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View Full Version : Solo ???? Or not


Wright48
01-13-2011, 03:29 PM
I had one other guy working with me this past season and i cant tell you that the help wasnt great because it was, but with that comes all the headaches of having an employee the occasional late start call outs checking on his work training ect. also trying to keep him working the whole season. I know that for spring and fall clean ups i will need and extra hand but im just wondering if theres any solo guys out there and how many lawns could you do on averge in a week?

lets face it the economy is in the shitter and not having to pay someone each week plus all the payroll taxes along with it would be a good thing

gasracer
01-13-2011, 03:47 PM
I have guys that I use "on call". I just use them for the big jobs and do the rest of them solo. I have done every one of my yards solo so I know how long it takes and can plan the day either way. Small 1/4 acre yards you can do 10 a day.

loupiscopolandscaping
01-14-2011, 06:15 PM
the good thing about solo is that you can build a STRONG relationship/friendship with your clients...they hired you and they want you on that job!...good for landing jobs, but bad for completing them since your limited

Agape
01-15-2011, 12:42 PM
the good thing about solo is that you can build a STRONG relationship/friendship with your clients...they hired you and they want you on that job!...good for landing jobs, but bad for completing them since your limited

I appreciate solo work, as I don't have to coordinate and pay workers, and I enjoy a good working relationship with my customers. However, I want to grow and the only way I can achieve that is by having employees.

Smallaxe
01-15-2011, 01:00 PM
Sub-contracting is much simpler that 'employee' relationship. Find someone who doesn't need or want fulltime work and is able to be available on a reasonably regular basis. Don't expect that the world is out there to serve you, but run the business in an amicable fashion. A good working relationship with one person, is worth being patient about.

lawnpro724
01-15-2011, 01:47 PM
I had one other guy working with me this past season and i cant tell you that the help wasnt great because it was, but with that comes all the headaches of having an employee the occasional late start call outs checking on his work training ect. also trying to keep him working the whole season. I know that for spring and fall clean ups i will need and extra hand but im just wondering if theres any solo guys out there and how many lawns could you do on averge in a week?

lets face it the economy is in the shitter and not having to pay someone each week plus all the payroll taxes along with it would be a good thing

Employee's are a necessary evil if you want to grow your business but you can also make a decent living working solo. I would say a 4 day work week mowing 10 lawns a day would be a good way to go. That would give you 1 work day and weekend for other jobs like small landscaping or a rain makeup day.

Lefet
01-15-2011, 03:25 PM
I have guys that I use "on call". I just use them for the big jobs and do the rest of them solo. I have done every one of my yards solo so I know how long it takes and can plan the day either way. Small 1/4 acre yards you can do 10 a day.

How long is your work day? Have you ever done more than 10?

Landscape Poet
01-15-2011, 04:36 PM
To each his own, but I have to agree with smallaxe and others - sub contracting is the way to go. No worries about keeping them busy...no worries about the extra overhead.
Think about this - how much more revenue do you have to produce just to pay for your employee? How much did your insurance go up? Did you need to purchase extra equipment? How much more was your advertising cost go up just to gain the extra work? How much more abuse did your equipment take?
The gap between solo and not is one that should be carefully planned out and not just jump into it.My advise is do clearly look at realistic numbers and is the ROI worth it?
Posted via Mobile Device

Agape
01-15-2011, 05:28 PM
To each his own, but I have to agree with smallaxe and others - sub contracting is the way to go. No worries about keeping them busy...no worries about the extra overhead.
Think about this - how much more revenue do you have to produce just to pay for your employee? How much did your insurance go up? Did you need to purchase extra equipment? How much more was your advertising cost go up just to gain the extra work? How much more abuse did your equipment take?
The gap between solo and not is one that should be carefully planned out and not just jump into it.My advise is do clearly look at realistic numbers and is the ROI worth it?
Posted via Mobile Device

Jeez, I would just hate to rely on the type of person that is willing to be "on call" and has nothing else going for himself. It's hard enough to find a descent, reliable employee that is a regular and wants regular work.
I don't mean to belittle the people who work for us and make us money, but we're simply not dealing with "type A" personalities in the first place.

Landscape Poet
01-15-2011, 06:26 PM
Jeez, I would just hate to rely on the type of person that is willing to be "on call" and has nothing else going for himself. It's hard enough to find a descent, reliable employee that is a regular and wants regular work.
I don't mean to belittle the people who work for us and make us money, but we're simply not dealing with "type A" personalities in the first place.

That depends - right now your labor force is as good as you are going to get it, lots of talented people out there without a job because of the economy. Unemployment benefits are running out. The last sod job I did in December, I had a guy work for me that has 12 years of experience in landscape - he has been unemployed for the last two.
I have a guy down the street that is a foreman for a larger construction company begging me for extra work because he can really use the money for this and that.
I would guess it would depend on your location and the unemployment rate - but given the country's numbers - I have a feeling that you can find someone with talent if you look hard enough.
I have a source that is a contractor himself......he has about 40 people on call at any given time.....he gets to look like a good guy for finding them work during their non peak seasons, which works for me.

Agape
01-16-2011, 01:55 AM
That depends - right now your labor force is as good as you are going to get it, lots of talented people out there without a job because of the economy. Unemployment benefits are running out. The last sod job I did in December, I had a guy work for me that has 12 years of experience in landscape - he has been unemployed for the last two.
I have a guy down the street that is a foreman for a larger construction company begging me for extra work because he can really use the money for this and that.
I would guess it would depend on your location and the unemployment rate - but given the country's numbers - I have a feeling that you can find someone with talent if you look hard enough.
I have a source that is a contractor himself......he has about 40 people on call at any given time.....he gets to look like a good guy for finding them work during their non peak seasons, which works for me.

I can see the benefits of using on call workers, I simply prefer the benefits of using regulars.

gasracer
01-16-2011, 05:50 PM
I always use 1 of the 3 same guys for "on call" work.

lawnpro724
01-16-2011, 06:41 PM
I always use 1 of the 3 same guys for "on call" work.

Just wait until someone turns you in to the state for having people work and not paying any State and Federal taxes and NO worker comp or unemployment ins. You think its nice to have 3 guy's at your beck and call but when you get turned in for doing it, its going to be the biggest headache you ever had. Having employee's is a necessary part of growing your business and is one of the biggest deductions a business can have to offset your tax liability. The market is very cut throat all over these day's and you don't want to give someone the opportunity to give you the biggest headache you will ever have.

If you must use people who are not on payroll make it clear to them that they are sub contracting work off of you and at the end of the year file a form 1099

gasracer
01-16-2011, 07:33 PM
Just wait until someone turns you in to the state for having people work and not paying any State and Federal taxes and NO worker comp or unemployment ins. You think its nice to have 3 guy's at your beck and call but when you get turned in for doing it, its going to be the biggest headache you ever had. Having employee's is a necessary part of growing your business and is one of the biggest deductions a business can have to offset your tax liability. The market is very cut throat all over these day's and you don't want to give someone the opportunity to give you the biggest headache you will ever have.

If you must use people who are not on payroll make it clear to them that they are sub contracting work off of you and at the end of the year file a form 1099

Just so you know they are 1099.Only one of the 3 made over the $600 threshold.I record every hour they work for me.

sdk1959
01-16-2011, 07:46 PM
Just so you know they are 1099.Only one of the 3 made over the $600 threshold.

Interesting article link below you might like to read about FedEx Ground vs UPS. It's a good read, FedEx has been using subcontractors pretty much from the get go, UPS has always used employees. Discusses costs and advantages to both with respect to their operations.

http://www.braunconsulting.com/bcg/newsletters/winter2004/winter20041.html#point1

Greg78
01-16-2011, 08:12 PM
How long is your work day? Have you ever done more than 10?

I work an 8 hour day and can do 10-11 consistently by myself just using a 36" walk behind with Velke. I have done up to 17 before in a 10 hour day by myself.

These are just mow, edge, trim, and blow accounts. 10,000 to 15,000 square feet lots.

gasracer
01-16-2011, 08:36 PM
Most of my small ones I don't use a velke on my 36" WB so after about 10 in 95 degree heat that is about as much as you want.

matt spinniken
01-18-2011, 12:11 AM
I have tried using subcontractors and on a small scale they can work fine but I personally dont think it works well to grow a successful business without employees.

Also, being solo is fine and I am sure it can be somewhat profitable. To me a solo lawn care operator owns a job with a lot of bosses. My goal is to run a business that doesnt need me there each day to keep running.

My businesses most valuable asset is my employees, it took me a lot of hiring/firing to finally find a great group though.

Gravelyftw
01-20-2011, 10:46 PM
I have done 20 by myself working from 8am to 6pm but they were all in 1 neighborhood. This is with a 52" gravely w/ sulky on most yards. Made my boss some $ that day. I probably could have done 4 more if i would'nt have had to take 2 loads of grass clippings to the dump.