Need some help from you guys making a living in maintenance!

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by evergreenco, Mar 29, 2005.

  1. evergreenco

    evergreenco LawnSite Member
    from NC
    Messages: 11

    I have a design build landscape and irrigation business. This year I am looking to add a couple of residential maintanance crews. I am looking for some advise from some of you guys who are running multiple maintenance crews.

    What is the most effiecient residential crew size 2 or 3 people?
    Is there an average you charge for that crews curb time and how many 1/4 acre yards can I expect them to cut a day? (assuming fairly close together
    Are you guys running open of closed trailers and what size?
    How should I structure my contract?
    What is the best way to market?

    If I can be of any help to any of you looking to expand into Landscape installation, Irrigation, hardscapes, or landscape lighting let me know?
  2. Eho

    Eho LawnSite Member
    Messages: 205

    I m still a solo op but I ve seen a lot of peoples replies on here. Do a search a lot of these items but a lot of stuff will still show up. Just from what I ve seen on here. I think 3 man crews are popular...expect them to mow around 30 small lawns per day BUT there is a guy on here, Justmowit, who says he pays per lawn and his crew cuts 32-40 lawns per day...the key is getting them close together.
  3. MMLawn

    MMLawn LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,569

    Unless you have some really big properties and can use 2 big mowers and a trimmer and all finish at the same time 3 man crews are a waste. 2 man is the way to go. Where in NC are you?
  4. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    What is the most effiecient residential crew size 2 or 3 people?

    For small residential lots, 2 is always best. Let me explain why. I find 1 guy can do about 13-15 per day on his own. 2 guys can do 18-22 per day. With a 3rd guy, it only goes up very slightly. Maybe 20-24 per day. Not much more for the added 3rd guy. So obviously 1 guy is the most efficient scenario in terms of how many lawns per day per man, right? That's right. But not so fast! There are several reasons why a 2 man crew is better than a 1 man crew, even though a 1 man crew is slightly more efficient.

    1) With a 1 man crew, if that one man is sick or gone for one day, now you are behind a whole day. Hard to catch back up. With 2 guys, if one is gone, you are only behind a few houses. Easy to catch back up.

    2) With 1 man crews, each man needs his own truck, trailer, and equipment. 6 guys means you need to buy 6 trucks, 6 trailers, 6 equipment, etc. But with 2 man crews, each 2 guys share a truck, trailer, and equipment.

    3) With a 2 man crew, 2 guys know the route up and down. If one ever quits or gets fired, it's easy to throw a new guy on the crew and the guy who knows the route can train him. If it had been a 1 man crew, nobody knows the route (except the owner) and then you have to totally train a new person and they will be behind for a while until they learn the route.

    Is there an average you charge for that crews curb time and how many 1/4 acre yards can I expect them to cut a day? (assuming fairly close together)

    As I said above, 2 guys seem to get about 18-22 per 10 hr. day if it's a tight route. 15 per day if the route isn't so tight.

    Are you guys running open of closed trailers and what size?
    I use open trailers that are about 8x12. As long as it holds the equipment you need (e.g. 2 mowers, a trimmer, a stick edger, a blower, sprayer, blower, rakes and tools) then it's the right size. No magic size. Just whatever holds what you need it to hold.

    How should I structure my contract?
    You can ask someone else that one. I don't do contracts.

    What is the best way to market?

    Best is subjective. Most cost effective method is door flyers or door hangers, for sure. Internet is the best, requires least effort IMO. But it's trickier than most people realize. Most people build a website but then expect people to just come. Promoting your website, indexing it on search engines, paying for performance, all things difficult to learn but work well. Yellow pages is one of the least effective and most expensive methods, IMO. Word of mouth, and truck lettering is also very effective. But it only works once you have a large route and people are seeing your trucks all over.

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,534

    Jims crew answers are very good. Where in NC are you as that may help with the marketing part.
    Look at the JUSTMOWIT threads as he is set up for just mowing which is how you want to set the truck and crew. I would believe that you want to do any other trimming or mulch jobs from your landscape set up.
    But remember that he is in Dallas and the densities are much higher. Depending where you are that may or may not work. But good learning still.

    All my landscape work is out of enclosed and it works well. The maintenance is out of both and it is a toss up as to which way to go.
    Open you have to take everything off each night and make sure that all is locked all the time, but easier to use. The enclosed is 8 foot wide so it is ok to work out of but still not as easy to get at as an open. But I love having everything inside all the time. No unload at night, more security, a place to go to the bathroom if needed, a place to go in the rain (heavy) and still do something (maintenance to equipment) till it stops.
    But I am working to wards going the NPR route or the Sprinter with box as it can sometimes be a pain to park the trailer. I work in a lot of cul-de-sacs.
    Box is a big billboard.

    Contracts depend on how you are set up. Just mowing or full service with year round billing.
  6. rather be mowin

    rather be mowin LawnSite Member
    Messages: 27

    Great Thread ...thanks for taking the time
  7. fazzy815-66

    fazzy815-66 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 303

    Jim, Great thread Couldn't agree more


    :blush:perfect balance lawn care

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