Lawn service questions

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by vcoop70, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. vcoop70

    vcoop70 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 7

    So I have a lawn service business. I do all the basic yardwork. I do lawnmowing, bushtrimming, flowerbed edging, snow plowing, and all the basic yardwork. I was super busy last year and managed to make 50k with one truck and 1 or 2 people helping me. Problem is I worked 70 to 80 hours from March through October by the time I am done doing everything. I would be so tired by the weekend I would struggle to enjoy it. My life is hell during the non winter months. I feel like I should charge more but am afraid of losing business with the market and economy being bad. So I guess my question is how do other successful landscape businesses price things without losing business? How much should be expected to gross running a truck with 2 workers if you do a 40 hour week? Normally on hourly work I charge $30-$35 an hour for me working and $15 for each guy that I pay $10 an hour. I know big outfits charge $40 a manhour. I am scared to try it. I had 80 lawns in my town most average to small yards that I got $25 for. The money is good but my life is hell. Slowly raise prices and feel people out is the only idea I have. Should I try to get into brick jobs? Is there more money in that if you are good at it? Thoughts, comments, and opinions are welcomed.
     
  2. Landrus2

    Landrus2 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,811

    On your man hours is way low $35 to $40 and pay them $12 to $20 depending on skill :waving:
     
  3. Ray_Lawns

    Ray_Lawns LawnSite Member
    from NE AL
    Posts: 125

    I am with you man, I made just about 60k last year and cleared nearly 35k. Costs are low with me (its mainly ins, fuel, and upkeep) and I had a few bigger jobs I paid for help on. I worked about 80hrs or so each week on average and I would love to have a helper but I just can't justify one and lose all the profit I am raking in. I generally pay help $100 a day when I need the with exception to my best friend and he makes more due to his skill set. I prefer to work Alon all I can since I know what I expect and I don't want to trust some meth head to do it right and not have to go behind him. I am in both country btw so good cheap labor us really hard to find.
     
  4. jrs.landscaping

    jrs.landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    from Maine
    Posts: 2,716

    Your crew SHOULD be grossing $3,250 on a 40 hr week.
     
  5. grandview (2006)

    grandview (2006) LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,466

    1st I think you need to split your business in 2 so to speak,Landscaping and snowplowing,each should stand on their own. Labor rate, if these guys are on the books your losing money charging 15 hr.do to taxes and stuff.If your biding landscape work bid the labor rate the same for you and your crew.You don't ready need to tell the customer the labor rate,I usually give them the total price.
     
  6. STIHL GUY

    STIHL GUY LawnSite Fanatic
    from CT
    Posts: 5,225

    15 an hr for labor is way low...i charge the same man hour rate for my workers as i do for myself...that there will make you a lot more money...also if you stat to get into bigger lawns you should be charging more...dont be afraid to bid a job higher to make more money...your gonna win some and lose some but theres no point in working for free or next to nothing
     
  7. grandview (2006)

    grandview (2006) LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,466

    Hardest part is to turn down work even if it don't pay enough.
     
  8. jrodgers

    jrodgers LawnSite Member
    Posts: 212

    Don't know about around there but here brick/paver work prices are cheap, so I don't think getting into that would be that great of an idea. Like was said your labor rate is way too cheap. From now on with new customers you have to get a better rate for your labor. As far as existing customer you just have to inch them up the best you can or if you think your customers will be ok then just go for raising it. If you stay like you are you WILL eventually fail. Your age and family circumstance (wife and kids) should be a deciding factor in how much you want to work, but you must have a good balance between work and play. Remember "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy".
     
  9. weeze

    weeze LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,024

    i work for $50 per hr solo. i could make 50k working half as many hrs as you do. don't try to kill yourself it's not worth it. you are falling into a trap that many do. what's better to have 80 customers and work 80hrs a week and charge $25 a yard or to have 40 customers and work 40hrs a week and charge $50 a yard? less is more if you price things the right way. you have less customers to keep up with, you work less hours, your expenses are less, and you make the same amount of money.

    many have this false sense that more customers equals more money.
     
  10. branchoutshrub

    branchoutshrub LawnSite Member
    Posts: 118

    Like other people have said, less is more. Make the most of your time. You will lose some customers, but you will keep and grow the good customers.
     

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