Winter is a great time to decide whether you’re ready to hire your first employee. It’s also a great time to decide whether it’s worth it!

Green Industry companies across the board claim that employees are their biggest headache. A one-person show can only grow so big though – unless you figure out a way to cut two lawns at once.

When you are a one-person show getting too much work to handle, this is a great problem to have. You can either say no to the extra work or hire another employee to help you. If your company isn’t getting too much work to handle, you should probably stick with the one worker you have and look into a new marketing plan instead. You never want to hire ahead of yourself, or you could have a payroll bill and no extra cash to pay it.

That said, there are some very profitable companies out there with only the owner working. There are also some other extremely profitable companies out there with multiple employees working. So your first question is – What do you want your company to be?

Here is a review of the pros and cons of having employees:

Keeping the One-Man Status Quo:

Pros:

  1. You’ll always know that the work is done right – because it’s done by you!
  2. You can keep doing what your good at, raise your prices, and enjoy how life is treating you.
  3. Finding a way to keep employees through the off-season doesn’t matter (unless you do H2B or other Winter Work).
  4. Your equipment and truck will be kept pristine by someone who actually cares about it – you!
  5. No one will have a “sick day”, or “off-day” without you approving it – and you’ll always know exactly how much work you can get done each day.

Cons:

  1. If you don’t show up at work, nothing gets done.  It may be almost impossible to take vacations, have a sick day or even retire! With a one-person show, you’re the show!
  2. Your company can only get so big when you are the only one working in it. You can never mow two lawns at once – at least unless you get a robot mower.:-)
  3. A company that only has one worker in it is not one you can sell someday when you retire – and it’s not something you can run from afar either.

Hire a new employee:

Pros:

  1. Your company can grow much bigger and even become something that doesn’t rely on you managing it some day (See our book, “Lawn Maintenance and the Beautiful Business“).
  2. You can get more work done, get more customers, and make higher profits as a company with multiple workers than you can with just one worker.
  3. When you’re out on vacation, a sick day, or anything else – your company can still be making money.
  4. Someday when you’re ready to retire and sell your business, it can be big enough for others to value and know that they can profit from it.

Cons:

  1. Only a business owner works like a business owner – you cannot clone yourself.  With piecework, however, you can make your employees partial business owners which helps them get that same drive for profit that you have.
  2. It will take a lot of work training – no one else can just walk in a company and do what you do right away. Systems in place like CLIP, KnowitAll, and business manuals can help the transition be much quicker.
  3. You will need to figure out a solution for keeping good employees through the off-season (unless you do H2B or other Winter Work).
  4. The bigger opportunity for growth will bring new challenges to over come like adding equipment and a truck for a new crew, or finding new areas to market to.

In our experience, hiring employees (when you have the work) is the surest way to company growth. Having a commission based pay rate (Piecework), company database in place (Knowitall Software), and an easy to use routing, scheduling and job costing program (CLIP Software) is key to our success in hiring new employees every year! You can learn about how to make your business beautiful in our book, “Lawn Maintenance and the Beautiful Business”:

One of the things we like to say around here is, “The key to happiness in life is low expectations!” So get ready to hire a new employee as the work comes. Without growing pains, there isn’t growth!