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No... mowing pays more

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Envy Lawn Service, Jan 4, 2006.

  1. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    Yup, that's right. I've said it quite a few times here for some time now. Over and over, I've read guys writing the mowing doesn't pay, or it isn't profitable, or they do it just to get the "other" work.

    Well, let me be the first to say... there is something wrong with you guys... and there is also something wrong with me. I have found that the more I personally concentrate on mowing and the less I concentrate on everything else, the more money I make. Yup, that's right.

    I have raked through years worth of numbers and they all point the same way. I know exactly why this is the case for me and the reality is pretty simple. I know the reason is my fault. But at the same time, I'm not necessarily doing anything wrong either.

    So this leads me to some questions. First of all, I gotta wonder what you guys are doing wrong that say mowing doesn't pay or isn't profitable? Next, I gotta ask what size companies these guys own and what the service balance is?

    I also gotta think some guys are loosing their rears on other services.

    Anyways, I'll explain my position more directly as conversation goes on... probably in reply to argumentive posts. But I really really do think we can stand to learn from each other.
  2. burns60

    burns60 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 291

    Probably a lot smaller operation here, but I know I sure do better when I stay away from the "extra" jobs that some of my customers want me to do. For me, it is #1 staying with what I do best, which is mowing, trimming, edging and just making a yard look like my own. #2. There are plenty of yards to mow, but in proportion the other things to do are just to few and far between to devote any time and equipment to. #3. I don't enjoy the pick up jobs, like working a flower bed, installing a fence, or side walk, or painting,(ugh) to name a few things that have come along. I don't mind doing a little fertilizing as that enhances my product. By and large I stick with mowing and that has been profitable for me for 3 years now.

    Pay as you go and grow slow and the profits will be there.
  3. trying 2b organic

    trying 2b organic LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 566

    I don't beleive it pays more, on average, then landscaping or lawncare. However I like it and for me it pays more than leaves, trees, and gardening too.

    When I first started I would feel just terrible about wanting to turn down hedges and gardening to focus on more mowing but now I;m fine with it. I have also learned that by focusing hard on my "core competancies" I do earn more than the jack of all trades guys. Plus, its about how I want to spend my day.

    But really, as far as margins, and how much you can take home in a day or week. Landscaping and lawncare can be, and should be, more profitable.
  4. burns60

    burns60 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 291

    I agree that it is to me also, "about how I want to spend my day." But I also think I can do a $50 yard say 30 to 40 times a year and make more off of that than I could if I landscaped it once. And I can find a lot of $50 yards to do where I wouldn't be able to find enough landscaping, especially in the market area that I serve. Not low rent areas, but not the high end residential either.
  5. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    Yes, you are right... the other services can and do sometimes pay a better hourly wage. In my opinion and the opinion of many customers it should too. On a lot of the jobs the profit margin can also be better.

    But at the same time, few realize and many get intoxicated with the money they pull down on a certain individual service. They get caught up in this and don't realize they are short sighted. They become so caught up in it that they don't realize they are shooting themselves in the foot over the long haul.
  6. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    You were posting at the same time I was.

    Yes, that in a nutshell is the point.
    Long haul v/s quick buck.

    I'll take this a step further in due time...
  7. Soupy

    Soupy LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,125

    Envy, I agree and disagree (is that possible :dizzy: )

    If you make top pay for mowing and have extremely tight routes you can make great money. The good part about mowing is it is a recurring job. Other more profitable jobs are 1-2 times a year with landscaping being once a lifetime per customer in my area (not counting mulch).

    Since the mowing is done weekly we have the chance to keep making it. I average $60/hr cutting with tight routes. I make twice that doing aerations but I put a lot less hours in doing it and if I looked at my profit/loss reports Aeration would be a small percentage of profit. Same with Hedge trimming (average $90/hr with cheap tools) but don't do a whole lot of them compared to mowing. I make more on 10 minute gutter blow outs as well $30 extra before I mow. Again a lot less of them (1-2 a year per customer) compared to mowing.

    I think you see my point. Mowing gets us in the door and keeps us working (without a huge marketing budget). Up-sells pay for the vacation.
  8. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    Ok Soupy... good post. I can move forward a bit farther...

    Now, if I understand correctly, like me, your core business is mowing?

    If you do the squeeze-in type extras where you do extra things when you have extra time. Or if you perform these services without effecting or adjusting your core business scheduling... or creating overtime man hours or the need to recuit an employee.............. Well then, it is just extra money so long as it falls below a certain number of man hours invested. GOOD FOR YOU I SAY.

    But how many people to you think have exceeded these perameters? I know I have in the past. Or how many people have created a miserable schedule for themselves that was not really worth the year-end earnings. I know I have done that one too.... Am I alone? No way on God's green earth...
  9. promower

    promower LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,232

    I believe mowing can be more profitable. Landscaping will in most cases yield a higher dollar amount per hour. I think a lot of people forget about the time and money spent getting that landscape job, spending time with the customer before, during, and after the project, contacting vendors about materials etc.. Time is money and it all falls on the bottom line. With mowing you may meet with the customer once, sell the job, and keep that customer for several years. Tighten up the route and make that job more profitable each year.
  10. grasswhacker

    grasswhacker LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,873

    I don't do much landscaping, however those who do as an "extra" service , what about the extra time planning out the landscape design, looking around for the plant material and picking it up to install? Are you factoring that into your profit ratios?
    All mowing takes is showing up, dropping the gate and getting the job done without any extra processes involved.

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