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Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by jimthefisherman, May 27, 2003.
one man crew also, and intend to stay that way!!!!!!1
Thank you everyone for the informantion. I am 37 yrs. old and have been thinking about starting a lawn care bus. I very much enjoy the solitude of working alone especially when I'm cutting the grass. I am also very tired of working for someone else and want to do my own thing. I have no interest in becoming rich as some people put it but would rather just make a decent living. Jim
I, too am on my own, Exept for needed help.
One man crew here also. I hire a friend that is also in the buisness as a one man crew. He helps on one of my jobs that is pretty large for a one man crew. I wouldn't have it any other way. No one calling in sick or having to leave early, nobody quitting on me when its crunch time either. I work for an engineering company as a electrical designer (Autocad user). This job is my 40 hour week, then lawn service is about another 30 to 40 hours a week.
I'm in my 13th year. For many years, I've run crews with 1, 2 or more members. In '94 and '95, I ran an 8 man crew. The best way to describe it in fast terms is to say that hiring more helpers is a real case of diminishing returns. The more crew members, the more headaches that you have.
It's only natural to reason that if you are making "x" number of dollars by yourself, you should be able to double that with a helper. But there are several caveats that go along with it.
#1. There's no such thing as a hired man that will work as much as you do.
#2. There's no such thing as a hired man that will maintain quality as much as you.
#3. He will NOT take care of the machinery as well as you.
#4. Sooner or later he WILL decide that you're getting filthy rich off of his efforts and that's when the passive aggression sets in. He will NEVER EVER believe you when you tell him the truth.
#5. If you hire 2 or more workers, the very worst of the bunch will infect the others with his slacker attitude.
In the end, and I'll bet there are many who will agree, all you'll end up doing is running your business into amazing yearly grosses, but there won't be any left for you, yourself.
This past winter I became so disgusted with all of the petty, whiny, sniveling, back-stabbing doo doo that when I shut down for the winter I told everyone that I didn't want to see any of them in the spring. They could go on down the road, go to work somewhere else or they could go to hell. I don't care. I'm now going solo.
True, I'm not cranking the numbers that I've done in the past, but I've got a whole lot more cash in my pocket and it feels good, not to mention that the headache that I thought was permanent, is now gone. And I'd rather pocket 80% of $70,000 than 1% of $250,000.
Also, you always have customers that pay slowly. You'll find that the customers that pay on time are the ones that provide the money you need to keep rolling. And because you don't want to lose your employees, you always pay them first. That means that every dollar that comes in gets payed right back out to the clowns that are convinced that you're cheating them. It really adds insult to injury. Are you married? If you are, then you have the additional hassle of having to explain to your wife why you're doing 5 grand a month and there's no money to pay the rent, utilities etc.
Finally, every time I've ever had my garage or truck broken into and all of my stuff stolen, it has always turned out to be a disgruntled employee. Food for thought.
M'dude, good to see you're still around. Haven't seen ya post in a while.
Surprised to hear you went solo. Hope all works out well for ya.
For me it will come down to.... I either MAKE it work with employees, and deal with whatever comes with that, OR go get a job. I simply can't do this by myself. I don't enjoy doing it alone. Time will tell.
The mower dude said it all, I had a different business once, and if I got real busy then would get extra help for a day or two. But most of the time I could do more by accident then two guys could do on purpose. Yea he's right, just more headaches. I know there are people out there that like the extra challenge of more employees, but it just wasn't for me, I to enjoy the solitude of working alone.
the oleduke of Sag.
P.S. the other thing when working solo, you become a lot more efficient and figure out a lot of shortcuts for yourself, which to me is a lot more gratifying and rewarding.
This is SO true!
There's another thread here that talks about rates per man/hour. Too many posts and I don't want to add to it, but oleduke, you triggered a thought in me that figures into both threads.
I've always set myself a goal of making $1 per man per minute, or $60 per man hour. However, I can NEVER do it with a helper. But I can do it all by myself on EVERY yard.
It's like the 2 kids out of high school looking to make some extra money picking cotton. The farmer said he only paid by the bushel. The more bushels they brought in, the more money they made. So they picked and picked and picked as fast as they could and they thought they did pretty good until they saw that this 70 year old man did three times the number of bushels in the same time. So they decided to double their efforts the next day and keep up with the old man. Next day they worked even harder and brought in more cotton, but the old man still outdid them by a country mile. So they asked him what his secret was. He said: "Boys, at my age I can't afford to waste any steps."
And that's really it. I've been at this so long I don't waste one single ounce of effort during the day.
Good to hear from you Dave , Was thinking over the years ,names of people who have worked for me , came up with over 30 names , Came to one conslusion , only way to get loyal help is to hire your dog .