How to fail in the lawn business by someone who did it.

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by PROCUT1, Feb 18, 2009.

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  1. jonsmithers

    jonsmithers LawnSite Member
    Posts: 1

    This is an awsome read, very informative and some of the best info i have come across in a long time.
    Im on page 14 and have read every word so far but before i fall asleep i want to get this post in .
    I started a small lawn/landscape biz last summer with a buddy that fizzled out by october, we went about it half assed with no plan so im not surprised it failed, however i really enjoyed working for myself and think i caught the small business bug. Im considering taking some small business classes next semester at a community college and i still have some equiptment so im also thinking about giving it another try in the spring (by myself this time).

    The more i read here the more im seeing talk about having a good business plan, I would love it if someone who has been succesfull could post a real working example of a business plan that has helped them to become succesfull in this industry. or maybe point me in the direction of something already on the net that would be specific to this industry.
    I know there is tons of info out there already but its overwelming. I would love to see what an acctual lawn care/lanscape business plan looks like just to get a feel for what i need to do.
    You guys all seem to have been there and done that, these stories are great, I feel like im getting an education here
    Fantastic thread!
  2. whoopassonthebluegrass

    whoopassonthebluegrass LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,214

    Go to your USER CP. Then, on the left hand column, select EDIT OPTIONS.

    In the section titled THREAD DISPLAY OPTIONS, you can modify the NUMBER OF POSTS TO SHOW PER PAGE.
  3. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,899

    I really get hung up on words. To quote Dennis Praeger "words are important". I have seen many say "have a business plan", which is no doubt important. I just don't think a business plan does anything but formally in writing define your perception of what you want your business to become. While it is a good exercise it is just the beginning and if you stop at a business plan ... I still don't give you much chance of survival.

    You have to constantly be working on strategic work you always have to devote a % of your time to this aspect of the business. Nothing stays the same it is either getting better or worse. To be continually improving you must be putting in the time on the strategic work. Business plan is the first step then you need
    • Sales process
    • Hiring process
    • Employee manual
    • Operations manual
    • Tracking ands billing process

    The list goes on and on, this is just off the top of my head there are many things I neglected, so which do you do first? Its like a giant jigsaw puzzle that is on a conveyor belt, during an earthquake, in a thunderstorm. Oh and one last thing, this is all going on in a strip club to complicate matters more :dizzy: yea try and keep up with that.

    You have to be evaluating and improving these systems and process to keep improving. So while the business plan gets the glory (like QB's and receivers) its really the strategic work (like the linemen do) that make your business successful.

    The short version is you can have a grand plan but without implementation you don't have squat.
  4. paradisescaper

    paradisescaper LawnSite Member
    Posts: 106

    AZ gardner, you always have good posts. ive read alot of them and i was wondering if you could be more ellaborate describing the systems you use?
  5. Turtle II

    Turtle II LawnSite Member
    Posts: 152

    Man - - -

    I don't know how most of the big companies do it -

    If this wasn't my retirement job - I'd never do this to pay a mortgage and put food on the table - - - its okay for part time - - - guess that's why you see so many trucks driving around with mowers on trailers in any-town USA...

    As far as the lower baller's -

    Do YOUR OWN SELF a favor - get 45 and 50 bucks for an hour / 1.5 hours work...1/2 acre lot size... The large majority of people hiring a lawn care guy are making thousands a month one way or another - they can afford to pay you a decent wage...

    Hope everyone is doing well,,,

    Turtle II:cool:
    Eastern North Carolina
  6. PROCUT1

    PROCUT1 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from TN
    Posts: 4,909

    Think about it this way. I still have lawn equipment. Obviously I have trucks. i get a paycheck and health insurance from my "regular job"

    I can take my pickup and mowers, pick up 20 lawns, at 35 a piece cash. Go out on a saturday with my wife and cut them.

    Whats my expense?

    Truck is already paid for.
    Own the trailer
    own the mowers.
    Insurance...Well if something happened id put it through the "company"

    So I go mow the 20 lawns....well....gas....thats about it.

    700 cash for a few hours work. Gas and weedwhack line is peanuts. Maintenance on the mower is peanuts.

    So ill make lets say an extra 500 a week in my pocket for a little part time work.

    But wait.

    If I had 40 lawns...that would be a thousand
    80 lawns that would be like 2500.....

    and off we go.
  7. willretire@40

    willretire@40 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from VA
    Posts: 1,387

    procut how did you get 200 accounts in one neighborhood. I've had to change my business plan and go back to the begining. For now on 1 truck for every 125-150 lawns and keep all my focus on this one business. advertise advertise advertise. used ford rangers with tailgater ramps 1 stander 36 with a 21" 2 stihl kombies and 2 br550's blowers. total rig price less than $15k including full truck wrap. 125x$35=$4375 a week x 28 weeks= $122,500 labor $49k a season so i will need 3 full trucks 2 make any money.
  8. fl-landscapes

    fl-landscapes LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,542

    I've always said your never gonna get rich "making grass short" diversify be more than a lawn jockey. Stop competing for the 1000 $30 lawns. Invest in equipment the "other guys" dont have. Aerate-de-thatch-slit seed-get a pesticide lis. DO SOMETHING OTHER THAN MAKE GRASS SHORT. Don't take on the customers who want to pay you the equivilent of what you would make working at McDonalds. Mowing lawns should only be one of your services. It will ptobably be the least profitable but it will be something to filll the gaps and help with cash flow management. This is a tough economy and I wish all of us the best of luck over the next year or two.
  9. delphied

    delphied LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,067

    In my area you can work at Mcdonalds or invest in all the equipment you want to. the wage will be about the same after expenses.
  10. hvphotog

    hvphotog LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 325

    I agree with Fl-landscapers and also that a good read by ProCut.. Business is business and some people are not up to owning and or running their own business period. It takes a savvy mind to make a business successful. Learn from those who are successful as well as those who aren't...
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