Solo vs employee's

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by smallstripesnc, Dec 17, 2012.

  1. newguy123

    newguy123 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,094

    I'm not sure how big you properties are, but if they're in the 1/4 acre range, you should be able to do more than 10/day (unless you're driving 15-20 minutes between each one.) I would suggest upgrading to a bigger mower, if your lots can justify it. With a 54" Zero Turn you should be able to do more in the range of 12-15 lawns per day. This way you put your money towards another piece of machinery, which you'll have for years, as opposed putting your money towards an employee.

    That's what I would do...
     
  2. wildstarblazer

    wildstarblazer LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 984

    The OP said several times that his yards are more easily maintained with what he has. A bigger mower or Z turn is not always the best mower for the job. If he has to change mowers to do a slope or a back yard, that is not saving time, unless the yards are 1 or more acres, and his are not.
     
  3. Tharrell

    Tharrell LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,964

    I may have missed it but, why are you STARTING your help at $12?
    Are you including your share of his taxes?
    If not, why not start him at $8 and have room to give raises etc...?
    Where would your numbers be then?

    I'm getting help this year, probably 2 workers.
    My knee is giving me trouble and I just decided to become more of a manager.
    Now, I can't do that with existing business so I have to get on the ball and get more next year.
     
  4. LHS Lawns

    LHS Lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 253

    Thats true. I've had many smaller yard clients ask me before they hired me what I would use and I say either a 21" or a 50" walk behind, whichever works best for the lawn.

    Their previous lawn guy would come in there with a 72" ztr and try to get done in a hurry. There is now way I would even think about doing the job with anything other then the 21" or 50" walk behind I own.
     
  5. jrs.landscaping

    jrs.landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    from Maine
    Posts: 2,716

    Can a 72" Z even mow a 1/4 acre lot? The smallest thing I've tried mowing was a baseball infield and it drove me nuts, it took longer than with a 48" Walker. Bigger mowers don't always save time, especially on the lots the OP has with hills and tight spaces.
     
  6. fastlane

    fastlane LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 347

    Based on your amounts - you charge $31.25 per man hr solo and would make less than $22 per man hr with an employee. I think this is the problem.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2012
  7. weeze

    weeze LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,621

    $25 a lawn. you should be doing at least 2 lawns per hour or you aren't charging enough. that would be 16 lawns a day solo in an 8hr day. that would bring in $400 a day. if the yards are taking longer than 30min each then you should raise your prices to maybe $35 a yard for example. if you did 10 yards in 8hrs that would be $350 a day.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2012
  8. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,659

    The problem is getting enough accounts close enough to each other that you can actually do 15 or so a day, it's very hard to get a bunch of accounts in the same neighborhood, we generally have 3-4 together then it's off to the next neighborhood 5- 10 mins away, I'm really focusing this year on adding to existing neighborhoods, it's really hard to be patient and build really good efficent routes but it's ever so important.
     
  9. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,659

    At least for us, we do better with two or three guys, it gives us the flexibility during the season to take on bigger stuff as it comes in, we're always getting calls for cleanouts and landscaping projects during the season, if I were alone I couldn't take on those type projects and maintain the regular customers as well.
     
  10. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,033

    $8/hr isn't even minimum wage where I am and it barely is where you are...seems kind of low to me for a laborer.
     

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