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Payroll is too high

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Gene $immons, Apr 9, 2007.

  1. Gene $immons

    Gene $immons LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,028

    What do you do when your workers are excellent -

    and the payroll is too high of a percentage of the sales?

    Either I need higher paying jobs, or cheaper (read unexperienced) employees.

    I hate to let good help go, But I might have to get back out in the field more than I planned on this season.

    I try to keep tight routes, and be efficient as possible, but my 4 man crew is killing me on the labor costs.
  2. bobw

    bobw LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 807

    Maybe you need to adjust your expected ratios a bit until you can get revenue to rise a bit.

    Do you really think that your business will do better in the long run if you let go of the experience help and get cheaper help?
  3. suzuki4life

    suzuki4life LawnSite Member
    Posts: 31

    i bet half of the people on here would kill to have your problem. Good help is so hard to find. i would go the better jobs route
  4. ncls

    ncls LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 441

    Not knowing anything about your routes, but I would re-examine a four person crew. I run 2 man crews. We tried one year to add a third person to a crew to get more done with larger properties. While more work was getting done, not enough to justify the pay. All three just worked slower. Productivity actually went down.
  5. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,501

    First of all, what % is your payroll to sales?
  6. Duekster

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

    Unless you are running commercial I think 4 guys is a bit much for a crew.

    One in the back yard mowing, one line trimming and one in the front yard mowing. What is the 4th doing? He can't blow.
  7. terrapro

    terrapro LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,234

    zactly what i was going to say. except this route you have to buy a new truck trailer ins mower trimmers blower gas....but you may make that all back this year then next year you can start looking at the profit and loss sheet
  8. Gene $immons

    Gene $immons LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,028

    the last couple of days it has been around 45 to 50% or higher. Leaving the company with little after you figure in other expenses.

    I thought about smaller crews, but I don't understand how that really helps anything, those employees are still on the clock each hour of the day.

    A four man crew can maybe get 5 to 7 more properties done in a day than a 3 man crew. A 2 man crew is way too slow for me.
  9. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    A two man crew is the most cost-effective, due to windshield time, that's what kills the 4+ guys. Three can do ok but no better than two and if you want a no-fail solution then run 2 men crews. If it's still sky high, I also see a self-defeating mentality that consistent advertising for help might resolve (and stop hiring these guys who think the world of themselves).
  10. 1cooltreeguy

    1cooltreeguy LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 630

    YUP - 2 man crews are the way to go. Seat time(in the Truck) kills a 3-4 man crews productivity. Also, consider your best guy. Put him in charge of a hard worker that you can pay alot less to. Your best guy can train him and you'll get 2-3 years of cheaper labor. Be creative.

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