Solo Employee?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by MOturkey, Oct 11, 2005.

  1. MOturkey

    MOturkey LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,742

    I work solo, and am wanting to begin an expansion of my mowing business starting next spring. I suppose the logical step for most solo operators is to hire a helper at least part time allowing them to cover more ground in a day and service more properties. However, in my situation, I'm not sure that would work well. A large part of the problem is the type of properties I currently service. This is a rural area, and most yards, except in the downtown areas of towns, are pretty large.

    I did some record keeping the past couple of mows, and the time required to do all the trimming etc., averages only about one-third of the total time required to service my properties as a whole. It is likely that most of the new accounts I would gain will be similar. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me to hire someone who is going to be spending a lot of time thumb-twiddling.

    I have a friend who has helped me during my hunting vacation before and has expressed an interest in helping me on a part-time, regular basis. I would, of course, have to pay him substantially more to do the work solo, but it seems to be a solution to my problem. I simply can't, at my age, add much additional work and still handle it with my 50 hour plus regular job. My thought is to hire my buddy to mow on days I can't, as the business grows.

    Anyone ever been in a similar situation, or have any thoughts on my idea? Thanks, Neill
     
  2. mrusk

    mrusk LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,260

    Uh just buy another mower. Thats the only real solution.

    Matt
     
  3. befnme

    befnme LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,413

    hire a p/t laborer to trim ,edge ,and blow while you mow and work together.
     
  4. JMB

    JMB LawnSite Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 51

    It sounds like you need another mower if you really want to expand. You didn't say what size and type of machine that you are using, but ...
    (1) If most of your properties are rural/large, I would buy a larger (61") Z and you should both finish about the same time. On larger properties, your helper could run the other mower if necessary.
     
  5. Brianslawn

    Brianslawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,004

    employees want a 40 hr work week, yt most wont be able to handle this 40 hrs/ week. the more paid thumb twidling, the better.... for them.

    50 hr week regular job??? quit that!
     
  6. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,033

    There are other things your helper can do other than just trim. Have him fuel all the equipment, wind all the trimmer line, fill out the log book, check the fluids, air the tires etc., keep the truck and trailer organized and clean. You could even have him cut in along the edges of the property with a smaller mower while you do the large open areas. Heck, you could even have him go distribute flyers to the neighbors.
     
  7. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,830

    So let me get this straight - you have your own lawn maint. company AND you work a 50+ hr. per week regular job???

    Before you even start thinking about hiring employees, you need to make a choice which one you want to pursue. There is no way to put your heart into two businesses at the same time (even if one isn't your own business.) One of them is always going to suffer.

    You need to make a choice which one you want to pursue long-term and plan for that one. If you chose to stick with the LCO business, then start cutting your hours at your job or get a part time job until the LCO biz can support you entirely.

    If I am reading your post correctly, and you actually do have a 50+ hour per week regular job in addition to your LCO biz, then you are in no position to even be thinking about employees. You got your priorities all out of whack.
     
  8. Green Quality

    Green Quality LawnSite Member
    Posts: 176

    There is no need to go out and buy a mower! or have your hired help play with the weed wacker.If your solo, you need to work on the business end,to get your company to grow!lets say one of your yards,is pretty big and and takes 3hr to do solo!and it payspayup =$140.00 .pay your help,lets say =8hr+payup $24 for the job.This leaves you with payup $116 with out doing a lick.you on the other hand drone up more jobs for your lawn service.now if your smart why go out and buy mowers? that cost $10000.00 when low ball joe has a mower.give him some work ,I'm sure he does not mind getting payed little more than what he would charge for cutting him self. this is the key which I'm going to employ next year I'm going to be A (((Lawn Broker))))payup
     
  9. logan

    logan LawnSite Senior Member
    from FL
    Posts: 315

    I would ride on the mower all day and let hime do the edging and trimming. Pull up on the trailer as he finishes blowing. If you are doing other work, let him do the hard stuff. I always weigh the cost of an employee with the cost of faster equipment. The equipment always wins. There are less headaches with payroll and hoping they show up on time and don't goof off. A 10k mower will cost you about 200-300 in payments, lets say 100k in gas and then costs of repairs. In my situation, that is still cheaper than an employee. I would not work 50 hours a week for someone else when I can make 150k a year working for, and by, myself (gross that is) in 50 hours a week. Keep in mind that this is a part time job too. I get half the winter off in Florida.
     
  10. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,830

    Haha. It's not quite THAT simple. I wish it was. I remember when I THOUGHT it was. But there's soooooo much more to it than that.

    Your concept is right. But there's just so much more to it than you realize.
     

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