View Full Version : Landscaping work with Mowing?

Lee Homan
01-11-2000, 06:52 AM
First off, I would like to thank everybody who has contributed to this forum. I have gained valuable information in just the short time I have been a part of this forum.<br>It is truly a great source of info. for people who are in the lawncare industry.<p>I would like to get some advice on including landscaping and lawn treatment with mowing. My intentions when starting out was to mow only. This was fine at first but the longer I went and the more diverse my customers became I started getting requests for these services. I started doing small landscaping jobs because I felt obligated. It's hard to tell a customer that your a lawmcare company but all you do is mow. Most customers prefer a fullcare service. These landscaping jobs were so hard to fit into my mowing schedule, I just didn't want to be bothered with them. I declined any lawn treatment jobs because frankly I was scared off by not knowing much about that area and it just seemed to be another thing that would interfere with mowing, so I would refer them to chemlawn or some other local lawn treatment company.<br> <br>My whole idea was to offer mowing and shrub<br>trimming and hook up with a reputable landscaping company to refer all that work to and then a treatment company for that work. Any advice would be appreciated.

01-11-2000, 07:00 AM
The small landscape jobs and lawn fertilization treatments are generally quite a bit more profitable than mowing.<p>I would team up with you in an instant and give you all the mowing work you could take and do all your side work. We currently have 2 contractors we outsource some of our mowing to just so we can do the fert/weed control, side work and be in the drivers seat to get the landscape renovations.<p>Not a bad idea to sub out the landscape work, (Do your own fert applications. though) but make sure you make something on each job.<br>

Nilsson Associates
01-11-2000, 07:03 AM
Big subject to talk about ... <p>1. Don't refer work over to your direct competitors because it strengthens them and weakens your business.<p>2. Referrals to others ... get 10% to 20% <br>paid up front fee of one annual gross sales<br>value of that referral .. expecially true of lawn care application programs.<p>3. Get your pesticide license ASAP .. because your hourly billings will be in the range of $80 to over $100 per hour, daily<br>billed production (one man) about $1,000 plus. Don't &quot;give away&quot; lawn care accounts, sell them instead for at least 100% of the first annual sales billings for the account. Program is let's say $400 for the season for lawn care? Sell each account you have or can get for that same $400 and nt less than 70% of one annual billing .. or you own it, they simply &quot;do it&quot; as subcontractor. (make certain they have insurance).<p>4. Suggest maintenance be 80% of your total sales, landscape 20% .. but while economy is strong ... try 50% .. and 50% divided.<br><p>----------<br>Phil Nilsson<br>

01-11-2000, 07:56 AM
Phil,<p>You need to rethink point#3! Who in their right mind would pay $400.00 dollars to mow an account for a year - free of charge - without a multiple year contract? How many people sign up for multi year contract? Good business if you can get it!

01-11-2000, 07:58 AM
Phil,<p>You need to rethink point#3! Who in their right mind would pay $400.00 dollars to mow an account for a year - free of charge - without a multiple year contract? How many people sign up for multi year contract? Good business if you can get it!

01-11-2000, 08:05 AM
He was referring to a Fertilizer/Weed Control Account.

Nilsson Associates
01-11-2000, 10:15 AM
Lazer is right .. I was referring to the lawn care treatment program. The value of these accounts run from a low of 70% to a high of perhaps 110% of one seasons billings gross. <p>----------<br>Phil Nilsson<br>

01-11-2000, 03:56 PM
Hey there Phil,<p>I'm having trouble understanding Quest.#3 Are you saying to charge 100% but not less than 70% of your Total Annual Sales or Seasonal - Annual Sales? Of course from what you get out of Lawn Care Services, right? So in other words you can subcontract Contractors with a pesticides license to apply pesticides or weed control for your clients and have the Contractors pay an up front 70 to 100%? Well this is the part I don't get. I'm sorry if this is a dumb question, but any responses are welcome.<p>

01-11-2000, 04:27 PM
The thread sure has drifted off track here. I will give my thoughts on the origional question. It is very tough to do both landscaping and mowing work.<p>My origional intention was to have 4 days of mowing work, and the rest of the week to do landscape work. I seemed to aquire more and more mowing work, and this made the landscaping work more difficult to accomplish. Since the grass cutting is so time sensitive, it is very hard to put off for a day or two to do a landscape job.<p>This is especially tough for a one crew company. You can't really divide your resources between the two types of work. <p>A local contractor that I am friends with had done this, and eventually grew into two divisions, lawn care and landscaping. One crew does nothing but mowing, and the other does nothing but landscape work. Now, occasionally they will help each other out, but for the most part, they are almost like two seperate companies. This is another option.<p>One of the things that is a bit difficult with a one crew setup is that you are going to let all your expensive mowing equipment sit for the days that you are out using a shovel and a wheelbarrow. It can be a bit hard to swallow. <p>I am dropping some customers from the bottom of my list this year to do a bit more landscape work. I ended up doing more mowing than I wanted these past couple of years. <p>People seem to want one stop shopping these days. They don't want to have to deal with one company for mowing, another for landscaping/maintenance, another for tree work, ect. <p>If you are mowing only, and your customer gets someone in to do the mulching work, the mulch contractor may invade your turf(excuse the pun). As mentioned above, it is probally not worth the effort to try and win back the customer. <p>Most of the high end residential customers have much landscaping around that needs maintained. A lot have the work done, so there is a great market, and the investment in tools can be minimal.

01-11-2000, 07:10 PM
OLD SAYING: &quot;DO ONE THING AND DO IT WELL!&quot; THERE is a lot of truth in that statement. I tried the partnership thing last year and it DID NOT WORK! My advice is if you want to branch off, hire someone with ability and knowledge, maybe pay him a commision off of the install's, make it worth his while, this is what I should have done but didn't. I would still have use of this &quot;employee&quot; if I had set it up that way. I could not stop my mowing, which is what we were going to build up the other business with, to help out and oversee estimates and billing and phone calls and&gt;&gt;&gt;..&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;.....&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;.on and on. Find a capable guy you can TRUST! or stick to mowing. If you have a large outfit in town with plenty of capital you will be banging your head against a wall. In the landscape and irrigation business you have to have the ability to float 2000.00 to 3000.00 bucks at a time or get credit with sod suppliers, which you will be put on the bottom of the list if sod becomes scarce, irrigation supplies cost money, anyway I jsut mow and trim shrubs, my customers know this and thats fine with them. If you have enough to mow you won't have tme for anything else anyway.<p>Homers 2cents

01-11-2000, 08:36 PM
Ok if you are a one man or 2 man company fine mowing grass is fine but lets compare this my landscape crew grossed 3 times what my lawn crew did last year. and fert. thats did same as lawn but it only had a 1/3 of the man hours that lawn did. Landscaping and fert. is where the money is grass mowing is simply busy work that brings in other work. Why give up high paying jobs. Bring one or 2 more guys on and have them do the landscape and fert part of it all or stop cutting grass yourself and send out a couple guys and do more of those jobs. Or that on less custmers on and the ones you take make them the ones that want the one stop shop where you do it all for them less driving time same or more money made only diff. is your not in and out in 15 min. now its a hour at one house. But instead of driving 4 times during that hour you made money the whole time. I would take on more of that kind of work and less of the mow and go type unless that all that you want to be. It your chose to make but personaly I would love to drop all the lawn account but the muiltfaimly and com. and do more of the landscape work, but lawns bring more work in and it keeps the bills paid.

01-11-2000, 09:21 PM
I agree with ashlandscaping, My helper and I were doing all of the Yard Maintenance and more other work were being requested and had to put them off until I hired a driver. Now he and my helper does all the Yard Maintenance and I do most of Landscaping, handy man jobs, drainage,and stay in the office and see what other ideas I can get from this forum to make my company profitable with experienced advice from all you Maintenance Companies. If you can afford a driver and be motivated to go out to your routes and see if you can find anything out there that you can make more money. Like mulching, seasonal planting, clean-ups, tree work, etc.<p>By the way what's the going rate around your area for above. I charge $24 per flat 16 count of 4&quot; pots. Including soil and fertilizer.

01-12-2000, 01:19 PM
I've had this struggle as well. I have a lawn mowing co. and I do an occasional landscape.I would get asked a lot about landscaping and irrigation. I was exchanging landscaping jobs for maintenance jobs with a co where I live. We now have decided to go into business together. Beyond the exchanging business we have merged for various other reasons. He is better at sales and I m better at bookeeping and scheduling, and managing money. We were profiting about the same so we have entered pretty equally financially with no debt.Maybe there is a landscaping co. where you live you could exchange business with?