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DO you guys feel the same?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by tlcgrounds, Jan 29, 2001.

  1. tlcgrounds

    tlcgrounds LawnSite Member
    Messages: 133

    My fiance and I have a very large business between the two fo us. This year we will do close to 90k in mowing and shrub related serviced. We can handle it our selves. I don't mind the endless amounts of work. I enjoy spending time with my girl and I love the idea we an make lots of money doing things that I love-LC-. I have decided that we need to hire someone just as an insurance if one of us become injured. Man, this is the most difficult proccess of deciding who had how much to pay some one. I thought of hiring someone form the unemployment office and release him next year. Then rehire in Spring. I thought of taking someone in and taking good care of them and rehire in the spring. I thought of hiring colledge friends and paying thier first semester in colledge. Then I thought of forgeting the emlpoyee and going back to square one. Some time down the road I will be faced with the enevitable. What are some of the ways that you large guys have transformed from do it your selfers to running employees? How do you retain them and what insentives do you give them?
  2. mbwent

    mbwent LawnSite Member
    Messages: 24

    It's hard to grow, esp. hiring the first employee, but you will be relieved after you do it. If you can, wait to hire someone until you can find someone you can trust to represent your business. Keep doing the work yourself until you can find the right person. As far as incentives, health insurance is a biggie, everyone needs it and if you can pay even 50% of their premium, they feel they are receiving a tremendous benefit. It's tough to get good insurance these days. I don't know how Kansas is, but we are limited in SW FLA as far as insurance, only a few companies to choose from. But you can save some $ by getting the person an individual policy for now and pay some or all of the premium and then get a group policy when you have 2-3 employees. I would also consider a commission bonus for getting your co. extra work. Employees love opportunities to make extra moola!! Good luck!
  3. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    First of all, let me explain I never wanted to mow lawns and do the actual physical labor part indefinitely. Some people enjoy it. I don't. I always wanted to own and run a business. So the transition was very easy and natural for me given that I always intended it this way.

    That being said, I think you gotta make a decision if you want to do this indefinitely or not. There are a lot of advantages either way. If you decide you really do want to continue doing it yourselves then I might suggest that you don't need anyone right now. I assume you have adequate life and disability insurance. That should cover 80% or so of your wages should one of you become injured. Furthermore, with one of you left to supervise, it wouldn't be too hard to take on a new employee and get them up to par in short order. I don't think you need to hire someone now for something that may never happen.

    On the other hand, you may decide that you'd enjoy running a business as much as you do working it. If that's the case, then you'll want to start with the first step, which is duplicating yourself. Or hiring.

    I should also mention that it is entirely possible to do both for a while. Some people still juggle both running a business and being one of the main laborers for the company. I personally don't do that. I just fill in if needed. But it's always a good option.
  4. Bob Shoaff

    Bob Shoaff LawnSite Member
    Messages: 64

    Im right there with Jim on this one. I am working my rear off trying to market my business for growth, meet customers, give estimates and do the work. My goal is to just manage and grow my business. I will be bringing in some help soon but I am not getting in a hurry. I am going to be very picky on who comes on board. Clean cut, drug free and a brain. I want a person who is capable of supervising a crew as my first employee. I don't mind paying for it because it will be well worth it in the end. And then there is always the opportunity for that person to move up with the business as it grows. It's alot of fun to me to just sit back with a cold one and visiualize the future then making it happen.
  5. bdemir

    bdemir LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 610

    Well im not business savy but last year was my first year and i actually lost money but i grossed 85k and i could not have done it without employees. you will be amazed at how much work can actually get done and you rest. I think the best approach to having an employee is to take care of him or her like a family member and they will take care of you. Eventually your business will be run by employees if you take care of them and you can sit back. I cant see training a new guy every year when you can find the other guy something to do over the inter and maybe even profit from them. I hope this help and good luck because employees are also the hardest part of this business.


    [Edited by bdemir on 01-30-2001 at 02:32 AM]
  6. tlcgrounds

    tlcgrounds LawnSite Member
    Messages: 133

    I was introduced to this business when I was barely tem. I counldn't even use a pushmower. I moved away form the east coat and ended up in Kansas when I was 13. I realized I had an oportunity to make good of my interests and the business slowly grew throught highschool. When I graduated I was sure this is what I was doing. I bought a house 3 months after I graduated and the business boomed after that.
    There are a select few high end profile lawns in my area and my goal is to get and keep every one of them. I have done really well so far but I am only 20 years old and it is very hard to sort of losen the reins and take another guy in.
    When I think of the responsibilties of what I will give an employee there isn't much I can think of. I WILL NOT LET THEM GO OUT BY THEM SELVES AS A ONE MAN CREW. I figure I will run a three man crew,(myself, my fiance, and the employee,) We will fly through the mid sized properties. Send my fiance to get started on mowing the large properties while my guy and I hit the small ones.
    My guy would be very restriclted to what he can do. You know stick edging a little trimming and blowing off.
    What could you pay a guy to do that? I would n't work for 6 or 7 dollars an hour. I've never worked at a job as an "employee" I was always the one running the show, making the decisions.
    Recently I found a guy who was willing to work for $285 take home. I explianed to him there is a lot of windshield time and if he could work on a "salary". Our seasons are very strange. Heavy growth and rainfall through June than drought untill late September. I told him we would keep him on until November then lay hime off. The added hours he put in early in the year would make up for the slower time at the end. He would cost me about $440.00 per week after taxes are paid. that's about $12,000.00 a year. That's a lot of money for a guy who will just be edging and blowing. There would be nothing else left to do because we put the biggest pieces of equipment on a property we can and we like to get our mowing time down around our trimming time.
    our work is so cut and dry now. Add an employee and things just get more stressful!Maybe our business isn't cut out for employees. Any Advice would be appreciated
  7. Bob Shoaff

    Bob Shoaff LawnSite Member
    Messages: 64

    When I find the type of person I am looking for I have been considering putting them on salary at $30,000 per year to start. In my opinion, you should look for someone who is capable of doing more then just edging, trimming and blowing. If you do beds and things like that, put him in charge of maintaining the beds. If you give someone responsibility and make them feel like a bigger contributer to the business, you will get alot out of them. Give an incentive when they get you business and if they do good for you give them a raise. You just need to find someone who gives your company a good image. Good luck.
  8. osc

    osc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 502


    I used to think 100k in lawn business was large untill I took a look at the industry. "Very large" is like a Davey Tree Expert Co. doing 300 million in sales in one year or Brickman doing 150 million. No sarcasm intended, I just thought you should know. This forum and some trade publications opened my eyes on several things


    85k and you lost money?
  9. tlcgrounds

    tlcgrounds LawnSite Member
    Messages: 133

    You guys are right, 100K is not a lot compared to the amount of money this indusrty generates. BUT 100K is a lot for a small town of 11,000 people and a county of about 35,000 peolpe. I'm sure there are alot of us who would rather work in the field than be the guy couped up in the office doing routing and job costing. All we do is maintain lawns ans trimm shrubs. We have alliances with the few nurseries in the area so we really don't want to get into a new area of service. Mowing is what our area lacks and it's us the pro cuttter that they look for. I'd much rather make 100K between our selves and keep 70K than do 300K and only get to keep maybe 15-20% wich is still only about 40-50K.
  10. 1MajorTom

    1MajorTom Former Moderator
    Messages: 6,073

    Yep, I totally hear what you are saying tlc.
    100K might not be a lot, but for certain areas it is.

    In our area, 100k is decent money. We live in a town of
    a little over 5,000. So our business consists of servicing
    a bunch of neighboring little towns totaling no more than 40,000.

    The cost of living is relatively low compared to a lot of other areas. 100K is not a bad way of living for cutting grass. We are having fun at what we are doing, who could ask for more?


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