PDA

View Full Version : Mowing vs. Applications


YardBoss Lawncare
07-03-2009, 04:57 PM
Which of the two brings in the most income? I know there's less overhead and maintenance with a sprayer vs. a mower, handhelds, trailer, etc. But, is it possible to make as much money doing applications only? Thanks.

DA Quality Lawn & YS
07-03-2009, 05:05 PM
Very good question. I do believe the margins are better for doing apps vs straight mow/blow. I don't necessarily agree that the overhead is less for apps, though. If you are going to do it right, it will cost you some $ and regular maint to your spray rig (whatever that may be).

I do think that the sky is the limit for doing apps though. Especially if the density of service providers in your area is thin. Then, you are just competing against Trubrown and you will WIN OVER a LOT of customers with good, caring service. Do a market analysis and see what is the best route for you. Are you solo? If so, you may find it is VERY difficult to do both mowing and apps yourself, you just will not have the time once your customer base gets so big.

YardBoss Lawncare
07-03-2009, 05:13 PM
Thanks for the input. Yes, I am solo. I ran a crew in the past when I had the contracts to justify and need it, but for the past few years i've been doing it myself. From time to time when I get behind, I may hire a guy to come help me for a day or something like that, but no regular employees. There are alot guys doing apps around here.

mdlwn1
07-03-2009, 06:55 PM
Which brings in the most income?...whichever you do more of..................................

Seriously though..the marigns are WAAAAAAAAYYY higher for apps. Its not even close. Think about it. Properly set up, 1 guy can go out for apps a nd gross anywhere from 600-1000 per day with a van and a spreader or tank sprayer. How much can one guy generate with a mower?

YardBoss Lawncare
07-03-2009, 07:24 PM
In 2007 I had a contract with the city where I mowed a 29 acre roadway. It was a 4 lane highway. I did the median and both sides, 2 miles long. I made $650 per mowing on it. With a 72" and a 60" ZTR I was able to do it in about 9 hours. They let me spray around all the light poles, so there wasn't much trimming, other than around the culverts. I also had a 4 acre lot that I mowed on the same contract. It paid $400 per mowing and took about 45 minutes with the same 2 machines on it. The city wanted it mowed once a week. I always did the roadway, then drove straight to the lot and hit it. That was $1,050 every week that Summer for 1 day of mowing, just off those 2 accounts. That Summer I also did the library, museum, senior citizen center, associated charities building, and nutrition center for the city. It took 1 day to do the roadway and lot. Then another day to do all that little stuff downtown. I also did Sonic, Napa Auto Parts, a car dealership, and several others. I grossed an average of $2,000 a week that Summer off of my mowing. Of course I had to buy the 2 big expensive ZTRs to do it all. The bad thing with mowing like that is they put it up for bid every year, and what the last guy charged the year before is in public records. That's why the same guy never gets it 2 years in a row. That sucks when you go out and spend the money getting set up to do that kind of high acreage mowing.

YardBoss Lawncare
07-03-2009, 07:33 PM
Right now i'm exploring the option of getting rid of all my mowing equipment and just doing applications. Times are getting bad and my big industrial accounts who wanted cut once a week are telling me to cut them back to once every 2 weeks. They've been laying people off in the plant and in the warehouse for awhile. I figured I would be next. I'm in a position where I could probably sell my equipment, pay off my note, and still have enough cash left over to buy a nice skid sprayer and a nice spreader. By doing this, I wouldn't have a note payment hanging over my head, nor would I have the fuel expenses of the big Grasshopper, hand helds, blades for the mower, bad fuel mileage in my truck lugging the trailer around, etc. I would simply have a sprayer and spreader, no note at the bank, and alot less headache. What are your thoughts?

YardBoss Lawncare
07-03-2009, 07:36 PM
I also have a class A CDL and am thinking about going back to driving a truck and doing the applications on the side. I figure it would be alot easier to do apps on the side than it would be to mow. I could leave work, would already have the sprayer in the bed of my truck, etc. It doesn't take as long to do apps as it does mowing, plus it's alot less physical.

EVM
07-03-2009, 08:20 PM
Which of the two brings in the most income? I know there's less overhead and maintenance with a sprayer vs. a mower, handhelds, trailer, etc. But, is it possible to make as much money doing applications only? Thanks.


You can make alot more money with the fert/pesticide but you must have a huge client base to keep you busy. Overhead with lawn maintenance equipment is a joke.

I like doing both because I can see all of my property's and know when a problem is starting.

humble1
07-03-2009, 09:04 PM
apps way more money

YardBoss Lawncare
07-04-2009, 10:22 AM
What do you mean by "it's a joke"? Do you agree it's expensive, or are you implying that there's not much to it? Please clarify. Also, what are some good marketing practices to push the fert/pest on people in order to build the clientel base?

humble1
07-04-2009, 11:12 AM
What do you mean by "it's a joke"? Do you agree it's expensive, or are you implying that there's not much to it? Please clarify. Also, what are some good marketing practices to push the fert/pest on people in order to build the clientel base?

You have probably missed the boat for this season.
Do a search under marketing or direct mail, we discuss this at great length around feb,mar april. There is a search bar about center of the page in the green bar.

Good luck, I also sent you a pm

happy 4th Mike

YardBoss Lawncare
07-04-2009, 11:26 AM
Thanks Mike. I got you pm this morning when I logged on. I'm going to send one back with a few other questions.

garydale
07-06-2009, 01:05 PM
I've worked in every facet of this industry, The main point I would make is that Mowing gives you cash flow.
Most companies end up turning to mowing to get payroll capital during the summer months.
We use lawn applications, tree and shrub spraying, IPM inspections and pest control to keep cash comingi n on an even basis.

cod8825
07-06-2009, 02:53 PM
It is also in how you look at it. I make a higher profit margin on apps but that is somewhat of a luxury item to most people where as mowing is something everybody does.

YardBoss Lawncare
07-06-2009, 07:38 PM
That's a good point.

whoopassonthebluegrass
07-06-2009, 07:47 PM
I do both as a solo operator. A big day of mowing where I physically kill myself for 12 hours to get the work done will generate a gross of maybe $700.

On the other hand, in 12 hours of spraying, if I don't clear $2k, then I did something wrong.

That being said, it's a lot easier to fill a mowing schedule for a week (60-80 customers) than it is to fill a 5-6 week cycle (750-1,000 customers - based on MY lawn sizes).

As well, the mowing will create far less office work, phone calls, etc.

But with all that in mind, at the end of the day, it's hard to build any wealth at all mowing. You're a slave to the weekly schedule, no time off, and you're competing against anyone who can put an MTD in the trunk of their Camry.

The fact is, with VERY FEW exceptions, mowing is only suitable for those who don't have many financial ambitions in life. With no insurance, no benefits, no retirement, mowing is a waste of time unless your wife is a PhD making bank.

EVM
07-06-2009, 08:11 PM
What do you mean by "it's a joke"? Do you agree it's expensive, or are you implying that there's not much to it? Please clarify. Also, what are some good marketing practices to push the fert/pest on people in order to build the clientele base?


I mean the maintenance on equipment costs serious $$$. You have parts laying around for everything. Yes I agree, it is expensive, especially when careless employees are operating your equipment. The employee has no idea or could care less how much the equipment costs. Those machines get beat into the ground with all the dust and high temperatures.

Cutting does keep you busy, it just sucks though. I do all residential which is even worse. You have nit wit customers talking to you like they know how/when things should be done.

YardBoss Lawncare
07-06-2009, 09:54 PM
I've been in this business for around 4 years. I started out by filling out a bid packet that the city put out my first year. I landed 8 out of the 10 pieces of property that I bid on. I bought some mowers and equipment and made alot of money that year. I hired a couple of people to do the work, but I usually went along to supervise and drive the truck/trailer. I know what you mean about employees rough housing the machines. I ended up getting my applicator license, thinking that it would get my foot in the door on the accounts where they want one company to do it all. I didn't do too well at building the application side of my business, but I will also admit that I didn't do much advertising. I'm in a town of maybe 20,000 to 35,000 people. I've been running solo for the past couple of years, so my equipment gets taken care of. This helps out on the maintenance/repair bills. I've still got my applicator license and insurance, but I usually just sub out any spray jobs I get (very few). I've fell into a bad habit of building my business around 1 or 2 main contracts, which puts me in a dangerous situation. I've got alot of smaller accounts, but only a few big ones, and the big ones pay my bills.

YardBoss Lawncare
07-06-2009, 10:04 PM
I've thought about getting out of the mowing all together, driving a truck, and just doing applications on the side. I've also thought about staying in the mowing, but going strictly to residentials. I would sell my Grasshopper, buy a walk-behind, and go that route. I set a goal for myself a long time ago to gross $10,000 a month, and i've came pretty close a few times, but it seems like those days are long gone. I would be happy with 40 residential accounts that are all serviced weekly. I could offer them all the whole package. Mow, fertilize, weed control, etc. As far as my medical insurance and housing, that's already taken care of.

EVM
07-06-2009, 10:17 PM
I've been in this business for around 4 years. I started out by filling out a bid packet that the city put out my first year. I landed 8 out of the 10 pieces of property that I bid on. I bought some mowers and equipment and made alot of money that year. I hired a couple of people to do the work, but I usually went along to supervise and drive the truck/trailer. I know what you mean about employees rough housing the machines. I ended up getting my applicator license, thinking that it would get my foot in the door on the accounts where they want one company to do it all. I didn't do too well at building the application side of my business, but I will also admit that I didn't do much advertising. I'm in a town of maybe 20,000 to 35,000 people. I've been running solo for the past couple of years, so my equipment gets taken care of. This helps out on the maintenance/repair bills. I've still got my applicator license and insurance, but I usually just sub out any spray jobs I get (very few). I've fell into a bad habit of building my business around 1 or 2 main contracts, which puts me in a dangerous situation. I've got alot of smaller accounts, but only a few big ones, and the big ones pay my bills.

What I did when I got my applicators license was send out letters to all of my maintenance accounts stating that I was offering the fert service. Most of the customers called and asked for estimates and I landed them.

When I get a new client I make sure that I get the fert contract. I only cut properties that have fert/weed control service/irrigation. When a customer has a fert/weed service/irrigation; that tells the the customer cares about the appearance of the property. That is someone I want to do work for.

Keep in mind I am also able to do all granule apps right after we cut (best time to do it) and have the employees blowing off the grass clippings & granule at the same time. No need for an extra visit to do a granule app. Need a Z Spray now though; getting old and tired; but the Z needs more improvement for 9K of my money.

YardBoss Lawncare
07-06-2009, 11:33 PM
How far apart are you spacing your fertilizer apps?

EVM
07-07-2009, 12:02 AM
How far apart are you spacing your fertilizer apps?

I do fert apps: one in March and one the first week of June and one in September. The rest are control apps no fert and lime.

YardBoss Lawncare
07-07-2009, 12:10 AM
Fertilizer and lime?

EVM
07-07-2009, 09:17 PM
I do three fert apps: one in March, one the first week of June, one in September, and a lime app. The rest are control apps no fert

Edited, hope that clears it up.

cod8825
07-07-2009, 09:48 PM
LDH:

Asking how far your apps are will depend on what part of the country you are. In Kansas City most people get anywhere from 5 to 7 apps depending on level of service and what not. All of my customer get apps about every six weeks apart starting around March 1st and ending around November 15th.

Matt

YardBoss Lawncare
07-08-2009, 12:16 AM
LDH:

Asking how far your apps are will depend on what part of the country you are. In Kansas City most people get anywhere from 5 to 7 apps depending on level of service and what not. All of my customer get apps about every six weeks apart starting around March 1st and ending around November 15th.

Matt

I sold a program to Sonic (one of my mowing accounts) and have been spacing mine 5 weeks apart.

HayBay
07-08-2009, 10:24 PM
Evm is on the right track in my opinion.
(we are banned using pesticides this year)
We maintain a percentage of our regular Lawn cutting customers lawns(organic weed control/soil corrections, soil amendments, over seeding and aerating regularly). You know what it looks like cutting a lawn with mostly no weeds compared to our competition cutting a big green salad of a lawn.

The Competitions customers honestly think it is our lawn mowers that make the lawns we maintain look so good, most have no idea that fertilizing, weed control and IPM make the real difference until we explain the advantages of both services from 1 company and that usually wins them over. Lawn cutting is a good income and a regular income for our 6-8 month season. Being a licensed applicator just opens the door to much more and they see the obvious results.