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Labor Cost - Help

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by dtally, May 7, 2008.

  1. dtally

    dtally LawnSite Member
    Male, from Rock Hill, SC
    Posts: 82

    I find my business growing faster than I can keep up, it's a good thing... I think.

    I am needing some help and have no clue what the industry standard or average wage for employees are, part time or full time. I know it will vary depending on location but I need a starting point. What about perks?

    We are a full service company offering mowing, organic fertilization and basic landscaping (re-planting dead shrubs... organically.)

    They are beginning to ease of the watering restrictions he in SC and NC and people are coming out of the wood work. HELP!

    Dave Tally :dizzy:
    Organic Lawns
  2. Organic a go go

    Organic a go go LawnSite Member
    Posts: 211

    Im kinda in the same boat. I just started offering mow accounts this year and Im on the cusp of either needing to hire a crew to deal with those while I fert/troubleshoot/upsell or sub-contracting a crew. I tend to think subbing in a crew makes more sense for me. Right now workman's comp/withholdings
    and all the other attendant legal issues would sink me even though I like the idea of being in complete control of my crew better. Im purely solo right now and obviously doing everything is starting to severely limit my growth potential. Using a nice rain holiday today to do a little selling though.....
  3. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,115

    A good friend of mine is in his early 60's (retired) he subs himself out for $35.00 an hour to a company much like yours. He specializes in hardscape stuff but is an all around guy with lots of common sense.

    They often use him to supervise jobs where they have hired day labor or unskilled workers. He works 3 to 4 days a week and makes a little pocket change too. Older folks
  4. Newby08

    Newby08 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 277

    wow, I need his job... When I had my business I hired my guys starting at $10 an hour as day labors. Then as I found some better guys that could run their own crew and I could trust them they would make their way up to about $15 an hour.
  5. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,911

    most unskilled labor will run 7-10
    after you train them 10-15
    drivers and applicators 13-17

    you get what you pay for, we have one Foreman with a mangrove trimming license he gets $27 an hour. the thing is we don't have to watch him. we only see him on Fridays.

    all lawn cutting is done by a sub contract crew. mostly for labor reasons, we cant hire illegals, they found a loop hole or are willing to take the risk. that crew and equipment runs around 4200 weekly to keep up with 300+ lawns, 2cuts per month all year.
  6. dtally

    dtally LawnSite Member
    Male, from Rock Hill, SC
    Posts: 82

    Thanks, It looks like I am in the ball park.

    On other question. I read somewhere in a trade rag that some companies pay a split. One proce for application/cut/ect, and another for windshield (drive) time. Anyone doing this? It sounds like a book keeping nightmare.
  7. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,115

    He may sound expensive but is the kind of person that all you have to do is point your finger and say go. Able to think on his feet is an understatement

    You just work it into your pricing, you would be surprised how many people have figured out "you get what you pay for" and most folks want quality work done

    He always talks about one job to regrade a house, the water was going the wrong way and flooding the basement. He bid $4500 to regrade it. The doofus went with a guy that charged $45.00 per hour, sounded good at the time. The bill ended up being $24,000, the owner had to take the guy to court because the job, not only was rediculously expensive, but they never finished. ended up costing the owner another $6000 to have someone come in and finish the job

    You get what you pay for? buyer beware
  8. DeepGreenLawn

    DeepGreenLawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,372

    any guys that I get that I can point and say go keep going to start their own business after they are trained.
  9. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,911

    every one has there station in life, you just have to learn to read some faces. bill has a point about retire's. especially if you can pay cash.

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