PDA

View Full Version : Lawn service questions


vcoop70
01-24-2013, 05:41 PM
So I have a lawn service business. I do all the basic yardwork. I do lawnmowing, bushtrimming, flowerbed edging, snow plowing, and all the basic yardwork. I was super busy last year and managed to make 50k with one truck and 1 or 2 people helping me. Problem is I worked 70 to 80 hours from March through October by the time I am done doing everything. I would be so tired by the weekend I would struggle to enjoy it. My life is hell during the non winter months. I feel like I should charge more but am afraid of losing business with the market and economy being bad. So I guess my question is how do other successful landscape businesses price things without losing business? How much should be expected to gross running a truck with 2 workers if you do a 40 hour week? Normally on hourly work I charge $30-$35 an hour for me working and $15 for each guy that I pay $10 an hour. I know big outfits charge $40 a manhour. I am scared to try it. I had 80 lawns in my town most average to small yards that I got $25 for. The money is good but my life is hell. Slowly raise prices and feel people out is the only idea I have. Should I try to get into brick jobs? Is there more money in that if you are good at it? Thoughts, comments, and opinions are welcomed.

Landrus2
01-24-2013, 05:51 PM
On your man hours is way low $35 to $40 and pay them $12 to $20 depending on skill :waving:

Ray_Lawns
01-24-2013, 06:19 PM
I am with you man, I made just about 60k last year and cleared nearly 35k. Costs are low with me (its mainly ins, fuel, and upkeep) and I had a few bigger jobs I paid for help on. I worked about 80hrs or so each week on average and I would love to have a helper but I just can't justify one and lose all the profit I am raking in. I generally pay help $100 a day when I need the with exception to my best friend and he makes more due to his skill set. I prefer to work Alon all I can since I know what I expect and I don't want to trust some meth head to do it right and not have to go behind him. I am in both country btw so good cheap labor us really hard to find.

jrs.landscaping
01-24-2013, 06:27 PM
Your crew SHOULD be grossing $3,250 on a 40 hr week.

grandview (2006)
01-24-2013, 06:46 PM
1st I think you need to split your business in 2 so to speak,Landscaping and snowplowing,each should stand on their own. Labor rate, if these guys are on the books your losing money charging 15 hr.do to taxes and stuff.If your biding landscape work bid the labor rate the same for you and your crew.You don't ready need to tell the customer the labor rate,I usually give them the total price.

STIHL GUY
01-24-2013, 06:55 PM
15 an hr for labor is way low...i charge the same man hour rate for my workers as i do for myself...that there will make you a lot more money...also if you stat to get into bigger lawns you should be charging more...dont be afraid to bid a job higher to make more money...your gonna win some and lose some but theres no point in working for free or next to nothing

grandview (2006)
01-24-2013, 06:57 PM
Hardest part is to turn down work even if it don't pay enough.

jrodgers
01-24-2013, 07:35 PM
Don't know about around there but here brick/paver work prices are cheap, so I don't think getting into that would be that great of an idea. Like was said your labor rate is way too cheap. From now on with new customers you have to get a better rate for your labor. As far as existing customer you just have to inch them up the best you can or if you think your customers will be ok then just go for raising it. If you stay like you are you WILL eventually fail. Your age and family circumstance (wife and kids) should be a deciding factor in how much you want to work, but you must have a good balance between work and play. Remember "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy".

weeze
01-24-2013, 10:12 PM
i work for $50 per hr solo. i could make 50k working half as many hrs as you do. don't try to kill yourself it's not worth it. you are falling into a trap that many do. what's better to have 80 customers and work 80hrs a week and charge $25 a yard or to have 40 customers and work 40hrs a week and charge $50 a yard? less is more if you price things the right way. you have less customers to keep up with, you work less hours, your expenses are less, and you make the same amount of money.

many have this false sense that more customers equals more money.

branchoutshrub
01-25-2013, 11:47 AM
Like other people have said, less is more. Make the most of your time. You will lose some customers, but you will keep and grow the good customers.

32vld
01-25-2013, 12:06 PM
I am with you man, I made just about 60k last year and cleared nearly 35k. Costs are low with me (its mainly ins, fuel, and upkeep) and I had a few bigger jobs I paid for help on. I worked about 80hrs or so each week on average and I would love to have a helper but I just can't justify one and lose all the profit I am raking in. I generally pay help $100 a day when I need the with exception to my best friend and he makes more due to his skill set. I prefer to work Alon all I can since I know what I expect and I don't want to trust some meth head to do it right and not have to go behind him. I am in both country btw so good cheap labor us really hard to find.

Gross $60,000

80 hr per week x 30 weeks = 2,400

$60,000 / 2,400 hrs = $25 hr gross.

No wonder you can not afford help.

djlunchbox
01-25-2013, 12:39 PM
Gross $60,000

80 hr per week x 30 weeks = 2,400

$60,000 / 2,400 hrs = $25 hr gross.

No wonder you can not afford help.

ditto. You need to know your exact cost to do business in order to even start to figure out how to price work to make money. it took us a few years of collecting data to even get a ballpark on a budget. Running a business 100% legal is much much different than how most of us start out.

vcoop70
01-25-2013, 01:06 PM
Thank you everyone! When I say I made 50k that means net profit not gross profit. But yes I have been thinking I am kind of making a mistake to not have some room for new good customers who wouldn't cheap out on me. I guess I just needed some encouragement from some other people. Another question I have is about lawnmowing and cleanup. I hate mowing somebodys yard quick and leaving leaves and sticks laying around. How do others decide how to price this? It can vary from week to week. A big part of being successful in this current market is giving people a good bang for their buck. I find myself taking 5 or 10 minutes at every lawn doing a little extra cleanup while my help does the easy stuff. Makes my customers happy, but makes my week harder. I am a detail freak, hence the 80 lawns. :hammerhead: