View Full Version : How reasonable is it to make a profit in....

11-12-2004, 01:30 PM
I am highly considering starting up a lawncare business in April 2007 when I get out of the military. I have taken a few business classes in college, and have done lawncare on the side for almost 10 years now. Right now I just work for a lady who owns 3 bed and breakfasts in this area, and I use all her equipment and everything.(keeps me busy for about 15 hours a week)

My wife (who used to work for an accountant) told me it is impossible to make a profit the first year in any business. I have been putting some numbers together, and I think it is totally possible as a 1 man show, and provided she gets a job with health benefits for all of us.

What do you guys think?

11-12-2004, 02:52 PM
it is definitely possible to make a profit, but more importantly, will you have to make a living at it. better to look at what you are considering "profit". is that after your salary of say $35,000, or are you looking at your salary of $35,000 as the profit? anything is possible. depending on how hard you work at it, I don't think you should have any problem if you plan ahead, and lay out your game plan, especially having the time to do it properly.
you could work on a lot of research until the time you start, to help you out, and I would consider advertising, or at the very least working up an attack plan, if you are going to try and jump in full time to start.

so, yes, it can be done, depending on your desire and dedication to it.

good luck, and keep reading this site, there's a ton on information that you will find to be of great value. also, read up on as many books to help you when you do start.

11-12-2004, 02:53 PM
I personally think that in this business it is very possible although if starting from scratch very hard to make a living solely on this as the primary income. Not impossible but hard. This business unlike many others out there doesnt necessarily have the same guaranteed expenses that say a retail business would have. You wont have rent providing you work out of the home, utilities, etc. This is a plus for you. If you are already paying for a truck then yes technically an expense but something you would be paying anyway. The only big items to start with is the equipment that you will need to operate. Mowers, trimmers, edgers, blowers, you get the point. Depends on your accounting and what you may be considering expenses. I know that many people will disagree with me on some of this. But i would suggest going at it on a part-time (week-end after hours thing) until the workload forces you to quit and go full time. During this period take the money you make from the business to buy more equipment and INSURANCE. I am sure this is not in your equation yet but if you are serious about the business you HAVE TO HAVE IT so that you dont lose everything you have and wish to have in the future. My opinion anyway. Best advise i can give is go slow let it build up. Enjoy it !

11-12-2004, 04:48 PM
if you can land a few large accounts you can do well your first year.
i would recommend working for someone in the trade first though.
doing this for a living is alot different than being a helper to a lady part time.

also another reason for working in the business for a while is to get experience. there is ALOT to learn

11-12-2004, 04:49 PM
yes I do think that it is possible as well, but it wasn't possible for me

11-13-2004, 09:37 AM
I am shooting for $25000 profit first year (that would be my salary).

11-13-2004, 10:24 AM
of course you make a profit, but you spend it on more stuff to make more money, and then claim a loss.

11-13-2004, 12:38 PM
I am shooting for $25000 profit first year (that would be my salary).

That's a pretty ambitious "profit" for your first year!. I'm curious, how much do you think you need to BRING IN to make that much profit in a year?.
I ask because I'm trying to get a sense of your understanding or knowledge of running a business.

wayne volz
11-13-2004, 01:23 PM
Twins Lawn Care - Your post is right on target.

Yes Profit is obtainable the first year. Be sure to also calculate your costs per hour of operation so you do not sell yourself short. The failure rates for this industry are very high. And normally it is not caused by a lack of effort. Too many times we don't know what we don't know about the business side of our business.

The main thing I would like to suggest is to KNOW THY COSTS BEFORE BIDDING JOBS

Good Luck - Luck is where skill and preparation meet.

11-13-2004, 01:37 PM
I believe that I can "net" nearly as much as I net now being a teacher. I have paid for all of my equipment this year, so all of my equipment costs for next year will include maintenance issues. That said I have accounted for insurance, tax, and gas, etc. and with my current base I see my net at around mid 20's. Add about 15 more customers by mid-summer and doing some other jobs and I see myself netting around low to mid 30's. Add on top of that, some snow plowing and I'm around high 30's low 40's net.

It also helps that my wife has a fantastic career and makes 5 to 6 times what I make. I don't worry about any benefits as well - she has taken care of all of that.

Wayne is correct, know what your expenses are before bidding a job. Also, don't sell yourself low. People will pay the going rate for quality and the lowballers never last more than a season or so.

Good luck, there is plenty of business out there as I am finding out.


11-13-2004, 03:35 PM
My first thoughts if you are serious about wanting to make lawncare your lively hood would be to forget the lawncare side until you learn the business side of owning and running your own business. I have seen many people that work daylite to dark trying to get ahead and they just keep getting further behind. Most business dont make a profit their first year because of poor planning. Proper planning can only be achieved if one has some understanding of how a buisness actually works. I can train a monkey to run a lawn mower, I can pay him a salary or wage but I cant tell him how to manage his business. This is something that he must learn on his own. Proper planning involves knowing your market and true cost of doing business. Knowing how to figure your cost involves having some basic business skills. These skills can be learned over a period of time as you struggle to try to build your business or by taking business classes at your local community college. The college classes are cheaper. Once you learn the basic of business you can then apply what you have learned to owning and operating a lawncare service. Success and profit can be achieved in your first year of business, as long as you apply the basics of business to your company. Setting up your business correctly is more important than working hard to start your business. Being setup properly will insure that when you start your business that you hit the ground running instead of stumbleing around trying to figure out what direction to take next.

11-13-2004, 03:57 PM
I went back and read your first post and see that you are taking some business classes. Congrats, that puts you ahead of 99% of the people that are doing lawn care as a source of extra income. You mentioned your wife working to provide insurance and being a one man show. My personal feelings are that being a one man show is a risky way of making a living. Reason being is if you get hurt or sick the income stops. To run a true business one must think along the lines of growing, increaseing profit, and reduceing risk. Otherwise you are simply making a living. Now I know a lot of solo operators will disagree with me but if you do a search of this forum you will also find solo operators that have experienced financial difficulties simply because they did get hurt or sick and didnt have a backup plan or person to fall back on. Relying on your wife for insurance seems a logical way to save money but it can also be a handicap to having a successful business. What if she loses her job for whatever reason, then neither one of you are covered by insurance. What if your wife has to quit her job just to take care of you while you are sick or to run your business for you until you recover. Again insurance is lost. While furnishing your own insurance is costly, if you become ill or cant work your insurance is already in place to help protect you from costly medical bills that could put you out of business completely. Relying on somebody elses insurance can be risky at best. Just a few things for you think about.

11-14-2004, 09:20 PM
Thanks for all the info so far. I am researching other business start-ups as well, but think this will be the safest and cheapest to start. I am signing up for some more business and horticulture classes at Augusta Tech in January. I do plan on being a legit company and carrying insurance just not health insurance at the start because that seems way too expensive. I already have a 2001 Explorer that will be about paid off in 2007, so all I am going to have to finance is a trailer and mower, I will buy weedwackers and hedge trimmers and all that other stuff cash. Thanks again for the info, I appreciate it.

11-14-2004, 09:24 PM
how much do you think you need to BRING IN to make that much profit in a year?.
I ask because I'm trying to get a sense of your understanding or knowledge of running a business.

Veterangreen, if you could, I'm curious what you think you need to BRING IN to make a PROFIT of $25K?.

11-14-2004, 09:46 PM
56,000 gross sales first year
26,000 profit (my salary)

how I get this?
40 customers X 40 cuts per year X $35 average cut =56,000
this isnt counting any spring/fall cleanups or anything like that

11-14-2004, 10:39 PM
That's a great formula. Where did those 40 accounts come from? With what equipment are you cutting them with? Truck? trailer? License? Insurance? etc. etc. etc.