Growing pains - Would love to learn from someone else's experience!

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by guitarman2420, May 4, 2011.

  1. WildLake

    WildLake LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 368

    your income to employee ratio is half of what we do, but we are more of the sun to sun down type of company but that is efficent for us. buy the time summer gets here we work between 40 and 50 hrs/week. seems like you have two times the crews,trucks,etc for the same revenue. your prices may be low and causing this or your crews too big. I find that 3 men for residential and 4 for commercial works best, any more and guys slack off. also, if your guys break it, you fix it. no reason to be busting up sideing. it happens but very rarely.
     
  2. guitarman2420

    guitarman2420 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 284

    A couple of things - I tried the you break it and you fix it and got my hand "slapped" by the labor folks :nono:- you can fire someone for it; but you can't force them to pay for it. As far as pricing, I've gone to $50 an hour for T&M charges and try and figure $50 an hour for my contracts. On townhouses, what are most of you charging per unit? It seems the magic # to get business here in VA is @ 21-22 per month per unit.
    Wildlake, I don't understand your sun-up to sundown # of 40-50 hours - that would result in a lot more hours than 50 - do you just work them 4 days?
    Also, my operations manager keeps telling me that a 2 man crew for your larger residentials leaves no opportunity for weed pulling, etc, unless you have the 2 man crew do everything else and then spend 10 minutes or so pulling weeds.
     
  3. guitarman2420

    guitarman2420 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 284

    It looks like I have 2 trucks too many. I'll need to keep the two larger trucks that are capable of snow plowing and hauling people. That leaves me with two trucks to sell. Any of you had any experience with how to divest of vehicles that you owe more (@ 4k each) than they are worth? Call the finance company? Craig's list?
     
  4. Monster Lawn Care

    Monster Lawn Care LawnSite Member
    Posts: 13

    Are you a member of a Credit Union or small, community bank? I'd go sit down with them and tell them you'd like to sell your truck for as much as you can and borrow the difference on your signature. I got into debt when I was young and had steady paychecks from Uncle Sam. This is how I got rid of a truck I didn't need and paid too much for cause I was a dumbass when I was younger. Well, more of a dumbass than now anyway.
     
  5. WildLake

    WildLake LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 368

    When I said "you break it, you fix it" what I really meant was your guys break it, you pay to have it fixed.
    As far as hours, currenty my guys are working 10-12 hrs/day and even working on rainy days to stay caught up but once we get closer to summer and the mulching, annuals, and inch per day of grass growth is over with, we ussually end up working around 40-50hr for remainder of the season.
     
  6. WildLake

    WildLake LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 368

    Yeah< I'm with you, I don't really think two man crews are very efficient. Atleast not for my properties. It almost seems like 3 guys get the same work done twice as fast as two.
     
  7. hackitdown

    hackitdown LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,490

    If you are getting $50/hr per guy for 40 hrs, with 9 guys generating billable hours, that would be billing $18K per week. If you work 40 weeks, you would be at $720K, or 35 weeks would be $630K. Something is off.
     
  8. guitarman2420

    guitarman2420 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 284

    The key word in my post is "I've gone". I have 2 year agreements that I am still servicing at my lower rate and no one is able to bill out at a full 2,080 hours a year. I am in the middle of converting accounts and I am billing out any new clients at the higher rate. In any industry, if you are able to bill out @ 1,280 hours a year you are doing excellent.
     
  9. willretire@40

    willretire@40 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from VA
    Posts: 1,387

    If you have full service customers then i can see 3 man crews. Only problem is if they slack for only 30 minutes out the day doing nothing then you have 1.5 man hours that you can't bill for. What does your operations manager do and what type of office work are you doing? What scheduling software are you using?
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  10. guitarman2420

    guitarman2420 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 284

    The operations manager presently does maintenance (on equipment), qa, helps me with projects and kicks butt. My wife does the office work, along with the landscape design. Presently I'm just using Outlook for scheduling. I use the task function and e-mail it to my crew leader. I've looked at different products; but so far have not found one that seems to work for my size operation. I used to sell maintenance software. I'm really picky because once you spend the time to convert to a program, you become wed to it for a long time. I'm hoping to select a good product next off-season. I am very conflicted whether I want to own the software, or use the "cloud" system where you never own it; you just "lease it".
     

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