Money Grows On Trees: Best practices for trim crew management

Originally published by The Leaf Online

Employ these best practices when trimming seasonal cannabis harvests, and enjoy a higher ROI by reducing labor costs. Then, explore the major issues affecting ROI for growers with bud to trim.

  1. Analyze yield

The first decision to make is how you plan to process the harvest. Larger grows (20-30 plants)* may necessitate the purchase or rental of a heavy-duty trim machine and 2-5 trimmers. Mid-sized grows (10-30 plants)* trimmed by hand will require 3-9 workers; small personal grows (5 plants or fewer) will need 1-2 trimmers.

*Yield and therefore work needed for processing varies by strain

  1. Create a floor plan

It’s one extra step, but a very important one. Before cutting down a single plant or putting a pair of scissors in a trimmer’s hand, determine the layout of the processing space. Make sure it is easy for trimmers to exit to use a restroom and provide adequate trash cans and trim sorting bins throughout the space; trimmers should have room to gather and package stems, fan leaves and close trim separately for further processing or disposal.

  1. Create a game plan

Using the floor plan, determine how many workers will be needed for each of the tasks. Hourly requirements vary based on methods used to process and on the condition of the cannabis itself: wet, moldy and/or crystalline buds will slow trim crews down.

  1. Set up the team

A trim crew should always be paid hourly or per-pound pay should be distributed equally among workers. The best crew works together to maximize output in a timely manner, so no one worker is directly responsible for yield produced.

Determine responsibilities for each trimmer ahead of time (see below) and make sure everyone is aware of the ground rules and pay structure before work begins.

  1. Process the harvest, manage the space

One person gathers plants to be processed and feeds them to another worker who is cutting down the stems to be manicured, either by machine or by hand. Operations using a trim machine will require one worker to operate it. In a hand trim operation, bud manicuring will be the most restrictive bottleneck and should require all but two workers. The final worker is tasked with packaging finished cut buds, making sure trim byproducts are properly separated and packaged, and keeping the space clean.

As the day winds down and no more plants are being cut down to be trimmed, workers are freed up to help clear remaining bottlenecks. In the case of a hand trim operation, this means the faster trimmers will help cut down the supply of slower trimmers. With a machine trim, the bottle will be packaging the finished product and byproducts.

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