Adding Crews

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by GroundScapesIncorporated, Jul 17, 2007.

  1. GroundScapesIncorporated

    GroundScapesIncorporated LawnSite Senior Member
    from VA
    Posts: 386

    Just curious of those who run more than one crew, what was the determining factor that made you add on that first additional crew. We are booked solid with work all the way through until November and are starting to lose work due to not being able to do it soon enough, but I dont really have the equipment to just hire another crew. So I cant decide what I should do?
     
  2. D Felix

    D Felix LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,898

    It's a balancing act for sure.

    I personally did not have to worry about when to hire people for a second crew, but I do tell everyone where they are going. :)

    We have been going at least 2 directions (sometimes 3 or 4) each day for the last 3 months or better with 5 full time, 1 part, and one of the owners. Equipment is only part of the problem- you also have to worry about qualified and knowledgable people to run that equipment and perform the work needed. That's most of my problem right now- not everyone can be sent out to do something and I don't have to worry that it will get done correctly.

    Make sure you have the people that can do the work first, then worry about equiping them...
     
  3. NewHorizon's Land

    NewHorizon's Land LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 690

    I agree with D Felix. Could your machine operator excavate and put a rough base in (not final graded) and then have the crew do the rest of the install? Not sure of your situation.
     
  4. tthomass

    tthomass LawnSite Gold Member
    from N. VA
    Posts: 3,496

    We used to do what NewHorizon said when I worked for a company.......forman A would start the job and then sometimes B would come in to do things that A was not quite so qualified to do.

    My problem is an equip operator. I can hand over a plan and it will get done but the machinery part of things.....well I can't leave the job. I want to start a second crew in the spring, probably lay off in the summer and pick back up in the fall again but all pending the work load. That way I can better handle the work load during the busy times. I don't know how things are down at the lake but perhaps you could do the same, seasonal crews so to speak?
     
  5. GreenMonster

    GreenMonster LawnSite Silver Member
    from NH
    Posts: 2,702

    we added our second crew for the same reason you are considering it. That is, we were getting too backed up and losing work as a result.

    These guys are right thought by saying people are key. Today was another day of pulling what little hair I have out, as the other crew wasn't getting things done the way they should have, which has been a recurring problem lately.

    Equipment is easy -- it's always readily available, and once you buy it, it shows up every day, and generally does what it is asked to do. People, well, that's the big wild card. If I could replace everybody I have with equipment, I'd do it in a heartbeat. I think equipment allows us to do more with less people, but only to a point. You gotta have GOOD people, and we're rethinking out entire hiring process and the kind of people we want working WITH us.
     
  6. forestfireguy

    forestfireguy LawnSite Senior Member
    from nj
    Posts: 601

    We have 2 crews, one is more a detail crew, meaning if we don't have pavers for them to lay or block to sling or plants to plant, they will weed,spray,fert or whatever for our maintenance accounts. Our only limitation on the second crew is an operator for equipment, the kid who runs that crew is OK in a skidder, but I wouldn't put him in a excavator in the middle of the sahara for fear of destruction. We are fortunate to have a more or less fulltime driver who moves equipment and materials who is a very careful but kinda slow operator. It is a balancing act for sure, it sounds like you might be ready, just don't forget the extra overhead factor of another crew,vehicle and tools so they can stay as efficient as your other crew.
     
  7. GroundScapesIncorporated

    GroundScapesIncorporated LawnSite Senior Member
    from VA
    Posts: 386

    Thanks for the advice guys.

    I can find top notch laborers with no problem right now, I actually have two more ready to go to work who are a brother in law and cousin to my best employee, but like you all are talking about, a good foreman isnt so easy to find.

    The more I think about it, you guys are right, I really need to find that crew leader before anything else.
     
  8. forestfireguy

    forestfireguy LawnSite Senior Member
    from nj
    Posts: 601

    You mention a "best" employee, does he have the abilities, or the potential to have them??? If so you may have your foreman right in front of you.
     
  9. mrusk

    mrusk LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,260

    Just do not think that you can just send a foreman and 2 laborers out and then run a 2nd crew yourself. It is very difficult to run 2 crews while you are the leader of one of them. Just something to ponder.
     
  10. GreenMonster

    GreenMonster LawnSite Silver Member
    from NH
    Posts: 2,702

    very good point, Matt. That's where I'm at now, and my crew is not nearly as effecient as it should be, because I'm on my phone half the time with the other crew, customers, suppliers, etc.
     

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