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Solo operators in Ont, Canada

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by SW Landscape Maintenance, Feb 27, 2007.

  1. SW Landscape Maintenance

    SW Landscape Maintenance LawnSite Member
    Posts: 64

    Ok, There is not too many guys from Canada:canadaflag: on this site that I'm aware of but I would like to ask a few questions. I think its interesting to find out what other guys are doing and how they operate etc. I have 50 residential and 2 commericial. My services include, lawn cutting, shrub trimming, spring & fall clean ups and snow clearing and landscape jobs here and there. My hourly rate is $45.00 PER HR . Hardly ever hire anybody. 90% of my clients are on contract which gives me cash flow year round. Yes, I'm fully insured!

    For equipment, 2000 1/2 ton Silverado
    14ft trailer
    1 20hp Walker
    2 honda push mowers
    2 honda line trimmers
    1 Echo 1500 hedge trimmer

    1 Artic snow plow
    1 Honda snow blower

    I always get asked from my competition when will I expand ? I've always been happy:dancing: working myself and doing quality work and staying small. Should I expand? If you are a solo operators .....

    How many clients do you have? What do you have for equipment? Whats your hourly rate? Just very curious about other solo operators. Thanks in advance!:canadaflag:
  2. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,372

    While I'm not in Ontario, I'm just south of you, Minnesota.

    This will be my 19th year in lawn maintenance, 10 years now in snowplowing.

    I too run full contracts, yearly, with monthly installments.

    I've had as many as 7 guys working for me in a given year, however 7 or 8 years ago, I went back to doing it solo, with my dad (72) helping me if I get behind, want to go fishing, etc.

    I TRY to run an hourly rate of $75-100 / hour, usually I can hit that, but there's times (dew, rain, equipment failure) that it doesn't always happen.

    I've got (2) Dodge 2500 Quad Cab, Diesels, pull a 24' enclosed trailer, and run Kubota ZD28's for mowers. I've also got a Ferris DD 48" walkbehind, PermaGreen spreader and the misc. other hand held equipment in the trailer.

    I've also got other equipment as well.

    I don't have employees anymore, because I HATE having employees. I love the job that I have. It's been discussed before on this site, that if you're a solo op, that you just have a job, not a business.

    I say who cares what others have. I know I have a means to make money, a fair amount in my opinion, while doing something that I love to do. If I had someone telling me that I had to do a certain job at a certain time, I wouldn't be happy. If I have to tell someone to do something over and over, I'm not happy.

    This way I'm happy, I can gross 6 figures working solo and not have to answer to anyone but my clients. As long as I'm doing to the job that was agreed to, then they already know the answer.
  3. Pristine PM

    Pristine PM LawnSite Member
    Posts: 208

    I used to be solo during high school. I did about 20 places a week. I found that I prefer working the way I do now. I have a partner and this summer will be our biggest summer with 4 trucks and 7 guys working for us. I enjoy the work, and having people to talk to makes the day go by faster. I also make more now, then if I were to work my butt off doing 70 houses a week by myself. I also like the fact that we can rely on people to get some of the work done if we are busy. I like being able to call on employees. It also is somewhat of a motivator working in a group environment.

    I know there is alot less stress not dealing with all of the problems that can come with bigger contracts, employees, WSIB, Payroll, taxes in general, but it can be handled and I think I would be bored if we were not trying to expand every year.

  4. Lynden-Jeff

    Lynden-Jeff LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,405


    I also have a partner and 2 part timers. We work out of hamilton/burlington/oakville area. All of my equiptment is in sig with more to come soon!

  5. SW Landscape Maintenance

    SW Landscape Maintenance LawnSite Member
    Posts: 64

    Thanks guys! Anymore?
  6. cantoo

    cantoo LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,910

    I'm near Lake Huron just south of Kincardine. My wife runs the equipment, I do the service and build equipment. She does the fert and I do the spraying. We do a couple of lawn installs but that's about as close to landscaping as we get. We cut around 45 to 50 regular customers and maybe 10 once in awhiles. Maybe 35 spray and fert customers. She works maybe 4 full days depending on weather and our kids schedules. We run a Walker, 2 Bobcats (61"), 2 Steiners (60 and 72"), JD front mount (60") out of a Chev cube van. We also have a Chev 1 ton with dump bed and 10 or so trailers. We also buy and sell equipment so we keep fairly busy. We usually buy at auctions and sell privately. Some equipment is bought damaged and repaired or it is sold direct. We have no real plans to take on much more residential cutting work however we are looking to get some more municipal work back if possible.
  7. bigtex

    bigtex LawnSite Member
    from ma
    Posts: 151

    I've Been Doing This 9 Years Now, Have 2 Full Timers, 75 Full Accounts, Two Trucks And So On. I've Recently Begun To Realize That For The Additional Amount Of $ That Comes With Growth, (but) The 14hr Work Days With No Personnel Time Hardly Ever Involved.......stayin Solo ( While Makin A Little Less $$ ) Isn't A Bad Way To Goo Either. Live A Little-i Guess It All Depends On Where You Are In Life.

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