Atlanta Area

Discussion in 'Network: South' started by ToddS, Dec 15, 2003.

  1. ToddS

    ToddS LawnSite Member
    Posts: 58

    In general when/if you have signed contracts how long does your cutting season generally last? I am in the Atlanta area and I figured from April 1-Nov 31. Don't know if I am way off on this. I am going by this season since I have only been here a year. Also, if you offer spring/fall cleanup when do you start this and how much do you charge? Again, I know this depends on your region and how large your accounts are. If you offer aeration, what do you charge? Lastly, what do you charge for bush/hedge trimming? I was told there is good $ in this service. Sorry for all the questions, but I have already learned alot form this site and just want to know more. Thanks

    ToddS
     
  2. TotalCareSolutions

    TotalCareSolutions LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 518

    Im still out mowing (& cleaning), it's going to be close to 60 today. Some of our service agreements are year round. For our best accounts, we visit weekly March - November, then go Bi-Weekly December - February. Many others simply taper off around Christmas. So much depends on the weather, but Aerate in late September and early April. You are in a transition zone now. You will contend with cool season Fescues and warm season grasses as well, predominately Bermuda, Zoysia and Centipede. You will hear guys talk about $/hr and formulas per hedge or linear ft. Focus on building your accounts, doing a good job, SELLING and be as profitable as you can for now. What area are you in specifically?
     
  3. Endless Boundries

    Endless Boundries LawnSite Member
    Posts: 26

    Greetings Todd and TCS, I am Endless Boundries. Trying to start a new lawn care biz in the rural Atl area. I'm about 25 miles west of Atl. Glad to see some local people in here as well. Hope to see you guys out there some time. until then, Peace in your journeys and Happy mowing
     
  4. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,403

    I just moved from the Atlanta area after 12 years mowing there. . One of the hardest parts of it was getting a handle on when the various types of grass starting and stopped growing. Since many lawns are two types of grass, it gets even more complicated. And when you charge based on say 4 cuts a month and the grass ain't growing, that can cause some misunderstandings with some people.

    Fescue starts growing again in early to mid March, cranks through June, slows again in the heat and dry weather of summer, then picks up a little in the Fall till it finally stops in early to mid December.

    Zoysia and Bermuda need mowing a couple of times in April, then weekly through early to late September, then a time or two (or none on some ) after that. There are exceptions to all this from time to time of course and temp and rainfall can push the dates up or back a little.

    I would suggest trying to get your cleanup work done in the early spring before the grass starts growing fast or you'll fall behind. Fall cleanups start in October and end when the leaves are all gone. That depends on what trees are there. As far as charges, that depends on your equipment and speed and the market. I charged by the hour for established customers only. I mulched almost all leaves, which works well if you don't let them get out of hand.

    Aeration/seeding in the fall (mid sept through oct), pricing is hard to nail down, everybody has their methods and again equipment quality matters a lot. Too many variables to really say "charge xxx "

    Some love the money from hedge trimming, but it's much more physically demanding, often requires hauling debris away and time consuming trips to dumps, and also there is more room for error and complaints, so it's generally undesireable work for me. I did it upon request charging $48 to $60 per hour depending on the time of year they wanted it. If peak summer when I'm busy, the higher figure applied. Even then, I felt like it was costing me money to do it . But I work very fast so I probably was undercharging.

    I found Tall Fescue lawns to be much easier and forgiving to mow, and more profitable from the longer growing season and need for near annual aeration/seeding. They also tend to be on lots with trees (Bermuda/Zoysia don't like shade) so there was more leaf removal/mulching work. Also, their fast growing periods (crunch time) are in the spring and fall, when temps are lower, which is a plus. I liked that things slowed down in the hottest part of the summer. But a blend of warm and cool season turf can compliment each other nicely too.

    Don't mistake an expensive home/lawn for a profitable one. Sometimes the simple homes can be more profitable.

    I would say learn to mow fast but well, invest in good equipment, alway show up as promised, and you won't have any problems. Dont' bite off more than you can chew. If you don't know how to do something, practice at home or offer to do a freebie for the experience. Don't pass yourself off as an expert until you are. Good luck.

    PS: only about 10% of my accounts needed actual mowing over the winter months. Some can get people to pay them for that anyway, but usually what happens is they are a little cheaper than they would otherwise be when it's growing and it evens out, or they find themselves gradually losing customers here and there who are looking for a little better value. I did a lot of shrub and cleanup jobs in the winter, but mostly if you are solo you will need some rest time too to avoid burnout.
     
  5. PeachState

    PeachState LawnSite Member
    from Georgia
    Posts: 21

    Todd,

    A simple way to do a year round contract would be approx 35 cuts. That covers beginning of March to end of October or beginning of April to end of November depending on the growing season. Weekly cuts during that time add up to 35 cuts.
    If a customer wants mowing every week I specify that it will be approximately 35 total cuts during the year and explain to them how I get that number.
    If the price per mow is $40 then I multiply that times 35 which equals $1400 for the year. $1400 divided by 12 months is $116.67 monthly.
    That is just a basic example but it works out well and my customers like a contract set up like that. You can break down other services you will be doing for them during the year and add them to the contract as well.
    Phil
     
  6. SIRCAESAR

    SIRCAESAR LawnSite Member
    Posts: 128

    Greetings once again Tcs, Todds, Endless Boundaries, Bruce 32 and Peachstate, I am in Conyers, Ga (I-20 East) I am about 25 miles east of metro Atlanta, which is the exact opposite of where endless boundaries is. good to see all of you in the Metro Area.. Tcs did you ever email me the templates for your fliers.. everyone else what are you guys doing to advertise for the upcoming season and what has worked best for you?
     
  7. ToddS

    ToddS LawnSite Member
    Posts: 58

    I am sending out flyers and advertising in a publication that just targets the areas that i want to do business in. I have also purchased some magnets for my truck so my name will hopefully get out just by driving around. That is all for now. I too am interested in hearing what others are doing. What about you SIRCAESAR?

    ToddS
     
  8. SIRCAESAR

    SIRCAESAR LawnSite Member
    Posts: 128

    Todd like you, I plan to advertise in my local shopper magazine, I also placed a small 2 inch ad in My local Yellow pages. It won't come out until the end of march though. I plan on advertizing in the local newspaper. doing some fliers and possibly door to door..any other suggestions from you guys would be helpful
     
  9. PeachState

    PeachState LawnSite Member
    from Georgia
    Posts: 21

    sircaesar,
    How's C-Town? I grew up in Mansfield over in Newton County (I'm in Athens now).
    I just went full time with it and am in the process of marketing marketing marketing.
    I'm getting my truck lettered with vinyl this week.
    I decided against the yellow pages but only for now because of the prices.
    I'll be doing a few newspaper ads in about a month or so.
    I'm going to purchase some signs and place them in yards while I work in them. I'll have a couple signs permanatly placed in areas of town also.
    I'm focusing hard on referrals right now too. I have been giving out gift certificates to customers that refer me to someone that signs up for a 12 month contract. I usually give gift certificates to their favorite restaurants. This has really been better than I expected.
    I'll let y'all know what seems to be working best for me as the season gets started.
    Good luck to all of you.
    peachstate
     
  10. GoodGuy

    GoodGuy LawnSite Member
    Posts: 2

    I live in Jonesboro, and this will be my first year in the Lawn Care business.
    I have just recently bought all the equipment I'll be starting out with, and will be starting my advertisement campaign within the next few weeks.
     

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