First Time Hiring an Employee

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by afftandem, Jan 6, 2005.

  1. afftandem

    afftandem LawnSite Member
    Messages: 196

    this is the 1st year ill be going commercial.... im looking at 52" riders and a 36" wb with sulky.... Im goin to hire 1 employee to work with me... i plan on targeting $30 to $50 lawns... majority (90%) being $30 & $35.. lots are 1/2 to 3/4 acre (vast majority are no gates, but having the 36" wb when there is).... also (3 trimmers, 1 backpack blower, 1 handheld blower, 2 edgers, and 1 hedge trimmer) and a 16' trailer.
    my questions are:

    1. Is a crew of 3 more profitable than 2? (would add a 3rd mower)
    2. How much should I pay my employee or employee's? $7,8,9,10??? (OHIO)
    3. Ive been told to hire an employee as contract to avoid wrkmns comp, unemplymnt, etc... (can i do this and if so what should i pay them)?
    4. With the lawns i have listed... does this seem profitable?
    5. If they are my employee and after mowing season do i have to pay unemployment??? how does that work?
    6. With myself and 1 employee.. (2 good mowers) is 70 lawns a week realistic/ can i expect to do more, if business is good? or how many lawns can 2 shuffle realisticly through the week.
    7. should i work them overtime... or cut them off after 40???
    8. any other suggestions welcomed.. thank you.
  2. Soupy

    Soupy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,125

    1) I think a 2 man crew is more profitable.
    2) Depends on your area, but try to be competitive.
    3) you can not hire an employee as a subcontractor.
    4) If you can get the customers? then yes. But take it slowly and see my advice in 8.
    5) You will have to pay unemployment and SS medicare on his payroll every week. Example in my state a $10hr employee 40hrs/wk is around $16 for unemployment and $31 for SS medicare. WC insurance is 5.1%.
    6) 70-100 in 40 hours but on those size properties I would get 1 52" ZTR and the other guy can trim and blow.
    7) I think you are getting way ahead of yourself, but to answer your question. If you need them then work them, but if you can schedule the work (not weekly maintenance) so you work steady hours then you will be better off. You don't want to cram 50 hours in one week then have no extra work the next week.
    8) My suggestion is to buy one 52" ZTR and 1-2 trimmer, blower, and edger. Do as many lawns as you can until you can not handle the load and then hire part time or as needed to help. The employee can Trim, Edge and blow while you are mowing. If you have a lot of gated lawns then also get a smaller mower for these. I would start with a cheap 21" and only get a larger Walk-behind if needed. You really need to buy/grow as you go. If you can get enough work right out of the gate for your plan then great, but realistic you won't unless you are under market. The biggest piece of advice I can give you is Work Smarter, Not Harder. Which means don't lower prices just to have a customer count. It is possible to make more with less.

    Remember this is only advice. How many lawns you can cut in x amount of hours is just a best guesstimate and the cost of employees vary State to State.
  3. DSIM

    DSIM LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 440

    you said your going commercial, then talked about $30-35 lawns with gates. Did you mean residential?
    If commercial, do you already have accounts?

    Good advice by Soupy.
  4. mbella

    mbella LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,284

    Don't let anybody fool you. If that person is using your tools, your equipment and working on your jobs, then they are an employee, not a subcontractor.

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