".

You would think that paying $12 an hour for piecework could get you employees that hadn't lost their license?

Does your employee base really center at that low of a level?

It sounds as if, even with your systems that you say you utilize, you really are not in any better shape than most everyone else on the forum.

Half your employee base seems to have DUI, drug, speeding, or underage problems according to your statement. :confused:

At what compensation level would it take to find 100% of your employee base with decent driving records?

grnkeepers
06-02-2006, 06:16 PM
Travel time is a huge part of the equation. If 2 guys spend 5 minutes driving to the property that is 10 minutes of production time. You just lost 5 minutes or about $3.30 at $40 per hour. At 8 hours that is $26.40 (or carry the math out to 28 weeks $3696). Most people drive more then 5 minutes in an hour unless you are doing larger properties.

To make up for the loss from the the 2 man crews we have very tight routes. In one area we have over 150 homes within 3 miles.

I'll take a difference of opinion on this statement. I think that it is a false statement in context to validate the reason of your need for two man crews.
Done correctly it would be as below.

With the correct scheduling program one would start your second one-man crew half way into the route while the first one-man crew would start at the beginning of the route.

I know that QXpress can handle scheduling this way.
And this is how I handle my one-man crew company! Profitably to boot!

Or did I misunderstand your statement?
Are you saying that if a customers clients are more than 5 minutes apart then one-man crews would not be an efficient choice for any company?

Mac_Cool
06-02-2006, 07:24 PM
Lets annualize your numbers.
Like I said, plug in your own numbers

To argue that equipment wise, a one man crew is less efficient, that's a toss up. You really should evaluate the cost of windshield time of additional crew members and that second or thrid mower you have sitting on the trailer vs. its use compared to an additional one man crew.
How do you know it's a toss up, have you done the math? There are variables I haven't introduced such as property type, size, distance between jobs that might justify one man crews despite the added overhead but I wouldn't prefer to double or triple my equipment costs unless the routes were very profitable.

Downtime between jobs is just a cost of business. Downtime is minimized by having the appropriate number of employees, by having a route based on distance between jobs, by focusing your marketing efforts to increase business in areas that you already service, by minimizing sites that are off the beaten path (sell or trade them to another LCO), by starting your employees at wages based on experience and how much actual time you expect them to be working, etc.

Ok, lets runs some numbers:

You've made some errors in your logic:
1: You're mixing daily operating expenses and fixed overhead, they should be kept separate unless you're calculating your break even.
2: You didn't add revenue when adding the additional people. Why would you add payroll when your sales haven't increased? If one guy can handle the production volume then you wouldn't need additional people.

Also, as was pointed out by another, you didn't show your calculations to arrive at your hourly cost.

Redo the calculations using actual fixed equipment overhead and daily expenses (which will fluctuate with production volume). If one person is doing 100%, then two people should be able to do 175% production using your figures. Yes you lose some efficiency with the 2nd person but you are not doubling your fixed overhead.

If you're only getting 50% from your 3rd guy then you may be hiring before you have the volume to justify the 3rd person. You would need to do the calculations to know.

I would be happy for people to figure their costs per hour on their equipment. The fact is that many people have not done it an do not know...
Companies need to run their company by the numbers.
Knowing your costs per hour is useful but don't make all your decisions on it. Use a monthly P&L statement.

I pay travel to the first job but at the end of the last its over. No travel back at the end of the day.
Illegal unless there is some vagary of the wage laws I'm unfamiliar with. Good luck with that.

GlennZ
06-02-2006, 08:04 PM
Please see my comments below:

You've made some errors in your logic:
1: You're mixing daily operating expenses and fixed overhead, they should be kept separate unless you're calculating your break even.

***Yes, this is true. On a P&L they are calculated that way. I know my fixed overhead and I know how many hours I have to recover it over. Using these same hours I add in the direct costs to come up with a break even per hour then add profit on that. Then I only have to sell my hours and get them done in the time allowed and I am guaranteed to cover all my expenses plus make profit. I am very conservative by calculating all my expenses on a 40 hour week. This gives me wiggle room.


2: You didn't add revenue when adding the additional people. Why would you add payroll when your sales haven't increased? If one guy can handle the production volume then you wouldn't need additional people.

*** Correct, I am assuming you have would additional work. So that employees actually do 25% more work each day. Saving 25% on payroll would definitely not cover the expense of a whole new rig.

Also, as was pointed out by another, you didn't show your calculations to arrive at your hourly cost.

** I can go into great detail on this but is done on a spread sheet that figures in inflation, lifetime repairs, gas/oil per hour, residual value, years and hours or production, etc.

Redo the calculations using actual fixed equipment overhead and daily expenses (which will fluctuate with production volume). If one person is doing 100%, then two people should be able to do 175% production using your figures. Yes you lose some efficiency with the 2nd person but you are not doubling your fixed overhead.

If you're only getting 50% from your 3rd guy then you may be hiring before you have the volume to justify the 3rd person. You would need to do the calculations to know.


*** I am curious what size crews you are running and what size properties you are doing. If they are medium to small residential and you are running 3 guys I would challenge you to do a time study.

GlennZ
06-02-2006, 08:10 PM
I'll take a difference of opinion on this statement. I think that it is a false statement in context to validate the reason of your need for two man crews.
Done correctly it would be as below.

With the correct scheduling program one would start your second one-man crew half way into the route while the first one-man crew would start at the beginning of the route.

I know that QXpress can handle scheduling this way.
And this is how I handle my one-man crew company! Profitably to boot!

Or did I misunderstand your statement?



Please give me the correct reason for running a one man crew, since it actually looks like you agree on something.


Are you saying that if a customers clients are more than 5 minutes apart then one-man crews would not be an efficient choice for any company?

No I am saying the opposite. The more travel time each day the more wasted time.

Rick Carver
06-02-2006, 09:52 PM
GlenZ says the more travel time the more wasted time.

Glen,,,,, isn't travel time estimated in on all jobs per job? If so then the only TRUE wasted time from travel would be the OVER budget/estimated travel it took to get to the job next, right?
Then wouldn't you agree that the actual estimated travel time that has been calculated for any job (s) may be considered as overhead for the job?
If a job takes 2 guys 10 minutes or 30 minutes to get to it,,,, so what,,,, as long as the guy estimating knows what he is doing and has it in the price. Any savings on travel time is money in the employees pocket,,, right Glen?
If the above is true, then one cannot compare a one man crew to a two man crew unless all aspects and overheads and job sizes are calculated correctly as some of the guys here have already said.
Rick Carver

drmiller100
06-02-2006, 10:56 PM
so what,,,, as long as the guy estimating knows what he is doing and has it in the price.

I have a one man crew. my guy makes 20 an hour with incentives.

You have a 3 man crew. Each guy averages 10 bucks an hour.

Small lawn.

Assume 5 minutes travel time. It takes you 5 minutes to cut. It takes me 10 minutes.

You are into the lawn 10 minutes, times 3 guys, equals 5 bucks.

I am into the lawn 15 minutes, times one guy, equals 5 bucks.

A push, right? Well, you have 3 10 dollar an hour drunks without driving licenses that won't show up, and aren't even qualified to work mcdonalds.

OTOH, i have a guy that wants to make 50k a year, has some hustle, and is likely to show up the day after payday.

Now, lets look at 10 minutes travel time.
All of a sudden, you are into the lawn 45 minutes, or 7.50. I am into it 20 minutes, or 6.66.

travel time kills multi person crews.

regards,
doug

drmiller100
06-02-2006, 11:01 PM
21 inch mower, mows 18 inches at a time.

You walk at 2 mph.

52 inche mower, mows 48 inches at a time.

I mow at 6 mph.

48/12 is 2.66 times faster.

my ground speed is 3 times faster. So I mow 8 times faster on my ztr then the 21 inchers.

Now of course, this is NOT realistic because the walking behind the 21 incher is going to want to take a break sooner or later, while the guy on the ztr is sitting on his behind all day and ready to go water skiing at the end of the day.

Freddy_Kruger
06-02-2006, 11:26 PM
Illegal unless there is some vagary of the wage laws I'm unfamiliar with. Good luck with that.
What I meant was that at the end of the last job thats it, I don't pay to drive them back to the shop (or charge them for that matter). Here in canada sometimes you are required to show up at a job site (might be on the other side of town) and you can either get there yourself or hitch a ride with the company. Either way you're not on the clock.

Mac_Cool
06-03-2006, 02:37 AM
Please see my comments below:On a P&L they are calculated that way.
What do you mean 'they are calculated that way'? Every P&L I've seen has the fixed and controllable cost broken out. You may have a section at the bottom where it is broken down by hour based on a set of assumptions.

I'm defining efficiency as daily gross profit divided by fixed equipment overhead. Rechecking my calculations I find that [2 guys in 1 truck with 150% sales over one guy] are 50% more efficient than [2 guys in 2 trucks at 200% sales]

Do I understand you are defining efficiency the same way except you are prorating the overhead by hour? Doing so gives odd numbers when calculated but 2 men 1 truck still comes out at a higher efficiency percentage.

http://i6.tinypic.com/11j2a2w.jpg
Don't harp the numbers they are only for illustrative purposes.


Correct, I am assuming you have would additional work. So that employees actually do 25% more work each day. Saving 25% on payroll would definitely not cover the expense of a whole new rig.

Sorry, I have no idea what the above paragraph means. You didn't add revenue to your example to cover the helper on the first truck.

I am curious what size crews you are running and what size properties you are doing. If they are medium to small residential and you are running 3 guys I would challenge you to do a time study.

I'm not running 3 guys, right now it's just me. But this discussion is about whether adding a helper is more cost efficient than adding a 2nd truck. I don't need time studies, I know how to calculate it.

One of the points you've made is how close together your properties are and how it reduces travel time. That is excellent routing and is the ideal situation where 2 guys in 1 truck will be more cost efficient than 2X the equipment. How many guys per truck are you running?

Mac_Cool
06-03-2006, 02:40 AM
... isn't travel time estimated in on all jobs per job?
How could you do that unless you know all points between? What if you pick up new customers along the route, are you going to rebid the job?

What I meant was that at the end of the last job thats it, I don't pay to drive them back to the shop (or charge them for that matter). Here in canada sometimes you are required to show up at a job site (might be on the other side of town) and you can either get there yourself or hitch a ride with the company. Either way you're not on the clock.
Forgot you were in Canada. There are situations where that would be OK here, if they are meeting at a jobsite but you couldn't just not pay them while driving back to the shop. Here you would be sued for lost wages and interest.

Rick Carver
06-03-2006, 07:04 AM
Freddy
Don't we all know the address's of our accounts? so we should know the distance and estimate travel time accordingly,,,, IMHO,,,, the actual job has another cost on it,,, of course it would be the cost for travel time. As far as new customers? No problem at all. You still charge travel time to each customer. The more clusters you have the less travel time,,,,, this is why it is soooo important for us all to know OUR numbers per OUR ROUT. For 20 years we estimated/charged travel time one way from our shop to the job. If we started clustering our accounts we adjusted. Time in between each job to job may be less then from the shop to the job,,,, so be it,,,, charge it accordingly. BUT MY POINT to GlenZ is travel time is not and cannot be considered a loss because it is or should be part of the estimate and we are getting paid for it. If we go over that estimated/budgeted travel time then I think it is loss then.
R

gardengnome
06-03-2006, 07:36 AM
How do you know it's a toss up, have you done the math? There are variables I haven't introduced such as property type, size, distance between jobs that might justify one man crews despite the added overhead but I wouldn't prefer to double or triple my equipment costs unless the routes were very profitable Actually,if you do your job right, the variables you mentioned are all figured into the estimate. However what works for me will not work for someone else, even if they are within the same geographivcal area, because their customer mix is diferent. While some customers may justify one man crews, others will not; everyone will have to decide for themselves what would be most efficient.

Downtime between jobs is just a cost of business. Downtime is minimized by having the appropriate number of employees, by having a route based on distance between jobs, by focusing your marketing efforts to increase business in areas that you already service, by minimizing sites that are off the beaten path (sell or trade them to another LCO), by starting your employees at wages based on experience and how much actual time you expect them to be working, etc. I think you need to re-evaluate this statement. Although I agree with the concepts you are mentioning, their corolation is non existent. Your statement would make more sense if you are talking about non-revenue time and even then I believe you are off the mark. The number of employees, your route density (windshield time) and your pay scale are all figured into your job costing are they not, so how can they affect, as you say, downtime, since the customer will be paying for this:confused:



You've made some errors in your logic:
1: You're mixing daily operating expenses and fixed overhead, they should be kept separate unless you're calculating your break even. You are correct in the traditional sense,but GlenZ has taken lessons from a very knowledgeable man on this and is operating on a different basis than most. According to this system he is correct in his assertions.

Illegal unless there is some vagary of the wage laws I'm unfamiliar with. Good luck with that. The driver of the vehicle must be paid from leaving the shop untill returning at night. Crew members do not have to be paid from the shop to the first job and from the last job to the shop

gardengnome
06-03-2006, 07:48 AM
I have a one man crew. my guy makes 20 an hour with incentives.
You have a 3 man crew. Each guy averages 10 bucks an hour.
Small lawn.
Assume 5 minutes travel time. It takes you 5 minutes to cut. It takes me 10 minutes.
You are into the lawn 10 minutes, times 3 guys, equals 5 bucks.
I am into the lawn 15 minutes, times one guy, equals 5 bucks.
A push, right? Well, you have 3 10 dollar an hour drunks without driving licenses that won't show up, and aren't even qualified to work mcdonalds.
OTOH, i have a guy that wants to make 50k a year, has some hustle, and is likely to show up the day after payday.
Now, lets look at 10 minutes travel time.
All of a sudden, you are into the lawn 45 minutes, or 7.50. I am into it 20 minutes, or 6.66.
travel time kills multi person crews.

21 inch mower, mows 18 inches at a time.
You walk at 2 mph.
52 inche mower, mows 48 inches at a time.
I mow at 6 mph.
48/12 is 2.66 times faster.
my ground speed is 3 times faster. So I mow 8 times faster on my ztr then the 21 inchers.
Now of course, this is NOT realistic because the walking behind the 21 incher is going to want to take a break sooner or later, while the guy on the ztr is sitting on his behind all day and ready to go water skiing at the end of the day.

May I hubly suggest that you actually readf what people write? It has been stated a number of times already that if travel time is included in the job cost,

gardengnome
06-03-2006, 07:57 AM
I have a one man crew. my guy makes 20 an hour with incentives.
You have a 3 man crew. Each guy averages 10 bucks an hour.
Small lawn.
Assume 5 minutes travel time. It takes you 5 minutes to cut. It takes me 10 minutes.
You are into the lawn 10 minutes, times 3 guys, equals 5 bucks.
I am into the lawn 15 minutes, times one guy, equals 5 bucks.
A push, right? Well, you have 3 10 dollar an hour drunks without driving licenses that won't show up, and aren't even qualified to work mcdonalds.
OTOH, i have a guy that wants to make 50k a year, has some hustle, and is likely to show up the day after payday.
Now, lets look at 10 minutes travel time.
All of a sudden, you are into the lawn 45 minutes, or 7.50. I am into it 20 minutes, or 6.66.
travel time kills multi person crews.

21 inch mower, mows 18 inches at a time.
You walk at 2 mph.
52 inche mower, mows 48 inches at a time.
I mow at 6 mph.
48/12 is 2.66 times faster.
my ground speed is 3 times faster. So I mow 8 times faster on my ztr then the 21 inchers.
Now of course, this is NOT realistic because the walking behind the 21 incher is going to want to take a break sooner or later, while the guy on the ztr is sitting on his behind all day and ready to go water skiing at the end of the day.

May I humbly suggest that you actually read what people write? It has been stated a number of times already that if travel time is included in the job cost, LIKE IT SHOULD, there is no wasted time on a multi person crew.
So you mow 8 times faster on your ZTR, big effing deal. If the customer want you to cut using a 21" and is willing to pay the extra labor, what do you care? The guy wants to take a break walking?? So?? You figured that in didn't you??:hammerhead:

gardengnome
06-03-2006, 08:07 AM
[QUOTE=Mac_Cool]
I'm not running 3 guys, right now it's just me. But this discussion is about whether adding a helper is more cost efficient than adding a 2nd truck. I don't need time studies, I know how to calculate it.

How can you calculate, unless you have done a time study?

grnkeepers
06-03-2006, 10:01 AM
Ok, lets runs some numbers:

A truck, trailer, 36", 52", trimmer and blower, gas, cost of inflation, interest, insurance-everything will cost you about $7.72 per hour. These numbers are all based on brand new equipment over a standard life cycle.

Lets base everything on a 8 hour day. That means a setup costs you $61.76 per day.($7.72 x 8 hrs)

Now my goal is to make $40 per hour. If one guy went out he would bring in $320 in gross. ($40 x 8 hrs)

If I sent two guys out on the crew the efficiency will drop by about 25% (each person you add to a crew will reduce the efficiency by another 25%. So 1st guy is 100%, second guy is 75%, 3rd guy is only 50%, the exception to this is a large commercial property where you are there all day. The numbers are not as bad). Why is this true? The one main answer is travel time The second is work overlap on the site.

So the production hours for the day would be 8 hrs for the first guy(100%) and 6 hours for the second (75% of 8 hrs) . So 14 hours times my $40 would bring me $560 gross. So I lost about $80 in gross from having the second guy . It cost me $61.76 for a truck setup. So if I ran two trucks I would actually make $20 more a day.

Granted this is not a huge amount and the reality sets in that you can not get employees with drivers licenses, maybe you don't trust them by theme selves, etc.

If you run a 3 man crew the numbers are dramatically different.

Now if you work longer then a 8 hour day the savings are more since your equipment cost are spread over more hours.

Also GlennZ said: Please give me the correct reason for running a one man crew, since it actually looks like you agree on something.

Last question first.
The correct reason for running "any size" crew is to maximize your return on your investment. No different than investing in stocks, bonds, or a savings account.
If you can get 10% rate of return on your investment with a one-man crew you take the 10% NOT 9% for a two man crew.
If you get a 10% return on a three man crew you run a three man crew and not a one man crew with a 9% return rate!
BUT the focus is the return on your investment. PERIOD!

Problem here is that everyone agrees that one-man crews are the most efficient but refuse to adjust their personal preferences to equate investments with rate of return for that investment.
The ONLY time the return rate is lower is when any one particular job exceeds one standard man hour day. Then it requires a two man crew.

The initial quote is provided for reference to the many mistakes made in the statement.
1. You've allowed yourself to keep equipment for a two man crew in the mix. You don't need duplicate equipment. Two mowers? Not.

2. You've stated that you run only two man crews and have tracked efficiency for a two man crew. How can you justify the statement of your 25% reduction for the second man without doing a time study for a one man crew?

3. You've assumed that 100% efficiency equates to a man hour price and NOT man hour production. Just because you hit your bid price means nothing in efficiency. In retrospect it is a terrible falsehood to operate under. Your rate of return per man hour is the ONLY measure in efficiency. My per hour bid price is $46.50. This equates ONLY to my competitions prices and keeps my pricing competitive to theirs. It does NOT relate to the efficiency in my one man crews. The return rate for my one-man crews average at close to $60 per hour. In that respect my crews are 129% efficient correlated ONLY to my competition!!!
Done YOUR way you only lose your butt because you bid yourself only to lose the extra rate of return your efficiency should have gained you.

4. Rick Carver is correct. Drive time should have been computed in your bid. It SHOULD NOT become a variable in your net.

5. You've stated "it cost $61.76 for a truck setup. So if you ran two trucks you would actually make $20 more a day".
Unfortunately another falsehood. Take out your extra equipment. For fun lets call it $55 a day. Close I think with the extra mower and gas taken out. Now you have a $26.76 per day extra.
Given 4.3 weeks in a month equals 21.5 working days for a total gain of $575.34 YOUR way.
This is an 8.36% gain in the return on your investment. Not a bad increase just by restructuring your investment to maximize your return rate. I KNOW I would put my money in the IRA that paid 8.36% more than another. Why won't you?

But the reality is that your efficiency rating should be closer to mine. 129% in comparison to your competition.
Instead of $6880 a month gross you would increase it to $8875 per month for a NET gain, not gross as your overhead has been covered, of $1995.

Glenn, pay your people $15 per hour and acquire the drivers licenses needed. Better people and you still acquire a net profit increase of $1479 per month above the way you are doing business now.

In regards to you stating you are a self-professed consultant in earlier post I find your system to be poorly thought out and lacking in a true understanding of the variables concerning crew size efficiencies.
The simple fact that your system revolves around the myth that 100% efficiency equates to YOUR bid price and not man hour production, let alone man hour production in comparison to your competition, is a misconception at the most basic level of business principles. One that you should be above if you are consulting to the industry.

GlennZ
06-03-2006, 05:54 PM
GlenZ says the more travel time the more wasted time.

Glen,,,,, isn't travel time estimated in on all jobs per job? If so then the only TRUE wasted time from travel would be the OVER budget/estimated travel it took to get to the job next, right?
Then wouldn't you agree that the actual estimated travel time that has been calculated for any job (s) may be considered as overhead for the job?
If a job takes 2 guys 10 minutes or 30 minutes to get to it,,,, so what,,,, as long as the guy estimating knows what he is doing and has it in the price. Any savings on travel time is money in the employees pocket,,, right Glen?
If the above is true, then one cannot compare a one man crew to a two man crew unless all aspects and overheads and job sizes are calculated correctly as some of the guys here have already said.
Rick Carver

Yes, travel time and all inefficiencies should be calculated into all estimates. The problem comes in that you have to raise you estimate to cover these. Depending on what market you are in you can not just charge as much as you want/need. You may start losing bids on the price. I am sure you know many people that have a minimum charge? Why? They say then can not afford to stop for any less. This is true because they have so many inefficiencies built in they have to charge so much to cover them.

Rick Carver
06-03-2006, 06:24 PM
OK,,, Glen,,,, But please answer my original question. Maybe you just mis spoke. You said that travel time is wasted time/inefficent time? NO it isn't,,,, it is part of the job and should be charged as so. This also has nothing at all to do with a min. charge for service. A Min. charge should be a companies break even point PLUS a MIN net included per company owners descretion.
You have now posted that inefficiencies should be included into estimates? WHAT? HUH? What happened to checking the actual time from all jobs against your accurate estimating to get the TRUE efficiency factor? What happened to exposing inefficiency so it may be eliminated or cut way way down?
If any company does what you are saying here,,, Glen,,,, the estimate would be wrong and YES, your price would be inflated to cover the loss from the inefficiency for sure,,,,,, as you already mentioned.
I have helped hundereds of companies and thousands of people all over the country, find ways to become more profitable by understanding and putting into place operational efficiencies, you yourself have sat in on many seminars of mine and I can say I have no Idea how you can actually post what you have? Unless I am reading your post wrong, you are very very incorrect in your understanding in estimating, efficiency and and profitability for an operation that sells time for a profit.
No attack Glen Ol Boy,,, Sean may not want to keep this one up either,,, I dunno,,,,, But Glen the calculator doesn't lie,,,,, I just can't make the explanation you posted work,,,,, you simply and I have to say, most effectively explained how to hide inefficiency in your operation, raise your price's to cover inefficiency, how can this help folks Glen?
Simply said,,,, you cannot charge customers for a companies inefficiencies and stay in business long term,,,,, the math wont work,,,,, help me understand what your alluding to,,,,, thank you.
Rick Carver

Mac_Cool
06-04-2006, 11:30 PM
The driver of the vehicle must be paid from leaving the shop untill returning at night. Crew members do not have to be paid from the shop to the first job and from the last job to the shop

Nothing in my experience, in the books I've read, the classes I've taken, nor anything I could find in the US labor laws allows me to believe this is true. If it is true, it would be good information. What is your basis for believing you do not have to pay travel time to crew members if you transport them to the job site?

My understanding of the law is that if you have the crew meet at the job site they are not paid for travel time; however, if they meet at the office/shop and are transported to the site then travel time must be paid. In short, the labor laws say an employee must be paid for any time that is directly under your control. But I haven't read them front to back so if I'm missing something, I want to know. Thanks.

Mac_Cool
06-04-2006, 11:45 PM
You are correct in the traditional sense,but GlenZ has taken lessons from a very knowledgeable man on this and is operating on a different basis than most. According to this system he is correct in his assertions.
You must have missed my post where I took his numbers, corrected his mistakes and demonstrated that his original calculations were wrong. Even after breaking it down by the hour, the two man crew is going to be more efficient most of the time over a single person. -If the work is lopsided, the mowing takes much longer than the trimming or vice versa then the efficiency of the 2nd person is going to diminished, but in that case the helper should be payed accordingly.

i before e except after c (there are always exceptions)

Efficiency is the ratio of input to output... in business it is the ratio of the money spent to the money earned. If anyone is calculating efficiency differently then they are most likely are using a flawed system.

I posted a screenshot of the Excel table I created to calculate it just to be sure my math was correct (the first time I scratched it onto a napkin).

It's entirely possible that I'm off the mark here but someone is going to have to do the math (correctly) and show me. I'm a tad stubborn if you haven't noticed.

One thing I want to clarify (it should already be clear but just in case) I'm not saying 'all things being equal'... if you hire a helper for the first guy you should either have the workload to support him or be in the process of expansion. So I'm assuming that sales are higher when I add in the 2nd guy.

Freddy_Kruger
06-05-2006, 01:02 AM
Forgot you were in Canada. There are situations where that would be OK here, if they are meeting at a jobsite but you couldn't just not pay them while driving back to the shop. Here you would be sued for lost wages and interest.
Really? I wonder if they would be happier just getting dropped off in whatever part of town. If you got two guys with you and its rush hour, your telling me at the end of the day you have to pay them to drive them back to the shop. Not here and before I did that I would just drop them off at a bus stop. I remember when I worked for a roofing company (a big one) we had to show up 15 min. early to get our stuff together and where on the road to the job site before we were actually on the clock a lot of the time. I was driving the Tar truck, at the end of the day only I was on the clock because I was driving if I was giving a ride to someone that had a car at the shop they were not on the clock.

gardengnome
06-05-2006, 06:28 AM
Nothing in my experience, in the books I've read, the classes I've taken, nor anything I could find in the US labor laws allows me to believe this is true. If it is true, it would be good information. What is your basis for believing you do not have to pay travel time to crew members if you transport them to the job site?

My understanding of the law is that if you have the crew meet at the job site they are not paid for travel time; however, if they meet at the office/shop and are transported to the site then travel time must be paid. In short, the labor laws say an employee must be paid for any time that is directly under your control. But I haven't read them front to back so if I'm missing something, I want to know. Thanks.
The payroll service/employee leasing company.

GlennZ
06-05-2006, 08:57 AM
OK,,, Glen,,,, But please answer my original question. Maybe you just mis spoke. You said that travel time is wasted time/inefficent time? NO it isn't,,,, it is part of the job and should be charged as so. This also has nothing at all to do with a min. charge for service. A Min. charge should be a companies break even point PLUS a MIN net included per company owners descretion.
You have now posted that inefficiencies should be included into estimates? WHAT? HUH? What happened to checking the actual time from all jobs against your accurate estimating to get the TRUE efficiency factor? What happened to exposing inefficiency so it may be eliminated or cut way way down?
If any company does what you are saying here,,, Glen,,,, the estimate would be wrong and YES, your price would be inflated to cover the loss from the inefficiency for sure,,,,,, as you already mentioned.
I have helped hundereds of companies and thousands of people all over the country, find ways to become more profitable by understanding and putting into place operational efficiencies, you yourself have sat in on many seminars of mine and I can say I have no Idea how you can actually post what you have? Unless I am reading your post wrong, you are very very incorrect in your understanding in estimating, efficiency and and profitability for an operation that sells time for a profit.
No attack Glen Ol Boy,,, Sean may not want to keep this one up either,,, I dunno,,,,, But Glen the calculator doesn't lie,,,,, I just can't make the explanation you posted work,,,,, you simply and I have to say, most effectively explained how to hide inefficiency in your operation, raise your price's to cover inefficiency, how can this help folks Glen?
Simply said,,,, you cannot charge customers for a companies inefficiencies and stay in business long term,,,,, the math wont work,,,,, help me understand what your alluding to,,,,, thank you.
Rick Carver

Rick,

I am confused now. You seem to be arguing both sides at the same time. For small and medium size lawns what is the optimal crew size? Then add another person to that number. Now I am adding extra travel time that really is not needed plus I am charging the customer for it. The travel time is an inefficiency. I may be increasing my bid to a price higher then the customer is willing to pay for.

The other side of the coin is, I am going to charge the customer as much as I think he is willing to pay. So any way that I can spend less time servicing the property is going to increase my bottom line. So if I can decrease travel time by sending less people and get the job done faster, why wouldn't I want to do that.

GlennZ
06-05-2006, 09:13 AM
I want to ask the other people that are reading this thread for their input. It is obvious to me that we are going to argue forever and nothing will ever be solved. I am going to assume that all the people that are actively discussing this already have a profitable company and know their numbers.

The fact is that many companies may have no clue of what we are talking about. They don't know their numbers and don't know how to get them. Personally I started on this forum to help people get a grasp of business. I realize that many landscapers dislike the business end of things. They want to be out estimating, mowing, landscaping etc, but realize that they need to get a handle on business if they are going to be around for a long time.

To those people I ask you to reply so that maybe we can collectively be of some help. If all we are going to do is argue all day there is no need for me to participate. You can also send me a private email by selecting my name on the posting.

rodfather
06-05-2006, 04:10 PM
I have to admit you guys have been at it for quite some time now and are getting nowhere real quick.

First of all, there is no perfect number mowing crew. I have crews of 3 cause that is what works best for us. We have our lawns (1 - 12 acre, most in the 3 - 5 range) down to a point a 3 men crew are finished I would say within 2 minutes or less of another.

Is there windshield time? Sure, some days more than others unfortunately. There's nothing I can do about that but try to tighten up their routes more and more each year. But it is something that I live with, budget for, and price accordingly as well in my pricing structure.

I will say this. All of them like the 3 man crew better than a 2. Hope that sheds some light...

Mac_Cool
06-05-2006, 11:03 PM
If you got two guys with you and its rush hour, your telling me at the end of the day you have to pay them to drive them back to the shop. Not here and before I did that I would just drop them off at a bus stop.

I guess the laws are different in Canada, see below:

The payroll service/employee leasing company.

If the employee is travelling in a vehicle not normally used for commuting (truck & trailer, dump truck, bus, etc) you should be paying them for travel time.

You probably don't have to pay if:

It is a vehicle of a type normally used for commuting;
Your employee is able to use his or her normal route for the commute;
Your employee did not incur any additional costs using your vehicle;
The home-to-work travel is within your normal commuting area; and
The use of the vehicle is subject to an agreement between you and the employee (or the employee's representative).


Nothing indicates that it makes any difference whether the employee is the driver or passenger.

If you require an employee to drive to a worksite outside their normal commute, say another city, then it becomes a whole other ball of wax in which most of the time you should pay travel time.

http://www.dol.gov/elaws/esa/flsa/hoursworked/screen1d.asp

Freddy_Kruger
06-07-2006, 01:25 AM
So how does this story end? did everybody go back to work or what?

grnkeepers
06-07-2006, 10:00 AM
Freddy, everybody said their viewpoint was right.

Same crap as always.
You try to shed some light on the laws and "suburban legend" always seems to prevail irregardless.

We're STILL waiting for the PLANET report from GlennZ (and I'll bet donuts to dollars it NEVER shows up).

Other than that reality is ruled by "we've done it this way and haven't been caught yet".
Of course that would be the answer because those that have been caught are now at of business to give us their opinion.

Rodfather, I respect the number of post you have made but...
before going all commission my multiple man crews were just as fine tuned as yours. Every body finished within minutes of each other too.

The mower guys slowed down to make sure they didn't have to help weedy.
The weedy guys took their time cause they were pissed they were the ones sweating.
Everybody made sure they didn't have to do anyone else's job.
Everybody pulling 4-8 hours of OT a week.

Switched over to commission and 4 employees out of nine quit.
Never needed to hire more. The five who stayed got the job done WITHOUT overtime!!!!!!

When multiple employee crews start timing out to the minute is NOT a well oil machine. Just a well manipulated machine by your employees. IMHO

Freddy_Kruger
06-07-2006, 11:08 AM
Switched over to commission and 4 employees out of nine quit.
Never needed to hire more. The five who stayed got the job done WITHOUT overtime!!!!!!

right on, they started working as if they were business owners eh? The owners always work harder than employees. I always liked piece work.


But what I wanted to know was what happened with the thread starters management problem, how did that story end? I got this feeling he abadoned the thread though (just like all his guys quit on him).

rodfather
06-07-2006, 02:16 PM
Rodfather, I respect the number of post you have made but...
before going all commission my multiple man crews were just as fine tuned as yours. Every body finished within minutes of each other too.

The mower guys slowed down to make sure they didn't have to help weedy.
The weedy guys took their time cause they were pissed they were the ones sweating.
Everybody made sure they didn't have to do anyone else's job.
Everybody pulling 4-8 hours of OT a week.

When multiple employee crews start timing out to the minute is NOT a well oil machine. Just a well manipulated machine by your employees. IMHO

We don't have just mowing guys and guys that just trim. 3 jump on their mower, then the same 3 trim (sometimes 2 trim and 1 blow) until completed. 13 full time years at this has helped me schedule and complete all of our work by all our people with no overtime. In fact, we have recently gone to a 4 day workweek for both 3 man mowing crews. They are delighted too btw because they make the same amount of $$$ per week and now have an extra day of the week to do whatever they want to.

In case ya don't know they are compensated well, laborers receive $17.50 and hour and foremen $22.50.