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Who runs multiple crews?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by MowJo, Jan 27, 2002.

  1. MowJo

    MowJo LawnSite Member
    from KY
    Messages: 70

    Who has made the transition from solo operator to multiple crews?

    What is your primary role?

    What are some keys to your success?

    Is it worth the stress to take on the extras involved in running multiple crews?

    I am establishing a new crew and would like some fresh insight.
  2. Jason Pallas

    Jason Pallas LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,335

    I've run two crews for the past 10 years. It's a headache and a half. It geometrically increase everything - except your net profit! I would actually look at staying with one crew and trying to make that crew as profitable as possible. My primary role now? - a damm babysitter for the 2nd crew. It's a lot of stress and headache. If you'd like more detail/adivce I'd be happy to give it to you. I've been in the biz for 20 years. But just briefly, 2x the operating cost (more or less), 2x the repairs, 2x the excuses from employees, 2x the complaints (or more!) from customers, 2x the paperwork (outside of the bookkeeping), 25x the stress. It's a real pain in the A$$.
  3. _GUNNER_8

    _GUNNER_8 LawnSite Member
    from TN
    Messages: 61

    Tend to agree with that fellow.Nobody is going to be as picky as you,nobody going to take care of equipment like u will, and nobodys going to go the extra mile like u will.Yes there is lot of stress that goes with multiple crews.I made the mistake paying out more money would solve most of problems,but it doesnt.If you can find great forman than try like all get out to keep him happy.Good help is hard to find ,Great formans well........... good luck!!!!!

    " Practice doesn't make perfect!! Perfect practice makes PERFECT!!!!!"
  4. I have been runnign multiple crews for years.

    I agree with the above, but the pay off is sweeter!!!!!!!!!

    Will not discuss it on here.
  5. AL Inc

    AL Inc LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,209

    I have to agree with LGF on this one. I started a second crew in the middle of 1999. I was running with 4 men and myself with a dump truck and trailer. We were doing about 100 accounts per week. Almost as an experiment, my brother suggested that he take my pick-up with a small trailer that we had, one 36", trimmer, blower and one man. We split up the route, my brother taking the small properties, and I had 2 men and the other rig. That first day, we finished an hour and a half earlier than usual. Smaller crews are just more efficient for us. We've been running two crews for maintenance ever since. Now, I have 2 drivers and really don't cut much grass anymore. I just travel between the crews and keep everything (hopefully) running smooth. It has also given me more time to speak with customers and sell more work, rather than rushing from account to account. I can agree that everything has increased-expenses, problems with machines, customer complaints, but I make more money than ever. So if you can put up with the BS, I would go for it. Good luck!
  6. dmk395

    dmk395 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Ma
    Messages: 1,006

    If a second crew is unprofitable, then why have one? Seems quite foolish.
  7. There is a big hurdle in getting past the 2 crew thing.
    Problem is, systems have to be developed in order to operate correctly.

    Once you get past the 2 crew hurdle it's all down hill after that.

    Find the right guys for the job and it's easier.

    But all things are made up in numbers and volume, the sweeter pot at the end has a bigger pay off.
  8. scott's turf

    scott's turf LawnSite Senior Member
    from NH
    Messages: 949

    dmk, i believe they mean the percentage of profit goes down but the volume is higher. I am not at the point where I can run a couple crews but I would if I had the work. I see so many companies running crews of 4 guys. That is when your profit margin goes down. Even if you just look at traveling time. If a crew of 4 does 30 accounts, which should be easy in one day, and it takes 5 mins average between each account, it adds up to 10 man hrs of time paid for traveling. Also if one guy can mow a lawn in 30 min, it is rare for a crew of two to do it in 15 min, and almost impossible for a crew of three to do it in 10 min. The bigger the crew the more standing around.
  9. MowJo

    MowJo LawnSite Member
    from KY
    Messages: 70

    LGF hit the nail on the head! We have a winner!

    Actually I have run multiple crews in the past with varying degrees of success. It really doesn't matter if you run 2 or 4 man crews...its all about your SYSTEMS. If employees don't have a system to guide them and know that your inspecting their work, your doomed.

    I suspect another key factor is your becoming a manager not just a laborer. If you work with crew A all day long and crew B knows you can't check on them, watch out.

    I guess my true interest is in learning what makes other companies systems successful and how those systems are managed. Maybe that info is more than people want to openly share here.
  10. My crews all know that even if I or the Mrs. are out mowing, that someone will more than likey come to check on them at some time.

    Never knowing when, where, or what time.

    BTW I feel that the systems should be developed to fit both the employer and employee. No two people are alike. I fit mine for the entire crew so they work together. I base if off of a general design but taylor it to fit the crews. No two crews are going to do identical jobs, even if they are both doing the same tasks.

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