Large Crews Lead to Better Landscaping Outcomes

Landscaping crews
Photo courtesy of Desert Designer

By Tom Smith

Landscaping company owners constantly worry about the cost of labor. Every person assigned to a job is money out of your company’s pocket. This concern over labor costs leads many landscaping companies to cut down on the number of crew members they hire for each job. In their mind, a smaller crew means a smaller overhead cost. However, this thinking is short-sighted in the current landscaping marketplace.

Many homeowners need a lot of work done, and small crews are going to struggle to efficiently meet that demand. My landscaping company has found that larger crews make our work more efficient, keep our workers safe, and make our clients happier. Large landscaping crews are the way to complete a job.

Many landscaping crews work with a team of two to four people. I recommend working with a team of at least eight people – seven workers and one foreperson to manage them. If you hire the right people, a team of eight will more than double your work output, meaning your landscaping company has more opportunities to complete more jobs.

A four-person crew can take two to four months to complete a complete backyard redesign. Hire more people that let you do bigger jobs and get those jobs done efficiently. Working with larger crews has greatly benefited our company as we are able to complete approximately $25,000 to $30,000 of landscaping work per week.

The larger crews give us more flexibility to complete multiple jobs in a single day. Say, for example, I need to remove a large rock from someone’s backyard. An eight-person crew lets me put four or five people on that job while the other people can do other work.

Small crews on big jobs constantly force your entire team to focus on one task, and that slows down completion times. Time is money in business, and larger crews help turn a dollar a lot quicker despite the fact you are paying more people per job. Larger crews help with payroll because the higher rate of job completion provides more cash on hand to ensure you always have enough money to pay for the right people.

It is important to understand that you only hire a large crew if you know you have the money on hand to hire them on hand. Don’t assume the completion of a future job will help you meet payroll. Have enough cash on hand for each person you are hiring.

Large crews also help from a customer-service perspective. By the time the landscaping crew comes in to design a yard, we are usually one of the last in a long line of contractors. Homeowners eventually get sick of contractors coming in and out of their homes. Contracting work is a worthwhile, but it is a disruptive experience to the daily life of any client. Because of this, it is in their best interest for the team to get in and get out as quickly as possible. Nothing makes a client happier than a contractor getting a job started, doing a good job, and getting out quickly. The customer wants to enjoy their new space, so hire enough people to get the job done.

Most importantly, larger crews promote crew safety. More eyes on a job means people are less likely to get hurt on the job. The quicker turnaround times with large teams also mean landscapers are out in the elements for a shorter amount of time. This is big for landscapers working in desert climates. Our company is located in the Phoenix area, and this summer saw a record number of consecutive 110-degree days. When the temperature never dips below 100 degrees day or night, you have to get jobs done quickly. A large crew allowed our crews to get in and get out of the heat.

Any landscaping company hiring large crews should not do so if they don’t have a foreperson who can handle the job. Your foreperson is essential in efficiently managing large crews. A large crew without a good foreperson will lead to you paying eight people doing inefficient work. Your foreperson should know everything about landscape design – from masonry to electrical and plumbing – and should personally be able to pick up the slack on any job. A competent foreperson is critical to managing large landscaping crews.

A larger payroll is often a concern for landscaping company owners, so they may be resistant to hiring larger crews. However, the benefits of hiring a large crew for your landscaping work will outweigh the cons of higher payroll. A large team can help you complete more jobs more quickly, keep your customers happy, and most importantly help keep your landscapers safe from onsite accidents and harsh environments. Don’t skimp on workers if you can afford it. Hire more of the right people.


Tom Smith is the owner of Desert Designer Landscape and Development in Tempe Arizona, which specializes in individualized landscape designs. For more information visit

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