Bidding LARGE properties in North Houston

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by HeloPilot, May 28, 2008.

  1. HeloPilot

    HeloPilot LawnSite Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 36

    I have been looking at doing this business for some time. I have some great ideas, and honestly, my mind just wonders into these crazy amazing day dreams. I have spent the last couple of days driving the neighborhoods and looking at LCO's hard at work. I feel bad thinking about taking business from another established LCO, but this is business right. We are both trying to provide a better quality of life for our families.

    While I was driving through an upper middle class community today I noticed 10 crews out working hard. Some two man crews, mostly three man crews, and one solo artist. All of the lots are about 20K sq ft of mostly plush lawns. All were operating a ZT mower with most also running a 21" walk behind and a trimmer.

    I have some ideas on getting the business, but what are these homeowners paying for the service now? What is the right price range to bid in on? It looks like a 2 man hour job. Most were in and out within an hour and I guess the 3 man crews a little less. The solo LCo was still at it when I drove by the last time but he was making good time.

    Again, what is the right price range per visit? Any suggestions? Any other LCO's from the North Houston area? Thanks for your expertise and assistance.
     
  2. RhettMan

    RhettMan LawnSite Silver Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 2,174

    Welcome to lawn site...

    How much does it cost to become a helopilot from first lesson to fully certified?
     
  3. HeloPilot

    HeloPilot LawnSite Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 36

    Just getting a private pilot license will set you back about $18K. To get the licenses you need to get a a professional job is about $70K. That will only get you the training, than you need to get a low paying instructor job for a couple of years so that you can get a low paying professional job and it never really gets better. I came here chasing the dream of flying as a career. Left a good job for this and wouldn't trade it for the world. Now I just need to get a quality lawn care business to make money and have my flying as a hobby, because thats what I love.

    I see that your from Tx. I drive past your town when I head to my flying job. Can you tell me about the market out here? Year round season? just trying to learn the ropes here.
     
  4. RhettMan

    RhettMan LawnSite Silver Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 2,174

    Texas is a great place because we have lawn care almost year round but of course the grass growing slows in winter, Beaumont is awesome because its on the coast and there is alot of rain fall. Exxon Mobil has a huge plant there that is probably the largest single employeer in the area, and its pays well, that leaves the oportunity for alot of "able to pay customers."

    As far as your question earlier about pricing, the only way to know is to actually do lawn business, over time you will be told (and customers will be happy to tell you) what they have previously paid to get their lawns mowed. Ususally for me a yard is $35-50 and this is for a average 15k yard that is already in decent shape. However, the Florida boys will get much less for the same yard, i think they work for $15 sometimes. So it varys by area, Houston has alot of "Trabajadores duros" if you know what i mean, it makes for alot of competition. I think Jim Adams said it best when he said that the best price is one that benefits both you and the customer.
     
  5. HeloPilot

    HeloPilot LawnSite Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 36

    Thanks for the info regarding Texas. Well I know as one that lives in a middle class neighborhood and before giving life away to chase a dream I lived a little better. I always had heartburn when I wasn't able to communicate with my lawn keepers. It would eat at me crazy. I am sure that I am not the only homeowner that would be happy to be able to speak to the guys working on my property, let alone know that each employee is a tax paying legal citizen. ***Not saying that all aren't and yes I know it is probably a sore subject here*** I have owned several other service based business's which I sold off for profit within 3 years. This is a long term business for me and I want to do it right, with pride in my company. again, any and all suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thanks
     
  6. FNG

    FNG LawnSite Member
    Posts: 34

    Hey there HeloPilot,

    When I was training to get my private is was told that helos don't fly, they beat the air into submission. Zat true? :) That's whay I own/fly a Beech Sport. The wings stay in one place. :)

    Welcome to the site. There is a ton of reading here that will help you and me both. I'm just starting out in the far north Texas area, so I'll be watching your thread also.

    I think you'll hear many here say to aim for a dollar a minute of your time. That sounds reasonable to me. Hour on the job...$60.00 as a solo operator. Aim for quality of work as your selling points, not price. Do good work and charge what it's worth to you and most here will say you'll do fine.

    When it gets really hot, the heard of LCOs in your area will begin to thin some. It's already started around my area.

    R
     
  7. HeloPilot

    HeloPilot LawnSite Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 36

    RhettMan- Can you send me an email at LawnPilot@gmail.com so that I can ask you a couple of questions if possible. Thanks. I really appreciate it
     
  8. HeloPilot

    HeloPilot LawnSite Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 36

    Thanks FNG from the newer FNG. LOL Regarding helicopters yes, they do beat the air into submission. Its a great job. I love it. I am thankful that momma and the kids allowed me to leave a VERY well paid career to chase my helicopter dreams. Fixed wing guys call it crazy, but I have flown fixed wing and I KNOW you guys are crazy. I can land in an intersection without power t my engine, you need a prayer. Now I just need to get this going right so that I can uphold my end of the deal and create a better life for my family hear in Texas.

    Also FNG, sorry to hear you spent 20 years working on Harleys. There is going to be a lot of business for a long time to come on those heaps of metal. If your looking at being a business man and want to ride an American made bike that doesn't require all that maintenance, get a Victory. You'll thank me later. LOL
     
  9. MowHouston

    MowHouston LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,012

    I've got a customer with 24,000 sq ft pretty wide open yard. I told him $60 at first but he instisted $80
     

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