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View Full Version : How To Add Mowing to My Service?


gkell88
10-26-2002, 04:05 PM
I have a very good Chemical App business, with about 500 residential accounts. I have some interest in adding a mowing service to our product line, but have no experience in it, and am not sure how to proceed. My first basic questions:

How many lawns can one man reasonably do?

How many mowings can you expect to get in a growing season in the transition zone?

Would you suggest I hire an experienced person, and let him run it?

Would you suggest I forget the whole idea?

Any and all suggestions welcome.

Thanks,

Gary

kutnkru
10-26-2002, 04:25 PM
How many lawns can one man reasonably do?
Without hesitation it should be no problem for one individual to perform basic mowing services to 15 accounts daily using a 48Ē belt drive walk behind.

If you charge a basic fee of $25 (site unseen) for the average property you should be able to keep one guy busy enough between helping you out during the drier times and cutting.

How many mowings can you expect to get in a growing season in the transition zone?
The bare bones minimum to be expected should be 22 cuts per year if itís a drought and max out about 26 if its decent weather conditions. Sometimes you can egg out 28-30 depending on the clients needs and budget.

Would you suggest I hire an experienced person, and let him run it?
Would you let any schmuck handle your chemical biz??? Treat this endeavor the same as you would your apps biz and you should be alright.

Thanks, Gary
Your Welcome.

LAWNGODFATHER
10-26-2002, 07:45 PM
LOL Kris...


Do you really want the added stress of maintenance?

Guido
10-27-2002, 03:49 AM
Originally posted by LAWNGODFATHER
LOL Kris...


Do you really want the added stress of maintenance?

Probbobly not, but I bet he wouldn't mind the extra income! ;)

Tony Harrell
10-27-2002, 06:00 AM
If your chem app business is doing good and you feel like taking on another venture, this should just dovetail into what you're doing now. You already have 500 potential clients. I'm actually doing the reverse of what you're doing. I plan to peel off my mowing for more profitable applications, turf and ornamental and also structural. I'll keep the maint end of it because it is money and opportunity. There are more capital equipment costs with the maint side of course.

Brickman
10-27-2002, 07:02 AM
Good points.

The number of customers one guy can do in a day, week all depends on size of lawn, equipment size and worker ambition. Once in one 8 hour stretch I did 14. Another day I only did 1. The 14 were small and close together. The 1 was big with a lot of trimming.

lbmd1
10-27-2002, 08:18 AM
I was going to post word for word what Tony said. We are looking to back off on lawn maintenance and focus on more profitable ventures such as fert apps, irrigation service, aeration, and such. Alot of the above can be done by one person, minimal overhead, less headaches. Overhead on the lawn maint side is high. Newly updated equipment, high labor costs (at least here, $14 hr for entry level mowers), unproductive windshield time, gas, weather delays, the list goes on. Maintenance brings in profitable side work though such as pruning, mulching, installation and other related lawn work. I'd lean toward getting 500 aerations out of your customer base @ $100 an average, that's some sweet $$$$$$$.

Mike

SLS
10-27-2002, 08:44 AM
"How many lawns can one man reasonably do?"

This totally depends on the type, and size, of lawn and the type, and size, mower that is being used. it also depends on the speed and efficency of the person mowing. I have some very small lawns that take about 15 minutes with a 22' pusher and several large lawns that take 1.5 to 2 hours with a 60" Lazer Z.

"How many mowings can you expect to get in a growing season in the transition zone?"

Here in North-middle Tennessee I average 36 cuts a year, based on weekly service. Weather greatly varies this number though...especially if a drought is experienced.

"Would you suggest I hire an experienced person, and let him run it?"

That is something that only you can decide.

" Would you suggest I forget the whole idea?

Again, that is something only you can decide.




My humble opinion is that you will need to do a detailed prospectus...taking your existing business, your targeted area of operation, your projected growing season, and your choices of equipment into consideration. You will have to research all of your options (helper, or solo...big lawns, little lawns, or any lawns...and what the market will bear in your area) and weigh your conclusions against your expectations and the amount of available capital investment funds you wish to part with.

Good luck! :)

greenngrow
10-27-2002, 09:52 AM
I started in spraying only. This only part-time am looking to go fulltime this next spring.

This year a added mowing to my business. I had to end up hiring some unreliable help. My spraying got way behind (125 customers)

I would only look at picking some of your current spraying customers that already have someone mow the property. Focus on the value added benfits of complete service. Now some people want this and some don't. I would start by talking one on one. Get a feel of who wants this complete service. This will give you a better feel of what your customers want. If you get a positive response from your first poll. Then send out letters to all your customers and ask for feed back.

If you are solo I don't think you can handle all by yourself.

Find good help.....ones that you can depend on...

I read your profile we are about the ame age. Started my business 6 years ago. I hope when I go full-time that I can get double the customers that I have now.

Keep up the good work

AGG Lawn Maintenance
10-27-2002, 12:48 PM
I used to do landscaping and maintenance. I had some very good help and some very bad help. I stopped doing the landscaping part about 10 years ago. The problem I had was being in two places at one time. The landscaping part was high maintenance. Not only that I didn't like bidding on a job and the customer didn't know the price was going to be what it was. Can you sod my whole yard and re-landscape everything. Sure no problem $20,000 please. Wow thats higher than I thought. I want to spend around $500. (well I guess it would have helped when I asked you what your budget was you would have told me. At any rate I have stuck with just the maintenance part of the business. I do some landscaping for some customers. Sure their is more lump sums of money in the landscaping part, but it became too stressful to me to chase after. I do know a guy who makes $20,000 and even $100,000 a job. He tells me if you work for poor people you will always make poor money. But if you work for rich people you will make rich money. Sounds good but even some rich people give you poor money. Do what works for you. The money could be very good for you. Plus you already have customers most would switch over. Customers like to deal with one guy if they can help it. As a matter of fact I lost a couple of customers because I don't do certain services. But I would rather lose a couple because I don't do certain services than lose all for doing $hitty work. Just my .02 Let us know how you make out. Good luck. Travis

gkell88
10-27-2002, 01:06 PM
Thanks for all the good advice folks. I realized after reading my original post that the questions were rather poorly written. I apologize for that. It was late :)

I'm going to include a customer survey with my last app and see what folks think about the prospect.

What pushed me in this direction was the fact that I have about 25 accounts with one particular mowing service, and this guy does such excellent work, that those accounts are always a notch above the rest. I'd like to be able to offer that to all my customers. I'm not sure I'm up to the maintenance and labor headaches, but that's why I asked for your opinions.

Thanks again

Gary

PaulJ
10-27-2002, 03:41 PM
Here's an Idea.

You could approach the guy that you know does top notch work. and work out a referal arangment. You refer all yuor potental mowing biz to him and he refers all apps to you ( this is if he does'nt do apps himself ) That way you can both concentrate on what you do best and customers get some continuity of service. You could even do bids as a package deal , ofering a little discount if they sign up for both your services. You could watch out for eachother too. If one service spots a problem they could call the other( kind of scout for eachother).

I used to work for some companies that had Landscaping, spriklers, fencing, and maitance(mowing applications, and landscape maintenacne) contractors all charing the same office building. One stop shopping for the customers is working well for them.

jUst an Idea.

Or you could just subcontract him to mow for your customers.
Others would know more about that.

good luck

JimLewis
10-28-2002, 12:57 AM
A local company (here in Oregon) has just recently done what you are considering. They (he) had a pretty good application business going and just recently added several services this year (mowing, edging, lawn mower repair, to name a few). If I were you, I'd call him and ask him how the transition went for him and if it was worth it or not, etc..... I am sure you could have a lot more questions for him.

I don't know the owner. I just follow their business growth and stuff. Here is the web site;
http://www.signaturelandscapecare.com/

I'd prefer if you didn't mention Lawnsite to him. If too many of my direct competitors find out about lawnsite I'd have to start severely limiting the advice I give here and I don't want to do that. Just tell him you were speaking with me online and I recommended that you call him. I am sure he's familiar with our company.