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Work YOUR employees through temp agency?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Westbrooklawn, Mar 28, 2003.

  1. Westbrooklawn

    Westbrooklawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 426

    There are several temp agencies in my area that offer part time and full time landscape laborers, but the quality of what you get is not too good. I have located a couple of good part time employees who would meet my needs, but I am getting uncomfortable with a "cash under the table" arrangement, and don't want to have to deal with the workers comp, SS, witholding taxes, etc.

    I am thinking about going to a temp agency and saying "I want to hire these two persons on a part time basis through your agency, and I want you to pay them $xx/hour........what would your billing rate be to me?". This would put all the legal and payroll issues on the temp agency, and would give me the people I want to work for me. I have been told that their markup is around 25%, i.e. if I want the employee to make $10, the agency would charge me $12.50. I am solo part time,and eliminating the paperwork and potential legal issues would be worth it for me.

    Has anyone tried this angle with any success?
  2. Premo Services

    Premo Services LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,516

    I think they would charge more than 2.50 an hour, I think it is like 7.00-8.00 a hour, but I would be interested in what you find out.

    It is true that using a temp agency, you get someone different all the time. This means more time to train. I am looking for a part time employee, but hate to have to retrain a temp employee every time. The temp agencies tell you that they have laborers experienced in landscape work, but all the knowledge they have is what they have done in their own yard.
  3. John Allin

    John Allin LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,488

    Early on (many eons ago), we did it that way. It worked fine until we became sophistocated enough to do our own payroll.

    Another viable option is to just outsource the entire payroll process to a company that specializes in doing just that.

    By the way.... congratulations on graduating from scrub to businessman (and doing away with the "under the table" stuff).
  4. Gravely_Man

    Gravely_Man LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,075

    Westbrooklawn, that sounds like an excellent plan. I too don't do the money under the table routine. That will just end up biting you in the rear. Please let us know what you find out.

  5. The Yard Man

    The Yard Man LawnSite Member
    from FL
    Messages: 4

    You will be better off not going through a temp agency. In the end you will be paying a lot more than you are planning. We will never use a temp agency again.
  6. Pro-Cut Lawns

    Pro-Cut Lawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 71

    Our temp agency here is 51%, which is sometimes negotiable. In my case, negotiated to 48%. The local company told me they classify people based on what you want them to do, which sometimes can effect the rates you pay. I was told I could have one to do trimming, and light landscape maintenance but they would not allow them on a mower. I haven't used them for my business, but my "other" job I have used them just to find full time people. If we got a good person as soon as the minimum time was up with the temp agency I brought them to our payroll. It can get really expensive if you keep them on for long.

    I supposed a lot has to do with the company you go through as far as classifications and rates.
  7. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,403

    I read that Sam's Club and perhaps the other warehouse stores offer a payroll service. Might want to check their web pages for details. I have a friend who hires a skilled carpenter through an employee leasing service (different than temp) and I think he pays about $4-$5 more per hour, but that includes workers comp, FICA match, unemployment insurance, etc.

    Quickbooks also has a payroll module. It's not rocket science, but does take a little work. The best time to start with that would be winter when you have time to learn it, though.

    Unfortunately, not everybody wants to play by the rules and they'll keep on paying cash under the table. With our total marginal tax rate at 53%, I kinda resent that.
  8. dougaustreim

    dougaustreim LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 488

    we tried temps for awhile a few years ago, even picked up one or two good employees that way, but very expensive. Only really viable for very short term situations. Might be better for higher paying more skilled work, but for general labor quite high priced.

    Basically, they charged us almost double. Of course a part of that was for work comp social security unemployment etc. but none the less very expensive. We will not likely go that route again.

    Austreim Landscaping
  9. dforbes

    dforbes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 195

    I have used temp services for short term labor. In our area you have 2 hours to decide if they work good for you. If you don't like thier work just call the company and they will send you new people with no charge for the first ones. They were paying these laborers $8.00 per hour and it was costing me $12.50.

    I don't think your plan will work as these companies are in business to make money also and they have a certain profit margin to make. 25% is not enough for them to mess with taking care of the taxes, work comp and other expenses. If your wanting them to make $10.00 per hour, you had better figure it will cost you around $15.00

    Good luck
  10. dougaustreim

    dougaustreim LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 488

    $8.00 an hour people for 12.50 is a real bargain. Your own costs for an $8 employee would be close to that.


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