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msuexmark
04-01-2007, 12:00 AM
I have been in the yard business for 15+ years now and am yet to understand 90% of the individuals in the business...boils down to this....most "lawn Guys" go for the image instead of the money..I am no longer "Full-time" but have been in the past...Pure financials from my experience for maximum cash with least headache: 1 60 inch Rider, 1 weedeater, 1 edger, 1 blower, 1 6/10 single axle trailer and 1 used 4 cylinder truck (Physics say that you dont need a crew cab diesel duelly HD to tow a lawn trailer). Charge $60 per hour with 1 hr min. Spend 7 hours per day for 5 days a week mowing and 1 hour/day traveling. Income $2,100/week ($8,400/mth) - $900 expence yields $7,500/mth *7 = $52,500 for 7 months of work....leaves 5 months to landscape...etc....so ...to all of you $48k truck drivers have fun...:hammerhead:

ProStreetCamaro
04-01-2007, 12:05 AM
Since you no longer do it full time for a liveing then I guess your formula didnt work to well huh?

Jason Rose
04-01-2007, 12:07 AM
Congrats for you... It's not that EASY most places. $60 minimum? So any lawn, no matter how small, you got $60? That's about double what anyone else on here makes! 60 an hour I can see. As for having one 60" mower to do every lawn, well in most places that dosn't fly. Around here you need at least 2 sizes, if not 3 to work in every lawn. That equates to pulling a 16 foot trailer at least, and that dosn't get done with a 4 cylinder. If everyone was using the same rig you do, then yes, you have a valid point, but many are pulling multiple large ztr's and several crew around. Many are also grossing over 60 per man hour.

Jason Rose
04-01-2007, 12:08 AM
Since you no longer do it full time for a liveing then I guess your formula didnt work to well huh?

why didn't I think of that, lol :sleeping:

msuexmark
04-01-2007, 12:19 AM
I no longer do it comaro, because I paid my way through college and now make 6 figures as an Engineering Manager making financial decision for a multi billion dollar corporation....and yes...I still have 6 yards as well as my own (5 acres) that I keep up...not a formula...making a point....chevy HD is not a requirement...

LwnmwrMan22
04-01-2007, 12:40 AM
I no longer do it comaro, because I paid my way through college and now make 6 figures as an Engineering Manager making financial decision for a multi billion dollar corporation....and yes...I still have 6 yards as well as my own (5 acres) that I keep up...not a formula...making a point....chevy HD is not a requirement...

I gross into the 6 figures as well, working a solo op lawn service.

We're not going to break down numbers, because it's nearly impossible to when you're talking business / pleasure.

I'm sure that you're doing the yard work for the tax benefits, if nothing else, so congrats on that.

To say you only need 1 of stuff, what do you do when you're working 60-80 hours / week, and the mower dumps on you?? You just drive to the rental shop and rent one?? Not hardly. You take the other one that's still on the trailer, and get to the shop either when your route takes you there, or after the work is done that day.

I'd be completely HOSED if I only had a setup like yours.

I run a 24' enclosed trailer that holds my main ZTR, my backup ZTR, a 48" walkbehind, 10-30 bags of fertilizer, my PermaGreen spreader, my Echo polesaw, my 2 trimmers, my brush cutter, my split shaft equipment, my 2 backpack blowers, my spare tire, my papertowel rack with GOJO bottle, my 3 bottles of 2 cycle mix, my 3 quarts of different motor oils for the equipment, my battery for the interior and exterior lights AND my garbage can.

My trailer is my portable shop. I can do most anything that a customer asks when I pull up to the location, without having to go rent, or go back to my permanent shop.

Also, it's fully lettered on the sides and back, so when I pull into my commercial places, I look like someone that should be there.

robbo521
04-01-2007, 12:47 AM
well the wife has the 38,000 envoy,i have a 42,000 truck and a 39,000 bass boat and have bills out the butt but i dont care as long as the wife pays the bills!

LCPullman
04-01-2007, 12:48 AM
I agree that a Chevy/Ford/Dodge HD is not a requirement.
However, there is another factor involved, that is appearence.
When I see a lawn guy driving a junky looking little truck pulling a junky looking trailer, I don't really want that guy doing my lawn, that person stands out in a bad way.
When you have a truck that blends in (your average used truck), and a trailer that blend in, no one notices you.
However, if you have an nice shiny truck, and a nice shiny trailer, you stand out in a good way, you look like a top notch lawn care company, which brings in more customers. As long as you back up your looks with good work, you can make out really well.

So while new heavy duty trucks are by no means necessary, if you run a good operation, its a good advertizement to have particularly nice looking trucks and trailers with your company sign on them.

We don't have brand new trucks, but we have nice looking ones, and we have a couple of particularly unique, nice looking trailer setups, and it does pay off. People notice us, and they remember us and call when they need work.

msuexmark
04-01-2007, 12:53 AM
That sounds like one jam up set up...i just got flustered seeing all of the wanna be's talking trash about emptying their 401k to start businesses...solo op is the way to go...what I was talking about was a way to start...not end....

msuexmark
04-01-2007, 12:58 AM
To the normal person a 1999 C1500 ext cab with 100,000 miles for $7,000 looks no different than a 2007 HD...Image is important but not $41,000 important!!! Quality Dependeble Work gets more yards than you can manage. Customer word of mouth is much better than any HD with a little sign or some fancy trailer...

LwnmwrMan22
04-01-2007, 01:20 AM
To the normal person a 1999 C1500 ext cab with 100,000 miles for $7,000 looks no different than a 2007 HD...Image is important but not $41,000 important!!! Quality Dependeble Work gets more yards than you can manage. Customer word of mouth is much better than any HD with a little sign or some fancy trailer...

Correct, and when you can do that in a timely fashion, because you have all of the tools with you, each and every week, that word of mouth spreads even faster.

Plus, the customer doesn't want to hear 'my truck / mower is in the shop this week, I'll be back as soon as I can".

LCPullman
04-01-2007, 01:32 AM
To the normal person a 1999 C1500 ext cab with 100,000 miles for $7,000 looks no different than a 2007 HD...Image is important but not $41,000 important!!! Quality Dependeble Work gets more yards than you can manage. Customer word of mouth is much better than any HD with a little sign or some fancy trailer...

Your right, a nice looking 99 (or 94) won't look any different to the customer. We actually have some very old work trucks that look really nice and stand out. It makes more sense to spend 15,000 to 20,000 on a virtually identical truck thats a few years older than a 41,000 dollar truck.
The reason you spent 41,000 is that your bussiness is making you so much extra that you decide to spend that much on one (you never borrow for it).
It is true that word of mouth is the best way to get jobs, but, a good majority of the jobs we get come in part from people seeing us and reading our signs. (personal appearance make a difference to) We stand out, because our trucks and trailers look nice and we leave a nice job behind us when we leave (we don't have expensive new trucks, just nice looking ones)

The more you can do to promote your business, the better. Nice looking trucks, trailers and equipment is just one way we have found to be very successful in promoting our business, but all within the bounds of sucessful business economics.

LCPullman
04-01-2007, 01:38 AM
I understand your point and agree. Its all a matter of balance. Image is not all important, but it deserves some serious consideration.

The reason people buy $41,000 trucks is that they want them, its nice to have a new truck. For those who can truly afford them, I think that's a great idea. But you should be able to start a lawn company with very, very little, and build over time until you can afford a new truck, or the next best thing. That's what we have done.

LwnmwrMan22
04-01-2007, 02:01 AM
I understand your point and agree. Its all a matter of balance. Image is not all important, but it deserves some serious consideration.

The reason people buy $41,000 trucks is that they want them, its nice to have a new truck. For those who can truly afford them, I think that's a great idea. But you should be able to start a lawn company with very, very little, and build over time until you can afford a new truck, or the next best thing. That's what we have done.

I started out in 1988 with a 2 wheel drive stripped down s-10, pulling a 4x8 snowmobile trailer with plywood sides.

Now I've got (2) 2006 Dodge quad cab 4x4's with a 24' V-Nose aluminum trailer, with my company name plastered everywhere I can. It's surprising how many people ask me how many trucks I have. It's even funnier to tell them that it's just me they see 'everywhere'. :D

txgrassguy
04-01-2007, 02:15 AM
That sounds like one jam up set up...i just got flustered seeing all of the wanna be's talking trash about emptying their 401k to start businesses...solo op is the way to go...what I was talking about was a way to start...not end....

I disagree, solo IS NOT the way to go.
Approach being an LCO like any other business venture, not a means unto an end.
I gross over $600K/year with six full time employees and 2 part time and my net in substantially into 6 figures.
Why mess with the part time solo thing if your high powered corporate job was such a success?
It's attitudes like yours that made me glad I'm no longer part of that world.

topsites
04-01-2007, 02:18 AM
I agree, but you look at last year's '86 D-250 I was driving vs. this year's loaded '95 D-2500 slt club cab, and there is a difference. First off, the newer truck doesn't leak fluids at all, so not only can I run synthetic but it doesn't leave a spot wherever I park, and my own attitude has improved as well (omg the FM stereo and A/C and power windows / mirrors and cruise control really helps!)

Why a club cab and why did I have to get a 360 cid magnum engine? Well dang because it's hard to find any loaded XLT or SLT 3/4 ton for 2-3 thousand with not much over 100k miles in some kinda half decent shape, so you take what you can get LOL! Sure I wanted the 318 engine, and really a cummins diesel would've set me straight, but I'm not paying extra to most folks who overprice their for-sale vehicles and I take what I can find at Blue Book value that fits 90% or so of what I am looking for, can't win them all I always say.

The '86 I paid 1400 for and probably spent 4 thousand over the years (not counting fuel) and it lasted me 4 years, which is pretty decent. The '95 cost me 4500 so far, but I expect it to last 5-8 years hopefully around the same 1000 or so / year maintenance upkeep cost (well idk, just roughly).

But there are some things I'd like to mention, and finances are highly important and take priority over ALL of the above. My first truck was a 1974 F-250 cost me a grand and it was all I could afford, thing lasted a year and looked and ran about like a 30-y.o. truck would. Geez, those were the days of working for $15 - $25 per hour, man it suk'd lol.

Still, all of these vehicles I paid for in full, so I save money by carrying only minimum liability insurance, and no I do NOT see myself driving a 20k rig around, to most folks the D-2500 looks just as nice (except maybe it's a bit scratched up), I have to agree the average Joe does not know the difference. But a nicer truck does make a difference, if only you can afford 2-4 thousand, brother you can get a fine vehicle for that kind of money and pay for it in full and be done with it and smile like a king as you putt-putt on down the road, because it does make a difference to have nice stuff.

LCPullman
04-01-2007, 02:23 AM
It's surprising how many people ask me how many trucks I have. It's even funnier to tell them that it's just me they see 'everywhere'. :D

Yep, when you stand out, people seem to see you 'everywhere'

David Gretzmier
04-01-2007, 03:38 AM
After owning and running a million plus lawn care company, and comparing it to running a route of myself and a helper or two, I can wholeheartedly tell you this: you will do a better job, make more money, have less headaches, and way more job satisfaction and work less hours if you just continue to polish the one route. you need a reliable truck, backup equipment and yeah, I had a 45 buck minimum TEN years ago. you can build a wonderful, profitable route and net 2 grand a week or so, for about 30-32 weeks, and net a grand or so for another 5-8 weeks. . It does however, take several years to get there.

supercuts
04-01-2007, 09:05 AM
I have been in the yard business for 15+ years now and am yet to understand 90% of the individuals in the business...boils down to this....most "lawn Guys" go for the image instead of the money..I am no longer "Full-time" but have been in the past...Pure financials from my experience for maximum cash with least headache: 1 60 inch Rider, 1 weedeater, 1 edger, 1 blower, 1 6/10 single axle trailer and 1 used 4 cylinder truck (Physics say that you dont need a crew cab diesel duelly HD to tow a lawn trailer). Charge $60 per hour with 1 hr min. Spend 7 hours per day for 5 days a week mowing and 1 hour/day traveling. Income $2,100/week ($8,400/mth) - $900 expence yields $7,500/mth *7 = $52,500 for 7 months of work....leaves 5 months to landscape...etc....so ...to all of you $48k truck drivers have fun...:hammerhead:

i think you should have simply listed "for guys starting out" or "for weekend warriors" and that would have limited the controversy over your comments. i agree in part but laugh at being a solo opporation. with my 2nd mower running a guy triming i can gross over $1,000 in an 8hr (or less ) day, couldnt do that myself. when i get a second crew up and running ill let the money roll in and take more of an supervisory postion managing the daily opporations. i have to agree, why didnt you stick with it full time if you made so much, and likewise why do you still stick with it part time if you make so much engineering??

tacoma200
04-01-2007, 09:31 AM
I actually just enjoy mowing. Nice to make a little money doing something you like. My truck books for $2,800 at the court house but it's been in the family 15 years, hate to part with it (Dad's old truck, 80,000 mile GMC Sierra).

But I mind my own business. I you want a $40,000 dollar truck that's your business. Wouldn't mind having a one myself.

rodfather
04-01-2007, 09:41 AM
I can see me trying to pull 7 or 8,000 lbs of trailer and equipment with a 4 cyclinder truck. :laugh: Currently I run 4 F-350 PSD's with 7.3 diesels and sometimes I wonder if that is enough on some of the hills we have to deal with.

mini14
04-01-2007, 11:38 AM
if u knew anything about operating a business u would know new trucks and equipment dont cost u money, they make u money....plus right offs, depreciation....i keep 2 of everything weed wackers,blowers ...etc....downtime will kill u in this business.....if u spent $175 a week on fuel for a gas truck then bought a new diesel with a $650/month payment but now spent $60/week in diesel, how much is that truck costen u ? ive been there and done that....most big companies lease everything anyway, including their mowers 100% rightoff.....

msuexmark
04-01-2007, 05:15 PM
yes...$1,000 or more in 8 hours is a great gig...I quit because of the corporate thing.....I still do it for 1) I love the peacefull ness of driving in cirlces and singing to myself 2) Can not abandon the 80 Year old ladies that I mow for (1 died 2 mths ago) 3) $/hour I can still make ~$400 in 5-6 hours every other week....Grass cutting was a means to an end for me...however I have done several start ups that have grown to be 50-150k a year business.

msuexmark
04-01-2007, 07:48 PM
if u knew anything about operating a business u would know new trucks and equipment dont cost u money, they make u money....plus right offs, depreciation....i keep 2 of everything weed wackers,blowers ...etc....downtime will kill u in this business.....if u spent $175 a week on fuel for a gas truck then bought a new diesel with a $650/month payment but now spent $60/week in diesel, how much is that truck costen u ? ive been there and done that....most big companies lease everything anyway, including their mowers 100% rightoff.....

lets see here...avg gas truck gets say....15 mpg...gas/diesel cost 2.50/gal....you spend 175 per week for gas truck....175/2.5 = 70 gallons of gas * 15 mpg = 1050 miles....or 17 cents a mile....

Diesel cost 6 cents a mile...i dont know what kind of diesel you are driving to gets 44 mpg...but I will buy one tomorow!!!!!! You graduated what grade????

LCPullman
04-01-2007, 08:18 PM
lets see here...avg gas truck gets say....15 mpg...gas/diesel cost 2.50/gal....you spend 175 per week for gas truck....175/2.5 = 70 gallons of gas * 15 mpg = 1050 miles....or 17 cents a mile....

Diesel cost 6 cents a mile...i dont know what kind of diesel you are driving to gets 44 mpg...but I will buy one tomorow!!!!!! You graduated what grade????

I have one way to figure it: drive an old carbureted truck that gets 5mpg (We have one of these, but it doesn't get much use). At 70 gallons of gas a week (from the figures above), you can drive 350 miles. Then you buy a new (or relatively new) diesel which gets roughly 14.5mpg and there is your difference.

Of course you could have just bought a newer FI gas engined truck which could have gotten over 10mpg.

mslawn
04-01-2007, 10:53 PM
I have been in the yard business for 15+ years now and am yet to understand 90% of the individuals in the business...boils down to this....most "lawn Guys" go for the image instead of the money..I am no longer "Full-time" but have been in the past...Pure financials from my experience for maximum cash with least headache: 1 60 inch Rider, 1 weedeater, 1 edger, 1 blower, 1 6/10 single axle trailer and 1 used 4 cylinder truck (Physics say that you dont need a crew cab diesel duelly HD to tow a lawn trailer). Charge $60 per hour with 1 hr min. Spend 7 hours per day for 5 days a week mowing and 1 hour/day traveling. Income $2,100/week ($8,400/mth) - $900 expence yields $7,500/mth *7 = $52,500 for 7 months of work....leaves 5 months to landscape...etc....so ...to all of you $48k truck drivers have fun...:hammerhead:

That was a waste of hot air.

walker/redmax
04-01-2007, 11:21 PM
I have been in the yard business for 15+ years now and am yet to understand 90% of the individuals in the business...boils down to this....most "lawn Guys" go for the image instead of the money..I am no longer "Full-time" but have been in the past...Pure financials from my experience for maximum cash with least headache: 1 60 inch Rider, 1 weedeater, 1 edger, 1 blower, 1 6/10 single axle trailer and 1 used 4 cylinder truck (Physics say that you dont need a crew cab diesel duelly HD to tow a lawn trailer). Charge $60 per hour with 1 hr min. Spend 7 hours per day for 5 days a week mowing and 1 hour/day traveling. Income $2,100/week ($8,400/mth) - $900 expence yields $7,500/mth *7 = $52,500 for 7 months of work....leaves 5 months to landscape...etc....so ...to all of you $48k truck drivers have fun...:hammerhead:

Oh ya, well I've been in the business for 100 years and all I have is a 4-wheeler that pulls a 1/2 axle trailer that is used to toat a homelite curved shaft which I mow all my lawns with at a $354 per hour. this all equates to a 192 hour work week which pays 18 figures a year. TAKE THAT!!:laugh:

pjslawncare/landscap
04-01-2007, 11:24 PM
Nuf said...

Flex-Deck
04-02-2007, 02:40 AM
I have been in the yard business for 15+ years now and am yet to understand 90% of the individuals in the business...boils down to this....most "lawn Guys" go for the image instead of the money..I am no longer "Full-time" but have been in the past...Pure financials from my experience for maximum cash with least headache: 1 60 inch Rider, 1 weedeater, 1 edger, 1 blower, 1 6/10 single axle trailer and 1 used 4 cylinder truck (Physics say that you dont need a crew cab diesel duelly HD to tow a lawn trailer). Charge $60 per hour with 1 hr min. Spend 7 hours per day for 5 days a week mowing and 1 hour/day traveling. Income $2,100/week ($8,400/mth) - $900 expence yields $7,500/mth *7 = $52,500 for 7 months of work....leaves 5 months to landscape...etc....so ...to all of you $48k truck drivers have fun...:hammerhead:

Let me see here - You Take in $58,000, and net $52,500 in 7 months. People on this site squak at the fact my net is 65%, but yours is rediculous. You mow 143 hrs. per month. Fuel would be at least a gallon per hr. at $2.50 = $358 not counting truck. It seems you have forgotten the following.
Insurance-maybe you have none
Depreciation-maybe your mower maintains its new price
Maintainance-maybe your mower never needs any repairs - your belts never break.
Upkeep - Old trucks need new tires, brakes, even engines once in a while.