In simple terms, its time to hire when you are loosing money and the opportunity to make more money. If your stuck mowing all day and your not able to get to an estimate until evening or a day or two later then you might want to hire on another guy. Maybe make it a part time gig or like you said, tighten up your route a bit. To me, driving more than 15-20 minutes to another account is not worth it unless there are multiple accounts close to that one. Routing is key to making money! We have an "east side route" which takes us roughly 10-15 minutes to get on that side of town but the longest travel time between stops, once over there is less than 6 minutes and a lot are less than 2 minutes apart. Our "Tuesday route" has about 15 lawns, most smaller (5-8k sqft lawns, a lot of 21" and 36" work) and with lots of crap in them. My guys start at 8am and are finished by 12:30- 1pm and that day makes 550.00 gross, minus 125.00ish for labor and fuel etc. it brings in a little chunk every week. The rest of our routes are as tight as tight can be. I am very fortunate in finding customer's that close. Word of mouth advertising is a great thing.
J and B Lawncare:
On our own as of 2003. Proud to be a full time, legitimate company.
Equipment we use:
Pro Line and GatorMade trailer's
Gravely, Exmark, Honda and Snapper mower's
Echo trimmer's and blower's
New Holland and Dresser loader's (snow removal)
Fisher snow plow's
DownEaster and Fisher salt spreader's
TurboTurf fertilizer tank