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godjwood
10-30-2011, 08:15 PM
Hi,

I am in the process of breaking down my entire company to figure out the costs of everything per hour.

So far I have calculated out a mower (based it off a wright stander) operation cost per hour, and two cycle equipment cost per hour (tried to average out blowers, hedge trimmers, trimmers).

I got my operation cost for a wright stander was $12 and change per hour and two cycle equipment was $7 and change per hour. My model is to buy new equipment, sell before needs repairs, but take into account maintenance costs and time. I read someone else calculated $8/hr for a mower so I just wanted to run this stuff by you guys:

Wright Mower
Purchase Price $8,000.00
Resale Price $4,000.00
Hours Used 1,000
Blades $240.00 1 new set per 250 hours
Grease $80.00 1 tube/25 hrs
Oil Changes $230.00 2 quarts/50 hours plus 3.50 oil filter
Gas $5,400.00 about 1.5 GPH
Maint Labor $2,400.00 1 hr per 25 hrs @60/hr
Cost Per Hour $12.35


2 Cycle Equipment
Purchase Price $500.00
Resale Price $250.00
Hours Used 700 25 hrs/wk, 7 months
Two Cycle Oil $307.62 1 gal/128 oz in a gallon*2.5 oz per gallon mix *.5 gal/hr * 700 hours used
Gas $1,260.00 .5 gal/hr
Maint Labor $3,500.00 5 mins/hr
Cost Per Hour $7.60

fastlane
10-30-2011, 08:36 PM
How did you get the $60 an hour for maint. Was it done at a dealer?

SouthSide Cutter
10-30-2011, 08:49 PM
Sounds high to me. Lets say on the mower, if you put 800hrs on it thats 9000 dollars. That would more than buy a new one with trade and service it for the 800hrs.

larryinalabama
10-30-2011, 08:57 PM
Interesting post, I guess most of my handhelds are inexpensive to operate, my shindawia blower is over 10 years old and still operates fine. My Stilh combi is over 3 years and runs like it did new.

Another way too look at is my blower is 10 years old and it cost me 400$ Other than fuel I have not spent a penny on it . It burns about 1 quart of fuel an hour.
So thats 40$ per year (and shrinking as years pass) less than 4$ per month around .13 or .14$ day mabey 4 to 5 cents per hour. Fuel and mix roughfley 4$ per gallon or 1 $ per quart. So the cost per hour of that unit is less than 1.25$ per hour.

Main mower 3 years old at the cost of 4000$, thats say 1400$ per year or say 120$ per month or 4$ per day. I realize this is somewhat flawed because the mower doesnt usually run on Sunday. It burns about half a gallon of fuel per hour thats 1.75$, 1 dollar per hour covers maintance blades and repairs, at 600 hours Iv not spent 600$ maintaining the machine. I would say 5$ per hour would cover the mower.

My box truck is the biggest expense at 11 mpg, I usually burn 100$ per week in fuel.

No doubt lawncare is a expensive businees to operate.

djagusch
10-30-2011, 09:09 PM
Hi,

I am in the process of breaking down my entire company to figure out the costs of everything per hour.

So far I have calculated out a mower (based it off a wright stander) operation cost per hour, and two cycle equipment cost per hour (tried to average out blowers, hedge trimmers, trimmers).

I got my operation cost for a wright stander was $12 and change per hour and two cycle equipment was $7 and change per hour. My model is to buy new equipment, sell before needs repairs, but take into account maintenance costs and time. I read someone else calculated $8/hr for a mower so I just wanted to run this stuff by you guys:

Wright Mower
Purchase Price $8,000.00
Resale Price $4,000.00
Hours Used 1,000
Blades $240.00 1 new set per 250 hours
Grease $80.00 1 tube/25 hrs
Oil Changes $230.00 2 quarts/50 hours plus 3.50 oil filter
Gas $5,400.00 about 1.5 GPH
Maint Labor $2,400.00 1 hr per 25 hrs @60/hr
Cost Per Hour $12.35


2 Cycle Equipment
Purchase Price $500.00
Resale Price $250.00
Hours Used 700 25 hrs/wk, 7 months
Two Cycle Oil $307.62 1 gal/128 oz in a gallon*2.5 oz per gallon mix *.5 gal/hr * 700 hours used
Gas $1,260.00 .5 gal/hr
Maint Labor $3,500.00 5 mins/hr
Cost Per Hour $7.60

250hrs for a set of blades is really high. I am averaging 45 to 50 hrs per set before the lift portion wears away (sandy soils around my area). This was a wet year also. 2 yrs ago I was happy with 40 to 45 hrs before they are worn out.

Maintence labor you may want to figure what your average cost of labor is, if you have a employee do it instead of $60/hr. Remember you are figureing costs.

djagusch
10-30-2011, 09:12 PM
Interesting post, I guess most of my handhelds are inexpensive to operate, my shindawia blower is over 10 years old and still operates fine. My Stilh combi is over 3 years and runs like it did new.

Another way too look at is my blower is 10 years old and it cost me 400$ Other than fuel I have not spent a penny on it . It burns about 1 quart of fuel an hour.
So thats 40$ per year (and shrinking as years pass) less than 4$ per month around .13 or .14$ day mabey 4 to 5 cents per hour. Fuel and mix roughfley 4$ per gallon or 1 $ per quart. So the cost per hour of that unit is less than 1.25$ per hour.

Main mower 3 years old at the cost of 4000$, thats say 1400$ per year or say 120$ per month or 4$ per day. I realize this is somewhat flawed because the mower doesnt usually run on Sunday. It burns about half a gallon of fuel per hour thats 1.75$, 1 dollar per hour covers maintance blades and repairs, at 600 hours Iv not spent 600$ maintaining the machine. I would say 5$ per hour would cover the mower.

My box truck is the biggest expense at 11 mpg, I usually burn 100$ per week in fuel.

No doubt lawncare is a expensive businees to operate.

What mower/engine combo runs .5gal/hr? You send it cost $4000 so it's not a 21". My 48" w/b is .9gal/hr or so.

MOturkey
10-30-2011, 09:22 PM
I'm a relatively small operator, and I realize everyone's situation is slightly different, but other than with my first Z, which I used 4 seasons, I've been trading every 2 years, so I'm always in warranty. I average around 700 hours per machine during that time period. I think your depreciation is a bit optimistic, based on my observations, however, it may be possible a Wright has a higher resale, at least in your area of the country. It has been costing me an average of $6 to $7 per hour depreciation, based on two year usage. If you put a few more hours on a machine in a year, those figures might drop slightly, but my dealer told me that 1,000 hours seems to kind of be barrier, I guess like 100,000 miles is on a used vehicle. Most people in the market for used are looking for something with less hours, so I'm assuming that at over 1,000 hours, the price starts to go down.

I also would have an issue with the maintenance figures, as I don't see 4 hours labor per 100 hours, unless you include time changing blades, scraping the deck, etc, and surely you or an employee would take care of those things at a cost of far less than $60 per hour.

Overall, though, I think your figures are very close on the mower, you just arrived at them in a different manner than I would have.

Honestly, I think you are way high in the estimate on handhelds, on average, but it is better to be too high than too low. Kudos to you for actually trying to figure all this out. Way too many ignore the costs until they realize the equipment is worn out and the bank account is empty.

lawnkingforever
10-30-2011, 09:55 PM
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lawnkingforever
10-30-2011, 10:00 PM
I agree with moturkey, better too be too high than low. But your figures for handhelds are high.
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grassmasterswilson
10-31-2011, 07:08 AM
Your numbers look a little high, but my expense might be higher. What I did was fill everything up on monday and keep up with my hours on the machine and gas used for the week. I did it for a few weeks and took an average. Mower might be close but I think my 2 cycle stuff was lower. You maintenance numbers are high unless you take your stuff to the dealer every few months for a complete tune up. A tube of grease should last a long time, but I don't know how many zerks a wright has. At $60/hr I assume that's for a dealer, but you are figureing about 1 hr per week of maintenance. I think thats high, at least at the beginning. As the mower ages it might be right if you include parts.

Don't forget insurance on your equipment. Good job for figureing in replacement cost.

There is a guy up here who sells a profit cd that I bought a few years ago. It was pretty standare but did have spreadsheets to enter in all the info and it would figure out your cost per hour for mowers, handhelds, truck, etc.

I looked back and my hustler ztr was around 13/hr and my handhelds (2 trimmers, 1 edger, and 2 blowers) came out to around 4-5/hr. I've been lucky and my stuff has held up pretty well. Those numbers were a little old and not sure what the gas price was used.

mowyo
10-31-2011, 08:03 AM
You need to add in everything over a long time period for accuracy , but you are on the right track . My costs are $ 12 to $ 15 per hour with 1 part time helper , and doing all my own shop maint. and repair. I run everything 'till its worn completely out and not too sure this is the way too do it . ( been a really bad year for tires , batteries , belts ) Insurance ( homeowners ) went up 40 % last year , diesel and gas has over doubled in the last 3 years .
I see guys on here still mowing for $ 35 - $ 40 / hr. and wonder how they make it

Richard Martin
10-31-2011, 08:37 AM
Insurance ( homeowners ) went up 40 % last year

What does homeowner's insurance have to do with cutting grass? I certainly hope you aren't charging it off on your business.

Darryl G
10-31-2011, 08:40 AM
I've never tried to do a detailed calculation of my equipment costs per hour but for figuring what to charge for different types of work I use $5 for handhelds, $10 for the 48inch hydro walkbehid, $15 for the 52 inch Z with rear bagger, $25 for the tractor with loader and york rake and $30 for the tractor with loader and backhoe. This is just for estimating purposes so I'd rather be on the high side.

32vld
10-31-2011, 08:41 AM
A couple of thoughts. Usuall mower price's go up over time so shouldn't replacement mower cost be higher then what you paid for your last one?

Wouldn't it be better to keep a mower past warantee?

Depending on the cost and how many more seasons you would get say wouldn't a $1,000 repair for a season is better then a $10,000 purchase.

And did you factor in cost for expansion. That number has to be decided on to the hourly costs.

GMLC
10-31-2011, 09:01 AM
32vld,

Very good points. Especially expansion, marketing etc etc. I too keep my mowers for long periods of time. But I do understand why someone may trade before the value drops to much if you don't do your own maintenance. Has anyone that buys new every year or two looked into a lease program? I wonder if the cost difference would be woth it?
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Darryl G
10-31-2011, 09:03 AM
I don't think marketing and expansion costs go into the equipment cost equation though.

GMLC
10-31-2011, 09:03 AM
And if I'm not mistaken the lease program includes maintenance!
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GMLC
10-31-2011, 09:08 AM
Darryl your right! I was thinking of other things that go into overall costs like insurance, supplies etc etc. It slipped my mind this was an equipment cost thread.
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MOturkey
10-31-2011, 09:36 AM
A couple of thoughts. Usuall mower price's go up over time so shouldn't replacement mower cost be higher then what you paid for your last one?

Wouldn't it be better to keep a mower past warantee?

Depending on the cost and how many more seasons you would get say wouldn't a $1,000 repair for a season is better then a $10,000 purchase.

And did you factor in cost for expansion. That number has to be decided on to the hourly costs.


Good points, but I still think it is usually a "pay now or pay later" situation. The price does go up, usually each year, but keeping equipment updated on a regular basis such as every two years, the inflation impact is minimal, and I include that estimate in my per hour cost. In other words, my $6 to $7 per hour depreciation reflects the price difference when I trade, rather than being based on the previous purchase price. To some extent, used equipment goes up along with the new.

If you are a mechanic, and can do all your own after warranty repairs, and have either a backup machine, or enough slack time that downtime isn't a big factor, then I have no doubt you can have a lower per hour operating cost than trading every two years. However, I'm guessing the cost savings, for most people, is less than what they think. If I can trade for $7 per hour, with no repair costs, for me, that is the best option.

Richard Martin
10-31-2011, 12:09 PM
This is the only "industry" where warranty is a determining factor for replacement. Every company that I've ever been involved with, had knowledge of or worked for has used their equipement until it cost more to fix than it was worth. They got every last dollar out of them. Even a company like UPS drives the wheels off of them. They have to. There is no used market for old UPS trucks because they destroy them when they're taken out of service.

dhardin53
10-31-2011, 12:12 PM
I guess things are much higher in RI than in IL understandable. But It appears to me you need a more realists numbers.

Not being divisive but in 1000 hours your spending $80 in grease? I want to be your grease salesman.

You would not want to see my numbers if I pluged my actual cost into your example.

Richard Martin
10-31-2011, 12:58 PM
Just for grins and giggles I'm going to show you how I'd do godjwood's cost per hour.

Wright Mower
Purchase Price $8,000.00
Resale Price $4,000.00
Hours Used 1,000
Blades $180.00 1 new set per 250 hours @ $15 per blade
Grease $50.00 1 tube/100 hrs @ $5 a tube
Oil Changes $105.00 see note #1 below
Gas $3600.00 about 1.0 GPH see note #2 below
Maint Labor $500 1 hr per 25 hrs @10/hr see note #3 below
Cost Per Hour $8.43

Notes:

#1
Factory intervals for oil changes are 100 hours on the oil. 200 hours on the filter.
$4 qt X 20 qt = $80 for oil
$5 filter X 5 filters = $25
total is $105.00

#2
The user hasn't indicated what mower he is actually using and the horsepower. My 28 HP 60" Dixie uses 1.3 gal per hour when it's working hard and around 1.0 gal per hour on easy grass. I lowered his usage to 1.0 gal per hour.

#3
If you think I'm paying anybody $60 an hour to change oil then you've lost your mind.

larryinalabama
10-31-2011, 08:30 PM
What mower/engine combo runs .5gal/hr? You send it cost $4000 so it's not a 21". My 48" w/b is .9gal/hr or so.

I have a 44" BOP duelly with 16hp Kawasaki. The gas tank is 2.5gal (small). I really have only one large streight mowing accont, the machine oprates hard for at least 5.5 to 6 hours and still has some fuel left. I alawaws top of my fuel every morning when I check my iol.

I think its impossible to put a price on equiptment per hour everyone operates different. I will assure that lawncare is a very expensive gusiness

Cheffy
11-01-2011, 09:31 AM
I think you are all on the right track trying to figure expenses. I only try to figure my zero turns. Which I figure by hours run divided by difference to trade. Handhelds I dont worry about . Fuel in the truck is cought up in the book work on the monthly balance sheet . You cant trade every year on zeros they try to give you nothing . Unless you can sell it private . For instance I have a Turf Tiger 2011(400hrs) dealer wants 6000.00 to trade. I would be taking it in the rear to the tune of $15.00 per machine hour. Again to keep business expenses low I do all my own repairs. I can keep this machine 4 or 5 years and probably sell for $4500.00 or more . That to me makes more business sence.
I have a Ferris 3100 that has 1300 hours on. I have run it since new in 2007 . It has my bagger on it . If I could sell it for $4000.00 the difference from purchase would be $5000.00 ( $4.00 per machine hour) . That would make more sence . But I will keep it for a couple more years.

godjwood
11-01-2011, 09:43 PM
Hey guys

didnt expect to get so many replies but i appreciate the input.

regarding insurance- that is going to go into my main operating overhead expenses per hour

regarding blades- I go through about one set a season, about 350 hours but I estimated everything conservatively

regarding grease- really not a huge factor but I was trying to come up with a general average, because my ferris WB uses A LOT of grease, almost one tube in itself.

regarding maint labor- good point. I do the work myself but i was attempting to model moving forward. And moving forward I will probably have a worker maintain my equipment at a cost less than $60 per hour, someone mentioned this was a cost analysis and the 60 per hour would include a profit margin so this shoudl be adjusted. to maybe $25/hour (foreman pay including taxes & comp)

regarding oil changes- another small expense, but your right i change my oil every 100 hours but i have a read a lot of people do it every 50- so like i said caluclating conservatively.

regarding keeping equip longer- i do not want to keep the equipment, the idea is to keep new equipment moving forward so i do not have to worry about it breaking down i need to have reliable equipment. i figure up to about 1000 hours you shouldnt have to worry about break downs.

gallons per hour- i have never actually calculated mine, but I did some research and found anywhere from .5 to 2 gph on average so i used 1.5.

regarding 2 cycle equip- i dont know about you guys but my trimmers last about 1 year without problems, on the second year i start getting issues with them. I barely maintain them also, but i figured time to load the string etc (5 mins an hour)

regarding the resale value, i researched this on craigslist what they were selling for.

godjwood
11-01-2011, 09:52 PM
Just for grins and giggles I'm going to show you how I'd do godjwood's cost per hour.

Wright Mower
Purchase Price $8,000.00
Resale Price $4,000.00
Hours Used 1,000
Blades $180.00 1 new set per 250 hours @ $15 per blade
Grease $50.00 1 tube/100 hrs @ $5 a tube
Oil Changes $105.00 see note #1 below
Gas $3600.00 about 1.0 GPH see note #2 below
Maint Labor $500 1 hr per 25 hrs @10/hr see note #3 below
Cost Per Hour $8.43

Notes:

#1
Factory intervals for oil changes are 100 hours on the oil. 200 hours on the filter.
$4 qt X 20 qt = $80 for oil
$5 filter X 5 filters = $25
total is $105.00

#2
The user hasn't indicated what mower he is actually using and the horsepower. My 28 HP 60" Dixie uses 1.3 gal per hour when it's working hard and around 1.0 gal per hour on easy grass. I lowered his usage to 1.0 gal per hour.

#3
If you think I'm paying anybody $60 an hour to change oil then you've lost your mind.

Good points. I think that you are on the low side with everything; i would rather have my numbers too high than too low. Probably going to end up somewhere around $10/hour.

ozarklawns
11-02-2011, 12:20 AM
Here is what I have done. I have been in business for a few years and finally in 2009 was able to get into it full time with good equipment. I believe you can never kn ow too much about your business. Tracking expenses is extremly important for growing a business. It allows for analysis. I made a macro model of my entire business at tax time last year and this is what I found. Total costs of operating my business were at
$22/hr. That is the whole ball of wax not just equipment. I was shocked when I found this out so this year I am trying to cut costs and be more efficient. Estimates need to be based upon previous performance!!!! Unless this is your first year in the business. Look at your taxes from last year and add up the total expenses/actual hrs worked. That is how I determine what I need to charge. It is not foolproof and it is different for everyone, but it does allow you to include and track all those hidden costs you can easily forget about.

Richard Martin
11-02-2011, 03:19 AM
Good points. I think that you are on the low side with everything; i would rather have my numbers too high than too low. Probably going to end up somewhere around $10/hour.

No. Unlike yourself, I've actually bothered to take the time to see how much something costs or how long it takes me to do something. You admittedly guessed at everything.

I recently sent my engine oil out from my Dixie to see just what kind of shape it's in after extended hours (150). The lab told me that I can safely push it even further. BTW, that is with regular Pennzoil 10w30, not a synthetic. http://www.lawnsite.com/showpost.php?p=4147573&postcount=1

BTW, I have 2 Ferris walk behinds and between the 2 of them they're not using an entire tube of grease in 100 hours.

Florida Gardener
11-02-2011, 06:28 AM
I don't personally agree with ditching mowers every 2 years to keep a warranty. I can see maybe for handhelds, but if you take care of your stuff, most machines should last a long time. Sure, you will have to replace stuff on the way, but $500-$1k every so many hours to me is better than thousands. These are depreciating assets like vehicles.
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ralph02813
11-02-2011, 07:25 AM
@godjwood -I almost a gree with some other guys about the maintianence, but I think the time (not the mileage or time go to or back from) at my dealers, and that is down time, in reality if part of the cost of doing business and thus part of overhead.
So If you correct, then if you can beam your equipment to the customer, minimum cost for cutting a lawn is $20.00 if you go a gallon of gas in each direction to get there, then minimum is $28.00 never mind the cost of running the truck.

jvanvliet
11-02-2011, 07:30 AM
It's a really good idea to know how much it costs an hour to operate! :clapping:

Don't forget to take into consideration your tax benefits for the depreciation and what type of depreciation formula you use, accelerated or straight line. You could effectively write the stuff down to zero (meaning you've written off the entire cost against income). Be sure to include what it costs to run the machines, gasoline, oil mix, etc.

Also, I don't know if it's a benefit to dump the equipment before it's useful life expires. As soon as you buy new, you take a hit on the depreciation and you've bought a new set of problems. With what you got, you have the devil you know which is better that the devil you don't, unless you've got a lemon.

If you have a loan, you may find that you are inverted on the loan amount and what the equipment is worth in which case you'll roll over a loan for more than the value of the equipment you buy.

We like to keep our equipment until repair costs exceed 25% of repacement cost and we can get another year out of it, or down time eats into productivity. Then we'll put a sign on it and let the gypsies buy it, or we'll strip all the useful parts off of it and trash the rest.

ralph02813
11-02-2011, 07:38 AM
@diamondlandscaping, I use the same model, it is not that you will replace it, it is more like if you have to, the warranty gives you rationale for coming up with a time line and action plan if need be, and it is your real cost, because in reality you could blow and engine during a real hot spell and its just out of warranty - or one of your crewmen didn't check the oil level every morning -oops then there is some cash in the operation fund.
Personally, I like the extra smile Ihave on my face knowing everything is paid for because it was budgeted - I am hoping for at least 5 years on my stuff - hell my truck is a 99. I just boughtr a new 40 single blade redmax hedge trimmer - my ole echo 30" double side blade which just finished its 4th year is still a champ in my book, and will be on the truck again next year so the would put my useage cost down to what $3.50 - but my new 40 is being bought with equipment money!

Cheffy
11-02-2011, 09:13 AM
I think jvanvliet has a good idea of how to do it . When expenses exceed 25% of new purchase price trade . This is an excellent forum and all have good ideas . I still think some trade zeros early because they like to smell paint burn off of the muffler. Last year (2010) I bought a new Turf Tiger , My ferris had 1100 hrs on it I put $2500. 00 in it to keep it going through the 2010 season . I really had a good year in 2010 so I needed a tax right-off . I did not trade off my ferris though it is now my dedicated bagger dethatch machine.

Florida Gardener
11-02-2011, 10:40 AM
@diamondlandscaping, I use the same model, it is not that you will replace it, it is more like if you have to, the warranty gives you rationale for coming up with a time line and action plan if need be, and it is your real cost, because in reality you could blow and engine during a real hot spell and its just out of warranty - or one of your crewmen didn't check the oil level every morning -oops then there is some cash in the operation fund.
Personally, I like the extra smile Ihave on my face knowing everything is paid for because it was budgeted - I am hoping for at least 5 years on my stuff - hell my truck is a 99. I just boughtr a new 40 single blade redmax hedge trimmer - my ole echo 30" double side blade which just finished its 4th year is still a champ in my book, and will be on the truck again next year so the would put my useage cost down to what $3.50 - but my new 40 is being bought with equipment money!
I'm not totally disagreeing, maybe more like think about it. A warranty is awesome, but the chances of blowing a motor due to mechanical reasons early on are slim. Another point you brought up which is great is operation size. If I had multiple crewsi would prob switch out every 2 years bc you can't totally trust employees. But a solo or maybe one crew operation is different where you make sure everything is good. There are other variables to look at and both sides have their strong points. Just something to think about. I know I personally wouldn't drain cash reserves to buy a new machine when I had something 2-3 years old running fine. If you could do 24-36/mo with zero financing, different story.
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32vld
11-02-2011, 10:58 AM
Here is what I have done. I have been in business for a few years and finally in 2009 was able to get into it full time with good equipment. I believe you can never kn ow too much about your business. Tracking expenses is extremly important for growing a business. It allows for analysis. I made a macro model of my entire business at tax time last year and this is what I found. Total costs of operating my business were at
$22/hr. That is the whole ball of wax not just equipment. I was shocked when I found this out so this year I am trying to cut costs and be more efficient. Estimates need to be based upon previous performance!!!! Unless this is your first year in the business. Look at your taxes from last year and add up the total expenses/actual hrs worked. That is how I determine what I need to charge. It is not foolproof and it is different for everyone, but it does allow you to include and track all those hidden costs you can easily forget about.

Thing is everyone has to guess where they are at for costs. Then they have to do a year end summary as you did so next year they work with more accurate numbers.

This is like the growing season has to be repeated every year.

ozarklawns
11-02-2011, 07:01 PM
Thing is everyone has to guess where they are at for costs. Then they have to do a year end summary as you did so next year they work with more accurate numbers.

This is like the growing season has to be repeated every year.

Yes, Your exactly right. Once your first year in business has passed, you can develop more accurate models and keep track of all costs and how they change from season to season. If your into your third or fourth season and you are still guessing you may be developing problems in your business. Update your three or five year forcasts with actual performance data from the previous year. It helps with all aspects of truely knowing your business and developing and acheiving long term goals.