crew question

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by sixpixels, Aug 28, 2012.

  1. sixpixels

    sixpixels LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 29

    Hey everyone. Hoping to get some feedback. At the beginning of the season we were non stop where my 4 man crew was working 6 days a week averaging about 50-55 hrs between regular maint jobs and landscaping jobs. I hired another guy to help out with production. We got all caught up with projects and eventually got back to just maintenance. I tried having 2 crews one with a 3 man crew and the other with a 2 man crew figuring that we should be able to cover more ground grass cutting. But it seems to me that where are getting the same amount of lawns done with 5 guys as we did with 4. I know a lot of people say when you have this many guys on a crew they tend to get lazy. My thing is i feel like whether im paying 4 guys 50-55 hrs a week or 5 guys 40-43hrs per week i don't feel like anything is getting done faster. So do i let go 1 guy and set an expectation to the other guys that a certain number of lawns need to be done daily. Not sure what route to take. Also no matter what way i do it I feel like om chasing money down daily to make sure i have money for payroll and other overhead bills.
  2. spazfam

    spazfam LawnSite Member
    Messages: 146

    That's a tough one. I guess I would have to look at first the actual production cost and workload. If you want to try and keep all 5 guys maybe you can look at the actual routes to see if they can be tightened up anymore as well as maybe changing crew members around, as sometimes certain combinations of personalities work better together. I would also observe or actually do the route to see where the pitfalls are.
  3. GreenI.A.

    GreenI.A. LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,131

    I say let the weekest link go, whether it is the newest guy or not. If it is someone other than the newest guy, it will show the others that their job is not as secure as they think and that the need to prove their worthiness. Do the math out and see what your costs are, is it cheaper to pay for the extra employee for 40hrs or is it cheaper to pay all of the guys 10-15hrs of overtime. If they are all getting payed the same, then it would be cheaper to pay for the 5h guy. Depending on what you pay foor benefits, it can change greatly.

    Also, were coming up on the fall cleanup season soon. If your 4 guys are working overtime now, they will be even busy in a couple months.
  4. GreenI.A.

    GreenI.A. LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,131

    I have a buddy with 6 maintenance crews. He had a pretty good way of checking on their productivity. He had all of the crews keep track of their times. They wrote the time the got to the site, and the time they left the site. After a few weeks of doing this, he started to randomly go out with a different crew for a day or a portion of the day to observe them working. What he found was that when he was with a crew, they were about 20% faster on property. He only observed them, he didn't help them at all. What it did was show him that all of the guys were slacking when he wasn't there.

    Like spazfam said above, changing the crews around could help. You might find a combination that just naturally works better together.
  5. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,983


    Getting your shorts in a knot for $5 a week. Owners have no problem working 12hr days 6 days a week. Employees will burn out.

    So I say better to prevent burnout and when on guy needs a day off you still can send out two 2 men crews when you have 5 guys to start with.

    How backed up you're going to be if one guy got hurt and was out for a week and you just had to save $5 a week and went with 4 employees? The amount of overtime would eat right through the $5 a week savings.

    And when the weather backs you up it you will catch up faster with 5 then 4 employees.

    As to having an employee stand around. Well that will even happen when you have 2 men crews.

    If having idle time bothers you that much then send out 1 man crews.

  6. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 7,961

    Lets see 4X 55 = 220 MH

    5X43= 215 MH
  7. GreenI.A.

    GreenI.A. LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,131

    you guys are not taking overtime into consideration.

    If you are paying overtime on 55 hours that is the same as paying 62.5 hrs.
    4 x 55hrs (62.5) = 250 paid hrs
    5 x 42hrs (43) = 212 paid hrs

    That's a difference of 38 paid hrs. By paying 4 guys 15hrs of overtime each you are essentially paying more than you would for 6 guys each working 40hrs.
  8. grandview (2006)

    grandview (2006) LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,465

    So you want them to work faster so they get all the work done faster and get paid less?
  9. grassmasterswilson

    grassmasterswilson LawnSite Platinum Member
    from nc
    Messages: 4,988

    I don't have a crew, but have tried to do the math on adding full time guys or how many lawns I need to have a crew.

    During the summer I have hired the same high school/college guy the past 4-5 years. He knows exactly what to do and I don't have to tell him anything. What I find is that we aren't that much faster than me by myself. We hustle and not much lazy time.

    It just shows you that as owners we work harder than employees do. On the flip side I am much less tired and have more time for side jobs with a helper.

    As I've considered a crew the hard part for me to figure out is just how much money I want to put in my pocket when all the expenses are done.
  10. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 7,961

    I had that problem with I hired an extra guy.... they seemed to find ways to fill out the week. I knew it and they know it. I just need to add more work.

Share This Page