By Tim Faller. The number of people working on a jobsite should be determined by need and not by the traditions of the industry. That is the only way to maximize efficiency and, therefore, profit. Here are some questions to help you decide crew size:

What is the workload for the day or the week? Is today a planning day or one that requires a simple tear out? If so, you'll only need one person. If you're framing the roof, depending on the complexity, you'll need one or two members. If you're siding, does the type of siding require two workers to adjust on each end or does it lock in place for a one-person installation?

How many people are needed to do the job safely? Safety should be a primary concern. Many accidents occur when one person attempts work that should be done by a crew.

For how long do I need these extra people? Some tasks only require help for a day or a few hours. If the additional person stays longer, they become inefficient. If you can let the boss know far enough ahead that you need people for a certain time frame, it can be added to the schedule.

Will I be able to complete the job twice as fast with one additional person? If two people work together regularly, they stand a chance of doubling output. But in general, by adding people to the crew, you increase inefficiency and decrease productivity.

Can I break this project into independent tasks? A good way to increase crew size and help productivity is to break a large job into tasks that can be accomplished by one person. For example, during the trim phases of a job there can be two people on the job, one to set the kitchen cabinets and the other to hang doors and run trim. --Tim Faller, Field Training Services,