How much can one man profit?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by lawn guy 300, Sep 28, 2010.

  1. lawn guy 300

    lawn guy 300 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 65

    I'm wondering how much a one man crew can take home after taxes, gas/oil, insurance, etc. To be less vague, say I'm doing 50 1/8 to 1/4 acre lawns per week. Mowing, trimming, edging. And let's say I charge between $35 - $45 a lawn depending on the size and conditions. So an average of $40 per lawn. First of all, is this overly ambitious for one man? Could I actually do 50 yards a week if they were in say a 30 mile radious? Secondly, how much could I really expect to take home after all the expenses? I appreciate any help.
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  2. OrganicsMaine

    OrganicsMaine LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 553

    If you have the right equipment, and your daily routes are very tight, then you should be able to do 50 in a week. It will be a lot of work for one man, but it is doable.

    As for profit, with only you operating the whole show, you could probably expect a 60-70% net. So 50 lawns averaging $40/lawn=$2k per week. Take 60% of that and you are bringing home $1200/week. That is probably low, but you could easily count on it.

    On a side note, if you are traveling all over that 30 mile radius, you won't be able to get them done. You will need very tight routes to pull that off alone.
     
  3. domain311

    domain311 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 177

    Yeah I think its possible to do 50...but it really depends on the route because 30 miles is quite a bit. That 60-70% number is probably pretty close, but you should be able to figure that out better as you know all of your typical costs.

    But after you get maybe 20 or so you may end up wanting help and/or expanding into other services :)
     
  4. lawn guy 300

    lawn guy 300 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 65

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  5. lawn guy 300

    lawn guy 300 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 65

    I lve in Virginia. How many weeks out of the year would I have business doing the work I described? Thanks.
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  6. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,870

    50 1/4 acre lawns for one man in a week is too much, especially if routes aren't tight and there is significant one-hop driving. You aren't allowing for any rain make-ups at all.
    And, if you try to do that many, you aren't doing a quality job as a solo guy. Do a few less, do a GREAT job, and then you will get comfortable with what you can handle.

    I work 1/4 ac to 1 ac properties - route isn't too tight, some driving. I would feel comfortable at 25/wk (not quite there yet) - more than this is headaches. Since your props are smaller, maybe shoot for 30 or so.

    DA
     
  7. OrganicsMaine

    OrganicsMaine LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 553

    I agree that 50 is really pushing it. Your day would need to be about as tight as possible...i.e. no less than 5 lawns per stop. A 30 mile radius with 10 separate stops per day is not doable for one man. Like I said earlier, a very tight route is key.

    If you have a walker or ztr midmount, and you have 5 per stop, no problem. Anything other than that, you will struggle to keep up with rain and if you miss a week on a day, the next week will take you a lot longer.

    I would consider shooting for 30-35 by your self, if you need more work, look for extras to do on those accounts. Then focus on getting neighbors and creating a very tight route and adding a helper the next season. You will need at least 60 to keep 2 guys busy based on this model. Again, route density is paramount to anything else.
     
  8. Raymond S.

    Raymond S. LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 981

    You can do 50 lawns per week in a 30 mile radius solo but it will be a drag by about...well this point of the season. You can schedule 12-13 jobs per day on a 4 day week. Split the 30 miles into 4 semi-tight routes. You then leave Fri. open for rain and if need be Sat. Very doable. I maintain over 50 accounts solo, some large commercials and some cookie cutter residentials. I often call in a helper just to ease my back a little bit but there are many many weeks I go alone, but it does suck. I often spend Fri. on maintenance or trimming bushes, whatever. The mowing isn't what will kill you. When cleanups come around, bushes need trimmed, leaves need picked up, someone calls with a landscape job, that's when things will get tough. Just when things seem to be covered and your schedule is cleared, something pops up.

    To answer your question about profit. Without getting crazy about specific numbers I think if you can hack 50 residentials with a $40 average cut, average maintenance work (bushes, cleanup, etc) and some mulch here and there you could expect a return of around $40k - $45k per year. You would have to pay taxes out of that so it's not a true net but operating costs such as insurance, equipment, maintenance, fuel expenses and intangibles that arise from time to time are included. That's weekly mowing for 26 weeks plus spring/fall cleanups and trimming. You will have to spend a little more than average for good equipment to use day in and day out dependably so there is no down time.
     
  9. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,870

    Still think 50 for the OP, who is new to the biz, is pushing it too much.
    If a new guy gets burnout 1/2 way thru the first season, he will hang it up.
    OK for us I guess, but not good for him.

    That, and his family time will suffer big time if he is out 8AM to 7PM every work day.
    Just mowing. Then there is the other stuff....
     
  10. OrganicsMaine

    OrganicsMaine LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 553

    Again, 50 is doable. But I would definitely recommend that you read the book "The E-Myth" and "The E-Myth Revisited". That is the way you need to approach your business. Its OK to do 50 per week for a short period of time, but plan to get help and pull yourself out of the field ASAP.
     

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