Is a 45 minute drive worth it?

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by grassmasterswilson, Aug 22, 2012.

  1. grassmasterswilson

    grassmasterswilson LawnSite Platinum Member
    from nc
    Posts: 4,550

    So I'm always looking to grow and expand my business. I have lead on a application only business that is for sale. It's 170 accounts and in a much larger city than i am now and the market price is a lot higher. THe catch is its a 45 minute drive. His program is either 5 or 7 applications. THis does not include aeration and seeding. I'm not sure about grubs or disease.

    I'm considering meeting with this guy. The opportunity to add an established client base is tempting. I would need to figure out the commute though. I think I could do the route in 2 weeks if the weather cooperates, but I would need to set aside 1-2 days in between rounds to allow for call backs or estimates. I could even offer mowing which I do in my current location.

    My question is... what would you need to gross to even consider this? I know everyone's overhead is different but just curious if this is worth my time.
  2. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 7,961

    It sounds as if you will have full days on each trip so I would say yes.
  3. KrayzKajun

    KrayzKajun LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,742

    We drive 38 miles each way every wednesday morning to cut 10 homes in a very upscale community. We leave at 6am and are back at my shop by noon. My goal for next season is two full days mowing in ths area. It would be cheaper to get a $40/night hotel room for the night of the 1st day instead of driving back. That way we can get rollin early the second day.
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  4. grassmasterswilson

    grassmasterswilson LawnSite Platinum Member
    from nc
    Posts: 4,550

    I'm just trying to figure out about doing estimates or call backs. If I'm between rounds. You would either have to make the 90min commute for at worst one stop or ask them to wait. I think I could quote based on te surrounding homes with a stipulation it could change once I saw it.

    So what's your number? 100 year? 125? 175?
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  5. grassmasterswilson

    grassmasterswilson LawnSite Platinum Member
    from nc
    Posts: 4,550

    I'm an overthinker and many times wish I could just take the leap and try something. There are some pro's and con's to trying this.

    - 45 minute drive to first account(maybe)
    - senerio, if round 1 last the month of feb and round 2 starts april. What do you do about march? You wouldn't go unless its a call back or estimate. So do you stop and drive up there to take care of 1 person or do you tell everyone up front I'm here on tuesday's and thursdays. Good customer service would suffer a little.
    - can I carry enough product with me from home? maybe I need a storage unit closer to account.
    - will trying to run 2 businesses in 2 different locations wear me out?

    - could allow me to hire a mowing crew and concentrate on apps(i'm solo with a summer guy)
    - UPSALES - not sure what's included in the program...fungicides, grub, even mowing if I could work it out
    - this market is 10x the size i'm currently in and by looking at his number of accounts and gross sales he is able to charge more than me.

    What to do? I'm almost leaning towards sending a couple big local direct mailings where I'm at and maybe raising prices. I'm obviously a little cheaper and could charge a little more for apps.
  6. EquityGreen

    EquityGreen LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 394

    We service lawns that are an hour away, we tell them up front we will do the best job possible every time we are there. If you need something between apps you'll have to wait until the next time we are in town. They don't get the same prompt service calls as the others but they get a lot better service than the competition in town. So far so good, charge a premium price and the drive will be worth it.
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  7. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,235

    It could work. ( I would not try mowing--tho.)
    Do a real good job. Get a real good office and phone girl that can very sweetly say," He will be there Thursday." Plan to be there about Tuesday and you can measure sales leads and do callbacks without having anyone wait more than two days. Mondays are the busiest days on the phone for service callbacks. Try to handle that influx of service requests on Tuesday. But do a real good job--and you won't have much callbacks.

    Be sure to plan your routes very carefully to save driving time. You are paying for gas plus your driver's time. Be sure to take full advantage of your cell phones so new call backs can be handled on the same day rather than waiting to be scheduled later in the week. Big companies cannot usually do this.

    And yes, a rented storage unit might save you a trip--not sure. Maybe the extra fert can go on a trailer. Keep your tarp handy--in case of rain. You can usually fit ten bags in the front seat.
  8. phillie

    phillie LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 861

    A 45 minute drive is nothing for a full day of work. 170 accounts could have you in that area a few times a week. I almost forgot that people still drive out for estimates. I have had great success measuring on my Iphone or online. To me this is a no brainer if the price is right.
  9. grassmasterswilson

    grassmasterswilson LawnSite Platinum Member
    from nc
    Posts: 4,550

    So there are about 160 accounts and totals around 1.1 million sqft. The area has a lot of spec type areas from the building boom. Averages about 7k a lawn with some larger lawns mixed in.

    I think I'd need to gross 7000-8000 per round to make it work. He's a little lower but does all the work without the commute. He also did some groupon ads so im not sure what that did to his initial app prices. May have offered 50% off or something.
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  10. ant

    ant LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,442

    whats your gross for those 10 homes may i ask and how many workers ?

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