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View Full Version : How many lawns are too much for a new guy?


bigw
03-12-2008, 12:09 AM
Seriously i am beginning to worry that i may be getting in over my head with accounts and wonder what is a good # to stop at before i would be finding myself up a creek with out a paddle. I am not trying to brag or anything at all i am simply worried that i might bite off more then i can chew as a first year LCO with not much prior experience.
I do not want to ever turn down work but i also don't think i am ready to hire anyone yet either so if anyone else has had this problem when they first started please give me some advice. I don't think i am at this point yet but i can feel the stress already setting in,i mean its not even mowing weather yet and i can see this potentially happening. I also know some of you will say just take the jobs and worry about it later but i want to work on quality and quantity not just quantity.

Carolina Cuts
03-12-2008, 12:12 AM
ok, how many?

Do you work any other jobs? Are they all weekly accounts?

At one time I had 85 accounts by myself...

wahhooo one might say, BUT, that was 85 total, I was cutting 45-60/week. (some were bi weekly) WITH A PUSHMOWER!!! Took years before I upgrade to a 48".

But then again, I was younger, slimmer and trimmer... with a ton of energy...

KS_Grasscutter
03-12-2008, 12:15 AM
Seriously i am beginning to worry that i may be getting in over my head with accounts and wonder what is a good # to stop at before i would be finding myself up a creek with out a paddle. I am not trying to brag or anything at all i am simply worried that i might bite off more then i can chew as a first year LCO with not much prior experience.
I do not want to ever turn down work but i also don't think i am ready to hire anyone yet either so if anyone else has had this problem when they first started please give me some advice. I don't think i am at this point yet but i can feel the stress already setting in,i mean its not even mowing weather yet and i can see this potentially happening. I also know some of you will say just take the jobs and worry about it later but i want to work on quality and quantity not just quantity.


How many do you have? With your equipment, around here anyway you should be able to do 75 easily. Of course this is hicktown, and you can get from one end to the other in 10 mins, so there isn't much drive time, at all lol.

You start spring cleanups yet? Or is it still snowy and krap there? I was wearing shorts and a T-shirt doing cleanups today, well, untill I broke my Walker.

The most important question, I guess, is do you have enough lawns to make a as much money as you need to be making?

LawncareAmericaLLC
03-12-2008, 12:16 AM
my first years i had 45 with a push mower & a car doing this on weekends till i hit 100 then i upgraded, more employes, more equipment, more payments, more headaces, more payments, but its all worth it. Keep on cutting

Raven386
03-12-2008, 12:17 AM
thats something only you can decide. I cannot tell you how much you can handle. It all depends on how far apart they are, how far you have to travel between each one...that determines how many you can do in a day. also have to be factoring in the time if takes per lawn. there is so many variables that IMO there is no # were you should stop. only you know how much you can handle in a day.

Carolina Cuts
03-12-2008, 12:18 AM
more payments, more headaces, more payments

And THIS is why we all get up in the morning!!!

bigw
03-12-2008, 12:21 AM
ok, how many?

Do you work any other jobs? Are they all weekly accounts?

At one time I had 85 accounts by myself...

wahhooo one might say, BUT, that was 85 total, I was cutting 45-60/week. (some were bi weekly) WITH A PUSHMOWER!!! Took years before I upgrade to a 48".

But then again, I was younger, slimmer and trimmer... with a ton of energy...

No other job this will be full time.. so far 23 res and 4 commercials, one of the res is 5 acres and two are over 2 acres the rest of the res are anywhere from 9k to 50k all weeklys except for 1 res which is bi weekly for the months of july and aug {his request} now remember the most important thing here is this is my first year. Sure someone with your expiernce can handle 65-85 accounts but do you reccomend it to the new guy?

J&R Landscaping
03-12-2008, 12:21 AM
Run down your equipment list again... I can't quite remember what all you have. Also, how many accounts do you have thus far.

I'd say you should be able to handle at least 50. Depending on if you want to bring some one on as part time help, you could easily bump it toward 70. Good thing were not that close together.....lol jk

bigw
03-12-2008, 12:22 AM
How many do you have? With your equipment, around here anyway you should be able to do 75 easily. Of course this is hicktown, and you can get from one end to the other in 10 mins, so there isn't much drive time, at all lol.

You start spring cleanups yet? Or is it still snowy and krap there? I was wearing shorts and a T-shirt doing cleanups today, well, untill I broke my Walker.

The most important question, I guess, is do you have enough lawns to make a as much money as you need to be making?

I need to be making a million dollors but thats not going to happen lol.

LawncareAmericaLLC
03-12-2008, 12:23 AM
150, more equipment, more headaces, more MONEY, more headaces. Keep on cutting

bigw
03-12-2008, 12:26 AM
thats something only you can decide. I cannot tell you how much you can handle. It all depends on how far apart they are, how far you have to travel between each one...that determines how many you can do in a day. also have to be factoring in the time if takes per lawn. there is so many variables that IMO there is no # were you should stop. only you know how much you can handle in a day.

All very true points...i guess i was looking for the jeanie in a bottle response huh lol. Well perhaps im just being paranoid, most of my accounts are right in my home town with in 5 miles but id say 10-12 are between 7-10 miles away but no further. I think i could spend 2 full days just in my town alone as of right now.

Carolina Cuts
03-12-2008, 12:29 AM
Sure someone with your expiernce can handle 65-85 accounts but do you reccomend it to the new guy?

No, this was back in the day up in Jersey when I first started.

The resi's you can handle no problemo'... now what are the commercials like?
You may want to bring someone on partime just to help out with the commercials, unless the commercials are like Habeebs One Stop Shop and Joe Shmoes ice cream stand....

Down here, I'm playing it smart, 20-30 high end resi's and 3 commercial projects that draw big $$$ with little hours.

bigw
03-12-2008, 12:29 AM
Run down your equipment list again... I can't quite remember what all you have. Also, how many accounts do you have thus far.

I'd say you should be able to handle at least 50. Depending on if you want to bring some one on as part time help, you could easily bump it toward 70. Good thing were not that close together.....lol jk

60'' lazer ztrn, 36'' quick super duty ,22'' toro and all your typical trimmers,edgers,pole pruner blah blah blah

Raven386
03-12-2008, 12:29 AM
If you stopped signing up new customers right now... would your customers bring in enough to pay the bills and cover all of your overhead expenses? and of course still put a few bucks in your pocket....

bigw
03-12-2008, 12:32 AM
No, this was back in the day up in Jersey when I first started.

The resi's you can handle no problemo'... now what are the commercials like?
You may want to bring someone on partime just to help out with the commercials, unless the commercials are like Habeebs One Stop Shop and Joe Shmoes ice cream stand....

lmao actually 2 are the ones i posted last night and got bashed over and the other 2 are...one is notary with like 2 acres and the other is a piano factory with like alittle more the 2.5 acres

bigw
03-12-2008, 12:34 AM
If you stopped signing up new customers right now... would your customers bring in enough to pay the bills and cover all of your overhead expenses? and of course still put a few bucks in your pocket....

to be honest if i stopoped right now yes and then some but could i put enough away after all of that for a rainy day...probably not yet!

Carolina Cuts
03-12-2008, 12:36 AM
lmao actually 2 are the ones i posted last night and got bashed over and the other 2 are...one is notary with like 2 acres and the other is a piano factory with like alittle more the 2.5 acres

get a partimer on standby...

You'll be burned out by the end of July.... looking forward to Winter.
Hell, I burned out now and haven't started any resi's. Gonna be a long summer.:cry:

Raven386
03-12-2008, 12:40 AM
Well, your in a tough position then. Maybe look into getting a part-time helper. then you would be able to take on 25 more accounts... I used to work for a guy before I started my own business. We did about 26 lawns on a saturday in about 8 hours give or take. Only using 1 48" belt drive. that was busting our butts out there. now he has about 32 lawns a few that are on the larger side, I let him borrow my 60" he did all of his lawns by himself in 7 hours... just as a reference.

Raven386
03-12-2008, 12:41 AM
those are some big props to take care of... thats a lot of trimming to do too. yea you can mow it in an hour, but trimming is going to take you 3. you are stuck between a rock and a hard place here. you dont want to turn down work....dont blame you....but you cant take on too much. If you have enough work coming in...maybe look into getting a helper 2 or 3 days a week. do the bigger props with him and the smaller props by yourself..

Carolina Cuts
03-12-2008, 12:42 AM
26 lawns on a saturday in about 8 hours give or take.:dizzy::dizzy::dizzy:

and lost 5 lbs every saturday too huh?

bill8379
03-12-2008, 12:44 AM
I wouldn't want to be working more then 40 hours myself it's just that if you have 2 days of bad weather and can't get any work done.. and if you're in the busy trap you can't handle other projects that might come your way. Like building a shed, or power washing what ever it is you do. I do windows, gutters plus lawns and snow. I have to build a shed a fence, computer work. I don't like 12 hour days, hate them in fact. I use help in the spring and fall and during a big snow storm.

I see you have a 22 toro, if that's the personal pace with the finned blade you'll find that it can't mulch worth a crap and (at least for the last two years) you can't buy a regular high lift for it. So when I use my 22 I bag.

Raven386
03-12-2008, 12:45 AM
:dizzy::dizzy::dizzy:

and lost 5 lbs every saturday too huh?

pssh... i had to keep my weight up to keep the intimidation factor up... the tattoos alone doesnt cut it!

Carolina Cuts
03-12-2008, 12:50 AM
not me, I usually lose 10-15 lbs a summer that I really can't afford to lose....

alrighty, I'm over you guys :laugh: .... gonna go flirt with some women on mysp@ce, tell em' Im'a gazzillionaire with 20 trucks and off to bed...

peace~

Raven386
03-12-2008, 12:54 AM
well, i would probably lose weight if we didnt eat at BK and mcdonalds everyday :laugh:

a little off-topic, but thats okay!

Carolina Cuts
03-12-2008, 12:58 AM
didnt eat at BK and mcdonalds everyday

oh geez, I don't bother eatin' that crap anymore....instead I just order it, walk from the register to the restroom and flush it down the toilet.... cause that how fast it goes through me.
Once I actually went through the drivethough... ordered a Big Mac, large fry and a roll of toilet paper........ she didnt' get it.

Ok, waaaaaaay off topic.... sorry BigW

bigw
03-12-2008, 01:00 AM
those are some big props to take care of... thats a lot of trimming to do too. yea you can mow it in an hour, but trimming is going to take you 3. you are stuck between a rock and a hard place here. you dont want to turn down work....dont blame you....but you cant take on too much. If you have enough work coming in...maybe look into getting a helper 2 or 3 days a week. do the bigger props with him and the smaller props by yourself..

good advice, the one 5 acre res has about 50 feet of trimming and no edging...the drive way is 1/8 mile long and borderd with cement. The 5 acres is a totally flat piece of land, no hills and no trees..{a dream come true}.

BeautifulBlooms
03-12-2008, 08:50 AM
why would you ever not be readyt o hire someone? Realize that employees are your biggest asset and they will allow you to take on more work, and thus make more money, and thus buy more equipment to take on more work!!!!

bigw
03-12-2008, 09:55 AM
why would you ever not be readyt o hire someone? Realize that employees are your biggest asset and they will allow you to take on more work, and thus make more money, and thus buy more equipment to take on more work!!!!

i mean ready as in like payroll, accounting,workmans comp etc...also i dont think im ready because i havent even done one lawn yet myself and want to get a feel for everything before i just hire someone. Maybe im nuts i dont know.

Raven386
03-12-2008, 10:05 AM
I would really look into atleast setting someone up to work with you. Get someone who could work 3 days a weeks or the weekends. Who knows you have never done this before, you might have had enough the 2nd week of mowing when its 90+ degrees out. Thats great that you can sell your services to so many people, but can you perform these services? can you powerwash 10 houses and cut your 25 props? im going to guess not by yourself. Theres a lot more than just cutting a lawn, theres the trimming,edging,blowing,mowing. if you're doing commercial props the liter pick-up you have to stop for people walking by, be careful around cars and windows. 5 minutes here or there adds up quick.

What do you do if it rains and you cant mow on monday? tuesday you have to powerwash a house so you can mow tuesday to make up for the lost day. then that pushes everything back a day and you end up busting your butt until 7 trying to catch up on all of your lawns. What about fall clean-up time? or spring clean-ups? If have never done a clean-up before so you havent learned what works best for you, it might take you 4 hours to do the same clean-up that would take us 1 1/2 hours.

DA Quality Lawn & YS
03-12-2008, 10:11 AM
bigw - realize you are getting a plethora of answers to your question so none of this is probably going to help you. The guys advising you can run 80-100 yards per week solo are smoke and mirrors. What about rain dates? And, do you want to be working sun up to sun down every single day? Just determine how much income you need, that is the deciding factor. Then go out and get your customers to meet that income, and build in a certain % safety factor. If you don't want to hire anyone this season, dont, its your choice and certainly an acceptable one.

bruno_rs
03-12-2008, 10:49 AM
i mean ready as in like payroll, accounting,workmans comp etc...also i dont think im ready because i havent even done one lawn yet myself and want to get a feel for everything before i just hire someone. Maybe im nuts i dont know.

hey bigw, my .02... go it alone until you at least "test the waters", so to speak. sounds (to me) like you're well on your way and from the description of your equipment, you'd be able to handle a few more accounts without becoming overwelmed and/or burnt out right out of the gates.

you definately have the right attitude and "selling" confidence. that coupled with your new and/or nice looking equipment will certainly give you an "serious" edge. i wouldn't sweat "signing up" all you can handle BEFORE the season begins because "word of mouth" and "curious neighbors" will come to you all throughout the season, if your service is QUALITY. i've found word of mouth and "beeing seen" are MY best sales tools. furthermore, your truck and trailer are a rolling billboard, just by getting from job to job you'll be selling!

alot of guys get all caught up in the number of customers... it's not the numbers that counts but the "green" you put in YOUR pocket, after all is said and done. moreover, new guys need to keep in mind, inclement weather and/or "down time" WILL throw off your "schcedule" from time to time. keep in mind, you're still working when loading/unloading equipment at the shop, running to get parts and/or supplies, maintaining your equipment, washing your truck/trailer, etc. if you overlook this, it will only be a matter of time before you get yourself in too deep and neglecting your equipment and/or SELF is inevitable. spreading yourself too thin, puts you on a "slippery slop".

well, i have to get out there and brush off my "stuff". hopefully it will be a good season for all of us. good luck to you and all the new guys in the forum.

bigw
03-12-2008, 10:53 AM
I would really look into atleast setting someone up to work with you. Get someone who could work 3 days a weeks or the weekends. Who knows you have never done this before, you might have had enough the 2nd week of mowing when its 90+ degrees out. Thats great that you can sell your services to so many people, but can you perform these services? can you powerwash 10 houses and cut your 25 props? im going to guess not by yourself. Theres a lot more than just cutting a lawn, theres the trimming,edging,blowing,mowing. if you're doing commercial props the liter pick-up you have to stop for people walking by, be careful around cars and windows. 5 minutes here or there adds up quick.

What do you do if it rains and you cant mow on monday? tuesday you have to powerwash a house so you can mow tuesday to make up for the lost day. then that pushes everything back a day and you end up busting your butt until 7 trying to catch up on all of your lawns. What about fall clean-up time? or spring clean-ups? If have never done a clean-up before so you havent learned what works best for you, it might take you 4 hours to do the same clean-up that would take us 1 1/2 hours.

Let me rephrase this by saying i have done many clean ups and mowed many lawns just not as a business owner..sorry.

bigw
03-12-2008, 10:56 AM
hey bigw, my .02... go it alone until you at least "test the waters", so to speak. sounds (to me) like you're well on your way and from the description of your equipment, you'd be able to handle a few more accounts without becoming overwelmed and/or burnt out right out of the gates.

you definately have the right attitude and "selling" confidence. that coupled with your new and/or nice looking equipment will certainly give you an "serious" edge. i wouldn't sweat "signing up" all you can handle BEFORE the season begins because "word of mouth" and "curious neighbors" will come to you all throughout the season, if your service is QUALITY. i've found word of mouth and "beeing seen" are MY best sales tools. furthermore, your truck and trailer are a rolling billboard, just by getting from job to job you'll be selling!

alot of guys get all caught up in the number of customers... it's not the numbers that counts but the "green" you put in YOUR pocket, after all is said and done. moreover, new guys need to keep in mind, inclement weather and/or "down time" WILL throw off your "schcedule" from time to time. keep in mind, you're still working when loading/unloading equipment at the shop, running to get parts and/or supplies, maintaining your equipment, washing your truck/trailer, etc. if you overlook this, it will only be a matter of time before you get yourself in too deep and neglecting your equipment and/or SELF is inevitable. spreading yourself too thin, puts you on a "slippery slop".

well, i have to get out there and brush off my "stuff". hopefully it will be a good season for all of us. good luck to you and all the new guys in the forum.

Thanks buddy i really appreciate this advice...sounds very good!!!

js.lawn
03-12-2008, 11:05 AM
oh geez, I don't bother eatin' that crap anymore....instead I just order it, walk from the register to the restroom and flush it down the toilet.... cause that how fast it goes through me.
Once I actually went through the drivethough... ordered a Big Mac, large fry and a roll of toilet paper........ she didnt' get it.

Ok, waaaaaaay off topic.... sorry BigW

LMAO SO TRUE LOL

8307c4
03-12-2008, 11:13 AM
Raise your prices some to balance the demand, for example a $5 per cut raise has quite the effect.
Generally speaking you should be able to tackle 30-40 lawn customers without too much further ado, in a first year.

Weekes
03-12-2008, 12:22 PM
Raise your prices some to balance the demand, for example a $5 per cut raise has quite the effect.

Great advice, for anyone in this business! If everyone is biting at the prices you are quoting go a bit higher.
It is general marketing. You should not expect everyone to afford you. Sell yourself now. More money per client = less work and expense for you.

It is the whole supply and demand idea. Everyone wants your service, you have your base -- your break even point has been surpassed. Now is when you can start to turn a profit.

Carolina Cuts
03-12-2008, 12:31 PM
would really look into atleast setting someone up to work with you. Get someone who could work 3 days a weeks or the weekends.

that's what I says.... rock on!

(lunch break)

later....

75 degrees and sunny today.:clapping::clapping::clapping::weightlifter:

bruno_rs
03-12-2008, 03:08 PM
that's what I says.... rock on!

(lunch break)

later....

75 degrees and sunny today.:clapping::clapping::clapping::weightlifter:

hey carolina, it's 40 degrees, overcast, muddy and ... snow squals... what the ****!!!! man we gotta get back to work. this has been THE worst (none) snow season i've had in all my years of plowing.

oh, do yourself and everyone around you a favor... stay way from the fast food for lunch! not only does it like to stir up the colon and tie you to a toilet, that s#!t's a heart attack wrapped in paper.

Carolina Cuts
03-12-2008, 05:36 PM
hey carolina, it's 40 degrees, overcast, muddy and ... snow squals... what the ****!!!

oh yea, I miss Jersey..... jersey cold, jersey no-snow, jersey slush, jersey traffic, jersey taxes.... miss it.

bruno_rs
03-12-2008, 06:33 PM
oh yea, I miss Jersey..... jersey cold, jersey no-snow, jersey slush, jersey traffic, jersey taxes.... miss it.

hey no kidding, if the state was'nt difficult enough to work in... now we get hit with the economy taking a DUMP and fuel taking off like a rocket! oh well lifes rough... get in line, right?

life down around your parts must be pretty good, i've lost alot of my most valuable (old money) customers, to your neck of the woods. now i got "new money" A$$HOLES who think S#!T icecream and probably have the 1st dollar they ever made.

what's up with your location... north and south carolina AND b&r new jersey? myrtle beach... man when i was in college, down in maryland, all the babes made it down your way for spring break. you gonna break out the bermuda shorts and sunscreen tomorrow?

Carolina Cuts
03-12-2008, 07:33 PM
north and south carolina AND b&r new jersey?
Born & Raised South Jersey.... just outside philly.
Relocated down here, cut in both NC & SC.
NC is only bout 20 minutes north.... sister lives up there, bout 50 minutes.

The girls? Where are they? :laugh:
If they're not under 22, then they're over 45. No happy medium for me. Cept' for the strippers. About over them. I work to hard for me to give it up to them for a 2 minute song.
Go figure.... 25 minute lawn = $30
2 minute couch dance = $30

I need boobs.

bruno_rs
03-12-2008, 09:42 PM
Born & Raised South Jersey.... just outside philly.
Relocated down here, cut in both NC & SC.
NC is only bout 20 minutes north.... sister lives up there, bout 50 minutes.

The girls? Where are they? :laugh:
If they're not under 22, then they're over 45. No happy medium for me. Cept' for the strippers. About over them. I work to hard for me to give it up to them for a 2 minute song.
Go figure.... 25 minute lawn = $30
2 minute couch dance = $30

I need boobs.

hey carolina, guess i kinda dated myself with myrtle beach spring break comment... anyway, i ALWAYS went to daytona ... more girls and alcohol AVAILABLE!!! kinda like... what happened in daytona didn't follow you back to campus, unless you made the news and/or got arrested!

i hear ya about the strippers... how F#CKING stupid is it to stuff a few bucks when you don't have ANY chance of gettin any more "action" than that ? further, strippers don't like good guys, they like rough necks that treat em like S#!T and take their money... kind of ironic, huh?

unfortunately, if you need boobs, it's gonna cost you either way!!! well on the other hand if you don't get off that rider, every once in a while, you'll end up with some (man) boobs... not a pretty thought and/or sight.

i tell you what in need... a break in the weather. plenty of precip this winter but unfortunately just warm enough to rain and make soup of most customers yards. if it was cold enough, all we got was ice... not good. oh well, hoping it'll be dry enough (here) in a couple weeks so i can do clean ups without making a mess. hey have a good one... good luck and be well.