Winter Struggle

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Firstclasslawn, Aug 18, 2004.

  1. Firstclasslawn

    Firstclasslawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 341

    Does anyone else really struggle in the winter time or is it just me that will be barely hopefully surviving this winter and maybe even having to do some part-time job??? I feel so much desperation right now that its not even funny, this is my first half-season of my FULL-time business and right now I only make $2,310.00 a month and in the winter I fear I wont even have half of that??
     
  2. chevyman1

    chevyman1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 852

    Do you profit $2,300 a month or is that gross or before taxes even?
     
  3. SERRICO

    SERRICO LawnSite Member
    from TX
    Posts: 94

    how many customers do you have now?
     
  4. Itsgottobegreen

    Itsgottobegreen LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,177

    This is why I do restoration work in the winter. I restore other people's old equipment to show room finish. I also do welding and some machine work. Its not as much as the summer, but still pretty good. I also rebuild my own equipment for the next season and a few other less mechanically inclined LCO's equipment. I always find something to keep me busy. A part time job will keep you from losing it, since you other wise will become bored out of your mine.

    Also plow snow for some accounts.
     
  5. Firstclasslawn

    Firstclasslawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 341

    Ok here is the semi breakdown, I have 22 weekly customers, I just started my business like 5 months ago maybe even less, so I have 22 weekly customers and I mow all of them on friday so I make $2300.00 a month off of them and then my labor cost a month is about $420.00 a month right now seeing as I just use one helper and we get them all done each friday, but I expect that the 22 customers that I do have will not all want winter rye grass in the winter so technically if none of them want rye grass in the winter then that leaves me a sitting duck, Work is scarse here in texas especially when you screwed up in high school and went down the wrong path and have a criminal background, I was 18 then and now I am 28 with 3 kids and wife but that record still follows me around and kept me from finding good work so I started my lawn business, I am a professional with insurance an enclosed trailer and a knowledge of the lawn business but as I said I am terrified of what will happen to me in the winter
     
  6. chevyman1

    chevyman1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 852

    better get a full time winter job man, that's not enough to keep you going
     
  7. barringtonbrothers

    barringtonbrothers LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 579

    I would love to do lawn care full time as my only job. But I work two other jobs to help me get thru the winter, and I cant leave them in the summer so I work at them at night and sunday. And it helps me save more during dry slow times like Im having right now. I dont like to gamble, and if I can work, I want to work. I never feel comfortable unless I got $ coming in. I just wish I could get it to where I can do lawn care in the day and school at night. And not work in the winter so I can concentrate on school. I have no desire to be living like this in 10 years. And unless I get my education I will still be in the same boat. Some times I think I should just throw caution into the wind and borrow for my education and just sell my business and make school my #1 goal.
     
  8. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,842

    Well, first things first; What's the population / economy like in Mansfield? Is it a mostly upper-class area? Blue colar worker area?

    Reason I ask is it seems like you are fairly new to this. And if you want to create a thriving business, it's very difficult if you aren't in an area where LCO businesses thrive.

    Long ago, when I was leaving college, I was about to move back to my hometown of Salem, OR. Medium sized town of about 100,000 people - many of them work for the state. Most people in town aren't rich. But it was where I was raised and all I knew and felt comfortable with.

    I talked to a guy who had become my mentor while I was in college. He was a very successful businessman, having owned some of the biggest firms in Oregon. And he was currently retired and financially independent at age 42. So he definitely had my ears.

    He told me firmly that if I wanted to start a business - any business - that he advised me to move up to the Portland area. Specifically, the west side suburbs - where all the money is. This was a huge leap of faith for me because I'd never ever lived in a big town like Portland, I had no friends or family up here, etc. Of course, my family wanted me to stay closer to home. But financially, I agreed with him that it was the wisest choice. And there was no arguing his wisdom. I wasn't going to second guess or doubt one of the most successful guys I'd ever met. So I did it.

    Thank God too. Because this has been a great area to build a business in. We've made tons of great friends and family is still only an hour away. I honestly like this area much better than where I grew up.

    Anyway, sorry to run on. Just that I believe it's important for people who want to be successful to LIVE in a place where it's easy to be successful. That's the point I am trying to make.

    So assuming the area you live in IS an excellent area to build a LCO business, then there are some things to consider;

    First, it shouldn't be that hard to get year-round customers. All of my 160+ customers pay us a flat fee every month of the year. If I can pull that off here in Oregon, where it's 55 degrees and rainy all winter, then you can definitely find people to agree to it down in TX. Except in areas where it's totally frozen all winter, I believe LCOs should only take on year-round accounts. If people aren't willing to pay for service all year, let someone else have them. There are plenty of people who DO want to have service all year. Focus on those people. As to what to do in those winter months to provide a valuable service to your customers, that's a whole other thread.

    Second, you should be out getting as many new accounts as you can from now until winter! If you have any time at all free in your afternoons, weekends, etc. you should be out passing out flyers or knocking on doors. Get another 10 accounts before winter!

    Third, suggestive sell things as soon as winter starts. For many plants, winter is the optimal time to prune. So go around to all your accounts and check out their plants and trees. Set them up for a fall or winter pruning job.

    Read some of the threads here on lawnsite about what to do in the winter. There are always several dozen threads like that each fall. Go back and research them. Several great ideas as to what kinds of extra jobs you can do in the winter to make extra $.

    Most of all, don't give up! My first winter was brutal!!! I made only $800 per month all winter. Thankfully, my wife had a great job at the time. My second winter was only marginally better, at $1500 per month in total income, BEFORE expenses, taxes, etc. But I hung in there! Finally, my third winter, I realized that I could actually sell people on year-round maintenance and I learned how to entice people into it. That was my first nice winter, because my income didn't decrease. Nowadays, only 7 years after that first dismal winter, my company brings in over $25K / mo. in the winter months. I don't have to worry any more in the winter. Even if all we do is maintenance, we're still doing great because of the flat-fee year-round payment schedule.

    Well, that's my advice. GitR Done!
     
  9. Green&Growing

    Green&Growing LawnSite Member
    Posts: 37

    I run a second business. I am an ISO for ATM machines and Credit Card processing. So any free time I have, I go sell ATM machines. During the summer I do have some responcibility for servicing them, but if you can put tab A into slot B you can work on them. Usually I can have the customer fix it on the phone. Best part is they have a residual income. If you can sell 100 machines you should make about 30k/year without leaving your house.
    If your interested PM me. There is NO investment or anyting. I will just answer your questions and tell you what I do. Then give you the name & # for the company I Rep. I don't know if they want/need someone in Texas, but it never hurts to ask.
     
  10. CJ GreenScapes

    CJ GreenScapes LawnSite Member
    from AL
    Posts: 249

    Another great post by Jim Lewis.

    Jim, I have enjoyed reading your posts these last couple of months. Great insight and willingness to help everybody. Even though I did not start this thread, I just had to take the time to say "Thanks".

    so.... Thanks!
     

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