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View Full Version : Fess up solos, how much are you making


Royalslover
02-18-2004, 12:49 AM
I'm curious as to what some of you solo guys are doing in terms of revenue. It seems like no one on here will actually say what they make. Come on, it's cyber space. No one knows each other and even if some of you do what's with all the secrecy? Since I'm asking the question, I'll start. $80,000 in 03. I just mow and do clean-ups. I used about 120 hours of help. That is total revenue minus no expenses. I'd just like to know where I am compared to industry standard.

juststarting023
02-18-2004, 01:30 AM
I did $60k in 03 and had 225 hours of help (family) only on my cemetery.trying for $70k this year. I also do just mow and clean-ups. 03 was my second year in business I would say I am doing well.

metro-hp_48
02-18-2004, 08:26 AM
"It seems like no one on here will actually say what they make"

It seems that question falls under the big 3 you never ask a man.
You know; how many he's killed, who he's screwing, and how much he makes.

Lombardi
02-18-2004, 08:38 AM
Most of the replies will be BS anyway, so why start a thread like this?

metro-hp_48
02-18-2004, 08:39 AM
That's what I was figuring, Lombardi.

scott's turf
02-18-2004, 08:57 AM
And what does gross really tell you in this business? You could still be making peanuts. Net income is at least somewhat comparable.

captaingreen
02-18-2004, 09:00 AM
I'm kinda interested myself, so I will reply. Last year was my first full time year and I didn't get started until the last week of March. My gross receipts were just over $40,000 with maybe 20 hours of help from friends and family when I absolutely needed it. This year I am adding snow plowing and have had more opportunity to do advertise and do early spring pruning and mulch. I am hoping to do around $50,000 this being my second year. I also added a ZTR to increase my productivity. I'm getting married in July so gotta make plenty of extra cash for the honeymoon.

metro-hp_48
02-18-2004, 09:06 AM
Congrad. captaingreen, on you upcoming nuptuals! (sp) Hope you make a bunch for the honeymoon (you'll have the memories forever)

Westbrooklawn
02-18-2004, 09:08 AM
Why not reformat this question as a poll? Show 4 different ranges of NET income (that's what matters....). This would provide complete anonimity for everyone replying.

PRO PROPERTY CARE
02-18-2004, 09:09 AM
My first year was good. I wont say how much. sorry.
But there are alot of factors when you give your gross income.
As you are aware. Some of us have tons of overhead, and some dont. So the gross amound doesnt mean much.
Subtract all your expenses, then see how you did .....
I have very little over head and 90 percent of my equipment is paid for. I have only one helper. So mine is good.

Im in Canada too. So a dollar here is like 25 cents there...lol...

:cool:

Royalslover
02-18-2004, 11:14 AM
The very reason I asked for gross is because it is less personal. I also realize some of the answers will be bs, but what better place to find out how I stack up. I also realize that there are lots of variables-climate, experience, equipment, etc- but I still just don't understand the secrecy. It's not like asking you freinds how much they make. We're all in the same industry and us solos are pretty much working toward the same goals. Metro, are you a solo?

scott's turf
02-18-2004, 11:18 AM
Originally posted by Royalslover
I'm curious as to what some of you solo guys are doing in terms of revenue. It seems like no one on here will actually say what they make. Come on, it's cyber space. No one knows each other and even if some of you do what's with all the secrecy? Since I'm asking the question, I'll start. $80,000 in 03. I just mow and do clean-ups. I used about 120 hours of help. That is total revenue minus no expenses. I'd just like to know where I am compared to industry standard.

How long is your season? Are you maxed out for your time?

jajwrigh
02-18-2004, 11:23 AM
Gross may be less personal but it is also a worthless figure by itself! You have to know the net to compare, but like metro said respect the big 3.

dkeisala
02-18-2004, 11:25 AM
QuickBooks says I made $75,000 last year. If I keep growing at the same 20%, should do $90,000 next year.

You can't blame people for being paranoid. Half the numbers you hear are probably inflated, the one's that don't want to give you a number aren't paying taxes and are afraid the IRS will somehow get wind of it if they make any kind of post.

jajwrigh
02-18-2004, 11:33 AM
I didn't give numbers and all of my taxes were paid and are finished!!! I am 100% legit just like you are. Don't try and generalize people's behavior because stereotypes aren't always accurate!

Royalslover
02-18-2004, 12:03 PM
Scott's, Seven months of mowing and two months of clean-ups.
No snow as of yet for me. When my wife quits working I hope to spool up.


If gross is a worthless number than whats..... awe never mind.

greenback
02-18-2004, 12:27 PM
i am in ny so i get about 25 weeks of mowing, florida and such get a whole lot more. you could make basically double then people up north. but i made 200k last year:D :D , minus a few hundred k. i do well for part time, adds a chunk onto my regular income.

kennyb
02-18-2004, 12:31 PM
i'm just south of olathe royalslover. i to am a big royals fan. even named my business after them. looking forward to this up comming season, and the lawn season. can't really answer your question as i'm about a 6 person operation.
GO ROYALS IN 04

rodfather
02-18-2004, 12:34 PM
Originally posted by greenback
but i made 200k last year:D :D , minus a few hundred k. i do well for part time, adds a chunk onto my regular income.


LOL...good one btw.

fishnetman
02-18-2004, 12:40 PM
It's not how much you make,it's how much you keep.

turf9
02-18-2004, 12:46 PM
Originally posted by Royalslover
I'm curious as to what some of you solo guys are doing in terms of revenue. It seems like no one on here will actually say what they make. Come on, it's cyber space. No one knows each other and even if some of you do what's with all the secrecy? Since I'm asking the question, I'll start. $80,000 in 03. I just mow and do clean-ups. I used about 120 hours of help. That is total revenue minus no expenses. I'd just like to know where I am compared to industry standard.

that seems preety good from where I stand down at 50,ooo.But what the h*!!.Useually back at home by 2 or 3. 5 days a week mabe I'll start applying myself a bit more.lol

gator-town
02-18-2004, 01:14 PM
Its not the size of the wand that counts, its the majic :D

It sounds like everyone is doing well ... part-time or full-time ... I have know a lot of intellectuals that spend years in school only to make the same ... or less ... and are miserable people for it ... though a lot of us have differing opinions on this forum for the most part everyone is happy ... how can you put a number on that ... I wish everyone the best and if you bank a little for the future I wish you good health as well ... life is good .

jbob
02-18-2004, 01:17 PM
i am solo op and had two other businesses last year so really had all work i needed. i cleared about $22,000. no longer have other businesses so am looking to go full time this year.

sbvfd592
02-18-2004, 01:19 PM
alot lets just say its a good biz

MacLawnCo
02-18-2004, 01:55 PM
Originally posted by Westbrooklawn
Why not reformat this question as a poll? Show 4 different ranges of NET income (that's what matters....).

Because mose dont know how to truly figure NET. "yeah dude, i made 60% net, then i had to pay myself" HAHA, not. Even comparing NET wont get you anywhere for reasons like that. Just figure that if you dont do 15% (figured correctly) then you are having problems.

Royalslover
02-18-2004, 02:24 PM
Kennyb, when I'm down in the dumps two words cheer me up: Zach Grienke!!!!

:)


Let me rephrase my question. How much is one guy capable of grossing in one year. Any moron knows that how much you keep is all that matters in the end. I think that a lot of guys do think they're rolling in money when they are really broke. Speaking for myself, I don't neccesarily make more than the average guy(non lco) but I do make it in 9 months.

sildoc
02-18-2004, 02:34 PM
I dont know. I will come out and say both gross and net. Gross was roughly 9856 and net was -3659. Give or take some change. That is no biggy since it is my well almost first year. It helps with what the wife brings in as a tax deduction. figure I will make up for that -in the tax return. I have paid off all my equiptment and have no other bills for the business except for the usuall insurance and gas stuff + my monthly yellow pages add.
I will definitely make 2-3x that this year and need no other equiptment. Although I am looking at a new truck. It helps offset what My wife and I make in our regular jobs. + I like doing it. This year will be a big change though.

scott's turf
02-18-2004, 02:36 PM
Originally posted by Royalslover
Kennyb, when I'm down in the dumps two words cheer me up: Zach Grienke!!!!

:)


Let me rephrase my question. How much is one guy capable of grossing in one year. Any moron knows that how much you keep is all that matters in the end. I think that a lot of guys do think they're rolling in money when they are really broke. Speaking for myself, I don't neccesarily make more than the average guy(non lco) but I do make it in 9 months.

Figure your hourly wage and multiply that by the number of total hours you want to work in a season.

example:
40 week season, 40 hrs per week X $50/hr = $80k gross. I would think that for would be about max for 40 week season solo.

coonman
02-18-2004, 03:05 PM
Man, these figures are blowing me away. Turf9 you work around 30-35 hours a week and make 50k a year solo. What is your secret? Some of the other figures, you guys are having to average 450-500 a day 6 days a week for 30 weeks being solo. Pretty impressive.

IndyPropertyCare
02-18-2004, 03:41 PM
Mowers.... $ 20,000.00
Misc equip....$5000.00
Business expenses...$5000.00

Seeing all the hot babes sunning almost naked while Im mowing... PRICELESS !!

muddstopper
02-18-2004, 05:14 PM
Well I only work two days a week and I grossed $39,000 but I had $40,000 in expenses. so I netted -$1000. I plan to make it up this year on volume. Business doubled last year compared to the year before. I only netted -$500. If it will double again this year I should be just about broke.

Royalslover
02-18-2004, 05:21 PM
You might even get a tax return. That's brilliant.

metro-hp_48
02-18-2004, 05:45 PM
Yeah Royalslover, I'm solo. The only way I can do business.

"Seeing all the hot babes sunning almost naked while Im mowing... PRICELESS !!"

So true, Indy Property Care...............so true!

turf9
02-18-2004, 06:19 PM
Originally posted by coonman
Man, these figures are blowing me away. Turf9 you work around 30-35 hours a week and make 50k a year solo. What is your secret? Some of the other figures, you guys are having to average 450-500 a day 6 days a week for 30 weeks being solo. Pretty impressive.
Yup thats what simply acc says it is sort of cool to make 400 a day and be home at 3.I'm not bs'n yah either don't forget that is gross and Canadian :( still it's getting better each year I'm right on the threshold of hiring someone to keep me company yikes.I tell yah it's all in how ya work I get 10 properties done in those days. I'm pretty beat at the end go go go. :angel:

MandT Lawn Care
02-18-2004, 07:29 PM
you have to remember the happiness factor, last year i made 60k at mt full time job while trying to get my business off the ground. i would take a 20 grand cut in pay to be happier.

full time job i work 65 to 75 hours a week thats 3570 hours a year, 60k divided by 3570 is $16.80 and hour with no overtime.

my lawn care i figured if i didn't have the start up expense i would have made after regular expenses $17.40 per hour.

don't get me wrong i did't make 60k with lawn care but thats what it averaged out to.

my business makes my much happier.
so in 2004 if i can make 40 to 50 k i would be loving life.

lawnhead
02-18-2004, 07:48 PM
i would say us guys up north or where the snow is are better off for business because on a good winter you could make more money than summer time! lol

turf9
02-18-2004, 08:34 PM
I don't eaven own a snow shovel let alone a thrower.M & T is on the right track me thinks

Haley Lawn Care
02-18-2004, 10:34 PM
Okay folks you have to take all expenses out before you know how much you made. Profit is what is left after you pay everybody everything you owe them. This includes employees and the IRS and yourself. Gross could be lets say 60000.00. Then you want about 40000.00 for yourself. Another 10 to 15 thousand to run the company. This just an example for solo. So you made 5000.00 for the year. That 5000.00 is money you could burn if you wanted to. You dont owe it to anyone. It is free and clear money.

David :)

sheppard
02-19-2004, 07:44 AM
I'm in my 3rd year. For the past 18 months (approx.) I pull in 5 grand a month. Depending on extras and unscheduled work that seems to be my base of what I can produce at this point.

I've had about 40 hours of help this year on some light schedules and large mulch/limb pruning jobs.

My expenses run around 20-25% a month for a yearly averadge.

All my equipment, including my F-150, is payed for.

Cordially,
Sheppard

Rick Danger
02-19-2004, 08:50 AM
Who care about gross? You still could be working for practically nothing.

Gabriel Turf
02-19-2004, 08:53 AM
I made......ONE MILLION DOLLARS.....wait, no it was...
ONE HUNDRED TRILLION DOLLARS!!! last year!

Don't be lazy with these sort of questions. You know how much work you can do in a day. You know how many weeks there are in a season. And you can make a good estimated guess on the "special add-on" work you can do. And hopefully you can multiply and then subtract your expenses.

People aren't going to answer because of ego. If I post 2 thousand times on this site advising people how to do their work and then I tell them I made $400.00 last season, how is that going to come off? Look at what happened to some of the clowns on here when people found out they were 13 years old...
Also, the one's who really make big money aren't going to have you prying into thier secrets. They are here to learn some tips.

Basically, you are not going to get straight answers to your question.....

turf9
11-29-2004, 04:01 PM
that seems preety good from where I stand down at 50,ooo.But what the h*!!.Useually back at home by 2 or 3. 5 days a week mabe I'll start applying myself a bit more.lol

Well a year gone by now did not apply myself any better lol :rolleyes: Last I looked it was about $10,000.00 better than last year still home at 2:00 or 3:00. I dont get it either guess the moral is keep up the half a$$ work ethic and hang out with the family more. Just kidding sort of :D

jbell113
11-29-2004, 04:07 PM
Well i will be honest I have no one to impress here. Im a part timer and I made between $1000 - $1800 each month for the busy season and the 3 contracts I have will bring me $465 a month thru the winter which is all im looking for

turf9
11-29-2004, 04:19 PM
lbell
Nothing wrong with that I was just going through some of the old stuff and felt I should put down a hear and now on this old tread ,thats almost 5 bills per month for free in the off season nothing bad about that.

sildoc
11-29-2004, 05:06 PM
I dont know. I will come out and say both gross and net. Gross was roughly 9856 and net was -3659. Give or take some change. That is no biggy since it is my well almost first year. It helps with what the wife brings in as a tax deduction. figure I will make up for that -in the tax return. I have paid off all my equiptment and have no other bills for the business except for the usuall insurance and gas stuff + my monthly yellow pages add.
I will definitely make 2-3x that this year and need no other equiptment. Although I am looking at a new truck. It helps offset what My wife and I make in our regular jobs. + I like doing it. This year will be a big change though.
Boy looking at this thread and what I did last year almost makes me choke.
This year is on tract to gross 29000 and net 19800. We will see cause the fall cleanups are still coming in. Not to bad for roughly a day a week job. Next year I allready have 2 days lined up and hope to double my gross and net again. I am on tract to do it if I can get 15-20 more customers. All I do is full service work now and that has made a major difference with a 40 visit contract through out the year plus cleanups and mulch installs.

Drew Gemma
11-29-2004, 05:22 PM
Ok 9 out of 10 post were BS. My first year solo I lost $7,000 I started withonly two months left. Second year I think I lost about $4,000. Third year I made around $10,000 after expenses probably broke even. Basically I started part time and worked full time at my other job to get this started. My fourth year was the first year that I took any money the business made and spent it on something other than the business. Plus I try and pay all equipment off in the first year. So if we really wanted to be a$$es we could ask for a debit to equity ratio and the profit to loss margin. and my point is really there is no point. charge the max spend reasonably deduct the max.

PR Fect
11-29-2004, 05:34 PM
I'm part time, just ended my 5th season. All my equipment is now paid for. The plan is to start making money next year. Maybe a few grand or so still need 1 more walk behind mower.

cleancutccl
11-29-2004, 05:51 PM
I'm like Drew, probably lost alot. 1st year, bought mowers, trailer, pickup, hand helds. Basically had to buy everything to do the work, but I didn't go cheap knowing I would be making a business out of it instead of a hobby. Tell you the truth I am showing as big a loss as possible in order to get a nice refund against my wife's wages. Going into second year hope to have everything paid off, except the pickup, and hopefully make really good money by the third year.

kturner
11-29-2004, 05:58 PM
Why would this be such a hard topic? You don't know me.

My wife and I are finishing our fifth year. I worked while she started the first year. We netted just enough to stay alive and accrued about 20k in credit card debt for taxes over the second and third. The third, fourth , and fifth we have each netted about 25k or so. Maybe a little side work here and there on trade or something. We work average 4 days a week and 6 hours a day. Our season is roughly nine-ten months.

The credit cards get decent wacks taken out of them each summer now and we pay our taxes in cash each quarter. Expenses all in cash. Trucks and equip. paid off.

I hope to be hiring two people next year and attempting to raise the bar a bit. I want to be driving, bidding, and pruning within five years. Am I dreaming? Any tips for hiring my first employee or two?

turf9
11-29-2004, 09:39 PM
Hey turner


I am from roughly your area last year I had pretty good results from hire a student in the summer ( they are keen and don't have the bad habits yet)lol
but once the summer is over your out of luck for the fall.The way it worked is you call the hire office first thing in the am.tell them what you need the person for then the first regestard kid that is interested in that type of work that calls in to the office for work gets your #.That in my mind makes him a go getter right there .hope this helped

And yes I agree the first years are a bit of a pay out for all the stuff needed for this sport.

SellPoint
11-29-2004, 11:59 PM
Something else to consider in a discussion such as this is cost of living. Are we factoring that into net? I know it's a lot cheaper to live where I am than a lot of other places. So are we talking bankable cash at the end of the year or what's left over after gas and maintenance and new equipment? I doubt you could live in many areas of the country for $30,000 net a year.

Jus my .02

environment
11-30-2004, 02:18 AM
ok, just completed my first year
maintenance wise I pull in about $4000 a month profit, give or take a hundred or two from time to time when I decide I need something stupid for the business. Now $1700 of that is 12 months a year, so that puts me at
$41,100.00 for the year in Lawn Maintenance
I did 4 designs at about $1000.00 each, all profit
now where at
$45,100.00
Construction, wow, this should suck Ill list them
$2000.00
$800.00
$18,000.00 (however I didnt make much on this one cause i royaly messed it up and had to lose a lot of profit to fix it.)
$2200.00
$4000.00
$12000.00
so Construction grossed around
$35000.00
however I only profitied about
$16,400.00

So that put me at a total profit of about
$61,500.00

now, my personal bills however eat about this much a year
$44,400.00
plus my wedding coming up this winter with the honeymoon
$18000.00

total expensis
$62,400.00

so i was off $900
but i am working part time so ill have the cash, Next year however I am looking to triple my numbers, I am adding interior plantscape to my services, and really trying to push the business.

my maintenance accounts only take up three days a week, so i think i did pretty good this year

Heavenly Green 1
11-30-2004, 03:55 AM
I ve been in biz 6yrs and 3yrs full time. My gross for 02 was 80,000. 03, was 110,000. and this yr is already at 130,000. thats with 120 weekly cuts and we get 26 cuts on a good season with an average of 25.00per cut so about 78,000 is cutting the rest is snow and salt , fall clean ups, aeriations, mulch, bush trimming. I expect to reach 150,000. gross by the time fall is done. And we get a few saltings in Dec. I only have 2 knuckle heads working for me and they cant be trusted to do thing my way when im not around. Im making ok but everytime i do the math on moving my bizz back home to Houston it makes me sick to know Im spending all this money to have proper equpment for all the seasons and constantly having to find new work every four mo. and change over all the equipment and winterize. I owe 130,000 in company debt with both new trucks and enclosed trailer newer riders, leaf loader,box for dump truck v-boxes and v-plows all newer stuff I went crazy buying the right equipment for handling large volume of work and now Im starting to get good comercial contract. So im sure I can make a good living here but my point is I just came back yesterday from thanksgiving in Houston at my dads house and found that for the same money down there we can have our dream home. Up in MI we have a 750sqft house that cost 130,000. Our dream house for raising our family in MI cost around 300,000 but in TX about 130,000. UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Plus my wife just graduated Hyginist school a yr ago and has not been able to find work here, but while in TX we looked at the market and she is in big demand she has been offered $30hr fulltime with benifts. And MI only pays 26-30. But with our dream house being so cheep down there her income alone would be sufficient till I get established plus we would be staying at dads his up stairs is empty and bigger than my whole house. So its kinda scary but It looks like a move back south is in our near future so we can have our dream and money wont be a issue. Sorry this is a little off topic . I Want to sell the bizz with some equip that wont be needed and help someone take it over from me for like one month cutting revenue and then take one complete setup of equipment and start over where I can cut 46weeks and live a lot less stressed life. give me your .02 :dizzy: :dizzy: :cool2: