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View Full Version : $20 yards, seems to be a ton of em'


Grnhed
01-21-2010, 08:17 PM
Hello folks,

First a bit about me, I am in start up mode, in business a month, have ten accounts so far from door hangers. I have been in biz to biz sales for almost 15 years and this is my first venture on my own. 53 yr old Male with wife and one 5 year old, yes thats correct a FIVE year old and, as far I as I know its my first child *grinnin*. In a nut shell lost my job twice in 09 and for my almost a 40 yr career, I have had two jobs. One in commercial publication printing and the packaging sales job I led off with. Told myself that was the last time I would leave my destiny in someone else's hands. So, here I am!
To the point. Most of the accounts I have picked up are small interior residential lots and for one reason or another they are leaving the incumbent for lack of attention to detail. They were great in the beginning but as time went on, they got a bit lazy. As the title suggest, these are all $20 weekly accounts. Some i will have the opportunity to maintain the beds, some I will get the chemical business, some pruning here and there and hedge and shrub work.
Is what I am seeing normal? Do we all take the small accounts that appear to be a bit thin in the margin dept., just to get a book of business and as better margin accounts begin to fill the books, we begin to kick the smaller thinner ones to the curb, OR should I focus on getting these done in the most efficient way and in the shortest amount of time, (20+/-minutes) and bunch these together as most are in my own neighborhood, on the same day to reduce windsheild time, while maintaining quality and slowly raise their pricing? OR, and in addition to, try to make up the margin shortfall in the "extra" business I get from them, be it mulch, seasonal color, stone work?

I appreciate you feedback and I just wanted to say I have been a lurker during the winter, and with the banter and experience you guys seem to freely share with each other, helped me decide to pull the trigger and try to make a go at this.
I only have residential gear so far and hope it will get me to a decent cash flow level to buy some decent gear.
Honda HRR216 variable
Two Ryobi 26cc power heads with two string attachments an edger attachment and blower attachment.
My first goal is a back pack blower, then an edger, Stihl or Echo.

Am I headed down a decent path.
GrnHeD-and yes I love chasin' dem Mallards
Harry Harper
North Texas Turf & Landscape Service

MikeKle
01-21-2010, 08:37 PM
Well, its sad to say that $20. yards are becoming more common! But if you can get a bunch of them on the same street, that would be OK and you could be in and out quickly. I did have one $20 account last year, but dropped it last fall. but her yard was a postage stamp I couldve done with a trimmer alone if I had to. I had been wanting to drop her for awhile but continued to service her because she was older and wasnt able to get around real well, and I just felt sorry for her, but last fall, a guy who fixed her fence one time took an interest in mowing it for her since he lived in the same area, so I basically gave it to him, so that worked out nicely for everyone. I do not think the Ryobis will last too long in this industry, but maybe for 10 accounts? Is the mower you have a WB or rider? Honda is pretty good, but not used much in this industry, but just using until you can get something better suited may work out OK? I would try to get a 36-48" commercial WB, like exmark, scag, gravely, etc. and maybe a used commercial trimmer and handheld blower for now, until you can afford the back pack. Trimmers take a beating in lawn care, and anything short of a commercial grade unit will crap out quickly. Many guys make the mistake of trying to get the biggest baddest ZTR when they are just getting started, when they should be looking for a smaller WB that is very versatile and can handle just about any type of terrian you get, but a ZTR will not handle steep grades, and small areas as well as a WB. Good luck, and you will find the search button very helpful.

Grnhed
01-21-2010, 08:50 PM
Well, its sad to say that $20. yards are becoming more common! But if you can get a bunch of them on the same street, that would be OK and you could be in and out quickly. I did have one $20 account last year, but dropped it last fall. but her yard was a postage stamp I couldve done with a trimmer alone if I had to. I had been wanting to drop her for awhile but continued to service her because she was older and wasnt able to get around real well, and I just felt sorry for her, but last fall, a guy who fixed her fence one time took an interest in mowing it for her since he lived in the same area, so I basically gave it to him, so that worked out nicely for everyone. I do not think the Ryobis will last too long in this industry, but maybe for 10 accounts? Is the mower you have a WB or rider? Honda is pretty good, but not used much in this industry, but just using until you can get something better suited may work out OK? I would try to get a 36-48" commercial WB, like exmark, scag, gravely, etc. and maybe a used commercial trimmer and handheld blower for now, until you can afford the back pack. Trimmers take a beating in lawn care, and anything short of a commercial grade unit will crap out quickly. Many guys make the mistake of trying to get the biggest baddest ZTR when they are just getting started, when they should be looking for a smaller WB that is very versatile and can handle just about any type of terrian you get, but a ZTR will not handle steep grades, and small areas as well as a WB. Good luck, and you will find the search button very helpful.

I "preeshate" the feedback my friend, and the best of luck to you this season as well.

Harry-PS, the Honda is a WB 21" quadracut variable speed, mulch or bag.

djchiodo3
01-21-2010, 08:54 PM
Sometimes you have to look what you make per month, not what you make per lawn. What is your total monthly income? Most people work 40 hrs per week and collect a paycheck. What is your pay check after a 40 hour week? This might help justify those lawns that pay on the low side.

unkownfl
01-21-2010, 09:06 PM
Thats the problem people look at what they make at 40 hours per week. They don't put into consideration actual cost of business, growth they wish to achieve, and taxes. They figure hey at the end of the week I have 500 bucks thats 100 more I use to make working for someone. Then comes the day they need a new mower or truck and then they are out of business.

topsites
01-21-2010, 09:14 PM
Yeah, it takes time, and maybe I wouldn't be thinking about
kicking certain folks to the curb for a bit of a while yet.

Because you might be surprised when times get tough, which you might catch a spot or two of those...
You'd be surprised how seemingly unaware customers suddenly become aware how things aren't going well for you...
And you might catch a few real surprises when you find out who sticks with you, and who ends up bailing.
At least I was, don't think customers won't leave on their own, some bail at the first hint of trouble,
some others later, and then there are those who wouldn't leave you for nothing in the world.

Watch who these folks are, I'd be willing to wager some of those $20 yards are in that lot,
so please don't be so presumptuous as to assume it's all about money, and not to talk down
on you because I also feel once the blood starts to running in your veins I think you will see
for yourself how it runs far deeper than that.

And remember when you get years down the road, who it is that got you there.
Yes sir.

Peace out

twcw5804
01-21-2010, 09:59 PM
I don't mind doing a yard for under $25 as long as a solo operator I am making $1/minute while I'm there. However if you have to drive cross town 20min and have no other jobs there then its no good. I have a $15 yard that my wife and I can mow together in 10min in and out, but then drive 20sec around the corner to cut a 93yr old ladys yard not much larger for $25, but she talks for 20min and I end up being there for 45min. Since I'm part time I allow for some of the slower ones. If I had 20 more people to get to in one day it wouldn't be such a good idea.

For me I would never kick those customers to the curb. They are usually my yards where I consider giving back. For instance the only reason I cut this yard for $15 is because they lady cannot afford more, and I got it because her daughter cut off two fingers trying to raise mower while running. Yes she was more than old enough to know better. But mowing 2 houses down I naturally got the referall.

Last example. I have a $25 yard that is connected to 3 other yards that all pay $25, no traveling. I get so mad at this yard because it has a steep slope in the back yard that is hard to stand up on even when dry. Last fall the old lady behind them hired me for $40/mow. Like everyone said, set your own goals and stick to them.

Grnhed
01-21-2010, 10:04 PM
Yeah, it takes time, and maybe I wouldn't be thinking about
kicking certain folks to the curb for a bit of a while yet.

...
Watch who these folks are, I'd be willing to wager some of those $20 yards are in that lot,
so please don't be so presumptuous as to assume it's all about money, and not to talk down
on you because I also feel once the blood starts to running in your veins I think you will see
for yourself how it runs far deeper than that.

And remember when you get years down the road, who it is that got you there.
Yes sir.

Peace out

I apologize if it came off as presumptuous, I really meant to pose it as a question rather than a statement. I was trying to get the perspective of this tenured group, like you say, once the blood starts running in my veins. i know for me in my sales career, margin was important but, my relationships with my customers enabled me to keep some of that margin even when times were tough. The relationship was the result of how my customers felt about me, or my company, OR the price. For me there were only three types of customers, ones that were loyal to the rep (me), ones that were loyal to the company I worked for, (especially national accounts), and, dare I say it, (whores), only concerned about the price, easy to get, but just as easy to lose over a penny. I had much more respect for the customers that were difficult to land. I wanted that kind of loyalty too once they became MY account.
I hope I didnt come off as taking the smaller customer for granted as I am a firm believer in "dance with the one that brought you"
Thanks
Harry

MikeKle
01-21-2010, 11:07 PM
Despite what some others may tell you on here, establishing personal relationships with customers in this industry is a great thing to shoot for, they will remain loyal to you and you alone, as long as you continue to provide quality service. I do not know why some are so against it, yeah, it may seem old fashioned and not the norm today, but who likes the way most companies treat their customers today anyway, Most people would love to have a personal relationship with the guys mowing their lawn.

NorthTXlawnguy
01-21-2010, 11:34 PM
Hey Grnhed, you can do all right in this business as long as yuo provide the detail the others missed out on. You may have to take on some early on at $20, but the detail and added customers over the next few years will allow you to raise that rate in no time. If you establish the personal relationship and do the detail you will maintain most of them and in 3 years be at $25 or more...not to mention the extras you may get along the way.
Pm me when you get your 10 or so posts and we can get together if ya like. I am starting over after 15 years in the business in the midwest. Been a small one man operation and had a partner doing 150 lawns a week. Nothing to crazy, but I have done a little!

slamjamrockinman
01-22-2010, 12:46 AM
My vote is to keep them. I'm in the same boat, about 20 accts and part time. I love the smaller ones, especially if they are close. If you got a 36 hydro walk behind, you could probably knock them out even faster than right now. Line up 5-10 on the same block and do them in and hour or two. My cheaper lawns are the ones that have asked me to do the most odd jobs. Every account is valuable to me because I upsell a decent amount. Good luck this year!
Posted via Mobile Device

Grnhed
01-22-2010, 04:11 AM
Hey Grnhed, you can do all right in this business as long as yuo provide the detail the others missed out on. You may have to take on some early on at $20, but the detail and added customers over the next few years will allow you to raise that rate in no time. If you establish the personal relationship and do the detail you will maintain most of them and in 3 years be at $25 or more...not to mention the extras you may get along the way.
Pm me when you get your 10 or so posts and we can get together if ya like. I am starting over after 15 years in the business in the midwest. Been a small one man operation and had a partner doing 150 lawns a week. Nothing to crazy, but I have done a little!

Well thank-you NTL, I would like that, maybe I can scratch up a couple of nickels and buy you a cup of coffee for your trouble.

thanks everyone for the feedback and support. As I go along here dont be shy if you think I am going down the wrong path. For what its worth, I subscribed to the Lawn Care Business Guide and I'm running Lawn Pro III for software. Is there anything else I should jump on while I'm really "green" before I get too many bad habits?

Harry

Grnhed
01-22-2010, 04:12 AM
My vote is to keep them. I'm in the same boat, about 20 accts and part time. I love the smaller ones, especially if they are close. If you got a 36 hydro walk behind, you could probably knock them out even faster than right now. Line up 5-10 on the same block and do them in and hour or two. My cheaper lawns are the ones that have asked me to do the most odd jobs. Every account is valuable to me because I upsell a decent amount. Good luck this year!
Posted via Mobile Device

Thank-you my friend, I "preeshate chu", and I hope you have a stellar year as well.

Harry_ You guys feel free to have a look at my web-site. I am just getting it up an running and there is still lots to do.
HTTP://Northtexasturf.com

Lazer Cut
01-22-2010, 08:44 AM
hey bud... I was thinking about dropping one lawn that is $20 that I have but her yard is so lush and I can make it look the best on the block (not bragging) whoever ferts it man they do great. I have gotten 3 jobs for next year because of this.

I took on 2 jobs at $25, then another came from referral and pretty I had about 10 $25 lawns in the same hood... I can mow 4 in a row in 1.5 hours by myself... its great...

I hope to get another 10-20 lawns in the area... hopefully I had 32 accounts and 10 were in that one neighborhood and 3 were across the street in the other neighborhood... I would like 60-80 accounts this year... hopefully 80

CircleC
01-22-2010, 06:05 PM
Sometimes those $20 lawn turn into more work.....turn and burn the mowing and make money on the ferts and pruning. Raise price a little next season, keep them happy and keep them forever. Good base customers

DoetschOutdoor
01-22-2010, 06:16 PM
$20 is too low unless you have several yards lined up next to each other. Even then, they'd have to be really small yards to only pay $20 and that would include absolutely ZERO customer interaction time.

JayD
01-22-2010, 06:28 PM
WELCOME to our site. Best of luck to you my friend. We all have to start somewhere. It will work out, but there are more and more people doing this now because of jobs going down the tubes, so your pricing will have to be competitive.

torotorotoro
01-22-2010, 08:00 PM
i dont know how small the yards are where you guys live but i could not mow any yard around here for less then $25.i have a $32 ave. it costs alot to run a lawn service

lawnsaspire
01-23-2010, 01:08 AM
I'm tired of people on here trying to dictate how much other people should charge for lawns. No one has a right to say you should be charging this or you shouldn't be charging that. How do you know how much it takes for me to support my family. I have several $20 yards. They usually take me from between 25 to 30 minutes. I try to make $40 an hour mowing lawns. I also have a couple of yards that pay $70. And that is competetive here for a solo operator. All of my equipment is payed for. My truck and trailer I own. I don't buy things on credit that I'm trying to use to make money. If you live a simple lifestyle you can afford to charge less and still do a great job. I would be very careful of trying to dicate prices to people. I bought in to some of the advice on here on how much to price last year and I actually missed out on some good lawn accounts b/c of overpricing. The way you price lawns is figure out how much you need to make an hour to support yourself and your family and charge accordingly. This does require the talent of knowing how long it takes to mow the lawn you're estimating. You have to answer for yourself, don't let the viewpoints of others distort your good jusgement.

hackitdown
01-23-2010, 06:56 AM
I have 2 $25 lawns. They are tiny, and right next to each other. It makes for a very profitable stop, since we can cut and trim them in about 15 minutes. So together, they take 1/2 the time of a typical $50 lawn.

Every case is different. It is more about time and location than size.

coolluv
01-23-2010, 08:07 AM
I'm tired of people on here trying to dictate how much other people should charge for lawns. No one has a right to say you should be charging this or you shouldn't be charging that. How do you know how much it takes for me to support my family. I have several $20 yards. They usually take me from between 25 to 30 minutes. I try to make $40 an hour mowing lawns. I also have a couple of yards that pay $70. And that is competetive here for a solo operator. All of my equipment is payed for. My truck and trailer I own. I don't buy things on credit that I'm trying to use to make money. If you live a simple lifestyle you can afford to charge less and still do a great job. I would be very careful of trying to dicate prices to people. I bought in to some of the advice on here on how much to price last year and I actually missed out on some good lawn accounts b/c of overpricing. The way you price lawns is figure out how much you need to make an hour to support yourself and your family and charge accordingly. This does require the talent of knowing how long it takes to mow the lawn you're estimating. You have to answer for yourself, don't let the viewpoints of others distort your good jusgement.

You need to realize that it doesn't matter if your equipment is payed for or not you still have to figure that in to your price. You guys that say hey my stuff is payed for so I can charge less don't have a clue. You charge the same if you are making payments or not. Maintenance costs need to be figured into the mix. Replacement cost also. You don't price your work based off of what you need to live, you price your work based on what you need to keep your business alive and make a profit. Your on the path to going out of business but you don't no it yet, just like many on here.

Sure you can get more business by being cheap, but all that does is wear out your body and equipment, and in a few years you realize its not worth it. It cost alot of money to run a maintenance business, if your just starting out and have purchased everything used for a decent price and you don't owe anything on it that's great. But the problem arises when that stuff wears out and your simple lifestyle as you put it, doesn't afford you to replace it. That's when reality hits for most guys.

After the truck is worn out and breaking down all the time and you keep throwing band aids on it once a month. Then the mowers start doing the same thing, and the hand held equipment. Now you have to buy everything again and you don't have the funds to do it. Now its either get out or buy on credit. So you decide to buy on credit thinking you will make the payments. First its a new mower, then maybe a new blower. Before you know it you struggling to make a living. Your just one blown tranny away from being out of business.

Then after your gone and working a real job the rest of us have to try to compete with the lowball prices that you set in the minds of most customers.The same customers that can give a rats @$$ if your in business next year or not. They will just take advantage of the next dumb @$$ that doesn't have a clue and the cycle continues.

If you want to run a business and live a simple lifestyle that's one thing. But if you want to run a business and continue to be in business then you have to make a profit. There are alot of risks and expense that go with running a business and you should be compensated for that. If you want to live a simple lifestyle great, as long as your bank account is getting fat. If you just want enough money to live a simple lifestyle, there are easier ways to do it. Owning a business is not one of them.

Large companies can work cheap because of efficiency. Even though their prices seem like lowballing, they have the equipment and the processes down to a T. The successful ones have looked at it every which way from Sunday and have got it down to a science. You as a solo or with a helper cannot survive on the same numbers because your business is totally different. You are forced to charge more if you want to stay in business.

Its a numbers game. What most don't realize is this is a very competitive industry where profit margins are very slim. Knowing all of your costs and charging enough to cover that plus your salary and profit is hard to calculate in the beginning because you have no history to look back on. Once you have been around a few years and can look back at your true costs, that's when the picture gets clearer and clearer. By that time most guys have run their truck and equipment into the ground and don't have the funds to replace it. Then its bye bye time and the next fool looking for easy money takes his place, or they guy that's tired of working every day for the man and then happens to find this site and believes all the bull, and thinks hey I can do that too, easy money baby. Well think again. With all the people laid off and struggling to make ends meet its getting tougher and tougher. Even some of the larger outfits are going out of business, and they have been doing it for years. If your new here and think you are going to set the world on fire in 2010 your in for a rude awakening.

Good luck with your business, I'll be waiting for your equipment to appear on Ebay or Craigslist.

Dave...

MikeKle
01-23-2010, 11:03 AM
I think what attracts many people to lawn care is many have probably mowed a few yards when they were a kid,( but doing it commercially is much different),and think it will be the same, and they have either heard of someone around them that is making over $100K mowing grass, or see lots of guys on the road with tons of equipment, nice trucks, and think it must be a good paying gig. I admit I got into it because I met a guy who was making over $150K mowing, but didnt realize all the problems he had with keeping employees.Most guys that start doing this expect to be rich the first year,but do not realize it takes many years to build up a customer base, and pay off the expensive equipment it takes to do this job, it is great money, but takes time to get to that level, and most do not make it.

Grnhed
01-23-2010, 11:44 AM
....If your new here and think you are going to set the world on fire in 2010 your in for a rude awakening.

Good luck with your business, I'll be waiting for your equipment to appear on Ebay or Craigslist.

Dave...

Well, I am new here, and I Am going to set the world on fire in Twenty Ten. I HAVE TO! Like you said, if your new here and believe all the bullshit of, on one hand, "easy street, easy money, one way ticket to rich, ORRRRRRR, Your doomed from the start, run for your life, your never gonna make it, its all gloom and doom, holy ****, had I known this I would have never done it".
I think even Ray Charles could see the fact that, it is different for everyone here. I live in the DFW market. Now take this with a grain of salt cause I am new in THIS business, I am NOT new in selling in this market. Its beat down, margins are thin, its about differentiating your self from the competition while remaining competitive. If all I offer is "cut chur grass fer free", it makes me just like the guh billion other guys whether they are one man shows or have so many employees that they have a yearly picnic. If I sell that way, it will ALWAYS be about price. If you sell price, you will lose on price. If I sell, nope I'm not gonna say sell, When I OFFER a program that will lower the total cost of maintaining the outside part of their home, business, fish pond, WHATEVER, I become and REMAIN if I'm smart, part of their daily SOLUTION to managing THEIR cost.
Your right it is ABOUT COST and PRICE. One thing I havent seen mentioned about the flood of people that are viewing this arena as an avenue to make some cash is the fact that, from a demographics view the "talent" that is going to hit this market has the potential to be a bit different. We are educated, literate, critical thinking performers who have been thrust in to the unemployment line NOT because of performance issues. Sure we are naive, and illiterate in this arena, but I find it humorous that some people will attempt to draw parallels of intelligence with illiteracy, naivety, and even with a persons accent. I can not tell you how many deals I put together because someone let their guard down because of my TN accent. And, I am in Texas for Gawdsake! I didn't even know I HAD an accent. So, just be aware that some of these dumass'es (me) phqueing up the market are going to be the same dumbass'es standing in the Craigslist line picking up your "boat anchors" you have for sell or buying that client list you cant service for a profit anymore.
This is not a trial run for me. I HAVE to replace a buck fifty a year gross income. Not next year, NOW! Sure I can't do anything about THE economy, but I CAN do something about MY economy.
Harry James Harper
North Texas Turf & Landscape SERVICE-here to stay

motorscot
01-23-2010, 11:53 AM
Harry,
I have used this calculator to be more efficient in both money and business practice. It will allow you to calculate for expenses that you may not have now, but will have later. You can always knock a percentage off to allow for some variances in locale (less windshield time) and being new to the area/customer/business.

Enter your info in the first form, hit enter, then enter the "minutes" and the rest of the info into the second form. Hit refresh to clear the form and start over. I would start with inputting the $20 customers you currently have and see how they fit into the formula to get a baseline. Again, figure your estimates with no help, 1 man, and 2 men. Add in your payments on truck, trailer, and equipment and its value, even if you don't have payments or even the equipment yet. A poster above is correct if you base things on how things are in Mar with 10-20 accounts, and not in June with 40+ and equipment going tits up every other day.

http://www.gopherforum.com/showthread.php?p=43299

I hope this helps. Good luck.

Grnhed
01-23-2010, 12:00 PM
I think what attracts many people to lawn care is many have probably mowed a few yards when they were a kid,( but doing it commercially is much different),and think it will be the same, and they have either heard of someone around them that is making over $100K mowing grass, or see lots of guys on the road with tons of equipment, nice trucks, and think it must be a good paying gig. I admit I got into it because I met a guy who was making over $150K mowing, but didnt realize all the problems he had with keeping employees.Most guys that start doing this expect to be rich the first year,but do not realize it takes many years to build up a customer base, and pay off the expensive equipment it takes to do this job, it is great money, but takes time to get to that level, and most do not make it.

I just bet your right. Its appealing on the outside but, shame on them for not doing the homework. I can see how success here is a process, NOT an event.

Harry

Grnhed
01-23-2010, 12:06 PM
Harry,
I have used this calculator to be more efficient in both money and business practice. It will allow you to calculate for expenses that you may not have now, but will have later. You can always knock a percentage off to allow for some variances in locale (less windshield time) and being new to the area/customer/business.

Enter your info in the first form, hit enter, then enter the "minutes" and the rest of the info into the second form. Hit refresh to clear the form and start over. I would start with inputting the $20 customers you currently have and see how they fit into the formula to get a baseline. Again, figure your estimates with no help, 1 man, and 2 men. Add in your payments on truck, trailer, and equipment and its value, even if you don't have payments or even the equipment yet. A poster above is correct if you base things on how things are in Mar with 10-20 accounts, and not in June with 40+ and equipment going tits up every other day.

http://www.gopherforum.com/showthread.php?p=43299

I hope this helps. Good luck.

Thank-you Mr. Shelby, (Ooops, that should have read Mr. Blake, Scott Blake Owner of Shelby Lawn Enforcement), I appreciate the tools. Lord knows my tool box has room right now.
Do you or anyone have a feel for, should I "sell" MY equipment to the "company" I know it will put me upside down right now but, it seems would help facilitate a truer (if there is such a word), cost as I depreciate the tools I use daily. Does that make sense? or am I misssin the boat?

ED'S LAWNCARE
01-23-2010, 12:38 PM
You need to realize that it doesn't matter if your equipment is payed for or not you still have to figure that in to your price. You guys that say hey my stuff is payed for so I can charge less don't have a clue. You charge the same if you are making payments or not. Maintenance costs need to be figured into the mix. Replacement cost also. You don't price your work based off of what you need to live, you price your work based on what you need to keep your business alive and make a profit. Your on the path to going out of business but you don't no it yet, just like many on here.

Sure you can get more business by being cheap, but all that does is wear out your body and equipment, and in a few years you realize its not worth it. It cost alot of money to run a maintenance business, if your just starting out and have purchased everything used for a decent price and you don't owe anything on it that's great. But the problem arises when that stuff wears out and your simple lifestyle as you put it, doesn't afford you to replace it. That's when reality hits for most guys.

After the truck is worn out and breaking down all the time and you keep throwing band aids on it once a month. Then the mowers start doing the same thing, and the hand held equipment. Now you have to buy everything again and you don't have the funds to do it. Now its either get out or buy on credit. So you decide to buy on credit thinking you will make the payments. First its a new mower, then maybe a new blower. Before you know it you struggling to make a living. Your just one blown tranny away from being out of business.

Then after your gone and working a real job the rest of us have to try to compete with the lowball prices that you set in the minds of most customers.The same customers that can give a rats @$$ if your in business next year or not. They will just take advantage of the next dumb @$$ that doesn't have a clue and the cycle continues.

If you want to run a business and live a simple lifestyle that's one thing. But if you want to run a business and continue to be in business then you have to make a profit. There are alot of risks and expense that go with running a business and you should be compensated for that. If you want to live a simple lifestyle great, as long as your bank account is getting fat. If you just want enough money to live a simple lifestyle, there are easier ways to do it. Owning a business is not one of them.

Large companies can work cheap because of efficiency. Even though their prices seem like lowballing, they have the equipment and the processes down to a T. The successful ones have looked at it every which way from Sunday and have got it down to a science. You as a solo or with a helper cannot survive on the same numbers because your business is totally different. You are forced to charge more if you want to stay in business.

Its a numbers game. What most don't realize is this is a very competitive industry where profit margins are very slim. Knowing all of your costs and charging enough to cover that plus your salary and profit is hard to calculate in the beginning because you have no history to look back on. Once you have been around a few years and can look back at your true costs, that's when the picture gets clearer and clearer. By that time most guys have run their truck and equipment into the ground and don't have the funds to replace it. Then its bye bye time and the next fool looking for easy money takes his place, or they guy that's tired of working every day for the man and then happens to find this site and believes all the bull, and thinks hey I can do that too, easy money baby. Well think again. With all the people laid off and struggling to make ends meet its getting tougher and tougher. Even some of the larger outfits are going out of business, and they have been doing it for years. If your new here and think you are going to set the world on fire in 2010 your in for a rude awakening.

Good luck with your business, I'll be waiting for your equipment to appear on Ebay or Craigslist.

Dave...

Excellent post. I would like to add my thinking is anyone can do this if they know their costs. I've said before that it makes me laugh when lco say you have to include replacement costs (which you do) and then themselves go and finance their equiptment with interest.

I myself have a minimum of $28, the yards that fall in that catagory I can do under half an hour. Now that being said I do this part time my health ins is covered by my full time employer. I do pay taxes and I already saved enough to replace all my equiptment except my truck. You will find that some on here will whine and tell you that 20 bucks a mow is terrible, but they don't live your lifestyle. Only you will know if this workes for you.

motorscot
01-23-2010, 01:14 PM
Twenty doallars is twenty dollars. Do two or three laws a day and you make good cash. I don't understand why people complain. I think people are just lazy.

If you want more cash you work harder.

Because you non-listening twit, you can do three lawns an HOUR with a commercial WB or ZTR. That equals $60/hr, $480/day. Enough to pay for your (I forgot, you can't afford a $1000 mower) mower in two or three days.

motorscot
01-23-2010, 01:20 PM
.
Do you or anyone have a feel for, should I "sell" MY equipment to the "company"

Write a bill of sale from you (Harry) to your company for either what you paid or more than what you paid. At the end of the year, write it off. No monies exchange hands. You can also "make payments" to yourself or "lease" the equipment to your company without actually making any payments. Just show the papertrail and you should be fine. Your accountant (preferably small business accountant) can shed more light on this.

Others will be able to give better advice than me.

topsites
01-23-2010, 01:21 PM
Again, figure your estimates with no help, 1 man, and 2 men. Add in your payments on truck, trailer, and equipment and its value, even if you don't have payments or even the equipment yet. A poster above is correct if you base things on how things are in Mar with 10-20 accounts, and not in June with 40+ and equipment going tits up every other day.

Yeah but there's another caveat, the price of the job remains the same regardless of not just
payments but also regardless of types and amounts of equipment, and regardless of employees or not.

That is, why would a customer be willing to pay more based on how many folks are going to be working on the project?
If such were the case I would make sure I always showed up with exactly the amount of workers I needed to charge the most...

Equipment too, why would a customer be willing to pay more based on whether the LCO is using a Ztr or a 21'?
Sure I didn't spend 9 grand so I could work for less, but that also doesn't mean I can charge more than the guy using a 21".
Open yourself up like that and I'd be betting the customers only want you to do it a certain way before long.

Of course the customer all they want is the best result possible for the least amount of money, come on now don't tell me LOL

But that is why if job x costs $300 it also runs $300 whether I show up by myself or with a crew of 500, whether I use a shovel
and a rake or if I bring an 80-thousand dollar skid steer loader, whether my cost of living is high or low, it's a $300 job.

Grnhed
01-23-2010, 01:54 PM
Because you non-listening twit, you can do three lawns an HOUR with a commercial WB or ZTR. That equals $60/hr, $480/day. Enough to pay for your (I forgot, you can't afford a $1000 mower) mower in two or three days.

*laffin*,,,, now that was funny, now we dont have to get personal though, you stupid phque, hahahah, even though we disagree, lets attack the post, not the poster.
U silly basterd!

Harry-loves spirited banter

dishboy
01-23-2010, 03:45 PM
Because you non-listening twit, you can do three lawns an HOUR with a commercial WB or ZTR. That equals $60/hr, $480/day. Enough to pay for your (I forgot, you can't afford a $1000 mower) mower in two or three days.

Great idea until you put that ZTR or large deck walk on that postage stamp lawn and they fire you.

coolluv
01-23-2010, 04:15 PM
*laffin*,,,, now that was funny, now we dont have to get personal though, you stupid phque, hahahah, even though we disagree, lets attack the post, not the poster.
U silly basterd!

Harry-loves spirited banter

Your a funny guy Harry, I like that. I used to know a fella years ago that would call everyone a silly bastard. He used to crack me up. You have the drive and the intelligence it seems. Just don't think you'll reach that buck fifty salary in a couple years. There are alot of guys out there just like you entering this business, only to find out that its not what its cracked up to be. Lawn and Landscape had an article a while back that said the average salary for a landscape owner was $65,000. Most were way below that. These are full landscape companies not just maintenance companies. If you have the ability to starve for a 3-5 years and plan on educating yourself everyday,going to training classes, not to mention busting your @$$ everyday. Well you just might make it.

Wish you luck and success.

Dave...

ED'S LAWNCARE
01-23-2010, 05:54 PM
Great idea until you put that ZTR or large deck walk on that postage stamp lawn and they fire you.

Why would they fire him. I have done several small postage lawns with my 60 inch lazer, literally took 10 min unload to load. $28 and no one complains.

coolluv
01-23-2010, 06:04 PM
Here is the life cycle of the typical lowballer doing $20 lawns. This guys started out bragging about how much work he was getting only to end up going under before the year ended. I took his posts and added my translation to them.

Remember this guy?

Billie Bob's LLC Billie Bob's LLC
LawnSite Member

Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Wichita Falls, TX
Posts: 132
im with lawnworks, but lets just say i " started " over this year and have got about 35 weekly lawn maintenance accounts in a little over a month. i made a great flyer design that delivers a simple message at the right time. works like a charm. only passed about 1800 of them and plan on doing 10-12000 2-4 times this season. should be set in a few months.

Translation: I just got 35 weekly lawn maintenance accounts in a little over a month because I lowballed the $hit out of them. I'm a friggin genius. Amazingly with only 1800 flyers.

Heres where it gets really funny.

Billie Bob's LLC
LawnSite Member

Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Wichita Falls, TX
Posts: 132
i need an a$$ kicking
the story- ive been mowing for 3 years now. i recently switched from commerical to residential mowing this past year and at a high this year i had 40-45 lawns in a very short time.

the problem- i hear this too much " sorry billy but we just can't depend on you".

now i wouldnt post this if i wasn't looking for help. i need someone to put it thru my head and get me straight. i take full responsibility for my actions and somewhere throughout the season i kind of lost interest and got lazy. however, in all fairness to myself, ive got a truck that has been acting stupid lately. been at the ford house 3 times the last three weeks. im just not sure if i've gotten burned out or what.

its to the point where i've questioned myself enough that i thought about joining the military to get my ass straight. i think it all happened when the highs were around 105-109 for 3 weeks straight and my truck screwed up all at the same time.

my interest now is to get ride of the things i don't need ( get out of the payments ) and higher someone for next season and starting running a business and not a job where i might end up making 10-15/hr.

if you've managed to read this far, thank you. help me sort it out. share experiences or just let me have it.

thanks,
billy

Translation: Man its hot! I have all these accounts that I'm getting paid peanuts for. Did I mention its hot! I just realized that after I pay all my expenses I'm only making $10 an hour. Did I tell you its really hot? I don't want to do this anymore.

The end result!


Billie Bob's LLC
LawnSite Member

Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Wichita Falls, TX
Posts: 132
2005 f250 4x4 king ranch
2005 f250 4x4. King Ranch edition.

-crew cab.
-6.0 powerstroke.
-75,000 miles.
-Tow Package
-brake controller
-automatic
-power everything, dual power seats
- 6-disc cd changer
-parking sensors

no problems whatsoever

just had egr valve flushed. Runs great.
had to sell business. no longer can afford.

asking 25,750.

if interested, ill post pics. just ask.

Truck is same on on default pic
Reply With Quote


Hmmmmmm notice the part about selling the business. Translation: I finally figured out that I'm better off working for someone else because I was nothing but a lowballer. But hey its not lowballing its smart. You have to do what you have to do. Right? He didn't sell his business, there was nothing to sell but the truck he could no longer afford.

Another one gone leaving behind his lowballer legacy. So the next time you get that call and hear....But the last guy was only charging me $20, you'll understand.

Dave...

jsf343
01-23-2010, 06:07 PM
$20.00lawns?! :dizzy::dizzy::dizzy::dizzy::dizzy::dizzy::dizzy::dizzy::dizzy::dizzy::dizzy::dizzy::dizzy::dizzy::d izzy::dizzy::dizzy::dizzy::dizzy::dizzy::dizzy::dizzy::dizzy:


sheesh, that was soooooooo 80's. Hasn't gas quadrupled since then? hasn't fertilizer gone from $6.00 a bag to $19.00 (cheapest at home chepo anyways.)

Lets continue to dumb down our industry charging stupid prices. :hammerhead::hammerhead::hammerhead:

jsf343
01-23-2010, 06:13 PM
Here is the life cycle of the typical lowballer doing $20 lawns. This guys started out bragging about how much work he was getting only to end up going under before the year ended. I took his posts and added my translation to them.

Remember this guy?

Billie Bob's LLC Billie Bob's LLC
LawnSite Member

Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Wichita Falls, TX
Posts: 132
im with lawnworks, but lets just say i " started " over this year and have got about 35 weekly lawn maintenance accounts in a little over a month. i made a great flyer design that delivers a simple message at the right time. works like a charm. only passed about 1800 of them and plan on doing 10-12000 2-4 times this season. should be set in a few months.

Translation: I just got 35 weekly lawn maintenance accounts in a little over a month because I lowballed the $hit out of them. I'm a friggin genius. Amazingly with only 1800 flyers.

Heres where it gets really funny.

Billie Bob's LLC
LawnSite Member

Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Wichita Falls, TX
Posts: 132
i need an a$$ kicking
the story- ive been mowing for 3 years now. i recently switched from commerical to residential mowing this past year and at a high this year i had 40-45 lawns in a very short time.

the problem- i hear this too much " sorry billy but we just can't depend on you".

now i wouldnt post this if i wasn't looking for help. i need someone to put it thru my head and get me straight. i take full responsibility for my actions and somewhere throughout the season i kind of lost interest and got lazy. however, in all fairness to myself, ive got a truck that has been acting stupid lately. been at the ford house 3 times the last three weeks. im just not sure if i've gotten burned out or what.

its to the point where i've questioned myself enough that i thought about joining the military to get my ass straight. i think it all happened when the highs were around 105-109 for 3 weeks straight and my truck screwed up all at the same time.

my interest now is to get ride of the things i don't need ( get out of the payments ) and higher someone for next season and starting running a business and not a job where i might end up making 10-15/hr.

if you've managed to read this far, thank you. help me sort it out. share experiences or just let me have it.

thanks,
billy

Translation: Man its hot! I have all these accounts that I'm getting paid peanuts for. Did I mention its hot! I just realized that after I pay all my expenses I'm only making $10 an hour. Did I tell you its really hot? I don't want to do this anymore.

The end result!


Billie Bob's LLC
LawnSite Member

Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Wichita Falls, TX
Posts: 132
2005 f250 4x4 king ranch
2005 f250 4x4. King Ranch edition.

-crew cab.
-6.0 powerstroke.
-75,000 miles.
-Tow Package
-brake controller
-automatic
-power everything, dual power seats
- 6-disc cd changer
-parking sensors

no problems whatsoever

just had egr valve flushed. Runs great.
had to sell business. no longer can afford.

asking 25,750.

if interested, ill post pics. just ask.

Truck is same on on default pic
Reply With Quote


Hmmmmmm notice the part about selling the business. Translation: I finally figured out that I'm better off working for someone else because I was nothing but a lowballer. But hey its not lowballing its smart. You have to do what you have to do. Right? He didn't sell his business, there was nothing to sell but the truck he could no longer afford.

Another one gone leaving behind his lowballer legacy. So the next time you get that call and hear....But the last guy was only charging me $20, you'll understand.

Dave...


well said! it ends up not only hurting them, but ALL of us in this industry.

You will never get it through these thick skulls though, they are smart, they have a business, they have lots of accounts.

lawnsaspire
01-23-2010, 11:49 PM
hey bud... I was thinking about dropping one lawn that is $20 that I have but her yard is so lush and I can make it look the best on the block (not bragging) whoever ferts it man they do great. I have gotten 3 jobs for next year because of this.

I took on 2 jobs at $25, then another came from referral and pretty I had about 10 $25 lawns in the same hood... I can mow 4 in a row in 1.5 hours by myself... its great...

I hope to get another 10-20 lawns in the area... hopefully I had 32 accounts and 10 were in that one neighborhood and 3 were across the street in the other neighborhood... I would like 60-80 accounts this year... hopefully 80

I agree. The twenty dollar lawns I have are all next to other accounts. four of them are right next to eachother and it takes me an 1.5 hours with a 36 inch wb. That's 80 dollars in an hour and a half. How is that lowballing or cutting your throat. I can see not charging $20 for a large yard but I don't feel right asking for more than that for such small lawns that add up and are in close distance to eachother. You have to remember, even big chain restaraunts have a value menu of things that cost a dollar or more, and those are money makers. If you're relatively new, it's not possible to turn down small yards. If you're going to accuse someone of being a lowballer b/c they take on tiny lawns and charge accordingly for their area you're really being unkind and inaccurate. I don't appreciate people saying negative things like you look forward to the demise of my business or I'll be out work in year. I'm extremely proud of my lawn service and the hard work I've put into it, and I'm determined to continue learning and growing. Not by lowballing, but by common sense and not allowing others dictate my operations by using accusations such as lowballer. I pay insurance, I honestly report and pay my taxxes, I'm not a lowballer.

JohnnyRocker
02-08-2010, 09:01 PM
$20.00lawns?! :dizzy::dizzy::dizzy::dizzy::dizzy::dizzy::dizzy::dizzy::dizzy::dizzy::dizzy::dizzy::dizzy::dizzy::d izzy::dizzy::dizzy::dizzy::dizzy::dizzy::dizzy::dizzy::dizzy:


sheesh, that was soooooooo 80's. Hasn't gas quadrupled since then? hasn't fertilizer gone from $6.00 a bag to $19.00 (cheapest at home chepo anyways.)

Lets continue to dumb down our industry charging stupid prices. :hammerhead::hammerhead::hammerhead:

I guess when all of these guys don't pay taxes or insurance,etc, they can low ball like that. This topic will go on forever. Just have to wait til they realize it isn't sustainable for very long. Happens every year. Or you can turn them in to the IRS also. But I've never gone that far, unless a scrub starts giving me trouble.

ChunkyBeaver
02-08-2010, 09:38 PM
It kills me that some of you guys fail to realize you're not the savy business men you envision yourself being in your dreams. You're busting a guys balls for $20 mowings. This isn't skilled labor people, anyone can get into this business; chances are that's why most of you are here. Just because you feel mowing a yard is worth $30 plus dollars for whatever reason whether it be your mower cost $10,000 bucks or you blow the grass off the sidewalks in such a professional manner. The fact is you're only going to get a couple customers out of a neighborhood in this economy. Despite popular belief some customers come to a point where they say screw it I'll cut it myself for that price. Now instead you look at it from a business stand point you set the price at $20 next thing you know your mowing 10 houses in a neighborhoold and your truck is sitting parked. So what does this mean? Time is spent making money not driving all over the city hitting up 1 or 2 here 1 or 2 there willing to pay your price:hammerhead: I'm not trying to offend anyone here but a majority of you guys want to give advice when you've been doing this for years and don't have a pot to piss in but think because your still in business your doing things right.

JohnnyRocker
02-08-2010, 09:47 PM
It kills me that some of you guys fail to realize you're not the savy business men you envision yourself being in your dreams. You're busting a guys balls for $20 mowings. This isn't skilled labor people, anyone can get into this business; chances are that's why most of you are here. Just because you feel mowing a yard is worth $30 plus dollars for whatever reason whether it be your mower cost $10,000 bucks or you blow the grass off the sidewalks in such a professional manner. The fact is you're only going to get a couple customers out of a neighborhood in this economy. Despite popular belief some customers come to a point where they say screw it I'll cut it myself for that price. Now instead you look at it from a business stand point you set the price at $20 next thing you know your mowing 10 houses in a neighborhoold and your truck is sitting parked. So what does this mean? Time is spent making money not driving all over the city hitting up 1 or 2 here 1 or 2 there willing to pay your price:hammerhead: I'm not trying to offend anyone here but a majority of you guys want to give advice when you've been doing this for years and don't have a pot to piss in but think because your still in business your doing things right.

LOL, I have seen guys operate equipment that have never done this, and ones who have experience....there IS a difference. Plus, there's a lot more that goes into managing this business when your customer base increases. The only time you spend is not just "mowing and blowing". I see where you are coming from, but it's not that way. With some, maybe it is. But I put a lot of time and effort into the whole picture. You don't have much after a legit operation is run after charging 20 a lawn in most cases. The proof is out there. These guys drop out quick. Not trying to offend you, either.

SouthSide Cutter
02-08-2010, 09:50 PM
You hear this crap about lowballing on here all the time. Some say they have to have 1.00 a min or as high as 1.35 a min.
Maybe you do but I dont. Now lets put the shoe on your foot. Would you pay 200.00 a month to have your yard cut or 300.00 or 160. these are pretty good figures for some people on fixed incomes.
And to the ones who call some lowballers, just what do you pay your help. If you make 60.00 a hr do you pay them 20.00 and take 40.00. Or maybe 10.00 and keep 50.00.
Come on put the facts out there. And if your paying just min wage or a little over then your LOWBALLING your help.
Its just cutting grass guys and anybody can do it. Retired, parttime, school kids it doesnt take a degree to cut grass. Alot do it to get out side make some extra money and just maybe enjoy doing it.

JohnnyRocker
02-08-2010, 09:56 PM
You hear this crap about lowballing on here all the time. Some say they have to have 1.00 a min or as high as 1.35 a min.
Maybe you do but I dont. Now lets put the shoe on your foot. Would you pay 200.00 a month to have your yard cut or 300.00 or 160. these are pretty good figures for some people on fixed incomes.
And to the ones who call some lowballers, just what do you pay your help. If you make 60.00 a hr do you pay them 20.00 and take 40.00. Or maybe 10.00 and keep 50.00.
Come on put the facts out there. And if your paying just min wage or a little over then your LOWBALLING your help.
Its just cutting grass guys and anybody can do it. Retired, parttime, school kids it doesnt take a degree to cut grass. Alot do it to get out side make some extra money and just maybe enjoy doing it.

I don't go for the "dollar a minute". I do pay my taxes, run a legit business, have insurance, and have gone to college...yes college. You do need time on some of these mowers to run them correctly. Not all of them, but some of them. Try keeping up with all of the expenses in this business and run a legit operation and let us know how it goes. Probably net less than 7 an hour. But hey that's your choice. And I can tell by your post that you have zero experience paying taxes as a business owner.

SouthSide Cutter
02-08-2010, 10:07 PM
Well you dont know me very well. Ive been doing this for 11 years and doing just fine. I am ins. to 1 million have my DOT #s, I dont brag on what I make. My equipment is paid for and just bought 14000 worth of new and didnt trade anything in. And paid for it. And I give some of my edging equip. blowers weedeaters to a guy who is just starting out and doesnt have the money to buy new.
I pay my taxes, do people some favors and take care of my parents.
Remember good things happen to people who do good things.

GreenT
02-08-2010, 11:46 PM
Here is the life cycle of the typical lowballer doing $20 lawns. This guys started out bragging about how much work he was getting only to end up going under before the year ended. I took his posts and added my translation to them.

Remember this guy?

Billie Bob's LLC Billie Bob's LLC
LawnSite Member

Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Wichita Falls, TX
Posts: 132
im with lawnworks, but lets just say i " started " over this year and have got about 35 weekly lawn maintenance accounts in a little over a month. i made a great flyer design that delivers a simple message at the right time. works like a charm. only passed about 1800 of them and plan on doing 10-12000 2-4 times this season. should be set in a few months.

Translation: I just got 35 weekly lawn maintenance accounts in a little over a month because I lowballed the $hit out of them. I'm a friggin genius. Amazingly with only 1800 flyers.

Heres where it gets really funny.

Billie Bob's LLC
LawnSite Member

Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Wichita Falls, TX
Posts: 132
i need an a$$ kicking
the story- ive been mowing for 3 years now. i recently switched from commerical to residential mowing this past year and at a high this year i had 40-45 lawns in a very short time.

the problem- i hear this too much " sorry billy but we just can't depend on you".

now i wouldnt post this if i wasn't looking for help. i need someone to put it thru my head and get me straight. i take full responsibility for my actions and somewhere throughout the season i kind of lost interest and got lazy. however, in all fairness to myself, ive got a truck that has been acting stupid lately. been at the ford house 3 times the last three weeks. im just not sure if i've gotten burned out or what.

its to the point where i've questioned myself enough that i thought about joining the military to get my ass straight. i think it all happened when the highs were around 105-109 for 3 weeks straight and my truck screwed up all at the same time.

my interest now is to get ride of the things i don't need ( get out of the payments ) and higher someone for next season and starting running a business and not a job where i might end up making 10-15/hr.

if you've managed to read this far, thank you. help me sort it out. share experiences or just let me have it.

thanks,
billy

Translation: Man its hot! I have all these accounts that I'm getting paid peanuts for. Did I mention its hot! I just realized that after I pay all my expenses I'm only making $10 an hour. Did I tell you its really hot? I don't want to do this anymore.

The end result!


Billie Bob's LLC
LawnSite Member

Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Wichita Falls, TX
Posts: 132
2005 f250 4x4 king ranch
2005 f250 4x4. King Ranch edition.

-crew cab.
-6.0 powerstroke.
-75,000 miles.
-Tow Package
-brake controller
-automatic
-power everything, dual power seats
- 6-disc cd changer
-parking sensors

no problems whatsoever

just had egr valve flushed. Runs great.
had to sell business. no longer can afford.

asking 25,750.

if interested, ill post pics. just ask.

Truck is same on on default pic
Reply With Quote


Hmmmmmm notice the part about selling the business. Translation: I finally figured out that I'm better off working for someone else because I was nothing but a lowballer. But hey its not lowballing its smart. You have to do what you have to do. Right? He didn't sell his business, there was nothing to sell but the truck he could no longer afford.

Another one gone leaving behind his lowballer legacy. So the next time you get that call and hear....But the last guy was only charging me $20, you'll understand.

Dave...



Post of the year candidate.

.

JohnnyRocker
02-09-2010, 12:03 AM
Well you dont know me very well. Ive been doing this for 11 years and doing just fine. I am ins. to 1 million have my DOT #s, I dont brag on what I make. My equipment is paid for and just bought 14000 worth of new and didnt trade anything in. And paid for it. And I give some of my edging equip. blowers weedeaters to a guy who is just starting out and doesnt have the money to buy new.
I pay my taxes, do people some favors and take care of my parents.
Remember good things happen to people who do good things.

You don't know me very well either. You don't know how big the lots are that I mow. I don't know your properties either. I'm almost tired of reading on this topic that will never go away.

JayD
02-09-2010, 12:07 AM
There is a way you can get deleted from this thread, I found it about a week ago but cant remember now how you do it.

JohnnyRocker
02-09-2010, 12:09 AM
I know. You can do it by e-mail or on here under "thread tools". Sometimes it's a great option to use!

GGsimons
02-09-2010, 09:41 AM
Wow...what a funny thread.

Saying you have a minimum charge is fine but, don't go making fun of people who cut some lawns for less then 25 or even less then 20. We have 5 $15-18 lawns that take about 10 minutes each to cut ( 1man ).

Our company averages about 1.45 per minute and we have gained 4 referrals from these customers.

I would have to say though the guys who are happy grossing $40 an hour are not going to be successful if all they do is maintain lawns. ( unless they have no insurance costs and hide most of the money, then they will make a mediocre living.

JohnnyRocker
02-09-2010, 11:47 AM
1.45 a minute doesn't mean much if we don't know how many guys are doing it. And with this, I am signing out of this ignorance convention of a thread. Buh bye.

dKoester
02-09-2010, 03:50 PM
When you roll out 30 lawns in a day with a two man crew, charging by the minute goes out the window.

froglawn
02-09-2010, 04:05 PM
$20 weekly???? GEEZ thats low!

dKoester
02-09-2010, 04:52 PM
We charge 35-40 per stop. People pay for results.

TreeClimber57
02-11-2010, 02:14 AM
Probably net less than 7 an hour. But hey that's your choice.

If you are running anything other than a residential mower, you can not likely pay for the gas with $7/hr!! Never mind the depreciation on mower, truck, trailer.. then equipment/vehicle maintenance, insurance, taxes, building costs, telephone, cell, internet, electricity.. shall I go on..? If anybody can run the business on $7/hr please let us know how.. I am all ears.

TreeClimber57
02-11-2010, 02:17 AM
We charge 35-40 per stop. People pay for results.

Agreed. Our minimum is $40 to unload the mower. If you won't pay that, then fine.. find another company. We do however have mostly larger lots, so $40 is not a huge issue, and most are well over that minimum charge.

TreeClimber57
02-11-2010, 02:23 AM
When you roll out 30 lawns in a day with a two man crew, charging by the minute goes out the window.

Wow!! Your lawns must be all connected together.

Lets do the math..

How long does it take you to park truck, and unload mower? Then you need to load mower, tie them down (I suspect you have two mowers).. raise ramp.. Suspect close to 5 minutes here (loading and unloading.. total).

How long to drive from one site to the next? Must be 5 minutes at least on average. But for now lets forget about driving time.. see below..

Then you need to have at least two breaks in day.. plus lunch break (at least we do by law for our employees). Minimum two - 15 minute break and one - 30 minute lunch period.

So we are up to 30 X 5 for loading and unloading.. That is 150 minutes or 2.5 hours to load and unload.. Then 2 hours for breaks.. that is 4.5 hours already.

I am missing something unless these lawns are all connected and you do not load and unload.. please elaborate!!

JayD
02-11-2010, 10:17 AM
Let this be a lesson to those that come on here and post some far out B.S.

Cause there are those on here who can do the math....:laugh::laugh::laugh:Thumbs Up

posterlion
02-11-2010, 10:39 AM
Agreed. Our minimum is $40 to unload the mower. If you won't pay that, then fine.. find another company. We do however have mostly larger lots, so $40 is not a huge issue, and most are well over that minimum charge.

Hey TC,

What is the average square feet of your lots? In my area they are 8,000 to 12,000 SqFt. That's total lot size, including the house.

Thanks in advance!

JNB Landscape
02-11-2010, 11:14 AM
When we started a few years ago, due to lack of money for large commercial equipment, the zero-lot yards were who we targeted. We charged $20-25 dollars and we picked up almost 40 yards our first year. We thought it was great. It literally took us 10 minutes to cut, edge, trim, and blow; we had a honda push mower, and an echo weed-eater and echo blower. We were averaging $800 a week. You might think that is not alot or enough money but we were only cutting 2 days a week because we had other full-time jobs. Plus we did not have to hire any help. There is money to be made everywhere, both big and small. Good luck.

openbook
02-11-2010, 11:18 AM
grnhed,
I don't know anything about you or the area you live in, but based on your age and the salary you claim you used to make, I would think you live in an affluent area. If that's the case I don't know why you would settle for 20 dollars. Another thing that I don't get is why you want to start out with non commercial equipment. Your going to have to hussle to cut 10 lawns with a 21" mower. It just doesn't make much sense to me. If this was a hobby I would agree, but if your trying to do this as a profession, do it right. Invest in the capitol to do this as efficiently and professionally as you can. For me I have nothing to invest, I'm stuck cutting with a 21, I want to go into business but am going to have to work for someone else again this year. Maybe next year, or maybe I'll finally land a job with a company I could have a career at in this industry.
Best of luck
Dave

Kustom Kutz
02-11-2010, 11:31 AM
Not to sound like a lawn snob, but there is no possible way that yard can be cut for $20 in my opinion. I have a $45 minimum to let the gate down on any of my trailers. I have been doing this for around 17 years and that is around what we charged back then. If you factor in your fuel, insurance, taxes, labor and equipment you might be breaking even. I charge $50/hr per man, so ideally a 3 man truck makes me 150/hr. I live in backwoods Mississippi and people pay it everyday. My guys have worked almost all winter while alot of my cheaper buddies that own services have beenout of work and working for me. You have to get into locations where people have money and they want there propeties to reflect that. One of the hardest things to do is go behind a "lowball lawn service" and explain to a homeowner why I charge $100 cut and the last guy only charged $65. My responce is there is a reason why the last guy doesn't still do the work.. Long story short is you get what you pay for.

Alan0354
02-11-2010, 11:44 AM
I have not read the whole thing, but $20 per yard really depend on where you are at. In the Bay Area, it is about $50 to $60 a month, cutting every other week. We don't have big lots but we do have a lot of houses. There are enough amigos willing to do for that price and if others don't like it, they don't have to bid for it. There are plenty waiting in line to take the job.

You don't need a lot of equipments, a trimmer, a hedge trimmer ,a Husky 150Bt blower and a 21" mower is all you need. You'll see a small pickup truck with equipments if you drive a few blocks during the day here.

Apparently they make a living from $60 a month lawns!!!

Kustom Kutz
02-11-2010, 11:57 AM
You have to think outside of the box. I am sure people in some areas run business's that way, but you have to cut alot of $60 a month yards to make $100k. If I lived in an enviorment like that I would be trying to get entrance ways and commercial propeties. That just wouldn't pay my overhead. I am sure an amego can always be found to do the work cheaper. Were I live they have been putting a end to "weekend warriors" operating small business's. If you get caught working around here without proper license, insurance and permits you get to spend a night ion jail. They arrest you on site and leave your equipment. I LOVE IT! There has to be a standard that everyone agrees on. I have around $9k invested in 1 of my enclosed trailers sitting empty. I would be out of business bc I wouldn't work that cheap

JFGLN
02-11-2010, 12:30 PM
Hmm... Money can be made with $20 lawns. We do 60 that average $20 per lawn in about 5 hrs. This is with 3 guys, 2 21" mowers and 1 guy trimming. Plus , we still have a couple of hrs to do some larger lawns on the way back to the shop.

openbook
02-11-2010, 12:56 PM
Hmm... Money can be made with $20 lawns. We do 60 that average $20 per lawn in about 5 hrs. This is with 3 guys, 2 21" mowers and 1 guy trimming. Plus , we still have a couple of hrs to do some larger lawns on the way back to the shop.
:laugh::dizzy::gunsfirin:eek:

Kustom Kutz
02-11-2010, 03:21 PM
I wasn't even going to bring equipment up.. Like I said I have been doing this for a long time. You are only as good as your equipment. $800 sounds good if it was really $800. After you take 15.3% for taxes, fuel, equipment and misc stuff that isn't enough to be able to live comfortably. Now is the time of the year for anyone thinking about getting into this to gear up... Its 2 differant ball games. If you are riding around with a push mower in the back of your truck nore than likely nobody is going to ask you to bid on 4 apartment complex's. I don't even own a push mower now that I think about it, but that might be why I don't have any $20 yards.

dKoester
02-11-2010, 04:07 PM
It takes me less than a minute to get the mower off the truck. Our lawns are so close together in bunches of 2-5 lawns. It doesn't take long to get that done in a day. If you want a tight route, decide your service area and advertise their only. If you have 10-15 minutes between stops you aren't going to get a high production rate. I learned from my old boss when I was 18. Work sun up till sun down.

jsf343
02-11-2010, 04:34 PM
I wasn't even going to bring equipment up.. Like I said I have been doing this for a long time. You are only as good as your equipment. $800 sounds good if it was really $800. After you take 15.3% for taxes, fuel, equipment and misc stuff that isn't enough to be able to live comfortably. Now is the time of the year for anyone thinking about getting into this to gear up... Its 2 differant ball games. If you are riding around with a push mower in the back of your truck nore than likely nobody is going to ask you to bid on 4 apartment complex's. I don't even own a push mower now that I think about it, but that might be why I don't have any $20 yards.

There are a few of us on here that feel the same way. I have been criticized for saying many of the same things in their threads. To me not knowing ones costs only dumbs down the industry. In fact I am writing a term paper on the cause and effect of lowballing, and believe me it hurts everybody but there are always idiots out there and on this site who could care less and will tell you they are making the big bucks. I think most on here understand I am NOT talking about guys who have 5 houses on the same block or something like that.

One of the frustrating things to me is when they win a commercial property because they bid the price so low, then they don't pay for the state, city or county license. Then they don't pay taxes on their earnings or workman's comp on their workers. It also chaps my hide when they carry no liability insurance or even vehicle insurance. Then they do a really crappy job on top of that, don't pull weeds just spray them with round-up (probably not licensed) and get overs-pray all over the edges of the grass. Then we are called and the owner is not overly happy and has an attitude of mistrust because of this episode. When we give the price the other idiots had it so low that now it makes ours look overly high.

This is a true story, most of the items I mentioned are factual because I researched the outfit who was doing the property, some I am not sure about, but assume (insurance), but I know that many outfits run this way because I have a few friends who are police officers and have pulled them over before (two in the last few years). Got to LOVE it. Put themselves at risk (who cares) others at risk, gives the industry a blacker eye then it already has and only hurts this industry's earning potential.

CircleC
02-11-2010, 05:04 PM
I'm with you guys....it's hard to make a living on $20 a lawn. I know if they are neighbors and all that stuff. BUT...you have to work your behind off to make any cash. Equipment cost is so high, trucks to pull that equipment are high, insurance is high, taxes are high....how can you make it with low income. Doesnt make much sense.

To top it off, I have been seeing $15 lawn advertising. Crazy, I sell value and my ability to create a great looking lawn.

Like someone said earlier...."You pay for what you get!"

TreeClimber57
02-11-2010, 05:28 PM
Hey TC,

What is the average square feet of your lots? In my area they are 8,000 to 12,000 SqFt. That's total lot size, including the house.

Thanks in advance!

We have some as small as 8,000 I would guess, but most are in the 3/4 acre and up.

TreeClimber57
02-11-2010, 05:34 PM
We do 60 that average $20 per lawn in about 5 hrs. This is with 3 guys, 2 21" mowers and 1 guy trimming. Plus , we still have a couple of hrs to do some larger lawns on the way back to the shop.

I don't care who you are, or what you are doing.. the lawns must be about 200 sq ft.. or you have jet packs on those mowers.

How can you do a lawn in about 3 minutes or less? (60 lawns in 5 hours works out to 5 minutes each.. but you have to leave time for refueling, travel between lawns, etc..)

Now if you actually have lawns that are small enough that you can do 60 in five hours, then $20 is more than enough to charge.. no issues from me on that one. Works out to $1200 in 5 hours, or $240/hr for 3 men (two with push mower and one with trimmer).. That is $1.33 per minute per man, (and that is charging for any travel time between lawns - even if it is walking). I would never be able to get that much for a guy with a trimmer.. if you can get that then more power to you!!

JohnnyCuts
02-11-2010, 05:56 PM
We have 6 $20 lawns. They are all duplexes on the same street. They take 2 guys 40 minutes to do. The lawns before and after this stop are less than 3 minutes away. I wish I could set up 10 stops like this a day and only do $20 lawns.

Also my wife and I do 30 1/4 acre and less lawns a day all the time. We average 3.2 an hour after May rainy season.

JFGLN
02-11-2010, 06:00 PM
I don't care who you are, or what you are doing.. the lawns must be about 200 sq ft.. or you have jet packs on those mowers.

How can you do a lawn in about 3 minutes or less? (60 lawns in 5 hours works out to 5 minutes each.. but you have to leave time for refueling, travel between lawns, etc..)

Now if you actually have lawns that are small enough that you can do 60 in five hours, then $20 is more than enough to charge.. no issues from me on that one. Works out to $1200 in 5 hours, or $240/hr for 3 men (two with push mower and one with trimmer).. That is $1.33 per minute per man, (and that is charging for any travel time between lawns - even if it is walking). I would never be able to get that much for a guy with a trimmer.. if you can get that then more power to you!!


I think your math is off a bit. I get 15 min per lawn.

5hrs x 3 men = 900 min.
900 min/ 60 lawns = 15 min per lawn, which sounds about right.

Very little travel time of course. My biggest distraction is chatty customers. To be honest sometimes it does take longer than 5 hrs, sometimes 6hrs. I think it all depends on your market. I find it easier to make a profit on many small lawns than the larger ones.

JohnnyCuts
02-11-2010, 06:10 PM
I know you guys know what small lawns look like, but here is my little $20 gold mine street. These are duplexes with 10 feet of sidewalk each.

TreeClimber57
02-11-2010, 06:11 PM
I think your math is off a bit. I get 15 min per lawn.

5hrs x 3 men = 900 min.
900 min/ 60 lawns = 15 min per lawn, which sounds about right.

Very little travel time of course. My biggest distraction is chatty customers. To be honest sometimes it does take longer than 5 hrs, sometimes 6hrs. I think it all depends on your market. I find it easier to make a profit on many small lawns than the larger ones.

Yes, depending on how you calculate.. but if you look at man minutes, then it is 15 minutes.

JFGLN
02-11-2010, 06:17 PM
Yes, depending on how you calculate.. but if you look at man minutes, then it is 15 minutes.

How else would you calculate?

We only do these $20 lawns one day a week.....wish we had more. Although by the end of the day we are beat and definitely ready for a cold one.:drinkup:

slamjamrockinman
02-11-2010, 10:01 PM
We have 6 $20 lawns. They are all duplexes on the same street. They take 2 guys 40 minutes to do. The lawns before and after this stop are less than 3 minutes away. I wish I could set up 10 stops like this a day and only do $20 lawns.

Also my wife and I do 30 1/4 acre and less lawns a day all the time. We average 3.2 an hour after May rainy season.

You hit the nail on the head. Here is my take, is it worth it to stop and do 1 $20 dollar lawn, NO!! Line up at least 4-5 on the same street, absolutely. I am so sick of hearing this, "I don't drop a gate for less than $40" BS. Yes, it is true that if you only do 1 lawn a stop, your minimum should be close to that. But either way, one stops are such a waste IMO. I think the key to making money in the resi market is multistops. I watch these guys ($40 minimum guys) puts and puts all over town and have 1-2 accts at each stop. They drive 10 minutes, take 5 minutes to load/unload, and take their sweet time. At that rate, you have to have a minimum like that.

I would so much rather stop and do 4-7 $20-$30 lawns in the time it takes them to do 1-2 $40 lawns.
A. the customer appreciates paying less and will spread your name if you do a good job.
B. Eliminates more windshield time and down time.
C. Cuts down gas use and truck use.

*Much of this comes from the member on here "ProCut1" This guy is genius IMO. READ his threads! His concept of dominating neighborhoods is KEY to make money in residentials IMO. Do a good job, charge less than the other guy b/c you can (Multi accts per stop), The name spreads, soon you have 10 accts on one street, drive a few blocks and do 8 more, you get the idea.
I will offer neighbor discounts to hopefully get the multistops that I am targeting. I'm 17 and don't have much experience, just another one of my "think outside the box ideas." I know I'll probably get attacked by some on here.
Could someone else shed some light on this please? Maybe on of you guys who loads up the rangers with the quick 32's and toro 21's. I know there is a niche for this.

Alan0354
02-12-2010, 01:06 AM
You have to think outside of the box. I am sure people in some areas run business's that way, but you have to cut alot of $60 a month yards to make $100k. If I lived in an enviorment like that I would be trying to get entrance ways and commercial propeties. That just wouldn't pay my overhead. I am sure an amego can always be found to do the work cheaper. Were I live they have been putting a end to "weekend warriors" operating small business's. If you get caught working around here without proper license, insurance and permits you get to spend a night ion jail. They arrest you on site and leave your equipment. I LOVE IT! There has to be a standard that everyone agrees on. I have around $9k invested in 1 of my enclosed trailers sitting empty. I would be out of business bc I wouldn't work that cheap

You have to understand the lawns are very small, 20 to 30 minutes top each. Homes are close by and they have small yards. If you get a few in the neighborhood, then it is not bad. Remember the LCOs are not big outfit like a lot of you guys. You guys do things in a big way, ZTR and all. What we have here are very small opperations, one beat up pickup, one 21", trimmer etc. will get you into business. I don't think they are all unlicienced, it is just cheap to get into the business. If it is so easy to start a business, there are a lot of LCOs here so the price is low. At the same time, I don't think these kind of LCO can compete with you guys in bidding on soccer field or large condo complex either. So it really depend on the location.

Yes, with all the competitions here, I don't think you are going to make 100K by just one crew.

slamjamrockinman
02-12-2010, 01:27 AM
Kustom Kutz,
I see where you are coming from, but there is so many guys who make money servicing lower end properties too. It seems that so many people want the high end work. You go into an affluent neighborhood around here, and every other lawn guy is there. I just can't wrap my mind around a $40+ minimum. There are plenty of guys who service a high volume of lower end properties here in MN. You have to remember a higher volume of properties results in more seasonal work-Clean-ups,snow,de-thatch, installs, trees, etc.. I am sure they make a good profit too.
I am just throwing that out there, your area is probably different from what it sounds like.

Darryl G
02-12-2010, 01:54 AM
I don't understand how anybody can do a lawn for $20 and make any money. By the time you get there, fire up 3 different pieces of equipment (mower, trimmer and blower), load back up and head to the next account. Plus depreciation on the equipment, gas to get there, time to do the invoicing, enter the payment, fill out the deposit slip and the time spent communicating with the client. It seems a lot of people don't figure in all that time, it adds up. I have a $40 minimum now regardless of the lot size. On the smaller lots, I can take my time and really make the place look top notch.

Darryl G
02-12-2010, 02:10 AM
I just read this whole thread. Ok, I guess if you have that many small lawns that close it would work. We don't have neighborhood around here like that. Maybe down on the beach but access is a pain in the ass. This is the kind of stuff I service. These lawns range from $40 to $55 per cut.

motorscot
02-12-2010, 03:00 AM
I know you guys know what small lawns look like, but here is my little $20 gold mine street. These are duplexes with 10 feet of sidewalk each.

I have 16 customers in the hood that I live in. They range from $25-60, bi-weekly. My goal is to have 30+ this season (out of 400+ homes). The $25 home is a new customer that I will start in 3 weeks. If I can get 3 or 4 on his street, then I will be able to knock those out in about an hour, maybe 1.5. I will have no problem with that as they are mostly front yard only setups.

Best of all, the 400+ homes are in a 1 mile diameter circle.

Personally, I am trying to get more accounts only in the hoods that I already do business. Looking for less shield time overall. My goal is to spend one day at each location and then move on the next day.

Alan0354
02-12-2010, 03:01 AM
Those are good size lawn. In the bay area, it has to be million+ home before you have anything like this. Most of the yard here is not even half the size. You charge more, people just buy their own mower!!!!

Darryl G
02-12-2010, 08:16 AM
The first house actually is a million dollar home. And it's only a 2 bedroom. But it's waterfront and really nice. They actually ripped that asphalt driveway out and put in 3/4 loose granite instead wth belgian block curbing. The other 2 houses are probably in the $400 to $600k range. Here's the back yard and view of the river for the first one. My house is up river about a mile. The next 2 are in $45 to $50 range as well. The last one I do for free. I've been mowing it for 10 years and have never gotten paid a dime and the owner is a real jerk too. It's kind of a crappy lawn but you should have seen it when i bought the place ;) Needs top soil. I have some crappy lawns I mow too but of course I don't take pictures of them.

EcoGreen Services
02-12-2010, 10:08 AM
I don't understand how anybody can do a lawn for $20 and make any money. By the time you get there, fire up 3 different pieces of equipment (mower, trimmer and blower), load back up and head to the next account. Plus depreciation on the equipment, gas to get there, time to do the invoicing, enter the payment, fill out the deposit slip and the time spent communicating with the client. It seems a lot of people don't figure in all that time, it adds up. I have a $40 minimum now regardless of the lot size. On the smaller lots, I can take my time and really make the place look top notch.

It comes down to volume and productivity.
Can you be profitable with 1 lawn at $20 if you have to load and unload, Absolutely not. Anyone saying otherwise really hasn't looked at their actual costs.

Can you make money at $12 a Lawn ? Crazy Talk you say !!!!! ...
:hammerhead:
Again , It depends on volume and productivity.

Here a example

A "Adult Lifestyle community" of 182 homes with very small front yards (about 30ftX9ft to 40ft X 12ft) No backyards to cut since they back onto a park and fences are not allowed. If you were to charge $40, how many would you get ?

Now if you were to charge $12 a home and because the cost was minimal you got 108 of them ?

With a Trimmer followed by 36" WB with bagger to eliminate blowing it takes about 9 hours with 2 men. Final cleanup with a walk behind Vac.
Total Revenue $1296

Labour Costs
18 hours @ $22 a hour (total costs with benefits) $396 (Experienced, Top Notch Guys)

Operating Crew Costs for truck, equipment, including fuel , Insurance, Avg Maintenance, Depreciation costs, Payments, A percentage for replacement equipment based on annual total expenses, Admin Costs, Sales Commisions, Etc divided by annual hours of operation @ $28.92 / hour = $260.28

Total Costs
Total Revenue of $1296 - Total Costs of $656.28

Profit before taxes
$639.72

22 cuts a year = $14073.84 Profit.

Not including additional revenue from Landscaping, Fertilizing Etc.

Total per season profit from one subdivision for all services $24272.64

It all depends on your business model.

The "Billy Bubba's" are pretty much locked out as long as you do decent work. because the price is so low per home.

Knowing your costs is key, It's not complicated math. Get a decent business system that tracks all your cost. Quickbooks Pro is cheap and works.

Know your area, Know the real estate agents selling new homes in new subdivisions, Offer them a 5% commission on the first year for new clients.

Just something to think about.

DoetschOutdoor
02-12-2010, 01:17 PM
THat house for $1 million is a rip off. Gotta be an expensive area because that aint no river in the backyard for what price tag comes along with that crib.

Ecogreen, why come behind the guys that just bagged and blew the clippings already. I can see them being really picky but if the lawns are as small as you say, there would be no need for coming behind with a vacuum and wasting more time. $12 is pretty cheap even if you have a whole neighborhood. $15 or 18 sounds more like it.

Darryl G
02-12-2010, 01:30 PM
THat house for $1 million is a rip off. Gotta be an expensive area because that aint no river in the backyard for what price tag comes along with that crib.

Ecogreen, why come behind the guys that just bagged and blew the clippings already. I can see them being really picky but if the lawns are as small as you say, there would be no need for coming behind with a vacuum and wasting more time. $12 is pretty cheap even if you have a whole neighborhood. $15 or 18 sounds more like it.

Well, the CT shoreline is an expensive area and it's on a private drive with 3 high end homes on it, 4th being built. All custom woodwork..the inside is beautiful. It looks older but it's a new home. Here's the house next door. That's an American Elm tree in the yard. I don't mow that one, they do it themselves and it shows..always clumps and hay on it.

slamjamrockinman
02-12-2010, 05:24 PM
Thankyou ecogreen, this is what I'm talking about. My plan for next year is similar to this. I'm trying to get at least 4-5 accts per stop, combined with a tight route, like 10 minutes max to each stop. My observation is that downtime will kill you. Gassing up, winsheild time, loading and unloading, etc.. Even if yoi have a bunch of 40-50 dollar accts and they are only one to two per stop, I don't find this profitable. So much down time. Think, if you load or unload 12 times a day, at about 5-10 minutes per stop, that adds up. Not to mention drive time and truck gas. It costs just as much if not more money to run the truck/trailer per hour and more gas, as opposed to running a wb and some handhelds. JMO.
Posted via Mobile Device

Darryl G
02-12-2010, 11:01 PM
Some areas just don't have the density for a business plan like that to work. If I did 3 lawns in a row on my road, I'd be a half mile away from my truck by the third one.

I guess what I'm saying is that I think we sometimes forget that what will work for some of us just won't work for others.

I market myself in being good, not in being cheap, and that attracts the kind of customers I like. A cheap customer is always a cheap customer, and I don't like being nickeled and dimed on every task. I gravitate toward the high end homeowner who doesn't have the time or desire to do their own yard work, so I get it all...the mowing, the hedges and shrubs, the cleanups, the plowing. It's more about service and a personal relationship than it is about price to them.

EcoGreen Services
02-13-2010, 12:00 AM
IMO being successful is being able to identify opportunity in your market and developing a profitable business plan. Define your plans ans goals.

Build efficiency into your business. I'm looking at another truck, Not a full size but a little Chev Colorado because the contract that it will be used for doesn't require any large equipment but the locations are about 6 to 10 miles apart so a smaller truck pulling a light 5X10 trailer with a WB and a 21 plus handhelds is all that's needed. I GPS map all the locations and based on the distance and mileage the fuel savings will be about $700 a year. And buy basic trucks, don't spend more than you need to for a rapidly depreciating asset.

Get to know the local real estate agents, Particularity the ones that specialize in high end properties can be your best allies.

In my area of the Niagara Escarpment it's a environmentally protected area, you are not allowed to build on less than 50 acres outside of the towns. The Creemore area is known as the Hamptons of Toronto. You can't touch one of those houses for under $1 million and many are second homes. New people to the area don't know anyone and a recommendation from a agent goes a long way.

See if the local agents have a monthly association breakfast and sponsor it. It's $50 or $60 well spent. The last one I went to I did a presentation on the benefits of organic lawn care to people on wells for their water and got several calls after.

Go to the chamber of commerce meet and greet breakfasts. Local business owners can be a great source of referrals. This is where being articulate and well groomed helps. Let's be honest, There's a lot of "Scrubs" in this business who are unable to fit in these environments.

There's a sales office opening in town in a few weeks for another subdivision of 265 homes that will break ground in the spring, Will I be in talking to the sales reps ? You bet I will.

Like the old say says, if you do what you've always done, you'll get what you always got.

Ok, enough rambling for now

Grnhed
02-13-2010, 11:13 AM
IMO being successful is being able to identify opportunity in your market and developing a profitable business plan. Define your plans ans goals.

Build efficiency into your business. I'm looking at another truck, Not a full size but a little Chev Colorado because the contract that it will be used for doesn't require any large equipment but the locations are about 6 to 10 miles apart so a smaller truck pulling a light 5X10 trailer with a WB and a 21 plus handhelds is all that's needed. I GPS map all the locations and based on the distance and mileage the fuel savings will be about $700 a year. And buy basic trucks, don't spend more than you need to for a rapidly depreciating asset.

Get to know the local real estate agents, Particularity the ones that specialize in high end properties can be your best allies.

In my area of the Niagara Escarpment it's a environmentally protected area, you are not allowed to build on less than 50 acres outside of the towns. The Creemore area is known as the Hamptons of Toronto. You can't touch one of those houses for under $1 million and many are second homes. New people to the area don't know anyone and a recommendation from a agent goes a long way.

See if the local agents have a monthly association breakfast and sponsor it. It's $50 or $60 well spent. The last one I went to I did a presentation on the benefits of organic lawn care to people on wells for their water and got several calls after.

Go to the chamber of commerce meet and greet breakfasts. Local business owners can be a great source of referrals. This is where being articulate and well groomed helps. Let's be honest, There's a lot of "Scrubs" in this business who are unable to fit in these environments.

There's a sales office opening in town in a few weeks for another subdivision of 265 homes that will break ground in the spring, Will I be in talking to the sales reps ? You bet I will.

Like the old say says, if you do what you've always done, you'll get what you always got.

Ok, enough rambling for now

I love it. This isnt mowing yards we did when we were little. Its about total cost reduction, being part of, if not THE, solution to the customers problems or their pains, and BEING DIFFERENT. Differentiate yourself from the competition, remember, average is just as close to the bottom as it is the top.
Harry

coolluv
02-13-2010, 11:19 AM
Hey Harry,what size are these $20 lots?

Dave...

EcoGreen Services
02-13-2010, 11:34 AM
I love it. This isnt mowing yards we did when we were little. Its about total cost reduction, being part of, if not THE, solution to the customers problems or their pains, and BEING DIFFERENT. Differentiate yourself from the competition, remember, average is just as close to the bottom as it is the top.
Harry
Well put Harry.
I try to think of it this way.. You can be a guy who cuts grass, Or you can be a solutions provider. I strive for the latter.

I endeavor to sell results, not the physical work involved in achieving those results. In the higher end residential market, Professionalism, Clean Trucks, Company uniforms and the ability to speak intelligently are a must. They don't care what's required to get it there, They are very proud of what they've achieved in life and take great pride in their homes. You can advertise and market all you like, but nothing will ever produce the results that refferals and exceptional work does.

I had one customer who had 5 people drive up to her house last year and ask what she does to make her place look so great ? Does that give her a tremendous sense of pride and feel it was money well spent... Of course it does. It also led to 3 new customers for this year.

Grnhed
02-13-2010, 11:46 AM
Hey Harry,what size are these $20 lots?

Dave...

Hang on Dave, I have the neighborhood PLOT from the county. Let me figure out how to get part of this PDF on here and I will show you. It has the lot dimensions with it as well.

Harry

Grnhed
02-13-2010, 12:13 PM
Hey Harry,what size are these $20 lots?

Dave...

Okee Doke, Now If I can embed this photo we are cookin with gas!!!
177453

If you can see the pic, I LIVE in the yellow house with the corner lot.
The reds are $20 lots that are either 55 or 60 x 110 without the house, blues $25, purple $35. Now I got these MATCHING what they were paying and none of them used the same service that I have discovered so far.

Harry

coolluv
02-13-2010, 12:46 PM
Okee Doke, Now If I can embed this photo we are cookin with gas!!!
177453

If you can see the pic, I LIVE in the yellow house with the corner lot.
The reds are $20 lots that are either 55 or 60 x 110 without the house, blues $25, purple $35. Now I got these MATCHING what they were paying and none of them used the same service that I have discovered so far.

Harry

Those have to be townhouse lots. Yeah I can see how those lots could be $20. Seems like your only cutting about 4000sq ft turf. Would like to see some google earth photos.


Dave...

Grnhed
02-13-2010, 12:55 PM
Those have to be townhouse lots. Yeah I can see how those lots could be $20. Seems like your only cutting about 4000sq ft turf. Would like to see some google earth photos.


Dave...

Google Earth,,,,,,,,,,DANG..........would you like some popcorn and uh Coke?

Google Earth comin up.....

Not townhomes though, just interior lots in a managed community.

Geee zussss, the thangs I do fer thezz folkz

Grnhed
02-13-2010, 01:12 PM
Those have to be townhouse lots. Yeah I can see how those lots could be $20. Seems like your only cutting about 4000sq ft turf. Would like to see some google earth photos.


Dave...


Ok, now what? *grinnin*

177455

Its basically the same, my yard has the yellow stripe in it, and you can go from there.

Harry

Grnhed
02-13-2010, 01:26 PM
Those have to be townhouse lots. Yeah I can see how those lots could be $20. Seems like your only cutting about 4000sq ft turf. Would like to see some google earth photos.


Dave...


...and a different perspective in Google Earth.
177456

Yellow my house
Red 20
Blue 25
Purple 35

coolluv
02-13-2010, 01:34 PM
Ok, now what? *grinnin*

177455

Its basically the same, my yard has the yellow stripe in it, and you can go from there.

Harry

Yeah its kinda what I figured. Most will have fences that you have to trim around,some on both sides.Having to use small mowers for access reasons etc. Rear entry garages with curbs in front and back to edge around. My point is even though the lot is small the details make up for more time spent on site. Soooooooooo$20 is cutting it real close to making any money.

But if it works for you. Appreciate you time

Dave...

Grnhed
02-13-2010, 01:37 PM
Those have to be townhouse lots. Yeah I can see how those lots could be $20. Seems like your only cutting about 4000sq ft turf. Would like to see some google earth photos.


Dave...

Had to add:177457





And for what its worth the Orange house in the upper left corner is 25. Plus, last week when it snowed, she had me paint two rooms up stairs for a buck fifty. I am designing a path and landscape on the north side of the house to enter into an outside Bar b Q area that she wants me to quote a re do on it as her hubby up and left after 30 years and left about 10 projects he was in the middle of.
With the exception of the 35 dollar house I have the weed and Fert add ons on all the accounts marked.
The blue across the street from the yellow (my house) I just dug up, moved, and re-planted two Crepe Myrtles, prune his Roses, trimmed the hedges, and mulched his beds. 120 on the Myrtles, 150 on the beds and hedges.
Have pending projects (soon as this record snow melts) down the street and around the corner.

HH

Grnhed
02-13-2010, 01:43 PM
Yeah its kinda what I figured. Most will have fences that you have to trim around,some on both sides.Having to use small mowers for access reasons etc. Rear entry garages with curbs in front and back to edge around. My point is even though the lot is small the details make up for more time spent on site. Soooooooooo$20 is cutting it real close to making any money.

But if it works for you. Appreciate you time

Dave...

As far as working for me, I dont know..... Its what they were paying and as I exmaine my cost structure, time spent on their lots, thats what will define if I am making any money. The windsheild time is nil, but I still have all the other cost associated with the stop.
If its not cost effective, I will simply raise the price and or move on.
The "cutting the grass" isnt WHY I am there, thats just the reason I show up every week. I want the fert, weed kill, bed maintenance, tree service, pool care, poop scooping. From what little experience I have, thats where the money is going to be. I want to be the OUTSIDE GUY TO GO TO. If Its outside and you need it done, I WANT TO DO IT.
As the trust builds, my margins grow. They will quit quoting every single item and rely on the trust I have built.
Now you better not take advantage of them and get caught speeding (tooooooo much margin) or your done, no questions asked!
HH

J & D Greens
02-13-2010, 01:51 PM
Okee Doke, Now If I can embed this photo we are cookin with gas!!!
177453

If you can see the pic, I LIVE in the yellow house with the corner lot.
The reds are $20 lots that are either 55 or 60 x 110 without the house, blues $25, purple $35. Now I got these MATCHING what they were paying and none of them used the same service that I have discovered so far.

Harry

Hi Harry, I have a lot of the same kind of properties like you have in this lay-out. And when I first started my bids at $20 for those smaller lots and $25-$30 for the others. I wish that I based my price for working at someones home at $25 or even $30. Here is why. People who are looking for the cheapest LCO are some times the biggest PITA (pardon the expression) and you can weed them out by just having a base price that will make them hang up or walk away (not wasting your priceless time). Also with the cost of doing business so volatile, it is best to be able to raise prices on a higher base than to try and do it on people who are on to tight of a budget already thus you don't raise them for fear you may loose 1/3 of your clients. Even though I'm part time (20 accounts like yours) I still carrier General Liability Insurance+Taxes and must maintain my truck, trailer and loads of equipment to insure I am able to fulfill my end of the agreement. This year I have raised on 80% of my accounts by 15%, even if I loose some that is the risk I am willing to take now. So that later when I am able to do this full time these accounts will be at a fair price. Someone said in this post that if they are all together on the same block it is not to bad. I differ because with all of my accounts I have 5 stops where there are 3 houses next to each other and one with 2 and a couple singles. Lets see. at one stop I could be making $20+$20+$25=$65 or at the same stop, $25+$25+$35=$85. So $65 verse $85 for a solo 1 1/2 hrs labor. And that is really still to cheap for the service's that we provide. I have one account that pays me $30 on a lot that you have listed for $20 and she has very little grass to mow, Her yard is lined with her passion (her garden) and there is maybe 1,000 square feet of mowing to do, those are the accounts to strive for. So like I said I wished at the very beginning I priced all my work even higher than I will be currently doing lawns for, the work will find you if you are doing a good job. Thanks David

coolluv
02-13-2010, 02:00 PM
As far as working for me, I dont know..... Its what they were paying and as I exmaine my cost structure, time spent on their lots, thats what will define if I am making any money. The windsheild time is nil, but I still have all the other cost associated with the stop.
If its not cost effective, I will simply raise the price and or move on.
The "cutting the grass" isnt WHY I am there, that's just the reason I show up every week. I want the fert, weed kill, bed maintenance, tree service, pool care, poop scooping. From what little experience I have, thats where the money is going to be. I want to be the OUTSIDE GUY TO GO TO. If Its outside and you need it done, I WANT TO DO IT.
As the trust builds, my margins grow. They will quit quoting every single item and rely on the trust I have built.
Now you better not take advantage of them and get caught speeding (tooooooo much margin) or your done, no questions asked!
HH

What happened to the company that was servicing them before? That might be the answer right there. I always love when a potential customer says; but the last guy was only charging me $20. To which I reply; well why do you think he's not here anymore? Then I get the deer in the headlights look and the; I will call you after I talk to my husband. Which you know as your leaving that the call is never going to happen.

Then you drive by the next week and see Johnny lowball going to town, and you just smile and shake your head. Then by July when its 100 degrees in the shade and Johnny's no longer around you see the lawn get neglected for a few weeks until they find the next Johnny come lately. The cycle never ends, and typically these types don't request extra services and rarely have a fert and squirt guy. The lawn gets dried out and full of weeds and then they want you to go 3 and 4 weeks without a service.

At least that is the way it is around my neck of the woods.

Your results may vary....

Dave...

jeffslawnservice
02-13-2010, 02:08 PM
Hi Harry, I have a lot of the same kind of properties like you have in this lay-out. And when I first started my bids at $20 for those smaller lots and $25-$30 for the others. I wish that I based my price for working at someones home at $25 or even $30. Here is why. People who are looking for the cheapest LCO are some times the biggest PITA (pardon the expression) and you can weed them out by just having a base price that will make them hang up or walk away (not wasting your priceless time). Also with the cost of doing business so volatile, it is best to be able to raise prices on a higher base than to try and do it on people who are on to tight of a budget already thus you don't raise them for fear you may loose 1/3 of your clients. Even though I'm part time (20 accounts like yours) I still carrier General Liability Insurance+Taxes and must maintain my truck, trailer and loads of equipment to insure I am able to fulfill my end of the agreement. This year I have raised on 80% of my accounts by 15%, even if I loose some that is the risk I am willing to take now. So that later when I am able to do this full time these accounts will be at a fair price. Someone said in this post that if they are all together on the same block it is not to bad. I differ because with all of my accounts I have 5 stops where there are 3 houses next to each other and one with 2 and a couple singles. Lets see. at one stop I could be making $20+$20+$25=$65 or at the same stop, $25+$25+$35=$85. So $65 verse $85 for a solo 1 1/2 hrs labor. And that is really still to cheap for the service's that we provide. I have one account that pays me $30 on a lot that you have listed for $20 and she has very little grass to mow, Her yard is lined with her passion (her garden) and there is maybe 1,000 square feet of mowing to do, those are the accounts to strive for. So like I said I wished at the very beginning I priced all my work even higher than I will be currently doing lawns for, the work will find you if you are doing a good job. Thanks David

I could not agree more with this post I am in the same senario right now with wishing I priced my mowing accounts higher. And also you are dead on about the PITA customers are the ones who want the lowest price. I have found that If you do good work then the customer will pay what ever your price is.

coolluv
02-13-2010, 02:58 PM
I could not agree more with this post I am in the same senario right now with wishing I priced my mowing accounts higher. And also you are dead on about the PITA customers are the ones who want the lowest price. I have found that If you do good work then the customer will pay what ever your price is.

Your exactly right and that has been my experience. I price my services for what I need from the get go. I know I have lost alot of potential customers because of it. But I don't have any customers that I regret working at every time I'm there. Raising prices after the fact generally does not work out. I'm not overpriced by any means but I know I price on the high end compared to most guys. Working a business takes alot of investment in your time and your money, not to mention the risks involved. If your going to work for peanuts your better off working for someone else.

Less stress and headaches and you sleep good at night. I wish more guys would realize that fact and charge accordingly.

Here is a good book to read. How to Price Landscaping and Irrigation Projects by James R. Huston. This book lays it all out for you. It really shows you what your cost are. One more thing I will add. When I was doing this part time and working my regular job, I was in it to learn and get business experience. The money wasn't the objective at that point. So even though I was fully legit from the get go and had Quick Books pro from day one. I watched my money but profit was not a concern. I did price my work for what I wanted to make and I only had between 15 and 20 customers. I could of had more but the ones I didn't get were the ones that were cheap.

I didn't care I had a full time job and didn't have to live off of the money. It was what it was. As long as I paid for my initial investments I figured I would work it until then and then if I decided to continue I would. Well I lost my regular job and had to work it full time. That is when you really see the cost of doing business. Like I said, I paid attention and had all the information on Quick books but I wasn't concerned with making a living at it at that time.

Things look a whole lot different when you have to survive on that income. That is why I say to the new guys out there. Don't be fooled into thinking this is a easy,cheap way to make some money. Because that is far from the truth. I was like most guys adding up lawns in their head and multiplying by X amount and coming up with a weekly gross. It don't work that way and you find out quick what the reality is.

My area is loaded with lawn guys and most are illegal Mexicans or illegal companies and the rest are guys like me just hanging on or they are the big boys that have been around for a while and have it figured to a tee. Its not as easy as this site or the people on here make it out to be. Like I said most are part timers or don't need the income to live off of for one reason or another. Spring is right around the corner and the adds have already started down here. In a Month it will be ridicules with the amount of people fighting over the same accounts, each trying to be the cheapest in a race to the bottom.

Don't sit up at night counting the customers and multiplying the dollars in your head. Because you will be in for a rude awakening with the nightmare that is this business.

Dave...

georgiagrass
02-14-2010, 01:30 AM
Here is the life cycle of the typical lowballer doing $20 lawns. This guys started out bragging about how much work he was getting only to end up going under before the year ended. I took his posts and added my translation to them.

Remember this guy?

Billie Bob's LLC Billie Bob's LLC
LawnSite Member

Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Wichita Falls, TX
Posts: 132
im with lawnworks, but lets just say i " started " over this year and have got about 35 weekly lawn maintenance accounts in a little over a month. i made a great flyer design that delivers a simple message at the right time. works like a charm. only passed about 1800 of them and plan on doing 10-12000 2-4 times this season. should be set in a few months.

Translation: I just got 35 weekly lawn maintenance accounts in a little over a month because I lowballed the $hit out of them. I'm a friggin genius. Amazingly with only 1800 flyers.

Heres where it gets really funny.

Billie Bob's LLC
LawnSite Member

Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Wichita Falls, TX
Posts: 132
i need an a$$ kicking
the story- ive been mowing for 3 years now. i recently switched from commerical to residential mowing this past year and at a high this year i had 40-45 lawns in a very short time.

the problem- i hear this too much " sorry billy but we just can't depend on you".

now i wouldnt post this if i wasn't looking for help. i need someone to put it thru my head and get me straight. i take full responsibility for my actions and somewhere throughout the season i kind of lost interest and got lazy. however, in all fairness to myself, ive got a truck that has been acting stupid lately. been at the ford house 3 times the last three weeks. im just not sure if i've gotten burned out or what.

its to the point where i've questioned myself enough that i thought about joining the military to get my ass straight. i think it all happened when the highs were around 105-109 for 3 weeks straight and my truck screwed up all at the same time.

my interest now is to get ride of the things i don't need ( get out of the payments ) and higher someone for next season and starting running a business and not a job where i might end up making 10-15/hr.

if you've managed to read this far, thank you. help me sort it out. share experiences or just let me have it.

thanks,
billy

Translation: Man its hot! I have all these accounts that I'm getting paid peanuts for. Did I mention its hot! I just realized that after I pay all my expenses I'm only making $10 an hour. Did I tell you its really hot? I don't want to do this anymore.

The end result!


Billie Bob's LLC
LawnSite Member

Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Wichita Falls, TX
Posts: 132
2005 f250 4x4 king ranch
2005 f250 4x4. King Ranch edition.

-crew cab.
-6.0 powerstroke.
-75,000 miles.
-Tow Package
-brake controller
-automatic
-power everything, dual power seats
- 6-disc cd changer
-parking sensors

no problems whatsoever

just had egr valve flushed. Runs great.
had to sell business. no longer can afford.

asking 25,750.

if interested, ill post pics. just ask.

Truck is same on on default pic
Reply With Quote


Hmmmmmm notice the part about selling the business. Translation: I finally figured out that I'm better off working for someone else because I was nothing but a lowballer. But hey its not lowballing its smart. You have to do what you have to do. Right? He didn't sell his business, there was nothing to sell but the truck he could no longer afford.

Another one gone leaving behind his lowballer legacy. So the next time you get that call and hear....But the last guy was only charging me $20, you'll understand.

Dave...



Excellent commentary.

TheC-Master
02-14-2010, 01:34 AM
Your exactly right and that has been my experience. I price my services for what I need from the get go. I know I have lost alot of potential customers because of it. But I don't have any customers that I regret working at every time I'm there. Raising prices after the fact generally does not work out. I'm not overpriced by any means but I know I price on the high end compared to most guys. Working a business takes alot of investment in your time and your money, not to mention the risks involved. If your going to work for peanuts your better off working for someone else.

Less stress and headaches and you sleep good at night. I wish more guys would realize that fact and charge accordingly.

Here is a good book to read. How to Price Landscaping and Irrigation Projects by James R. Huston. This book lays it all out for you. It really shows you what your cost are. One more thing I will add. When I was doing this part time and working my regular job, I was in it to learn and get business experience. The money wasn't the objective at that point. So even though I was fully legit from the get go and had Quick Books pro from day one. I watched my money but profit was not a concern. I did price my work for what I wanted to make and I only had between 15 and 20 customers. I could of had more but the ones I didn't get were the ones that were cheap.

I didn't care I had a full time job and didn't have to live off of the money. It was what it was. As long as I paid for my initial investments I figured I would work it until then and then if I decided to continue I would. Well I lost my regular job and had to work it full time. That is when you really see the cost of doing business. Like I said, I paid attention and had all the information on Quick books but I wasn't concerned with making a living at it at that time.

Things look a whole lot different when you have to survive on that income. That is why I say to the new guys out there. Don't be fooled into thinking this is a easy,cheap way to make some money. Because that is far from the truth. I was like most guys adding up lawns in their head and multiplying by X amount and coming up with a weekly gross. It don't work that way and you find out quick what the reality is.

My area is loaded with lawn guys and most are illegal Mexicans or illegal companies and the rest are guys like me just hanging on or they are the big boys that have been around for a while and have it figured to a tee. Its not as easy as this site or the people on here make it out to be. Like I said most are part timers or don't need the income to live off of for one reason or another. Spring is right around the corner and the adds have already started down here. In a Month it will be ridicules with the amount of people fighting over the same accounts, each trying to be the cheapest in a race to the bottom.

Don't sit up at night counting the customers and multiplying the dollars in your head. Because you will be in for a rude awakening with the nightmare that is this business.

Dave...

Yea, GA is pretty bad, you *have* to focus on people who want quality, or else you'll be down with the bottom of the grain. This is the most competitive area in the US.

georgiagrass
02-14-2010, 02:03 AM
"This is not a trial run for me. I HAVE to replace a buck fifty a year gross income. Not next year, NOW! Sure I can't do anything about THE economy, but I CAN do something about MY economy.
Harry James Harper
North Texas Turf & Landscape SERVICE-here to stay"


Mr Harper: You're going to have a tough time replacing your former income of $150k by doing $20 lawns. First assume, conservatively, that a solo operator must earn $100 for every $75 he takes home (after you've paid for very basic expenses such as gas, maintenance, basic insurance, equipment accrual, etc.). Thus, you must gross $200k to end up with $150k. Another way of saying this is that, from a $20 lawn, you only get to keep $15. Thus, you must cut 10,000 $20 yards to clear $150,000. If your cutting season lasts approximately 40 weeks, that means you have to cut 250 $20 yards per week. Obviously, you can't do that by yourself.

That means you will have to have employees. With employees, come much lower margins. In order to clear $150k, you will have to have revenues of approximately $500k. That's a total of 25,000 $20 yard cuts per year, or 625 $20 yards per week in a 40-week season. Pretty daunting.

Don't get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with starting your business with $20 lawns. Even lower yielding customers will generate the extras that we all depend on for enhanced profits, such as mulch, plants, seasonal color, fert., etc. However, my point is simply that to make more money, your goal should be to move as quickly as you can to higher yielding properties. I hope you get there soon.

EcoGreen Services
02-14-2010, 10:10 AM
"This is not a trial run for me. I HAVE to replace a buck fifty a year gross income. Not next year, NOW! Sure I can't do anything about THE economy, but I CAN do something about MY economy.
Harry James Harper
North Texas Turf & Landscape SERVICE-here to stay"


Mr Harper: You're going to have a tough time replacing your former income of $150k by doing $20 lawns. First assume, conservatively, that a solo operator must earn $100 for every $75 he takes home (after you've paid for very basic expenses such as gas, maintenance, basic insurance, equipment accrual, etc.). Thus, you must gross $200k to end up with $150k. Another way of saying this is that, from a $20 lawn, you only get to keep $15. Thus, you must cut 10,000 $20 yards to clear $150,000. If your cutting season lasts approximately 40 weeks, that means you have to cut 250 $20 yards per week. Obviously, you can't do that by yourself.

That means you will have to have employees. With employees, come much lower margins. In order to clear $150k, you will have to have revenues of approximately $500k. That's a total of 25,000 $20 yard cuts per year, or 625 $20 yards per week in a 40-week season. Pretty daunting.

Don't get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with starting your business with $20 lawns. Even lower yielding customers will generate the extras that we all depend on for enhanced profits, such as mulch, plants, seasonal color, fert., etc. However, my point is simply that to make more money, your goal should be to move as quickly as you can to higher yielding properties. I hope you get there soon.

I guess I missed that.
Honestly Harry, If you NEED to replace $150K a year in income I don't see how it would be possible working Solo doing just grass with $20 lawns unless you can build huge volumes in one area. Trust me, It takes years to do. Even working 100 hours a week non stop in the residential market. You need multiple location municipal & commercial contracts. The most I can make on Residential on average is a bit under $1000 a day. One commercial contract with multiple locations grosses $2150 in a day. Irrigation is another profit centre. I recall you talking about offering all service including picking up the dog poop. Do you want to be viewed as a Yard Boy or a Professional service provider in customers minds ?

GeorgiaGrass is pretty much spot on with his numbers.

The other questions is do you really need to ? You're going from a mindset of an employee to a business owner. How much were you paying in taxes as a employee ? How many deductions did you have ?

I don't own a vehicle, My Company owns 6. Money is always tight when you're starting but invest the money in having a GOOD accountant that specializes in small business structure your business. in 2001 I was a typical corporate manager making about 140,000 a year gross with bonuses. Now I make a bit less than 1/2 of that and always seem to have more money. My first year I cleared $16,000 after all expenses on Grass and $6500 on Snow.. Equipment is expensive.

It's not about what you make, it's about what you keep.

I do wish you all the luck in the world though

OrganicsMaine
02-14-2010, 10:31 AM
I have found, that if priced right, the smaller 5-7k sq.ft. properties tend to be more profitable than the 1 acre properties....mowing only. The amount of money made per sq.ft is higher because a lawn like this is $35, a one acre property may bring $60. However, there is a lot of money to be made on the extra's on these large properties so it depends on business model and what services that you want to offer.