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View Full Version : Net $60,000 a yr. as a solo. Can it be done?


JohnsonLawn
07-04-2007, 01:48 PM
Just wonderiing for all of you solo guys. Is it feasible to net $60,000 a year on a regular basis working alone. Thanks

rodfather
07-04-2007, 02:13 PM
I think you need to qualify your thread some Mike. Like, doing just one service (mowing), expected # of hours each week, part of the country you work in, etc.

carcrz
07-04-2007, 02:16 PM
If you do just mowing, it's possible but difficult. If you add in chemical applications & other more profitable services it is definitely possible.

JohnsonLawn
07-04-2007, 02:18 PM
Sorry Rod, I mow 3 days a week and do small construction jobs (pavers, patios,etc.) 2-3 days a week. Work mostly 8-9 hour days sometimes 10. Plow in the winter (when it snow up here in Mass.)

JohnsonLawn
07-04-2007, 02:23 PM
Another question, I was considering giving up the mowing and focusing more on the construction side of things next year. Are there any guys doing all construction as a solo op. I know lots of guys do only mow, trim and blow as a solo, but is it possible to do construction only solo. Thanks again

rodfather
07-04-2007, 02:25 PM
You probably can. I would think 3 key issues would surface.

1. Keep your overhead to a bare minimum.

2. Keep non-productive and non-paying time to a minimum.

3. Do only what you're best by charging the most you can expect to get for your service.

JohnsonLawn
07-04-2007, 02:36 PM
You probably can. I would think 3 key issues would surface.

1. Keep your overhead to a bare minimum.

2. Keep non-productive and non-paying time to a minimum.

3. Do only what you're best by charging the most you can expect to get for your service.

That is why I am thinking of going to all construction next season. People do not seem to value you as much as a "lawn boy", but when you build them a kio pond or a paver walkway, they sure don't seem to mind writing that check. Don't get me wrong, I charge for my work now and get top dollar. I have the theory that I know what I am worth and get plenty of compliments from clients and others on how good my work is, so I am going to charge for it and if newbies do not want to pay my quotes then they can call someone else. I just seem to be spending alot of time chasing my tail trying to cover all types of work and this equals non productive down time in my opinion. Thanks

rodfather
07-04-2007, 02:41 PM
Sounds like specialization is for you then Mike. :clapping:

I learned (the hard way years ago) that trying to be everything to everyone just costs too damn much and you waste a lot of time (time where no $$$) are being generated. I have tools in my shop (attachments, etc.) that I have never used. That is money down the drain.

Good luck in your endeavors.

JohnsonLawn
07-04-2007, 02:46 PM
Sounds like specialization is for you then Mike. :clapping:

I learned (the hard way years ago) that trying to be everything to everyone just costs too damn much and you waste a lot of time (time where no $$$) are being generated. I have tools in my shop (attachments, etc.) that I have never used. That is money down the drain.

Good luck in your endeavors.

Thanks Rod, can always count on you for sound advise. Much appreciated

lawnjockey56
07-04-2007, 03:40 PM
Just wonderiing for all of you solo guys. Is it feasible to net $60,000 a year on a regular basis working alone. Thanks

short answer-yes-net over 75k is possible too

coonman
07-04-2007, 05:20 PM
short answer-yes-net over 75k is possible too

Netting 75k for a solo in OK or up east where he is, would be a monumental task. Our mowing season here is really only about 7 months. Year round in Florida, I could see that. Must be nice to live in Sarasota, I am currently trying to find real estate there so I can move there. My wife and I love Sarasota, I just wish the houses were a little more affordable.

kandklandscape
07-04-2007, 08:39 PM
sure no problem, when i started i was 16, now 24.... i used to skip school to go mow lawns, made well over 60 k a year when i was 16, quit school when i was 17 to do lawn care full time. now we have quite a big company, have 10 employees, all full time and 85% of our work is commercial. love every minute of it, something new everyday.

work hard and you will do just fine. lots of ball sweat and lots of hours, still working 110 hours a week here and this is our 8th year.

kandklandscape
07-04-2007, 08:40 PM
ok sorry we did have 1 employee when we first started, well it was my best friend....
but we did 60k easy

rodfather
07-04-2007, 08:56 PM
ok sorry we did have 1 employee when we first started, well it was my best friend....
but we did 60k easy

net? give me a break

JohnsonLawn
07-04-2007, 08:58 PM
net? give me a break

I'm thinking Gross all the way Rod. Maybe!

AAR Lawn Services
07-04-2007, 09:00 PM
net? give me a break

With two people working isn't that fairly reasonable?

JohnsonLawn
07-04-2007, 09:03 PM
With two people working isn't that fairly reasonable?

Not very likely for a first year and 2 people is not "solo".

AAR Lawn Services
07-04-2007, 09:05 PM
Not very likely for a first year and 2 people is not "solo".

kandklandscape said he had one employee.

JohnsonLawn
07-04-2007, 09:10 PM
kandklandscape said he had one employee.

Right, I understand that. He was 16 and his best friend was his employee ( who I am guessind was closed to that age). That makes 2 people. I am talking about one owner/operator netting $60,000 a year, you know "solo"

AAR Lawn Services
07-04-2007, 09:16 PM
Right, I understand that. He was 16 and his best friend was his employee ( who I am guessind was closed to that age). That makes 2 people. I am talking about one owner/operator netting $60,000 a year, you know "solo"

I think it's entirely possible for you to do.

I'm not working solo myself, but I hope to do $70,000 net my first year with two (FULL year, not just the rest of this year). Eventually I'd like to net $100,000 between the two of us though.

JohnsonLawn
07-04-2007, 09:23 PM
I think it's entirely possible for you to do.

I'm not working solo myself, but I hope to do $70,000 net my first year with two (FULL year, not just the rest of this year). Eventually I'd like to net $100,000 between the two of us though.

Yup, with 2 guys you should hit your mark. It helps that you guys mow like 50 weeks out of the year. Best of luck

rodfather
07-04-2007, 10:06 PM
Get back to Mike's original thread..."can a solo net 60 grand?"

T.E.
07-04-2007, 10:09 PM
Can a solo? All things considered, it's possible. Not likely though. JMO

rodfather
07-04-2007, 10:12 PM
we need Jeremy's take on all of this...he is one of the primo solo's out there

SpartanBill
07-04-2007, 11:07 PM
Mike
It seems to me that you have a nice balance, I just got out of Construction and really like the simplicity(logistically and sales) of maintainenance. I bet a lot of your projects come from your maint. customers. Can YOU sell enough to net 60K.Also having those accts. allows you to be more choosy in the projects and can afford to be more demanding of your price. How big you wanna get..... Skid steers, trailers, yard to store and dump bunk, paver, irrigation, plants

coif_kid
07-04-2007, 11:14 PM
Yes it is possible. As of right now I'm projected for 60k net for the season and I run on a 6 month season. I work approximately 45 - 50 hours a week, but gross consistently 65 - 75 per hour. I keep my expenses to a bare minimum (this year they are only 15k) and minimize total drive time for my route (the entire route is 210 km for a 106 houses).

lifetree
07-04-2007, 11:30 PM
I just seem to be spending alot of time chasing my tail trying to cover all types of work and this equals non productive down time in my opinion. Thanks

Then it sounds like you should seriously consider being more specialized !!

bohiaa
07-05-2007, 12:30 AM
short answer-yes-net over 75k is possible too

you bet ya, I'm at 75,000 in sales now, of corse I have some very good accounts, looking to break 100,000

coonman
07-05-2007, 01:08 AM
you bet ya, I'm at 75,000 in sales now, of corse I have some very good accounts, looking to break 100,000

Assuming you mowed a full schedule from March 1 until now that means you are grossing 4700 plus a week. That is an incredible number for a solo. What is a typical day like for you?

1MajorTom
07-05-2007, 01:49 AM
Talking mowing here, not the hardscaping side.....A first year business to NET $60? Probably not. VERY hard to be able to substantially gain the accounts needed to maximize an extremely tight route. It took us years to gain the quality accounts we needed to MAXIMIZE the profits. To run a high percentage based mowing company, without diversifying too much, except maybe mulching, hedge trimming, aerations.... you NEED to line up your accounts in one neighborhood, and not have to move the truck for hours.
Can a solo op NET $60? Definitely. In their first couple years? Highly unlikely. It takes a good few years to build up the business, and for a solo op to be able to NET 60, a solo is going to have to put in the hours while the money is on the table. A solo op will only rest in the winter, and on Sundays most likely to pull NET 60 or higher. It really will depend upon how driven you are, and how important money is to you. Having the DRIVE, and being in top physcial shape is the key. Most importantly, a solo op shouldn't be fooled into thinking he can pull a net 60 or higher for 40 years, because to net 60 solo, that means big hours, I don't care what anyone says, or how easy they make it sound. So a solo should have a back up plan in place. We know all about this. As matt likes to say, "i am no tourist, I am your guide."

KTO Enterprises
07-05-2007, 02:23 AM
Its very possible depending on location. Here I roll all year round. Everything south of NC can be like that.

JohnsonLawn
07-05-2007, 06:22 PM
Mike
It seems to me that you have a nice balance, I just got out of Construction and really like the simplicity(logistically and sales) of maintainenance. I bet a lot of your projects come from your maint. customers. Can YOU sell enough to net 60K.Also having those accts. allows you to be more choosy in the projects and can afford to be more demanding of your price. How big you wanna get..... Skid steers, trailers, yard to store and dump bunk, paver, irrigation, plants

I don't want to be too big, but would like to stay solo. I like it when I do construction work because the truck is parked for most of the day and I can produce. When I am mowing some of my clients are spread out so I have alot of windshield time. Maybe I can weed out some of the mowing and maintenance clients and only cuts 2 days a week, then have 3-4 days to do construction work. Building stuff is great, something new all the time, not like mowing which is the same old thing everyday. Probably would be better money to in the long run. Thanks for the replies fellas

mow & snow
07-05-2007, 08:04 PM
Just wonderiing for all of you solo guys. Is it feasible to net $60,000 a year on a regular basis working alone. Thanks

I think you could gross 60K soon but 60K net might take a little time.

Fairway Land & Lawn
07-05-2007, 09:53 PM
Depends on the age of your business... My first year I grossed over 110,000. Net was a loss. Buying equipment, trucks, non-efficient routes and systems, getting nickel and dimed to death on hand tools, advertising, insurance, licenses, low profit margins from incorrect bids, and paying myself. Yes the business took a decent loss. I made money, but not nearly as much as I was at the job I left. As time passes it becomes easier to make money as a solo op. Equipment and Truck end up paid for, tools of the trade have already been aquired, more efficeint routes and business systems are in place, BIDDING JOBS CORRECTLY, all these things are variables. I was only solo for my first two years. However, if I were to go solo again I am sure that I could net 60k. It is very possible, but very unlikely for the first few to several years.. Just my opinion.

AAR Lawn Services
07-05-2007, 11:01 PM
Depends on the age of your business... My first year I grossed over 110,000. Net was a loss. Buying equipment, trucks, non-efficient routes and systems, getting nickel and dimed to death on hand tools, advertising, insurance, licenses, low profit margins from incorrect bids, and paying myself. Yes the business took a decent loss. I made money, but not nearly as much as I was at the job I left. As time passes it becomes easier to make money as a solo op. Equipment and Truck end up paid for, tools of the trade have already been aquired, more efficeint routes and business systems are in place, BIDDING JOBS CORRECTLY, all these things are variables. I was only solo for my first two years. However, if I were to go solo again I am sure that I could net 60k. It is very possible, but very unlikely for the first few to several years.. Just my opinion.

Do you mind if I ask how much you paid yourself out of the business that first year?

Mark in MD
07-06-2007, 09:53 AM
It would help a lot if your equipment and truck are paid for, AND they're not too old, AND your route is nice and tight, AND you have enough contracts, AND they're priced right, AND the weather doesn't screw you.

Rob.C
07-06-2007, 11:00 AM
It can be done, I netted $56,500 my first year, the first year is your learning exsperience.....what needs to change how you can improve your bussiness. Im am know netting around $139,000 a year, but not just cutting.....I have a full fertilizing program wich includes insecticides, aeration, and also goose control, I just recently got 7 accounts, I have 7 customers who have small lakes. The biggest thing I changed is how I price my mowing. Keep in mind its also the area, what I charge for mowing some guys would get laughed at.

ariensman
07-06-2007, 07:46 PM
it is very possible. It is all in the scheduling. I mow, do shrubs,trees some granular fertilizer apps and a little snow blowing in the winter and repair probably 95 percent of my equipment to keep costs down. I do 50 to 60 hour weeks though and love it

mslawn
07-06-2007, 11:20 PM
NO!:dizzy:

Precision
07-08-2007, 09:35 PM
Depends on the age of your business... My first year I grossed over 110,000. Net was a loss. Buying equipment, trucks, non-efficient routes and systems, getting nickel and dimed to death on hand tools, advertising, insurance, licenses, low profit margins from incorrect bids, and paying myself. Yes the business took a decent loss. I made money, but not nearly as much as I was at the job I left. As time passes it becomes easier to make money as a solo op. Equipment and Truck end up paid for, tools of the trade have already been aquired, more efficeint routes and business systems are in place, BIDDING JOBS CORRECTLY, all these things are variables. I was only solo for my first two years. However, if I were to go solo again I am sure that I could net 60k. It is very possible, but very unlikely for the first few to several years.. Just my opinion.

I agree. Fairly similar to my experience. But the big thing about being solo is getting hurt or sick. YOU ARE DONE.

Even if you only have 1 or two helpers or even a person to buddy up with for those times when you need a break or he needs a break. You need some help.

solo -- break a leg, lose your business

1 solid helper -- break a leg, get done just a lot slower and hire in a second helper short term and do quality control checks yourself for that 4-6 weeks. Sure its expensive but a lot cheaper than losing it all.

Mark in MD
07-10-2007, 09:44 AM
But on the other hand, you can't live in fear. I've never lost a day of work from injury or sickness. Hard to believe, but it's true. I've broken ribs and worked through it. I had Lyme disease and worked through it. I've had major crippling stomach and gut aches that lasted all day and worked through it. When you're solo, you just have to get it done. And you will.

I know a guy who worked basically solo his whole life until the age of 70. He finally had to quit because his knees gave out. He now has artificial knees. Today he's 87 and he's still working -- selling plants and vegetables from his multi-million dollar commercial lot.

hackitdown
07-10-2007, 10:35 AM
Making $60K can be done in the north. I try to gross $2K per week mowing and related services by mowing 40 lawns at an average price of $45. Plus all the extras along the way. That goes for 23 weeks or so. Add in spring clean-ups in March and April ($5K), then add fall clean-ups in October and Nov ($7K). If you can net another $10K in plowing, you should be there.

Most of my stuff is all paid for, so gas is a big expense at about $125/wk.