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View Full Version : How to justify spending 15K....


JLL25
03-09-2006, 09:56 AM
Hey guys, I currently work for a lawn care company. I would like to supplement my income, probably on Sundays since my boss has me working typically Monday through Saturday all day. I have rounded up some equipment which totals 15K, this is everything I need- trimmer, edger, 52" ZTR, 6.5'x12' open tandem axle trailer, 32" walkbehind, backpack blower, hedgetrimmer. I have a truck and those items come to about 15K, can a guy justify working all day Sunday to pay for this and still make any money? I am dedicated to making this work, so busting my ass and getting the job done well isn't my primary worry. I just want to know if I can make more than enough to cover my loan.
Thanks for your help.

Ric3077
03-09-2006, 10:01 AM
What if it pours all day Sunday? You can't wait a week to cut...I think you need to be able to cut more than just one day to justify buying even $5k in equipment. But if you can do some lawns weeknight when you get home from your day job...I say GO FOR IT!!!

daveintoledo
03-09-2006, 10:02 AM
most residentials dont want you on the property on sunday.....maybe that is why your boss doesnt work sundays....

i have some farm houses that i do on sunday.. noone close enough to care, or maybe you could get a couple of commercials that you could do on sundays... when it doenst rain on sunday...

personally i had a hard time justifying 6 thousand, and i mow 5 or6 days a week hahahhaahaah

Randy Scott
03-09-2006, 10:14 AM
Without being too much of a jerk here, the fact that you can't figure this out, means you have no idea what to charge for services or any type of costs involved with running your own business. Sorry.

Wells
03-09-2006, 10:23 AM
Have you given any thought to going off on your own? I really don't see how your going to supplement your income this season only mowing one day a week with 15k of debt.

Quick calculation:
Lets say you make $400 for mowing on Sunday.
and there are approx 32 mowing weeks in the year.
(400x32=$12,800) (-15,000 initial investment = -2,200)
You're in the hole -$2,200 at seasons end and you haven't factored in gas for your equipment, repairs, marketing exp, lic & ins, and other misc expenses.

The other obstacle your going to have is finding property owners that are ok with the Sunday thing. I'm not trying to be negative here but I just don't see it being profitable until at least your second year in business. You need to go back and re-evaluate your equipment costs if you want this to work.

PMLAWN
03-09-2006, 10:53 AM
. I just want to know if I can make more than enough to cover my loan.
Thanks for your help.
Easy answer==NO.
I would work on making more on the other 6 days of the week. Move up at your job-- Get another job-- or as Wells said, go off on your own.

Also Sunday is not a good day for cutting residential.

HOOLIE
03-09-2006, 11:14 AM
You'd be better off with just the 32" and a pair of ramps to get it in the bed of the truck. I wouldn't buy the trailer and the 52" for one day of mowing.

None of my customers have a problem with Sunday mowing, but like someone mentioned, you're screwed if it rains all day Sunday.

NEPSJay
03-09-2006, 11:19 AM
I dont think its a great idea either. How many customers do you have already? and how much are you grossing from these accounts? what did the insurance agent quote you for liability insurance? What are your licensing fee's???

JLL25
03-09-2006, 01:27 PM
Have you given any thought to going off on your own? I really don't see how your going to supplement your income this season only mowing one day a week with 15k of debt.

Quick calculation:
Lets say you make $400 for mowing on Sunday.
and there are approx 32 mowing weeks in the year.
(400x32=$12,800) (-15,000 initial investment = -2,200)
You're in the hole -$2,200 at seasons end and you haven't factored in gas for your equipment, repairs, marketing exp, lic & ins, and other misc expenses.

The other obstacle your going to have is finding property owners that are ok with the Sunday thing. I'm not trying to be negative here but I just don't see it being profitable until at least your second year in business. You need to go back and re-evaluate your equipment costs if you want this to work.

I wish I could mow a property 32 times a year, I think I'd be lucky to mow 22-24 times a year. Also, I would have a bank loan so I wouldn't be trying to pay 15K back in one year, more like 5 yrs.


Easy answer==NO.
I would work on making more on the other 6 days of the week. Move up at your job-- Get another job-- or as Wells said, go off on your own.

Also Sunday is not a good day for cutting residential.

I work right under the boss, I am a crew leader which is the highest available position at this point. I work as many hours as possible, which means if my crew gets the list done at 6pm I am calling my boss to see what we can throw on from tomorrows list for a couple more hours (and trust me my crew hates me for it!)), I do this every day I work week after week. I only missed one day of work last year, not saying all this to self promote just to show you guys that I do work all that is possible when working for someone else, and I only get paid $11.00 an hour for crying out loud.

I dont think its a great idea either. How many customers do you have already? and how much are you grossing from these accounts? what did the insurance agent quote you for liability insurance? What are your licensing fee's???

I have three customers:laugh: :laugh: :laugh:
Two are normal residential, one is a 4.5 acre job
I got quoted 1 million--2million aggregate, 15kpersonal equipment---$448.00/yr. I figured I would get the one mil. cause I hear most businesses ask for at least that much liability.


So it seems that you guys think I should have more than one day a week to dedicate to this, which is something I've thought of, makes alot of sense. I have figured my expenses and the 15K I said is actually high, the total startup is 11,900.00 but that is before taxes, and a little bit of money to pay my first months gas and loan bill, until customers start to pay( I'll probably charge end of month). Thanks for the replies and please keep 'em comin.

NEPSJay
03-09-2006, 01:50 PM
until customers start to pay( I'll probably charge end of month). Thanks for the replies and please keep 'em comin.

well, something to chew on..... if your customers are late payers and if it takes you longer than you think to get your payments, your screwed, glued and tattooed without a little savings in the bank to keep ya going.

beautifullawns
03-09-2006, 04:30 PM
I would say scale back the equipment if you can, and if it rains on a sunday try to hit the job up on monday or tuesday night. After a year or two you could do this full time on your own. just be careful not to step on your bosses toes. You would definetly need the full time pay. i would try to start with only 4 or 5 customers on a sunday so you don't overbook.
Good luck

HOOLIE
03-09-2006, 05:00 PM
I work right under the boss, I am a crew leader which is the highest available position at this point. I work as many hours as possible, which means if my crew gets the list done at 6pm I am calling my boss to see what we can throw on from tomorrows list for a couple more hours (and trust me my crew hates me for it!)), I do this every day I work week after week. I only missed one day of work last year, not saying all this to self promote just to show you guys that I do work all that is possible when working for someone else, and I only get paid $11.00 an hour for crying out loud.


Wow if I didn't know better, I'd think my old boss moved to Ill. and you're working for him now :laugh: I tell you what, if you're working like that 6 days a week and can't move up in the company, may be time to move on. Trust me, been there and done that...finally realized I was running the guy's business more than he was. I'll bet your boss has that comfort zone with you around, working to max capacity and picking up the loose ends every week. When you get in the habit of working like this, it doesn't make you more money, only creates more work for you and a lack of free time to have a little bit of a life.

Maybe tell your boss you will no longer be The Man for him, the Go-To Guy, tell him you need another job to get by and this year you'll be a Mon-Fri guy.

JLL25
03-09-2006, 05:44 PM
Wow if I didn't know better, I'd think my old boss moved to Ill. and you're working for him now :laugh: I tell you what, if you're working like that 6 days a week and can't move up in the company, may be time to move on. Trust me, been there and done that...finally realized I was running the guy's business more than he was. I'll bet your boss has that comfort zone with you around, working to max capacity and picking up the loose ends every week. When you get in the habit of working like this, it doesn't make you more money, only creates more work for you and a lack of free time to have a little bit of a life.

Maybe tell your boss you will no longer be The Man for him, the Go-To Guy, tell him you need another job to get by and this year you'll be a Mon-Fri guy.

You know, he's really a good guy though....if not a bit arrogant. He's gone to school for lawncare and business management, and he does his own part for sure. I could say a million good things about the man, but that doesn't make me any more money. He doesn't run a crew like me though, I mean ofcourse he can he taught me all I know, but he stays home and does paper work and runs more job bids. I like the idea of Monday through Friday for him and weekends for me, but I wonder what he'd say to that.......can he fire me?

Wells
03-09-2006, 05:49 PM
Now that we have more info lets run some more numbers:

2 residential properties = $60.00
1 large 4.5 acre prop. = $200.00

$260 per week x 22 mowing weeks (260x22 = 5,720) per year.

Next lets minus out the operating expenses:
- 3,000 yr for equipment expenses (15,000 / 5 yrs = 3,000) (not including interest)
- 450 yr for insurance
- 200 yr repairs
- 600 yr gas
= 4,250 per yr for expenses

Yearly earnings (-) Yearly expenses (5,720-4,250 = 1,470)
Minus Taxes 1/4% (1470-365 = 1,105)

Total earnings after expenses $1,105 divided by 22 mowing weeks (1,105/22 = 50.2)

Reality: ($50.20 per week)
and not all of the operating costs were captured in the above calculation.

Note: if you want this thing to work you need to bring down your equipment costs.

RobertVF
03-09-2006, 06:24 PM
Have you given any thought to going off on your own? I really don't see how your going to supplement your income this season only mowing one day a week with 15k of debt.

Quick calculation:
Lets say you make $400 for mowing on Sunday.
and there are approx 32 mowing weeks in the year.
(400x32=$12,800) (-15,000 initial investment = -2,200)
You're in the hole -$2,200 at seasons end and you haven't factored in gas for your equipment, repairs, marketing exp, lic & ins, and other misc expenses.

The other obstacle your going to have is finding property owners that are ok with the Sunday thing. I'm not trying to be negative here but I just don't see it being profitable until at least your second year in business. You need to go back and re-evaluate your equipment costs if you want this to work.

Couldn't have said it better myself!

Az Gardener
03-09-2006, 06:40 PM
You know, he's really a good guy though....if not a bit arrogant. He's gone to school for lawncare and business management, and he does his own part for sure. I could say a million good things about the man, but that doesn't make me any more money. He doesn't run a crew like me though, I mean ofcourse he can he taught me all I know, but he stays home and does paper work and runs more job bids. I like the idea of Monday through Friday for him and weekends for me, but I wonder what he'd say to that.......can he fire me?
I'm a good guy too and if you want to work year around and work yourself into your own company after you learn the rest of the stuff come to AZ. I will pay you more and you will have less responsibilities and learn a ton more. Just a thought. I can't believe I'm the first guy to offer you a job.

HOOLIE
03-09-2006, 07:02 PM
You know, he's really a good guy though....if not a bit arrogant. He's gone to school for lawncare and business management, and he does his own part for sure. I could say a million good things about the man, but that doesn't make me any more money. He doesn't run a crew like me though, I mean ofcourse he can he taught me all I know, but he stays home and does paper work and runs more job bids. I like the idea of Monday through Friday for him and weekends for me, but I wonder what he'd say to that.......can he fire me?

Not sure what the rules are in Ill. Here you can pretty much let someone go without any real reason. I guess you'd have to keep in mind he might be suspicious of you stealing his clients if you're doing your own thing on the weekends. When I started my biz, it was really because I knew my boss wouldn't put up with me moonlighting it.

PMLAWN
03-09-2006, 07:06 PM
I'm a good guy too and if you want to work year around and work yourself into your own company after you learn the rest of the stuff come to AZ. I will pay you more and you will have less responsibilities and learn a ton more. Just a thought. I can't believe I'm the first guy to offer you a job.

Only because I was working late----

AZ is very hard to work for!! Do not take his job offer.:laugh: :laugh: To hot out there anyway. Move to NC and I will double your pay and only work you 5 Days a week. And take you out on the boat on the weekends with all the girls like SFL hangs out with.---When can you start????:) :) :)

olderthandirt
03-09-2006, 07:27 PM
I'll be the one that says you can make it work with your ####

But not because there all that profitable BUT because if your all you say you are you will end up quitting your $11.00 an hr. job and start your own business very quickly. Much sooner that you thought, when you see what you could be making compared to what you are making per yr.

CAG
03-09-2006, 07:40 PM
I'm just going to throw this out there..
If you worked for me a couple of years and you were as good as of employee as you say you are their would be a pretty good chance I would let you take my equipment and cut your lawns..It wont hurt to ask.. Offer him some free maintenance when your done on Sunday or a few bucks..I have never let an employee do this so I would have to give it a little more thought. I think it would really depend on the employee..I do let them cut their lawns and a relatives lawns when their mowers were broke.

JLL25
03-09-2006, 08:51 PM
I doubt the job offers are serious but just in case I'll say I appreciate the offer! I have a stay at home wife and three kids 6,4, and 1, moving right now could cause some serious turmoil within my home and I doubt you guys would pay me what it would take to make me move. Now if you were located around here........

In response to CAG-
My boss does let me use his equipment to do my own lawn, but never anyone else's. In fact I asked him last year if I could use his stuff to do my brothers grass, one time thing only because his mower was broke, and the guy say's "What would your brother do if you didnt work for a lawn care company?".....that was a no.

In response to Wells-
Your numbers make sense ofcourse, but those are three accounts for sure, not including a few that I would scout for and the leaf cleanups, or any chemical applications at those definite three accounts. Also I would be relying heavily on word of mouth of those first accounts and my family and friends. Bottom line is I don't expect sunny skies or any kind of get rich quick operation, I will be happy just to pay for my equipment and business expenses, anything extra is icing on the cake to me.

nephilim0167
03-09-2006, 09:29 PM
I really have no advice for you, I just wanted to tip my hat to ya. I have a lot of respect for people who bust their asses to make the best of a situation. 3 kids and a stay at home wife? That's a situation! High 5's to you my man. Good luck to ya :drinkup: :drinkup: :drinkup:

PTP
03-09-2006, 09:52 PM
I think that it is time for you to go out on your own.

Think about the numbers that you are making for your boss. You know what you can do in a day. I don't see any reason that you cannot do these things for youself.

The most difficult thing about running a business is the business end of things - not the actual labor. You need to know how to crunch the numbers. You need to know how to sell. You need to be able to do the legal and paperwork things.

I highly recommend finding a mentor that can show you these things. Find a business man whom you would like to imitate and ask him to show you how to do business. Then, go out and do it. If you do the same thing that successful people do, then you can expect the same results. You can build something that is worth passing down to your kids.

topsites
03-09-2006, 09:56 PM
Rule: NEVER start a business in debt or by taking out a loan. ALWAYS start out in business with a clear balance sheet and at least enough cash to fund all initial purchases, and it is helpful to have more stashed aside as the first year tends to be unusually rough.

Take it from someone who's been through bankruptcy.

CAG
03-09-2006, 11:45 PM
I would like to also press the point someone else made.. Just because you are a hard worker does not mean that you will do good with business. I do get the feeling that your boss is probably not the nicest guy and maybe you should start looking for another job.. Going out completely on your own would be real risky. But on the other hand you are managing to support a family getting paid only $11 per hour so I guess you do have some money management skills.. good luck!!!

PMLAWN
03-10-2006, 07:21 AM
Rule: NEVER start a business in debt or by taking out a loan. ALWAYS start out in business with a clear balance sheet and at least enough cash to fund all initial purchases, and it is helpful to have more stashed aside as the first year tends to be unusually rough.

Take it from someone who's been through bankruptcy.

What business school did you go to?? Learn HOW to run a business right from the start and you will realize that OPM is the only way you can "really" make it.

daveintoledo
03-10-2006, 08:33 AM
you have some good info here and ideas, glad to here you realize just sundays aint going to cut it...... with the experience you have you will do well... cut the expenses and go for it.......out on your own....maybe on some of your off times the wife could work a little too :)

PMLAWN
03-10-2006, 10:17 AM
maybe on some of your off times the wife could work a little too :)

Run fast Dave, JLL25's wife is coming after you!!:laugh:

JLL, I do under stand the move problem, but the offer was real, By the way , Where in ILL. I grew up there.

JLL25
03-10-2006, 05:35 PM
Run fast Dave, JLL25's wife is coming after you!!:laugh:

JLL, I do under stand the move problem, but the offer was real, By the way , Where in ILL. I grew up there.

I live in Chatham, which is just outside Springfield. Say, whats the cost of living like out there PMLAWN?

PORTER 05
03-10-2006, 06:02 PM
1st off, no dont do it, most people dont want you there on sunday, i would never get a loan for just working on sudays anyway, if you want to start a little company, buya truck plow and sander hire a kid to shovel and get some plow accoutns, or sub out to youre local city, thats wat id do, that is if you just want a part time job on the side, plowing works out great for part time guys!