About mowing, edging "standards" on Fareway's BP blower posting

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by south jerz, Jun 19, 2005.

  1. south jerz

    south jerz LawnSite Member
    Posts: 87

    To me that edge looks perfectly fine, and I thought the mower cut looked very sharp. Cut was even and there was no visible clipping buildup on grass. The debris pictured was about to be blown, it was not a finished lawn.

    Maybe South Jersey is different from everywhere else in the world, but over 95% of my customers care only that my company provides them with a presentable lawn that, in order of importance, keeps their wallet heavy, keeps them out of the heat, and keeps their neighbors happy.

    You'll notice that the very small number of guys whose obsession is the title of "best lawn in the neighborhood" are out there doing it by themselves, usually cutting 2-3 times per week with a nice 21" pushmower and fertilizing constantly. Most wouldn't trust an LCO with their baby.

    The VAST majority of LCO's who are looking to pocket $40+ for small residentials have very few accounts, or if they do have many accounts they are spread out so far I find it hard to believe they can make a buck. They might have 70 $40 accounts over a 20 square mile area. I have 70 accounts, averaging $28-30 in price. 30 are in less than a one-square mile area (cheapest). About 20 are in a two-square mile area (next cheapest). 10 (most expensive) are in a 1/2-mile area. The three clusters are about 10-15 minutes apart from each other. We have ten annoying lawns (mostly friends and family) who are scattered all around my area and done on one shorter relaxed Monday reserved for a few hours of cutting, then equipment maintenance.

    It's not a choice between low-profit/high-volume or vice-versa, you can have the best of both worlds. We take Friday-Sunday off and work 7-8 hour days and we are plenty happy with our income.

    With a three-man crew running two 48's, and Redmax trimmer, blower, edger, one of each, we can usually knock out about 4-7 lawns an hour while in these areas. 20-25 lawns a day working at an average pace, with a buffer day in case of rain (we work in light drizzle to moderate rain, customers realize this is the nature of scheduled service and know the next cut will be in drier weather).

    No fancy F-350's and enclosed trailers, just an old Jeep Cherokee pulling a 5x8 trailer. No racks; trimmers, gas, and blowers in the trunk.

    I know Jack fancies himself as the master of efficiency but me and my partner would've been in and out of that lawn in about five minutes with a similar product. Yes we are the owners and not the typical hired employee. We would expand and hire workers but our future plans will bring us far from our current market area.

    Our work is more than sufficient looks-wise and we have never been dropped for quality of work. The only thing we have ever been dropped for is not showing up on scheduled day.

    My point is all we do is A) keep our blades sharp and B) our routes tight and our C) schedule regular and our company is doing great and our customers are happy. We mow, edge, trim and blow all our lawns. Our edges are acceptable, not flawless, we occasionally miss a spot trimming or a few blades of grass blowing. Bottom-line: customers are happy enough to continue service.

    Maybe my line-of-thought is wrong, but it seems to me to be the easiest and most-profitable approach to a successful lawn service.
     
  2. ercrvs24

    ercrvs24 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 93

    If I knew I missed spots, I would fix that. But congrats, if your customers are happy, and you're making good money, then continue what works for you! :D
     
  3. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    with all do respect, homeboy, knocking out 20-25 lawns a day, with a 3 man crew, is not good. i assume you are paying your men 10-12 bucks an hour? assuming one of these men is you, this makes each man cost you about $15 an hour. base the numbers on 22.5 lawns a day, at $29 each. your daily gross=$652. your employees are costing you $240. your daily overhead after payroll is at least $60. your net, or taxable income, after the dust settles, is $352. THIS, is not good. you may walk away with $275 after taxes. china mans wages my friend. i could teach you how to easily turn that 22.5 lawns a day, into 30, and that 16 man hrs, into about 10.
     
  4. daveyo

    daveyo LawnSite Senior Member
    from N.J.
    Posts: 907

    I love it, what ever gets YOU by, if that edge looks good to you than more power to you. I live in S. Jersey, that edge won't suffice, guaranteed. Nobody says you have to spend all day making an edge look perfect, if you know what your doing and your crew(s) are trained good enough, you'll be in and out and still looking professional in no time. Why is that such a hard concept for some to grasp.

    O'Donnell Landscaping
     
  5. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,494

    I think you guys are talking about two different pictures. In one picture, yes, the edge looks fine. like how it is sipposed to look. It is the other picture that the edge is all tore up a couple of inches wide.
     
  6. south jerz

    south jerz LawnSite Member
    Posts: 87

    Few things about our situation you should know:

    We work roughly: 8-1pm Mon, 9-3 Tues, 9-4 Wed, 9-5 Thurs. We pay one worker $10 an hour and he works less than 20 hours a week.

    We also do small landscaping jobs, mostly unskilled work like mulching, average of one job a week. We have a few guys who do the jobs in their entirety for us, we only give the estimate and check the final product. The jobs pull in about 250 profit/week for each of us.

    Bottom-line is we walk away with over $1000 a week each in our pockets, which is damn good for 20 year olds as full-time students at schools out of state. We get most of the afternoon off and spend weekends at the shore. Most of our peers pull in $200-400 week working on someone else's schedule.

    LCO is definitely not our career-path, just a way to make a lot of money while we're in school. Usually it's me, my partner, and a worker. We plan on expanding slightly and converting to all workers with crew-leader supervision (rather than us) as soon as next summer. We have good equipment that we will care for well, decent employees, and tight routes with pretty laid-back customers. I'm looking at this as extra income to help with future student loans, apartment rent/food, etc while I have another career. If it all falls apart on us while we're away it's not the end of the world.

    You're probably 10x more knowledgable about this stuff than me and much more efficient, but we really aren't in positions to to make this our number one focus and put any of that advice and potential-improvement into action.
     
  7. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    well, if your goal is to make alot of money, while in school, then you are doing great. but, if you are in it for the long haul, it's a different ballgame. those $10 an hr, 20 hr employees, won't hang around for long. they want a few more bucks, and alot more hrs. you are doing good then. one word of advice- the dept of labor was combing this area last year for months, stopping guys for under the table payments, and not carrying workers comp. i thought they were gone this year, i was wrong, a guy here in north brunswick got popped on the jobsite with 6 under the table employees, no workers comp on any of them. major $$$ in fines.
     
  8. heavenlydeere

    heavenlydeere LawnSite Member
    Posts: 109

    there were several points made on that post , mine being that the edge in those pics would not be acceptable in my business period!!! now if they look good to you then have at it, hopefully everyone in my area has the same ethics as some of the people on here , my business will ( and is )go through the roof!!! with all of the crappy work and cut throating that goes on , i see making a piece of art out of every yard not only a way of getting new accounts but also job security!!!! i know in my area myself and maybe two others that try to make each yard look as good as we can, its just a matter of pride!!!!
     
  9. Fareway Lawncare

    Fareway Lawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    from Canada
    Posts: 2,222

    If You are Worried About Putting a Perfect Edge on a $25 Lawn then You Must be Really Really Hard up for Work...a Part Timer or Both...

    I do Well over 300 of Those Types of Lots a Week...& the Phone Keeps Ringing.

    I Used to Have a Premium Service which was $5 More but We were Doing only 2 Lots per hr....W/Basic Mow Trim Blow and GO we Knock Out 4-5 Easy..

    If You kids Want to Make Money You Need to Grow Up and Face the Fact that 90% of Customers Notice Only that their Lawn Was Cut on the Scheduled Day and the Property Looks Neat...Everything Else You are Doing for Your Own Obviously Deflated Self-Esteem.
     
  10. The C Man

    The C Man LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Posts: 527

    Fairyway's numbers are made up, not to mention preposterous. By cutting out a few extras from his defunct 'premium' service he's able to increase productivity by 100-150% per hour??? Yeah right.

    90% of customers only notice that the lawn was cut on the scheduled day and looks neat? Depends on where you mow, Fairyway. Just because you mow in lower income areas doesn't mean everyone else does.

    It's funny seeing YOU accuse other people here of having deflated self esteem when you're clearly the king... but what else should we expect from a grown man who lives with his grandmother?
     

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