There are many paths you can take to build your lawn care business. As we will see in this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, some ways are better than others. This is especially true when it comes to finding good solid lawn care employees and the best ways to utilize them. To improve your chances of success you need to have a plan in place before you hire a single lawn care employee. Review the plan and make sure it makes sense.
One lawn care business owner wrote to share his current situation and why he felt he needed and employee. He said “I have a question regarding finding good help. This year I have 25 lawn care customers and I am looking for a full time job. My problem is that it’s too much work for one person but not enough for 2.
I used to work a job that I had 4 days on and 3 days off during the week. I started to cut lawns on the side for some extra cash. I had only 12 lawn care customers the first year and it worked out nicely. What happened next was my job laid me off and all I had was my small lawn care business.
Now I am looking for a full time job because I need benefits, and a retirement plan. I cannot survive on 26 lawn care customers alone. The problem I know I am going to run into though is once I get a full time job then it’s going to be almost impossible to mow 26 lawns on the side.
A friend of mine in the lawn care business told me he took out an ad and got 80 responses for help. He said $15 dollars per hour is way too much to start, and that I should be looking at $10. I need someone during the week that can take out my equipment and get the job done while I am out at my full time job. I found someone for $15 per hour but I am not sure how he is going to work out.
Right now because it gets dark later in the evening I can do it by myself, but come fall time when it gets dark around 4pm I am going to be in trouble. How much would you pay someone to go out and cut the lawns for all your customers?
I have asked alot of people if they want the job but no one seems to want to do it. I did have one guy say he was interested but then when it came time to start cutting he backed out. I don’t want to hire a 16 year old who isn’t going to do a good job. But most people in there mid 20’s are looking for benefits and 40 hours per week. I know the economy is bad but I don’t know where to go to find a decent worker. Should I increase my hourly rate to entice good help? Or should I cut back on my customers so that I can handle it by myself?”
A second lawn care business owner wrote “Why not go the other way. Why not focus on getting more lawn care customers and then if you still need to, get a part time night job or a weekend job?
I think you might have a hard time finding someone to take care of your business while you pay them only ten dollars an hour. It’s one thing to find an assistant but it’s quite another to find someone to run your business while you are not there. Putting the day to day operation of your business into another person’s hands should be worth more then $10 per hour. Also, I can’t help but wonder if there is a problem that needs your attention, will your employee be able to contact you at your full-time job, or are you going to letÂ them make those decisions? It just seems like a bad idea to go this route.
Here are some of the places I have found solid employees. In my area the fire department has a on 24, off 48, shift schedule. I have one employee who is great and a fireman. He is on one day and off 2 and the schedule works well for him and for me. He can work for me 4 days one week and 5 days the next. He is happy with the part time status as long as I work with him on his schedule.
I also have two school bus drivers, and four college students that I pay $15.00 to $25.00 an hour depending on what their role is. I pay for a one hour lunch and coffee/muffin in the mornings. Every Thursday evening I pay for pizza or wings, you pay for your own beer. I supply my employees with OSHA approved work boots, work gloves, shirts, jacket and any safety gear associated with their role such as chainsaw pants, hardhat, ear protection etc.
You really need to think where you want to go with this in order to find success. If you want a full time job and do side jobs with your lawn care business, then do that. If you want to go full time with your lawn care business, then do that. Mixing it all up though by running a full time lawn care business while working at a full time job is a recipe for disaster.”
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