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going solo to adding guy

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by grassmasterswilson, May 3, 2011.

  1. grassmasterswilson

    grassmasterswilson LawnSite Platinum Member
    from nc
    Messages: 4,964

    How did you guys make the transition? I am getting to the point it would be a nice addition. I'm not doing 40 hours of "field work" but most likely do more if I include office work and estimate.

    How did you handle the fact that they may not get 40 hours to start with? Be upfront? Start them as seasonal and maybe drop them in the winter?

    Any advice would be nice.
  2. nobagger

    nobagger LawnSite Gold Member
    from Pa
    Messages: 3,065

    Stay solo! Here's my experience with hiring guys. This might sound like a broken record because this is all I post about lately but here goes. Ya know what, I can't even go into it, its too draining. Just be ready for no show's, sub par work, more expenses, trying to rely on people who could care less, broken equipment. Should I go on? I'm not saying there aren't good worker's out there but they are very far and few and come with a big price tag. Just look at all the "employee" type posts. Mine is "once again let down by employee expectations" its a good read. But if you are set on hiring someone, run an ad and include f/t or p/t, job duties, etc. If you only need a p/t position filled just say p/t don't lead them on by saying plenty of hours, room for advancement unless there is. Honestly, unless your one of the lucky ones expect to interview at least 100 people to find even one decent guy. GOOD LUCK!
  3. nobagger

    nobagger LawnSite Gold Member
    from Pa
    Messages: 3,065

    Forgot to mention, and this is just me but I tell them no guarantee's for 40hrs. We've been rained out so many times this season it isn't even funny any more. We've been able to mow 3 lawns this season so far and clean ups are way behind but I refuse to mow someone's lawn thats tough to even walk on cuz the next thing ya know they'll want their lawns repaired.
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    You get an employee, you'll be recieving notice from the gov't about how you will supply Obamacare for that employee... I got that little post card as a corporation, with me Technically being an employee...
    Business is facing a more hostile environment every day...

    Unless you love paperwork, keep it simple...
  5. txgrassguy

    txgrassguy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,083

    Do yourself a favor and research small business management techniques - which include hiring employees.
    Horror stories abound but so do success stories. However, once you learn to dispassionately incorporate sound management techniques you'll find actually having employees isn't the turdfloating burden it can be.
    Regarding hours and other questions, your research on the web will guide you in the most appropriate manner unique to the labor regulations in your state according to your business model. Simply put what works for me in an employment at will state as a sole proprietor may not work for you.
    I have had my up and downs, however this was more due to a $640K+ divorce than issues with employees. When I did have 'problem children' I could always trace the source of the problem to the management style/hiring process = a communication error which once corrected removed the issue(s). This was done either by firing the employee or actually getting them to understand what I wanted.
    Will you never have a problem - no, of course not but you can go a long way to both easing your burden as the key employee by adding staff as well as increasing market presence = more money.
  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Hell yeah nobagger, lol!

    Let me tell you...
    In my 4th year I hired a guy who turned into such a nightmare that I swore I would NEVER hire help again.
    And I haven't, I am now in my 10th year.
  7. arninglawns

    arninglawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 68

    Do your due diligence. You will need to interview several people before finding the right one. That means, in addition to seeing how they work, calling previous employers, check out their criminal and driving record, and asking them questions. Talk to people who are successful in this business, don't listen to the "stay solo" guys, they're essentially working their butts off for what they could be paying someone $10 an hour to do. Your time is much better spent than that growing your business.

    TJLANDS LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,668

    Most, not all, but most of the people that say to stay solo only say that because they dont have the savy or the brains to run a business.

    If you stay solo you are severely limited in anything and what if you get hurt? what then?
    Dont be afraid to hire a worker, go for it. It is the only way to grow.
    Good Luck
  9. gasracer

    gasracer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,049

    Hiring someone to work with you is a lot different than sending them out on there own. You may go through several to find one that works the way you want them to. Explain to them up front the number of hours you want them to work. Maybe work them some and still do some solo.A lot of accounting software will let you track a single person or even a couple without having to go through Paychecks.
  10. G. Ramey

    G. Ramey LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 376

    I have tried expanding to include an employee twice in six years. Both times I made lots less money and had lots more expenses. If your only putting in 40 hours a week don't waste your time and money on an employee. when you hire an employee you will still be putting in 30 hours a week. Then comes more supplies, fuel and insurance on top of the hourly wage you pay your new employee. A new employee may bring in some new buisiness, but he may cost you some too. I had a guy cost me a yard, because he popped off on Facebook about the shape of a customers yard. If you get to 60 hours a week maybe an employee might be helpful then. Working 40 hours a week is just the cost of having your own buisiness. If you have 1 or 10 employees you will still have to put in more hours than you want to.

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