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View Full Version : going solo to adding guy


grassmasterswilson
05-03-2011, 07:52 AM
How did you guys make the transition? I am getting to the point it would be a nice addition. I'm not doing 40 hours of "field work" but most likely do more if I include office work and estimate.

How did you handle the fact that they may not get 40 hours to start with? Be upfront? Start them as seasonal and maybe drop them in the winter?

Any advice would be nice.

nobagger
05-03-2011, 08:19 AM
Stay solo! Here's my experience with hiring guys. This might sound like a broken record because this is all I post about lately but here goes. Ya know what, I can't even go into it, its too draining. Just be ready for no show's, sub par work, more expenses, trying to rely on people who could care less, broken equipment. Should I go on? I'm not saying there aren't good worker's out there but they are very far and few and come with a big price tag. Just look at all the "employee" type posts. Mine is "once again let down by employee expectations" its a good read. But if you are set on hiring someone, run an ad and include f/t or p/t, job duties, etc. If you only need a p/t position filled just say p/t don't lead them on by saying plenty of hours, room for advancement unless there is. Honestly, unless your one of the lucky ones expect to interview at least 100 people to find even one decent guy. GOOD LUCK!

nobagger
05-03-2011, 08:32 AM
How did you guys make the transition? I am getting to the point it would be a nice addition. I'm not doing 40 hours of "field work" but most likely do more if I include office work and estimate.

How did you handle the fact that they may not get 40 hours to start with? Be upfront? Start them as seasonal and maybe drop them in the winter?

Any advice would be nice.

Forgot to mention, and this is just me but I tell them no guarantee's for 40hrs. We've been rained out so many times this season it isn't even funny any more. We've been able to mow 3 lawns this season so far and clean ups are way behind but I refuse to mow someone's lawn thats tough to even walk on cuz the next thing ya know they'll want their lawns repaired.

Smallaxe
05-03-2011, 08:56 AM
You get an employee, you'll be recieving notice from the gov't about how you will supply Obamacare for that employee... I got that little post card as a corporation, with me Technically being an employee...
Business is facing a more hostile environment every day...

Unless you love paperwork, keep it simple...

txgrassguy
05-03-2011, 09:39 AM
Do yourself a favor and research small business management techniques - which include hiring employees.
Horror stories abound but so do success stories. However, once you learn to dispassionately incorporate sound management techniques you'll find actually having employees isn't the turdfloating burden it can be.
Regarding hours and other questions, your research on the web will guide you in the most appropriate manner unique to the labor regulations in your state according to your business model. Simply put what works for me in an employment at will state as a sole proprietor may not work for you.
I have had my up and downs, however this was more due to a $640K+ divorce than issues with employees. When I did have 'problem children' I could always trace the source of the problem to the management style/hiring process = a communication error which once corrected removed the issue(s). This was done either by firing the employee or actually getting them to understand what I wanted.
Will you never have a problem - no, of course not but you can go a long way to both easing your burden as the key employee by adding staff as well as increasing market presence = more money.

topsites
05-03-2011, 10:01 AM
Here's my experience with hiring guys. This might sound like a broken record because this is all I post about lately but here goes.
Ya know what, I can't even go into it, its too draining.

Hell yeah nobagger, lol!

Let me tell you...
In my 4th year I hired a guy who turned into such a nightmare that I swore I would NEVER hire help again.
And I haven't, I am now in my 10th year.

arninglawns
05-03-2011, 10:35 AM
Do your due diligence. You will need to interview several people before finding the right one. That means, in addition to seeing how they work, calling previous employers, check out their criminal and driving record, and asking them questions. Talk to people who are successful in this business, don't listen to the "stay solo" guys, they're essentially working their butts off for what they could be paying someone $10 an hour to do. Your time is much better spent than that growing your business.

TJLANDS
05-03-2011, 10:45 AM
Most, not all, but most of the people that say to stay solo only say that because they dont have the savy or the brains to run a business.

If you stay solo you are severely limited in anything and what if you get hurt? what then?
Dont be afraid to hire a worker, go for it. It is the only way to grow.
Good Luck

gasracer
05-03-2011, 11:16 AM
Hiring someone to work with you is a lot different than sending them out on there own. You may go through several to find one that works the way you want them to. Explain to them up front the number of hours you want them to work. Maybe work them some and still do some solo.A lot of accounting software will let you track a single person or even a couple without having to go through Paychecks.

G. Ramey
05-03-2011, 07:02 PM
I have tried expanding to include an employee twice in six years. Both times I made lots less money and had lots more expenses. If your only putting in 40 hours a week don't waste your time and money on an employee. when you hire an employee you will still be putting in 30 hours a week. Then comes more supplies, fuel and insurance on top of the hourly wage you pay your new employee. A new employee may bring in some new buisiness, but he may cost you some too. I had a guy cost me a yard, because he popped off on Facebook about the shape of a customers yard. If you get to 60 hours a week maybe an employee might be helpful then. Working 40 hours a week is just the cost of having your own buisiness. If you have 1 or 10 employees you will still have to put in more hours than you want to.

TurnerLawn&Landscape
05-03-2011, 07:20 PM
In my opinion if you are happy with the money you are making as a solo then stay right where you are......if you are not happy with the hours you are working.....40.......then i dont know what to tell you.....being self employed you give up the luxury of "being off work". im constantly working on things whether it be machines, going to different properties for estimates, calling the nursery for prices, buying rakes, etc.......on the other hand, if you want your business to grow, the only way you can make that happen is by expanding your work force. After the first couple days you will be able to tell if the new guy is gonna cut it. if been in the industry for 11 years and there is nothing i havent seen. we were cutting a large complex that had roughly 25 inner courtyards that had to be cut with a 21" and bagged. this guy "cut" all of the courtyards without engaging the blades!!!!!! now tell me 1.....how would you not realize that nothing was being cut when you turned around...and 2.......i started "kicking" the bag to see if it was full when i was 7 yrs old, this guy obviously never thought that the bag should have had to be emptied at some point......anyway if you wanna make more $ in the long run you cant do it alone!

grassmasterswilson
05-03-2011, 07:20 PM
thanks guys. I have a high school kid who has helped me during the summer the last few years. He is nice, but can't really depend on him to go out and do some solo work while i'm spraying or estimating. Between the 45 or so lawns I mow a week, the 40-50 applications I do every 6-8 weeks and all the pruning, mulch, seeding, and aeration I am finding my self running a little ragged! I keep saying I'm going to say no to some business, but that's easier said than done. I've also tried charging a little more. Had very good success with my 2 small direct mailers this year. May go with a parttime guy or try and wait til my highschool kid gets here and to another.

rob640
05-03-2011, 07:27 PM
This is my third year in business and i made the decision to hire someone this year.. I work a full time job sat - mon 5 am to 530 pm and i mow Tuesday - Friday.. I attempted to hire 2 different guys last year but things didn't work out.. They lacked self motivation and alot of common sence i felt like i was doing more baby sitting that anything! This year i hired a guy that works with me at my fulltime job, so i knew him and his work ethics.. Hes been helping me since spring break and i'll tell u it makes a world of difference.. At the end of the week of course profits are lower because ur paying someone else.. but i've noticed a great increase in my per hour rate, and will also get to enjoy my summer because im finishing earlier and spending more time with the family, thats what matters most, IMO.

chesterlawn
05-03-2011, 07:41 PM
Why don't you hire two people, then you won't have to work at all? Work is to much of a hassle.

nobagger
05-03-2011, 09:34 PM
I ran an ad and have 5 guys so far to interview. One was a Foreman at one company and he was also a crew leader at a respectable, older company, he's a possibility. But I was talking to a friend of mine today who is also in the business and he made a good point, he said maybe it's time to find someone who has no experience but has the willingness to learn and train him my way. We'll see.

rcslawncare
05-04-2011, 12:31 AM
I have tried expanding to include an employee twice in six years. Both times I made lots less money and had lots more expenses. If your only putting in 40 hours a week don't waste your time and money on an employee. when you hire an employee you will still be putting in 30 hours a week. Then comes more supplies, fuel and insurance on top of the hourly wage you pay your new employee. A new employee may bring in some new buisiness, but he may cost you some too. I had a guy cost me a yard, because he popped off on Facebook about the shape of a customers yard. If you get to 60 hours a week maybe an employee might be helpful then. Working 40 hours a week is just the cost of having your own buisiness. If you have 1 or 10 employees you will still have to put in more hours than you want to.

This is all to true! I have tried to have people help and it ends up with me doing twice the work. Seems nobody wants to learn how to mow a commercial account since they push mow there own yard, they know it all. Huge difference....

stan the man
05-04-2011, 06:39 AM
i started out solo. now have 8 guys working for me. i just hired people. that has been in the service or that are retied from the service. work out great.