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How many employees do you need to break even?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by mowmasteruk, Oct 29, 2005.

  1. mowmasteruk

    mowmasteruk LawnSite Member
    Messages: 119

    If you are managing a mowing / gardening business in US/Canada, how many employees or crews do you need to be running to break even? I have run a similar business in UK for many years and I reckon that here you ideally need at least six employees to one management person to make it viable, otherwise you've got to go out behind a mower yourself. What do you guys think?
  2. JTW

    JTW LawnSite Member
    Messages: 64

    Depends on too many variables.

    And who the hell wants to break even... Profit is much nicer
  3. AL Inc

    AL Inc LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,209

    I run with four employees plus myself. I don't do much physical work anymore, except on some construction jobs and lawn applications. I can say I do more than break even. In fact, I'm doing better now than last year, when I had five employees and about 30 more accounts. Like JTW said, lots of variables.
  4. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087

    Well, here's my experience on this... for every employee you add to the operation, you also add a whole new set of variables... and these compound together with the more you add.

    So when you are in the growth stage of an owner operator/employee type business or owner/employee type... well it can be difficult to manage these variables.

    In the beginning, crew overhead climbs high at a fast pace relative to output. In other words, doubling the number of employees does not double overall output.

    So there are many variables to consider and I think as an owner, you first must get yourself to the point where management can be your full time job in the company. Then you have time to complete the needed tracking data, make the projections and make the adjustments needed in order to increase your margins.
  5. willretire@40

    willretire@40 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from VA
    Messages: 1,389

    I dont have employees myself but from look at well established companys you have to make sure that you have the work load to justify the employees. You have to have tight tight routes and i believe you have to pay piece work and proably hire mexicans (they have great work ethics) also you need to have only the equipment that you need and not equipment that you dont use everyday. Also you to to specialize in one or two services.

    If your yards are about 5-13k sq ft you dont need 2 crews just to cut 150 yards a week you only need one and work them to full cap. and then start your next one with one man and build up as needed. You also have to know how to manage and want to manage and not trying to be doing awhole lot of other things at once. Also you modern tech. it is there for us to help moniter your jobs and make accounting eaiser.
  6. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,298

    Did you run a seperate truck with crew chief last year?

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