View Full Version : Solo ops - Gross Sales

08-04-2002, 02:54 AM
Curious to see what the average gross for a solo op is here... You can keep it anonymous by not commenting until numerous votes have been done.

Your primary business should be maintenance with extras (ferts, clean-ups, aerations, etc.) figured in. Please don't vote if your primary business is applications or landscaping. Please don't figure in snow plowing either. Also.. no part timers.

08-04-2002, 03:14 AM
Please feel free to vote if you were solo until recently..

I know the hours per week would help but I couldn't figure a way to put it in with only 5 choices.. Maybe we can all comment later or do another poll?

08-04-2002, 12:03 PM
Here are the results so far..

Less than $45,000 (3) 21.43%
$45,000 - $55,000 (2) 14.29%
$55,000 - $65,000 (2) 14.29%
$65,000 - $75,000 (2) 14.29%
Over $75,000 (5) 35.71%

08-04-2002, 01:14 PM
Less than $45,000 (6) 28.57%
$45,000 - $55,000 (3) 14.29%
$55,000 - $65,000 (3) 14.29%
$65,000 - $75,000 (4) 19.05%
Over $75,000 (5) 23.81%

Any comments on the poll? Anyone surprised so far?

Do you think we should acknowledge our vote.. for some kind of verification? Any other info you want to provide?

I can account for one of the votes. I'm in my third year and work approximately 40 hours per week.

08-04-2002, 01:22 PM
Of the guys making $45k or less, I wonder how many are part timers....

08-04-2002, 01:26 PM
Well... if they can read and follow direction.. none should have voted.. right?

Are you solo Jon99.. did you vote? How many hours do you put in on average?

08-04-2002, 01:35 PM
Speed Limit signs also say 55 MPH, doesn't mean people obey them.... :)

I will be solo, my equipment is recently bought and sitting in storage until I get some accounts... I am a recent casualty of corporate downsizing, took my severence and bought a mower and collecting unemployment and working a little... My logo, business cards, truck signs etc will be done this week, should be ready to do a little advertising soon before I hit it hard in the spring..

08-04-2002, 02:55 PM
Less than $45,000 (7) 29.17%
$45,000 - $55,000 (3) 12.50%
$55,000 - $65,000 (3) 12.50%
$65,000 - $75,000 (6) 25.00%
Over $75,000....... (5) 20.83%

Lawn Wizard
08-04-2002, 02:56 PM
Im in my second season, work solo, full time, and fall into the less than $45,000 range at this point. I work about 25-30 hours a week.

08-04-2002, 09:37 PM
Less than $45,000 (8) 29.63%
$45,000 - $55,000 (4) 14.81%
$55,000 - $65,000 (3) 11.11%
$65,000 - $75,000 (6) 22.22%
Over $75,000....... (6) 22.22%

There has to be more solos here?

08-04-2002, 10:46 PM
if this is really solo operations . sounds like u guys in high cotton. of the ones i know around here, cotton aint that high here in stanley co.good yrs ,might get close ,but not that quiet that high.
assuming we are talkin net.

08-04-2002, 11:15 PM
Less than $45,000 (10) 32.26%
$45,000 - $55,000 (5) 16.13%
$55,000 - $65,000 (3) 9.68%
$65,000 - $75,000 (7) 22.58%
Over $75,000....... (6) 19.35%

aw.. why would you assume 'we are talking net' when I clearly stated gross sales? Did you vote?

I'm surprised that the higher percentage is not more in the middle..

08-04-2002, 11:42 PM
I see there are six liars who voted.

Assuming 2000 hours a year (possible in a zone 8 or 9 market) at 50 an hour (possible, but not probable in a zone 8 or 9 market) would gross 100k a year thats assuming he/she never gets sick, never gets rained out, never has a mechanical breakdown, etc.

Take these polls for what they are worth, glowing phosphorus on a glass sheet.

08-04-2002, 11:59 PM
Less than $45,000 (13) 34.21%
$45,000 - $55,000 (6) 15.79%
$55,000 - $65,000 (5) 13.16%
$65,000 - $75,000 (8) 21.05%
Over $75,000 ...... (6) 15.79%

Hi Bill. I know there is no way to prove it but I would hope that people are being honest. I disagree with you that a solo act cannot gross $75,000. I'm hoping to come close next year!!

08-05-2002, 09:38 AM
Less than $45,000 (17) 39.53%
$45,000 - $55,000 (7) 16.28%
$55,000 - $65,000 (5) 11.63%
$65,000 - $75,000 (8) 18.60%
Over $75,000....... (6) 13.95%

Only 43 solo ops (out of 7700 members) here :confused:

08-05-2002, 02:20 PM
Less than $45,000 (22) 43.14%
$45,000 - $55,000 (8) 15.69%
$55,000 - $65,000 (6) 11.76%
$65,000 - $75,000 (9) 17.65%
Over $75,000...... (6) 11.76%


08-05-2002, 03:23 PM
Yes, I'm SOLO.

Yes, I have another source of income. But it's only 16hrs/wk in the summer.

Since you wanted Gross numbers WITHOUT snowplowing, I voted for the number one slot.

I am single, own my own house, trucks, equipent, all paid for. No kids or wife.

I also do not do much, if any side work. Sub most of it out, but don't make much on the subbing. Mainly do it to keep cutstomer happy.

Could I live on grossing that amount, with no other sources of income (plowing, other job, etc?) NO! Would I seek extra work if there were no Extra's?..., I'd have to!

The snowplowing business in the NE is very profitable. There were years that I made close to my mowing only figure just with approx. 5 events with plowing and salting. When you go back to mowing, you feel as though your loosing money. Plowing gives me 4-5X the $ for much less hassle and physical exertion.

scott's turf
08-05-2002, 03:30 PM
Yeah, $75k solo does seem a little impossible. I can only work at most 35 weeks per year. That would be over $2k/week. I guess it is possible but I would be working my but off. Hire one helper and it would be a piece of cake.

08-05-2002, 03:56 PM
Thanks for sharing Thomas (great name btw). How many hours do you put in? I think 36 & 1/4 is considered full time. I have not ventured into snow plowing yet and seriously thought about it last year. I was real close to buying a plow but backed down at the last moment. I'm glad I did because we received like 2 inches all of last year. I'm banking on this year to be the year!!!

Scott.. I used to think so too. Until I found this site and learn a lot. I don't think I could do those numbers by just cutting. You have to think about more than cutting grass. Sell full service and watch the numbers go up.

scott's turf
08-05-2002, 04:32 PM
Tom, if you can average $50/hr 40 hrs/week for 38 weeks than yes. Do you really think this is possible. I only work 2 long days a week and bring in about $1100 but that is working a total of 22 hrs. Yes, $50/hr but I have a tight route and that helps on commute time. I am pretty burnt out after those 2 days as well. If I was full time I would have a helper like I have had in the past and have easily made $2k in a week and didn't even have to work 40hrs. When you are solo you are going to reach a limit for your gross income. For many that will not pay the bills hence the employees. Yes it is more of a headache but you will bring in more and reduce your labor. Maybe take some time off even.

08-05-2002, 05:33 PM
Um, hellllloooo....
75K is no problem to GROSS for a solo op.
Call me liar again because you're jealous. Go ahead, I hope it makes you feel good.
Mow 70 lawns per week (small properties, most 80X100 including house, drive, etc.)
70 per week is $1,400 at avg. 20$/house just for weekly maint.
Another 600 plus each week in extras is nothing. (All full service accts too) to give you 2000$/week easy.
Times 42 weeks is $84,000.
That's 32 weeks mowing and 5 weeks spring clean-ups and 5 weeks fall clean-ups (easy to make 10,000 on 70 clean-ups each season.
I'm so sorry for anyone that can't achieve these results. Stinks for you.
This is after many years in the business, but could be done faster.

Expert Lawns
08-05-2002, 06:00 PM
i keep trying to vote but it won't let me. i'm a solo op, second year. 18 accounts, part time but would love to be full time, eventually add a crew, a few mowers etc etc. obviously falling into the 45 and below category

08-05-2002, 07:03 PM
Less than $45,000 (28) 47.46%
$45,000 - $55,000 (8) 13.56%
$55,000 - $65,000 (8) 13.56%
$65,000 - $75,000 (9) 15.25%
Over $75,000...... (6) 10.17%

Expert Lawns.. you can't vote because you are a part timer. No Part Timers Allowed! I don't know why it won't let you though.

08-05-2002, 07:24 PM
a couple more and ill be over the 45 mark prior to sep11 i was at 78k working solo about 35 hrs a week

08-06-2002, 12:16 AM
Less than $45,000 (34) 50.00%
$45,000 - $55,000 (9) 13.24%
$55,000 - $65,000 (8) 11.76%
$65,000 - $75,000 (9) 13.24%
Over $75,000....... (8) 11.76%

Darryl G
08-06-2002, 03:22 AM
Lawboy - Since you're better than all of us, mind telling us what your secret is? Does arrogance bring home the bacon?

08-06-2002, 04:30 AM
I am in my 5th year and bring in well over 75K. I do have a helper in aeration and leaf removal season because I have so much work it is insane. I work on average AT LEAST 65 hours a week for 9 months out of the year. Dec. Jan. Feb. I average about 25 hours a week. I did not vote because technically I am not totally solo. By the way Scott's Turf is incorrect in saying there is a ceiling for a solo op. If you continue to pick up higher end properties and drop lower end then you will continue to jack up the price. The super rich don't mind paying outrageous rates and I know it!

scott's turf
08-06-2002, 08:54 AM
OK, so the ceiling may grow slightly but come on. I am not complaining financially so don't get me wrong. FT Mech Eng and PT lawn care business I net well over $75k. But there is a theoretical limit. Just ask anyone who has employees. Do you think guys here with a couple crews would do so if they could make the big bucks solo. Much less headaches going solo but many more backaches too. Mowing brings me in about $50/hr average with all the commute time. That is my main money maker. Aeration and fertlilizing are much more profittable but less in gross by far. Bark mulching and clean-ups I can never imagine doing solo. I think I would be lucky to average $40/hr solo but with a helper over $50/hr is easy. If you are truely solo it seems like a difficult task. Heck I only do it PT now but in the spring we put in over 80 man hrs per week. If the work was more consistant all year it would be much easier. But for those that do it, that is awesome. You are the envy of most of us. Keep up the good work. It must be nice with no WC, matching taxes, unemployment, and all the rest of the stuff that comes with employees. But there is also no better feeling IMHO than making money while you are laying in a hammock on a beautiful day. This is my first year without an employee (fired one earlier in year) and I have to say that I enjoy the business side of things much more than the actual labor side.

08-06-2002, 09:13 AM

Those are some insane hours.. week in and week out. I couldn't do it. Well.. I could but refuse to at this point in my life :) I would be tired and grumpy.. which would not be good for the family life! If I did.. I would hope that I was in the $90,000 range.. for sure. My goal is to be at the $75,000 mark working an average of 45 hours a week!

I admire your determination and hard work.

What do you do for 25 hours a week.. Dec. - Feb.? How many clients do you service?

08-08-2002, 03:02 AM
I am a part-timer, but am gearing up to go full -time next year. Actually got a pretty late start this summer, so I am getting more one-time bed clean-ups and the like. I do have a handfull of lawns, but I don't have to tell any one in the North East how dry it's been. I'm sure my bottom line will improve next spring when I am able to land some more weekly cuts.

08-08-2002, 07:30 AM
just my opinion but the area of the country , rural or urban,target customers etc all impact so much,that id say it goes way under 45 grand, gross. then up to whatever ,if a fella goes for highend residental, and commercial accts.
just like say a solo plumber.
only difference theres a lot more people in this buisiness.
ps by the way if u are asking this whole group,surely u knew u would get an imperfect poll. be the same for any field of work.imho. good luck in your effort.

08-08-2002, 07:55 AM
Hey Daryl, too bad for you too. All you suckas in CT. must be really foolish if you can't hack it. It's called being smart and working hard, very hard. When someone says I'm lying and the facts prove I am not (facts being tax returns)(all legal and legit mind you) then call it arrogance or whatever you want, I don't care, but I'll tell them exactly what I think of them. SO all you friggin LOSERS can stuff it. The secret for you is some sharp double blades up where no grass will grow.

The secret is....wealthy areas to work in, tight route, a lot of extras, lots of experience and hard work. Again, I'm so sorry you are so pitiful that not only can't you cut it, you don't believe anyone else can. Ya gotta believe. I believe you are a sorry man.

08-08-2002, 11:23 PM
This is my 2nd year and I had projected 72k gross, I've already surpassed 41k thru July. Last year which was my 1st as a LCO, I grossed 46k. The secret? Run your business corectly! That means a business plan, budgets, income projections, good equipment, excellent service, building client relationships, choosing the most profitable accounts ...... and on and on. The object is to work smarter not necessarily harder. I know there are areas I can improve in so that next year I can target around 80 - 85k. I also take business and hort. classes at the local college. Knowledge is king. If you're serious about what you do then the sky's the limit.:cool:

08-09-2002, 04:04 PM
Well, lets see ... if a solo operator had 46 accounts at an average of $30 per cut per week that would be $1330. Times that by 30 weeks of cutting (about averave here in NY) would come to about $40 K. Now add in that they have about 75% of the customers on Lawn Care programs and the average size lawn is about 6500 sq ft. That would be roughly 35 customers at about $300 each for the season and total $10,500. We have $50 K so far, now figure in your aerations, seedings, Hedge trimming, spring and fall cleanups .... you could well make $60-65K or more for a Solo. Especially seeing as if you are cutting 46 ... 1/3 - 1/4 acre lawns, that would be about 11-12 lawns a day for 4 days, leaving you 2 other days a week for rains days or to do the trimming, fert., aeration, etc. plus a day off.

Darryl G
08-09-2002, 11:34 PM
Lawnboy - Man you are something. Actually, I didn't say what I gross, but I'm "hacking it" just fine and not complaining. I make most of my money on real estate and other investments, the lawn business is just for fun. So sorry, I can't say I work really hard or long hours - I'd rather spend time with my family. I actually spend more time maintaining my properties than I do on my paying accounts. So don't feel sorry for me, and maybe loose the attitude.


08-10-2002, 03:59 PM
This may be a little off subject but if you have regular accounts doing full maintainence how can you have spring and fall cleanups? I can see charging more for massive amounts of leaves.
I think the trick is to always be on the lookout for better accounts and always stay cought up. If you get behind you not only loose the money you should have made you loose the money you could have made somewhere else.

08-10-2002, 04:48 PM
Less than $45,000 (46) 52.87%
$45,000 - $55,000 (10) 11.49%
$55,000 - $65,000 (12) 13.79%
$65,000 - $75,000 (10) 11.49%
Over $75,000........ (9) 10.34%

08-20-2002, 03:12 PM
Less than $45,000 (48) 52.17%
$45,000 - $55,000 (12) 13.04%
$55,000 - $65,000 (12) 13.04%
$65,000 - $75,000 (11) 11.96%
Over $75,000..........(9) 9.78%

Thought I would give you a breather TSG!!!!!

08-20-2002, 04:38 PM
move my vote im over 45 now

Just Cut
08-20-2002, 06:57 PM
lawnboy11, I seen on your profile that your 15 years old, I would like to know how to obtain that type of money at a young age:)

08-20-2002, 09:39 PM
Profile For lawnboy11
Birthday N/A
Your Age 15
Biography internet
Location New York, Nassau Co.
How did you find LawnSite.com? internet

Truely interesting. Your the weathiest kid I know.