Solo vs employee's

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by smallstripesnc, Dec 17, 2012.

  1. RodneyK

    RodneyK LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 784

    Darryl G hit the nail on the head, exactly! You could have less lawns next year but make more money if you have that much demand. It happened to us this year. We were almost full and had a new client call. Normally would have been at $45 lawn but we quoted and got $65 per cut. If you are good there are people that will pay!
  2. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,378

    Smaller lawns is most always more profitable solo IMO. If and/or when I hire it will be to train to have them run solo on a tight route.

    In my area I've seen as many as 4-5 people mowing, triming and blowing with 21" mowers on one lawn that can more effectively serviced by a solo running a 32, 36 or 44 WB such as what I run and make more $.

    The major glitch of a 100% solo operation such as mine is injuries. 2 years ago inguinal hernia that was tricky to schedule last mowings then surgery....then barely 2-3 weeks had to run on snowblowing route and risked ripping stitches and the repair.

    Year before last fairly serious back injury and I almost quit the biz cold turkey in July of 2010....and stumbled through the remainder of that season solo and struggled to keep pace till.the.seasons.end.

    Solo sounds all great till this happens.

    In my own situation there is not much point in hiring an actual worker unless I quit my other buisness which if frankly more profitable with less overhead yet tedious but easy on the body.

    Where I need help is with Spring marketing and some logistics, screen some phone calls and paperwork.

    Basically what most wives or GF do. Maybe 2013
    Posted via Mobile Device
  3. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,659

    And that works until the lowballers raid your area and leave you with the scraps, we were at full capacity and still getting calls so we raised rates and dropped some lower rates just as your supposed to do, then the lowballers came in and took a bunch of the accounts, as hard as we tried to explain why they weren't getting the deal they thought they were, they went ahead anyway, live and learn. customer loyalty is at an all time low, and these accounts were in high end area's even, It was always the same story,your doing a great job but this guy will do it cheaper.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2012
  4. smallstripesnc

    smallstripesnc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 717

    I think this is exactly what ill do this upcoming season and see how it works.

    Staying solo sounds like a better option. I just dont see any reason to hire help if im not going to make much more than I would solo.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  5. herler

    herler LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,139

    Yes, I know.

    Here is the bit that for many years I failed to understand ...
    We don't hire them for profit, we hire them because it can be rewarding.
  6. wildstarblazer

    wildstarblazer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,055

    If I had the money to hire someone, I think it would be a business manager instead of a physical worker. I would let him or her, do the sales, marketing, call backs etc. while I take care of the quality. I tend to charge less cause I think it's easy and then end up wishing I charged more. Having someone else do the sales who is not afraid to price right would be awesome .. Just my thoughts anyway.

    Also, a stick edger in areas that have concrete edges and bed lines that need be well defined is a million times better than using a wip that can fling things into windows or your face... maybe not faster but way better quality even if you think you do good with a wip, again just my opinion.
  7. greengiant9963

    greengiant9963 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 762

    Not sure the exact size of most of your lawns but I would add either a small zero turn rider 48 to 52 inch cut or possibly even better choice would be a stand on unit. Solo or employees either way your production will increase.

    10 x $25=$ 250 a day
    5 days x $250=$1,250 a week
    4 weeks x $1,250=$5,000 a month

    Adding new mower
    12 x $25=$ 300 a day
    5 days x $300=$1,500 a week
    4 weeks x $1,500=$6,000 a month

    This is just a example solo without taxes and expenses. 2 lawns is a example but honestly think 3 or 4 more lawns a day would be more accurate.
  8. smallstripesnc

    smallstripesnc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 717

    Ive seriously considered it but with slopes and all im a little weary to try a ztr on some of the properties I manage. Also most of my clients come to me since I dont use zero turns and only use a walk behind.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  9. herler

    herler LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,139

    Lol yeah but I found out a little trick over the years, that whole thing is how I used to do things too... But nowadays when I run into that problem of having too much work, rather than raising my prices I start to shut down advertising, and keep my prices down.

    Because the customer, all they see is that price, as you noticed they don't care about nothing else.

    Today I hardly have any advertising, it's almost all word of mouth, and with the money I am not spending on advertising I can keep my prices lower than the lowest lowballers, and then just to piss them off I tell ALL my customers that if ANYONE comes around and offers to do it for less they should CALL me and I'll at least consider not just matching but even beating that offer, too!
    Once those lowballers find out their original $30 lawn that they thought they were going to do for $25 is now $20?
    Yeah, they don't bust my lower of the lowest lowballing lowball prices up much any more.

    Of course at some point you'll have to rely strictly on word of mouth and that can be a scary proposition in some cases, fortunately what I just described can certainly be made into a gradual process.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2012
  10. orangemower

    orangemower LawnSite Silver Member
    from pa
    Messages: 2,768

    You need to take some Exlax.

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