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View Full Version : Need Some Real Advise !


Mikes Lawn Landscape
03-21-2004, 08:58 AM
Ok guys here is your chance to really help if you want.

Heres the situation

This is my second year in business last year I started kinda late so the work I picked up was very easy to manage.

I spent the winter getting everything in order and lined up for the season. My marketing plan is well lets just say a very good success. I'm already considering backing off a little.

I am starting to get pretty busy I'm at best I can tell 50% capacity for mowing only. I can and will be able to be at 100% capacity by the end of May to mid June. This will leave little or no time for the extras like mulch and hedges and small landscape jobs. What is killing me right now is the extras if I'm doing a big mulch job it ties me up for 1/2 day or more thats 4 to 6 lawns I cant do while I'm shoveling mulch.

Heres the facts
1. I will hire a helper
2. Equipment is not an issue If I need it I will buy it
3. The purpose of this season is to establish a good client base
4. My route currently is not very tight that will improve as time goes by
5. My goal is to have a 2 man crew running by March 1st 2005
not including me
6. Invoicing and office work is done by my wife so I am not tied up doing that.
7. My goal this year is also to make a decent profit so going into next year I will have the capital to expend on a full time crew of 2

So here is the dilemma I dont really need a helper right now best I can tell I wont need one until June or July but that only gives me a few months to train and grow more once I get a helper. I have already had to turn down a big job because I did not have a helper.

Question:
Based on the info provided do I go ahead and get a helper now or wait till I absolutely need one.

Challenge:
I will hire helpers and buy equipment as needed so I dont need a lecture on the issues of employees or what mower to buy try to stay on topic if you can:p

lawndude2004
03-21-2004, 10:59 AM
find someone who can help when you need them to, I get friends who are still in college to help after classes

CNYScapes
03-21-2004, 11:06 AM
If you don't know anyone who can help only when needed, then call a temp service. They are a little pricey, but you can work that higher labor rate into your job quote. I have been lucky, i have always known people who can help out once in a while if I got real busy.

DJL
03-21-2004, 12:31 PM
Mikes Lawn Landscape,

We are a very small company (LLC, two owners) with about 10 residential accounts. This keeps us busy one solid day per week during the season. Frankly, at this point, we don't want to go any larger with one of us going to school full-time and the the holding a full-time job. One of the biggest profit-margins for us are the extras; mulch, flower bed preperation, plant installs, leaf clean-up. However, like you it is difficult to get these items done during the week. So, we try and reserve weekends for the 'extras'. Most of the time we can schedule a few Saturdays in a row, but sometimes we'd have to utilize a Sunday due to the weather. We'd just make sure the homeowner would be okay with us working on a Sunday. Most of the time they didn't care at all. Just a suggestion. Not sure how you run things now.

AL Inc
03-21-2004, 12:44 PM
Mike- hire the helper. You really seem to have thought things through, I like that. Even though you are not at 100% capacity, it will give you time to train and get your employee familiar with your systems. Then, when you ARE at 100% capacity, things can move full speed. You don't want to be training a new guy when you are swamped with work.

You will be able to get more accomplished with the right helper, especially the "extras", which are more profitable. I made the mistake in the past of having too much mowing to do, and clients were waiting 3-4 weeks to have pruning or other work done. That is backward thinking, and I've made some changes.
Hey, good luck, Mike

landscapingpoolguy
03-21-2004, 12:45 PM
Mike,

You cant be in 2 places at the same time...expanding is the hardest thing to do....I say get a few cash helpers to do your work....you know what i mean the guys you can get down by the bus stop who dont speak much english....they will work like animals and you will get more done..also you dont have to give em work eveyday, only when you need them. This is the first step I am sure every Landscaper/Contractor has made in order to grow. When your ready then you get a guy on the books to help you but dont wait too long might be harder to find then you think.

Good Luck

Chuck

Flipperneck
03-21-2004, 02:13 PM
Get one guy that knows what he is doing, and pay him well. Arrange it so you work together when needed and work apart when needed. The key though is to find a guy and pay him good. You say you are going to have work that you won't be able to do so even if you don't make that much off the side work because you need someone that doesn't need to be fed and burped by you while you are busy. Its better to make less money on these things you have no time for then none. Then when you go for the 2 man crew (not including you) hire a helper at a lower wage and take it from there. This will be an investment like any other. Hope that helps some.

Mikes Lawn Landscape
03-22-2004, 07:38 AM
Well guys your advise is appreciated I'll take a little from each of your posts and use it.

Al Inc. your advise sounds right on the money I really thought through this issue this weekend and with my goals I really do need the helper now if I wait I'll just end up a crabby old man lawn boy. So based on what you guys have said here is what I'm gonna do.

1. Hire a good helper pay him well and train him for the foreman job for next season.
2. Expand my marketing so by the end of September I'll be at 100% capacity for a two man crew.
3. Next year hire a lower paid helper for my new foreman.
4. Next season tighten the route and weed out the lower profit accounts.

So my next thread will be "How do I find a good helper" LOL

Thanks guys you helped to make up my mind

:D :D