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mobileboy
04-03-2008, 09:58 AM
Any profitable one-man operations out there? I'd love to hear stories if any of you guys go it alone. How well can a one-man crew do? (really). What if your main focus is small landscaping jobs? How many small (<.25 acre) yards can you complete in one 9 hour day, etc. Thanks!

J.A.G LAWNCARE
04-03-2008, 01:08 PM
well if you are a landscaper or a mower head it makes a differece, if you charge $ 35 per hour per man, and you have a helper that you pay $ 12 you would make $ 70 - 12 =$ 58 per hour ....

lawnpro724
04-03-2008, 01:50 PM
well if you are a landscaper or a mower head it makes a differece, if you charge $ 35 per hour per man, and you have a helper that you pay $ 12 you would make $ 70 - 12 =$ 58 per hour ....

It would be more like $54 net per hour if you also deduct equipment use, fuel and mileage and thats only if your paying him cash. If your taking out taxes, workers comp and unemployment your net will be much lower per hour.

MJS
04-03-2008, 02:11 PM
By myself, I can do upwards of 12 lawns in 7 or 8 hours - but some of mine are quite large - more like 1/3 to 1/2 an acre per. I charge $30 - $40/hour on landscaping jobs, but I make more like $50 an hour doing maintenence.

Grott
04-03-2008, 02:12 PM
Didn't he ask about "ONE MAN" operations?

lawnpro724
04-03-2008, 02:22 PM
Didn't he ask about "ONE MAN" operations?

Yes he did and I was only replying the the second post.

jasdebcr
04-03-2008, 02:42 PM
i am a one man operation. i work a full time job from 7 to 3 and take care of 30 lawns from 3:30 to 7:00 monday thru friday. i have jobs ranging from a small 25.00 lawns to 140.00 ten acre job. i started out with about 800.00 in used equipment and now i have about 15000.00 in equipment and bust my @!#$% every day. love it the extra money is great. i have some expensive hobby's

yardtamer
04-03-2008, 02:47 PM
I am a one man show. I pride myself on the work I do. It doesn't matter how long it takes to do a property as long as you leave it looking great. I have many accounts that I got do to the fact that I will be there everytime. Some people don't want 3 or 4 guys racing through their yard just to make a buck... they want personalized service. I'm not putting anyone down ... I'm just saying there is a market for one man operations...

mobileboy
04-03-2008, 03:34 PM
You guys are full of good info! Just the stuff i was looking for! I am a one man show and am debating on getting more serious (part time in the venings for me now). I have a great 7-4 job, so if I really go at it, the income would have to be more than my current pay. I have many customers, most want my help with landscape projects; only 4-6 lawn maint. jobs. I do 2 HOA's. They are my sweet jobs. Thanks again for the great info.

ALC-GregH
04-03-2008, 05:52 PM
What does HOA stand for? Also, why I'm at it, what does LCO stand for? Yeah they sure sound like dumb question's.

lawnpro724
04-03-2008, 06:19 PM
What does HOA stand for? Also, why I'm at it, what does LCO stand for? Yeah they sure sound like dumb question's.

Home owners association and lawn company owner.

Four Seasons Lawn
04-03-2008, 06:21 PM
One man operation here. I have apx 50 accts and been doing it for 12 years. Originally I did this part time as my primary job was a police officer. While I enjoyed law enforcement the money just wasnt there. Dabbled in this for 4 years part time and now after doing it for 8 yrs full time I wouldnt take a thing for it. As far as how many yards I can do in a day , it varies. If I see 2 or 3 days of rain coming I can hustle pretty good and do 13-15 yards in 8 or 10 hrs with some of those being pretty decent sized. I usually dont try to see how many I can do in a day, I just try to do the best job possible.

ALC-GregH
04-03-2008, 07:19 PM
thanks LawnPro.... I actually thought LCO was "lawn care outfit" hahahaha

Carolina Cuts
04-03-2008, 08:43 PM
i am a one man operation. i work a full time job from 7 to 3 and take care of 30 lawns from 3:30 to 7:00 monday thru friday. i have jobs ranging from a small 25.00 lawns to 140.00 ten acre job. i started out with about 800.00 in used equipment and now i have about 15000.00 in equipment and bust my @!#$% every day. love it the extra money is great. i have some expensive hobby's

I bet you sleep pretty damn good a night and look forward to winter breaks. :dancing:

lawnpro724
04-03-2008, 09:00 PM
thanks LawnPro.... I actually thought LCO was "lawn care outfit" hahahaha

you never know it may mean that as well to some, it doesn't really matter as long as everyone gets the general idea.

S L C
04-03-2008, 09:24 PM
Solo operation here as well! Started out with 11 accounts, up to 30 accounts and adding every day going into my second season....... now if gas prices would only behave themselves... LOL :weightlifter::weightlifter:

jasdebcr
04-03-2008, 09:26 PM
accually i trap fur all winter and bust my !@#$ from 3:30 to 9:00 every day. my slow time is on sunday's i try to relax and spend time with my family

ECS
04-03-2008, 09:37 PM
I am a 1 man show also. For mow, trim & blow, last year I averaged $72.96 per hour. My lawns take me anywhere from 45 min - 3 hr to do. I have 18 lawns which takes me roughly 3 1/2 days which could be dealt wint in 3 days. This leaves me 1 1/2 days to do other things for the customers as I do not just do lawns, but also just about anything else the customer wants. If I can not do it,or choose not to do it, I get someone else to do it for me. I have a good client list year round and have done quite well the last 3 years. I started solo in Sept. 2004 with my business.

Whitey4
04-03-2008, 10:05 PM
I am a one man show. I pride myself on the work I do. It doesn't matter how long it takes to do a property as long as you leave it looking great. I have many accounts that I got do to the fact that I will be there everytime. Some people don't want 3 or 4 guys racing through their yard just to make a buck... they want personalized service. I'm not putting anyone down ... I'm just saying there is a market for one man operations...

I am with you 100% yardtamer. I don't sweat about how many houses I can do. I do a killer job with the ones I have. I get a new customer, I spend 4 hours on their spring cleanup, and make near nothing per hour on it... but, with the property now looking so much better, it whets their appetites.

Honestly, 75% of my new accounts want added services after I get their places presentable. Mulching, new installs, annuals, even refurbishing a water feature with a new shade garden planting that surrounds it in a now visable rock garden.

First impressions ARE EVERYTHING... well, almost. ALWAYS exceed their expectations. It is the road to profitable add on services.

St. Andrew's Lawn Care
04-03-2008, 10:38 PM
I am a one man show. I pride myself on the work I do. It doesn't matter how long it takes to do a property as long as you leave it looking great. I have many accounts that I got do to the fact that I will be there everytime. Some people don't want 3 or 4 guys racing through their yard just to make a buck... they want personalized service. I'm not putting anyone down ... I'm just saying there is a market for one man operations...

This is so true. I am in the exact same position. I have a ways to go but one has to start somewhere. I pride myself on paying attention to the details and I think this sets me apart from other bigger outfits. Most clients have asked who will be doing the work...When I remind them I work alone, they are pretty happy to hear it. As far as I am concerned, Time is not money as long as you are working alone...do a great job, over deliver and you will do just fine...Upsell other services to as many of your customers as you can. This will keep you busy as you work on securing more customers...

Good luck

davis45
04-03-2008, 11:26 PM
Currently working 3 days a week in a factory (hydro gear) making lawn mower transmissions. I work 6pm-6am and i also maintain 38 accounts. Saturdays I will take on small landscaping jobs with one part time helper. I'm hoping and praying I can go full time this year.

jphag
04-03-2008, 11:28 PM
What does HOA stand for? Also, why I'm at it, what does LCO stand for? Yeah they sure sound like dumb question's.

HOA - home owners association

LCO - Lawn Care operator

timscherer
04-04-2008, 12:37 AM
This is my first year operating a part-time mowing business as an Owner & Operator (SOLO). I work full time as a Tool & Die Maker, approximately 40-50 hrs a week. I purchased new equipment to maintain my own property of 3.5 acres and decided to utilize my equipment to pay for itself. So I decided to start my own part-time mowing business.

I find it difficult to quote some jobs due to the amount of expenses that are incorporated in my rate. Its really difficult having to quote a competitive rate paying insurance, operating cost, and taxes @ 46%. The taxes are killing me. I try to quote my jobs to where I pay myself after expenses, operating cost & taxes between $18-$22 hr. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

I just picked up my first commercial account. I have passed out approximately 400 post cards with by business information on it. I have 5 bid proposals currently being reviewed, and I am sure the potential customers are waiting for the lowest bid. My projection is to be profitable in approximately 3-4 years. I have invested close to $12,000 in new equipment. It will take several years for the business to pay for itself, especially considering 46% of my revenue from the business goes towards taxes.

Good luck to all,
Tim Scherer
Choppers Mowing & Services

Chill "Cuts" Lawn Care
04-04-2008, 08:01 AM
What does HOA stand for? Also, why I'm at it, what does LCO stand for? Yeah they sure sound like dumb question's.

Greg,

HOA = Home Owner's Association

LCO = Lawn Care Operator/Owner?

larryinalabama
04-04-2008, 08:53 AM
Whity yardtamer ans St Andrews Im with ya man

Solo is the only way to go in this business, If i needed more hassle I would just do a regular job.

ALC-GregH
04-04-2008, 09:26 AM
thanks for the response's.

Question for Tim, why are you in a 46% tax bracket with only a few accounts? I don't understand how it would be that much.

Frue
04-04-2008, 09:30 AM
A single man op can do very well I am one and have been from day 1 in 1998. I have been full time since 03. The only thing that is tough is when drought condition occur like last year. The year before was also dry just not as dry as last year.

The key is being reliable you can be the best mower in town but if you cannot get there to mow who cares. Set up a shedule and keep with it. If you are going to mow a group of houses on tuesday then every tues be there. Be so dependable that if you dont show up they call you to see if you are ok.

siklid1066
04-04-2008, 09:36 AM
I am with you 100% yardtamer. I don't sweat about how many houses I can do. I do a killer job with the ones I have. I get a new customer, I spend 4 hours on their spring cleanup, and make near nothing per hour on it... but, with the property now looking so much better, it whets their appetites.

Honestly, 75% of my new accounts want added services after I get their places presentable. Mulching, new installs, annuals, even refurbishing a water feature with a new shade garden planting that surrounds it in a now visable rock garden.

First impressions ARE EVERYTHING... well, almost. ALWAYS exceed their expectations. It is the road to profitable add on services.

Where on Long Island are you?

siklid1066
04-04-2008, 09:50 AM
When I first started out I employed 5 guys,then 3,then 2, now just me.I found out if you get a good employee he does not stick around for long.And what can I say about the bad workers,when you need them they do a no show and when you dont, there they are.I have been doing this for 20 years the past 5 have been solo.Plus I save on comp now,but it can get tough working solo.Even though I made more with help it just was not worth the headache,I dont like to babysit adults,thats why Im divorced

SoloSulkySurfer
04-04-2008, 09:57 AM
Some people don't want 3 or 4 guys racing through their yard just to make a buck... they want personalized service. I'm not putting anyone down ... I'm just saying there is a market for one man operations...


Very true. Especially when you deal with senior citizens. I always look at it as instead of pay workers comp. ect. I reinvest the money in equipment. I have cut 24+ lawns a day (5k ft -1/2 acre).

mobileboy
04-04-2008, 10:38 AM
These are pretty inspirational posts for a guy getting tired of the grind.

siklid1066
04-04-2008, 10:44 AM
Have couple of drinks, relax.The season just begun,you gotta do what you think is right.And what you think is ok today, will change next week:laugh:

timscherer
04-04-2008, 02:04 PM
thanks for the response's.

Question for Tim, why are you in a 46% tax bracket with only a few accounts? I don't understand how it would be that much.

I work a full time job, and so does my wife. When you work for a company, that company pays half of your SS (7.6%). As a business owner, you pay the full 15.2%.

Due to the fact that my wife and I work, I have to combine my income from the part-time mowing business to our combined incomes from our full-time jobs, resulting in a higher tax bracket.

Here is the breakdown of the amount you pay towards taxes at the end of the year as a business owner (part-time in my case). If anyone knows a way to avoid paying these taxes, let me know. Our damn government is hard on business owners (part-time or full-time). My CPA provide me this information so I can incorporate this into my rate and determine what to change my customers.

SS = 15.2%
fed = 28%
state = 3.4%
county = 1.25%
Total = 47.85%

If you don't calculate this % into your rate, you be wasting your time. You surly don't want to work for free, or even lose money, your in this business to make money. Any suggestions to lower these rates will be appreciated.

My 2 cents worth, good luck,

Tim Scherer
Choppers Mowing & Services

mobileboy
04-04-2008, 02:43 PM
How did your CPA come up with the 28% fed rate?!?! Isn't that a little high?

timscherer
04-04-2008, 02:57 PM
How did your CPA come up with the 28% fed rate?!?! Isn't that a little high?
I am in a high tax bracket, that is why I pay 28% of my wages from my full time job to the feds.

mobileboy
04-04-2008, 03:10 PM
Scary! Looks like I need to talk to my CPA again and quiz him on this. Damn, that sucks Tim.

timscherer
04-04-2008, 03:17 PM
Scary! Looks like I need to talk to my CPA again and quiz him on this. Damn, that sucks Tim.
I appologize, the tax % to the fed is 18%. My mistake.

timscherer
04-04-2008, 03:19 PM
I work a full time job, and so does my wife. When you work for a company, that company pays half of your SS (7.6%). As a business owner, you pay the full 15.2%.

Due to the fact that my wife and I work, I have to combine my income from the part-time mowing business to our combined incomes from our full-time jobs, resulting in a higher tax bracket.

Here is the breakdown of the amount you pay towards taxes at the end of the year as a business owner (part-time in my case). If anyone knows a way to avoid paying these taxes, let me know. Our damn government is hard on business owners (part-time or full-time). My CPA provide me this information so I can incorporate this into my rate and determine what to change my customers.

SS = 15.2%
fed = 28%
state = 3.4%
county = 1.25%
Total = 47.85%

If you don't calculate this % into your rate, you be wasting your time. You surly don't want to work for free, or even lose money, your in this business to make money. Any suggestions to lower these rates will be appreciated.

My 2 cents worth, good luck,

Tim Scherer
Choppers Mowing & Services

Correction: fed is 18% not 28%

SS = 15.2%
fed = 18%
state = 3.4%
county = 1.25%
Total = 37.85%

M&SLawnCare
04-04-2008, 03:19 PM
You should ask your cpa about becoming an LLC or possibly an S-Corp. I'm a sole prop as well so i can't really help you personally, but besides protecting your assets, their are a lot of tax benefits to incorporating as i understand it. Perhaps do a search here and you may be able to find a post or someone that can give you more information.

Roger
04-04-2008, 05:45 PM
I more closely agree with Tim's first assessment, even a bit low. For estimation purposes, I look at 53% as tops.

And, some wonder why there is a segment out here that jump up/down when we hear about all the new taxes being proposed by a new Administration. And, all the items mentioned here don't even include capital gains taxes, and the proposed increases that are on the table. And, don't get me started about estate tax changes that are due to expire in a couple of years, ... work a lifetime for a "kitty" and then somebody who thinks they know better want up to 50% of that "kitty." Taxed when it is earned, taxed when it is earning, and taxed when it is left behind. How does anybody think there is anything left over to invest in economic development, business development, and employment growth? Wake up folks!!!!

Frue
04-04-2008, 06:15 PM
I more closely agree with Tim's first assessment, even a bit low. For estimation purposes, I look at 53% as tops.

And, some wonder why there is a segment out here that jump up/down when we hear about all the new taxes being proposed by a new Administration. And, all the items mentioned here don't even include capital gains taxes, and the proposed increases that are on the table. And, don't get me started about estate tax changes that are due to expire in a couple of years, ... work a lifetime for a "kitty" and then somebody who thinks they know better want up to 50% of that "kitty." Taxed when it is earned, taxed when it is earning, and taxed when it is left behind. How does anybody think there is anything left over to invest in economic development, business development, and employment growth? Wake up folks!!!!

Even if you make 280,000 a year your fed tax is 35% 53% is a bit high dont ya think? Now when these do exspire and they will you will be back to 45%.

Whitey4
04-04-2008, 06:32 PM
Where on Long Island are you?

Hicksville... and every account I have is within 3/4 miles of my own house, and I will keep it under a mile as part of my business plan. Only door hangers and one church bulletin ad. I hope to get the the NSLGA Nassua county meeting in Bethpage this month... the 15th, at 8pm.

ALC-GregH
04-04-2008, 09:39 PM
I have a friend that use to live in Hicksville. He bought a home in Amityville. I lived in Coram for a few years.