Editor's Blog

Upside Down and Inside Out ... Staffing Ratios

June 28, 2009
The best staffing ratio is 2:1.

A danger area for all contractors, especially in this recession with declining sales opportunities, is eliminating or laying off outside techs and installers without addressing the need to do the same with people on the “inside”.

Rule of Thumb: For every two techs or installers out there doing the work, there should be one inside (support) person. This is the best of staffing ratios, which is 2:1.
    Example: Ten techs (or installers) each billing for their work for five inside people who don’t install or bill for their work.
With rare exception, a company that has a 2:1 staffing ratio is very profitable because the company isn’t too bloated with overhead expenses.

Guess what! You count as inside staff unless you’re spending the majority of your time working in the field and making the company money by selling. Having others do the work is better, but still counts toward inside staff.

The problem comes with companies that once had a number of techs and installers out there making money and got used to having all the staffing positions filled on their organizational chart by someone other than themselves. It’s nice to have a personal secretary or a service manager or someone else doing the books besides you or your spouse. But, if the outside sales falls and outside staff is cut, you must take the steps to cut your inside overhead.

By the way, if you have a staffing ratio of 1.5: 1 you can still be a profitable company.
    Example: Nine techs (or installers) each billing for their work for six inside people who don’t install or bill for their work.
BUT if your staffing ratio drops closer to 1:1, which would be:
    Example: Nine techs (or installers) each billing for their work for nine inside people who don’t install or bill for their work.
You are in a very precarious position!

What can you do?

Start by tallying up who’s on the outside and who’s on the inside. Count yourself and any sales staff, warehouse people and such who don’t bill directly for the work they do (a.k.a. don’t install). Then, think about what job positions can be combined and, if necessary, done away with or sub contracted out until you get back to a profitable and sustainable staffing ratio again.

Ultimately, the goal is to get back to growing your marketing and sales opportunities and building your staff the right way with the right resources and in the right proportion.

Give Me 60 Minutes And I'll Show You The Secrets To Running A Profitable Plumbing, Heating, Air Conditioning, Carpentry, Electrical or any other Service Business... Even During A Recession!

Al Levi is a consultant and a contributing editor to PM magazine and blogs for many other BNP trade magazines.  Al is presenting a free online video seminar called the “60 Minute Recession Solution” Online Video Seminar.

For the first time ever, you’ll hear from him and just a few of the many contractors who have engaged the power of the Power Programs. They’re happy to share how this dynamic program worked for them and how it is still working for them especially in these tough economic times.

“This program has helped dozens of business owners I’ve worked with one to one,” says Al. “The Power! Plans have also helped. But now, thanks to new technology, I’ll be able to help many more contractors with my 12-Month Power Plan Coaching Program than ever before. This program will include the building of your own customizable Operating Power! manuals.”

These programs have been working for Al in his family business for years and in his clients’ businesses where now they are reaping the results. Click on the following link and learn more so you can see and hear for yourself: www.60MinuteRecessionSolution.com.
You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

The 2014 Experience Conference and Exhibition

A look in photos at the 2014 Experience Conference and Exhibition, which was held from April 24-26 at the Embassy Suites Convention Center and Spa in Frisco, Texas.


Beginning April 21, Google will start judging websites based on their mobile friendliness. What exactly does this mean to you cleaning website? Find out in the latest edition of The Hitman Advertising Show, which will also cover tips and suggestions on getting mobile compliant.
More Podcasts

ICS Cleaning Specialist Magazine


2015 April

The April ICS issue features content on concrete polishing, green cleaning, air duct cleaning, injection sprayers and new products.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Janitorial Work

In addition to residential and commercial carpet cleaning, do you do any janitorial work on the side?
View Results Poll Archive


The Carpet Cleaner's Book of Unlimited Success! (ebook)

Don’t worry about the recession or about your competition.  Now you can be the owner of over 400 ways for carpet cleaning professionals to make more money and get more jobs!

More Products


Director_Buyer.jpgThe premier resource and reference guide for the cleaning and restoration industries.

Click here to view


facebook_40.png twitter_40px.png youtube_40px.png


Truckmount.jpgEquipment listings and specifications from the leading industry manufacturers.

Click here to view