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View Full Version : Solo but need to hire help sometime


Baytownlawncare
09-24-2010, 11:36 PM
This is my first season and I enjoy the heck out of this work. It is hard but I am outside enjoying the outdoors. Back in June/July my brother purchased the domain baytownlawncare.com which tells what I do and has my city in the domain. I have been just clobbered with calls and still work a full time job. I have to turn down about a half to a third of my calls due to my busy schedule. I don't want to hire someone this year but maybe next year. Where do you look for good help and how much do you pay them. Most kids these days could care less for hard work or your equipment. I have read horror stories on here about hired help and almost would just run solo booked to the tee than hire someone but I have to move forward with my business at some point. At some point I have to cut hours at my full time job to really move forward and hire help. Any pointers, or other experiences with hired help would be nice.

Southern Pride
09-24-2010, 11:51 PM
Where do you purchase domain names? I am going to do this ASAP.

Ontopic, I am in your shoes too. I started this year but blew up. I love to work Solo for quality's sake but on those days of 115 degrees with 10 yards to get done I don't mind just riding the mower all day either ya know...Um, I would say check with any of your friends in need of some extra cash. Especially guys in school or whatever. That way all of the trust and getting to know each other is out of the way. Easy as hell to train, mainly concentrate on edging (certain way)

Anyway, unexperienced..$9/hr but as soon as they pick up their speed with good quality (prob after first week) I put them at $10/hr....If they are driving my truck and act as my foreman if I'm not there (never happened) but that would be a $12/hr range. I would highly suggest getting someone you know to get you through a season at first. You don't want to go hiring a guy (you don't know) if you can't give him that many hrs. So I try to milk it with my friends as long as possible. There will be a point when I will need to hire 1 fulltime guy (probably mexican) AT that point, I would not want it to be a friend but someone who is committed to the season. Hope that atleast put some ideas in your head.

Oh just if you do hire a friend never feel obligated to pay them more than $10/hr or split it with them. (I sometimes had this trouble) cuz I'm close with them but then I remebered they didn't throw down the thousands in equipment and thousand hours getting the jobs.....

h2oskier
09-25-2010, 02:05 AM
Id agree with southern pride about the friends looking for extra cash situation also, as for this season. When next season rolls around i think i would try finding that one guy that stands out when your in a store or maybe on a job that the neighbor kid shows interest in what your doing. They usually will give good results, just be upfront on your situation on what you need and what your willing to pay so there is no i think i deserve a raise after 2 weeks type thing. This is just my opinion, it may work for you may not.

Baytownlawncare
09-26-2010, 11:30 AM
Southern Pride, My brother is a web designer for an oil company in Austin. He hooked me up. All I really know is the "rent" for both domains are about $25 bucks a year. One will be about 12 bucks. I have baytownlawncare.com and baytownlawnservice.com. The actual site is stored on his server space located somewhere in New York state. He tells me that since my website takes up so little space not to worry about server space rent. So basically you will be paying for domain name and server space. I would think for about 50 bucks a year you can get it done. Also post some ads on craigslist with links to your site. Craigslist boosts your ranking in a google search. I really don't like to advertise on there but it helps you in the long run. Hope this helps, it sure has me. I cannot wait until next season to see what happens.

Baytownlawncare
09-26-2010, 11:35 AM
Well I was thinking that maybe I would approach some of the youth at my church to cover me in the June to August time frame. Problem is my church is 16 miles from my house and most of my yards are within 5 miles of my home. I don't really want to have to go pick up kids and then drop them off at the end of the day. I guess I can look for driving kids. I started this season just to pay bills and it has just overwhelm me at this time. The grass continues to grow well here in southeast Texas!

stan the man
09-26-2010, 11:42 AM
i am in the same boat. next i ave hire someone on the clean up i have some friend help me out they work nights at Poland spring water bottle company. they work 6pm to 6am work 4 and have 3 off. they are help out a lot. i need some all time. plowing is come up and i have 3 trucks 100 plowing accounts.round here stating paid is 10.00 that not bad finding to right person at wants to work

pflasch
09-26-2010, 03:34 PM
Domains... Go to GoDaddy.com
They can sell you a domain, hosting services, etc.

Talk to one of their reps, and they can explain all of the features that they can offer you!

BrunoT
09-27-2010, 02:23 AM
Ha. You've run into what everyone has. Tough to find labor. It's hard work, low pay, usually unpleasant weather, and most of all, highly seasonal. Life's "Winners" out there rarely choose to work odd hours, for relatively low pay, often only seasonally, in terrible conditions, with no benefits, with little chance for advancement at a tiny startup company. Instead, they do what many here do. They start their own lawn biz.

Figure on 10x the headaches if using crews, only about 2-4x the headaches if hiring a helper you work with personally and can supervise closely..

A big problem is what happens if you double your client list but your helper no-shows? Turnover is high. You instantly have a serious problem. Not many $12/hour guys really feel they have something to lose if they get fired. Hence the problem. Your reputation for reliability could be destroyed pretty fast.

My advice would be to first raise your prices some on existing accounts and to charge more on future prospects. You can raise revenue w/o working more that way. Then cherry pick the work and only do accounts you a) enjoy doing, b) that are physically less tiring, and c) in your most profitable niche'.

Only once you've maxed those out would I go to employees unless you have a personal aquaintance or relative or someone else you can rely on. Students used to be a better source of seasonal labor, but as you probably no, the little darlings rarely work this sort of job these days. Parents won't let them, they don't have to, or they want inside work. If you go from 30 to 60 accounts, for example, and your help bails you could quickly lose all the accounts you failed to get to on time. And the worst thing is that you probably lack the free time to interview prospects now that you have double the workload. And any replacement who shows up to work for you on a day's notice may not be a superstar anyway.

IMHO, not a great biz for those who want to hire employees unless you have a high tolerance for their shenanigans. Also keep in mind you'll now be stuck with this person all day long. Search for "body odor" and other employee threads here on lawnsite. Sort of takes some of the fun out of it.

Summertime Lawn
09-27-2010, 07:25 AM
Bruno states it very very well. I may come off as a cynical view, but it is almost spot on.

stan the man
09-27-2010, 08:46 AM
i understand about the hourly pay the 3 guys that help me on clean ups i pay 15.00 hour. one ride around and dose my curb side leave pick up with box and vacuum on the truck. he stops and gets the leaves at the accounts that we have done. one thing is that i am not just a mowing services for my accounts. i am handyman to them. all week i build 16x16 deck so i do a lot of different things. if they are going to work i will pay. it is to the point that i have to get my mowing done fast then do my handyman services and i hate to have someone who is going to beat my equipment. you all know that equipment are not cheap.

Mike S.
09-27-2010, 09:04 AM
This is my first season and I enjoy the heck out of this work. It is hard but I am outside enjoying the outdoors. Back in June/July my brother purchased the domain baytownlawncare.com which tells what I do and has my city in the domain. I have been just clobbered with calls and still work a full time job. I have to turn down about a half to a third of my calls due to my busy schedule. I don't want to hire someone this year but maybe next year. Where do you look for good help and how much do you pay them. Most kids these days could care less for hard work or your equipment. I have read horror stories on here about hired help and almost would just run solo booked to the tee than hire someone but I have to move forward with my business at some point. At some point I have to cut hours at my full time job to really move forward and hire help. Any pointers, or other experiences with hired help would be nice.


Craigslist did wonders for me. I had a "friend" bail on me because of drinking to much the night before so I posted an add and received about 13 calls within 2 hours. 25 the entire day.
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DA Quality Lawn & YS
09-27-2010, 09:45 AM
Make sure you factor in the extra taxes, work comp coverage, wages, etc that you will be paying on an extra man. Decide if this is worth it - it may or may not be for you.