Employees??alot or none?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by fga, Nov 1, 2003.

  1. fga

    fga LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,449

    How's it going?
    I've been in business for 5 seasons now, in the new york city area, staten island. I do pretty good with lawn maintenance, and and the occasional landscape project. But my biggest stress I've had is employee related. With two to three guys(not counting myself) i complete alot of work, usually with free time on the weekend to either take sat. off or catch up on odds and ends. I know the guys are hired through me, its my choice and responsibilty. My dilemma is their unreliabilty, through the 5 seasons, there is only one worker I've had more then 4 months at a time. I pay fair and offer the hours, its gets frustrating.
    I was wondering if anyone in here works completely solo, maybe using ocasional work for large prjects. I can think of alot of benefiets, such as payroll, insurance, the amount of down machines, # of trucks, Even buying these guys lunch, which you know adds up. I know I'd have to buy bigger machines, and things like that, just curious for your opinon.
  2. gramps

    gramps LawnSite Member
    Messages: 241

    Agree. For every employee productivity goes down and bs increases. Have to decide where you want to be.
  3. chefdrp

    chefdrp LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,384

    I am solo, I do the jobs and that way i know things get done the way i want them to
  4. the scaper

    the scaper LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 690

    i started out solo about 4 years ago but now i always take 1 helper with me. works out great cause i still have complete control of the situation and have someone to do 1/2 the work for just a small piece of the $$. on bigger jobs i'll recruit 1 or 2 extra helpers. i always get my help through people i know. i always take care of my helpers and treat them with respect but at the same time let them know what i expect. they are always willing to work for me.
  5. fga

    fga LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,449

    Thanks alot guys!
    How many accounts can you usually get done on a daily basis working by yourselves, and how big of an account are they? In staten island, most accounts are done with 21" lawnboy mowers, etc. I've been out of state and know the set up is different, alot of big mowers and equipment. I have about 87 accounts, the average company in S.I. has about 175, from my knowledge(they use 5-7 workers).
    Thanks again for taking the time!!!
  6. Good labor is a killer here in Ohio too. Though you wouldn't think so. Must be the seasonal thing. By next spring the good people have found something better to do.
    I've had as many as 2 crews of 2 people. Now it's me and my son. Sometimes I threaten to fire him and hire a mexican.

    You could about draw a line thru Lawnsite and divide up the businessmen who run crews from the guys with the green shoes. Maybe solo guys with helpers. I'm no businessman. I'll probably have to work hard the rest of my life. I don't care. I kind of like it.

    I can get a lot done in a day. I have great big mowers. My best time was probably an apartment complex I mowed last year. 24 acres of sod. No buildings or parking lots measured in. Mowed trimmed and blown. WB the ditch bank and everything. Lots of little islands of grass. It looked good. Had it done before lunch! Wierd part of is was that all the residents were imigrant laborers. They were here to work in the owner's plant. Not to mow no stinking grass!

    Oh! To get back to your origional question. I don't know what the answer is to the labor problem. But I am really familiar with the question.


    PRO PROPERTY CARE LawnSite Member
    Messages: 198

    I was solo last season. I had the odd helper for bigger jobs that came up. But next season I will need one part time (maybe full time some weeks). I am not looking forward to this.....
    I hear a lot of horror stories from people i know that deal with employees. Especially when i cant offer alot . Only a little bit better than min. wage.....
    I think a reitree. looking for some part time work is the best route.... they are probably more reliable.
    If i could run solo,l would. But a couple of jobs i have for next season arent doable by myself....
  8. Shuter

    Shuter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,171

    I have had one laborer working with me from time to time. It seems to never work out. It is very hard to find someone who is happy to go to work. Now back to solo, with some help from my wife.
  9. sanfordandsonfan

    sanfordandsonfan LawnSite Member
    Messages: 103

    I guess the only thing I can really say I have been lucky with is help. I hired my dad full-time this year. He is fifty six years old and can work like nothing I ever seen. As a matter of fact he gets on me to keep up sometimes. A factory worker for most of his life, he is used to things like twelve hour days, twenty minute lunches and seven days a week. He tells me this is the best job he has ever had and looks forward to every day. Makes me really think how lucky I am. Enough about dad. When the time comes that he doesnt want to work anymore, I am looking for another guy about the same age. They realize the value of a dollar and what good work ethic is all about. So the speed may not be there, but if you charge the right amount, you dont have to run around with your head cut off.
  10. pjslawncare/landscap

    pjslawncare/landscap LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,410

    Lets face it, its' tough, hot dirty work and you must find people with what it takes to do it.
    I was solo for a long time. I have large machines and get a lot done. Now as work keeps comming in, I have two guys now and have as much as seven in summer months. I think my trick is to be nice but not too nice and let them know whats expected of them. A pat on the back is good also when warrented. I actually decided to let one guy go when I discovered attitude problems (Mild temper tantrom in front of other employee). He settled down and asked to stay so after a little talk, He is a pritty good employee now. It is a head acke sometimes, good luck!

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