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How To Add Mowing to My Service?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by gkell88, Oct 26, 2002.

  1. gkell88

    gkell88 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 55

    I have a very good Chemical App business, with about 500 residential accounts. I have some interest in adding a mowing service to our product line, but have no experience in it, and am not sure how to proceed. My first basic questions:

    How many lawns can one man reasonably do?

    How many mowings can you expect to get in a growing season in the transition zone?

    Would you suggest I hire an experienced person, and let him run it?

    Would you suggest I forget the whole idea?

    Any and all suggestions welcome.


  2. kutnkru

    kutnkru LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,662

    How many lawns can one man reasonably do?
    Without hesitation it should be no problem for one individual to perform basic mowing services to 15 accounts daily using a 48” belt drive walk behind.

    If you charge a basic fee of $25 (site unseen) for the average property you should be able to keep one guy busy enough between helping you out during the drier times and cutting.

    How many mowings can you expect to get in a growing season in the transition zone?
    The bare bones minimum to be expected should be 22 cuts per year if it’s a drought and max out about 26 if its decent weather conditions. Sometimes you can egg out 28-30 depending on the clients needs and budget.

    Would you suggest I hire an experienced person, and let him run it?
    Would you let any schmuck handle your chemical biz??? Treat this endeavor the same as you would your apps biz and you should be alright.

    Thanks, Gary
    Your Welcome.
  3. LOL Kris...

    Do you really want the added stress of maintenance?
  4. Guido

    Guido LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,085

    Probbobly not, but I bet he wouldn't mind the extra income! ;)
  5. Tony Harrell

    Tony Harrell LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 739

    If your chem app business is doing good and you feel like taking on another venture, this should just dovetail into what you're doing now. You already have 500 potential clients. I'm actually doing the reverse of what you're doing. I plan to peel off my mowing for more profitable applications, turf and ornamental and also structural. I'll keep the maint end of it because it is money and opportunity. There are more capital equipment costs with the maint side of course.
  6. Brickman

    Brickman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,249

    Good points.

    The number of customers one guy can do in a day, week all depends on size of lawn, equipment size and worker ambition. Once in one 8 hour stretch I did 14. Another day I only did 1. The 14 were small and close together. The 1 was big with a lot of trimming.
  7. lbmd1

    lbmd1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 462

    I was going to post word for word what Tony said. We are looking to back off on lawn maintenance and focus on more profitable ventures such as fert apps, irrigation service, aeration, and such. Alot of the above can be done by one person, minimal overhead, less headaches. Overhead on the lawn maint side is high. Newly updated equipment, high labor costs (at least here, $14 hr for entry level mowers), unproductive windshield time, gas, weather delays, the list goes on. Maintenance brings in profitable side work though such as pruning, mulching, installation and other related lawn work. I'd lean toward getting 500 aerations out of your customer base @ $100 an average, that's some sweet $$$$$$$.

  8. SLS

    SLS LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Mars
    Posts: 1,540

    "How many lawns can one man reasonably do?"

    This totally depends on the type, and size, of lawn and the type, and size, mower that is being used. it also depends on the speed and efficency of the person mowing. I have some very small lawns that take about 15 minutes with a 22' pusher and several large lawns that take 1.5 to 2 hours with a 60" Lazer Z.

    "How many mowings can you expect to get in a growing season in the transition zone?"

    Here in North-middle Tennessee I average 36 cuts a year, based on weekly service. Weather greatly varies this number though...especially if a drought is experienced.

    "Would you suggest I hire an experienced person, and let him run it?"

    That is something that only you can decide.

    " Would you suggest I forget the whole idea?

    Again, that is something only you can decide.

    My humble opinion is that you will need to do a detailed prospectus...taking your existing business, your targeted area of operation, your projected growing season, and your choices of equipment into consideration. You will have to research all of your options (helper, or solo...big lawns, little lawns, or any lawns...and what the market will bear in your area) and weigh your conclusions against your expectations and the amount of available capital investment funds you wish to part with.

    Good luck! :)
  9. greenngrow

    greenngrow LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 403

    I started in spraying only. This only part-time am looking to go fulltime this next spring.

    This year a added mowing to my business. I had to end up hiring some unreliable help. My spraying got way behind (125 customers)

    I would only look at picking some of your current spraying customers that already have someone mow the property. Focus on the value added benfits of complete service. Now some people want this and some don't. I would start by talking one on one. Get a feel of who wants this complete service. This will give you a better feel of what your customers want. If you get a positive response from your first poll. Then send out letters to all your customers and ask for feed back.

    If you are solo I don't think you can handle all by yourself.

    Find good help.....ones that you can depend on...

    I read your profile we are about the ame age. Started my business 6 years ago. I hope when I go full-time that I can get double the customers that I have now.

    Keep up the good work
  10. AGG Lawn Maintenance

    AGG Lawn Maintenance LawnSite Senior Member
    from Elberon
    Posts: 422

    I used to do landscaping and maintenance. I had some very good help and some very bad help. I stopped doing the landscaping part about 10 years ago. The problem I had was being in two places at one time. The landscaping part was high maintenance. Not only that I didn't like bidding on a job and the customer didn't know the price was going to be what it was. Can you sod my whole yard and re-landscape everything. Sure no problem $20,000 please. Wow thats higher than I thought. I want to spend around $500. (well I guess it would have helped when I asked you what your budget was you would have told me. At any rate I have stuck with just the maintenance part of the business. I do some landscaping for some customers. Sure their is more lump sums of money in the landscaping part, but it became too stressful to me to chase after. I do know a guy who makes $20,000 and even $100,000 a job. He tells me if you work for poor people you will always make poor money. But if you work for rich people you will make rich money. Sounds good but even some rich people give you poor money. Do what works for you. The money could be very good for you. Plus you already have customers most would switch over. Customers like to deal with one guy if they can help it. As a matter of fact I lost a couple of customers because I don't do certain services. But I would rather lose a couple because I don't do certain services than lose all for doing $hitty work. Just my .02 Let us know how you make out. Good luck. Travis

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