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View Full Version : How far has your business come?


micah.ness
01-28-2012, 05:52 PM
Hey guys post some progress pics or just tell about how you started to where you are now! Just looking to see how much hard work and dedication can lead to

lawn care St. Cloud, MN
01-28-2012, 06:00 PM
Just keep at it. I started my business posting flyers around neighborhoods started from 2 customers and have grown to roughly 200 customers in the base with around 60 weekly accounts in the summer months. Keep at it and make sure you have a website where people can find you.

LawnXperts (http://www.saintcloudlawncare.com) lawn care St. Cloud, MN

Florida Gardener
01-28-2012, 06:01 PM
Hey guys post some progress pics or just tell about how you started to where you are now! Just looking to see how much hard work and dedication can lead to

I started out with zero accounts and knocking on people's doors in my neighborhood, after 3.5 years I have broken into the high end resi market and now the business is coming to me. Hard work does pay off.
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Florida Gardener
01-28-2012, 06:05 PM
Just keep at it. I started my business posting flyers around neighborhoods started from 2 customers and have grown to roughly 200 customers in the base with around 60 weekly accounts in the summer months. Keep at it and make sure you have a website where people can find you.

LawnXperts (http://www.saintcloudlawncare.com) lawn care St. Cloud, MN

Great advice re:webpage. That is the ONLY way I would spend money on advertising.
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MOW ED
01-29-2012, 12:27 PM
It is as far as I let it come. I started in 95 with a garden tractor and some homeowner equip on a homemade trailer. I have worked at 1000's of lawncare jobs over the years but I never wanted to expand to hire employees. I still run solo and have carved a nice place in the market here. Hard work is an understatement but anything is possible. Lots of hard lessons learned early, by the way there was no lawnsite back then and no one really wouold give any advice on how to start and run a lawncare business.
Get to know business, anyone can mow lawns, not everyone can run a lawncare business.

clydebusa
01-29-2012, 12:36 PM
Started in 82 and grass is still growing so still mowing.

Ijustwantausername
02-02-2012, 07:39 AM
I started out in 2007 with a 21" residential murray, a craftsman handheld blower, and a curved shaft echo trimmer with a 5X10 trailer. I had about 5-6 customers a week and I made about 30 a yard (pushing), as you can see I knew nothing about pricing....

Now I have gone through a 44" Toro, 54" John Deere Zero, 6X12 trailer, 7X16, aerator, spreaders, etc. Also have about 35 commercial and residential accounts and I doubled my sales last year.

As mentioned, HARD WORK, QUALITY WORK, persistence, and a good marketing strategy with some faith will get you where you want to go in this industry.

Five Points
02-02-2012, 10:44 PM
Im around 65 accounts. starting my eighth season.I just love mowing. give me 16-20 lawns a day and ill come home when they are done. Sod a dozen or so new houses a yr, fert programs on about 80 properties. mulch jobbs, shrub and hedge prunning.

I love it all, (well not so much the prunning, but it starts as lawns dry up so its all good.)

DA Quality Lawn & YS
02-03-2012, 12:11 AM
Too far.....

I am running my taxes for 2011 now, and am not liking the outcome. Made too much.

DEPENDABLE LANDSCAPING
02-03-2012, 12:16 AM
7 years, 95 weekly mows.200 customer list. 85 fert customers, only do fert for full service customers. It has gone well but having some trouble getting to the next level with customer counts as well as labor. We will get there though!
Good luck to all.
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micah.ness
02-23-2012, 05:32 PM
Too far.....

I am running my taxes for 2011 now, and am not liking the outcome. Made too much.
how can you be mad at making to much lol?

JimLewis
02-23-2012, 06:38 PM
I started 16 years ago just a young guy with a $50 used Briggs & Stratton mower and a crappy trailer pulled by a Camaro. I knew almost nothing about mowing or edging, and absolutely nothing about landscaping, hardscapes, drainage, water features, lighting, etc.

That first year, I got up to about 25-35 customers. Today, we have almost 300 weekly residential customers. We also have a large landscape construction business out doing jobs like hardscapes, lighting, water features, drainage, design, etc. We also have 2 full time sprinkler service technicians.

Our first year we did about $22,000 that year. Last year we did over $2Mil. in sales.

It's a very tough business. Very seasonal for most of us. That's the #1 biggest challenge. But it can also have it's rewards if you work smart and have a great deal of dedication.

micah.ness
02-23-2012, 06:58 PM
I started 16 years ago just a young guy with a $50 used Briggs & Stratton mower and a crappy trailer pulled by a Camaro. I knew almost nothing about mowing or edging, and absolutely nothing about landscaping, hardscapes, drainage, water features, lighting, etc.

That first year, I got up to about 25-35 customers. Today, we have almost 300 weekly residential customers. We also have a large landscape construction business out doing jobs like hardscapes, lighting, water features, drainage, design, etc. We also have 2 full time sprinkler service technicians.

Our first year we did about $22,000 that year. Last year we did over $2Mil. in sales.

It's a very tough business. Very seasonal for most of us. That's the #1 biggest challenge. But it can also have it's rewards if you work smart and have a great deal of dedication.
Thats what I like to hear! Congrats! How many employees do you have?

cutbetterthanyou
02-23-2012, 07:17 PM
Just keep at it. I started my business posting flyers around neighborhoods started from 2 customers and have grown to roughly 200 customers in the base with around 60 weekly accounts in the summer months. Keep at it and make sure you have a website where people can find you.

LawnXperts (http://www.saintcloudlawncare.com) lawn care St. Cloud, MN

Not being smart, just wondering. If you have 200 customers, but only 60 weekly what are the other 140? Bi-weekly,monthly, just 1 time mulch jobs, or what? I am just wondering, i'm sure the bussiness i different in different parts of the country,but my weekly customers are about 90% of my income.

Snapper Jack
02-23-2012, 07:20 PM
I started 16 years ago just a young guy with a $50 used Briggs & Stratton mower and a crappy trailer pulled by a Camaro. I knew almost nothing about mowing or edging, and absolutely nothing about landscaping, hardscapes, drainage, water features, lighting, etc.

That first year, I got up to about 25-35 customers. Today, we have almost 300 weekly residential customers. We also have a large landscape construction business out doing jobs like hardscapes, lighting, water features, drainage, design, etc. We also have 2 full time sprinkler service technicians.

Our first year we did about $22,000 that year. Last year we did over $2Mil. in sales.

It's a very tough business. Very seasonal for most of us. That's the #1 biggest challenge. But it can also have it's rewards if you work smart and have a great deal of dedication.
Jim out of 2mil sales,what amount would the mowing account for ,if you don't mind me asking?

Ijustwantausername
02-23-2012, 07:36 PM
85 fert customers, only do fert for full service customers.
Posted via Mobile Device

Just curious, why do you only fert your full service customers?

JimLewis
02-23-2012, 10:20 PM
Jim out of 2mil sales,what amount would the mowing account for ,if you don't mind me asking?

About $600K comes from just weekly maintenance. Another $300K comes from "enhancements", like clean-ups, pruning, light planting jobs, etc. About $150K came from irrigation repair service. And the balance came from our landscape construction jobs.

JimLewis
02-23-2012, 10:21 PM
Thats what I like to hear! Congrats! How many employees do you have?

We had 28 peak season last year. This year we'll have about 36 peak season.

JBNC
02-23-2012, 10:31 PM
Jim, how did you get into doing hardscapes and landscape construction? Did you start small and learn and get bigger? Did you hire someone with experience to run that part of the business?

JimLewis
02-24-2012, 12:37 AM
A little bit of both. A lot of it we just started with small jobs and worked our way up to larger projects. But then as we grew we started to attract and be able to afford a little better workers, who sometimes had more experience in a certain area than I did or my crew did. So they'd help the rest of us learn a certain part of the trade.

A fair amount of what me and my employees learned over the years came from training classes that the suppliers hold. There are lots of training classes on SRWs, Outoor Lighting, Irrigation, Water Features, etc. Take advantage of them! Learn all you can!

USA Lawn Care
02-24-2012, 06:26 AM
this post should be good for all the new guys out there.
i've read about old 21" mowers....camero's pulling trailers....starting with zero accounts.
people who busted their butt and stayed with it, educated themselves, learned the hard way, and slowly but surely kept growing their business.

i posted somewhere last week a response to a guy who was asking what customers would think of him using 'just a 21" mower on their yard'. I told him, just get out there and start. Start somewhere. I started with a 21" Craftsman and posted one ad looking for mowing work.

Kudos to everyone who started the only way they knew how and stuck with it.
Best of luck in 2012.

J & D Greens
02-24-2012, 07:30 AM
We stared our business 5 years ago. Part-time knowing that I would be retiring from my full-time position when I turned 50. I was doing 25-30 accounts part time then. I work Solo and my wife does all the accounting. We expanded to 40 accounts last year the first year after retiring. I feel we did very well last season as this business is meant to supplement my retirement income and not much more.

I believe in slow growth when building our business. So that we can maintain balance in our lives. Since we now have all our truck-trailer, equipment paid for and insurance all set-up. I am pretty content with just the customer base we have. (We should have about 35-37 this season as some have past-away and unless we get clients through recommendations we are not going to accept new ones.)

Some of you are going after as much money as you can and I can say I don't blame you. But I am at this point in my life that I want something that is more manageable so that my quality of work and life does not suffer. I believe after doing this for a while that I will make more money if I don't have to run my equipment into the ground trying to service to many accounts and make more doing more for the clients I already have. With this customer base they are always asking for extra work that I can schedule on Friday-Saturday. I also realize that I can do better when it comes to managing the money that is coming and going from the business. Each season there have been so many lessons to learn but money management I believe is the key lesson I have to get a better grasp of.

Good luck all you guys that sweat and toil just to make a buck or two or more.

Landscraper1
02-24-2012, 08:35 AM
I started in 1976 at the age of 10. My older brother and I had 3 accounts we would cut with a 20" Bolens mower. My dad ended up helping us since most of the money would go to him anyway. We started picking up more accounts with my dad and his lime green station wagon. By 1980, my dad quit one of his 2 full time jobs, purchased our first truck, and we became a legitimate business, with 23 accounts.

I currently own my own landscape business and have 19 employees. I have had many ups and downs in this business and am happy with where my company is today.

CustomGrounds
02-24-2012, 10:21 AM
Wow great info from everyone, no doubt this isnt the funniest work but trying to grow your business can be very fun and rewarding. I am starting my second year this season. I ended last year with 16 weekly mows and maybe about 4-5 other regular customers ( Mulch, Fert, Etc) I did about 130 yards of mulch my first year. A 30 yard job early in the season that made me think i was going to be rich over night but i see i need to save a little more! All n all im pumped for my second year and trying some different advertising methods that im excited about and hope i can double my sales. I netted about 14,000 My first year and would be thrilled if i can double that or maybe even more!

JimLewis
02-24-2012, 10:47 AM
this post should be good for all the new guys out there.
i've read about old 21" mowers....camero's pulling trailers....starting with zero accounts.
people who busted their butt and stayed with it, educated themselves, learned the hard way, and slowly but surely kept growing their business.

i posted somewhere last week a response to a guy who was asking what customers would think of him using 'just a 21" mower on their yard'. I told him, just get out there and start. Start somewhere. I started with a 21" Craftsman and posted one ad looking for mowing work.

Kudos to everyone who started the only way they knew how and stuck with it.
Best of luck in 2012.

Cheers to that! Great post. :drinkup:

edensgate7
02-24-2012, 10:54 AM
started at age 13 with a pushmower behind my bike in 1994.I have never had a money losing year and have always Just a word for those who might think that a big company is the most successful company. I do about 130 K in business including fert mowing small landscape etc. I have always been more concerned about profit and managability and quality of service than how many crews or accounts I have. I have never lost money in a season and have done alot of different things in this industry. I got my B.S. in turfgrass science from Purdue in 2005 and narrowed the focus of my business to lawncare and small landscape jobs. I have never advertised except one small ad in a phonebook to see what return I would get in 2009. I have grown by word of mouth and am debt free buying a new piece of equipment every year. At the end of the day I am as happy as any guy running a million dollar company. The only thing left that I still am in need of is to buy my own health insurance so my wife can quit working which should be attainable next season.

CutterCutter
02-24-2012, 09:56 PM
About fifteen years ago I had another business go south in a hurry so I started looking around for a new income source. I was in books a million looking at one of those magazines about home based business and saw a great article about mowing lawns. I thought this is it.

I went to the local hardware store and got a homeowner lawnboy on credit. I borrowed a beat up truck from my brother and had a beat up weed eater. I had zero customers. I started in June and severe lack of rain had dried everything up. I made very little money that year but wasn't about to give up. It took me about three years to develop a decent customer list. The best part is the customer list has continued to improve.