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Old 02-01-2010, 11:20 PM
oOTurfmanoO's Avatar
oOTurfmanoO oOTurfmanoO is offline
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 245
...back in the field(?)

Typically, I start production at the end of March (weather permitting) with round 1 of our lawn apps. I do this solo before I bring anyone back. I then bring my main laborer back an work side-by-side till we get too busy for me to be in the field and manage the business. At this point an additional laborer is hired and works through the end of the seaon, typically the end of November.

I am thinking of staying in the field as a way to keep labor costs down but I am unsure if this is a wise decision. It certainly frees up my time with paperwork and invoicing; however, there are also times when I have nothing to do so it leaves me pondering the thought!!

I am sure this is a common issue within growing businesses so I figured I can get some good feedback.
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Old 02-02-2010, 09:44 AM
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echeandia echeandia is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 1,131
I am in the same situation that you are. However, I want out of the field. In the spring too many opportunities slip through the cracks as I am unable to get out to look at a property for a bid because I am in the field. I would rather pay for an additional laborer and win more jobs.
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Old 02-03-2010, 12:19 AM
HW345 HW345 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Polk county, WI
Posts: 14
It all depends where you want to be. My situation as a farmer is a bit different, but still very similar with busy and slack seasons.

I have one full time employee year round, and two semi-retired guys helping during cropping season. I'd love to be in the tractor or combine all the time, but wind up spending far too much time on the business end to devote 10-14 hours a day to seat time.

What's worked well for me is to make breakfast for the boys, have a quick meeting over breakfast going over what needs to be done for the day, then spending most of my day on the business end, repairing machinery, or shuttling people and equipment between farms as needed, then when one of the older guys has had enough for the day, I'll climb in the seat for a few hours at the end of the day.

It's probably not a solution for everyone, but it works well here.

Best thing I might ever have done was to hire a part time bookkeeper who comes in once a week, organizes all the paperwork I toss on the desk, writes out the checks, and keeps everything neat and organized for tax time. I COULD do this myself, but she's much faster and more accurate than I am, and that counts for quite a bit with me.
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Old 02-03-2010, 08:55 AM
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oOTurfmanoO oOTurfmanoO is offline
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 245
I think it is a difficult spot to be in, and one that most end up in.

It is easy to say that you will put yoursepf back in the field to cut down on labor costs but you also sacrafice additional/new work along with time committed to book work. So the translation might be if you remove yourself from the field, sales may increase and your business will grow. If you put yourself back in the cart, labor cost decrease, sales decrease accordingly and your overall workload increases translating to longer hours.

Maybe it is based on the uncertainties related to business(?)
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Old 02-03-2010, 10:19 AM
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dclandscape dclandscape is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Portsmouth, RI
Posts: 44
For hardscape installs I have a foreman and a laborer and Im the opperated/driver.
I keep a set of nice clothes in the truck so when I have a meeting to look at a job, i head to the shop, spruce up a bit and off I go.
The key for me is my foreman. I pay him really good but he runs the show, even when Im there. But when Im not, I dont need to worry. I try to be on the job as much as possible because it does cut your costs.
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