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Solo guys...scheduling extra stuff

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by lawnprosteveo, Oct 2, 2007.

  1. lawnprosteveo

    lawnprosteveo LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tulsa
    Posts: 1,930

    I have a question for solo guys. I added on alot of accounts this year which is causing me to have no time for extra work....like shrubs, beds, or other nit pickin work alot of my customers were used to me doing.

    The thing is, I was only charging about $30 per man hour for that type of work. But mowing, I can make twice that much. And now I have enough mowing to fill my entire day.

    So my question is, how do you make time for it all? Do you turn down new mowing customers so that you have time for that stuff? Do you just mow and tell the customer youll get to it when you can?

    I dont really like that other type of work anyway. I am considering sticking with mowing only and leaves only in the fall/winter.

    Whats your opinions?
  2. Lawnut101

    Lawnut101 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,254

    From what I've heard, extra jobs can be more profitable than mowing. Landscaping is worth a lot of money. I'm charging around 90 a yard for mulch and around 50+ for tree (minor jobs) and shrub trimming.
  3. delphied

    delphied LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,067

    I just bid stuff high and if I get it I dont mind doing it then. I wouldnt bid any shrubs for less than 100.My lowest trimming bid was 300 this year and it was 4 hours work for 2. I dont want the work if I cant get paid well anyway. Anyone that wants to trim all the shrubs for 50 needs the money more than I do. Id rather play golf than work for peanuts.
  4. gene gls

    gene gls LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,213

    Ah,Ah,Ah The joys of being self employed. You do what you like when you like. If you only like mowing, then only do mowing. BUT, someone else will be on the property to do the jobs you don't like. IF your lucky, they won't like mowing and everything will work out fine. Most likley the customer will find a service provider to cover all the jobs that they need serviced so they only have to deal with one company. Lawn mowing is a basic, get your foot in the door, job. Its more of a loss leader for a lot of companies just to get the other landscaping jobs. Looks like you need to work longer hours or cull your customers. Tighten up your route by droping the furthest customers, save on some travel time. You have to do what will work best for you.
  5. J&R Landscaping

    J&R Landscaping LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,096

    I do the specialty landscaping Monday and Tuesday. Cut grass Wed.-Fri. Sometimes, I will wok saturdays but not to often if I can help it.
  6. KS_Grasscutter

    KS_Grasscutter LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,332

    That is what I dont understand, so many companies just don't do ANY extra stuff (like aerating and dethatching right now) because they are too busy mowing. To me this is STUPID and leaving lots of money on the table. In my opinion, a solo opp. should have about 4 full days of mowing, leaving one day for maintenance on machinery, plus all the "extra jobs". Also leaves the weekend free. Thats kinda my goal for when I do this full time after I get out of school.
  7. robertsturf

    robertsturf LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,402

    The extra's can and should be more profitable than just mowing. Bid at 50.00 per man hour or don't do it. Also I have a college age guy that works with me 2 days during the week and on Saturday. It's tricky but its worth it. BTW we will do 125k this year with myself and 2 part-timers during the summer. 1 part-timer during the fall.
  8. Tom c.

    Tom c. LawnSite Member
    Posts: 218

    I hire a helper during spring and fall cleanups, customers like full service. Your doing a job they dont have time or dont like to do. Average price here is 50-60for spring and fall cleanups. Sometimes you have to work weekends, cause soon there wont be any lawns to mow!!
  9. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,372

    Somewhat funny how you can call something STUPID, yet you're not even in this profession full time???

    I don't do areating or dethatching right now because 99% of my properties don't need to be aerated or dethatched.

    I'm too busy mowing, because I can get a full schedule of work for the summer with ZERO advertising costs. ZERO chasing bids and not getting any. I'm already grossing $75-100 / hour for just mowing, so why would I chase more work where I need to bring an extra piece of equipment or guy and do something that I HATE?

    I've got my niche, I've got it refined. I figured out years ago if you're always chasing another buck, that you're losing 2. Make it simple, easy, and refine it to be profitable.

    Also, you say a solo op should have 4 days worth of work and leave one day for maintenance. I say you're leaving another 1/3 of a weeks' worth of revenue on the table. In MN, we have 6 months of growing season. If I only worked 4 days / week, I'd gross 2/3 of what I do now.

    Instead of $120k, it'd be more about $80k. If anything, work 6 days and leave the 7th for 'extra' work.

    Maintenance should never take a full day, especially every week, unless you're a solo op with 18 mowers.

    My customers tell me what they'd like extra done, and they know I'll get it in when I have the time. I don't do work for people that aren't my current customers, usually.
    KB Lawn Care likes this.
  10. Jordan River

    Jordan River LawnSite Member
    Posts: 48

    After finally starting to treat my "part-time hobby" like a real business, I discovered I have been working for peanuts. ($5/hr!) I love lawncare, but the goal is to make a good living. My real money this year has been those extras. Learn to charge accordingly, and don't feel bad because you ain't gonna get em all. Believe me, you don't want them all, unless... the customer is willing to pay for your quality work.

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