employee or not?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by martyman, Jul 29, 2001.

  1. martyman

    martyman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 220

    I have asked a few questions on this site and I enjoy it very much. I live in Markham Ontario, (Canada) I have over 50 residential and 3 medium sized commercial that I do by myself. I use a Troy-bilt 33, Toro 33 rear-engine rider and a Toro 21 commercial. I have been doing lawncutting 6 years now and snowplowing and I still wonder if getting someone to help me is really a money maker or just frustration waiting to happen.

    Also I want to ask if you guys or girls had to choose between a greatdane 32" ( single pump hydro) or a belt drive Gravely 36" walk-behind. What would you choose? I know Toro makes 32s and I wont' buy Toro again... ( They don't mulch worth a *#%$%)

    Marty ( I dig this site) :D
  2. Evan528

    Evan528 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,144

    how are you maintaining all those properties with residential grade machinery? Keep the trybuilt for gated yards and treat yourself to a 48 inch walkbehind commercial mower! Time is money.... you sure will cut your time with a commercial mower! As for an employee... thats a desision i think only you can make. I was solo for the last 7 years. This year i finallly made the desision to hire a full time employee. I have never regretted this desision once! I do 40% more work in less time! I can actually funtion after a days work instead of passing out! You have to sit down and run some numbers and see if you can afford a employee.... In my apinion its bests to start with a part time employee and as your work load thickens then get full time help!
  3. bubble boy

    bubble boy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,020

    hiring was the right move for us. just remember your employees will likely not work as hard, or as fast as you. they will also be rough on your equip.

    decide why you want the employee. is it to make more money?

    if yes, look at how much more work you can do, in $, with the help. and then figure how much $ the employee costs you. of course, remember taxes, CPP, EI and WSIB.

    if you are thinking of hiring to save time, maybe take the advice above and get a faster, larger mower instead of help.
  4. AztlanLC

    AztlanLC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,051

    Well I had the same question couple of years, but as someone mentioned before you should consider a lot facts before you decide like if can you afford to pay him plus (Workers Comp, Disability, Unemployment, Social Sec. Med.) but I think if you are thinking in hiring someone is because you are getting to busy.

    Invest in your company as much as you can, buy a commercial mower I'd recommend a WB hydro Scag 52" or bigger if you can use in your lawns, I wouldn't recommend a Scag rider even thoug I have couple of them, look for more customers and hire a hard working guy, mexicans have worked for me just fine, but is only two classes of mexican real good ones or real bad ones nothing in between, you wont' regreat to have extra help because this kind of work is real hard specialy for just one person.

    Think always big.:blob3:
  5. martyman

    martyman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 220

    Thanks for your replies and I will take your advise this time.. I priced a 44" floating geardrive today $4700 canadian. Its as big as I'm going to fit on my trailer. I hope that someday I can afford a sulky for It. They don't sell the Pro-slide here in Canada. :blob3: :blob2: :blob4:
  6. Highpoint

    Highpoint LawnSite Member
    Messages: 153

    I would try and get a larger mower first. If possible, you need to at least double your current mowing width of your rear engine rider. I'd keep both your current mowers for small areas and a backup. You will be surprised how much faster you will be able to get all your properties done and actually get to enjoy life a little bit more. The key is to balance work with pleasure. Over work yourself and you will be depressed and miss out on the joys of growing up. I do miss the good old days of just me and my JD 318. Perhaps after a year with the new equipment you can look into a helper. Don't get to big to fast, you will regret it royally. Good luck:blob1:
  7. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,403

    First of all, get some better equipment! It will pay for itself in a year, trust us. I like Zero Turn Riders, which for my client mix are much faster than walk behinds, sulky or not. Your knees will also appreciate it when you're my age. I wish I'd have wised up sooner on that.

    In my experience, hiring employees for a small operation does 3 things.
    1. You work less hard physically.
    2. You make a LITTLE more money.
    3. You work more mentally and stress out a LOT more.

    It all depends on if you can find a good employee who doesn't mind seasonal work, but who can be there when you need them. Here in Atlanta, it seems almost impossible w/o hiring illegals or paying cash off the books, which I refuse to do.

    In my case, I would have st uck to corporate life if I wanted a stressful job. You lose a lot of freedom with an employee (no sleeping in if you feel like it, no going home early when you feel bad, etc) but you do get to work a little less for a little more money.

    MATTHEW LawnSite Senior Member
    from NE OHIO
    Messages: 665

    What you could do is try someone out during your busy seasons. Now most people won't appreciate having a 2 month job UNLESS
    they are from a temporary service! They specialize in workers for limited times. Most of them have a list of temps wanting to do landscape stuff. You will pay a bit more,OK, but, you will not have to pay their taxes, ins.,workers comp. They are not employed by you but by the temp service. Then, if you decide you like the setup-offer them a job. Don't like their work? Call the service and ask for another guy. If you don't like the setup, simply call the service and terminate the worker. No hard feelings involved with the one out of a job.
  9. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Messages: 10,178

    yes, yes, yes. if u can find the rigfht employee(and it wont be easy), it takes a ton of strain off yur body, and gives u someone to talk to in the truck between stops. got a new guy this year, awsome worker, we are knocking out the residentials in 15 -18 min, gate to gate, sometimes even 9 or 10 min. and with two guys who are really into it and motivated, we have no problem banging out 10-15 lawns in a few hrs without killing ourselves. i hate working alone
  10. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,403

    Sounds like having an employee is ideal for you. I'm the opposite, I prefer working alone. An employee saves me about 15 minutes on a residential lawn, max, and usually about 10. (I let them do the trimming/blowing while I run the mower, fast)
    We also would finish in 15-20 minutes. That meant that in an 8 hour work day, I was saving myself about an hour and a half to two hours of work, but paying a guy for 8 to 9 hours! It just doesn't make as much sense on the residential level as on commercial jobs. The extra productivity was just about canceled out by the extra expense. Plus, the headaches and unreliability of employees...it just didn't make sense for me.

    If I ever do injure myself, I might wish I had them, though.

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