How small of an operation?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Mabrito88, Aug 20, 2013.

  1. weeze

    weeze LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,906

    that's true man. i have one small city business lot i do with a 21". takes about 25min or so and i make $35 a cut.
  2. pythons37

    pythons37 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 134

    I'm the guy with the Walmart Rider and the Craftsman pushers and the 200 foot long extension cord. I'm also the guy with the small chipper/shredder and 8HP walk behind leaf blower and gas fired generator and pole saw and tree loppers. I have a small trailer and a beat up Jeep. I'm a handy guy. I have insurance, too. I'm more expensive than the big mower crowd. I can offer what they can't: time to do a good and thorough job. When I see a problem, like a broken branch, if I can reach it, I'll take it down and if it's small enough, I'll chip it. I'll blow off a driveway with three years of crap built up on it. This method has worked for me and I do not worry about equipment payments or truck payments. I stay busy and work at least 4 days a week. I actually get tips, too. Sometimes, even coffee. I have customers in their 30s and some in their 70s and all in between.
  3. Man Joe

    Man Joe LawnSite Member
    Posts: 29

    I used a van for a brief time. Even with just a small mower, trimmer, blower
    and gas cans, the fumes bothered me. I would not recommend it.
  4. Southern grass

    Southern grass LawnSite Member
    Posts: 62

    These guys don't bother me as much as they use to because there are a million others out there that don't work an are on welfare and talking on there obama phone while my tax dollars pay for it. I will take the guy in the geo metro with the mower hanging out the trunk any day over seeing some guy sitting on his but not doing a darn thing
  5. IES

    IES LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 296

    Yup. Gotta start somewhere.
  6. Big Dog Diablo

    Big Dog Diablo LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 287

    Couldn't agree more.
  7. ducnut

    ducnut LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,569

    Shoot, I don't look down on any properties. If it's profitable and doesn't tear up my stuff, I'm game.

    Nah, I don't think it's bashing, at least not for me. I just stated the obvious.

    And, people have looked at my shiny stuff and made the same assumption. But, the truth is that I wash my truck and trailer a couple times per week. I blow off my equipment after nearly every job. I paid less for my embroidered polo shirts (that I mow in) than I did for my screenprinted T-shirts. My Riggs work pants cost about the same as my casual jeans. I make no payments. I, also, point out that nearly every LCO, in my town, has as much or more in their stuff than I. It's just that I care about my presentation more than they do, which is how I do more than just lawn work for my clients. I've even sat down and eaten lunch with a few of them. The dirty, lawn guy/gal isn't going to be offered that. I want to be more than just a worker, to my clients.

    There is one team that has most of the gas stations and bars, here in town. They have about the same in their two JD ZTRs as what I have in my entire operation. I have no idea what they're charging. But, they're always dirty, wear cutoff-sleeved T-shirts (even the girl), and torn jeans. I've never seen their stuff clean. We always exchange friendly waves. I just wish they would move themselves up a bit in professionalism, to reflect they truly are professionals. They are in such highly visible locations. Bring up the entire industry. I felt the same way the 18yrs I drove a truck and the years I ran a roofing crew.
  8. billpiper

    billpiper LawnSite Member
    Posts: 82

    I started out with a lawn tractor. I'm clean when I start, but heat and cutting makes you sweaty and dirty. So what? I earn my pay.
    I've increased my minimum charge and the rate I quote at now that I have established customers. I doubt even the guys working out of their car want to leave anymore on the table than they have to. I'm looking to increase the quality of my work and the quality of my customers. Just like most of us. How many of us are there that didn't start off exactly like those that some of us look down on?
  9. grassmonkey0311

    grassmonkey0311 LawnSite Silver Member
    from MD/NC
    Posts: 2,299

    I wouldnt really call it bashing....

    Just this year, I have come across:

    -A teacher on craigslist saying he has the summers off, so he does landscaping. He will undercut any price because he does it for "fun".

    -Uninsured operator slam a walk behind into an AC unit and broke it. Customer didn't trust me thinking we were all the same. It took a while to convince her, she turned out to be a great customer.

    -Numerous phone calls of "my guy stopped showing up".

    -Illegals....nothing else to say about that one....

    And a whole lot more I'm just too lazy to type. The majority of people around here have a full time job (like myself), but are looking to make some extra cash on the side. Very few of us have dreams of going full time (of which I think I may next year!!!!). The ones doing it for extra cash running illegal operations are the ones destroying business for the rest of us. Not to mention, state law requires a home improvement contractors license for all hardscapes, walkways, patios, etc and 95% of these illegally ran companies offer this as a service. I have no problem with people trying to make a living, or mowing to supplement income because they were laid off. I DO have a problem with people saying "been in business for 3 years", yet they have no license or insurance.
  10. andyslawncare

    andyslawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 812

    I started borrowing my dads truck with a push mower, bought a mini van and small trailer, and now have 3 trucks capable of $2k+/day and don't owe a penny in debt.

    The newbies will go broke or eventually do things right and stay around. You get what you pay for generally and most people understand that. In our market, which is high end, customers demand good communication and on time service and they will pay for that. Also the newbies cut price down for not having licenses, insurance, or education and experience. These are all things that we charge more for, and sell to our customers. they Newbies are generally not selling all of that.

    Most of our customers hired us because we are full service and they never have to call anyone but me for anything about the landscape, irrigation, weed control, install, design, etc.

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