Am I "Nuts"?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by JustAnotherNewbie, Jan 5, 2006.

  1. JustAnotherNewbie

    JustAnotherNewbie LawnSite Member
    Posts: 7

    After nearly 10 years with the same firm I have been "restructured" and am looking for new opportunities. I am interested in purchasing an LCO because the "barriers to entry" are relatively low and since I am in FL the mowing season is 12 months a year. It seems like an opportunity to grow my own business and not have to face another layoff. I don't expect to be able to make the same money I was making...but, being my own boss has some benefits...right? Many of my "friends" think I'm nuts for considering this...since I used to be an "office geek"....I know it's back breaking work...but you can make money at this right?....There are LCO's running all over my neighborhood and I've got to believe that these guys are making a living...or they wouldn't be around...

    Tell me what I'm missing here....
     
  2. lutherlr

    lutherlr LawnSite Member
    Posts: 1

    I don't have any advice but I'm also interested as a currently employeed "office geek" I'm looking to do the same thing. I've been following this site for a few months now just trying to learn and it sounds like more and more people are making a decent living by being their own boss. Look forward to hearing thoughts and motivation to guys like us looking to start out on our own. One question, assuming I have a truck, is it possible to operate a one man mowing crew with a 12K start up budget?
     
  3. JustAnotherNewbie

    JustAnotherNewbie LawnSite Member
    Posts: 7

    I am looking at purchasing an existing LCO....claims to have 70 residential and 10 commercial accounts....grossing $100K per year...How many accounts can a "one man band" realistically handle? If you have two or three crews on the road...what is the potential there?
     
  4. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,587

    but i have read here the market is completely saturated with lco's, and the money being charged per lawn is the lowest in the country, and that if you are going to make any money at all, yo will need to hire mexican labor to make it work...

    lots of florida guys here maybe im wrong, but that is what i remember reading......
     
  5. Trinity Lawn Care  LLC

    Trinity Lawn Care LLC LawnSite Senior Member
    from NJ
    Posts: 946

    As far as "One man band" it really depends on a lot of things. Here are some:

    1. What kind of equipment are you using?
    2. How many hours in a day are you planning on working?
    3. What size are the properties?
    4. How close are the properties to each other?
    5. How much time are spending driving and much time cutting?


    I am a little leery about purchasing another company. I have heard some good things, but I have heard many of horror stories. I would say just be careful. I personally come from a corporate background myself. Here is the advice that I can give (this is only going to be my second yr. in this biz). There is money in this industry, but you have to work hard. The days are long, the temp can be HOT!!!, and you will get your hands dirty. However, if it is truly something that you want to do you can make it work.
     
  6. JustAnotherNewbie

    JustAnotherNewbie LawnSite Member
    Posts: 7

    This is an issue that I have some concern about. I know there are a lot of part-timers out there that have 10-15 accounts and mow only on weekends etc....and there is a lot of price gouging going on. My initial thought was to provide quality, dependable service and charge a bit more for it. I have heard so many stories about LCO's not showing up...sending bills anyway...I've had my own experience with my yard getting torn up because the guys were trying to mow 25 lawns a day and running at break-neck speeds with huge machines.....BUT...all of that said...it seems that the price is being driven lower every day....will people pay for quality...what is your experience? Does the lowest price always win...and then they just keep complaining and switching services?
     
  7. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,587

    how bout some info

    quality vs price.... that is a problem we can all relate too.... so far i have to say where i live, 80% care more about price then quality... then again this is one of the most depressed areas in the country...

    good luck
     
  8. Trinity Lawn Care  LLC

    Trinity Lawn Care LLC LawnSite Senior Member
    from NJ
    Posts: 946

    You will definitely get different opinions on subject of price. I am big on quality at a fair price. I would say that I am probably somewhere in the middle of the road when it comes to pricing. I have some that I know are on the lower end and some that I know are on the upper end. I can give you an example to your question regarding will the pay for quality. I have a very loyal customer who told me that I am more expensive then the others that they have used before. He then stated that he is willing to pay the extra money because of the quality of work, and the fact that I show up when I say I will. Through this gentleman I have had the opportunity to bid on a church, a parsonage, and two cemeteries. IMO- I think that quality in the long run will win. The cheaper price will win you the price shoppers who will run you ragged for little compensation. JMO.
     
  9. JustAnotherNewbie

    JustAnotherNewbie LawnSite Member
    Posts: 7

    I have run some very rough numbers....and am figuring that if you have 100 accounts at 100 to $120 a month...you can turn a "decent" living at this....is that reasonable? Can one crew handle 100 average size lawns (.25 acre) in a week...winter mowing is every other week...so that is very do-able.
     
  10. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,587

    your numbers seem resonable, 100 .25 acre lots isnt out of reach for a crew of 2 or 3 guys, in my area anyway, dont know about any obsticals in your region (types of grass, trimming diffficulties...)....

    really wish some florida people would chime in here...:)
     

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