expansion question for lco's with multi crews

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by C4chris70, Mar 14, 2009.

  1. C4chris70

    C4chris70 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 499

    I have a chance to pick up a HOA but will need to hire additional labor to handle all my work. My question is, would it be more efficient to purchase another truck and start a second crew, or hire a third person and run one 3 man crew? Is a 3 man crew that much more efficient than a 2 man crew (I realize it depends on the workers)? Thanks
  2. robertsturf

    robertsturf LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,406

    In my humble opinion 2 men crews are more productive on medium size properties. When you get to larger properties 3 men are better. I have done time studies on all our properties and this works best. On larger properties the fatigue factor sets in with just 2 men. Like you said alot of it depends on who is on the crew. If you are still out in the field working with them the pace is quicker too. Hope this helps.
  3. lawnpro724

    lawnpro724 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,201

    Do you have to Business to justify the cost of another crew? If the HOA is what is pushing you over just ad another part time person. On larger properties I have 3 on a crew 2 mowing and 1 trimming.

    SNAPPER MAN LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,443

    Think about the money side too. Does it make more sense to hire someone at $10 an hour or buy a new truck? To me it would make more sense to just add another laborer because to start another crew you are going to have to buy another truck, trailer, and equipment. Most people around me run three to four man crews anyways. Three is always faster than two.
  5. C4chris70

    C4chris70 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 499

    That is why I am trying to find out if a 3 man crew could work out for me. I would need to buy another truck anyway, because the dump truck I have now is only a standard cab (very tight for 3 sweaty guys). I already have enough equipment to outfit another rig. I would rather just hire third worker and not have the cost of a second truck, insurance, additional fuel and maintenance.
  6. musician/lawnman

    musician/lawnman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 37

    It's faster with 3 yes, I ran a 3 man crew last season because 2 of us just couldn't keep up, but I wasn't ready to add a 2nd crew.

    There is what's called the "theory of diminishing returns" & it does apply here. Basically the theory says for instance if you have a farm growing say corn. With no fertilizer you might grow (& I have no idea if these numbers are anywhere near realistic...) 1000 bushels per acre, then you add 300lbs of fertilizer next year & grow 1500 bushels per acre. The theory states means if you used 600lbs of fertilizer you aren't nessesarilly going to grow twice as much as it did with 300 lbs.
    If that didn't make sense I'll put it this way.

    If a one man LCO bills an average of $40 an hour, then he adds a helper & runs not $80 (like you might think) but he runs $70 an hour. So guy #2 added $30/hr. Then he adds a third guy and runs $90/hr. So guy #3 only adds $20.

    For each additional input the output gained diminishes. The math of thinking well I make $40 an hour so a 3 man team should make $120 is unrealistic unless you are on huge properties with zero travel tme. I found travel is the big killer here. Yes 3 guys can get jobs done 3 times faster, but a 5 minute trip takes just as long with 3 guys in the truck, only now it's 15 minutes total labor wasted not just 5.

    Does that help?

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