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View Full Version : what is a real # of lawn accounts for a solo operator?


tropical breeze
10-16-2009, 05:46 PM
I am looking to start up in the next few weeks. I know not the best time of year but I live in Florida and there is always something to do in peoples yards. Also looking at rentals and bank owned homes. Hopefully this will get me by. Question about how many accounts on average can a solo get the 1st year ?

CkLandscapingOrlando
10-17-2009, 06:34 AM
10-20 houses a day here. 15 is a safe number for me. zero lot line probly 30 if next to each other

Kennedy Landscaping
10-17-2009, 07:01 AM
I had about ten during my first season. I'm around 37 now though.

1st class grass
10-17-2009, 10:10 AM
I would say first year 25 to 30 per week is very obtainable....

mdlwn1
10-17-2009, 11:29 AM
It depends on what you are doing. If your just a grass chopper...then it depends on size and route density....50 -100 if your the cheap guy. If you actually take care of properties..then it would be closer to 15-25. Gl though if you plan on mowing 100 per week and think you wont ever get hurt or sick. When I started out solo....I made condiderably more profit maintaining 20 houses than the guys mowing 100 houses. My fuel bill alone was prob 10-25% of what there's was. More importantly...My billing clock ran most of the day...very little travel time

DynaMow
10-17-2009, 01:34 PM
he is not asking how many he can do his first year.

He is asking how many to expect to get. Still a quite broad question.

It all depends on how much you get your name out there. The more the marketing the more the contacts. The more the contacts, the more quotes. The more the quotes, the more the work.

How are you getting your name out to the public? Classifieds, website, radio, TV, friends, word of mouth, family etc.... How many do you want to get?

topsites
10-18-2009, 01:08 AM
Obviously, you want customers.
I realize you want to hear a realistic number, but what I can tell you is you
don't want to shoot for any specific number, that is, just do a good job and
let the pieces fall into place on their own some.

The more you try and get a certain amount of customers, the harder it gets
and you'll only end up compromising yourself, the thing is we all start out with 1.

That having been said, there's no telling, at the end of your first year you might have as few as 20 as many as 200...

It all depends, whether you want the full service customer of which you'll be
able to accommodate less numbers, or whether you prefer the mow and blow
type (of which you can service a greater quantity).

Again I say just let it kind of fall into place, don't try too hard to get
someplace other than just do a good job.

Morningside
10-18-2009, 09:31 AM
I was able to get forty to fifty different customers my first year. word of mouth no advertising. all withen 10 miles of eachother. as a solo i could do anywhere from 8-9 to 12-13 a day depending on location, lot size and which mower i used. heat of summer would slow me down as well as doing the best job possible. quality takes more time and effort, and i suggest you stress quality over quantity. people recommend your services to others based on quality not on how fast you work. the quantity will come if you stress quality work now. tuck your shirt in and shave because nobody respects someone who doesnt respect themselves.

punt66
10-18-2009, 10:00 AM
I was able to get forty to fifty different customers my first year. word of mouth no advertising. all withen 10 miles of eachother. as a solo i could do anywhere from 8-9 to 12-13 a day depending on location, lot size and which mower i used. heat of summer would slow me down as well as doing the best job possible. quality takes more time and effort, and i suggest you stress quality over quantity. people recommend your services to others based on quality not on how fast you work. the quantity will come if you stress quality work now. tuck your shirt in and shave because nobody respects someone who doesnt respect themselves.
this is the biggest BS i have heard. 1st year no advertising 40-50 clients? hahaha

jemvai
10-18-2009, 10:05 AM
YUP no advertising and 40 to 50 first year? BS!!! I got 28 my first year, with 1250 door hangars and an ad running 13 weeks in two different places.

Stillwater
10-18-2009, 10:15 AM
I was able to get forty to fifty different customers my first year. word of mouth no advertising. all withen 10 miles of eachother. as a solo i could do anywhere from 8-9 to 12-13 a day depending on location, lot size and which mower i used. heat of summer would slow me down as well as doing the best job possible. quality takes more time and effort, and i suggest you stress quality over quantity. people recommend your services to others based on quality not on how fast you work. the quantity will come if you stress quality work now. tuck your shirt in and shave because nobody respects someone who doesnt respect themselves.


So you say if you don't tuck your shirt in or shave you don't respect yourself ? Wow I am at a loss for words hear, so I will just roll with this.....Don't be a pin head

willretire@40
10-18-2009, 01:46 PM
To be completely solo you could have 60 and do them by yourself even if it raings one day a week. The only way I would not have atleast 1 part-time guy is if I had 40 or less. This is all based off of 1/4 acre lots.

Morningside
10-18-2009, 06:52 PM
Punt66, Your a heavy equipment operator, what do you know about landscape maintenance?

Stillwater, I expected more from you than a slam on keeping a good personal appearance.
Whats wrong with you people?

punt66
10-18-2009, 07:03 PM
Punt66, Your a heavy equipment operator, what do you know about landscape maintenance?

Stillwater, I expected more from you than a slam on keeping a good personal appearance.
Whats wrong with you people?

Was an operator. Now servicing 59 accounts as a solo. Been in the construction and now lawn business for 17 years. I know how to sell and what to advertise and know BS when i see it. Anything else? Offer good solid advice and i am on board.

punt66
10-18-2009, 07:15 PM
Punt66, Your a heavy equipment operator, what do you know about landscape maintenance?

Stillwater, I expected more from you than a slam on keeping a good personal appearance.
Whats wrong with you people?


This is your quote and reply to a thread named: "Just curious to how you guys got started"


"cutting for elderly neighbors on weekends, then tore up my back and lost regular job. six months later i needed work so i fired up the mower and now "I AM BUILDING AN EMPIRE" "


Sounds reasonable to me unlike your above post. Glad your empire is doing well.

Stillwater
10-18-2009, 09:21 PM
Punt66, Your a heavy equipment operator, what do you know about landscape maintenance?

Stillwater, I expected more from you than a slam on keeping a good personal appearance.
Whats wrong with you people?

Morningside, My comment was on your choice of words not the content of what your were trying to communicate.... quote:-tuck your shirt in and shave because nobody respects someone who doesn't respect themselves. I place importance on appearance big time but I also don't judge a person because his shirt is not smartly tucked in the moment I happen by.

mdlwn1
10-18-2009, 09:28 PM
Lol at morningside. There are 2 reasons why he picked up 50 accounts within 10 miles his first year. Either 1. Brand new town with no landscapers...or...drumroll please.............Congratulations! You are officailly the CHEAP guy! No prob..if that was your plan...

MikeTA95
10-19-2009, 03:24 PM
i do fifty lawns with a 36 inch scag, takes me 5 days to complete them all so like ten per day average, even though I do a few large lawns in the beginning of the week and alot of smaller ones near the end of the week.

DA Quality Lawn & YS
10-21-2009, 11:56 AM
I would say solo 40 per week in these parts. 1/4 acre lots with some large lawns sprinkled in.

whoopassonthebluegrass
10-21-2009, 12:30 PM
About how many accounts on average can a solo get the 1st year ?

I'm not being hateful or hurtful with this response, so please don't interpret it that way, but...

There's absolutely NO valid answer to that question.

The simple fact of the matter is that it comes down to

* your capital
* your marketing strategy
* your sales-closing-expertise
* your personal drive
* your desire to be "fiscally competitive" vs. being elite
* and on and on.

Sooooo, you want 75 accounts by spring? You can do it if you work hard enough. You want to just take what comes easy? Then a dozen might be a more realistic expectation.

Drive is everything.

mowerbrad
10-21-2009, 12:32 PM
When you first start out it takes time to get accounts, some people get accounts faster than others.

With that being said, the amount of accounts you can do a week depends on a few factors. One, how close all the accounts are to each other. Two, how efficient of equipment you have. And three, the size of the accounts.

You could accomplish anywhere from 20-60+ per week. If you have good routes, and average 1/4-1/3 acre accounts you could easily do 15 per day. Just don't spread yourself too thin, its good to have a little extra time incase of rain.

Mowbizz
10-21-2009, 03:24 PM
I have 15 accounts now (SOLO) and would like (about) another 10 more with a bit tighter route (working on that). I'm 60 years old this year and I don't really need to be out hustling from dawn to dusk...just let me make a decent living and I'll be happy. The trouble with solo is when the weather goes against you like this past rainy spring/summer...right now I can mow all 15 in a good long day if I need to , but I'd rather work 3 or 4 days over the course of the week. Spring and Fall cleanups are a different story...gotta hustle on those and try to beat the weather.

tropical breeze
10-22-2009, 09:44 PM
In my 1st year the goal is 25 to 30 yr 2 the goal is 35 to 42. I did my first lawn today and it was so fun started off at a 20.00 job but by the time I left it was a 460.00 job Great first cut. And he wants me to do some more big stuff soon.

Big Reggie Regg
10-22-2009, 09:58 PM
I just started off two .I got between 10-15 customer's in about a month. And i started off by myself is alot better...You don't want to spilt the money with nobody right knew you'll learn from your mistake...Good Luck..

Stillwater
10-22-2009, 10:18 PM
In my 1st year the goal is 25 to 30 yr 2 the goal is 35 to 42. I did my first lawn today and it was so fun started off at a 20.00 job but by the time I left it was a 460.00 job Great first cut. And he wants me to do some more big stuff soon.


ya know one day, and it will come, it is just not gonna be fun anymore.

punt66
10-23-2009, 05:52 AM
ya know one day, and it will come, it is just not gonna be fun anymore.
isnt that the truth! I had the worst case of burn out this year.

MarcSmith
10-23-2009, 07:47 AM
YUP no advertising and 40 to 50 first year? BS!!! I got 28 my first year, with 1250 door hangars and an ad running 13 weeks in two different places.

Very easy to get this. I never ran one yellow page, newspaper ad, or hung one door flier or did any direct mailing. in three years I had 3 crews...

I targeted the developments I wanted and then placed ads in the HOA newsletters and offered incentives for my customers to spread the word. My farthest job was a ten minute drive from the shop.

Orlando is pretty ripe with 8-10K sqft lots which means a solo guy can get in and in out in 30 minutes... doing 10-15 a day is easy enough provided you have a tight route.

tropical breeze
10-23-2009, 08:50 AM
I have been a chef of a great restaurant for the past 8 yrs. I am burnt out I have been in the restaurant business for 20 plus yrs I am tired of 15 hr days and working all weekend day and night I have 7 and 9 yr old boys and dont see them more than 10 hrs aweek. And the stress that goes with 40 plus employee and managing a $ 7 million dollar restaurant is just not for me anymore the passion is gone. I guess this can go for any line of work. Did my first yard yesturday and It was so nice to not have to think about 6,000 moving parts to make it work. It was me and my equipment thats it. I had fun

Stillwater
10-23-2009, 08:56 AM
I have been a chef of a great restaurant for the past 8 yrs. I am burnt out I have been in the restaurant business for 20 plus yrs I am tired of 15 hr days and working all weekend day and night I have 7 and 9 yr old boys and dont see them more than 10 hrs aweek. And the stress that goes with 40 plus employee and managing a $ 7 million dollar restaurant is just not for me anymore the passion is gone. I guess this can go for any line of work. Did my first yard yesturday and It was so nice to not have to think about 6,000 moving parts to make it work. It was me and my equipment thats it. I had fun

One of my closest friends was a chef at a prestigious restaurant, he was in that industry for about the same time as you, he got burnt out for the exact same reasons as you. He is now running his own landscaping biz he is in his 40's

tropical breeze
10-23-2009, 08:24 PM
I will be 37 next month and I hope I will be doing this full time by next summer or sooner. I worked a landscape job for the last two days and it was nice to be home by 5:30 and made what I think is good money on those days and my stress level was at 0 % thats a nice change. Im sure there will be stress going forward but dont think it will be anything like the restaurant business stress ball.

tropical breeze
10-23-2009, 08:25 PM
About your friend is he glad he made the change ?

Stillwater
10-24-2009, 06:51 AM
About your friend is he glad he made the change ?

Yes he is happy about it, I saw him today and mentioned your post to him. He went to one of those culinary schools after high school in the early 80's.

He has been into landscapeing for about 3 or 4 years now he has his stress moments when it slows down, But we all do though.

CkLandscapingOrlando
10-24-2009, 07:30 AM
I was a chef and graduated top of the class. I hate every thing about the kitchen. I really hate having some yahoo right next to me. That being said I have never felt more stress than I do now at times. But it's my stress.

I think this question is not one that cant be answered. I've seen some of the best, top notch service providers, grow like honey flows. I've seen other with no clue at all grow to 3 trucks in a year. If your picking up 20 houses in your first year with no leg work, your either cheap, it's crap work, or your lucky. I've turned down at least as much work as I have. Why, because it's crap work. It pays just like the rest, but I know it will never be the kind of property that will bring more work. I'm not gonna just mow. I'm not coming every other week. If I cant look great in front then I just dont want it

Landscape Poet
10-24-2009, 03:34 PM
I can not answer your question 100% accurate. But I can tell you of my experience as I am less than a year in here in FL.
I previously mowed for State Park system in Missouri so I had no idea on the residential end of it. The equipment was even different going to z turns from tractors.
I looked around and got all my equipment at the end of last January. I did not even have my act together 100% on advertising until Feb. I knew I did not want to travel too far and pay tolls etc. I got a idea of what the going rate was by calling other contractors and having them price my yard as well as my next door neighbors. (this is where I got to experience all the different kinds of LCO FL has LOL). I found what I felt was a good price for me to turn a profit after covering my overhead. I then started with plain flyers. I did not have much luck but it took a long time walking door to door. I got a few calls and picked up my first three customers. I then had my mother (who owns and operates a newspaper) design and make me a nice looking templete for business cards and door hangers and flyers. I continued to walk my target neighborhoods ( all within 3 miles of my house/office). I continued to pick up clients.
Soon we were going into this past summer and I had maybe 15 clients - I made sure to do a great job on their properties - did some extras, and word of mouth advertising took off for me. I keep getting referals and still do. I have not done any flyers/doorhangers since March.
I am currently up to 34 clients. Most of my lawns are in my neighborhood or ones within 3 miles. I can do all my clients in two days if needed. I usually stretch out into 4 so I can continue to pay special attention to clients properties. I often visit with my clients which cost me time but often get me more referals or more side projects such as plantings. I feel that I can continue to grow to 60 clients without sacrificing quality and still allowing me to have weekends and evenings with the family.
I hope this helps gives you insight on what you can accomplish, but there are many factors as many have said that will contribute to your growth or lack there of. I am just trying to give you some insight, as I was in shoes similiar to yours roughly a year ago.
Good luck and remember that quality work as CK above stated ( and told me roughly a year ago) is your best advertisement... you will be amazed at how quick someone is to share their experience with others if you give them a good one, you will be even more amazed about how quick the share a bad experience.

CkLandscapingOrlando
10-24-2009, 06:45 PM
Word of mouth is it. I got one place in windermere, which is higher end, that has kept me going. I started with a sod bid. In 6 months I have 3 maint jobs, 8 sod jobs, 6 landscape jobs, 6 mulch jobs, and now have a direct contact with a realastate agent that only deals in higher end. Which I will do my first job for there clients this week. It all started from a conversation with a lady that was taken bids from several contractors. I out talked them and then followed up with quality work. Now all the folks know my name and every one stops to say hello to Chuck

tropical breeze
10-30-2009, 11:10 AM
Well I started sooner than I was ready to start. Funny my mustang was loaded with all kinds of stuff. Mower in front seat. LOL so I was mowing the lawn then get ready to weed wack and the guy comes out and asks me want to do some landscaping for me . YES so do the landscaping and it took longer than I would have liked because I didnt have correct equipment but thats ok I am just starting. So I finish and he says looks great. then says in a few weeks want to redo this area for me and because I will be here 6 days a week want to do my yard its big it sits on 3 lots. ANSWER YES YES YES. So a little talk about what the place was going to be turned in to $ 1,000 landscape job and $ 300 a month lawn care account plus he is going to let me put my sign in the job I did at the sub shop. Great 1st job. And for you Chuck it was nice being outside with the breeze and working at my pace wich is fast but MY pace and knowing that 4:30 is coming up its time to clean up and head home to have dinner with the family rather than ok is 4:30 whats left to do before we get slammed for dinner tonight and run around putting fires out all night and getting home around 12:30 am When you get stressed just remember those days. I am still living it daily hopefully for not long.

stevenf
10-30-2009, 12:39 PM
I know of a solo guy that does over 90 a week.
Posted via Mobile Device

Kiril
10-30-2009, 12:46 PM
http://www.affordablehousinginstitute.org/blogs/us/dr_evil_one_million_dollars.jpg

........ 1 million

tropical breeze
10-30-2009, 01:21 PM
Thats funny

TSB group
10-31-2009, 09:17 PM
Hey, don't be afraid to be the cheap guy your first year. Your not really a pro, and probably not even that good at it! Like anything else, it takes time, patience and practice. If the going rate for a lawn in your area is $50, and you are charging $35....they will be getting what they pay for. I have about 38 accounts for my first season next year by word of mouth and previous contacts that know I will do what I promised. That being said, the ones I get on my own are getting a great price due to my lack of mowing experience.

Go slow, do well and it will get quicker and better. The harder you critique yourself the better your service will be. This is not rocket science, its just simple attention to detail and good service.

tropical breeze
11-02-2009, 08:57 AM
Thats great advice and thats how I am looking at it. Well said Thanks.

MowMasters
11-02-2009, 10:07 AM
Hello,

My name is Josh and I am from a small town in New York State. I am looking to start my own landscaping buisness officially. I have been doing small mowing jobs on the side for about 5 years now and I am ready to take it to the next step. I have been keeping my eyes peeled for open bids in the legal notice in the local newspaper. I already have several weed eaters, blowers, a new cub cadet push mower and trailer. The only thing I am going to have to buy is a new zero turn. I am looking for some guidance on some other tips I can implement into my strategy for the winter time months of finding customers. I hope you can help me I am 21 years old and new to the buisness world and need help

tropical breeze
11-02-2009, 10:31 AM
Something I just thaught of Holidays are here people are starting to shop for gifts. I am going to put packages together on a flyer. Yard make overs , cutting lawn contracts and so on. Pay with in the next 2 months and get 2 cuts for free. People like free stuff. This will help generate some cash in the slow months and hopefully get me more accounts. Going to give it a try. Lawn Care Holiday packages Buy now and save big and enjoy your summer rather than working on it.

ChaseLandscapes
11-21-2009, 06:16 AM
As many as you can obtain..

XLS
11-21-2009, 10:48 PM
jemvai i cant say it was BS we went into an area way out of our area last year and got 120 in one location (You could actually walk to every home after you unloaded )and going into this year had 500 in the one location they move the truck about 5 times a day as they go through the complex we got the original 120 with 3 days of talking and walking i think we only handed out 250 cards/flyers to the community as a whole.

Chilehead
11-21-2009, 11:11 PM
Read some of the other threads. This question has been asked dozens of times. Briefly answered, it depends on: route density, route locality, and individual property size. I'm pretty sure you can connect the dots.

Tom3982s
11-21-2009, 11:41 PM
I agree it all depends on how you will get your name out there. After many years you may not need to do much at all. My concrete guy does not advertise at all any longer and does not even have his company name on his truck. He works 6 days a week usually. But he has been doing it for years. The key for him and anyone to me is great service at first.

swflagreenlawn
11-22-2009, 08:25 PM
Trop - Get on a municipal vendor list so you can be invited to bid. Good networking available. With stimulus monies going to county housing authorities, counties are buying repo's and hiring local vendors. Good Luck!!!!

S L C
11-22-2009, 10:53 PM
I have 15 accounts now (SOLO) and would like (about) another 10 more with a bit tighter route (working on that). I'm 60 years old this year and I don't really need to be out hustling from dawn to dusk...just let me make a decent living and I'll be happy. The trouble with solo is when the weather goes against you like this past rainy spring/summer...right now I can mow all 15 in a good long day if I need to , but I'd rather work 3 or 4 days over the course of the week. Spring and Fall cleanups are a different story...gotta hustle on those and try to beat the weather.

after reading your post... let me guess, NO taxes being paid in to uncle sam, right??? you guys drive me nuts..:waving::waving:

tropical breeze
11-23-2009, 11:44 AM
I just found out the other day what was needed and because I get payed every 2 week from my other job next week I will be getting my tax ID but Last week I registered my trailer. But thanks for the feedback.

kemco
11-27-2009, 01:09 AM
I would think picking up 30-40 your first year would be obtainable if you get out and hussel for them.

When I got back into this business, after being out for a number of years, it was just me an a friend of mine starting this up and I believe we picked up about 50 that year. We put out literally thousands of postcards that 1st year in very targeted areas in my city. we had around 100 accounts by the end of the 3rd year and had to hire some help. Now we have around 150 and a few people wrking with us.

TXNSLighting
12-30-2009, 12:02 AM
YUP no advertising and 40 to 50 first year? BS!!! I got 28 my first year, with 1250 door hangars and an ad running 13 weeks in two different places.

In the area he is in its very possible..

NEWGUYRI
12-30-2009, 12:38 AM
Obviously, you want customers.
I realize you want to hear a realistic number, but what I can tell you is you
don't want to shoot for any specific number, that is, just do a good job and
let the pieces fall into place on their own some.

The more you try and get a certain amount of customers, the harder it gets
and you'll only end up compromising yourself, the thing is we all start out with 1.

That having been said, there's no telling, at the end of your first year you might have as few as 20 as many as 200...

It all depends, whether you want the full service customer of which you'll be
able to accommodate less numbers, or whether you prefer the mow and blow
type (of which you can service a greater quantity).

Again I say just let it kind of fall into place, don't try too hard to get
someplace other than just do a good job.

good post I couldn't agree more. In this industry you just kinda have to do your best work, because if you set a goal for accounts, you may not be doing your best work, instead you'll be trying to reach that goal, not realizing your harming your own goal. If that makes sense:)

Bob_n_weave
12-30-2009, 06:58 PM
Trop - Get on a municipal vendor list so you can be invited to bid. Good networking available. With stimulus monies going to county housing authorities, counties are buying repo's and hiring local vendors. Good Luck!!!!


Don't you have to pay hundreds of dollars first to get on Vendor list, just to be able to bid ?

barko4
01-14-2010, 08:32 PM
Obviously, you want customers.
I realize you want to hear a realistic number, but what I can tell you is you
don't want to shoot for any specific number, that is, just do a good job and
let the pieces fall into place on their own some.

The more you try and get a certain amount of customers, the harder it gets
and you'll only end up compromising yourself, the thing is we all start out with 1.

That having been said, there's no telling, at the end of your first year you might have as few as 20 as many as 200...

It all depends, whether you want the full service customer of which you'll be
able to accommodate less numbers, or whether you prefer the mow and blow
type (of which you can service a greater quantity).

Again I say just let it kind of fall into place, don't try too hard to get
someplace other than just do a good job.

Excellent expert advice!:drinkup:

Golfpro21
01-16-2010, 08:37 AM
I will be 37 next month and I hope I will be doing this full time by next summer or sooner. I worked a landscape job for the last two days and it was nice to be home by 5:30 and made what I think is good money on those days and my stress level was at 0 % thats a nice change. Im sure there will be stress going forward but dont think it will be anything like the restaurant business stress ball.

I turn 40 next month, I have been a golf professional for 10 years, and since I live in Ontario Canada have had winters off...well this winter I decided to get into snow removal....I put an ad in a publication that cost me $400 for two issues, and gained 19 accounts from it.....and I love it....I have ordered a Huskovarna tractor and I am going to try and get 10-15 summer accounts, and then put a blower attachment on the tractor for next winter so I can take on some larger accounts and a few more as the process will be quicker. I plan to work the golf industry one last summer (this coming one) and do the lawn care part time...then hopefully leave the golf industry behind (except for a few lessons here and there) But the property care busniess is mine, I dont have to worry about 400 whining golf members complaining its too cold and then too hot, that I won't miss. Yes lawn and snow customers will complaiin, but I am trinied inside out on customer service so its easy.......my main point is this industry has huge potential and it seems less stressful than the golf industry...I am sure someone will disagree but thats life