what to track

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by ho5tile, Jun 19, 2006.

  1. ho5tile

    ho5tile LawnSite Member
    Posts: 42

    First thanks for all the advice you have given. Now one more question. What sort of records do I need to be keeping track of ? I've got the basics I think: Fuel, hours, parts, miles. What else do you folks suggest.
     
  2. Brendan Smith

    Brendan Smith LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,195

    EVERYTHING business related. let your accountant toss the receipts that won't help. just my .02. i'd rather have too much info to give him than not enough. or did you mean productivity percentages, gross profit, effective labor rate, etc?
     
  3. ho5tile

    ho5tile LawnSite Member
    Posts: 42


    Yes what you said. My dad runs a logging business so I have a handle on the gross profit and equipment/expendables. But I'm not even sure I know what an effective labor rate is, much less a productivity Percentage.
     
  4. ho5tile

    ho5tile LawnSite Member
    Posts: 42


    Yes what you said. My dad runs a logging business so I have a handle on the gross profit and equipment/expendables. But I'm not even sure I know what an effective labor rate is, much less a productivity Percentage.
     
  5. ho5tile

    ho5tile LawnSite Member
    Posts: 42

    I should mention that this is a one man operation. For now its just trim, mow and blow. I hope to get some clean up action this fall. If I get a profit from this I may add things later. For the fall/winter I am looking at cleaning gutters and Christmas lights. I dont know of any one around here that does the lights (maybe my niche). For next spring/ summer, and if I can afford a tiller maybe flower beds and mulch.
     
  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Your customers !!! :rolleyes:

    Look, I'm solo and I don't got time to keep track of but so many things, at least not on paper, so most stuff I keep track of either in my head or it is automatic but my customers I keep on a ledger / schedule, it is like a spreadsheet but on paper (called an 'Analysis Pad').

    Examples:
    I got me a Business Visa which originally started out as a Debit Visa (straight out of checking) but anyway what I do is put *ALL* business (and only business) expenses on that Visa and so then I can get online and look at my statement / current usage screens and that runs me down all my expenses with no further effort on my part. At the end of the year, Capital One (my business visa bank) sends me a summarized and Itemized detail list of all the expenses divided up into auto/fuel, services, merchandise and it's like 5 or 6 categories all broken down and subtotaled and grand total and all, BLAM! That takes care of it, I am done!

    As for fuel, I've been doing it manually (but not always) to keep track mostly of Mpg but I am getting into the watchcard fleet fuel management program which is like the credit card, it details it all out for me. So then that is that, fuel is something I only get once / week or so and I track it in my head and I made a budget of how much I can spend and blablabla, and there are a few things I track from time to time such as Inventory:

    In my county, all my Inventory is considered property so it gets property taxed and thus I made a list on the computer of everything I own for the business then print / save, next year I just edit those things that have changed and good to go.

    Maintenance: Easy-peasy, I run a synthetic oil so all my equipment gets one oil change per year and so then the only thing I have to remember is what got changed when but I can always look at the dipstick and if it's still pretty clear then I'm good to go, this I track in my head all the other stuff (plugs filters etc) I can always look at to see if it needs it but whatever, maintenance I track in my head because I do it frequently anyway (daily for a lot of stuff).

    Your customers HAVE to be tracked you can NOT do this in your head LOL!
     
  7. PMLAWN

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,535

    The best word so was was --"EVERYTHING"

    Get yourself a program like Quick books or Gopher and track all expenses daily.
    Track time --I had an enclosed trailer so I had a white board on the wall and when I opened the trailer I wrote the time on it-and again at close. This gave me work time and drive time. Use a pad in the truck.
    Fill up on a Monday and run all week -- refill again on Monday and see how many gal. you used. Do truck and equipment separate.
    If you use Quick book or something you will see when you buy things so it is easy to look at parts and line and blades-- After a while you will have a pattern.. Than watch for breaks in the pattern.. this will come in handy when you hire people.
    Never use "MONEY" to buy anything-- sure way to go broke. you will not track it. Write checks or use debit card-- never cash
     
  8. ho5tile

    ho5tile LawnSite Member
    Posts: 42

    Good info, thanks alot. I'm pretty lousy with the books so I like the plastic idea. I will give it a try. You are so right about not using cash, I swear I could run though 200 bucks a day and not be able to account for 50 of it at lunch time!
     
  9. Brendan Smith

    Brendan Smith LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,195

    you're not hanging out at the club mentioned in the thread in the off topic forum are you? :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:
     
  10. ho5tile

    ho5tile LawnSite Member
    Posts: 42


    No way, I'm pretty mutch at a piont in my life that says I must be able to turn a profit before I even act intrested, let alone go anywhere.payup
     

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