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6 man landscape crew

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by kris, Nov 14, 2002.

  1. kris

    kris LawnSite Bronze Member
    from nowhere
    Messages: 1,578

    We are toying with the idea of putting a 6 man crew together next year.

    Bit of info... Currently we have 4 -3 man crews ( + 2 maintenance crews that do some small jobs ) and will add either another 3 man crew for a total of 5 or go with 3 - 3man and 1 - 6man.
    Although we tried it on a couple of jobs this year with great success, I found that I had to be onsite most of the time to make sure things were rolling ...

    Some concerns
    - a large crew can go over on projected hours by having one bad day
    - keeping enough material available to them, because in residential it is not always possible to store materials onsite ahead of time. IM not sure our one truck driver can keep up with all the crews and may be stuck supplying the one.
    - I think you need a different caliper of foreman then we have to keep everyone working.

    Some good points
    - a large crew can do allot of work fast ... 600 hour job in a couple of weeks.
    - possibly less trucks needed ... our labors get to job site themselves so our trucks are not people movers and generally each crew has either a one or two ton dump and truck driver(for all crews) delivering and hauling away with a tandem..... So ...4 trucks instead of 5
    - less equipment??? IM not sure about this ... machine on site may work more hours in the day OR may need 2 machines on site.

    It has been my experience that the first day on a new jobsite can be kind of slow starting out ...figuring everything out.. marking shrub beds, getting heights etc etc .. this would mean that you would not want 6 the first day. We could send a "start up" crew the first day consisting of 2 or 3 and put the other 3 elsewhere until day two of the job.

    What am I missing guys/gals????

    Any and all comments would be appreciated.
  2. PAPS

    PAPS LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 404

    i find the more guys... the less productiove the day generally... guys are talking more, guys are working on top of each other etc., guys are standing around watching etc. I invest in equipment (bobcats, excavators, trucks)... not laborers. I run a (4) man construction crew and (2-3) on maint. I'll add a 4th guy for leaves in a few days... but other than that... productivity goes way down as you expand the size of your crews.
  3. paul

    paul Lawnsite Addict
    Messages: 1,625

    Large crew sizes do work but only on larger scale jobs, with that said jobs that they do work on for us are larger parks, say 4 acres and up. These jobs I break down into two or more parts, grading crew and a planting crew, or planting crew and hardscape crew .........ect.

    One thing that does help is a previst to the site the day before with the foreman to layout and explaine what you want done and what you expect to have done.
  4. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 1,276

    I think this is an approach to take only if you are falling way behind on an individual project and need to wrap it up fast.

    I don't recall all the ins and outs, but for large construction projects many const. companies utilize a critical path method, keeping close watch on those things that, should they take even 5 minutes longer than planned, will throw off the completion of the rest of the project.

    My experience has been, even the tiniest flaw in your critical path analysis, or flaw in it's execution, will quickly be exposed (in the form of idle employees) with a 6-man crew.

    So I see something like this being feasible when you have a project where the six guys can act like 2-3 separate crews (which means you'll have to have sub-crew leaders who can manage the execution of their smaller portion). Otherwise 4 guys will be waiting for the other 2 to finish what they're doing so they can go to the next step.

    Because I think it'll only work on very large projects, like those 600 hour ones you mention. If you have many of those kinds of projects, great. If you don't, you might be better off with 2 crews of three, combining them when needed for the biggies, but with a clear understanding between the 2 foremen as to who is the lead for the project.

    But you guys have ops far larger than mine, so take my experience with a grain of salt.

    I'll be interested to hear how things pan out next year.
  5. kris

    kris LawnSite Bronze Member
    from nowhere
    Messages: 1,578

    Thanks for the input ... points are well taken

    I can relate to the chit chat that goes on. On one job we tried it on I split up a few of them sending them to different parts of the yard .... Problem is, I can't be there all the time.
    I did set it up as two separate crews ... one doing hardscape the others were excavating for shrub beds etc. This was a poor access job that I tried the MT50 bobcat on. Had them take lunch at different times so we could keep the machine working. We beat the hours on this job by quite a bit and I really enjoy seeing the progress in a 60-70 hour day. We get quite a few 5-6 hundred hour jobs that I think are big enough to suit this crew .... mind you I've seen many 1-2 hundred hour jobs that I could keep everyone busy and make the hours if all the materials are on site.
    Still undecided on this....
  6. Turfdude

    Turfdude LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,899


    I believe you have put a lot of thought into this already. I feel the key is getting the job properly set up to run smoothly w/ a smaller crew, then send in the trrops to crank the job out. The other important factor is having 1-2 "key" personnel in place to keep everyone moving. These employees must be good decision makers and have the ability to handle the unexpected w/out making a poor choice. As long as this is in place, I say go for it. As PAPS said earlier, the LAST thing you want is to have unproductivity - you don't want guys standing around.


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