Want to expand, but how???

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by thefed, Nov 3, 2007.

  1. thefed

    thefed LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 350

    So far with 2 guys we had 15-17 hrs of mowing weekly. Gross 40k, 30 customers, all signed last spring.

    We want to at least triple our accounts...and our gross,so we'll need some help. Do we hire a single guy and ride around 3 deep doing mulch and mowing? Or do we hire 2 guys and set them up as a crew?

    Im thinking one guy, teach him for a year or so, then he might be well enough along he can run a truck/route and manage another employeee....

    Just looking for ideas...we want our work week to stay at or below 25 hrs due to other obligations

  2. landscaper22

    landscaper22 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 852

    Good luck finding that one good guy, or lady. That is the only thing that holds me back year after year. I have tried everything to get and retain a good employee. You can find a helper any day of the week. But to find someone that is legal, has a driver's license, good driving record, not on drugs, not constantly going to jail, and can work without you having to hold their hand every step of the way in every yard week after week is nearly impossible to find.
  3. thefed

    thefed LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 350

    but there ARE plenty of bigger companies out there with many crews...so i;d like to hear from one of them how THEY do it??
  4. landscaper22

    landscaper22 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 852

    I guess I didn't really shed any light on your question earlier. Sorry, I was venting my frustrations with previous employees. But first of all, it is going to be difficult to find someone to work 25 hours or less. If you do find a dedicated worker they will want 40 plus hours (in most cases).

    I would ride 3 deep and try that first. I mean it really wouln't be cost efficient to set up an entirely new crew and have two crews working part time hours. That means you buy another truck, trailer, mowers, and handhelds. Not to mention all the other expensies that would double in cost. If you want to keep your work week at or below 25 hours, then try to find one dedicated full-time worker that, once properly trained, could work with you and your other employee some, and can be trusted to continue working even when you can't.
    I would only start a second crew if and when you get one crew of 2-3 people working 40 plus hours every week. Otherwise I don't think you can keep your business out of the red...Just my thoughts. Hope it helps some.
  5. yardmanlee

    yardmanlee LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 898

    amen there !!!!!
  6. turftrimmer

    turftrimmer LawnSite Member
    Messages: 11

    Finding that someone, to be a consistently good foreman, can be hard but is very possible if you market hiring. The single most important part of hiring is finding a competent worker. I explain to interviewees that there is no limitations on where they can go in the company. Their salary is going to based solely on performance, presents, and attitude. We are looking for people to join our team not someone trying to make a dollar for themself. We want someone who is interested in the making the business efficient, hence higher earning wages for employees. By team, I mean everyone working together towards the same goals. A company is only as good as the employee it hires. If everyone works as a team, business is more efficient and profitable. Higher profits equal higher wages in my eyes. So yes you will be paying high dollar for a competent worker, but that worker in return is representing your business as safe, productive, and professional. Interview lots of people and try to make as good of a character judgement as possible. You will interview a lot of people along the way but will be happy once you find the right person. Never hire someone just because you need a body. Post in news papers, church adds, on internet, word of mouth, anyway to get as many people know that you are hiring. Market hiring... 9 out of 10 people you interview aren't going to be even worthy of doing simple labor for you let alone running a crew. So market hiring like you do your services and eventually you will find the right person. Thats what I do.
  7. shane mapes

    shane mapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 537

    turftrimmer very good advice. i have hired the first guy through the door before. its has been costly. the guy wrecked my truck and lost a hand held blower. so you are right , shop around and you will find a good worker.
  8. landscaper22

    landscaper22 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 852

    I've done all of this. It really boils down to this. Basic lawn maintenance is not rocket sience. Most, not all, but most people who have a desire to make something out of themselves find better careers than working for another LCO. They could start their own LCO. Now there is nothing at all wrong with this line of work. So don't beat me up for what I'm saying.
    But, if you finish high school and have any common sense you will be able to find a decent job (most will anyway). The truth is most LCO's can't afford to pay $15/hout for a good foreman. If you make less than 14-15 per hour you can't really make a good living, especially if you are married and have children. So great applicants will probably have a better career lined up if they have good skills and education. Even if they work for you and do great work, they will soon find that they can buy a crapsman push mower and throw it in their truck and make the same money pushing a few yards. Or they will move on to something that pays better with benefits.
    So, our pool of applicants are not the brightest and most eager group of individual. I tell people like this....If you don't have enough drive to at least finish high school, then you are not going to have enough drive to be the kind of employee I need.
    I consistantly run into the same problems with applicant after applicant. Drugs, criminal record, no desire, no driver's license. Wonderful candidates for a foreman position.
    There are some exceptions to what I'm saying, but this is all too common. If you have a good foreman don't take it for granted. Kiss his feet and pay up so you can keep him.
  9. supercuts

    supercuts LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,814

    i 2nd that. im questioning the whole 3 guys for 30 lawns?? 3 of us knock out 5 good sized lawns an hour but our route is very close by. we have 100+ accounts and are done on thursday, friday is our rain date/other work day. if you already have 2 well trained, send them out, and you work with the new guy. then you can swap guys around so they learn all the stops should one guy leave
  10. thefed

    thefed LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 350

    i dont intend to run 3 guys on 30 lawns. as i mentioned, the goal this year is to triple in size - therefore about 90 yards

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