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One man vs. 2 man crew

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Crabtree, Feb 9, 2006.

  1. Crabtree

    Crabtree LawnSite Member
    Posts: 20

    I found that most all residential lawns can be done in less time with one man versus 2. Most of the time the weedeater man is ahead of the mower and weedeating more than he has to. Sometimes taking twice as long as it would were it done after mowing is finished. So, I have been running myself and one employee as one man crews since last year. On occasion we will double up on a couple of very large properties.
    I have yards spread out all over, and a few times we happen to get on site the same time as a much larger company pulls up to a neighboring lawn.
    My one man (or myself) can be done in 20 minutes average (9,000 sqft). It falls under the minimum $25 per visit. The 2 yards are comparable in size almost identical. The neighbor may have 1,200 more square feet or so, but not much more than that.
    Anyway, big company pulls up and 4 guys get out, all Hispanic. Two guys on riders, one guy with a stick edger (which is a worthless piece of equipment IMO), and one man with a weedeater. I stuck around one day and ate a little lunch. It took 4 of them 30 minutes to finish! That's 2 man hours labor compared to my 25 minutes max! I don't try to hurry up and get done faster just for spite, it's an easy yard.
    My Question:
    You guys with Hispanic help, are man hours even a factor on your properties?
    Or are you paying them so little that 2 of them make one man hour? Or is there an "Hispanic man hour"? I don't get it. There are so many of them on so many properties doing sub par work and people are paying for it!
    The medium size companies seem to want to follow suit. I've seen them with 3 or four man crews (not all Hispanic), but there would be one guy with a blower running from the time the mower comes off the truck until it was back on!
    From the posts I've read on LawnSite, most big guys are charging $1 a minute, or at least trying to. From what I've seen, that would make for some expensive residential lawn mowing...
     
  2. Gatewayuser

    Gatewayuser LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,734

    I was going to run 2 2 men crews but I did analyze it before and even tried it out and it took almost the same amount of time if not more. The only time it makes sense is on my cemetery day which takes 2 people all day. What I am going to do is send 1 person and truck to do lawn treatments 1 or 2 1 men to mow and 1 2 men to landscape.
     
  3. cleancutccl

    cleancutccl LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 698

    if you take the time to train your people correctly you will speed up your times. I run 2 guys on the mowing crew. One mows, the other weedeats, trims and blows off afterward. By the time they are done mowing and load up the blowing is done and they are off. 7000 sq ft prop. took 35 minutes with one, with two it takes 25 minutes. Man hours are more than if one person was doing it, but you take that time over 25 yards a day and a one man crew will be crawling by the end of it.
     
  4. Gatewayuser

    Gatewayuser LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,734

    What I want to know is why does it take you 25mins to mow that little lot? I can mow trim and edge a 1 acre yard in 40mins max by myself.
     
  5. Gatewayuser

    Gatewayuser LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,734

    You need to look at employee cost a little closer because instead of taking 2 hours more which say could cost you $20 a day extra for one person, you are putting out $70 more a day or $350 per week for two. But if you took more jobs with the spare time you could make $1,000 more per week.
     
  6. MarcSmith

    MarcSmith LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,157

    in florida I had a lot of 10-15K lots when i was runnintgeh crew I had one other person, except on days when I had to do my HOA.

    I woudl start on the 52" lazer while my worker edged with a stick edger, ocne she was done edging she grabed the weedy. I had alreqady made my one pass around everything so she knew how far she needed to go, she started in the front Once I was done I grabbed the backpack blower and finished up.

    we woudl rotate the tasks so that way one person woudl not get too overly tired.. if a client came out of the house to chitchat, my worker would finish up while i was chattin...

    I the two of us could do a yard in about 15 minutes from truck stop to truck start.... one day we worked a normal 8 hour day and got 35 done. granted 10 of them were all side by side, but we were pounding the grass hard.

    a one man crew could be worn out pretty easily IMO, especialy if you have severl house in a row or with no travel time between them.
     
  7. Justcutitshort

    Justcutitshort LawnSite Member
    Posts: 187

    fortunately it sounds like you are a person that has some actual experience on the subject.:rolleyes:
    One man crews will get burned out quickly mowing day to day alone, not to include the physical burned out, too.
    Two men crews can "Pace" the day and keep working from day to day.
    If a take a crew man with me and we work the day, I find breaking during longer jobs, not counting drive time, keeps my worker and myself better focused and more productive.
     
  8. CLC03

    CLC03 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 30

    I do not have a large abundance of properties(at this time), but I have several large commercial properties. I tried doing everything on my own and I was able to do, but I physically drained at the end of the day. I am also an educator and during the fall I had to hire someone. I found out that a 2 man crew is better than one. As mentioned earlier, if you hire hard workers and train them correctly, you will definitely see the benefits. I will always have a two man crew until I get enough business for three. A two man crew allows me more time with more important things like my family.:)
     
  9. Justcutitshort

    Justcutitshort LawnSite Member
    Posts: 187

    when you are grossing another $30 to $40 per hour using the helper, unless you are a greedy SOB, you can afford a comfortable pace that makes you and your worker/helper happy.
     
  10. MarcSmith

    MarcSmith LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,157

    as a one man show, if you get even the least bit distracted by clients, or having to run down to pick up some parts, or service the eqiupment, it can really throw a wrench in your day.

    At least if you have one person still working and you need to chit-chat, or run down the street, as a copmany, you are still being productive. 20 minutes of lost time by a one man band is one less yard you can cut that day....

    I hated getting behind. even it it was only one or two yards, if you have a good route you can set your watch once you get in a groove, I have purposely made an improtu change in the route if I saw a client who happened to home, jsut to avoide the possibility of getting bogged down in chatter....or I try to schedule that lawn as the last one so if I do get caught, I done for the day and not behind on the cuts...
     

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