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  #1  
Old 01-23-2010, 01:07 PM
Greendog Greendog is offline
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Location: Stanhope, NJ
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When to Hire a third Employee

I've been debating whether to hire a third employee, but dont know if its the right time to do so. I can use a driver but that means more money in overhead. I have about 45 lawn mowing accounts plus get a lot of extra work on the side besides mowing. I do have one problem I need to fix first, and that is to narrow my cutting route. I made the mistake of spreading my self to thin since I started my business two years ago. That, I know will have an impact on my profits once I hire a new employee. I need to figure something out cause last year I didnt even had the time I needed to do other important things, like ADVERTISING ETC...I want to be able to send a couple of guys to work while I do my stuff.

My question is, is there like a rule of thumb to go by when making desicions like these?
How tight should I keep my cutting route? In terms of miles.

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 01-23-2010, 01:57 PM
Daily Lawn/Landscape Daily Lawn/Landscape is offline
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Just keep in mind that your profit margine on mowing is very low. Where you make your money is on the added services. Last year I made it a point to not be out mowing personally. I had 1 crew do that while myself and another part time helper went and did the oter jobs, which i did 21/2 days a week. The rest of the time I worked on the business.
As far as tightening up your route, it all depends on what kind of money your making on the job. For instance, I had a customer 20 miles out that just wanted us to come in and do all the string trimming on their 7 ac.property. I would send 3 guys with trimmers for 1 hour and billed $275.00. Was good money, but dropped her in 09 because I picked up a larger, more profitable job in town. The tighter the route, the more profitable.

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  #3  
Old 01-23-2010, 08:04 PM
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TXNSLighting TXNSLighting is offline
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A 3rd guy for 45 accounts? Are these real large accounts or something?
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Old 01-23-2010, 09:26 PM
Greendog Greendog is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TXNSLighting View Post
A 3rd guy for 45 accounts? Are these real large accounts or something?
Not really. The problem is that there is a lot of travel time plus the extra work that comes, in resulting in less production on a weekly basis for me and one guy. Like I said bfore, some accounts are spread thin. I'm thinking of droping a few to cut travel time.
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  #5  
Old 01-23-2010, 09:31 PM
mattfromNY mattfromNY is offline
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Not knowing your numbers, but I definately couldn't afford hiring a 2nd guy, let alone a 3rd, with only 45 mowing accounts. I'm at double that number, plus the extra work with myself and one full timer, and cant see hiring a 3rd crew member until we are maxed.
Just my 2 cents.
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  #6  
Old 01-23-2010, 09:45 PM
Greendog Greendog is offline
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Originally Posted by mattfromNY View Post
Not knowing your numbers, but I definately couldn't afford hiring a 2nd guy, let alone a 3rd, with only 45 mowing accounts. I'm at double that number, plus the extra work with myself and one full timer, and cant see hiring a 3rd crew member until we are maxed.
Just my 2 cents.
How many days does it take you to cut all your accounts? You must have a tight route and big cutting decks.
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  #7  
Old 01-23-2010, 11:21 PM
mattfromNY mattfromNY is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greendog View Post
How many days does it take you to cut all your accounts? You must have a tight route and big cutting decks.
We arent at exactly 90, actually in the high 70's plus a few EOW's and some once in a whiles thrown in. We mow commercials on Monday, do other jobs on Tuesdays, then mow all residentials on Wed, Thurs and Friday. Use Tuesdays and Saturdays for make-up days if foul weather or sick. Most weeks we will get all lawns done during the week and work 1/2 day on Saturday doing other jobs. Monday is a mix of small and a few large commercial accts, we mow 9 total. The rest of the week we mow at least 20 per day. (To date, our best day is 31)- And yes, our route is pretty tight, we run a 61" ZTR, 52" walk behind w/ proslide and a 36" walk behind on a few smaller lawns, but most of our lawns are 1/2 acre plus. We have several stops of 5 or more lawns side by side.
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  #8  
Old 01-24-2010, 12:02 AM
Greendog Greendog is offline
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Looks like your running a nice operation. I like the idea of cutting comercials on Mondays. Thanks for your reply Matt!
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  #9  
Old 01-26-2010, 12:57 PM
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nobagger nobagger is offline
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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.
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  #10  
Old 01-23-2010, 11:01 PM
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echeandia echeandia is offline
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You are only able to mow 10 lawns in a day? That's not good.
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