Will 100k take me from one (big) crew to two???

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by mcclureandson, May 7, 2006.

  1. mcclureandson

    mcclureandson LawnSite Member
    Posts: 242

    Quick background...I do about 8-9k a month (12 months/year) full-service maintenance and another 10k + monthly with misc new construction, irrigation installs/repair, mulch, plantings etc...but I've only got one truck (06 F-250 CrewCab). I end up hauling four guys around with me all day doing a ton of 10-15k sq/ft residential accounts 3 days each week...dropping them off with a trailer full of gear for an install another 2-3 days each week and trying to find time in between for those countless little misc items that need to be done weekly...busted irrigation head, spot-spray fungicide, install/maint quote etc...I KNOW this is inefficient and it's driving me nuts! I've got a great set-up (gear-wise) for the maintenance side of my business...and nothing for landscaping/irrigation. I'm ready to make a step up to an additional crew...will 100k get me started? And how would you guys spend the money knowing now what you wish you knew then? I have enough work scheduled for the next two months for an additional crew and finding enough billable hours for more guys/gear has never been a concern. My thoughts are...3 acres for dumping/future shop (no more wasted time at the landfill or making quick trips to supply houses for pine straw or bulk mulch...I'd get 2-3 thousand bales dropped in the spring and keep 100+ yards of single-hammered hardwood around as well)...and besides, I didn't work my butt off to get into a 350K house just to have a bunch of gear stuck out back along with the carcasses of a half dozen dead shrubs I haven't found time to haul to the dump from last month's renovation...Also, either an F-350 or Isuzu NPR (leaning heavily NPR) with landscape body...and then perhaps a Toro Dingo with auger, trencher and bucket...what do you all think? Obviously I need help...I'm too busy and trying to do too much with one truck. If getting too much work was the problem and you wanted to spread the load onto a second crew how would you spend the cash? FYI...should have mentioned this is NOT hypothetical.
  2. LLandscaping

    LLandscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,016

    What type of landscaping jobs are you currently doing? Renovations or New installs mainly. If you are doing a lot of grading and sod work you might want to consider a skid steer. What size are the lots that you will mainly be working on?
  3. start2finish

    start2finish LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 497

    you might want to sub out a few things while you organize your second crew, do you have any friends in the business, how long have you been in business?
  4. godzilla

    godzilla LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 401

    If I was you I'd see about hooking up with a mulch blowing company... they are cheap, and require less work on your part to get a bunch of work done. Besides that, a diesel cab over with 4x4 and a 10' mason dump, and tool box would be a good place to start. I wouldn't invest in land just yet... but then again it's much cheaper down your way.
  5. mcclureandson

    mcclureandson LawnSite Member
    Posts: 242

    Thanks for the replies...I have a mix of new/renovations scheduled for the year but revenue-wise renovations are much heavier. I've billed out +/- 20k each month this year but looking at my books see I've spent around 220 man-hours each month at my place. That equates to thousands of lost revenue (should be over 7k or so at least). I will be over or near 30k for May and most likely the rest of the year through December (leaf cleans and two installs scheduled for late in the year). This month I have a backyard re-do (12.5K) irrigation install (3.5k) irrigation repair/renovation (2.5k - condo assoc at lake) still to get done along with regular maintenance stuff and another 4-5k in misc small installs/mulching/prune and cleans etc...also see I have already done about 9K in the first week and half this month. I sub out large paver/wall jobs, tree work I am not insured for, lighting installs and fountains. Everything else is all me. I can't help but see the logic in buying land...saving 3k per year in dump fees and storage rental fees. Also, if I buy 3-4000 bales of straw each spring and have them dropped ONCE it will shave close to $2000 off my yearly expense...same goes for the hundreds of yards of hardwood I do..those items alone amount to nearly $800/month...AND it is more convenient. Trying to answer questions here...the new installs (I've already done two this year with three more scheduled and expect to pick up 3-4 more from builder associates by year's end...very firm number...could be double that) I have this year are mostly neighborhood minimums...9-10k sq/feet sod, 5-6 zone system, 14 7gal plants, 4 25 gal plants, cooresponding amount of mulch etc...two will push 20k but most get what's listed above for around 9-10k. I could use a multi-purpose machine that could auger, trench, light grade and hual material. Tracked Toro-Dingo would be my first choice but I worry it can't move a pallet of sod or take B/B plants off a truck. A tracked Skid-steer would be useless for most of my renovations. I also think an NPR would be great with a landscape body...a second crew could take it out for maintenance (easier than a truck/trailer combo?) and it could double-up later to haul plants/equipment. FYI...sent out "dropping you" letter to 35 mow-and-go accounts that never went for ad-ons. Have already cut into that 3k/monthly lost revenue with 2K/monthly BETTER revenue by adding 3 new commercial accounts/6 new full-service residentials...all will need ad-ons throughout the year. Any advice would be appreciated.
  6. start2finish

    start2finish LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 497

    sounds like you have it mastered.
  7. mcclureandson

    mcclureandson LawnSite Member
    Posts: 242

    You're kidding, right? I've got more questions than answers at this point...help from the 'big guys' or anyone else who can remember what it was like to make a jump up while keeping up with a heavy flow of new work would be greatly appreciated.
  8. JJLandscapes

    JJLandscapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 682

    first off it sucks how you can get a house for 350k and be proud of it... 350k cant buy you a condo on LI and i hate my parents for choosing this area to move in lol

    but anyways you seem to have more knowledge than 99% of the board only tip im gonna say is... If you are spending 100k on new equipment you better hope you can justify that and the salaries for 4-5 workers im guessing

    remember if you add another truck and have twice as much work but only making 10% more in your pocket then its not worth the headache.... And get a good ass manager or crew leader who can make sure the quality of work you need is being done when you arent on site
  9. Brianslawn

    Brianslawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,004

    get 2 trucks. small ranger for all the little stuff. a half ton for maint. both used and few years old. get two more trailers (open). youre around $15k now. do you got a small tractor with bucket and box blade? not familiar with the dingo, but get it IF you think you can use it a lot. im leaning towards an excavator or ditch witch. you can get setup for 2 more crews for $50k. then you can run 3, or just 2 but rotate vehicles or have backups.
  10. mcclureandson

    mcclureandson LawnSite Member
    Posts: 242


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