managerial analysis of mowing crews

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by BradLewisLawnCare, Jun 12, 2012.

  1. BradLewisLawnCare

    BradLewisLawnCare LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 279

    Sucks you had to do it that way. Really sucks. expectations are everything. i think there is a time and place for both. really depends on lawn size. ohh and one day is not enough data. ;). so next time you get called out on. think of it as data point #2.
     
  2. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 7,961

    :weightlifter: can you keep that pace up day in and day out?
     
  3. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,261

    I'm done with this thread you can't teach people when they have their ears covered and eyes closed.

    The one man crew model has some huge flaws and weakness. Now we did over 120 lawns in the last 2 days and as an owner you would think I know all my accounts but I don't. I have had some for 5 years Iv never stepped foot on. So when my partner needs me to help him its not comfortable to do strange accounts. And so if I am to do them I want his crew-member as a guide. So he can tell me this one likes it short this one wants you to go behind the shed this one wants you to mow 2 passes of the neighbors. You see over time you learn the accounts and you get to know all the issues that go with them the wet spots the unseen hole in the back you name it. Now that knowledge is passed through a crew and if one guy cant come to work or quits the other crew-member or members still know how to satisfy your client. But on a one man crew you do not have that and it is lost that the neighbor on the left will call the cops on you if you step over the line. Crews support each other and learn from each other. Solo crews do not have that and when a stranger shows up to mow the lawn its not always a pretty sight.

    How do you train a solo crew guy after all a 30 min or 30 hour vid isn't going to do it it takes months to work on bad habits and it takes years before their vets and id say 10 before they are elite. At-least with a 2 or 3 man crew you can be training your future foremen when you have one man crews I guess they just spawn into existence like monsters in a video game. The Italian navy did something cute like this in ww2 they had more ships then they could man so they would sail up and down the Med and pretend they had a working navy. But it takes a long time to make officers or in our case foremen and the best way to train a new guy is to pair him with a experienced guy that has all the skills mastered.

    As far as the production goes we had an $1800+ day today that's an average of 900 per 2 man crew. Now solo I know I could see perhaps 500 per man for the 2 owners but our crew members I highly doubt they would do much more then 400 a piece so in our case no difference today in production and with only 2 trucks not 4 and 2 trailers not 4 that's 20 fewer tires being worn. Now Iv made my case and it's well thought out and I know what comes next Ignore it because one man is the best and only way its sorta like global warming they said it so much it must be true.
     
  4. jrs.landscaping

    jrs.landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    from Maine
    Posts: 2,715

    absolutely not, I was running, and I normally have a fast pace.
     
  5. jrs.landscaping

    jrs.landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    from Maine
    Posts: 2,715

    These are a few of the reasons other than cost effectiveness why I won't run a single man crew. For saving time one man is faster, but that depends on the guy. Far too many variables, two man crews has worked for over 12 years and I'll bet it will still be working 12 years from now.
     
  6. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 7,961

    Absolutely, we have to be realistic about productivity. They crew can gut it up and move quickly to catch up or work extended days to wrap up a short week.

    However, when the heat settles in, they are going to need to stop and take water breaks more often. Yes the guys riding in the truck get a break but the driver has nearly no down time.

    It is a fine balance between pushing the guys to be more productive and keeping them happy.
     
  7. BradLewisLawnCare

    BradLewisLawnCare LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 279

    great explanation of the multiple crew member theory. Obviously I would not send out a new guy after watching a training video to just mow grass, but the point is there. At least we are training. I think what my conclusion might be in the end is that 2 one man crews will be good if it is not pushing them to the max on days when 1 2 man crew would be pushed to the max. Or the long driving days. send one guy 25 minutes away and then have him works his way back. I can't see it as a sustainable method being that it takes one broken leg or one call in to really monkey wrench the operation. It is definitely an option and might be the most efficient, but I would be concerned in the long term for employee happiness and moral.
     
  8. dutchacres

    dutchacres LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 516

    I am all about being lean and mean. I understand where you are coming from but to be totally honest I believe you are way way over thinking it. You can crunch numbers all day long and always find ways of saving. It is like the old saying goes your spending a dollar to save a dime. How much time do you spend trying to figure this out. If you spent that same amount of time selling you would make more than trying to shave every penny off you could. Now I am not saying it is wrong what you are doing but just think you are making it way to hard on yourself. I was thinking it is like well I will only fill my gas tank up half way because it may go down 30 cents tomorrow or the next day and I will save some money. When in the long run you have to stop twice as often and lets say it takes you 15 minutes at the station. Well at $60 mh that is 15 bucks and unless you have a huge tank that is not going to equal out to if you would have just filled up the first time and been done with it. You can save money many different ways but what is it costing you to save that money. Employees are fickle and if they are not happy you lose production. So your single guy may work out great for a season and then he gets tired of doing everything so he slows down. The thing I have learned being in this business 13 years is everything looks good on paper. I charge per man hour. I estimate the hours to do a lawn and that's what I charge. Sure some I make more than others but that is part of learning how to properly bid jobs. This is just my two cents!
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  9. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,302

    So, if that dime is a dime being lost on every minute of production, and it takes the OP 40 hours to determine he is losing $.10 per man per minute, what kind of payback would that be?

    And if he goes out selling, but is still losing a dime a minute per man, all the new sales in the world aren't going to keep him above water. Or in the black. Or in business.
     
  10. dutchacres

    dutchacres LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 516

    I understand but if he is losing money and running in the red then that is one thing. I was just talking about still running in the black but just having smaller profit margins possibly.
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