How many here work by themselves?

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by Rons Rightway Lawncare, Sep 13, 2006.

  1. Rons Rightway Lawncare

    Rons Rightway Lawncare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,163

    I have been cutting for over 12 years now, started out by myself like so many others..... After the first year I had over 80 weekly customers and ended up having someone work for me - a friend - and then even hired two friends at the same time. Had a "employee" for the most part of the first 3-4 years.

    I got tired of them not showing up, showing up drunk or hungover, doing a crappy job, complaining they weren't making as much money as me, quitting on me at the worse times, and having too much work to handle on my own while I looked for another helper.

    So back in 1999 I went to solo operations. Haven't had a helper since - well I did hire a neighbors kid to help out one summer, and have had a helper once in a blue moon for a day or two to help me catch up if I am really behind due to weather.

    For the last 4 years or so I have around 55-60 lawns I cut each week, and another 5 or so I cut every other week. Most of these lawns are " Average " sized lawns for the Charlotte Area, and one thing that helps me get this many done in a week is alot of them are close together, for instance I do 5 lawns all side by side at one stop . I think I average around 275 miles per week on the truck to do my route, and I normally work from around 9am to 8pm only stopping for a bite to eat for lunch - usually drivethru at a fast food place.

    Curious how many others are solo operators, and how many lawns you guys do and any tricks to making life as a solo operator easier?

    It is raining here today, I still got 40 lawns to do by the end of the week. That means 20 a day for Thursday and Friday.... Most of the guys I know that do lawn care think I am full of it when I tell them I can do 20 in a day by myself....
     
  2. thesargent

    thesargent LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 400

    I do. i work by myself. i only have 20 accounts. when i get enough accounts, then thats all i'll take. i dont want an employee.
     
  3. gandk06

    gandk06 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 509

    I work by myself too. I am a teacher and just starting cutting on the side this summer. I have a large subdivision common areas job that I cut (about 12 acres total) and work for a realty company to maintain lawns that are transfer properties. I work by myself and love it. It is tough to get some of it cut now that school is back in session. But by not having employees it eliminates a lot of headaches that I hear other people talk about. I only leave a job when I am happy with it and don't leave it up to someone else. I know that my equipment is being taken care of. I know that there is other work out there but to cut more I would need help and just don't want the pains that go with that. More money is always nice but the headaches are not worth it.
     
  4. Precision Lawns

    Precision Lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 283

    I work by myself. I cut 42 lots in 3 days, and do all the landscaping I can get my hands on.
     
  5. covalawn

    covalawn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 32

    The most I have actually done is 18 but that was starting at 10 and ending at about 7. I could cut 20-22 yards a day if I pushed. I cut about 50 yards a week (Wed-Fri).

    A trick that I have learned is when you trim start and walk just the outside of the property the come around the front by the street up the left side of the driveway around the house then down the right side of the driveway back to the street. This cuts down on a lot of extra walking. If there is a tree or something just break off for a sec and cut it then keep walking the same line. I see a lot of people walking back and forth over the same place. Just do it once.
     
  6. jt5019

    jt5019 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,432

    I work alone for the part most(part timers during the busy period) I could only mow about 12 lawns a day using a 48 ztr or my 48 walk behind. Most of my lawns take an average of 45 mins to cut( some less some more) a little more in the spring when they are growing like crazy. If it rains a lot i just do what i can. I try to stay off the lawns on Sundays at all costs, the customers seem to like that.
     
  7. Jpocket

    Jpocket LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,278

    I do agree with you guys on the "No Headaches" Part, but if you ever really want to run a succesful business, you need to grow and have employees. As A solo op., you are really just creating a job for yourself. When you sit down there is noone else picking up the slack. When your walk away you business consists of a few mowers and handhelds with no operators. Honestly if I had to go back to solo again I would just hang it up altogether.

    Working by yourself you are just Self employed, yea it's a business but you are just giving yourself a job
     
  8. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,988

    Currently it's just me and my partner. I do about 90% of the work, because his full time job is a day job, and my full-time job is a night job. Of course, I want to be able to do this full time and (have the need for) employees. That will come with time if I do everything right:)

    The way it's going, I might only have to suffer doing this two job thing for another year. I just picked up 3 more accounts today:weightlifter:
     
  9. KS_Grasscutter

    KS_Grasscutter LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,335

    I do my 10 lawns a week by my self. I can do 3 after school on friday, and the rest saturday morning. I am hoping to be doing 20 lawns/ week next season, doing 4 a day after school, and then misc. stuff on saturday. I have had friends help me in the past, but that was just a giant cluster****, as they have ZERO skill running a mower. I am also going to be adding a "backyard/sm. yard" unit to my fleet of mowers, i hope, to help me speed things up by not having to take the catcher off the dixon to get through gates to do small back yards. I have also found tricks to speed up string trimming, that helps a lot.
     
  10. howardsells2000

    howardsells2000 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 355

    This is my first year in the business and I work alone. I have almost 100 customers now. Some are weekly and others are every two weeks. I normaly work five days a week but sometimes I get behind and will have to work six days to keep up. Some days I cut 12 lawns and other days I cut 20. I average about 15 lawns a day. Most of my lawns are close together. I think next year I will hire someone. I know it will make me faster and I will be able to do more mulch or bush trimming jobs.
     

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