PDA

View Full Version : P/T LCO's with 9-5's


SMSnyder
12-13-2011, 12:46 AM
I'm in the process of researching, getting paperwork/business plan together, getting my costs right and all that jazz but was wondering how many accounts you guys do AFTER your 9-5, maybe how many normal sized residential accounts you do lets say? Do you guys pack your schedule full during Mon-Fri or do you keep it pretty slim, maybe 1-2 and then have full days on the weekends?

I'm going to have to keep my day job to see if I can make this venture work or not. I get up around 5. Work from 6-6:30 to usually 3ish. Can anyone share how they're schedule goes, I'd appreciate it.

32vld
12-13-2011, 08:53 AM
I'm in the process of researching, getting paperwork/business plan together, getting my costs right and all that jazz but was wondering how many accounts you guys do AFTER your 9-5, maybe how many normal sized residential accounts you do lets say? Do you guys pack your schedule full during Mon-Fri or do you keep it pretty slim, maybe 1-2 and then have full days on the weekends?

I'm going to have to keep my day job to see if I can make this venture work or not. I get up around 5. Work from 6-6:30 to usually 3ish. Can anyone share how they're schedule goes, I'd appreciate it.

With 9 to 5's there's not enough light in the spring and fall to get work done.

Now there are people that work full time and get off at three. Then the ones that work 3/12 hour shifts or 4/10 shifts a week.

Do a normal lawn?

There is no normal. Some areas 1/4 is normal, some 1/2, then other's 1-5.

How long does it take you to do yours? 1hour then you may think then you can do 8 on the one day you are wrong. Thing is drive time.

Drive time to that 1 hour job unloading, reloading can turn that job into a 1 1/2 hour job. So you will only do 5 lawns that day.

ny scaper
12-13-2011, 01:24 PM
Let me tell you that you are lucky getting out at 3.
My hours are till 4-4:30. I ended with 12 accounts this year and let me tell you, it was a lot at the end of the year. Not the actual work, but balancing F/T gig, landscaping, family, hobbies(yeah right - I used toi have them). If I didnt have a family, I would push for near 25-30 accounts where I am located. But not seeing my family at all would make landscaping P/T pointless to me.
I try to have the lawns cut over a 3 day period in the Summer and 3 days in the fall when light is less and less. My accounts are within 4 mile radius. In the Spring, I will work weekends doing cleanups as I hate starting one and not finishing on the same day. That being said I start in early April so I have all my customer's taken care of by Mid May, leaving some room for 1 timers. Summer mowing is no issue, but I would not and will not go mow one lawn after work and then go home. Not worth it after gas unless its on the way or some 3-4 hour lawn. Like I said do your lawns in as little amount of days as possible.
Fall is tough...less light and leaves means more time. Luckily my F/T job allows me to take leave pretty regularly so I wont fall behind.
Fall cleanups are same way as spring...Done on weekends.
And lastly, be up front. Tell prospective clients that you do this P/T and that you may not mow on the same day every week and that you would likely be mowing later in the afternoons. Personally, I take pride in my work and if you do good work, this should not be an issue with them.

SMSnyder
12-13-2011, 07:21 PM
With 9 to 5's there's not enough light in the spring and fall to get work done.

Now there are people that work full time and get off at three. Then the ones that work 3/12 hour shifts or 4/10 shifts a week.

Do a normal lawn?

There is no normal. Some areas 1/4 is normal, some 1/2, then other's 1-5.

How long does it take you to do yours? 1hour then you may think then you can do 8 on the one day you are wrong. Thing is drive time.

Drive time to that 1 hour job unloading, reloading can turn that job into a 1 1/2 hour job. So you will only do 5 lawns that day.

I fully understand about the drive time/loading/unloading, just didn't think too much about it. Good point, 32, thanks!

SMSnyder
12-13-2011, 07:22 PM
Let me tell you that you are lucky getting out at 3.
My hours are till 4-4:30. I ended with 12 accounts this year and let me tell you, it was a lot at the end of the year. Not the actual work, but balancing F/T gig, landscaping, family, hobbies(yeah right - I used toi have them). If I didnt have a family, I would push for near 25-30 accounts where I am located. But not seeing my family at all would make landscaping P/T pointless to me.
I try to have the lawns cut over a 3 day period in the Summer and 3 days in the fall when light is less and less. My accounts are within 4 mile radius. In the Spring, I will work weekends doing cleanups as I hate starting one and not finishing on the same day. That being said I start in early April so I have all my customer's taken care of by Mid May, leaving some room for 1 timers. Summer mowing is no issue, but I would not and will not go mow one lawn after work and then go home. Not worth it after gas unless its on the way or some 3-4 hour lawn. Like I said do your lawns in as little amount of days as possible.
Fall is tough...less light and leaves means more time. Luckily my F/T job allows me to take leave pretty regularly so I wont fall behind.
Fall cleanups are same way as spring...Done on weekends.
And lastly, be up front. Tell prospective clients that you do this P/T and that you may not mow on the same day every week and that you would likely be mowing later in the afternoons. Personally, I take pride in my work and if you do good work, this should not be an issue with them.
Great post man, lots of insight, thanks!

TripleALandscaping
12-13-2011, 09:11 PM
It is a practical way to start.

I kept around 10 lawn accounts this year.

I could easily get these done on a Thursday and Friday after work(flex schedule); which is when my clients wanted their lawns cut.

This left more than enough time to account for things like weather that you can't always prepare for.

This also left time for me to focus on up selling other work for those same clients.

As ny scaper stated be up front with your clients, they can appreciate that you are working two jobs.

It also gives you a lot of financial flexibility to slowly grow and not get in over your head.

Those 10 accounts and a few larger jobs have paid for almost all of my equipment thus far.
Don't get me wrong, most of my equipment is older and used, but I maintain it and I don't have any business debt or payments outside of my insurance premiums.

Take it slow, try to think ahead in every case/scenario, read as much as you can here on the forums....20 hours of reading here could save you months of heartache and lost money in the field.

I am part time now, probably going to be part time during 2012, then I plan to quit the 9-5 and go full time winter 2012 - Spring 2013.

Good luck!
Have fun!
Learn!
Grow your business and your professional/personal relationships!

SMSnyder
12-14-2011, 12:03 AM
Yeah I will definately tell potential customers up front I'm P/T. So do any of your guy's customers have a problem with you doing their yards in the afternoons/evenings? I'd hate to roll up and start my mower while they're eating dinner with their family etc etc. I've seen my neighbor's LCO come at 9pm during the week in the summertime.

TripleALandscaping
12-14-2011, 08:44 AM
Yeah I will definately tell potential customers up front I'm P/T. So do any of your guy's customers have a problem with you doing their yards in the afternoons/evenings? I'd hate to roll up and start my mower while they're eating dinner with their family etc etc. I've seen my neighbor's LCO come at 9pm during the week in the summertime.

You said it all right there.

That family is eating dinner spending time with their family, not wasting their time outside.

Always put a positive spin on any situation.

It gives your client face time, the opportunity to see the amount of quality work you put into their property.

If you explain it that way to them they usually don't see your late mowing in a bad light.

There are always two sides though, your equipment better be in 100% working order or have backups, nothing worse than doing your last late lawn and having a mower go down and not having the time to finish your job....which I've never let happen.
if it were to happen,do youhave the flexibility in your day job to come back the next morning...

All things to think about.
Posted via Mobile Device

RGM
12-14-2011, 09:54 AM
If you have an night time job it works kind of hard if you work a 9-5 job.
I tried the part time thing 3 different times and found it hard to keep up with my lawns because of the demands of my job. You get money tied up in equipment that business truly isn't making enough to pay for. The third time I guess was a charm for me I kept it going for 5 years but when it got rough in the fall the last year I quit my job instead. For the next 7 years I went all out full time 6 days a week and was loving the money but where was I going. About 8 years ago I got a part time job at home depot now I have better health insurance for a 1/3 of the cost a 401k and can buy Home Depot stock 15% of 2 times a year.

ny scaper
12-14-2011, 11:22 AM
You said it all right there.

That family is eating dinner spending time with their family, not wasting their time outside.

Always put a positive spin on any situation.

It gives your client face time, the opportunity to see the amount of quality work you put into their property.

If you explain it that way to them they usually don't see your late mowing in a bad light.

There are always two sides though, your equipment better be in 100% working order or have backups, nothing worse than doing your last late lawn and having a mower go down and not having the time to finish your job....which I've never let happen.
if it were to happen,do youhave the flexibility in your day job to come back the next morning...

All things to think about.
Posted via Mobile Device

Definitely true stuff TripA! Dont think clients/neighbors arent watching what you do too!!! Picking that extra weed or trimming everything nice to make it look mint goes a long way too. Neighbors become clients sooner or later. It might take a while but on several occasions, I have had neighbors comment that I am non stop hard worker and the property looks great. I offer a card and say anytime you need something, give a call. May not be that year, but when they take you up on it, they pretty much will pay anything because they already know what you can and WILL do and are not just a fly by nighter. Its good to know there are other guys like me out there.
Also, the most important thing is to keep the overhead low as possible. I started with a honda push mower (still have and works great), broom, hand shears, and loppers. I try to make one "large" purchase every year to make things more efficient. But if you have 5 accounts, why have a ZTR??? You cant make $ because it all goes to the ZTR you bought.
For me, I have opted to use high end resi/low end commerical equipment based upon the small size of my operation. That means a 55R trimmer, HS45 gas shears, a 33" resi walkbehind that actually works and stripes surprisingly well as long as you dont beat it. Yeah its a crap machine compared to Scag, Exmark, etc. and I get made fun of it by the F/T guys I'm bussies with who have all the best, But blades sharpened and everything tuned regularly, it does the job. Stuff paid with cash therefore it only makes me money. I still use an electric blower, but a backpack is on the agenda for next year. Then upgrades as I gain accounts. Sorry to be longwinded...Just some insight from a guy who has learned through trial and error.

MDLawn
12-14-2011, 12:26 PM
I'll give my spin on my part time venture and a friend's whom I worked for. At max I had 15 mowing accounts which was great for me during the spring and summer months because my workload is light. Come fall it was more difficult as my fulltime job, which is never a 9-5, 7-3, 6-2 (you get my point), takes much time away from mowing. I was forced to cut on Saturdays which no one seemed to mind as the fall is cold around here and not many people are having outdoor parties. Everything worked great for the first 4 years as it NEVER rained on a saturday. This year different story, rained all the time. No one was upset but it just took more time from me. If you're single or married with zero commitments (children) then this can work out ok. So as of right now I am out of mowing for next year but will be focusing on just landscaping work. I have commitments from most customers to continue landscaping and landscape maintenance work (non-lawn) for them. We'll see how it goes.

Now my friend I worked for years before I did my own thing has quite a different story. When I started with him we may have mowed 10-12 lawns and did about that same amount of landscape work, mostly at those properties but some stand alone landscape jobs. We mowed Thurs and Fri. His job is a 7-3 and I was free to work all the time. When I left 5 years later we were mowing about 25-30 lawns with the same amount of landscape work. My last year he brought on a second guy to help with the landscape jobs. The last time I spoke with him a few months ago he was doing about 40+ mowing jobs, 50+ landscape jobs, plus snow removal which he was doing from the start. He has 2-3 guys doing the work while he is at his full time job now but I know he is at every job when he can be. The man loves to work and save all his money. He told me he makes more than his current full time job, which pays really well, and I fully believe this. Without "needing" the money to live off of he has the best equipment and employees. Again he is a saving type of person and now lives on 5 prime acres with a new beautiful 2500 sq ft home. I think it's all paid for too!! Oh he has a family too.

So it's a commitment and he always told me "You have to be in this for the long haul to make money" I'm upset that I need to stop mowing but I cannot give up a guaranteed income + benefits. Hopefully I can get the landscaping end fired up and be able to just do jobs in the spring and summer. I will never have an 8hr/day 5 days a week life with my career. So unless that changes I will need to put things on hold with mowing.

RGM
12-14-2011, 12:36 PM
Yeah I will definately tell potential customers up front I'm P/T. So do any of your guy's customers have a problem with you doing their yards in the afternoons/evenings? I'd hate to roll up and start my mower while they're eating dinner with their family etc etc. I've seen my neighbor's LCO come at 9pm during the week in the summertime.

I'm with you also on this I won't start a lawn before 9 am or after 5pm unless someone asked me to get it done or its a empty/for sale house or commercial.
If I have to cut on a Saturday I won't start before 10 and finish by 3.

MDLawn
12-14-2011, 01:04 PM
I'm with you also on this I won't start a lawn before 9 am or after 5pm unless someone asked me to get it done or its a empty/for sale house or commercial.
If I have to cut on a Saturday I won't start before 10 and finish by 3.

When I worked for my friend (see above) we were always finishing by sunset. We often mowed from 1-8ish (he'd get out of work early on thursdays) and 5-9 on Fridays. Never a complaint. We never missed a week and I think that says more sometimes than the time you mow. People want commitment as most have been burned too many times by lawn guys not showing up. When I told people I was not longer mowing they were rather angry. My theory was that I have been completely consistent for 5 years never missing a beat. When I acquired these customers they all told me stories of previous companies not showing up. When I explained how my schedule would work most said "I don't care when you do it, just make sure it gets done." Now I had picky ones that wanted certain times but I could work with them on that. Customer service means more than anything, in my opinion. If that entails making sure certain lawns are mowed by certain times then thats part of it.

SMSnyder
12-14-2011, 10:59 PM
TripleA - I didn't really think to flip the script like that even though I planned on putting a quote or something on my website (when I figure that out...) that says, "Don't have time for yard work," or "want to spend more time with the family." I just kinda have this silly notion most people aren't home when the landscapers come.

Nyscaper - Very true. I drive a garbage truck for Waste Management and my district manager said something along these lines (people watching you) a few months back. An older lady called WM and complimented one of our drivers that he picked up a huge mess when birds got into someone's trash. I've been in the refuse industry for 10 years and STILL have a hard time with thinking people aren't watching.

SMSnyder
12-14-2011, 11:10 PM
MD - First point is I live in the NW, north of Seattle = lots of rain. I figured if I had trouble mowing while it's wet I'd just have to keep the lines of communication open with the customers HOPING they'd understand though I know you cannot please everyone. Also, how your buddy did it with working F/T and having a crew do the work did cross my mind, haven't thrown that idea out yet either but I know I have a lot of learning to do still. Being the absent boss is sketchy to me unless I can some how find great employees....and I don't trust anyone lol.

RGM - My neighbors LCO has mowed at frickin' 9PM before, though it just got dark (summertime) I think that's a little over kill. We have sound laws around here that's why I was thinking if I were able to snatch up any commercial accounts that I'd do them on the weekends...if that worked for them.....and weren't near neighborhoods I'd start them early at like 7-8am.

Sorry guys, I hate mult-quoting.

ralph02813
12-15-2011, 08:02 AM
If you have an night time job it works kind of hard if you work a 9-5 job.
I tried the part time thing 3 different times and found it hard to keep up with my lawns because of the demands of my job. You get money tied up in equipment that business truly isn't making enough to pay for. The third time I guess was a charm for me I kept it going for 5 years but when it got rough in the fall the last year I quit my job instead. For the next 7 years I went all out full time 6 days a week and was loving the money but where was I going. About 8 years ago I got a part time job at home depot now I have better health insurance for a 1/3 of the cost a 401k and can buy Home Depot stock 15% of 2 times a year.

I have been at Home Depot for 5 years the first three I was full time and did 10 a week - the hd schedule can be nuts as a full timer, you have to be availble form 5 am to midnight - the good part was you always work weekends which gave me to days to cut grass and 5 days to pray for no rain on those days otherwise that would put me on the lawns before working a 3pm to 12 shift.
As a parttime I share the same experience as RGM, my availability is Sat, Sun and Monday before noon, I get 10-15 hours a week reduces health care and my 401k which because of my age I can put up to 50% of my salary before taxes in.

MDLawn
12-15-2011, 03:23 PM
Also, how your buddy did it with working F/T and having a crew do the work did cross my mind, haven't thrown that idea out yet either but I know I have a lot of learning to do still. Being the absent boss is sketchy to me unless I can some how find great employees....and I don't trust anyone lol.

Ok let me explain this better. I worked for him for I believe 5 seasons. Himself and I were on EVERY job together besides one leaf clean up one year. After I left he was still working EVERY job with the new guys he took on. He still tries to be on EVERY job that he can but I know he lets his guys do more alone now. He's got a good landscape guy that trims bushes and edges well, plus guys who know how to mow. He's more likely just to meet them at the end of the day to finish up and check it out. He's done this for about 12 years I believe. I think when you've put the time in and can get good people it can work. He's a strickler for getting it done right.

RGM
12-15-2011, 03:26 PM
I have been at Home Depot for 5 years the first three I was full time and did 10 a week - the hd schedule can be nuts as a full timer, you have to be availble form 5 am to midnight - the good part was you always work weekends which gave me to days to cut grass and 5 days to pray for no rain on those days otherwise that would put me on the lawns before working a 3pm to 12 shift.
As a parttime I share the same experience as RGM, my availability is Sat, Sun and Monday before noon, I get 10-15 hours a week reduces health care and my 401k which because of my age I can put up to 50% of my salary before taxes in.

I put 20 to 30% in the lawn season when I'm making money and 5% in the winter in 401k and 5-15% in the espp depending on the time of year my availability is sat all day sun 6am -noon then I carve and shuck at football parties and Mon eves. In the slow times I open up Monday and Tues and keep Wends-Fri for lawn business. I have been there for 8 years and get treated pretty good.