Hire or Stay Solo? Your experiences?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Tom023, Nov 21, 2002.

  1. Tom023

    Tom023 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 24

    I'm 17 and have been operating solo (and illegitimately :eek: ) for 5 years now. I am becoming legitimate for next season, and am wondering what your experiences are with hiring an additional employee. Would I really be profiting off of him without a ton of extra responsibility on my part (given that he's reliable, honest, hardworking, etc), ? Any certain positives or negatives that may or may not be obvious?

    Any and all help appreciated
  2. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087

    You're still young and have time on your side! Worry about becoming legitimate first and run that way atleast one season. You're going to see a change in expense/profit ratio as it is. Take things a step at a time and don't jump the gun here.

    I'm a businessman (own and operate 2 businesses) and have been for years. I'll tell you first hand, employees would be a last resort for me in this business! That's not to say that you can't earn a profit from them, I just choose not to so i can avoid the red tape and expense. At your age, I suggest you do the same for a while.

    Just my 2 cents...
  3. TJLC

    TJLC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,308

    Some people have good luck with employees, I personally have not had very good luck with them. Thats not to say you shouldn't hire. I do have one guy I use sometimes on the weekends and has worked out well so far. He is a good worker which is a rare thing to find. Good luck.

    LAWNS AND MOWER LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,129

    I used to have employees and got tired of babysitting. You'll go through 10 guys before you find a good one. If you can stay solo, pay the bills and pay yourself decent, then do it. Like mentioned before, I have a couple guys I can call on if I get in a jam or land a large landscaping job. As for mowing, I prefer to do it myself. I'm too picky to let anyone else do it.
  5. walker-talker

    walker-talker LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 4,771

    You have to ask yourself if you want your business to grow or not. You can grow your business to a certain point without hiring employees, but there come a time when you'll have to make that decision of whether to hire or not. Use this winter to get educated.

    Good luck
  6. TLS

    TLS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,943

    As for being Illegitimate. Your 17 you CANT legally become a business owner until your 18. When you become 18, go down to the courthouse and apply for a Ficticious Name. This will start the ball rolling toward Sole Proprietorship. Stay that way until you buy a house. Then maybe think about becoming a LLC or Incoporating.

    My advise, stay SOLO! Get everything built up to where your working 7 days a week 12 hrs a day. THEN start looking for helpers! The longer you can remain SOLO, the more money your gonna have in your wallet!

    Good Luck!
  7. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,501

    I say HIRE .

    I have way too much work to do solo (almost 200 accounts).

    I pay my people $15 - $20 per hour. I bill them out at $65 per hour.

    Do the math...:D
  8. walker-talker

    walker-talker LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 4,771

    When you make that transition after hiring someone you are going to lose money to your bottom line, but now you will have time to take on more accounts. Like rodfather said, do the math and you will see for yourself.

  9. Alan Bechard

    Alan Bechard LawnSite Member
    Messages: 175

    Stay Solo, until you max out your time / equipment. I am not sure that I am saying this well but bear with me, round numbers, not real. I know nothing about what you do or what you have now, so if I am incorrect, I apologize in advance.

    Say you are 1 guy and you mow with a 21 and a 12" disc weedeater. You have 5 accounts and that is all you can do in a day.

    You buy a 17" weedeater, now you can do 6 accounts

    You buy a rider, Now you are doing 8 accounts by the end of the day.

    You buy a walk behind and a spare weedeater, now you are doing 12 accounts a day, you still have folks on a waiting list.

    You get a 60" ZTR and you are blazing doing 15 accounts by yourself, you have looked at your schedule and your properties you are mowing just as fast as possible there. Your schedule is real tight, you weeded out the PITA customers, you have 5 neighborhoods that you do 1 pr day with all the lawns side by side so your travel time is minimized.

    Now you need another body. (and you have the equipment on hand to keep them busy)

    One employee can be worse than 5. and one will not double your output.

    I would suggest you think through employees very, very carefully. At your age I would reccomend against it.

    just my 2cents, maybe you knew this already.

    Al Bechard
  10. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087


    Very very well said! Bigger, better, faster equipment is always a better 1st choice to expand business. A good ol' mower is a cheaper, more reliable answer until you are total topped out as you described.

    I have 2 lawn tractors now. I'm topped out running one by myself. I'll be investing in one mower that is more productive rather than an employee to use the other mower I already have.

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