going full time

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by crownls, Jan 14, 2006.

  1. crownls

    crownls LawnSite Member
    Posts: 54

    Hi all,
    For those of you who have been doing this full time for a while. How long has it taken you to get all your maintenance accounts? Currently I have 12 accounts from last year when I was part-time. I was laid off in Oct 2005 and plan to go full bore come March/April. I have my biz plan in place and in year 1 in order to survive I need to have at least 38-42 accounts. I'm shooting however for 50 at average price of 45.00-50.00 per lawn. I have 1 part time helper, pesticide license (in April), accountant, insurance, tax id, health insurance, truck & commercial equipment are paid for, however I will need another mower. I plan to mulch, fert, install, & do cleanups, and whatever else i can fit in. So to make a long winded story short, can I expect to get an additionial 26-33 accounts after heavily advertising ?
     
  2. J Hisch

    J Hisch LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 952

    This is the most common mistake new start up make, first if you are going to do all the thing you said you are going to do it will take some equipment. Why on earth do you need a part time helper? Just money out the door in this case. focus on one thing, such as mowing tirmming blowing, and market just that then after a while you could begin to offer other services once you have a solid base. Sound like if you need 42 account just o survive meaning yoiu will need everything you make to live off of. Which is a real recipe for disaster. what will happen when you need to make truck repair? or get new equipment. I can give you a word of encouragement though. Take as much as you can and market your business if you do that right everything else will fall into place. Start asking each one of your current 12 customers for a refferal they could quickly get you up to 24plus. good luck.
     
  3. crownls

    crownls LawnSite Member
    Posts: 54

    thanks hisch, cant survive around here without including all the other services. I'll need a part-timer when I have to lay down 10 yards of mulch, or to help me with spring/fall cleanups.
     
  4. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,587

    if things get rough and you need to make the mortgage and all, nothing wrong with getting a part time job on the side till things get better...:)
     
  5. J Hisch

    J Hisch LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 952

    How are you going to haul 10 yard of mulch might I ask?
     
  6. Imran-Ali

    Imran-Ali LawnSite Member
    Posts: 13


    Hello How are you doing
    I from Fall River MA I have a Lesco 48" WB that runs very good with a velke and a steel bagger for grass clippings and also a lesco spreader for sale
    email stricltytrini@comcast.net
     
  7. nobagger

    nobagger LawnSite Gold Member
    from Pa
    Posts: 3,065

    Some good advise from above, but I have to agree with you about help. Even humping 5yds of mulch around solo is a task. I am finally to a point where I need a few p/t guys for clean ups and landscaping. It took me 3 years to get to where I am, and it's not by any means huge but it's gett'n there and the help is nice. Last season I had small 1 day jobs just about every weekend and with help I could go from job to job, starting 2 guys off at 1 place then after they get going start the next job. I made decent $$$ doing these little 1 day jobs.:drinkup:
     
  8. freddyc

    freddyc LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 578


    I've been burning he sreadsheet lately trying to figure out about full time. Essentially, I'm sure you know your bills (thats how I started) and then back into how much you realistically need to make. The short answer is that in Mass, making it work during the working season as a solo guy, only mowing, needs about the accounts you listed if you're eating peanut butter and nothing breaks.

    I'm having a really hard time figuring out how to make it solo full time by stretching the cash thru the winter. Theres only so many yards you can do solo, and unless you're making $50/yd in a very tight route, it's hard to make it add up as your only employment. Now...if you didn't need insurance and eif you didn't pay taxes, then it's fat city..not the way to go though.

    If you did 6 yds/day @ $25 each, then the $750 gross a week sounds good (similar to where you hstated you were)----till you take out inesuranece and taxes, wear and tear and gas to un the equipment.

    If you move up to 50 yds/week @$25/each then you're at over a grand gross which is good. Depending on windshield time, 10 yards a day can be tough...so Saturdays an option ief needed. Thats a good rate during mowing season, but hardly enough to support a house these days if you try to stretch it beyond the mowing season.

    I know you're shooting for $45-$50 each, but theres more chance of a mix eof price..the $25 is for small lots close together. If you have to drive 10 miles between accounts you're out of luck. You should also be a little conservative when planning..it's usually the reality in my experience.
     
  9. crownls

    crownls LawnSite Member
    Posts: 54

    guys thanks for all the replies. Hisch i have my mulch delivered by a local nursery, I did 2 properties last year that needed 8 yards ea of mulch installed, weeding, etc. It took me all day and nearly killed me. I'm not doing it again solo, especially as a full timer. Thats why I need 1 or 2 part-timers to install mulch, weed, water, aerate, dethatch, cleanup etc, while i'm out mowing accounts.

    Freddy c thanks for the input, to cover expenses I need to make 35.00 bare minimum. I have 1 35.00 lot now that is 1/4 acre. Most of my accounts are in the 45-50 range with 2 at 70.00. Can't make it around here for anything less.

    you figure 50 x 25.00 = 1250.00 looks good on paper but you take away your taxes & other overhead your looking at around 800.00 week. Now you take 800.00 x 28 mowing weeks and your looking at a yearly net of 22400. Thats poverty level around here. Expecially when you have a mortgage of 1200.00 month. I have got to try an make 45-50.00 ea yard and get around 40 total accounts.

    So is getting 40 accounts unrealistic in year 1?
     
  10. freddyc

    freddyc LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 578



    The amount of accounts will be based more on your area and skill at advertising. And I agree that at 45-50 each you can do very well, but as I said, please remember that the 28 mowing weeks can also be hit with rain or drought..are you in a really well populated area??? How much time does your current route take you?? It sounds like you're on top of it, considering you already have the other accounts. I just hate to see you fall just a little short because you strung it a little too tight. You sound optimistic...thats good. With enough drive, you might be able to hit it this year--- I've been watching the economy a little and am just a little bit concerned about how many epeople oever-extended themselves in a new house, car....

    In short, I hope 2006 doesn't prove to be the season everyone decided to cut back. Not sure where you're located but the Shrewsbury and Marlboro area are starting to fill in with people. Intel is putting a new fab in Hudson--hiring about 400 people I heard. That should be good for the area----maybe if you're close get up to the new Intel place and offer your services to employees--can't hurt and there's a decent audience for ya!
     

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