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Who went/is going to lawn care only???

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by ChicagoLawn, Dec 13, 2004.

  1. ChicagoLawn

    ChicagoLawn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 126

    Hello fellow professionals...............

    Just wondering if you can persuade me to dedicate my efforts to lawn care instead of lawn maintenance. I have been in the industry for almost 12 years now and have discovered that I am extremely passionate about lawn care and snow and ice management.

    I feel that by dedicating myself to less will provide more in the end......... you know what I mean?

    I have the means to still provide the lawn maintenance services that I have offered at a reduced profit level.

    What do you think?

  2. j fisher

    j fisher LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 296

    Explain the difference between lawn maintenance, and lawn care. To me it's the same. I just give my customers a choice of what services they want, and price accordingly

    TURF DOCTOR LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,138

  4. ChicagoLawn

    ChicagoLawn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 126

    Lawn maintenance would be to mow, edge lets say trim bushes, cultivate soil or mulch (No license currently available)

    Lawn care would be to provide the proper nutrients (fertilization), scout/analyze and treat various diseases turf grass may face and of course weed control. (License needed to provide service)

  5. Envi-Lawn

    Envi-Lawn LawnSite Member
    from CT
    Posts: 86

    Chicagolawn, My personal experience- Ran a lawn maintenance business from 1978 to 1988.Got my supervisory license in 1987. Sold the maintenance business outright, and started lawn care business. It was an easy transition. I never had a second thought on changing. Servicing lawns 5-7 times a season leaves alot of flexibility in scheduling, I easily handle 125 accounts alone, as well as any side work(planting, seeding, mulching) that my 125 accounts ask for. I enjoyed maintenance, but many customers considered me a "necessary evil". Lawn care customers seem to appreciate having a nice green weed -free lawn, and will pay for it. For several years I've taken winter off -3 months- and am still paying my bills without strain.
  6. ChicagoLawn

    ChicagoLawn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 126


    Would it be ok if I ask your age? Just curious.

    When you sold the lawn maintenance off, did you lose some of the lawn care work with it?

    Thanks in advance,

  7. Envi-Lawn

    Envi-Lawn LawnSite Member
    from CT
    Posts: 86

    Chicagolawn, I'm 50 y.o. I've worked my ballz off for 25. When I sold off maintenance, I retained all of the chemical work, but it wasn't that much at the time. Basically started from scratch.

    SOONER GREEN LawnSite Member
    Posts: 77

    I Do Both Lawn Maint And Weed Control Fert. One Of The Best Things About Wcf Is The Equip Cost And Maint Is Much Much Less .A Good Spray Rig Will Last For Ever If You Take Care Of It.You Will Have Hoses And Pumps To Maintain, But I Havent Had To Drop The Thousands Of $'s Into That Side Of The Business Like I Have The Maint Side. Also The Neighborhood Kid Or A Part Time Mower Wont Be Able To Take Your Customers Because Of Licensing, & Insurance Costs.the Thing I Like About Maint Is Winter $ With 12 Month Contracts.
  9. ThreeWide

    ThreeWide LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,116

    Currently doing both, but I found out right away that fert and weed control is a much better business model for a solo operator.

    Mowing is a huge schedule constraint that you have little flexibility with. While the revenue generated per client in a year is high, I found my profit margin to be 30% at best. Without crews, there is only so much a solo can accomplish. Equipment maintenance is also an ongoing issue.

    With fert and weed control, one needs a significant amount of clients. However I see the profit margin at 50%. This allows me to compete with the big companies on price and deliver higher quality results. The trick is getting enough clients. It will eventually happen, but not in year 1.
  10. DiscoveryLawn

    DiscoveryLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 408

    I did it.

    I had been landscaping since 1986, fertilizing since 1989 and (professionally)mowing since 1992. My mowing and landscape maintenance revenues were at $300,000.00 last year and I walked away from most of it except for some landscaping in the spring. I started completly from scratch this year focusing on residential lawn care. The previous years I was strictly maintaining HOA's and some commercial props.

    This has been the best year I have ever had since I have been self employed. Don't get me wrong ... I have never been so broke ... but I have never been happier. I do not miss all the stress and worrying that goes with maintenance but I sure do miss those revenues. I absolutely agree that lawn care is more profitable than maintenance but it is much easier to grow a maintenance business quickly.

    One of the mistakes I made was thinking that I could grow a lawn care business as fast as I did my maintenance business. And maybe I could have if I had taken a different approach in the beginning. Another mistake was I should have kept one mowing route and not did any landscape maintenance at all this year. I spent valueable lawn care selling time running around all spring doing mulching and pruning estimates and pushing a wheel barrow when I should have been out there selling my lawn care services. If I would have kept one mowing route instead I could have had a couple of guys generating mowing revenue while I was selling and doing my lawn care until I built up a solid customer base. AFTER I filled my fertilization route I could have canned the mowing.

    Anyway... here I am at the end of my first year without mowing and I finally am passionate about my work again. It has been a tough year but I made it through and have enough in the bank to pay all of the bills until April (which rarely happened when I was doing maintenance). Don't get me wrong... I did not make much money I was only able to pay myself $4000.00 this year. I do not regret dropping maintenance its just that my timing was way off and I should have phased it out. But now that I am where I am, I have no disire to go back into maintenance and I will concentrate all of my efforts into lawn care.

    If you are interested look for a post that I started back in February (I think) titled "dropping mowing" or something like that. You follow the process I went through as I made the decission and transaction. I was given excellent advise by lawnsite members in that thread.

    I would pull it up for you but I do not know how to ad a link to a post.

    Good luck with your decission.


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