Going back to solo

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by South Florida Lawns, Jul 5, 2008.

  1. South Florida Lawns

    South Florida Lawns LawnSite Platinum Member
    from usa
    Posts: 4,785

    Worked friday by myself and banked! It took about the same amount of time as with my one helper, I was just exhausted.
     
  2. bohiaa

    bohiaa LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,220

    this happened to me a couple of times, I was wondering why I needed a helper,

    then I realized, when all the tree work and extra work comes along I really Need him. also It allows me to take on jobs that I wouldn't jsut being solo. "overbooking myself"
     
  3. ATouchofGrass

    ATouchofGrass LawnSite Senior Member
    from CT
    Posts: 495

    Yea i tried being solo way back when i first started because i was going to coop with this one guy but i found out that he didnt want to do any of the work, and then he would take majority of the profits. So i went solo and ive been on and off with being solo or having workers for almost 20 years. Currently i have my 3 sonsworking for me, thank the lord! All three are very strong and know what they are actually doing, rather than random guys you pick up on the side of the road! God bless my sons!
     
  4. MowHouston

    MowHouston LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,012

    I hired a guy temporarily to get caught up after a rainy week. For some reason we were taking just as long, of not longer sometimes than it would if I did it solo. I didnt understand it.

    Maybe he was just slower on the mower than I am. got caught up, but I sure didnt bring in much more than if I did it solo.
     
  5. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Male
    Posts: 7,716

    I've been teaching this for years at seminars, Mow SOLO or just dont mow! (unless you have HUGE mega acre accounts that take a four man crew half a day or more, but then agan wh not leave those jobs to brickman and trugreen)

    I can sit here ALL day and type away the mathematical formulae that will proove its more profitable to mow solo (even with buying another truck, trailer and equipment)

    There are two reasons to mow with a helper.
    #1) you are training him to take over his own route
    #2) you dont have enough lawns yet to cover a full route or justify the truck and equipment but you have 1 and 3/4 of a single route and you are training the guy to take on the other route once you do split.
    #3) you do one stop shopping (you mow, weed, spray round up and serice th sprinkler system and or prune the shrubs all in the same visit)

    Never NEVER never have two guys mow the same property.

    Many moons ago, I had a quad cab pick up, I had four guys in there. I dropped each one off in an area with a wright stander, a backpack and a weed whip attached to the stander with a jungle jims trimmer trap.
    The drove themselves from lawn to lawn (all with in a few blocks of each other) and then the last mower was on the trailer was a 60" rider and I did the athletic fields.
    One truck, four different crews. I would bag $85 per hour per man, we worked 10 hours, we cleared $850 x 4 every day 4 days a week, yes thats $12,800 a week back when gas was $1.43 per gallon, and I did that with one truck, I had four trucks and three of them were doing just that.

    How did I start out? Me and a guy doing the same route, then just kept splitting.

    WHY does it take two (or three ) the same time it takes one???

    Answer: the owner is always going to be more efficent than any one else, The other guy is in your way half the time (weed eating in your way when you are trying to mow. Frequently the weed eater gets ahead of the mower and tries to weed eat more than needed and/or the other guy has something in his hands you need (trimmer, blower etc)
    One well trained man can beat any 2-3 man crew in profitability and sometimes even time in any day with an under 6 acre property,and the right equipment.

    now if you're running 21's out of your station wagon, this will never work in your favor.
    Im talking commercial equipment with the righ sized deck for the job/route.

    By the way, during the winters (after thanksgiving and before memorial day), my partner and I train other companies and their crew leaders HOW to do this, we will even estimate jobs and set up routes. WE only charge $22 per hour plus travel and accommodations expenses, we do the same thing for training paver crews, billing office staff, excavation, irrigation, you name it... so if any one has it in their budget and needs to grow or train the$10 /hr guy to become a $15...let us know before we get booked for th winter agian
     
  6. DaveinSWFL

    DaveinSWFL LawnSite Member
    Posts: 178

    I have been crunching the numbers and will be going solo as well. I have had the same employee for over a year and I have noticed a decline in his performance over the last couple of weeks. I have to follow behind and clean up the areas he missed. I never had to do that in the past. He is definitely burnt out. I have cut his hours and I am woking Saturdays and Sundays to make up for his absence. I brought a new guy on for a day this week (due to rain), He said he had several years of lawn care experience. I said show me. Grab a stringline and show me what you got. My six year old could have done a better job. I don't have the time or the patience to train a new employee. Solo is the way I am going.
     
  7. bladewrangler

    bladewrangler LawnSite Member
    Posts: 14

    I had a helper and it took me quite awhile to figure out that he was deliberately going slow so he would make more $$ for himself so now I'm back to being solo and doing the jobs faster than the 2 of us did.
     
  8. old oak lawn

    old oak lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 710

    TPendagast. what worked for you will not work for everyone. or most. and u teach this? if you do all small lawns solo is ok i was for 3 years but get into 2 +arc. lawns and a helper is the only way to go. first lawn of the day and that covered his pay for that day and then some. and i don't want to give brickman anything. we do a 12 arc. YMCA 2 people 3 1/2 hrs if i were solo that would be 7 hrs. we do a cemetery 14+ arc 2 people = 7 hrs, u see what i mean. now did wright make a stander when gas was $ 1.43 a gallon ? that was a long time ago. and u make $12800.00 a week for 4 days work? but only charge $22.00 per hour to teach how to do it. have to say bull.
     
  9. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,372

    9 years ago I had 7 guys working for me, doing 200 accounts / week. These were mostly 2+ acre, with some up to as many as 30 acres.

    I got married and told my wife I'm going back to working by myself, putting 40 accounts on contract, with 25 accounts on 12 equal payments to do the snowplowing as well.

    I'm basically a salaried employee with 20 different bosses, since some people I do more than one location for.

    I work 60-80 hours / week for 6 months when it's mowing season, then I work 10-15 days in the winter when it snows.

    I tell people I have a 40 hour / week job, I just work most of a years worth in 6 months.

    I do okay, but this year, with breakdowns getting worse every year and gas being the way it is, it's not nearly as fun as it was even 4-5 years ago.

    I'm seriously thinking of finding a couple of guys to work it for 1-2 years for me, and start to dabble in sales, or something along that line.
     
  10. johnnywill08

    johnnywill08 LawnSite Senior Member
    from MA z6
    Posts: 383

    with a good helper, i mow $850 grass/day. solo i mow about $450/day. i pay the helper $13hr (about $130 day)....... yeah it takes out from profit but i'm able to mow about 2x as many lawns in a week and keeping the extra. explain how i'm making less.

    my way i'm able to handle waaaaaaaaaay more volume and i get the ensuing profit (minus paying a guy). your way makes zero sense if you get to the point where your schedule is full and want to do more.
     

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