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Please incourage me

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by cutbetterthanyou, May 9, 2007.

  1. cutbetterthanyou

    cutbetterthanyou LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,178

    I really don't know what to do. I have probably 15-20% of my business that is way underbid. When I started 5 years ago I guess I was just young, dumb, and got screwed over. I bought out I guys small business w/ about 30 yards
    some I lost , some were priced fine, some I went up on. My problem lies that this winter I when I finally sat down and figured my overhead I am not making anything off of these yards.I would just say see ya, but although they don't cover me for the long haul, right now they are paying my bills. For example w/ a 72' mower my overhead is between 20-25 an hour. I have a yard that is prised at $75 that take 3 hrs on a 72. When I figured it out this is 25 a hr which only covers my overhead no profit at all but I also look at it that it is 300 a month which is half my truck payment. If i try to take these people up to what they should by I will probably loose them. How do you take someone from $75 up to $180 like they should be especially after 2 years ago I brought the same 5.5acre place from 50 to 75. You don't have to tell me I shouldn't have bought the business I know but what to do now? The worse thing is some of the underprised people are the biggest pita's of all. I am sorry this is so long I am just frustrated and ready to give up.Sometimes a 8-5 sounds so nice
  2. PTP

    PTP LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tulsa
    Posts: 1,383

    If you are not making a profit, then either lower your overhead, raise your prices, or drop the customer. If you are making your truck payment with that, then you are only wearing out your mower to pay for the truck and in the end you won't have anything. You are just stalling the inevitable.

    If I were in your shoes.

    Get rid of the truck payment. Sell the truck you have and get something that you can pay cash for. There are plenty of options for trucks around 5K. If you can't pay cash then at least you have manageable payments and can own it outright sooner.

    Advertise. Find an inexpensive, effective way to advertise and continue doing that. It might cost a lot of footwork but that is something that you can afford. Then, when you sign a new customer, raise the price on your old customer. If they pay, you win. If they discontinue service, you win.
  3. capelawncare.com

    capelawncare.com LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,136

    5 years ago gas was under 2 bucks a gallon. now its over 3 bucks. Send them a nice letter explaining that your costs to mow their lawn today have gone up by 66% Due to the cost of fuel.

    Raise their rates accordingly. Or just raise their rates by 30-35% at least you will be making something. If they fire you? What have you lost?
  4. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,112

    You can't work that way raise them or drop them and you will have room for new biz that you can price according to your overhead. Right now you are loosing money.
  5. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,501

    1. You're working for nothing, period.
    2. Your overhead/operating cost with a 72" mower is more than you think.
    3. 75 bucks for 3 hours on a 72" mower...do you have a grudge against yourself?
    4. $600 a month truck payment is insane IMO unless you are doing 1/2M a year in revenue (or more).
    5. Get rid of 80% of them (customers) and start over.
  6. Sandgropher

    Sandgropher LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 909

    Next week send a letter to all your underpriced lawns explaining the situation you have found yourself in and thats why you must raise your prices by 25%, effective immedatley, it does not matter if you lose 2/3 rds or whatever, the main thing is having lawns at the right price, also you must advertise and get better customers if you are not doing so.
  7. Mark in MD

    Mark in MD LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 322

    I'm in Maryland. This is why I really try to stay away from large jobs. I've found the hourly revenue is less for bigger jobs, even if you're more efficient regarding acreage per hour. I'm not sure why this is. I can only guess it's because people who own bigger lots get more estimates and are therefore more choosy. Also, I think many operators prefer bigger jobs because they don't have to walk. Just sit and run the machine.

    When I go to give a price and I see it's a big job, right away I recommend they find somebody else. I use the excuse that my machines are too small. I don't even waste my time giving them a price if I can help it.

    If found the smaller jobs pay much, much better.
  8. cutbetterthanyou

    cutbetterthanyou LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,178

    Thank you all for the advise I am meeting with some tomorrow. I am to the point I don't care if I lose them. I just really didn't want to. I am not complaining about money I just am worried that by loosing a bunch I will not be making enough to pay my bills and live comfortable. I think I am going to try my really underprised yards first then gradually get the rest that way I don't lose all of my income at one time.
  9. mountianview

    mountianview LawnSite Member
    Posts: 100

    sell them to someone else,start over.
  10. cutbetterthanyou

    cutbetterthanyou LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,178

    I can't do that to anyone. That is what happened to me.

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