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  #1  
Old 04-29-2013, 06:43 PM
smallstripesnc smallstripesnc is offline
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Tips on maximizing profit and to make more money doing lawn care

I'm sure I'm not the only one who wonders how to make more money in the lawn care business. Please keep in mind getting the lawns to service isn't the issue here. I do residential properties and if its under 1/2 acre I charge $30 per lawn and I only offer weekly service.

I know I could charge more but $30 is right in the going rate for my area from what I can find out and seems pretty fair.

I already am about maxed out on the amount of lawns I can do a day solo which is around 10-12 a day. Of course taking on more lawns per day can increase the bottom dollar but how can I fit more lawns in a day without running another truck with equipment?

-Work faster on each lawn?
-Tighter route?
-Have a helper? (I've had a helper before and it really didn't speed me up as much as I thought it would and they usually finished edging/trimming/blowing way before I was done mowing).
-Any other suggestions?

Besides the obvious getting more lawns done in a day I understand up selling other services to current clients is another way to increase overall profit. Ways of doing this would be (weed control-must have pesticide license, fertilizer/lime applications, hedge trimming two times of the year or so, aeration/overseeding in the fall, leaf removals). My issue is now I hardly have time while I'm at each property to do any extra services because I'm trying to get in and out as fast as possible as it is and if I took the time to trim hedges I wouldn't have enough time to get all the lawns per day done. Even with the up selling services its not going to yield a lot of extra income over the basic mowing service.

The off season is also another killer. This year leaf removals may be out of the question for me because of the lack of help and a place to cheaply dispose of the leaves/debris and I'm not sure I want to buy another leaf loader and buy a dump trailer to use. I figure I could spend $3000 on a leaf loader and about $5000 on a dump trailer and I doubt I'd be able to make that back within one leaf season. Plus I already know a walk behind blower would be a HUGE help to speed things up but not having a cheap place to dump the leaves is a killer but there's STILL an off season.

Now expanding and running multiple crews is of course a way to maximize profit but it takes money and time to build up enough clients to make this work and from what some people tell me its almost more of a headache than its worth.

If any of you have any input or advice please reply. I'm not out to make millions but just expand my horizons a bit on how much I can make if I do things differently.
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  #2  
Old 04-29-2013, 07:20 PM
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Nate'sLawnCare Nate'sLawnCare is online now
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I got the ornamental and turf pesticide license this year due to some contracted properties we needed it for. If you can offer this service to your existing weekly customers, just think about doubling your profit with one visit to their property. If you mow and do an app, you can easily double what you're currently getting without adding a lot of time to your day. Other than that, what size yards are you mowing and what type of equipment are you running? The key is to get more properties done in a day.
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Old 04-29-2013, 07:39 PM
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exmarkking exmarkking is offline
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You have to add a helper. It gets to be a headache when you have "crews" but when I added a helper it sped me up alot, plus I wasn't as tired because I was just driving the truck and mowers. We also started making alot more money once we switched everyone over to a monthly service price, instead of per visit. If the helper was finished before you gone done mowing, maybe you need a bigger, faster mower? We have exmark navigators and lazer z's and I'm always done before he is, sometime finish around the same time.
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Old 04-29-2013, 08:16 PM
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jrs.landscaping jrs.landscaping is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smallstripesnc View Post

I already am about maxed out on the amount of lawns I can do a day solo which is around 10-12 a day. Of course taking on more lawns per day can increase the bottom dollar but how can I fit more lawns in a day without running another truck with equipment?


I figure I could spend $3000 on a leaf loader and about $5000 on a dump trailer and I doubt I'd be able to make that back within one leaf season. Plus I already know a walk behind blower would be a HUGE help to speed things up but not having a cheap place to dump the leaves is a killer but there's STILL an off season.
You answered your own question, better equipment will speed things up, not only with cleanups but with mowing as well. Do you have EVERY piece of equipment to make you as efficient as possible? A helper would be beneficial, but if you don't want to spend 8k to speed things up, how will you equip another person?
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Old 04-29-2013, 08:27 PM
smallstripesnc smallstripesnc is offline
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All the properties I manage are under 1/2 acre besides one I get $60 a cut for which is a little over 1/2 acre. As far as mowers go I'd say I'm pretty set. I have a Gravely 36in hydro walk behind, Gravely pro turn 152 ztr and two toro proline 21inchers I don't use much.

The issue is always when the property has hills and I can't use the ztr on because its unsafe or properties that have gates and the back yard is a little big for a 36in to be profitable but I have to suck it up because of the gate size.

Also my service area is very large but I spend days in different areas. Charlotte is widely spread out say from Ballantyne area which is farthest south east to the edge of the university area which is a good 45 minute ride with traffic. Now I do stay in one area each day so I'm not driving all over the place except the ride to the area and the ride back so I don't think that's really the issue. I time all lawns and the times vary. The ones I can use the ztr on go very fast. I'm in and out under 25 minutes usually for the average lawn 5,000 to 15,000sq ft. Now some of the ones with hills I have to use the walk behind and the property is actually a little big for the mower to be profitable is where I SHOULD charge more but I don't want to loose the property over that because they've been great clients and pay on time and if I have equipment issues they aren't going to hire someone else if I skip a week.

I'm just so hesitant to hire help because I did it and it didn't work out and didn't speed me up a lot but I agree that if I was able to hop in the truck as soon as I was done mowing and didn't have to edge/trim and blow everything off then maybe I could get an extra few lawns done a day.
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Old 04-29-2013, 08:37 PM
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exmarkking exmarkking is offline
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Your are in the same boat I was in a couple of years ago. You have maxed yourself out. So a bigger question to ask yourself is, how big and far do you want to take this business. At this point, you can't do anymore work per day without killing yourself. So are you happy with the income and quality of life with that income? If so, then you don't need anymore accounts, just keep what you have. Now if you want more money, you have to start thinking about training somebody Else to make your money. Think about this. What happens if you get sick? What happens if you get hurt really bad? These are unfortunate things that "can" happen to a human. If something bad happens, your operation stops! If its really bad to the point that you couldn't work for a long time or ever again, you'll lose everything. That scared me when I was in your shoes. So what do you do? Take a pay cut for a while and train &1 or 2 employees. This is your safety net for when and if something happens to you. Once you get reliable help, you can double you accounts and pretty much double your money. Also, if you and your family wanted to go on vacation in July, its no problem because the show keeps going even when your aren't there. That to me is piece of mind.
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Old 04-29-2013, 09:04 PM
smallstripesnc smallstripesnc is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exmarkking View Post
Your are in the same boat I was in a couple of years ago. You have maxed yourself out. So a bigger question to ask yourself is, how big and far do you want to take this business. At this point, you can't do anymore work per day without killing yourself. So are you happy with the income and quality of life with that income? If so, then you don't need anymore accounts, just keep what you have. Now if you want more money, you have to start thinking about training somebody Else to make your money. Think about this. What happens if you get sick? What happens if you get hurt really bad? These are unfortunate things that "can" happen to a human. If something bad happens, your operation stops! If its really bad to the point that you couldn't work for a long time or ever again, you'll lose everything. That scared me when I was in your shoes. So what do you do? Take a pay cut for a while and train &1 or 2 employees. This is your safety net for when and if something happens to you. Once you get reliable help, you can double you accounts and pretty much double your money. Also, if you and your family wanted to go on vacation in July, its no problem because the show keeps going even when your aren't there. That to me is piece of mind.
That's exactly what I've been realizing. Finding RELIABLE help that I can train without a lot of hassle and I can trust them is the main thing that I worry about and I do see your points on why hiring additional help could benefit. Of course I want more money but was hoping I could make more money solo but I'm guessing that's not really possible since I'm almost maxed out by myself. I could try charging more but honestly I feel my pricing is pretty fair and competitive.
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  #8  
Old 04-29-2013, 09:12 PM
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Nate'sLawnCare Nate'sLawnCare is online now
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Sounds like your equipment is varied enough to do about anything. Unfortunately, the gate issue is one thing you can't do much about unless you don't take properties with gates that your 36 can't fit. You always have the option of the new 30 commercial units, but that's a pretty sizeable investment and you would have to weigh that against any time savings. I have a unique situation in that my 16 year old son is my helper and is with me 95% of the time. We can get so much more done as a team than either of us alone since we have a system for all our properties.
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Snapper Pro S200XT 36 HP Big Block
BOP 36 Inch Dually
Honda HRX217VKA Mower
Husqvarna 223L Trimmer
Husqvarna 326LS Trimmer
Husqvarna 580BTS Blower
Husqvarna BT150 Blower
Kawasaki KHDS600 Hedge Trimmer
Toro Multi-Tool
RedMax BM46i Backpack Sprayer
Carry On 5.5 x 10 Open Trailer
2004 Toyota Tacoma

The next time someone complains about your pricing, ask them how much their barber would charge to come over and cut their hair.
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  #9  
Old 04-29-2013, 09:20 PM
smallstripesnc smallstripesnc is offline
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Location: Charlotte, NC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate'sLawnCare View Post
Sounds like your equipment is varied enough to do about anything. Unfortunately, the gate issue is one thing you can't do much about unless you don't take properties with gates that your 36 can't fit. You always have the option of the new 30 commercial units, but that's a pretty sizeable investment and you would have to weigh that against any time savings. I have a unique situation in that my 16 year old son is my helper and is with me 95% of the time. We can get so much more done as a team than either of us alone since we have a system for all our properties.
I wish my kids were old enough to help me haha. I have three year old twins and they WANT to help but not old enough yet. Maybe one day. The issue is the 36 does fit but the back yard is too big to be profitable for that size mower and it really needs a 52in on it. More than the gates I have the hill issue where the ztr just isn't safe but the yard is big enough where my 52in ztr would be more efficient.
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Old 04-29-2013, 09:45 PM
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Build them a bigger gate for free
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