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Old 10-03-2010, 05:08 PM
gasracer gasracer is offline
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What did it cost you for your chemical license? I want to do it next year.

Originally Posted by Chilehead View Post
Yes, just about. January & February are the slowest months for me but I still have work to do.
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Old 10-03-2010, 05:36 PM
MR-G MR-G is offline
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Posts: 479
Mow,blow and go

Originally Posted by txgrassguy View Post
All depends upon your level of ability, scope of service offered and how efficiently you operate.

Since I don't do mow and blows I can't comment upon this aspect but I offer complete grounds maintenance (irrigation, pesticide apps, arbory services, liquid only fert, etc). Currently I am operating at about a 24% net profit margin after all costs are figured. On mow and blows, at an economy of scale operation you are attempting, a well run company may net as much as 14% but industry average is around 7% which is why I don't just mow and blow.
At such a low profit margin it is difficult to run a business wide open day in and out.
Route scheduling becomes problematic, service interruption due to weather, etc often means the clients you miss that day drop you for someone else.
Also, with such a tight route you miss on all the "extras" a full service company capitalizes on so bear this mind too.
I found tight routing meant I couldn't respond quickly enough with all I do so now I have adopted a "loose" approach meaning the crew goes out equipped for all those little extra jobs the clients always ask for so my profit benefits accordingly.
Diversification of services is the only continual, less stressful way to increase profits in such a bad economy we find ourselves in these days.
We typically net 30-35% on mow and blows....35-45% on full services....we do a whole lot of both....I personall like the mow and blows due to a lot less training and aggrevation....but you still want to capitalize on both markets.
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Old 10-03-2010, 05:56 PM
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Chilehead Chilehead is offline
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Location: Stockbridge, GA
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Originally Posted by gasracer View Post
What did it cost you for your chemical license? I want to do it next year.
Here, our General Standards and Class 24 will cost you $90.00 for testing and another $90.00 for the license. A Commercial Applicator's License only "permits" you to spray. I could spray for another company as an employee, but can't spray for my own company--that is, for profit. For that, one needs a Commercial Contractor's License which is yet another $90.00. I also recall that study materials were around $60.00.
"Grounds care solutions. Visible results."
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Old 10-07-2010, 01:24 PM
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TheBetterDoorhanger TheBetterDoorhanger is offline
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Location: Wichita, KS
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Old 10-08-2010, 01:04 PM
JohnnyRocker JohnnyRocker is offline
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Location: Charlotte, NC
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Originally Posted by OrganicsMaine View Post
A 2 man crew on a tight route could easily do 80/week with the right equipment. Add a 3rd guy and you get to 100, but that 3rd guy is only worth about 20 more lawns, so probably not worth it.

You will only want to do 50/week solo for a year or two or you will get burnt out.
If he is a newbie...50 is way too much, I know these guys all think they can go buy a commercial mower and it's easy sailing. Trimming and edging fast, etc....We were all there once, and I know I am MUCH more efficient than when I was an employee years ago.
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Old 10-10-2010, 08:27 AM
Fairviewlandscape Fairviewlandscape is offline
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Location: Boston, MA
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Those are 2 very good books. You should also read Five Important Things by Jim Paluch. He has 3-5 books, that are easy reads, but very en lighting.

Just to clarify, are the laws up to 1/4 acre, or is the entire property a1/4 acre. If the property is that size, the lawn areas will be a less after taking out house drive etc.

Good Luck.
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Old 10-11-2010, 10:57 PM
lawn guy 300 lawn guy 300 is offline
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: Blacksburg, VA
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Originally Posted by LawnTamer View Post
So far some of the advice I've seen is spot on, some is not.

50 lawns/week, small lots 1/8-1/4 acre would be a cakewalk, assuming you know what you are doing and have the right equipment. Most of my lawns are on 1/4-1/2 acre lots, take out the house, drive, beds, etc, and my average lawn size is about 6,500 sq '. I can do 20 of these lawns in a day using a 36" walk behind with a sulky.

Here are the problems with your original post, from my experience.

1- A 30 mile radius is too big. No one pays you for sitting behind a windshield. Gas, and other vehicle costs would eat you up.

20 lawns a day? I like those numbers. Are we talking a 10 hour day? Most say 50 yards a week is dreaming.

2- In my area at least, there is no way you will average $35-45 for lawns that small. I average about $30/lawn, and I charge more than 80% of my competitors.

3- If you are just looking at business ideas, and don't have experience mowing, look elsewhere. Mowing has a low profit margin compared to other service based industries. It is much harder to make a decent profit mowing than it is to scoop dog poop. It is labor intensive and requires good commercial equipment.

Case in point-
While I was out doing some fertilizing work. I happened to see a mowing crew pull up to a home. I fertilize this lawn, and happen to know how much they pay for mowing, $27. Three guys get out, drop the tailgate on a 16' trailer with $12-15K in equipment and go to work mowing, trimming and edging. While they are working, a guy pulls up at another fert client's home. Just one guy in a well marked small pick up. Grabs a bucket and a little shovel contraption, and goes to work picking up the dog poop. He is gone and off to the next job in less than 5 minutes, while the mowing crew is perhaps half way done. The house he'd just pulled away from was my next stop, so I asked the homeowner how much he paid for the service. $10/week per dog, 2 dogs, so $20. This guy finished another job just up the street before the mowing crew finished.

Soooo, the mowing crew (3 guys, big truck, $12-15k in equipment) gross $27, in the same time that the poop-scoop guy grosses $40 with a compact truck, a $20 scooper and a Home depot bucket.

Seriously though. I am pretty fast at mowing and trimming. I work quickly and try to be very efficient, tight routes etc. My best mowing days, I gross about $600. If I am doing spray/fert work, I can gross that in 3 hrs. When all is said and done, I net about double doing fert/spray work as I do mowing.
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