How in the world do you go from solo op to hiring an employee

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by DynaMow, May 14, 2006.

  1. DynaMow

    DynaMow LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 570

    I feel I could benefit greatly by hiring somebody to assist in getting my scheduled jobs done.

    PRO: Could turn three days of mowing into two. Get misc jobs done and move on to more. Make money from their labor.

    CON: Expense of workers comp, finding that person, and keeping enough work going through summer when current stuff completed, can't have someone to just help mow at this point.

    Why is this such a scary step for me?
  2. mr mow

    mr mow LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 393

    i want to know as well!?
  3. kc2006

    kc2006 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,442

    If your referring to paper work, go to ohio's site and you can download it all :D

    But i'm guessing your asking if it's the right time or even possible yet for you to make the jump. After talking with Mac, he opened my eyes that I can benefit from an employee. I didn't think I had enough work to need an employee, but like he pointed out, it will leave me with all my time to devote to getting new work. Right now I have 2 solid days of mowing and 2 days of landscaping each week. If I get busy (like now) I'm out doing landscaping 4 days a week, plus mowing 2 other days. I've found it hard to get time to drum up more business or even keep up with estimates. And I honestly don't have much work going through right now, it's because its just me that I'm busy.

    Once I grasp all the paperwork end more, I'll make the move.
  4. lawnwizards

    lawnwizards LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,434

    uh oh dude. prepare to get blasted by saying that..
  5. Tim Wright

    Tim Wright LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,034

    This is defintely a tough decision.

    I am also going through the same process.

    When you talk about being in the right position to hire, how many lawns are you cracking out in one week? What kind of revenue do you have stock piled so you can pay the employee when work is slow?

    I have approx 35 lawns, give or take a two. Twenty of them are in the same community. The rest are spread out to various distances. 3 of them are commercial, but not large commercial.

    Then I have a number of new lawn installs coming up with the harley rake.

    I also shoot and edit video. Today it is rainging and I am going to Baltimore to shoot video.

    So I keep busy.

    This week I tried an experiment to see if hiring would pay off. I have a guy looking for extra work, so at 4pm I picked him up and took him on two different jobs with me to see if we could get the work done faster. Given the fact that it was his first go around with me, and I had to go back through and fix a couple of things, it went all right. I think it went a little faster, but not sure if it was fast enough. Then I kept him in the truck refueling, and then checking on another lawn which did not need mowing athough it was due schedule wise.

    So paying him per hour for the extra time in the truck really did not help in making me money on the other two lawns.

    So I am not looking at the whole schedule and thinking that I am going to paying someone to do a lot of driving from site to site.

    How much more work does one have to come up with to make it pay getting other employees to work for you? Is it two times more, three times more, etc??

    I feel to hire others, one really has to get much bigger, very quickly, or it would be easy to go in the hole paying wages.

  6. Mr. Vern

    Mr. Vern LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 632

    Here are a few things to consider before hiring an employee:

    How long will it take to train them (it's highly unlikely you will find someone who does things precisely the way you want them - even if they are experienced).
    If you do not have a full week's work for yourself, what will the employee do for the remaining 40 hours each week.
    How long will it take to grow your business to the point where the employee is actually putting more money in your pocket - this will take some period of time; during which you will actually make less.
    How long can you afford to carry this new employee as you grow your business to the point of achieving your ROI (Return on investment).

    Businesses grow in steps:
    The first step you take money you have and invest into starting the business, at first you actually appear to go backward due to the equipment purchases, advertising, etc...
    After a period of time youi reach the "sweet spot" where you are making good money. Then your current business model reaches it's peak and must be modified in order to increase your income any further. THe cycle begins anew and you have to go backwards a bit while you invest into increased capacity in order to reach the next level.

    You appear to be at one of these cross over points. You just need to ask yourself what will be enough for you, and what price are you willing to pay to get there. Then you need to write a good business plan that captures all of your assumptions and then make it happen.
  7. Duck Dodger

    Duck Dodger LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 347

    I have 3 part time guys that are going to school. Every college student can use cash but they seem not as upset as the family man when I don't have enough work for them.
  8. kc2006

    kc2006 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,442

    For the guys that have employee's. When did you make the step? Did you hire a part time guy to help you get things done faster and maybe save 10 hours a week due to the extra help (but really they're there 20 hours or more) which allowed you time to get more work? did you hire one or more employee's and get out of the field totally and devote your time to getting more work? Or did you bust butt until you were swamped and hire on employee's?

    Thats what I always think about to myself. Like I said above, I don't have anywhere near a full schedule, but when I get busy I have no extra time to get more work going. I wanted to get more advertising done 2 weeks ago but I haven't had time yet, I feel like I'm losing possibilities of more work.

    So do I hire a part time guy and have him go out on his own and do the mowing and help with landscaping, or do I just struggle through until I have a full schedule and then hire on? It seems like hiring now would allow more time to promote the business and can lead to faster growth...But I could be wrong.
  9. dkeisala

    dkeisala LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 911

    I've been in business for 10 years. I started with employees several years ago but I've built up to where we're at today.

    At first, the employees were more part time helpers. I was out in the field doing the work and I had someone assisting me doing it. Their responsibilities were few. I've built upon that over the years to where we're currently at. Now, I have a lead who's primarily responsible for field operations. I also have another employee that assists him. I still go out in the field from time to time but it's usually to do things the crew can't do, assist when an extra body might be helpful, fill in if someone is out for the day or just to oversee what's going on.

    As anyone will tell you, employees are there to make you money, not save you time. As you add employees, your focus should be shifting towards running the business, not working it. Advertising is the single most important thing you can do to increase your business. If you're so busy working your business that you don't have time to run your business, you're between a rock and a hard place and a part timer could help you spend some more time on marketing. The more marketing you do, the more business you get, the more hours you can allocate towards employees.

    Whatever you do, when adding employees make sure it's on the up and up. Sure, plenty of people are out there paying under the table but that's just a problem waiting to happen. If you're serious about running a real business, do it right and don't cut corners. Someone said "if they get hurt, they didn't work for me." That just won't fly, someone is going to pay and that someone is you and it'll probably end up costing you more in the long run. The potential consequences just aren't worth the risk you're taking by not being legit.
  10. DynaMow

    DynaMow LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 570

    All this makes sense, why is it such a scarey step to take. Hell it took me 43 years to get smart enough to hire myself.

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