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Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by mwalz, May 7, 2014.
I thought my rates were competitive..........
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How is it a win for you? I'm intrigued by your $5 lawn cuts, but how do you figure you will make a profit? I want to doubt that you really do this, but I checked out your craigslist add. So, seems like your legit! How many $5.00 lawns do you cut in a full day? Thats like 60 lawns just to do $300 bucks. doesn't make sense to me.
I don't do 60 lawns a week. I might make $25 to $40 per day. I have more offers I turn away because not all are practical, and other folks offer more to get me out there to mow. I live near the city with a big population, so travel isn't always far. I just load my pusher in the back of my vehicle and go... and can hit the local neighbors after doing the original job.
I'm not looking to get rich right now (just learning on the job), I have another career I do (but I am not allowed to talk about it here on this forum because the moderator says it might be considered 'self promotion', hence why my post was removed), I do 'computer geek' stuff and earn a nice income stream doing that =D.
It's not just about the money for me, I do like the money, but really love to work, and the sun and exercise is nice! Especially when I sit behind the computer doing my main freelance work for small businesses.
Over the winter, I was going to the gym 2 hours per day. With summer here, I don't have too! I get nice exercise pushing a mower.
I use to work for a landscaping company when I was 12 and got paid $3 per hour cash. That was 25 years ago and pretty much forgot everything, so I am now refreshing what I use to know by "learning on the job", while getting paid very little and building a clientele.
Some day I will upgrade my push mower and car to something better. Right now my equipment is:
2000 Nissian Pathfinder
Old push mower with a Briggs & Stratton engine.
Old Featherlite weedeater
Nice leather gloves
And lots ambition and love for hard honest work
With my "computer geek" profession, I am building a website and doing SEO to it and will get to the top of Search Engines for free traffic, which will bring even more business. I will also do my 'special skills' and market myself in a way no other local lawncare business can compete with. With my drive and passion, I think there is a lot of money to be made. Selling services right now for $5 isn't anything compared to where my vision is taking me.
Well, on the bright side.. you don't have to worry about low ballers.
So your working for damn near free, driving down the rates for the local area, giving people an unrealistic expectation of what service should cost and its a win win? You have another income supporting your hobby, and thats great for you. But if you were doing this as your only source of income to pay your mortgage and supporf your family, on a $5 cut, you'd be homeless. $5 cuts dont cover my expenses and im part time.
Your a lowballer. You are hurting the market your in and making more difficult for the guys that do this for a living because "its fun" and you dont need the money. Youd better off doing them for free to low income or unemployed folks, at least it would be less damaging to the market and real businesses that support multiple families.
I'm earning money and building a client list for the future, while doing strategic upsells. I don't have all the nice and expensive equipment as others and therefore can cut costs. Heck, I don't even burn a gallon of fuel @ $3.31 per day.
Low balling? I doubt that. If a lawn company's business strategy hinges on driving the costs up, then you already failed. This is America where everyone is going to find a cheaper way to do a better job. It's capitalism and competition. I'm sure Kmart said the same things as you when Walmart moved to town. Speaking of Walmart, shopping there sends work overseas instead of keeping jobs here in the US of A for people needing to pay their mortgage and support their families... I don't see you complaining about that.
Bottom line, if someone cheaper is going to put you out of business, then you already failed. In this economy people need to find a business plan that helps cut costs so you can pass that savings down to your customers.
That said, I also under bid on my "computer geek" business to get more clients. I'm not looking to price gouge people. If I can do the same work better for 1/2 the price, I'm going to do it.
I'm interested in what your actually upselling? at $5.00 a cut I can't see how your thinking about the future. What kind of mower? a $20 lawn mower from a yard sale? A manual reel mower?? (hey, theres an idea...).
What happens when you have to replace equipment? get a repair on your vehicle? How many lawns do you have to mow to pay for your liability insurance?
At $5.00 a cut I bet most of those folks still want it every 2 weeks and short as possible.
I don't think you grasp the idea. It doesn't matter that it "works for you" and you have no overhead. There are people out there that need to actually make money in this business. If you do a lawn that would be $30 from me for $5, soon others will have to drop their prices in order to actually get hired. We aren't bad business men because we "can't cut costs", we just need to make more than 25-40 bucks a day. Some people barely survive even with rates where they should be. But low ballers will be low ballers, feel free to come out my way and you can sub for me, I'll even pay you $6 a lawn.
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I'm legitimately curious - can you describe the profile of what your typical $5 lawn customer is like? Because I have to think most people would be really suspicious of your price. My yard would be $45-55 a pop in my area. If someone even offered to do it for $15 I'd wonder how many cuts he'd get in before he broke into my house.
I could be wrong, but didn't your original thread (the deleted one) say that your SEO business wasn't doing well, so you decided to give this a whirl? You might want to take a step back and look at your business strategies. Something doesn't seem to be working.
I will give you this. It takes a brass set to come to a lawn care professionals forum and tell everyone you're going to charge $5 to their $35. It takes a bigger set to retort "Low balling? I doubt that.". It absolutely illustrates your 100% complete and utter lack of understanding of this industry and it's associated costs. Your idea is simply not scalable, but you can't see it because you just don't understand it. It's nothing more than basic math. This forum, especially since the advent of the reddit kids thinking they're going to disrupt the cleaning and lawn care industries, is littered with vacated profiles thinking they were going to do this. It's that simple math that kills them every single time.
Serious question... At $5 a lawn, when do you recoup your business's insurance costs?