Co-Op Work and Service Crews

We've got the people.  We've got the tools.  How about we put the people to work with those tools?  Skills will be developed just by doing what we do around the farm, and there is work out there that does not require much in terms of skill.  Depending on the sort of work we do, we may need a business license, and may already have what we need.  If there are things we can do, it's just a matter of finding the work, getting it done.

Mowing lawns, raking leaves, and yard cleanup comes to mind right off.   People pay for lawn and yard services all the time.  Some of the people in the co-op may already be paying for lawn services.  We'll match that price if you send us your business.  Put together a work crew, load up the trailer with the needed equipment and tools, head out to the job.  We would charge for time and materials.  We show up, mow your yard, rake the leaves, and haul off the clippings and yard debris.  Customer is happy with good work, the people get some time in, and the farm gets all the yummy leaves and grass for the compost.  

What makes this project interesting is there is not a whole lot of specific investment required.  Tools and equipment will come along through normal operations.  We'll need rakes, wheelbarrels and shovels, probably a mower to serve the needs of the farm and property.  We'll need a truck to haul things around for the farm and buyers group.  A trailer will probably be an early acquisition in order to pick up equipment, building materials and furnishings.  All we're doing is making use of those things we already have.

We've got the tool library in place.  The general public can borrow our tools with an annual subscription.  If someone wants to pour some concrete for a back patio, we've got everything they need.  If they need help to do the job, we've got several people working on the farm right now who can break off to get the job done.  We become a labor pool.  It's up to the patio guy to take care of permits.  Patio guy can pay our labor rates, which would include a minimum charge, or he can offer cash to the help, but that's none of my business.  Perhaps Patio Guy likes the work done, has more work to do, and arranges with the worker to come back on his own time.  Sometimes we find an opportunity.  Sometimes opportunity finds us.  There are farms already operating which would be able to make good use of an extra set of hands fro time to time.

This project can be developed within the co-op, or it could be developed as a cottage industry.  Set up as part of the co-op, we've got ample staffing to take on large jobs and complete them quickly.  Staffing the crew would be done as would any project.  A crew consisting of highly motivated individuals striving to offer a high level of customer satisfaction leads me to believe repeat business and customer referalls can put this project on the map.

As a cottage industry, it is Jack's business.  Jack goes out to find the work.  Jack does not have enough work to justify hiring regular employees.  Jack can do all the work himself, borrow our tools, and save himself dump fees by dropping off those leaves at the farm.  If Jack needs help, we've got scores of people who would be glad to help.  It's up to Jack to pay them.  The opportunity for Jack is already out there, but requires his investment in tools.  The price of a trailer, mower, trimmer, hand tools, leaf blower, andd the essential gear can be prohibitive.  The co-op offers access to all these things.  The door is wide open for anyone to move ahead with ideas of their own.



Cooperative Enterprise, Plan Outline