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Author Topic: one man operation  (Read 2391 times)

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Offline br389

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one man operation
« on: October 28, 2014, 05:39:11 AM »
I am a one man operation and I am wondering if you guys could give me any tips on how to get bigger so I can hire a guy and what would be the best way to pay them hourly or by production?  Thanks for any tips

Offline drobertson

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Re: one man operation
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2014, 07:20:54 AM »
I figure you are talking about logging?  Not sure what to tell you on this one, except it would be nice to have help for sure.  I do some free lance work for a small TSI outfit.  These jobs pay at the end, which can be hard for the temp help,(me)  but he did mention getting a credit line going, but is not really wanting to.  Working timber can go both ways I think, but seems that most are based on production.  Some do hourly I've heard.  But there has to be good support equipment to maintain production. 
only have a few chain saws I'm not suppose to use, but will at times, one dog Dolly, pretty good dog, just not sure what for yet,  working on getting the gardening back in order, and kinda thinking on maybe a small bbq bizz,  thinking about it,

Offline thenorthman

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Re: one man operation
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2014, 08:33:06 AM »
A few questions you have to ask yourself.

Can you keep enough wood in front of you to keep 2 people cutting full time? Hard to find good employees and harder to keep the good ones without stability.

Can you pay hourly and still justify the LI expense, out here its something like $16 an hour goes to LI, not to mention medical/dental, 401k, vacations etc.

Would it be better to sub contract the work? Gets you out of paying LI and what not. And you can pay piece work then.

Otherwise seems that the bigger you go the less money you end up making, granted a guy can do pretty good with a smallish crew, but you have to have the production to justify it.

In other words each person on the crew needs a load of logs to make wages and expenses, if a 2 man crew can get 2 loads you break even, if you get 3 loads you make some profit. If you only get 1 load you loose money.

Not really any easy answers here...
well that didn't work

Offline treeslayer2003

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Re: one man operation
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2014, 08:46:12 AM »
A few questions you have to ask yourself.

Can you keep enough wood in front of you to keep 2 people cutting full time? Hard to find good employees and harder to keep the good ones without stability.

Can you pay hourly and still justify the LI expense, out here its something like $16 an hour goes to LI, not to mention medical/dental, 401k, vacations etc.

Would it be better to sub contract the work? Gets you out of paying LI and what not. And you can pay piece work then.

Otherwise seems that the bigger you go the less money you end up making, granted a guy can do pretty good with a smallish crew, but you have to have the production to justify it.

In other words each person on the crew needs a load of logs to make wages and expenses, if a 2 man crew can get 2 loads you break even, if you get 3 loads you make some profit. If you only get 1 load you loose money.

Not really any easy answers here...
yep, +1..............i have decided to just stay small. i tried the help thing and made less.

Offline SliverPicker

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Re: one man operation
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2014, 09:04:45 AM »
Refine your methods in the woods to the point you can take on bigger jobs and complete them efficiently and at a profit if you want to grow your operation. Just put your head down and put in your (long) days in the woods. Never passing up an opportunity to learn something new. 

If the time comes that you "need" help as you move on to bigger jobs, it will be obvious.
Yooper by trade.

Offline Autocar

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Re: one man operation
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2014, 09:33:00 AM »
Just my two cents but I would stay small if your making your bills. I had employees and production wasn't that much better seem like we would get ahead then something would break down and a day or two was lost . I get depressed some days working by myself but at least I don't go home ticked off because something stupid was pulled and it cost me more money. Now if I break down I can only be upset with myself and that works out pretty good for myself  ;).
Bill

Offline Kodiakmac

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Re: one man operation
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2014, 09:47:55 AM »
I am a one man operation and I am wondering if you guys could give me any tips on how to get bigger so I can hire a guy and what would be the best way to pay them hourly or by production?  Thanks for any tips

Well, it was straight math that made me go in the other direction.  Might be different in your state, but here in Ontario I just got tired of the costs and frustrations of red tape.  Plus, I just can't find anyone who would agree to work as a private contractor (as opposed to an employee on salary) and get paid by volume.  So I mostly work alone.  When I get a rush order for logs and I need a hand I get a local Mennonite lad who still knows how to put in a hard day's work  for cash.  And they run my old skidder like it's their own.  My wife helps me split firewood on Saturdays.
Robin Hood had it just about right:  as long as a man has family, friends, deer and beer...he needs very little government!
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Offline Bert

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Re: one man operation
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2014, 09:53:28 AM »
Most of the "crews" around here are family operations. I don't think hiring an actual employee would be too beneficial with what the man charges for comp, health care, etc. I have considered the same thing, but most of the guys that know how to do this line of work right are already doing it. Have you considered a partnership with someone of similar mindset?
Saw you tomorrow!

Offline SliverPicker

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Re: one man operation
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2014, 10:27:39 AM »
A partnership can be a great deal if you find the right person to partner with and spell out boundaries for each person involved. 

That said, there are two ways to get a "quality" education: 1) Go to reputable school 2) Be the minority partner in a business. ;)
Yooper by trade.

Offline BradMarks

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Re: one man operation
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2014, 11:02:17 AM »
At one time I thought bigger was better, went from 3 tree planting crews to five. Turns out on a daily average, one crew would do real well (profit), one poorly (loss), and three average (break even). At the end of the day, the end result was a headache. We were diluting the talent pool and were better off shedding the culls. I learned my lesson, my business today is not about being the biggest, just the best at what we do.

Offline furltech

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Re: one man operation
« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2014, 01:48:24 PM »
Some days i would like to keep going smaller until i am not there . :D

Offline CCC4

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Re: one man operation
« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2014, 02:08:52 PM »
Some days i would like to keep going smaller until i am not there . :D

Now that's funny right there!  :D

Offline CCC4

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Re: one man operation
« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2014, 02:12:11 PM »
I am a one man operation and I am wondering if you guys could give me any tips on how to get bigger so I can hire a guy and what would be the best way to pay them hourly or by production?  Thanks for any tips

Tough call...can ya get his product to the landing daily? If so pay him production...if he is good, pay him how ever he wants. Lots of wanna be's out there, if ya find a good one that will push himself...take care of him!

Offline Southside logger

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Re: one man operation
« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2014, 04:52:44 PM »
Clint -

Sounds like you are stumping for a job.   :D
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Offline CCC4

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Re: one man operation
« Reply #14 on: October 28, 2014, 05:11:37 PM »
Me?? Nah...there are a couple people I would cut for on here though! LOL! There are even a very few on here that I would give my eye teeth to cut for! ;) ...now I'm stumping for a job! LOL!

Offline coxy

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Re: one man operation
« Reply #15 on: October 28, 2014, 07:57:24 PM »
its hard to find good help     I had a guy help me last winter when I got behind what a mistake that was    all he wanted to do was smash and crash    started running over every thing  >:( >:(   would not stay in the same road just   stupid stuff   we were only cutting 12000ft a week    I am doing that now by my self and no head aches   the best part of it was when the lo came over and told him call a flat bed and get your skidder out of here your done  :D     lo told me if it takes you a few more months to get it done that's ok that guy is just an a@@     there is  good help out there   and if there good they are hard to get     needless to say if you want it done right do it your self   good luck with what ever you do

Offline lopet

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Re: one man operation
« Reply #16 on: October 28, 2014, 08:19:26 PM »
There is always pros and cons but a lot of thing are already said. You really have to do your math and find out what a extra guy gonna cost you  versus the more production. Another question you have to ask your self is what you gonna do with this guy when you can't work in the bush.
I too run a one man show but over and over I get in to situations in the bush, where a second person would be really handy  (cutting missed limbs as you skid, winching over as you cut , getting equipment unstuck  and on and on).  Trying to do it myself always cost me extra time and it isn't always safe. Let's put it this way, there  is moments  I wish there is somebody for a certain time but for the rest of time I don't want to deal with this somebody.  Unfortunately it doesn't work that way.
If your 25 or 30 years old and ambitious that might be a different story but at my age I rather put up with the inconvenience and work when I feel like.   Just my 2 cents.     
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Offline BargeMonkey

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Re: one man operation
« Reply #17 on: October 28, 2014, 09:28:58 PM »
 I tried the full time help situation, unless youve got someone really willing to work its nothing but headaches. The employees dont see what youve got tied up, the cost of everything and what you stand to lose if things break. No one wants to get dirty, and to find a seasoned skidder operator is almost impossible. Because of our excavation and gravel pit I cant buy into private comp, im stuck with the state fund right now and the comp is outrageous, basically preventing me from wanting to employ someone.
 And the message is... stay small and do what you can, or with 1 real good guy.  ;)

Offline Holmes

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Re: one man operation
« Reply #18 on: October 28, 2014, 10:40:25 PM »
Years ago someone asked me how many people I had working for me. I said I employ 5 people 1 who works for me and 4 that work against me.
Think like a farmer.

Offline Southside logger

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Re: one man operation
« Reply #19 on: October 28, 2014, 10:46:03 PM »
The phrase "It takes money to make money" applies to to logging as much as any other business or maybe even more.  If you wanted to successfully grow a logging business you would need to have cash to purchase equipment, purchase wood, and have operating expenses covered, a line of credit or trying to do it on cash flow alone just does not work any longer. 

I looked at a lot this summer the owner was considering logging, it had nice wood and I told the owner it would take me most of a year to log it all off and I pay on shares, they were looking for cash now so I gave them a couple of names.  I pass by it all the time and saw a guy I know set up there three weeks ago, turns out he was hired by a local mill who actually bought the lot.  I ship to the same mill and know the log scaler there, the bid for the lot was based on an estimated harvest of 325 MBF, the lot produced a bit over 400 MBF, so the mill got nearly 80 MBF for the cost of logging it, all because they had cash and could afford to spend it. 

Personally I think guys like us - I am a one man operation as well - can do a lot better by finding a niche that the other guys overlook.  Its nice when I need to do something on a Wednesday and I don't have to worry about a crew having issues or messing around while I am gone, the machine sits there waiting for me and is ready to go when I get back.  For what its worth I used to own a different business where we made and bagged wood shavings, had about 25 employees, worked around the clock and I did not bring home any more money than I do now at the end of the week.  If a guy wants the operation to be his life, then chase the monster, but if you want to have a secure income that balances with life then stay small and be the very best in your niche.   
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