View Full Version : How long do you want to work alone?
08-29-2000, 07:28 PM
Seems like alot of you'all are working alone or with only a part-time helper. Just wondering how many of you want to keep working like that busting your ass everyday? When i started full time i never intended to be a 1,2, or 3 man show. I don't want to be busting my ass everyday. I eventually want to be able to just do estimating and the fun work when i want like tree trimming and takedowns. In other words , do the physical stuff when i want to not because i have to. I've got 4 guys now and it's a big strain on finances and a sacrifice for me now, but i hope within the next couple years i can climb out on top and be somewhat free to do what i want. Just my personal goal. So, do you'all want to work alone?
08-29-2000, 08:07 PM
I will work alone, with hiring help once in a while as long as I can. If I grow to where I can't physically do it, then I will hire more.
Todd, That sounds like a great plan. I've got part time help now (10-20 hours a week). Having help enables me to take on the larger accounts that I could never do alone.
08-29-2000, 08:18 PM
I agree with esby. If I have lots of work to do I'll see how far I can go solo. If not, get someone. mainly at spring to help with he cleanups and heavy work.
08-29-2000, 08:22 PM
I see more progress when i work with a worker and thats what keeps me going. Working alone seems to drag a bit and doesent seem to make the day go as fast. I always make more $ working with 1 than i do alone even after paying them, so why not. To me its worth the hassle and i dont like the idea of having to rely only on myself even though i am like a rock (lol).
Say you pull your back or break a leg or anything. Thats when the workers will come in handy. I see the lawncare business as a managment position not a do it yourself and everything revolves around one mower one guy one weed wip and work all day to make decent money. I guess its not for me but i do agree that working alone has its benefits.
I can sy hire a helper as soon as you can afford to. some things come up in life you might not want to think about it but a injury illness etc can sneak up on you .....thats when a trusted trained helper comes in. Run them threw the temp agency....it saves cash on ins and workers comp plus they handle taxes etc.
08-29-2000, 08:41 PM
Until the end of the week. I will be hiring help for the aeration season only, just too much with mowing and aeration, about killed me last year. Phone is already ringing off the hook for aeration jobs.
08-29-2000, 10:05 PM
just so you know in md/dc/va a laborer from a temp agency cost 11.75 hr. w/4hr min. that includes everything including drop off and pick at your job site dont want to advertise so i wont give names unless asked. i used to drive the van for one for awhile and lots of solo guys use them until they find one they like then they take him on full time or just keep him through the agency.
08-29-2000, 10:15 PM
Since we are in the service industry the more service we sell the more we make. As long as eficiency is kept in mind The more people you have working the more service is produced. In orfer to grow and prosper I try to duplicate my labor by hiring others.
08-29-2000, 10:17 PM
This is what people don't think about when they start a lawn biz. If you work along or even with a helper. You work you ass off to make a good living. I mean just riding for hours wears you out. Worse than a car because you dont have good suspension. I work alone also. I use to have help. If you want to call it help. But the helper didnt want to work sometimes. Like friday usually. My busiest day. Then I have to do all the work by myself. Much harder when your not use to carrying all the load. Now and before i hired people I stay inshape to handle things by myself. Its is a pain in the ass to do it everyday. Sometimes I wish I had a cushy desk job.
08-29-2000, 10:45 PM
This week Ive been sick. I mow and hurl chunks, still managing a straight line. I think about how long I will physically be able to maintain this level. Who knows for sure? I think there is alot of mental work keeping an eye on workers. I could use help during fall cleanups due to early sunsets and snowfall possible at anytime.
08-30-2000, 06:47 AM
While many are trying to grow to a larger business, I am downsizing. I have done the employee thing, and quite frankly, I like working alone much better.
When I was working with a crew, they would have a set start time of 7:30. This was fine, but on some mornings, I would have liked to start a little eairler, say of the forecast called for rain that day. You can't really call your employees at 6:00 a.m. and tell them to get to the shop ASAP. On the other side of the coin, if we had rains the night beofre, and say the grass was too wet to mow, I would end up paying them to do dummy work till the grass dried.
I have never had anyone that will work as I do. I didn't expect it, but my productivity was not where it should have been with a crew.
Good help is hard to find, and even harder to keep. Brain dead morons are a dime a dozen, but they are often more trouble than they are worth.
Working alone, (for me) seems to be the way to go. I can start when I want, take lunch when and if I want. I also don't have to worry about when a customer gets chatty, I am not paying someone to sit in the truck. I also don't have to worry about stopping for errands while on the route. I don't have to worry about a payroll and all the assiocated paperwork. I don't have to check every lawn over to see what is messed up, I know what I did. I don't have to explain about lawn dyky every wet morning. I don't have to worry about a ot of things.
WOrking alone does have its disadvantages. On those larger projects, it was noce to have a helper to make things go a little smoother. On the less than desirable jobs, it was nice to not have to to the tough part of the job. It ws nice to have someone to chat with during the day.
I found that the most difficult operation to run was yourself and one full time helper. If you had enough work to keep you both busy, and the helper was off sick, or worse yet, quits, yo are in big trouble. If you are only going to use one helper, don't schedule a full weeks work for two people. Use the helper to get done eairler and get home sooner, or to do odd ball jobs. I would rather see two part time helpers than one full time helper any day.
08-30-2000, 07:19 AM
>Good help is hard to find, and even harder to keep. Brain dead morons are a dime a dozen, but they are often more trouble than they are worth.
Actually brain dead morons are about $8/hour in my area.
08-30-2000, 07:32 AM
I figure if I can scratch out a meager living doing what I am, I might even get to sneak off to the lake occasionally.
with employees, I'll have to have more work to pay them and then have use my spare time to manage them.
08-30-2000, 07:38 AM
I have worked alone for 5 years. There has only been 2 occasions where I used help. 1 was a 35 yard mulch job and the other was when my brother in law helped me for half a day to dethatch in the spring.
In 2 years all of my children will be in school and then my right hand woman will be helping in the field as well as in the office. Until then I am trying to get a little more work each year without falling behind.
As far as hiring a crew - I don't ever really see that happening for my company.
08-30-2000, 07:47 AM
Had to laugh at that Lawrence :). I had about the same experience with help you have Jac. I could have wrote that lol. I went the employee route then downsized for much of the same reasons. I mean it was very hard to even find someone who could blow a drive off correctly. I had one guy just blow in circles. Blow dirt up the drive and then blow it back from whence he came. One guy would finish so fast then you look over it and it looked like it never been done.
Oh well if I ever get disabled for any length of time i just get me a desk job
08-30-2000, 03:56 PM
I am just hoping that I make through till the end of the season. I am going to downsize to 2 part time and myself next year. I too have had it with all the hassles.
Stone-you are soooo right.
08-30-2000, 09:41 PM
Having the boss tell me to do the job to make $$, instead of doing it right = frustration
Trying to get employees to care about what they do = headache
Working totally alone = freedom
08-30-2000, 11:39 PM
Help will always be an issue, no matter how big or small you want to be. In my case, we're a husband-wife team. I know that we can't do everything by ourselves. We both have back problems and our customers want all sorts of other projects done in addition to their gr*** getting cut. I know that we can't do this by ourselves. We currently have 2 full-time people. That could change any day now, and I know that. I'm just trying to take advantage of them now while I have them and get those "other projects" done. I do know that I don't want to keep doing this with just my husband for another 10 years. It's wearing us out and we don't have any time for us or our children. We want to get 2 people to run our gr*** accounts for next year so that we can go and bid and do other projects that we can handle while the gr*** is still getting cut. Eventually, I'd like to see us getting out of gr*** altogether. Don't get me wrong. There is money in gr*** cutting. But...there's better money in landscaping and putting in ponds and clearing lots and such. The gr*** cutting is what's putting us behind on everything else. In my opinion, you won't make a million (not that I want to make specifically a million) cutting gr***. There's too much cut-throat competition and too much involved every week. With landscaping, ponds, clearing and other stuff, you're in and out and you make better money.
08-31-2000, 12:34 AM
Well this year has not been easy on may 28 2000 i was in serious TRUCK accident I FELL ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL TO MY TRUCK AMD HIT A TREE LUCKILY WALKED AWAY FROM MY TRUCK WITH ONLY A BROKEN LEFT WRIST, WAS OUT OF THE WORK PART OF WORK FOR TWO MONTHS ,I HAD MY COUSIN HELP WITH MY ONE FULL TIME WORKER AND AT THIS POINT I HAD NO TRUCK TO TO PULL MY 8*16 TRAILER WITH 70 LAWNS TO CUT ,BUT ONE OF THE LOCAL LANDSCAPERS I AM GOOD FRIENDS WITH LET ME BORROWW HIS TRUCK ON THE WEEKEDNS TO CUT THE LAWNS SO I HIRED MANY OTHER PEOPLE TO GET IT ALL DONE IN TWO DAYS, THAT WENT ON FOR A MONTH BY THAT TIME WAS A LOOKING AT MANY NEW AND USED TRUCKS TO GET THE SHOW BACK ON THE ROAD AGAIN. BY THIS POINT MANY COUSTOMERS HAVE WENT LOOKING FOR OTHER COMPANYS TO SERVE THEM BETTER, 60 LAWNS OR SO LEFT BY NOW I HAVE BEEN TO MANY CAR DEALERSHIPS AND GOT SCREW MANY TIMES 3 TO BE EXACT AND ALSO CALLED MANY HOME OWNERS SELLING TRUCKS NO FUN THER EITHER. BY THIS TIME IWAS TRIED AND FED UP CUTTING GR*** BUT TIME WAS ON MY SIDE BY THIS POINT A FREIND HAD TOLD ME ABOUT A DODGE DEALER IN NY NEAR ME , ANY WAY HAVE NICE NEW SHINNEY 2500 DIESEL TRUCK . I WILL COUNTINE WITH MY STORY ANOTHER NIGHT.
08-31-2000, 11:57 PM
While I am new in the business this year and still have no need to hire help I have thought about next year and wonder if I want to grow beyond a one man operation. I started with a partner and bought him out in a matter of a month or so. This keeps me busier but not knock out busy and I make all the $$$$$$$$'s. I believe I will keep this operation between myself and a little help from my wife once in a while when busy. Many have expressed pros and cons but the cons seem to override. Let me tell you I spent 20 plus years outside the lawn business in a very different field
(insurance and investments) There I worked for myself as an independent broker and also ran an agency with a partner 2 salesmen and an office staff of 3 girls. I am here to tell you from the pain in the a** standpoint it all came from employees and partners. I also made more money when I simply worked as an independent. It seems to me from this conversation listening to you experienced and unexperienced lawn guys that the employee hassle is not unique to the lawn business or any business for that matter. Personally I have had enough of managing any one but me and plan to stay a sole propritor.
09-01-2000, 12:11 AM
Get me a couple of your morons, around here they want a check, but they should be able to take the cat to the vet, break your mower, lie about OTJ inury, look for a new job and be drunk before noon. ALL on YOUR dime. Well, for $10 an hr anyway.
I can't say I like working alone, I'm much more productive when I have help. I just don't feel like my help is all that much help. Have been bouncing around the "crew" idea for some time, but I think I'm going to stay the way things are. In other words, I'll try to find equipment that makes my life easier, and learn to say no to jobs that I really don't want.
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