Help forcasting revenues

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by minnesota mower, Jul 2, 2005.

  1. minnesota mower

    minnesota mower LawnSite Member
    Posts: 6

    Hello everyone. I am currently looking to start a new lawncare business this winter, looking to quite my fulltime job by the end of winter. I have several years of experience in the golfcourse management field, extensive experience working on large irrigation systems and a little experienc with residential systems. I am missing one thing. How to estimate jobs. I am using a new program that helps you set up your business plan. I am currently at the Sales Forcasting section. I don't really know how much business i will be able to expect, nor do i know how much to charge for small residential jobs and larger commercial accounts. I have also been looking for information on how to locate companies and agencies that are actively seeking my types of services. I am expecting i will need about $50,000 from the bank for a truck, trailer, toro proline, weed whiper or two, vacum system for mower. I would like to start up fulltime, but if really slow i can take a couple of part time jobs. If anybody has the time to lend me some advice i would really be grateful. Thanks Shawn
  2. Shane7258

    Shane7258 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 69

    I did that this year and I am $36,000 grand in and still spending. Snapper Fastback Pro, ech trimmer echo edger echo blower vach system for ztr snapper 21" line gas insur ........ and.......and...... not cheap to start with good equipment how many customers with nonstop flier action 15 total. I make monthly about $2400 - costs which are about 150 a week.... It's me solo keep this in mind. The customers I have got are a 1 or so per 100 fliers and 90% from referral Like I do a MOther and her daughters house I do a fathers house and his daughter see. Word of mouth first price second quality third this is how my customers feel any hoot. What would I do different I would have spent an extra 3000 for the walker commercial 42" deck. I say this because my floating deck grounds out and yes I have it set high. Also remember that a ztr if your not carefull will tear a yard up. Well the walker in my mind gives a better finishing cut for some reason.. I also like the grass hopper. I would say that your second and third year will really start the cash flow flowing... You will never learn if you don't work at it. To me it's not hard work but it is mentally draining and the sun can factor in on your thoughts as well. I would look at city contracts too. But I think it costs a lot and you will never make money unless you bid right and to bid right means you will not get a few accounts because they want you to mow weed eat edge and take the trash to the curb for 10 bucks you get the drift... I have also had to discount a cut or two because I burnt an area with the deck because I was being stupid and lost money there. Although I have paid for everything in cash I do alright and look forward to next year.I would also reccomend taking a class so you can get lienc on fertilizing great money their and you barely work for it. $35 app 15 for the fert ten min work + 20 in pocket
  3. Mark McC

    Mark McC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,565

    My recommendation for your business plan is to first select your target market (middle class who will primarily want mow-blow-go) or upper middle class (many of whom will want the whole enchilada, including landscape maintenance).

    As for equipment, choose accordingly. Large-acre estates kinda scream for a ZTR whereas the smaller lots can be handled with a walk-behind, especially if hills are involved. As for manufacturers, go with a recognized brand name in the commercial end of the business, but base it on the dealer as much as the manufacturer. For instance, I like eXmark equipment, but they certainly are not the only company that makes great mowers. Dealer support is huge as I'm sure you know. Might want to ask the LCOs in your area about these if you're not sure.

    Back to target market: do some survey work. I went to about half a dozen homes and found three or four who had lawn service and got some idea of the going rate that way, but more data is better, much better.

    The next critical piece is figuring out how long a "typical" property will take to service. With your experience, it shouldn't be too bad, but for some of us, it's trial and error, at times seeming like a trial of errors.

    For your first year, make sure your business plan has a hefty allocation of time and/or money for advertising, too. Flyers are labor intensive to distribute, but message penetration is phenomenal compared to mail because mailers have to fight with all the other things that comes in the mailbox. On the other hand, it doesn't take hours and hours to distribute mailers and bulk mail rates can keep the cost fairly reasonable.

    If you go mailers, plan on hitting each home with more than one. I think it makes more sense to hit each of 3,000 homes with three mailers each than hit 9,000 homes with only one mailer. Might want to read up on advertising if you want to get the best bang for the buck.

    Look around in the various forums here on Lawnsite. There's a wealth of information that will help on all this. Good luck and as long as you're properly capitalized and your business plan recognizes the ins and outs of the market you're going after, you'll do well. Still, no matter what you do, the first year is liable to be lean, so make sure you can cover your bills even if you have a crappy year.
  4. Flex-Deck

    Flex-Deck LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,846

    Forecasting revenue is very simple - Take all the contracts you land, and add them up. Bingo - that is revenue.

    Forcasting expense is another animal.
    1. Buy expensive equipment that will do the job - It will save you in the long run.

    2. Know what insurance will cost, and divide by 12 months.

    3. Figure replacement cost. Otherwise you will fool yourself as to cost of mowing for the first 3-4 years. (I run JD 595 and 495 - they will run about 10,000 hrs, and figuring maintainance and depreciation, at that point I will have about 2-3 dollars per hr in them. and the neat part is that they will still be worth something)

    4. Figure fuel cost - my mowers (24HP Yanmars burn 4/5 gallon per hr.)

    5. That is the deal in a nut shell - People talk about trucks and trailers, and that is a big deal, but most of would have a truck anyway.
  5. minnesota mower

    minnesota mower LawnSite Member
    Posts: 6

    I appreciate the responses back, everyone mentioned some great recommendations. I found it iteresting that shane7258 mentioned fertilizing, i am planning on geating my applicators liscense. I am looking into tree fertilizing, i have asked around how much guys charge and it sounds very lucritive. Thanks for the help..

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