PDA

View Full Version : Your Thoughts On A Second Year Operation


Nelson
11-08-2002, 07:00 PM
Well Today I was pumping gas & another Lawn Service
also was pumping gas. He finished first pumping gas, went
in & payed & came back out.

So he nodded @ me & I nooded back. Then I said how R things going....He said very well. A super nice guy.....

He asked was I a Solo op... Said yes ...He said me too....
Then he proceded to give #'s...

He said he will make $60,000 NET this year SOLO
+ stated this is his 2nd year in biz.

Had 2 Mowers one 36" toro...other 48" Toro W/b + Echo weedeaters etc. etc.....

My question is ............. Do U think it is possible to create this
revunue in your second year? As a Solo Op?

Your thoughts & Opinions R welcome.........:confused:

rcav8er
11-08-2002, 07:12 PM
Boy I sure hope so! I'll be starting my second year in the spring and it would be nice to turn that kind of profit. If I can gross 60K with this business I'll would have to take a serious look at my original career. Aircraft maintenance and a 200 mile a day commute is hell. 9-11 really screwed up the Airline Business for alot of people.
I have to say it's great to be your own boss these day's.

Jimbo
11-08-2002, 11:39 PM
Is it possible for a solo op to net 60k?.... with the right jobs I think it might be.

However if the equipment you saw is all he has I dont think he is pulling in that much. He would have to have some big commercial accounts.

If you figure 30% for taxes he would have to gross around $85,500.00, and that does not take into consideration the cost of equipment, insurance, gas, oil, repairs, etc.

Sounds unlikely in this case.

greenman
11-09-2002, 12:05 AM
$60,000 net in second year is possible with hard work and luck, but why is that guy bragging and telling you how money he made or is gonna make? Would you go around telling everyone how much you made? I'm not saying he was lying, but he could be. Could full of BS.

bubble boy
11-09-2002, 12:56 AM
possible

but i would say very exceptional, one could be netting far less in their second year and still be doing very well...

bobbygedd
11-09-2002, 12:58 AM
in my opinion, no. do the math, with those walk behinds, and being totally solo, id say tops he can do 50 lawns a week. at the size he would be able to handle, id say they average at about $30 a piece, thats $1500 per week gross x 4 weeks =$6000 . the most he can do is 10 months of cutting season, and thats pushing it. thats a gross of $60, 000 a year. so, even if he has a crappy truck, and minimal equipment, is over head is still around $10, 000. thats a gross gross of $50, 000. pay your taxes, and u can take home about $40, 000. but this is only if he truly has the work i mentioned, wich i think is unlikely in his second year. and how long can he last cutting 50 lawns with walk behinds? and how can he build? his overhead will go up, and so on. in my opinion, he was bullcrappin ya

nu83
11-09-2002, 01:40 AM
He could do it, it would be at the top range of a solo operator but it is possible. He would have to have a paid for truck and equipt. and 50 accounts averaging at least 50 per, plus add on services and that would put him over 60k net.

dr grass
11-09-2002, 01:52 AM
sure he could! anything is possible. but you must realize a guy that will start throwing around numbers that quick is pry full of s#!t. hey look , that rhymes!!! haha


shep :D

Guido
11-09-2002, 01:52 AM
Did you add in all the money he's making sub-contracting tree work, concrete work, wall work, apps, etc? He's making that money all while he's out mowing. Maybe he only mows a few accounts and concentrates on hardscapes? Who knows?

I think its possible, depending on the services he offers / handles.

Richard Martin
11-09-2002, 03:36 AM
If all he is doing is lawn servicing I think it's a slim chance for 1 man to net that much money solo in 2 years.

He could if:

1. He's not paying taxes.
2. His equipment is brand new and was given to him. (No repair overhead or payments)
3. He's lowballing everybody (you gotta get the work) which resulted in #4.
4. He's working sunup to sundown 7 days a week.

But then he could just be an incredibly talented salesman in which case he's in the wrong business. If he's that good he should be up on Capitol Hill selling defense contracts and making millions a year.

GarPA
11-09-2002, 07:07 AM
well most of you have been in this biz allot longer than me...my projections for next year based on what I did this year are pretty good for a small operation....but then mowing is only about 40% of my revenue...rest is landscape related work...if hes just mowing residential, I would question his numbers...and as someone said above, he'll burn out if he's doing $40 yards 6 days a week....man that would fry my brain in no time

The Mowerdude
11-09-2002, 07:31 AM
I'd have to say, that it's highly unlikely that he's telling the whole truth. Just having so many other LCOs around probably causes him to perceive you as a threat. I'd say that he's trying to discourage/intimidate you with his overwhelming "success." After all, it did get you to wondering.

This line of reason most often backfires and is one of the reasons that we have so many rookies every year. Everone is convinced that it's easy money.

And how often have you seen this happen? Someone you know starts a new business. From outward appearances they look like they're really making a lot of money. But then in a year or so, they've closed down and are doing something else. When you ask why, they say they had to get out for "health" reasons or family commitments had to take priority. There will always be an excuse other than the real reason, and that is, that they basically suck at business and can't admit it.

SLS
11-09-2002, 08:54 AM
With the equipment you listed I would think that to hit $60,000 from mowing alone would be a toughy.

But, if his area of operation is upscale, he maintains a low overhead, and he also does mulch beds, bush and hedge trimming, aeration, overseeding, fert apps, ect.........then it is possible. These additional services can fatten up the bottom line nicely.

How tired did he look? Do a 'palm check' and see how thick those calluses are. Was he wearing a back brace? :D

CMerLand
11-09-2002, 09:27 AM
How much you want to bet that this guy doesnt know the difference between gross and net??? Or that a profit isnt calculated until after you pay yourself a salary? Way toooo many guys in the business dont have a clue about the business side of things, but so long as they have some coin in there pocket they think they are making a living.

In most cases these guys are buying themselves a job. Working as a money pump where it comes and goes, but they always have cash flow so they must be making money right? I've posted on this before so I wont go through it again.

One of my favorite lines that alot of people talk about however is, "LOW OVERHEAD." Can we all be honest about this low overhead sham? Yes its true overhead can be managed and that some expenses do become larger with a larger company. But when getting into the big overhead items, such as buying a , lot shop or land somewhere vs working out of your house who really comes out better in the end. Sure you might be able to bid a little lower on jobs against this guy, but after twenty years, all you have is that little extra money(probably not), and the other guy has a piece of property that has likely apprecieated greatly in value.

Or another, "I dont drive a $ 30,000 truck" (i personally dont either for other reasons tho) so I dont have to make those big truck payments keeping my prices lower. I'll just keep driving my muticolor rusting away but still running 1978 pickup. Well provided your pickup goes another 10 years whats it worth? Now how much is that now 10 year old truck worth?? Still has a pretty good resale available on it, dont it???

And lastly, equipment. Is equipment an overhead item or an expense item. Personally, I believe its an expense item that gets used up a little at a time everyday. When its replacement time, has that piece of equipment recovered its costs, as well as added to the bottom line? Does this guy now have sitting in the bank, the cost of his equipment minus what he could sell that equipment for? Because used equipment doesnt sell for as much as you might think when the time comes. Because if he doesnt, then he would have been better off just depositing the money in a savings account.

CMerrick

dmk395
11-09-2002, 10:02 AM
If he has alot of applications then its very possible....but with just the equipment he has its nealry impossible.

Nelson
11-09-2002, 10:49 AM
Thanks People for your thoughts..... I was in dought when he
was telling me.....but

If he is working Sun up to Sun Down 6 days a week. Then
it could be done. But U will B 1 tired Puppy @ the end of the
day I gaurantee ya.........

No SLS he did not have a back brace on. lol lol :)

bobbygedd
11-09-2002, 12:05 PM
btw.....nu83, a paid for truck, and equipment, does not dismiss that as part of overhead. it still cost u money, unless it was a gift. i was talkin to guy who has about $40, 000 of equipment. he said he makes $35,000 a year. i said, ummm, what about the equipment? he said, that it doesnt count cus its paid for. i said wrong. if u r "netting" 35, 000, and not including the $40 the equipment cost u, u r very wrong. if u r working on one year only, at the obove figures, u operated at a loss that year, no profit! everything u purchase for the business is part of overhead or operating costs. problem is most guys think they are making money, when truly they are not. cash flow does not equal profit

nu83
11-09-2002, 12:36 PM
Paid for meaning expensed out before this year. Its unlikely he did that in his first year of business, but we dont know.

Fantasy Lawns
11-09-2002, 04:07 PM
Realistically a solo can do about 15- 18 per day or 75- 90 per week ... yards of that size (more so on the 75 week with a belt drive) …. Small yards bringing ideally $75 month (40-45 hour work week) or $5600 monthly …. $67,500 …. Yearly Gross Income …. Even with a fudge factor of 15% (he’s very productive or has some large bigger month incomes) that could boost to $77,600 yearly … again Gross income …

But if he’s getting say only $65 month than the yearly would only be $58,500 ….I’d say this is more in the reality of the situation ….1st year or so started one tends to bid em low ….till the gain the experience & knowledge of bidding jobs, the confidence to stick to the price n when to walk away from “bad accounts” …. The key is to be “booked” weekly …. So that in that full 40 hr work week one is making $1200 a week (Gross income) … not bad to start n not throwing in added income from “extras”

Everything is different down here .... yards are much smaller n everything is on monthly billing (that is if you want to be in business for more than 1 year) … an average $75 monthly income should take no more than 40 min. for 1 guy (that’s gate down …gate up …mow n go)… or about 28 hours yearly for that yearly per account of $900 …. So that’s 28 hrs labor for $900 (that’s $32 per hour) ….not bad when you consider the national average is $35.65 per hour (as reported in 2002 industry report …page S10)

Nebraska
11-09-2002, 06:20 PM
He sounds like a friendly and "open" guy willing to share all kinds of information...maybe he could share some of his secrets with you too.

If he has no debt and all equipment is paid for it is entirely possible.

IBGreen
11-09-2002, 06:47 PM
$60,000 net in second year is possible with hard work and luck, but why is that guy bragging and telling you how money he made or is gonna make? Would you go around telling everyone how much you made? I'm not saying he was lying, but he could be. Could full of BS.

Exactly my thoughts greenman! Who sees someone at a gas station for the first time and says hi I make $60,000 a year. I think its b.s. It is a very realistic amount for second year with hard work but, don't beleive him he was probably just trying to impress you.

KenH
11-09-2002, 07:36 PM
Like others before have stated, there are too many open variables to make a correct judgement. He could be mowing only 1 day a week, and the rest of the days are installs. At 5K per install, 60K really doesnt seem that high now, does it??

Never get caught up comparing yourself with others, especially when they tell you what they make. As long as YOU are comfortable with YOUR business and your income, that is all that really matters.

bobbygedd
11-09-2002, 10:39 PM
my doubts based on also this": every business has a development period. if hes like most people, he will spend at least a couple yrs developing service skills as well as business skills. and now i realize u guys r based in fla, thats even more a reason to doubt him. with competition very high down there, and wages very low, no way.

greenman
11-09-2002, 11:02 PM
Originally posted by bobbygedd
in my opinion, no. do the math, with those walk behinds, and being totally solo, id say tops he can do 50 lawns a week. at the size he would be able to handle, id say they average at about $30 a piece, thats $1500 per week gross x 4 weeks =$6000 . the most he can do is 10 months of cutting season, and thats pushing it. thats a gross of $60, 000 a year. so, even if he has a crappy truck, and minimal equipment, is over head is still around $10, 000. thats a gross gross of $50, 000. pay your taxes, and u can take home about $40, 000. but this is only if he truly has the work i mentioned, wich i think is unlikely in his second year. and how long can he last cutting 50 lawns with walk behinds? and how can he build? his overhead will go up, and so on. in my opinion, he was bullcrappin ya

But those figures are just mowing. What if you include bed mulching, light landscaping, hedge trimming, etc. Thats just some of the extra goodies that go with lawn care. Net $60,000? Could happen. Just plan on working 6 and 7 days per week.

Lawn-Scapes
11-09-2002, 11:31 PM
I think it's possible..

While I didn't net $60,000 this year (yet?), I hope to come close.

bobbygedd
11-10-2002, 11:23 AM
green, the only problem is: as a solo u r the whole company. u do the estimating, billing, customer relations, general maint on equipment , and so on. so, after u do all your lawn work, and the above items i described, when will u find time to do installs? midnight till 3 am? ok, lets add installs, and i dont mean peanut stuff, i mean the stuff that makes money. meet with the customer to discuss their desires, take time to draw up a plan and estimate, take time to meet with client again to present this, possibly make changes, ok, now u have an agreement? good. take time to prep area, need drainage? take time to pick up materials, and do the work. now, go to nursery , take time to pick out the best stuff he has, o no! the weeping blue atlas he has suck! now take time to find one that is presentable. ok, got shrubs? how bout topsoil, go get it, do the install. take time to go pick up mulch, stone, whatever. put that in. ok, job is done. who is doing your lawns while all this is going on? your fairy god father? next day it rains like hell, lawns gettin kind of high now? phone starting to ring? customers complaining? high wet grass takes longer to cut, now yur not doin 15 a day, your backed up. calling customers back? making excuses? ok, kill yourself to get back on track, but, dont forget the extras, they need to get done, so u can reach that goal of $60 . now work day and night, wear yourself down to the point u get sick. need a few days off? who does the work, your fairy god father? and another question, when u started your business last year, u werent profitable right off the bat, that takes time. who fed u and paid the mortgage while u were developing the business and clientel? did u have to take on a part time job to keep your head above water? u did? who did the lawns now? and dont forget this, u said the overhead was low, yur truck not the best in the world? stuck for time? ok, lets carry the whole 3 ton of stone at once, to save a little time. o no, blew the trans? down for 3 days? hmmm, now what? dude, i been there, done that. it aint happening. if by some chance, with a ton of luck, an angel on each shoulder, and a ton of desire u can make it happen, how long will it last? 2, 3 yrs? cant take it anymore? need to upgrade equipment? ok, your overhead just went way up, and your net just either stayed the same, or went down. tired of chasing your tail? u quit? see ya. its a nice thought, i think the dudes lying. best of luck to ya

greenman
11-10-2002, 12:01 PM
Its really hard to say if this guy is telling the truth or not. Every solo operation is different. Maybe he mows and blow 3 days a week. Maybe he does his ferts, mulching, hedge trimming, etc. on the other 2 days. Then on Saturday catches up on whatever is left, maybe a couple of commercials. If this guy only has 50 full service accounts (keyword-full service) has can do it. If he has 50 customers,average@$30 per cut and he services them 38 times, thats $57000.If he ferts all 50 accounts, average $40 per customer, and he applies 6 times per year to each customer, thats $12000. Total so far is $69000, gross pay. Add hedge trimming, a few plant installs here and there, plus mulch. Yeah, no problem.

BUT, its very unlikely that a guy only in his second year will have all his acounts set up like that.

Who knows if that guy will get a ZTR or not? No use in continuing this debate, its useless without knowing more about this guy and his business.

bobbygedd
11-10-2002, 12:27 PM
correcto. i was just trying to give some advice to the original poster on what really happens when u try to make a million dollars, alone. its rough dude. everything has a setback. ferts u say? cant store them on your property, unless u r registered with the fire dept, and in some cases city code will not allow it unless u r zoned commercial. ok, all works out for u and u r able to store pesticides on your property, now, try and sell yur home in 10 yrs. since u were storing pests, u must pay big $$ for the testing of the property b 4 sale. find even a little tiny bit of it somewhere? pay, 20, 30, 40 thousand for a cleanup b 4 sale. its rough, especially if u want to be "totally legit"

rodfather
11-10-2002, 01:41 PM
Ask him the next time you run into him if you could see this year's P & L (Profit & Loss) Statement.

That should explain things quite clearly. And frankly, I don't think he's pulling in that kind of net (60K) just doing lawns with the equipment he has.

just my 2 cents

kutnkru
11-10-2002, 02:17 PM
With 75 Accounts (15 day) its not inconceivable to generate aproximately $85k the second year out.

The drawback is that your only going to net about $50k, because most will agree that an average of 40% is gone to operating expenses.

lawnworker
11-10-2002, 02:34 PM
Bobbygedd, what you stated, is why I have stayed small in this business. Solo Lawn care is not the best business to make a lot of cash in. Working seventy hours a week--with walk behinds, for to long, is tuff, I know. Thirty thousand net is average for working 40 hours a week with walkbehinds. Not alot, is it? One with a bachelors degree can do much better in the right field . Like others have said, It is all the hidden exspenses that eat profit away, even for the little man.

CSRA Landscaping
11-10-2002, 03:38 PM
Yes.

greenman
11-10-2002, 07:37 PM
Originally posted by bobbygedd
correcto. i was just trying to give some advice to the original poster on what really happens when u try to make a million dollars, alone. its rough dude. everything has a setback. ferts u say? cant store them on your property, unless u r registered with the fire dept, and in some cases city code will not allow it unless u r zoned commercial. ok, all works out for u and u r able to store pesticides on your property, now, try and sell yur home in 10 yrs. since u were storing pests, u must pay big $$ for the testing of the property b 4 sale. find even a little tiny bit of it somewhere? pay, 20, 30, 40 thousand for a cleanup b 4 sale. its rough, especially if u want to be "totally legit"

What the heck are you talking about? Who said that guy was storing fert(s) and other pesticide(s)?

kg6395
11-10-2002, 07:37 PM
For rcav8er,

You are right on about the airline business! I myself am trying to gather as much info as I can right now to start a small lawn care service to build upon so that if my position at DAL comes under fire I will at least have a little something to fall back on.

I left CLT around three years ago thinking that life would be better here but then the plane hit the building and life changed for everyone.

Any help by all that are in this business would be welcome.

Thanks for your time.

roscioli
11-10-2002, 07:44 PM
I didnt read all replies, but sounds like a case of a dumb guy that meant GROSS.

bobbygedd
11-10-2002, 08:24 PM
greenman, u said, "if he ferts all of these acounts". im assuming when u said, "full service", u meant fert programs, which includes herbicides, fungicides, and pesticides.

greenman
11-10-2002, 08:26 PM
Originally posted by bobbygedd
greenman, u said, "if he ferts all of these acounts". im assuming when u said, "full service", u meant fert programs, which includes herbicides, fungicides, and pesticides.

yes I did, but you lost me about the storing the stuff,selling the house and the fire dept.

bobbygedd
11-10-2002, 08:45 PM
ok, what im saying is: if u plan on full serving 50 accts, and u r solo, there isnt much time to run back and forth to the distributor. so, u buy your materials for the 50 apps, and there is no way u r gonna do them all at once, so, in the garage the material goes. but, now u have a violation(storage, etc. and what i mentioned above) . my point being, doing that much work, by yourself, leaves u in a no win, there is alot more to it than just doing the actual labor(cutting, etc.) my example being the pest use, in my case, i have a low wage part time helper that can run errands, such as picking up say 3 or 400 lbs of pesticides for me, to use that day, and avoid storage, this eliminates the need for me to, in order to save time, buy say a pallet, and store and so on. im just trying to make it clear, that one man, running a legitimate business, doing it completely solo, and pulling in that kind of cash, is nearly imposible. there is just to much to do if u consider the whole operation, record keeping, etc.

Randy Scott
11-10-2002, 11:59 PM
Technically, can anyone really operate their business from their home. Isn't a business a commercial activity in which we live on residential property. I know it's been discussed on our village board, and if they wanted to be pissy about it, every individual who operates from their home would be acting illegally. Everyone from the Mary Kay lady to the candle party people to the grass cutters. Obviously they would have a difficult time pursuing this versus the expenses it would take to do it, but "technically" they're all illegal operations. I sat and listened to our board for two hours over this debate, they concluded that if there wasn't volume traffic going to and from these places they wouldn't bother with it. If neighbors complained about a high traffic home based business, they would act on it.

Anyways, back to the real question at hand. I guess anything is possible. Who are we to say what he says isn't true? If it is, good for him. If not, he has to live with his lies. The truth will always surface sooner or later. I wish I could have "net" $60 grand my first year.

bobbygedd
11-11-2002, 12:20 AM
actually, i speek from experience on this subject of "running a business from your home" . a few yrs ago, a pain in the a** neighbor called the township and said i was running a business from my home. the township came over, and said i have 30 days to get my stuff out of here. i hired a lawyer. yes, the law is i cant run a business from my home, im not zoned commercial. BUT, now what does it mean to run a business from my home? are there customers going in and out of my property? no. long story made short: my trailer, and my equipment are my tools. i bring my toolbox home from work, as do most of my neighbors(laptop computer, briefcase, whatever) if i cant bring home my tools, niether can they. my business mailing address is a post office box, in another town. they couldnt get me on anything. but, as far as storing pesticides, u r asking for trouble if u do it. u must register with the fire dept, and the storage info must be accurate at all times. u must also make this info available to potential buyers when trying to sell your home. the fact that u have stored pests on the property, may drive down the value of it considerably. where am i going with this? i dont know(ha ha) i guess my point i was trying to make is, when u add the additional services, u r opening a can of worms, the amount of time all the extras take make it impossible to handle as a solo.

ranger520
11-11-2002, 03:59 AM
As a solo op it would very easy to make that much. You just take on aeration work and hire the $35.00 dollar guy to do it for you and charge the normal $110.00 or so. hahahaha!

scott

The Mowerdude
11-11-2002, 05:13 AM
I recently had to go to court on charges of violation of property standards. Some neighbors had complained primarily about the mowers and lawn equipment. But they had also complained about my "running a business from my home."

When the judge asked me what I had to say for myself, I explained that I run my business from the cab of my truck and my business line is a cell phone. And I pointed out that I don't bring my customer's yards over to my house to cut them. He dropped that part of the charge.

Of course, I still had to clean up some of the junk that was piling up and move the mowers. So I think that as long as your property is kept up to standards, you shouldn't have any problems.

ranger520
11-11-2002, 06:21 AM
i am a solo and yes you can make money at this. I am doing quite well for just a partimer. I am currently getting close to doubling my income. When it comes to pesticides and derbisides it is a simple task. Hire a sub to take care of it for you. I have found that most LCO's that do this work will give you a break over what they would charge the home owner directly. So have them do it then bill the customer for 15% over what you paid. I do this often. Just think of it as making 15% extra while you are on another job site. Another way I keep the city and the nieghbors off of my back is I have enough work that I do not need to advertise anymore except an occational ad in the newspaper for fall clean-ups and aeration. So I do not have my name on my trailer or truck, there fore, no one can say it is a business. For all they know, I go mow lawns for fun. I does help that Ma has acrage in the country a few miles away to.

Scott

kutnkru
11-11-2002, 07:42 AM
Originally posted by bobbygedd
my trailer, and my equipment are my tools. i bring my toolbox home from work, as do most of my neighbors(laptop computer, briefcase, whatever) if i cant bring home my tools, neither can they.You are comparing apples to oranges here because your neighbors are not leaving unsightly objects in the neighborhood. Their toolboxes are out of sight out of mind to the passer by – that’s the fallacy to your statement.

kutnkru
11-11-2002, 07:44 AM
Originally posted by greenman
But those figures are just mowing. What if you include bed mulching, light landscaping, hedge trimming, etc. Thats just some of the extra goodies that go with lawn care. Net $60,000? Could happen. Just plan on working 6 and 7 days per week.
You probably wouldn’t have to do much more than consistent 5-day work weeks to make close to $85k gross though:

If you figure that many start as early as March anymore with the loss of snowfall during the “winter” months its not inconceivable to have 45 days for clean ups thru mid April. So even if you did 2 clean-ups per day you could bust out some Spring Clean Up action w/o provocation. History dictates that you will probably only have to remove leaves at approximately 75% of clients homes in the fall anyhow, so Seasonal Clean-Ups is not an impractical addition. This could easily generate you close to $16k alone.

You would be able to handle 15 cuts per day in a 5-6 day week depending on weather conditions. Thus mowing is not out of the capability question generating closer to $60k alone.

Then if you factor in about 20 mulch jobs at an average of 3yds per this should generate an additional $3700 for the month of August since mowing is virtually null and void. Plus you could easily accommodate about 50% of your clientele with Fall Aerations bringing in yet another $1800 or so on average. If you were aggressive it wouldn’t be incomprehensible to shear 50% of your clients at a bare minimum of $100 for small jobs to generate close to $4k throughout the year in addition to the rest.

GarPA
11-11-2002, 08:02 AM
well said kutnkru...in my first full time year I am not far off my revenue projection and I am a small operation(mowing is only part of the biz) ...as one of the 'gurus' here told me, run it like a for real business and the income is not shabby...why so many of us whine I dont know...at times I hesitate to read some of these posts because its the same old "sad song"...whatever....

Nelson
11-11-2002, 09:33 AM
Originally posted by roscioli
I didnt read all replies, but sounds like a case of a dumb guy that meant GROSS.

No, I made sure he did say NET

scott's turf
11-11-2002, 09:47 AM
The thing that kills you as a solo op os that there is so much work to do in the spring. I could spend 5 days a week for 2 weeks doing bark mulch jobs but I still have to do mowing. How can you get all that done. Customers don't want to wait until July to have their beds mulched.

kutnkru
11-11-2002, 10:00 AM
Originally posted by scott's turf
... Customers don't want to wait until July to have their beds mulched. Thats the beauty of being your own boss is YOU make the schedule.

I realize that many may bark at you about not having the mulch put down first thing in the spring. If you fluff it a little when you do the spring clean ups it should look just as well as the newly installed product - with the exception of when the others are fading out you'll be applying the new product keeping the property looking fresh.

The other thing that I dont understand why so many do is to bleed clients wallets dry in the spring to go broke during the summer???

If you spread your services out not only are you busy but upselling services/add-ons will be easier because they arent pennyless from the spring rush.

Its like the ole adage about the old bull and young bull standing on the hill -- people need to stop running down the hill in the spring to the herd below and walk as the old bull suggests and work the herd all season long.

Lawn-Scapes
11-11-2002, 11:43 AM
Scott,

I don't know when you start cutting in NH but here it's around the first of April. I do all of my mulching in March. No if, ands or buts about it. All mulch jobs are done before cutting begins.

bobbygedd
11-11-2002, 01:03 PM
my trailer, unsightly? come on now, its not the best, but its not the worse. personally, i find that little black briefcase my nieghbor carries in and out evertyday to be repulsive.

kutnkru
11-11-2002, 01:22 PM
Originally posted by bobbygedd
... personally, i find that little black briefcase my nieghbor carries in and out evertyday to be repulsive. I happen to like the American Tourister that I use which used to belong to my grandfather.

Of course its not a black one -LOL!!!

Strawbridge Lawn
11-11-2002, 03:00 PM
Yes, I think it is possible, but probably not realistic for most. I am finishing up my 2nd year as a solo. I do not advertise. My first year my
gross was about 25K, This year about 35-40K. I All equip has just been paid off.
I have 16 annual contracts, 2 are commercial and 10-15 seasonal customers.
Have a tow and WB aerator that brings big $$ in the fall and some in the spring.
For next year, I am working towards 2 more annual commercial accounts. Any residential I take on will be close to base. Hoping for 45-50K.
At the point now where the equipment is everything. Must be reliable and multi-functional to accomadate many properties, and year round care.

Strawbridge Lawn
11-11-2002, 03:08 PM
I would add: There is a big difference between Gross and Net in this business. Gross typically does not include the vast array of expoenses, and of course those lovely taxes.

Mack
11-11-2002, 03:40 PM
This is my second year as a solo. Have 44 xmark zero turn and snapper 48 walk be hind and a push with all the blowers and weed trimmers. I would have done that except the drought killed me. So I think it is possible, but not with the summer we had.

nu83
11-11-2002, 07:31 PM
Compared to other businesses the net in lawn care is a very high percentage of the gross, when you are solo.

lawnworker
11-12-2002, 03:52 PM
Originally posted by nu83
Compared to other businesses the net in lawn care is a very high percentage of the gross, when you are solo.

Well lets see, after you take out the owners (your) salary there is not much left in most cases for the business. Yes, we work hard with our solo jobs, and they can be pretty profitable to. But if one running solo steps aside and hires a worker the net drops like a rock thrown in the pond.

Businesses in general in the U.S.A. are either growing very big with deep pockets providing $$$ , or staying very small . The middle man just cannot make it anymore. This is a fact of life, today.
Look at all the super stores in every major city in america. Growing extremely large has been tried in lawncare by Brickman, True green and other with some sucess.This equates to a much smaller profit margin for the mega providers like brickmen.

sorry if I am off topic here.

nu83
11-12-2002, 09:32 PM
right. Would you rather have a profit margin of 95% on $50k in sales or 12% on $5 million sales. Obviously when you are no longer the only worker your profit margin is going to fall dramatically, but your sales should also rise dramatically.

lawnworker
11-13-2002, 09:44 AM
If you are also working with the help thats true. The real test is when you step aside and the business supports one as a manager only, such as jim lewis. A lot of businesses don't have the owner doing the actual work, like the restauraunt owner does not wash the dishes. It is my hope, to one day own a business, where I can step aside and collect the Monies.
of course, I realize management has headaches too, nothing is ever easy or we would all be rich. :cool:

lawnworker
11-13-2002, 09:48 AM
$600,000 does sound pretty good.

scott's turf
11-13-2002, 09:54 AM
Originally posted by TSG
Scott,

I don't know when you start cutting in NH but here it's around the first of April. I do all of my mulching in March. No if, ands or buts about it. All mulch jobs are done before cutting begins.

I start work typically the last week in march. That is usually when all the snow is melted, can't do much before that happens. Clean-ups keep me busy until mowing starts and then the first of may we usually start bark mulching. With helpers it is fine but solo I would have trouble. I work less and less hours every year and hire good help to work with and for me. I have an additional FT job as well so it is hard to compare my situation to many of you.

kenneth parsons
11-14-2002, 08:23 PM
If you are questioning your ability to make $60K in this business, you should consider another line of work, because you deserve $60K. I have no doubts a 2d year "solo" guy can net $60K! It is entirely possible with solid, written, profitable agreements. If he had 55 customers on contract for 36 visits a year @ $40 per visit = $1,440 each per year x 55 = $80K gross. Geographical location and demographics have a lot to do with it, but where I am, $100K is not out of reach, even if your capabilities were limited to MB&G. I think anyone not able to make $60K is scared of work or scared of themselves!