Getting out of the field, Hiring another!

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by scraper69, Jun 2, 2007.

  1. scraper69

    scraper69 LawnSite Senior Member
    from mi
    Messages: 477

    I am recently considering getting out of the field and hiring another laborer.
    I currently run 2+ myself, on 2.5 lawn cutting days, and 2- 2.5 landscape install days. I have been in the field, and selling, and doing all the office work etc. for over 16yrs. I am getting to the point of not liking my job anymore, with all the stress and my body taking a beating lately. My problem is there really is not enough revenue for 3 guys and for me to draw some sort of salary... I do have some backup funds (personal) that I could live off of untill I can build up enough accounts or pick up more scape work. The newest hire#3 laborer, that I am thinking of bringing on board is my best freind whom worked for me about 7 yrs ago for a season. I think he could be a LONG term worker and possible leader. He recently lost his job, and is in a pinch. And is willing to accept a lower pay than his previous job, due to the different type of field.
    However, this season I just hired the #2 laborer who is inexperience in lawn care and am still training, but on landscape work, he is a good (Grunt) and knows basics, Grading, digging, etc. (Use to do cement work, so he can handle heavy work) even though he is not reallly experienced in laying brick or sod, or plantings, etc- but I am teaching him as we are on week #8 now.

    My #1 laborer is my (basically) foreman who can run everything and knows how to manage the guys and run all equip( Except a backpack blower) - his back wont handle it. He is a salary guy, and has been with me for 7 yrs.
    Things got tight last year and it was just him and I, and I think thats how my body got sooooo beat up. Now I am trying to figure out, how to get out and just manage my business, and not bust my ars everday out in the field.
    What would any of you suggest?
    Hire my freind and fire the #2 laborer who really is not catching on with lawn maint. so quick anyhow...and try my freind, or not hire my friend and work this season in the field with the my forman and my #2 labor?

    I just think this oppurtunity if you will, that my freind is out of work now, and for years, I ve been telling him to come on board and down the road be my foreman. But he has been with another company for 7 years, and now that that company is just about folded, he HAS to get some sort of job.
    I am in a pickle... hire or not, pay me or not? Really this is gonna be a tough year as it is... but MY BODY is not in the best shape right now, with a few annoying injuries, on top of some personal/business stress...

    Thanks for reading my long venting post....
  2. ALarsh

    ALarsh LawnSite Silver Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 2,412

    I would hire your friend and keep the other guy around. If you don't get a bit more work in the next month or so let the #2 guy go if he doesn't catch on.

    Do you have the equip for a small 2nd crew? Just a truck, small trailer, another mower, trimmer and blower to put on it so your friend can take it out? You might consider that to run 1 2 man crew and 1 1 man crew (I have found 3 man crews to be much less efficient than a 2 man crew)... You of course would have to land a lot more lawns but it could be a growing phase for you.
  3. BRIDGE577

    BRIDGE577 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 22

    Everyone works well right out of the box I always give guys a probtional period of two weeks and then sit them down and talk over issues. Your friend sounds great but wieght your friend ship verses making money friends and family usually don't mix with work. (This is only my personal experiance). Make sure you guys can communicate well talk once aweek over any issues, don't not say somthing because of the friendship about work or it willl build and end badly. Do a trial run and see its just hard to seperate work and friendship when you the boss.
  4. scraper69

    scraper69 LawnSite Senior Member
    from mi
    Messages: 477

    Its a bit late to add lawn accounts NOW, but good idea for next year.
    I have just been having a bad season to start. The economy my body is falling apart, etc. I just need a break to get myelf back into the swing and recoup. My friend is in a bad situation and needs help. Versus lending him money to bail him out of some troubles, why not put him to work. I have always had the thought of eventually having him as one of my LONG term leaders. Someone I have known for 20 yrs and trust. But I hate to ever ruin a freindship over busines. He has worked for me a for a couple years in the mid 90;s and it was good, untill he had to have winter work! I am in a catch 22, My foreman who will be leaving me in a few years still needs to work, but I have to find and train a replacement. But with the economy the way it is, I dont really have the work to keep 3+ guys afloat.
    I guess I could live on my savings for the season if it got really bad, and keep them working, and that would allow me to focus on RUNNING the business, instead of the daily labor + all the business end (office work/sales,etc.) BUT the whole transition would take some time- i couldnt just jump out tomorrow. Need to train and get the things done as I like them. Alos on iinstall jobs, I would have to be there to direct and layout, since my forman really isnt the greatest on install layouts and stuff.
  5. BRIDGE577

    BRIDGE577 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 22

    Like I siad communication is the key to any good relationship. As long as you guys communicate well and you don't let things build up it may very well work, I would love to see someone prove me wrong with the friends and family rule for employment, that has just been my experience. I wish you the best of luck. Let me know how it turns out.
  6. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,889

    what does your business plan say about this?
  7. Lawnworks

    Lawnworks LawnSite Fanatic
    from usa
    Messages: 5,407

    Can your fire the grunt laborer and use your friend as his replacement? Can he handle the grunt work for a while? Get your advertising straight for next year and try to run a landscape crew and a maintenance crew.

    If you can get some time away from the physical labor, can you expand your array of services? irrigation, hardscaping, planting, design? It seems like the more experience you have in all the different areas of maintenance and landscaping... the more jobs you can land. It seems like when demand for one service slows down, another service picks up.

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