View Full Version : Hi from Phila, PA

01-08-2009, 05:47 PM
My name is George I am the owner/operator of a Landscaping business in Phila PA. I am new to bloging and posting and all this stuff but I think this is a great place to talk and compare with others in your industry, there is some competitors that you talk to but I am sure that everyone else has those few that just hate you for ďtaking food off their tableĒ right? Well I started this business 2004-2005 I always did some landscaping, I started at age 10 running around my old neighborhood jumping fences with a weed wacker so. And as for now I have a small full time crew and am working on staring up another truck so I can spend more time on the office work. I also do Snow Removal and this is my 2nd year plowing and hopefully we have a better year then last ( I only had to plow once and shovel like 3 times) but I was out salting a few nights ago so lets see what happens this season.
P.S. I have about 100 customers most of which are residential accept for a few commercial. I am 24 years old married for 1 year and have a baby on the way!

01-08-2009, 06:07 PM
Hi George,

Welcome to our forum!

And as for now I have a small full time crew and am working on staring up another truck so I can spend more time on the office work.

What kind of advice do you have for others as far as finding good employees and how should they be paid? Do you suggest using any pay incentives?

Also, any advice as to how a lawn care business should scale up from 1 crew to two?

01-08-2009, 07:47 PM
Well I used to do all the work by myself then some days I would have my sisterís boy friend work to help me out on like a Saturday because I was working 7 days a week and didnít have time for anything. So he would come in every once and a while to make some money and it would really clean up my schedule (you donít realize how fast work gets done with another hand until you have one, then you donít want to go back to working by yourself). But once I got around 50 customers I needed help so I knew a friend that was looking for work and had him come on and my sisterís boyfriend was laid off a lot this summer due to the economy so I had those two guys and myself.
I think the jump from 1-2 workers is necessary when you have too many customers and donít have the time to do the work then you know you need another guy, its nice when you have one guy on the weed wacker, your on the walk behind, and another guy filling in the gaps then jumping on the blower to finish the job in no time. Plus you need to make the money when its there, people wonít always wait for you to finally get around to doing the job so grab someone for a couple of weeks and if you get slow let them go. As for pay incentives, I pay per day, $100.00/day 8-10 hours usually closer to 8, so those guys make like $12.00/Hr cash. I am not that set up yet, but if I get to that second truck I will then go through "On the books" and all that, but as for now I cant put out the money and time of withholding taxes and so on. Also I am the one running the crew, if one of my guys drove and was my foreman than I would be able to get another truck and set up all that stuff but as of right now I donít have the time or resources. I pay my taxes those guys just donít. And believe me they would look at me funny if I started taking money out of their pay.

01-08-2009, 08:17 PM
How many lawn care customers do you feel the average lawn care business owner can handle solo?

With 1 employee?

With 2 employees?

01-08-2009, 08:39 PM
I think that when I started out I was able to handle 35-40 maybe, I mean I am anal so it takes me a lot of time to do things right. When I have employees, I run around and check up; if itís not good weíll fix it. So thatís like 8 customers a day 5 days a week not including the fertilizing, weeding, pruningÖ so on.
With 1 Employee you can probably handle 65-70 customers
With 2 Employee you can probably handle 100 easily.

Itís a tough choice; I cover a lot of different sized lawns from tiny row homes to 1-2 acres some are every 7 days, some 10, some 14 and so on. So I feel that you must make the jump to more employees when you are backed up keep your customers happy and donít make them wait too long. When I worked alone it would take me like 2 weeks to get to other jobs like Mulch or whatever. So I feel that as long as your busy bring on whoever you can, you will get done more jobs, make more money, and have happier customer. So during Spring Clean-ups, mulching and whatever have more guys around, then when you get slow during the dry period lay someone off until Fall Clean-up when youíre busy again. There will always be someone around who wants to work the questions is will you have someone who you can trust to work or are they just around to work when your there then when you go somewhere do they take a nap behind your back? I noticed that more work gets done when youíre not alone, mainly because youíre not as tired, so I say as long as you can afford it hire out, this also gives you more time to catch up on paper work.

01-08-2009, 08:45 PM
You got me thinking about the additional services like mulch jobs and clean ups.

When you have 1 or 2 employees with you, do you find that you pick a certain time of the week to schedule in those one time jobs? Or do you just do them whenever you can fit them in?

What advice do you have as far as when should such one time jobs be done?

01-08-2009, 09:09 PM
Sometimes you have to go by the weather, you can mulch in a little drizzle but it makes a mess for cutting, so I plan my week by the weather and also my supplier, some days are better for him to deliver then it works out better. But I try to keep weekends open for paper work and to relax, but if I am busy it doesnít matter. I like to make most of my cuts towards the end of the week because everyone likes to have a nice yard for the weekend so I will then do most of my one time jobs on like Monday and Tuesday and finish the week cutting, or whatever. Then when I get slower, the rentals get moved to the front of the week and the 7 day cuts stay to the back because they care for their yard and appreciate it more even then there is still time in the schedule to put stuff like weeding and tree jobs in the beginning of the week but you get the jist.

01-09-2009, 10:42 AM
What kind of equipment did you start off with and what kind do you use now and what would you recommend others use?

01-09-2009, 08:50 PM
When I first started I used whatever I could get my hands on, then it went to "Home Owner" products, well this equipment would only last like 2 months, so I moved up to Commercial Equip. This is a must, if your in landscaping, don't waste your time or money on Home Owner Products, pay the extra money and get good Commercial Products. Home Owner products are made to be used for like 15-20 hours a season, and we can do that in two days. just thinks how often you need to cut you grass at home 3-4 times a month? well that's what this stuff is made for occasional usage, not 8 hours a day 5 days a week.
The Equipment I use now is:
a Red Max Weed Wacker and Long Reach Hedge Trimmer Attachment.
an Echo Weed Wacker
A small Stihl Blower
A back pack Echo Blower
Stihl Chainsaw
Push Honda Lawn Mower I think 22"
SCAG 48" walk behind with a velkie.
and some other odds and ends...
by far I think the Red Max Equip. is stronger and takes a beaten. My stihl equip is good as well. but I think I am done with Echo especially my weed wacker it isnt strong, it takes a while to start and I had the red max longer and its still going strong. As for the attachment I have for the Red Max, that's a pain to put on and take off and its just easier to buy a separate piece of equipment than having something interchangeable.
as for the Walk Behind, I love the scag, its strong and shocks me sometimes. I had an old used exmark it was ok but I guess I got a bad vibe from it because it was used. I know I have more stuff but I will have to take a look in the garage, that's the main stuff that I use all the time.