View Full Version : Just not enough Money

No Lawncares
04-12-2005, 11:01 AM
Well guys I'm now starting my second season in this business, and to tell you the truth, I'm already thinking of getting out. People just seem to believe we should mow and take care of their lawns for free. With all the low ballers out there it is hard to even make a buck, I make more money cleaning up rentals for a partner of mine, and I spend half the time doing it.

wally world III
04-12-2005, 11:37 AM
well your mowers are not ZTR

because if your only using walkers
your screwed period...........

i only use gravely pm 260, 60" cut ~~~ 2 - diesel bought last year
1 - pm 260, 60" cut gas purchased 2 wks ago

i have 77 lawn sites that i mow
plus, aeration, dethatching, fertilizing, grass seed, lime, corn gluten meal
spring & fall clean ups

payup payup payup payup payup payup payup payup

04-12-2005, 02:02 PM
really, ive gottn 8 new accounts this week, because the other guy uses "one of those big commercial mowers" and the old ladies dont like that, same price as the other guy, just smaller mower, he is loosing his customers to me because he refuses to use small mowers on small residential lots...

so its all relative, him not haveing a ztr is not relivent to his lack of success....

No Lawncares
04-12-2005, 02:28 PM
It has nothing to do with me not doing great. The problem is when you add gas price, insurance, maintence to equipment, time and ware n tear on equipment, I can make more working for a friend of mine. I also dont have to work so much. I will always keep my accounts I like and there are 5 or so but I can do them at night. Also I do not have a ztr, what I have is gravely 36 wb, gravely 48 wb, 2 21 inch mowers, 2 trimmers, 1 blower, and misc other items.

I guess my point is people in my area are cheap and if I cant get more accounts in an area I'm in trouble. Alot of my accounts are spread out and you lose so much time and money, Driving.

04-12-2005, 02:54 PM
things are very tough in ohio and michigan, i hope things go well for you....

04-12-2005, 02:55 PM
No lawncares, Lets think about this. If you have been in this for 2 years and you already have all your equipment paid for, accounts do make some money and you pick up a few more every year your still making more than you would than a part timer at k-mart besides your your own boss! Give it time things will get better.

04-12-2005, 03:02 PM
It can be a tough row to hoe, I guess there are two solutions. Sounds like you aren't in love with this job anyway so for some people getting out may be a good idea. On the other hand, if you like what you are doing and make a niche for yourself whether it's a unique service or just mowing better than the next guys by attention to detail etc. than it can be a profitable venture. You just have to compare aples to apples. It sounds like you are not lowballing which can make it harder to obtain customers but, if you are providing a better service there is a certain clientele that will notice that. Unfortunatly, it takes a little lonnger to build a customer list by word of mouth than the method that most here today, gone tommorrow contractors use which consists of "sir, how much you paying to get that done, ..... well I can do it $10 cheaper". I would say struggle it out and stick to your guns or get out without falling victim to the lowball method.

04-12-2005, 05:19 PM
I think you answered your own question, if your stuff is paid for and hopefully you have an enclosed trailer, do the following:

Stock up on all your stuff for the rentals that you do, cleaners, rags, etc....

You pull up to the place, get your inside cleaning done, then sell the outside clean-up, mowing, weeding, mulch....whatever.

I have rental property, and when people leave, everything from front to back, top to bottom needs freshing up......don't give up, its yours!!

04-12-2005, 06:43 PM
how much are you making a day doing lawncare? how much doing the other thing? if you can't clear at least $1000 a week doing lawncare, as a small solo op, you must be doing something terribly wrong. i do that working 6 hr days

04-12-2005, 07:47 PM
right now i just want 15 yards a day 5 days a week at $30 a week and do it all by myself and make $2200 a week and only have a 36 wb 2 trimmers 2 blowers 1 21" mower 5x10 trailer and a 4 cyclinder ranger 5-spd. After i get those dont advertise and no need for a secretary after i get the accounts regular cust will just leave a message or call my cell and i could do this in 6 hours and have the customer put check under the door mat. DO that for 7 months and rest for the next 5 months.

No Lawncares
04-12-2005, 07:49 PM
Ive ran two ads in our local paper and got 1 account (problem is account is 20 miles from me so you blow 1 hr driving. Love the little ole lady very nice and will pay but I can only charge so much (and do I raise it to high and risk looseing it?) I did flyers and got a few but just not enough to make it a full time gig. What I think I'm going to do is work 30-40 hours a week in the daytime, and focus getting the lawncare in order at nights, start building year by year. My equipment is paid for, I bought everything with cash last year. Funny thing is I kept all my accounts from last year and gained 1 rental from my partner, and gained a home of a business owner I mow for.

04-13-2005, 11:39 AM
I guess the first and biggest factor is determining if you like this biz and where your company plans on goin. Personally, I love this business, but I don't want to be doing all the work when I'm 50 yrs. old. So, I'm growing slow and steady. Eventually I'll have people working for me, and I'll work less and less in the field, concentrating more on the business side of things. I enjoy the outdoors, but don't want to be working 60 hr weeks in the field forever.

Yes, Michigan is a tough place this year....Where abouts are ya? From last season to this year, I've gotten rid of a few lawns that weren't profitable enough, and taken on some larger accounts. My average price/lawn increased by about 10-12%. In part because I raised prices, and in part because I dropped the losers. I realized that this is a numbers game, and you need to "play the numbers" to increase your profits. What I mean is, the more you advertise, the more estimates you'll do. The more potential customers you have, the more you can pick and choose, based on price. I've been turning some people down this year that I wouldn't have done last season. You need to pick a price and stick ot it. You won't get as many customers, but they'll be better accounts. The customers you refuse to pay your price may go with someone else this year, but if you can demonstrate quality work in their neighborhood, you may get them in the future if their "cheapo" service doesn't work out.

Last week I did an estimate on a small lawn, and quoted $27. The guy tells me that he has a quote for $20. So, I started asking questions about this "other guy." I asked what kind of equipment/truck he had....He wasn't sure. Does he pay taxes? Is he insured if he puts a rock through your window? - The aswer was probably not. Do you think he'll show up when he's supposed to....The customer said he was concerned about that.

My response - Then your price is $27. The point of my ramblings is that you need to GET THE CUSTOMER to tell you what their concerns are, and LET THEM TELL YOU why they should pay your prices. If they figure it out themselves through a series of questions you ask, they'll most likely see the value in your services.

To sum it up: Create a reputable name for your company, and provide quality work. Advertise like crazy and you'll get more prospects. When you have more prospects, you have more leverage to stick to you price, and choose who you want as customers. It's all a numbers game.

Good luck.

No Lawncares
04-15-2005, 08:34 AM
Thanks all for your advice.

04-15-2005, 08:46 AM
What part of Michigan are you in...