techniques, tools or ideas

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by kris, Apr 18, 2002.

  1. kris

    kris LawnSite Bronze Member
    from nowhere
    Messages: 1,578

    Money/ Time saving techniques, tools or ideas. I noticed a thread in the commercial maintenance section and thought it would be a good idea for the construction side of it.

    Few new ones for us this season are ...
    -all labors will drive directly to the job site thus saving travel pay (we pay time and a half)so overtime will be cut
    - new regular gas fuel tank at the shop ...existing diesel tanks more crews at the gas station
    - porta pottie on larger job sites thus eliminating costly trips to the "coffee shop" to use the washroom.
    -dedicated hardscape crews- goal is for better production and skill
    as well as not as much equipment needed when "sharing"between all crews
    -dedicated softscape crews
    - yard and shop are much more organized ...everything has a place.

    Didn't add much in the "new tool" category this winter.
  2. paul

    paul Lawnsite Addict
    Messages: 1,625

    This may be a real specility item, we added a laser grading box this year. We are really just learning it but on the first sports field we did finish grading was cut by 1/3. Plus there are no lazy spots so should be no call backs:)
  3. kermit

    kermit LawnSite Member
    Messages: 138

    In Ontario we are classified as agricultural, so we don't have to pay overtime.
    We have switched to guillitines to cut tumbled brick and wall and use a small hand grinder with diamond blade (4") to quickly cut rounded cuts in brick and wall.
    Training for employees seems to cut down mistakes and increase productivity. Still hard to attract good employees, they are worth their weight in gold, ( just don't let them know that).
    Subcontract excavation and heavy equipment works for us as the rates around here ar lower than what I figure I could do it for and there are many operators so waiting is minimal.
    We don't take jobs which we feel won't have a high profit margin/low labour component so we don't touch sodding etc. Try to steer clients towards natural stone which we can charge more for.
    We used to have a hard time getting our desired profit from interlock but as more people saw failed jobs it became easier to charge A LOT.
    I wish we had a paver cart, and another Huscky cut off saw(14")
  4. dan deutekom

    dan deutekom LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 424

    "Still hard to attract good employees, they are worth their weight in gold, ( just don't let them know that). "

    Might work better for you if you do let your employees they are worth their weight in gold. A little honest appreciation goes a long way and only costs a coffee or cold drink. Also makes your crew more effiecient if they feel you care about them.
  5. kris

    kris LawnSite Bronze Member
    from nowhere
    Messages: 1,578

    Don't want this to get off topic already but the agricultural (we could get away with that) issue as well as others would allow us not to pay overtime .... You want to see a differance in the quality of workers as well as the availibility of them try paying time and a half ... we are the only ones around (that I know of) that pay it ..word gets around fast ... you'll have qualified guys banging your door down after a while ...this isn't so much off topic.. It will save you money in the long run.

    Paul ...if you don't mind ...what's a "toy" like that worth?
  6. dan deutekom

    dan deutekom LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 424

    Sorry Kris
    Didn't mean to meander but I couldn't resist If you take care of your guys they will take care of you.
  7. kris

    kris LawnSite Bronze Member
    from nowhere
    Messages: 1,578

    No need to be sorry Dan's a good point and money saving to boot.
  8. steveair

    steveair LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,073


    I am a big fan of the dedicated crews. There's no doubt that a crew who does nothing but hardscapes day in and day out will be much more productive than one that doesn't.

    The problem is see with this sometimes however is keeping the 'dedicated' crew busy for the entire year. Its funny, but I have seen it happen.

    For instance, you start the year off strong and have lots of installs. Then, at the end of the year, you slow down, and in order to keep the crew busy, have them doing other things.........suddenly, guys are complaining that they are 'brick' guys and that the smell of 2 cylce from the weedwacker is making them sick.

    Think the crew idea is great, but the key is to be at the point in your business where you can keep each crew busy throughout the year.

    Personally, I'd like to take each of the guys and slap them upside the head and tell them to be thankful that they even have a job. But its surprising how 'girlie' men become when they lose the comfort of the 'big' machine they sit there asses on all day and have to pick up a shovel.

  9. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    Another plus to a dedicated crew could be that they are slightly less apt to think that they are doing it all....and that they are ready to be your competition. It should also be easier to find individuals that are skilled in one area rather than a whole lot of multi-taskers. Multi-taskers are also more likely to quickly move on to being your competition.
  10. paul

    paul Lawnsite Addict
    Messages: 1,625

    Kris, That toy ran just around $11K plus we added a dual plane laser for it and it was just under $5K.

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