One, Two, or Three Man Crews

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This is a common conversation in landscaping. Should I operate with one, two, or three man crews?

Well there are several ways to look at it and no 100% right answer. The biggest factor is going to be drive time.

For us, for example, we have some very tight routes. The less drive time you have, the less time you are going to lose to driving.

On our routes that are further away, there is more drive time. So we choose to send a  one man crew. Lets look at it this way.

The area is 30 mins away. And driving between the accounts may add up to 1.5 hour onto the day that he is not mowing a lawn. So for one man, we are paying him for 2.5 hours that he isn’t producing work: half hour there, half hour back and 1.5 hours between lawns.

If we added a second guy onto this crew, they are now both sitting in the truck for all that time. So the wasted, unbillable time is 2.5 x 2 or 5 hours wasted per day!

If you are working at condominiums, or big commercial places, where you are there all day, less time is wasted since you don’t have to spend time in the truck driving between houses. You can even have the other worker meet you at the job site, that way you don’t have to pay them for ANY drive time! So as you can see, the more drive time you have the less it makes sense to add additional crew members.

On the other hand, obviously  a two man crew will get more done in a day than a 1 man crew. So this should also be a consideration. If you do not have the equipment resources to send another crew out separately, you may have to stick them in the same truck. They will still make you more money over all, but less marginally per dollar produced. So with one man you might produce $800 in a day, and with two men you might produce $1200 in a day. You will make more off the $1200 with two men, but you would make a smaller gross profit on the work completed because of you higher labor costs due to wasted man hours sitting in the truck.

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