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  #21  
Old 07-20-2013, 09:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger View Post
Good question. But, the one that precedes this one: "Do you want to be a business owner, offering services primarily to residential homeowners?"

If you really like working outside, like cutting grass and other lawn service tasks, but either don't have an interest in being a business owner, or have the aptitude of being a business owner, then you need to reconsider your path.

LS is filled with posts by those who love cutting grass, making straight lines, laying good stripes, but either have no interest or skills in financially managing a business.
I see your point and it was a good point to make. I do want to be a business owner, not someone just working for a landscaping company. I love everything to do with running a business. I do lack some of the aptitude. I am not completely stupid but I am far from knowing everything too, obviously.
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  #22  
Old 07-20-2013, 09:53 PM
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Originally Posted by cpllawncare View Post
For install work, keep it simple and set your hourly rate say 45-55 per man hr then add your material cost and tack 15% on to that, then depending on the feel of the customer you can fudge up or down from there generally up not down. for maint work just keep it at $1/min don't over think it, of course with gas going up that could go up to $1.25/min or more. The property you mentioned should have been bid at 45+ more like $50-$55
Thanks for the advice. I am actually pretty good at bidding install work. I normally pad myself pretty good on labor time and materials costs so I have never lost money on install work. Unfortunately, I don't get a lot of install work.
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  #23  
Old 07-20-2013, 09:53 PM
larryinalabama larryinalabama is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by APLUS LAWN CARE View Post
Yes, I do have a passion for doing lawn care. I love making customer's yards look good. It gives me a sense of pride very few other jobs could.
You can make it work.

"Im kind of thinking that the cemetarys are "killing" you, not to be funny.

The first thing you need to work on is getting your expenses in line, they should be in the 25 to 30% of what your taking in. That would include getting rid of your small debt.

Second thing is get equiptment that will increase your speed, put some thought in it and buy used for now if you can.

200$ per day isn't all that bad and with a little thought and effort it will increase and if your able to decrease your expenses youl be ok.

Its not a get rich game, its possible to make a decient living and enjoy what you do.
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  #24  
Old 07-20-2013, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by 32vld View Post

How many years are you in business? This is my third year in business. I worked for a mowing company for a year before that.

If you are doing 40 hours of work a week you should be grossing $2,000 a week, 25 week season $50,000. In theory, yes. Next spring, I will have to do my estimating better and that will be my target.

Points out to what you have realized that you are not charging enough.

If you are getting 50% or more of your bids then your pricing is to low.

So what percentage of bids do you get? I get almost 100% of what I bid. I always thought that was a good thing, but I never thought about it being an indication that I bid too low. Thanks for that insight.

Do you have a minimum price for a mow? Yes, $20.00

If you do not have a minimum that is one problem if you do have a minimum what is the price?

I get $35 for 1/4 acre or less.

My first two years I was not getting the properties over half acre. My pricing was too high. Readjusted my estimating numbers for properties over half an acre.

First year I did a clean up. Half way through the job I realized that I priced the job for half of what I should of done it for.

I made a deal and honored it.

It was a one time deal.

Now on the other hand if I priced a weekly job at too low of a price I would tell the customer that I underestimated the price for the job.

That I hope they liked the quality of my work but for me to continue the price from now on will have to go up.
I definitely see your point here. However, at this point I dont think I can renegotiate prices. I would say most of my customers chose me because of the price, although I do consider my work to be of good quality. I think I could renegotiate prices next spring on my current customers. I think if I tried to negotiate for more pay, I would lose at least some of my customers, something I can't afford to do. As long as Im not losing money, some income is better than no income.


I bet your 10 lowest priced customers you are not even breaking even on. So I would hit them up for a price increase. I don't think I am losing money on any properties I mow, but I do know there are some that I make $0 on.
Thanks for the sound advice! I appreciate everyone helping me out!
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  #25  
Old 07-20-2013, 10:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larryinalabama View Post
You can make it work.

"Im kind of thinking that the cemetarys are "killing" you, not to be funny.

The first thing you need to work on is getting your expenses in line, they should be in the 25 to 30% of what your taking in. That would include getting rid of your small debt.

Second thing is get equiptment that will increase your speed, put some thought in it and buy used for now if you can.

200$ per day isn't all that bad and with a little thought and effort it will increase and if your able to decrease your expenses youl be ok.

Its not a get rich game, its possible to make a decient living and enjoy what you do.
I have mixed feelings about the cemeteries. They are a time suck for sure. And I average $20-30 gross per hour mowing cemeteries. So you are right that they are killing me, both physically and financially. But a good chunk of my annual income comes from them so it is hard to give them up. They sure are hard on a person too!

My expenses are pretty high, and I have made an effort over the past few years to improve that. I still have a lot I could do, however. This year I replaced my mower this year which has saved me almost 75% on mower repair costs. This year I also replaced a gas hog truck (got around 6 mpg pulling trailer) with a truck that gets 12-15 mpg pulling a trailer. I just changed trucks this month, so I haven't seen how much money that is going to save me, but I guess it would be half the fuel bill.

I have a 60" mower and I wish I could get a 72" because most of my properties could handle a mower that big and it would save me quite a bit of time.
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  #26  
Old 07-20-2013, 10:12 PM
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On a related note, I do want to make this work. That is why I took a real punch to my pride and put this post on here. I don't like to admit defeat but I understand that in order to grow my business and to grow personally as a manager I am going to have to ask for help. I love doing what I do and I want it to work. What I am doing now is working, but not the way that it should work. I manage to keep my head above water, but that is about it. I don't want to get rich. I just want to make a decent living and be the best at what I do!
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  #27  
Old 07-20-2013, 10:27 PM
twomancrew twomancrew is offline
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Welcome to lawn service bud. I started with a cemetery, and i still do it. Let the good times roll, it's a real bugger of a job. It will get easier as you grow and get better equipment. When you grow you will have to decide if you want to keep the cemacem or not because it won't make what other jobs do. Sometime down the road you will realize that cemacem will never fire you if you always do the job. Cemacems pay on time, and have been screwed by every bigtimer in your town. That's why they are taking a chance on you in the first place. They will never fire you if you do them right. You can always keep your insurance going with a cemacem check, even if your broke and cannot opperate you can bounce bcak. Also mine offer to loan me $$ in the winter when I re-sign them. It is all the same to them, they would pay the whole contract up front if I asked for it. I suggest for today to help you out go find something you can sell to them, I once trimmed up all the trees in my cemacem for some quick cash. Find a job you are completely equipped to do. If you have business ownership in you, then you CAN do this and you will get over this hurdle. Start paying your state sales tax now, they are watching you bud. Keep your head up, you are out there doin your thing
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  #28  
Old 07-20-2013, 10:35 PM
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Originally Posted by twomancrew View Post
Welcome to lawn service bud. I started with a cemetery, and i still do it. Let the good times roll, it's a real bugger of a job. It will get easier as you grow and get better equipment. When you grow you will have to decide if you want to keep the cemacem or not because it won't make what other jobs do. Sometime down the road you will realize that cemacem will never fire you if you always do the job. Cemacems pay on time, and have been screwed by every bigtimer in your town. That's why they are taking a chance on you in the first place. They will never fire you if you do them right. You can always keep your insurance going with a cemacem check, even if your broke and cannot opperate you can bounce bcak. Also mine offer to loan me $$ in the winter when I re-sign them. It is all the same to them, they would pay the whole contract up front if I asked for it. I suggest for today to help you out go find something you can sell to them, I once trimmed up all the trees in my cemacem for some quick cash. Find a job you are completely equipped to do. If you have business ownership in you, then you CAN do this and you will get over this hurdle. Start paying your state sales tax now, they are watching you bud. Keep your head up, you are out there doin your thing
Thanks for the words of encouragement! It is great to have a group on people on Lawn Site that are so encouraging. That is kind of where I am at with the cemeteries, they always pay on time, never complain, and never ask for me to do extra work, etc. As long as I get their cemetery mowed they don't even bug me at all. I can't say that about any of my other customers. I do occasionally do some other work for the cemetery associations like tree work, work on the stones, etc. They are a ton of work and not a ton of money, but like I said earlier, some money is better than none. But it sure is a killer trying to mow and trim a cemetery in 90+ degree heat. Sometimes, I just wish I could give them up. But I always feel really good when I get done and the cemeteries look beautiful. I always get lots of comments and the cemetery associations always get a lot of donations because they cemetery always looks so nice.
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  #29  
Old 07-20-2013, 10:41 PM
larryinalabama larryinalabama is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by APLUS LAWN CARE View Post
Thanks for the words of encouragement! It is great to have a group on people on Lawn Site that are so encouraging. That is kind of where I am at with the cemeteries, they always pay on time, never complain, and never ask for me to do extra work, etc. As long as I get their cemetery mowed they don't even bug me at all. I can't say that about any of my other customers. I do occasionally do some other work for the cemetery associations like tree work, work on the stones, etc. They are a ton of work and not a ton of money, but like I said earlier, some money is better than none. But it sure is a killer trying to mow and trim a cemetery in 90+ degree heat. Sometimes, I just wish I could give them up. But I always feel really good when I get done and the cemeteries look beautiful. I always get lots of comments and the cemetery associations always get a lot of donations because they cemetery always looks so nice.
Don't know if this would help, but you could do the cemeterys at sunrise and free up the day for eaiser work.
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  #30  
Old 07-20-2013, 10:55 PM
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Originally Posted by larryinalabama View Post
Don't know if this would help, but you could do the cemeterys at sunrise and free up the day for eaiser work.
Yes, that does help. I normally work on cemeteries from 6:00 A.M. to around noon, and then I mow residentials in the afternoon. It is the only way I can get it done because I am a little overweight and trimming in the heat just about kills me.
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