All Solo Ops....

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Expert Lawns, May 31, 2004.

  1. Expert Lawns

    Expert Lawns LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,660

    Working by yourself there is only so much you can do per week. About how much can a solo operation bring in per week? I have 38 weekly residentials and 1 large commercial accounts. On average my resi's go for $30-40. So lets take $35 X 38 accounts. This equals $1,330 per week (not including the commercial account).

    Is this high? Low? Just wondering how I am doing compared to some other solos. Thanks
  2. Rich's Lawn Care

    Rich's Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 376

    I think that is good!!! But i only have 21 weekly's my goal for next year is to get to 40. My average is the same $30-40.
  3. lawnguyland

    lawnguyland LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,108

    not too shabby, is that just mowing (weekly service)?
  4. Expert Lawns

    Expert Lawns LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,660

    yea, weekly mow, trim, blow
  5. competitiveimageland

    competitiveimageland LawnSite Member
    Posts: 192

    im doin solo with 23 accounts makin on average 950 a week with one cut each week but this week its goin to be twice weekly my best week so far was 1350 not to bad for a side job ide say , alot of my lawns are over one acre and average around 50 a cut
  6. lawnguyland

    lawnguyland LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,108

    so then you should be making a lot more on top with shrub trimming, lawncare apps, etc., which is just fine for a solo I believe
  7. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,501

    Solo is fine, but just think how much you could make with 4 or 5 guys full time???
  8. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,372

    I know some of you aren't going to believe me, but here goes anyways...

    I'm bringing in about $2400 / week.

    Now, before you all say whatever, that's a joke, I'll break it down for you.

    This is for a 6 month period, not 12 months. In the winter I bring in about $1250 / week on contracts ($5,000 / month)

    Now this is just what I do myself, which also includes 4 apps for chemical and fert, which will run me about $2400 for the year. If you take off that, say $600 / month, now I'm down to about $2300 / week, minus my gas, and other expenses.

    In that $2400 / week, I did not include however my school district that I've got which pays out $5500 / month on contract for 6 months. The reason that I did not include that is because I've got my dad running a Kubota 4350 with a 12' tri-deck and an uncle that does trimming for me on his off days as a pastor, therefore I'm not doing that account solo.

    Anyways, keep in mind I only do commercial accounts, and I don't stop for anything that would pay less than $250 / month since they all have to do the full service, mowing, fertilizing, trim, etc.

    They are all on contract, therefore I am guaranteed my money, makes it much easier to budget for both 6 and 12 month terms. I'm already contracted for this next winter, now I know my truck payments and my house payments will be covered.
  9. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    I've determined that the solo operator business model won't work for me. Figure it like this: If you've got a full schedule (and I really don't think many in the business for less than 3 years do), how much do you gross per week?

    I'd say $350 per day is pretty good. That's $35 per man hour, (including drive time, lunch and fueling) for 10 hours per day. If you can do that five days a week, M-F, you're grossing $1,750.00 before any expenses. And growing to that much work from nothing takes a ton of time. At least it's taking me forever. I've been in the business for 17 full months (full time) and my forecasted mowing revenues are only a little over $1,300 per week.

    Also, figure a lot of time on top of the fifty hours you're already working to sharpen blades, do estimates, deal with PITA customers, conduct errands (like buying new filters, parts, oil, line, blades, etc), enter statement charges into Quickbooks, do quarterly government paperwork, hang door hangers (you're always going to be replacing customers in this business), monthly billing, deal with vendors, etc. There's a lot of time involved with that stuff. So you're absolutely killing yourself during the working season. 60 hours of work in an air conditioned office is one thing, but when 50 of those hours are in 100 degree heat, that's another.

    In my area, you get 34 weeks of mowing. 34 X $1,750 = $59,500.00.

    I made more than that as an employee at my last job. I know a lot of employees who are non-college graduates that make more than that per year. Most employees also get free health insurance or at least affordable health insurance. Some also get stock options, matching contributions on 401K's, paid sick days and paid grievance days too.

    If you gross $59,500.00 mowing lawns in a year, I'd figure you'd be doing very well to keep $40K of that after expenses, depreciation and deadbeats.

    Then you pay a higher tax rate than you would as an employee. The social security tax, which is not dependent on earnings (like the income tax) is doubled. There's 15% of that $40 grand right off the top vs 7.5% for the employee making forty grand. That's a difference of three thousand bucks right there! The fourty grand employee keeps $37K and you keep $34K after paying the social security tax. You're forty grand a year is equal to thirty seven grand for an employee.

    $40 grand for a grown adult employee is pretty common place. Why put yourself through all this hard, sweaty, dirty, hot work for $40 grand?

    I'm not sure I'm smart enough to make it work with employees, but the common sense math tells me the solo operation isn't for me. What's the game plan if you are seriously injured or become ill? How do you even get a day off for a close family member's funeral if you're booked solid with 50 hours of labor each week?

    One way or another, I'll be out of the heat a year from now. I'll either have employees doing the vast majority of the labor or I'll be working for someone else in an air conditioned office.

    DFW Area Landscaper
  10. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Posts: 8,745

    Expert, if that is only for mowing and you are bringing in that much I say that it's good

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