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AGG Lawn Maintenance
08-11-2000, 09:44 AM
We are at about 100 lawns 80 which are really good customers. The thought has crossed my mind to take on more accounts. Some guys I've talked to have 175,250 even 300 accounts. What do you feel is the ideal amount? We do 20 lawns a day with 3 men two workers and myself. I know if I take on more accounts my over head will be more but is it worth it? Travis AG&G Lawn Maintenance

Lazer
08-11-2000, 10:35 AM
Seeing there isn't any profits in mowing, I don't know if you can have an ideal number of lawns.

You need to look at it as the amount of $ per customer or the amount of extra work (Landscaping, pruning, fertilizing, irrigation, etc.) you get from each customer.

By no profits I mean I don't personally know anyone who makes more than 40K in a mowing-only business. That's not profits, that's just giving yourself a job.

Guido
08-11-2000, 01:45 PM
Travis, I sort of agree with Lazer. I don't think there can ever be an ideal amount of accounts. You can't really put a number on that. If you made x amount of dollars on your 200 accounts, but I made more money than you on my 3 accounts, whats ideal??

I'd say the ideal ammount is making the most profit with the least ammount of customers. I figure it like Lazer, there much more of a profit to be made in Landscaping, Irrigation, Fertilizer and Pest Control App's, etc. So if you can have fewer customers and fill in your extra time with landscape jobs etc, from your current customers, thats your best bet.

You'll be making more profit, plus you'll have less boss's. I think Bill Phagan refers to this theory with something like "your customer is a money tree" or something along those lines, (HELP ME OUT HERE BILL!!) The more profitable you can make a customer, the better that account (and your profits) are.

Hope some of this makes sense!!

bob
08-11-2000, 04:11 PM
Here's an example; I have a lawn that pays $455. It's 3 stops with the truck and takes about 4 hours with 2 guys. Or would your rather cut 18 -$25 lawns- and have 18 different stops. Bottom line is dollars and time , not quantity of accounts.

lawrence stone
08-11-2000, 07:02 PM
My ideal number is 6.

Yes only 6 sports field jobs for public/private schools.

That will gross some real money with only one laborer.

Mowing residential customers is not the way to go IMHO.

Frank's Lawn & Home
08-11-2000, 08:38 PM
Get as many accounts as you can....Somehow, you can always buy new equipment, hire more help, and have more headaches.
An interesting thing to note is that two men cannot do twice as many lawns, nor can three men to three times as much as one. I do 25 lawns in one day, starting at 730 and ending at 400, and when I hired a worker, I still get the 25 lawns done, and I am not as tired, but we still finish at the same time.....I prefer to send that man out alone, and he can mow 25 more lawns by himself..
Lots of time is wasted in travel, waiting for one to finish, etc....
Grow your business wisely and run with it......but keep your eye on the bottom line....If you are not making money mowing, there are other things that are slightly more fun...

Guido
08-11-2000, 08:46 PM
Hey there Frank! First off, welcome to the forum. I hope you don't mind me disagreeing with your post.

What does get as many accounts as you can have to do with raising your bottom line?? You can have 200 $20 accounts and I can have 10 $400 accounts, and we'll both be making $4,000.00 a week, right? So whats the difference?? EASY


I have 190 less supervisors or boss's than you do!! I have 190 less customers to worry about making happy. I have less overhead cause I'm not blowing fuel driving all over the place to those 200 customers. I only have to worry about billing 10 customers while you spend a whole week chasing down a $20 bill from 200 accounts?

You smell what Guido's steppin' in?

cutntrim
08-11-2000, 08:52 PM
Less is more Travis. Provide more service to fewer clients and your profit margin should be alot higher. Residentially I think it's wisest to go after full service accounts. Commercially you can get some profitable mowing only properties if you find some big'uns like Larry.

Convert your customers to full service and you can make the same (or more) money with half the properties.

Getmow
08-11-2000, 08:52 PM
The ideal # of properties has a whole lot to do with Lazer's comments. PROFIT, not gross income is the name of the game. I am thinking about increasing my profits next year by downsizing to $1K worth of work a week and do it by myself. That would be my ideal #. There are a whole lot less headaches that way too.

thelawnguy
08-11-2000, 11:17 PM
"I have 190 less supervisors or boss's than you do!! I have 190 less customers to worry about making happy. I have less overhead cause I'm not blowing fuel driving all over the place to those 200 customers. I only have to worry about billing 10 customers while you spend a whole week chasing down a $20 bill from 200 accounts?"

On the flip side, you lose one account you just lost 10 per cent of your business. If he lost two accounts, thats 1 per cent.

Commercial accounts (generally the ones which would be the higher priced) are notorious for re-bidding annually and tossing the good guy under the bus just to save a buck.

gusbuster
08-12-2000, 01:11 AM
I realy don't have any choice about what size yard I do.:o BUT, how I make my money is having 30 to 40 clients within 2 city blocks. Yes I do drive around going from one client to another, but never more than 5 minutes travelling time from one client to another. Also, I get to work all 12 months of the year, so don't need to make all my money in 8 months.
Sorry went a little off base.
If I had a choice, My customer base would be bigger houses for more money than more smaller houses for less money. Always try get the biggest clients you can get. Catch 22, the bigger the money, the more headaches.:eek:
Good Luck
John

kutnkev
08-13-2000, 09:28 AM
although i have not started, i have decided to go the townhose route. smaller lawns one houndred or in the same location,the same size,same type of turf same price,unload once per complex, then add on services as i grow.and word of mouth travels very fast.no big lawn small pocket headaches.
has anybody else done this already if so how did it work for you? i just want 20 to 30 per complex.

kevin

Ocutter
08-13-2000, 10:15 AM
Hey,
I agree with cutntrim. This year I have been doing arond 60 accounts solo. With the rain hitting every other day, I have been held up a lot. Next season I wll only accept full service accunts (fert, trim shrubs, mulch and cut). I would rather give my energy and time to a customer willing to give my all the business rather than just a cut here and there. True if you lose that customer you lose more monetarily but thats the chance you take.

greenlawncare
08-13-2000, 11:19 AM
I think it's ideal when your starting off to get a profitable route of about 200, 2 crews, within a fairly limited area. Then when you reach this level, focus on your the area containing your top 100, sell off the other 100 and raise prices, while increasing the type of high margin services you profide.

You could do the same thing the slow way, but I think you come out on top with the expand and contract method!

eslawns
08-13-2000, 08:16 PM
Why can't you make $$ mowing???

Stinger
08-14-2000, 10:53 AM
Travis: Here is the way I see it, sit down and think about what you want! Where do you want your business to be five years from now? How are you going to get there?
Not many people get in a vehicle and go for a drive without a planned destination. The sucessful ones take a map or directions to guide them along the way. Shouldn't you do the same for your business?

thelawnguy
08-14-2000, 04:07 PM
In my opinion, you should have enough lawns so that, during an ideal, rain-free, non-spring-rush week, you can complete all your lawns in 4 1/2 days (working how many hours a day you and your crews are comfortable with). Any more than that and I can see getting into binds with holidays, inclement weather, spousal neglect, etc. This would also assume backup equipment is available.