Help Major Question!

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Green Finger, Dec 27, 2000.

  1. Green Finger

    Green Finger LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 839

    What up everyone.

    I'm the new jack on the block and I have a major question. I have been in the lawn business for about five years. I have gone through every horror story possible. I am starting over again for the 3rd time. I want to know, is bigger always better. In the past having a billion customers (half not paying on time)guys not showing up for work or stealing equipment. It seems like you have no peace. I see older seaoned guys with one to two trucks. And they are doing well. How do they do it. In the beginning no one taught me how to start a lawn business it's just been trial and error. Feed back........
     
  2. Guido

    Guido LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,085

    I've seen guys with hundreds of accounts and 3 crews go out of business in a year because they're not making a profit.

    Its not the # of jobs or the # of crews that makes you money, its the profitibility of the account. If you price right you don't need a ton of accounts, you just need to weed through them and find the right ones to keep.

    Do some searching and read the archives around here and you'll find some great info!

    Good Luck!
     
  3. Green Finger

    Green Finger LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 839

    Guido,

    In the past I have seen guys with 10 to 20 good high end clients and some new guy comes along and under cuts them on prices and they run the risk of loosing some accounts. At 10 to 20 customers can you risk it. But if you about 120 clients you have room to bounce back. Or do you?
     
  4. Guido

    Guido LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,085

    Okay the guy with 20 residential accounts @ $40 each is bringing in $800.00 a week. He gets under cut and looses two accounts and he's now making $720.00 a week (while he's looking for 2 more accounts to fill their shoes)

    The guy with 53 residential accounts @ $15 each is bringing in about $800.00 a week. He looses two accounts cause he couldn't get to them on time, or didn't do a quality job, etc, now he's making $770.00 a week.

    Now the second guy is looking at double the travel time, and double the BS he has to put up with from customers, double the billing, and more importanatly double the collecting of pay!

    The number of accounts you have has NOTHING to do with your profit, or how well you do in business, unless you just want to look cool around the guys and tell them you have x # of accounts.

    Now, if you have 100 PROFITABLE accounts, thats a different story.

    These were just #'s I pulled out of my arse, so they don't mean anything.

    If you double all of them though, the 2nd guy is probobly looking to have to run a crew, where the first guy could still do his alone, with a much lower overhead.

    You have to look at the big picture when trying to understand this, beyond how many accounts you have.

    Start small and profitable and grow accordingly from there.
     
  5. Green Finger

    Green Finger LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 839

    Guido,

    Thanks man I see the light! Grow right not wrong.
     
  6. turfsurfer

    turfsurfer LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 364

    I'm going on my 8th year of doing this part time (35 mowing accounts). The last couple of years I have only added accounts in order to replace lower paying ones or accounts where either the yard or the customer were a pain. My philosophy is more money with the least possible amount of headaches. I know this outlook is not always possible if this is your only income but I do agree with the other posters who have said that quality accounts is where it's at, not just quantity.
     
  7. Ssouth

    Ssouth LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 437

    I agree, get quality accounts and not quantity. In the long run the quality accounts seem to generate more income.
    For instance, I have one account that ask me to do extra jobs on a monthly basis. this account generates $375 plus the extra's they ask for. They never ask for a price, only when can the extra service be completed. They are put at the top of my list because they always pay on time and I always deliver my services ASAP. Point is to get good strong accounts and build on them. If you do good work you will not lose customers.
     
  8. Seems like the info given so far should get you on your way. I limit my business to top drawer accounts only. Not neccessarily the most pristine landscapes pay the best. One of my accounts is a rental. I'm in and out in 15 minutes and fetch a cool $50.00. I never see the owner. However,one business principle one should never overlook-"its not so much what you make its what you keep". Grow your business slow this time and concentrate on upsells on each customer,(train your crew leader to upsell). This way you don't have more travel time and your client is being stroked or conditioned into paying more to have a better looking landscape. Once the ball is rolling, your clients will never think of dropping your services. People are brand loyal these days. Also, its much harder to obtain new clientel than it is to go the little extra mile for a current customer and keep him satisfied. You must give careful thought about how much your willing to go to keep the client happy. There are many good posts on weeding out less desirable clients. Have fun! Surfs Up!
    Aloha, P.Y.S.
     
  9. I have done it all in fifteen years,had seven guys three crews worked in three counties , lost my but for some of that time. I always said if i could only get ten large estate properties, couple that with 25 low end city lots to fill the gaps we would make good dough. Well i am quoting #8 this spring and have the 25 others. What i do is upsell features to those and add only from refferrals from them.They pay good,on time and their freinds are ussually the same. The large estates are very needy customers you need to be on your toes at all times,but the rewards are great.When i get to ten estate type customers it will be time to relax alittle. Oh by the way only four employees now four trucks,making lot more dough. jammin headin for ten.....
     
  10. Strawbridge Lawn

    Strawbridge Lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 660

    Some good points made. There's alot of competition in my area so the best price along with high quality service is what gets & grows a customer base. I need to make a min 30$ p/hr ($240 p/8hr day) to pay company bills, salary, and ensure new equipment purchases every 2-3 years. Depending on where you live, you can be very profitable cutting 2 20$ lawns per hour (20 minute lawns at a normal pace) all day (actually 6 hrs p/day)and all week. It means more contacts to manage, but it is very doable. Again it is very dependent upon the demographics in your area/and around your biz location. Travel time, and time on the job are
    some of the biggest enemies preventing profitability.
     

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