Next Year No More Solo

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by echeandia, Jul 18, 2007.

  1. echeandia

    echeandia LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,131

    Well, I decided that next year I will be hiring someone to help me out. This is my first year as an LCO and really love doing this kind of work but it is time for a change. There are several advantages to do this. First, I won't have to do all of the work myself. Right now I am exhausted and a helper will make things much easier on me. Secondly, I can lower my prices, pick up more customers, but make more money. With a helper I should be able to increase productivity by at lease 50%. Thirdly, I can begin training someone to be a crew lead. This will allow me to eventually spend more time developing business and doing design work (I am getting a degree in Landscape Design). Are any of you other solo operators feeling the same way?
     
  2. howardsells2000

    howardsells2000 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 355

    It is nice having a helper. I have been back and forth this season with and with out a helper. Let me share a few things with you. You won't be 50% quicker. You will be faster but probably not 50%. You will not be able to lower your prices. You will probably need to increase them. You will have to pay workers comp, taxes, uniforms and his salary. As far as training someone good luck. In my experiences you will be lucky if they even show up, let alone stay long enough to train. Plus while you train your new employees you will be working slower and holding you breath that he doesn't damage your equipment, the customers property or injure himself or someone else. It's scary watching someone using your equipment.

    I think the only way you can grow your company is with employees but it's not as easy as you might think.

    Good Luck
     
  3. TNT LawnCare Inc.

    TNT LawnCare Inc. LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,157

    You will get more done with a helper,just make sure they no what there doing. Why lower your prices, i never did . Actually i raised mine. :) Very good addvice from Howard. Whats up neighbor !
     
  4. Pietro

    Pietro LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 857

    Heres how I see it. There are many companies here that have the same business plan. Lowball, get an assload of clients, have 5 crews of mexicans try to do an impossible amount of work. They are never on time, and the workers dont strive to be the best. My company is different. Its me, my partner and our worker. We do about 100 lawns a week and charge MORE than everyone else. We are AMERICAN OWNED AND OPERATED. We show up when we are supposed to and always do a great job. Lets say Steves lawn care wants 35$ per cut, we charge 47 for the same job. We just explain to our clients that you get what you pay for. STOP SELLING YOURSELF SHORT.
     
  5. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,988

    THAT is a bad idea.

    An employee costs you more money despite reducing your workload.
     
  6. agr682

    agr682 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 51

    Good for you! I am excited to see people that are taking a more professional approach to lawncare and lanscaping. I am using the same approach. I am generally 15-40 dollars higher than most of the cookie cutter lcos. But I do a better job, go slower when conditions warrant it, and don't leave a property until it looks perfect. My clients are willing to pay for it.
     
  7. TNT LawnCare Inc.

    TNT LawnCare Inc. LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,157

    Excellent my thaughts Exactly. :usflag:
     
  8. stephenslawncare

    stephenslawncare LawnSite Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 81

    From what I have heard, hiring a helper only raises productivity for mowing by 30-35% because travel time is still the same. But if you do the math, $60.00/hr plus 35% equals $86.00/hr minus whatever it costs to own an employee. At best you will only make $5-10 more an hour which does add up though, THIS IS NOT FIRST HAND EXPERIENCE JUST WHAT I HAVE HEARD!!! Also you get to let a machine pull your lazy butt around and have you helper doing the "real" work.
     
  9. HOOLIE

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,981

    Your drive time obviously will affect productivity. Also you need to develop a system for each lawn you mow, so one of you is not standing around for 5 minutes while the other is blowing. That's my primary job, to make sure we're getting the lawns mowed as quickly as possible. My helper uses the hydro while I edge and trim, then if he's almost done, I start blowing. If he's still got some to mow, I will grab the crappy belt drive and mow a little then blow. I just try to time it so we both get finished around the same time. A 20 minute lawn can turn into a 25-30 minute lawn if you're not paying attention.
     

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