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  #41  
Old 12-18-2012, 08:40 PM
newguy123 newguy123 is offline
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I'm not sure how big you properties are, but if they're in the 1/4 acre range, you should be able to do more than 10/day (unless you're driving 15-20 minutes between each one.) I would suggest upgrading to a bigger mower, if your lots can justify it. With a 54" Zero Turn you should be able to do more in the range of 12-15 lawns per day. This way you put your money towards another piece of machinery, which you'll have for years, as opposed putting your money towards an employee.

That's what I would do...
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  #42  
Old 12-18-2012, 09:28 PM
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wildstarblazer wildstarblazer is offline
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Location: South Georgia
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The OP said several times that his yards are more easily maintained with what he has. A bigger mower or Z turn is not always the best mower for the job. If he has to change mowers to do a slope or a back yard, that is not saving time, unless the yards are 1 or more acres, and his are not.
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  #43  
Old 12-19-2012, 06:37 AM
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Tharrell Tharrell is offline
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Location: Mount Airy, NC aka Mayberry
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I may have missed it but, why are you STARTING your help at $12?
Are you including your share of his taxes?
If not, why not start him at $8 and have room to give raises etc...?
Where would your numbers be then?

I'm getting help this year, probably 2 workers.
My knee is giving me trouble and I just decided to become more of a manager.
Now, I can't do that with existing business so I have to get on the ball and get more next year.
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  #44  
Old 12-19-2012, 08:43 AM
LHS Lawns LHS Lawns is offline
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Location: Eastern Shore, MD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smallstripesnc View Post
Ive seriously considered it but with slopes and all im a little weary to try a ztr on some of the properties I manage. Also most of my clients come to me since I dont use zero turns and only use a walk behind.
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Thats true. I've had many smaller yard clients ask me before they hired me what I would use and I say either a 21" or a 50" walk behind, whichever works best for the lawn.

Their previous lawn guy would come in there with a 72" ztr and try to get done in a hurry. There is now way I would even think about doing the job with anything other then the 21" or 50" walk behind I own.
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  #45  
Old 12-19-2012, 09:11 AM
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jrs.landscaping jrs.landscaping is online now
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Maine
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Can a 72" Z even mow a 1/4 acre lot? The smallest thing I've tried mowing was a baseball infield and it drove me nuts, it took longer than with a 48" Walker. Bigger mowers don't always save time, especially on the lots the OP has with hills and tight spaces.
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  #46  
Old 12-19-2012, 10:41 AM
fastlane fastlane is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: east PA.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smallstripesnc View Post
Hello everyone,

While I have some down time I have a question to ask all of you that may have been down this route.

I started my business solo and have been doing great. This fall I hired a close friend to help me with leaf removals. Without help during leaf season it would of been very difficult with my current set up since I have to lift my leaf vacuum off the tailgate and unloading the leaf box on the back of my truck would of been a real pain.

For the upcoming mowing season he plans to work with me but after doing the math I won't really be making more with the help. If anything I'll see a loss in income for myself.

Here's the breakdown.

SOLO:
10 yards a day at $25 per lawn: $250
Per week: $1250
Per month: $5000
Expenses: $500 per month
So I pocket $4500 before taxes

WITH ONE EMPLOYEE:
I expect I can do 14 per day at $25 per lawn: $350
Per week: $1750
Per month: $7000
Expenses: $800 (with 2 36in mowers going and more driving)
Employee pay at $12hr 40 hrs a week: $1920 mo
Pocket $ $4280 before taxes

I know the difference isn't that much but I shouldn't be taking a loss when I hire someone. I figure I really can't do more than 14 a day with help. Maybe I can do more than 14 a day with help but I'm really not sure since I know I can do actually 11 a day solo. Now with the expenses of hiring help (legal wise) and knowing I'll be losing cash actually and taking on more lawns and wear and tear on my equipment is it worth it? I DO want to expand my business and hiring help is the only way to expand but I want repeat business every season because I do a very good job not go so fast and have employees mess up so they hire someone new every year like a lot of people do.

Any advice on my situtation?
Based on your amounts - you charge $31.25 per man hr solo and would make less than $22 per man hr with an employee. I think this is the problem.

Last edited by fastlane; 12-19-2012 at 10:50 AM.
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  #47  
Old 12-19-2012, 07:48 PM
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weeze weeze is offline
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Location: weezertonfieldville, AL
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$25 a lawn. you should be doing at least 2 lawns per hour or you aren't charging enough. that would be 16 lawns a day solo in an 8hr day. that would bring in $400 a day. if the yards are taking longer than 30min each then you should raise your prices to maybe $35 a yard for example. if you did 10 yards in 8hrs that would be $350 a day.
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Last edited by weeze; 12-19-2012 at 07:53 PM.
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  #48  
Old 12-19-2012, 09:41 PM
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cpllawncare cpllawncare is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Greenville, SC
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The problem is getting enough accounts close enough to each other that you can actually do 15 or so a day, it's very hard to get a bunch of accounts in the same neighborhood, we generally have 3-4 together then it's off to the next neighborhood 5- 10 mins away, I'm really focusing this year on adding to existing neighborhoods, it's really hard to be patient and build really good efficent routes but it's ever so important.
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  #49  
Old 12-19-2012, 09:46 PM
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cpllawncare cpllawncare is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Greenville, SC
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At least for us, we do better with two or three guys, it gives us the flexibility during the season to take on bigger stuff as it comes in, we're always getting calls for cleanouts and landscaping projects during the season, if I were alone I couldn't take on those type projects and maintain the regular customers as well.
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  #50  
Old 12-19-2012, 10:07 PM
Darryl G Darryl G is offline
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Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 7,990
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tharrell View Post
I may have missed it but, why are you STARTING your help at $12?
Are you including your share of his taxes?
If not, why not start him at $8 and have room to give raises etc...?
Where would your numbers be then?

I'm getting help this year, probably 2 workers.
My knee is giving me trouble and I just decided to become more of a manager.
Now, I can't do that with existing business so I have to get on the ball and get more next year.
$8/hr isn't even minimum wage where I am and it barely is where you are...seems kind of low to me for a laborer.
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