PDA

View Full Version : Adding Crews


GroundScapesIncorporated
07-17-2007, 03:38 PM
Just curious of those who run more than one crew, what was the determining factor that made you add on that first additional crew. We are booked solid with work all the way through until November and are starting to lose work due to not being able to do it soon enough, but I dont really have the equipment to just hire another crew. So I cant decide what I should do?

D Felix
07-17-2007, 04:06 PM
It's a balancing act for sure.

I personally did not have to worry about when to hire people for a second crew, but I do tell everyone where they are going. :)

We have been going at least 2 directions (sometimes 3 or 4) each day for the last 3 months or better with 5 full time, 1 part, and one of the owners. Equipment is only part of the problem- you also have to worry about qualified and knowledgable people to run that equipment and perform the work needed. That's most of my problem right now- not everyone can be sent out to do something and I don't have to worry that it will get done correctly.

Make sure you have the people that can do the work first, then worry about equiping them...

NewHorizon's Land
07-17-2007, 08:15 PM
I agree with D Felix. Could your machine operator excavate and put a rough base in (not final graded) and then have the crew do the rest of the install? Not sure of your situation.

tthomass
07-17-2007, 08:48 PM
We used to do what NewHorizon said when I worked for a company.......forman A would start the job and then sometimes B would come in to do things that A was not quite so qualified to do.

My problem is an equip operator. I can hand over a plan and it will get done but the machinery part of things.....well I can't leave the job. I want to start a second crew in the spring, probably lay off in the summer and pick back up in the fall again but all pending the work load. That way I can better handle the work load during the busy times. I don't know how things are down at the lake but perhaps you could do the same, seasonal crews so to speak?

GreenMonster
07-17-2007, 10:11 PM
we added our second crew for the same reason you are considering it. That is, we were getting too backed up and losing work as a result.

These guys are right thought by saying people are key. Today was another day of pulling what little hair I have out, as the other crew wasn't getting things done the way they should have, which has been a recurring problem lately.

Equipment is easy -- it's always readily available, and once you buy it, it shows up every day, and generally does what it is asked to do. People, well, that's the big wild card. If I could replace everybody I have with equipment, I'd do it in a heartbeat. I think equipment allows us to do more with less people, but only to a point. You gotta have GOOD people, and we're rethinking out entire hiring process and the kind of people we want working WITH us.

forestfireguy
07-18-2007, 08:13 AM
We have 2 crews, one is more a detail crew, meaning if we don't have pavers for them to lay or block to sling or plants to plant, they will weed,spray,fert or whatever for our maintenance accounts. Our only limitation on the second crew is an operator for equipment, the kid who runs that crew is OK in a skidder, but I wouldn't put him in a excavator in the middle of the sahara for fear of destruction. We are fortunate to have a more or less fulltime driver who moves equipment and materials who is a very careful but kinda slow operator. It is a balancing act for sure, it sounds like you might be ready, just don't forget the extra overhead factor of another crew,vehicle and tools so they can stay as efficient as your other crew.

GroundScapesIncorporated
07-18-2007, 10:28 AM
Thanks for the advice guys.

I can find top notch laborers with no problem right now, I actually have two more ready to go to work who are a brother in law and cousin to my best employee, but like you all are talking about, a good foreman isnt so easy to find.

The more I think about it, you guys are right, I really need to find that crew leader before anything else.

forestfireguy
07-18-2007, 01:40 PM
You mention a "best" employee, does he have the abilities, or the potential to have them??? If so you may have your foreman right in front of you.

mrusk
07-18-2007, 05:59 PM
Just do not think that you can just send a foreman and 2 laborers out and then run a 2nd crew yourself. It is very difficult to run 2 crews while you are the leader of one of them. Just something to ponder.

GreenMonster
07-18-2007, 06:16 PM
Just do not think that you can just send a foreman and 2 laborers out and then run a 2nd crew yourself. It is very difficult to run 2 crews while you are the leader of one of them. Just something to ponder.

very good point, Matt. That's where I'm at now, and my crew is not nearly as effecient as it should be, because I'm on my phone half the time with the other crew, customers, suppliers, etc.

GroundScapesIncorporated
07-18-2007, 10:15 PM
You mention a "best" employee, does he have the abilities, or the potential to have them??? If so you may have your foreman right in front of you.


The employee i am referring to is fully able to do anything my crew foreman can, except get a valid VA drivers license. Other than that he would make an excellent foreman.

GroundScapesIncorporated
07-18-2007, 10:18 PM
Just do not think that you can just send a foreman and 2 laborers out and then run a 2nd crew yourself. It is very difficult to run 2 crews while you are the leader of one of them. Just something to ponder.


Matt,
I never intended to run any crew, thats what crew foremans are for. If I were to hire another crew I would need to find another crew foreman. I dont understand how any decent companys owner can run a crew and keep up with day to day operations effectively, even if it is only a 2-3 emloyee company.

mrusk
07-18-2007, 10:28 PM
Matt,
I never intended to run any crew, thats what crew foremans are for. If I were to hire another crew I would need to find another crew foreman. I dont understand how any decent companys owner can run a crew and keep up with day to day operations effectively, even if it is only a 2-3 emloyee company.

I hear you on that one. Right now i am trying to run a crew. But then it seems like i am always throwing all the guys together on one job each week for atleast 2 days so i can go take care of stuff.

Matt

mrusk
07-18-2007, 10:31 PM
very good point, Matt. That's where I'm at now, and my crew is not nearly as effecient as it should be, because I'm on my phone half the time with the other crew, customers, suppliers, etc.

Same here. And some how i can not seem to stay out of my truck. Always need to go pick something up, or met with someone.

NewHorizon's Land
07-19-2007, 06:22 PM
The employee i am referring to is fully able to do anything my crew foreman can, except get a valid VA drivers license. Other than that he would make an excellent foreman.

Does your foreman HAVE to drive? If one of the other crew members is capable of driving then why not have them drive? The foreman could think about the job and any complications he may encounter since he does not have to be thinking about driving. Just a thought.

Justin

PatriotLandscape
07-20-2007, 10:23 PM
It really depends on your office structure as to wether you can run 2 crews+ we run one maintenance and one construction. last year we had two construction but I was really forcing the issue rahter thanstaying on top of the production.

Good foreman don't grow on trees here if you have two already great but really your second foreman needs to (or should) come from your other crew. That way you are not re-inventing the wheel with someoen who doesn't understand the way you do business.

mattfromNY
07-20-2007, 10:35 PM
Just my 2 cents on what you say about hiring your employees' cousin and relatives... Any job I've ever worked at, if there are relatives working together, they will always side with each other, it may be against you for whatever reason. I've seen two people quit a job b/c one of them had a beef with the boss. I've seen them lie to cover up mistakes the other one made. I would personally be very careful in hiring two relatives to work on the same crew. Like I said, its just my 2 cents of what I've seen in the past, and your situation may be very different.
matt.

bullethead
07-24-2007, 11:44 AM
If you want to grow, you have to suck it up:

1) You have to get out the fieldwork and reduce your field related role to supervision, this will free you up to ramp up sales/bidding etc to keep your pipeline full.
2) You will probably have to take a personal paycut, so you can finance part of this growth. It sucks, but if you are saying you can't afford more equipment you are either charging too little or you are paying yourself too much. It's ok to take on some third party debt but don't leverage yourself to the hilt, you'll sleep better at night (even on a stomach full of rice and beans).
3) I used to always buy a personal truck that I could hand down to my next crew. That seemed to work out pretty well for me.
4) Just find a driver for your second crew. The driver does not have to be the foreman. You'll have to massage some egos on this one, but it can be done. The key is to get two foremen in place and start developing a third.
5) At this point, w/ 2 construction crews, it should be you and a secretary/office administrator type person for the overhead. Find a good designer/architect to work for you on a contract basis (it would be pretty much a pass through cost for you) to get this aspect off your plate.
6) Good luck