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musician/lawnman
07-16-2008, 05:10 PM
We'll we got rained out all day today, was coming down in buckets but I had a productive day I suppose none the less.

If you've read up on my recent posts you know in the past few months I've added a helper, then a 2nd machine, now a 2nd helper (3 man team now). To keep up with growth we had to add extra hand tools too, another trimmer, blower, etc. I am running out of room in the trailer & having to get creative. I looked on line & trimmer racks for enclosed trailers are $200-$250 with shipping. I decided custom make them to fit my space & needs. I also built a rack for the side door of the trailer to hold the trimmer line while I was at it. Works well, solid, & I saved about $200-300 bettween the costs for both racks if I bought them & on top of it, I built em' with lumber I already had. 0 dollars...... priceless.

What do ya think of my work?!

Little's
07-16-2008, 07:40 PM
Hey chuck, you did a good job on the rack. Let us know how it holds up. It looks nice. You should throw a little stain or some paint or something on it.

Also I noticed you had the same trimmers as me. I have been using mine for about almost 2 years now, and just last month I decided to take the shield off the head. What a world of difference. As you know, it doesnt really serve much purpose being so narrow and all, and really it's only on there for Echo's liability reasons. I found that I am using 1/3 the amount of line. I can set the line whatever length I want. You know when you bump it out (on purpose or accident) and it gets cut off by the little thing on the end. It wastes a ton of line that way. Also makes it easier to trim around trees, posts, etc., much easier.

Anyway, give it a try for a day or two, and I promise you wont put the shield back on.

Why didnt I do this a year ago?

Steve
07-16-2008, 07:58 PM
Outstanding job!

How did you create the wood design and transfer it? How long did it take to do that?

That would have made for some great video!

now a 2nd helper (3 man team now).

Whats your reflection on having a 3 man team now? How does it differ from a 2 man? What advice do you have for others looking to go to a 3 man team? What are the benefits of it?

musician/lawnman
07-16-2008, 08:26 PM
Whats your reflection on having a 3 man team now? How does it differ from a 2 man? What advice do you have for others looking to go to a 3 man team? What are the benefits of it?


Little's - Thanks for the tip man I'll give that a try.

Steve,

The design was simple for me. I just took measurements of the trimmers to see how compact I could make it to save space. For instance: I got 3 trimmers on a rack that's about 29" high. I needed 12" but gave it 12.5" bettween each trimmer (height) The rack is set up so they slide down & in & gravity will keep them there, no latch needed. I wanted them as close to the wall as possible but sitting down at the bottom of the rack. So I measured & in this case echo trimmers need about 4.75" from the rack opening (bottom position when trimmer is in rack) to the wall to leave room for the motors. It's designed to be as close to the wall with as many trimmers as possible without them hitting each other going in or comming out.
I spent about 1.5 hours on it including sanding all the edges smooth & even sanding the surface where the trimmers sit to avoid excessive wear on the tools. I imagine doing another would now take me half that since conceptualizing it getting the measurements right was half the battle.


AS far as the 3 man team goes.... Well I haven't even finished a week with 3 guys yet but, my main problem was I couldn't get all the work done. We are faster on the lawns by as expected about a 3rd. We run 2 mowers on most lawns, while 1 line trims, the first 2 to finish blow off while the 3d closes the gate on the trailer & we roll! It is faster & I am getting my accounts service before the afternoon showers so we are on schedule (til today - rain out all day) but as far as dollars per hour goes, some days it the 3rd man bumps the $ per hour just enough to cover his payroll expense (to much driving time on some routes) & some days it really boosts it alot. I would say if your routes are tight & you are too busy to keep up.... stack em in the truck like clowns in a little car.... more hands makes for quick work. The jury is still out yet but I will tell you the work is easier with 3!

Steve
07-16-2008, 08:50 PM
Chuck ,

This is absolutely fascinating!

Have you ever heard of economic principle, the law of diminishing returns?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diminishing_returns

In economics, diminishing returns is also called diminishing marginal returns or the law of diminishing returns. According to this relationship, in a production system with fixed and variable inputs (say factory size and labor), beyond some point, each additional unit of variable input yields less and less additional output.

This is going to be an interesting study of such an economic principle.

Is the goal ultimately to create two crews from adding a third man now?

musician/lawnman
07-16-2008, 10:12 PM
I would like to ideally get through this season & to do so with 1 truck I think I'll need 3 men on it (more profitable or not) to keep my clients happy & the work on schedule. In the off season & as I gear up for next season I would like to add a 2nd truck, & larger trailer for that 2nd truck & my main crew to run with. I want at least 2 men on it (3 if it is infact more profitable) and run my current rig myself. As I have mentioned in another post I want to continue to be in the field myself but I would make sure I have the time to check up on them randomly at least once a day. (gps becons on the truck, trailer & mowers will most likely be added) I want to know where my equipment was , is, & where it's going at all times.

I understand & am familiar with the law of diminishing returns though I've never taken economics coarses. But it makes sense & in this business it's directly related to drive time & distance as to that productivity sweet spot.

Example: last year my routes were way to spread out, a route that took me 8 hours alone took 6.5 with a helper (drive time killed it) So I continued to work alone. This season adding 1 helper more than doubled productivity per hour. Adding a 3rd guy so far doesn't seem to add half again the productivity of 2 guys. It does save time, & when actually on the jobs it saves about a 3rd the time which is proportional. However, the drive time again seems to be the key. 3 guys in a truck can't get there any faster than 2 guys in a truck.

Explained from another angle....
IF the 3rd guy saves me 6 minutes per stop times say 20 stops a day (the number we normally do with 2 guys) that saves me 2 hours of paying the 1st helper however.... I'll pay both helpers probably for a 6-7 hour day instead. doesn't seem right, right? pay 6 to save 2? But my issue is getting done before the daily showers (every afternoon like clockwork here) so it's a nessesary evil. If it doesn't rain you could say cool, lets work the 2 more hours & get more lawns done.... but that rarely happens here this time of year. As stated on some routes it is more profitable if they are tighter. The answer will come after a week or 2 when I look at the averages over that time period.

I hope to run a 2 man crew & a 1 man crew next year, though it will probably be a 3 man crew & a 2 man crew at this rate, as I didn't expect to be here at this point either. Things are good....