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Transition from solo to with an employee?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by SoloSulkySurfer, Apr 21, 2007.

  1. SoloSulkySurfer

    SoloSulkySurfer LawnSite Member
    Posts: 224

    If I cut 35 smaller (1/6 acre) residential prop. a week last year solo and hire a helper for this year (prob. 10 account increase this year) is this a good move? I would hire my sisters boyfriend (16 year old) for prob $7-8/hr. (no experience). I would mostly have him run the trimmer and blower, maybe run my 33" in some yards.

    2) What is the best way to utelize his time while I mow?

    3) Will we likely finish at the same time or will I be paying him to sit around?

    4)Is this a good business move or is it simpler and better to stay solo?

    5)After how long does he get a raise after I teach him how to use the trimmer, blower ext.?

    6)Also should I leave some houses for a day that he won't be working (ie larger 1/2 acre lawn)

    :dizzy: :dizzy:
  2. Albery's Lawn & Tractor

    Albery's Lawn & Tractor LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,675

    Trimming is the most important part of mowing. If it's done half ass it will show, yet a good job can make the yard look great. Teach him on your own yard or friends yards (where your not getting paid), then if he learns and does good then take him with you to a customers house. I pay my one helper $7.50 per yard and we can do 2-4 per hour depending on location. He does all the trimming and blowing, and I run the Z's. If there's lots of trimming then I'll help or use the stick edge. Depending on some major bids we have out, I might hire another helper and then I'll pay each $5 per yard since they don't have to do as much but I won't get my butt off the Z.
  3. tjsquickcuts

    tjsquickcuts LawnSite Senior Member
    from Atlanta
    Posts: 943

    Man, if i paid my guys $7.50 per house, I would end up paying $22.50 to $30 bucks per hour per man. I say hold out. I dont see needing help until you have around 50 accounts or more and I would pay be the hour, and not per lawn. $8 to $10 bucks a hour is good, and I do agree to train him on your lawn or a good friend who doesnt mind a free cut for training purposes. I service a few of my neighbors for really cheap, in return I get to experiment with new techinques, and for training purposes.
  4. SoloSulkySurfer

    SoloSulkySurfer LawnSite Member
    Posts: 224

    I said I would pay him $7-8 an hour not per house.
    Thanks for your reply
  5. tjsquickcuts

    tjsquickcuts LawnSite Senior Member
    from Atlanta
    Posts: 943

    wasnt talking to you, was saying that to Albery's.....
  6. Chilehead

    Chilehead LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from Stockbridge, GA
    Posts: 1,899

    Stay solo! As more accounts/acreage come your way, a larger mower will serve as a great "employee". I service 45 regulars right now with full service(mowing, chemicals, hedges, annual color) and just bid on two 30-acre properties. If I (and I am solo myself) win one of those bids, my answer is not an employee--it's a 108" gang mower. It'll pay for itself after the first year! You can pocket $100K a year just on maintenance that way. The truth of the matter is that most landscape companies that gross even one million in revenue a year only pay their CEO about $50K. I don't know about you, but I plan on retiring at 40. Right now I'm 28. Adios!
  7. prosperity

    prosperity LawnSite Member
    Posts: 92

    Don't forget the cost of workers comp insurance......
  8. haybaler

    haybaler LawnSite Senior Member
    from ma
    Posts: 511

    My advice is don't hire family. Try starting the year solo and then hire a kid that just graduated from a tech school. someone with ambition, experience and you still can start them at 8 bucks an hour.
  9. Beau Rivage

    Beau Rivage LawnSite Member
    Posts: 218

    I know a guy who hired his 16 yr old nephew to do exactly what you're talking about...1/3 of the way through the summer he started to peter out. Then the guys customers started complaining and he ended up having to let him go. Then of course, he found himself over booked. Staying solo gets my vote.
  10. haybaler

    haybaler LawnSite Senior Member
    from ma
    Posts: 511

    If you stay solo YOUR going to get burned out and lose customers. been there done that. If you can find the right people and are good at training them it works well.

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