How many guys on a crew?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Luke S., Jan 3, 2014.

  1. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,984

    Most feel two or three is best. Equipment, type of work, prop size, all have to be factored when making the decision of the best crew size.

    Longer drive times means more people being paid to ride in a truck.

    Larger properties will get done faster with 3 men crew with 1 man edging/trimming and 2 men running mowers. Then a 2 man crew with 1 man edging and 1 man mowing.

    However when starting out you are better off working solo. If you do not have 40 hours a week of work for yourself then you don't hire a helper.

    You need help with a clean up you hire someone to help with that job.

    Once you hit 48 hours a week you can hire a helper to work part time. Two days 4 hours a day. As the volume of work increases you can increase the days and hours that you have a helper.
     
  2. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,659

    I hired a helper at 40hrs, once trained I put him by himself for 20 hrs thus allowing me 20 hrs of sell time, any new accounts are added onto his 20 hrs and for every one new account I give him one of my accounts so basically he gets two at a time while I lose one at a time and so on and so on until he gets to 40, then he gets a helper for 20 hrs a week and the cycle starts over.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2014
  3. A. W. Landscapers  Inc.

    A. W. Landscapers Inc. LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,287

    Here are just 10 reasons off the top of my head why you shouldn't "always have at least two guys working togetherÂ…when you start":

    There's not enough work to support two employees plus the owner.
    There's not enough work to support one employee plus the owner.
    One man can efficiently handle all the work.
    The business is underfunded.
    You're not charging enough.
    You can't find two people worthy of being representative of your company.
    Your management skills are awful.
    You haven't prepared your business to handle employees.
    You can't find an employee who can effectively manage the second guy on the crew.
    You have no clue how to hire the right people.

    It depends on a lot of things.
     
  4. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,659

    I'd bet we are all guilty of some of the things on that list, LOL I know I am.
     
  5. kemco

    kemco LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 714

    Cpl, I'm interested in your method here but just so I understand what u are doing. Example: you are solo till you build up to 40 hrs of wrk per wk. You then hire a helper with separate truck and let him roll solo with about half the load and you keep the other half (roughly 20 hrs of wrk per week each at this point). Then as you get new accounts in your 20hrs of freed up time you put the new accounts with the new help and give him one of your accounts. I think I'm understanding this right. Based on this you would be down to about 10 accounts and or roughly 10 hrs of field labor wrk at the point your worker gets up to 40hrs solo. Where do you go from here to start the cycle over again? I'm not solo but run one 3 man crew (im the third) and am really wanting to have a 'process' similar to this to grow into a 2nd lawn crew, then 3rd etc. I'm just confused on where you go after your helper has a full route but your own route is down to about 10hrs of wrk. Thx.
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  6. One Cut Away

    One Cut Away LawnSite Member
    Posts: 16

    I was at an office yesterday and watched three guys on backpacks chase the same leaf down the same sidewalk. Just silly.

    With our operation here in Florida, we find that 2 man crews are leaner and more efficient that a 3 or 4 man crew. We can take a 2 man crew, add a 3rd guy and they don't come in significantly any earlier than they did before.

    And drive time is drive time regardless of how many guys in the truck.
     
  7. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,659

    We've seen the same thing in residential, in general two is better than three, if your doing larger stuff the then go three but it takes a lot of larger stuff to justify three for me.
     
  8. spitfire3416

    spitfire3416 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 518

    Starting out you shouldn't need a helper. Adding helpers depends on the amount of work you have. When you can't handle any more work, add a helper. I personally think you can be very profitable with 3-4 workers on a crew. They key is longer stops (multiple houses in one spot) and efficiency. I saw someone mention watching 3 guys chasing to blow one leaf. It's very true and I see it all the time. If you are going to have a big crew make sure they're trained to always being doing something productive. I've worked with 4 guys before and it's about efficiency. We would have one guy cut the front, one guy cut the back, one guy trim the front, one guy trim the back. first two guys done hop on the blowers. the other two load up. if you keep that system on lawn maintenance you should be able to do 5-6 lawns per hour with smaller lots.
     
  9. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,659

    We have five houses in the same neighborhood small lots two man crew can cut and trim in 1 - 1.5 hrs, each lot is $45- $50 apiece, now you're making money! just wish we had five or six neighborhoods everyday like that,LOL.
     
  10. kmzlawncare

    kmzlawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 310

    It really depends on your jobs most of the time I prefer 2 man just because I hate to see a guy standing at the truck waiting on the other guy or guy's but I have 1 job that I have 4 or 5 just because if I don't we can't get it done in 1 day. Know matter how many you have the guys have to know there job and if they get done first they have to jump in and help I had a guy last summer that only trimmed and when he got done he would go to the trailer and watch that didn't sit we'll with me.I told him to grab a blower.
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