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Anyone cut lawn part time?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by fullmetalbucket, Apr 16, 2008.

  1. fullmetalbucket

    fullmetalbucket LawnSite Member
    Messages: 75

    I've seen a post or two where people mention cutting part time. I work in the petroleum industry by trade but have a mini excavating business I've run on weekends and vacation weeks for the last few years and about 4 years ago I got an asphalt sealing unit and that's been great too. I've got equipment to do lawn work and know of guys who can start working if there is enough overflow to necessitate more hours during the week. I'm not looking to take clients from successful contractors in my area and fully intend to charge a good rate.... I shoot for $75/hr with my bobcat/mini so would likely look to get about a buck a minute onsite for lawn maintenance... is this a fair rate? With customers from my other work I am hoping to get some of them for lawn maintenance as well. I'm ultimately looking to make the transition to total self employment in the next year or two, but have to know the stability is there - if there is such a thing these days. The area I'm in has been growing at an amazing rate and approval was just given to a home builder for 500+ condo's, semi-detached and detached executive homes. I do have a couple of questions....
    What do you use as a trigger for cutting? Do you maintain a 2-3" height in spring, slightly longer in summer, or do you just cut weekly or bi-weekly as needed and base billing on time and materials??? I don't want to take on lawn maintenance jobs and not be able to keep up, so I figured I'd see if anyone has gone this route to get things going....
    Many thanks!
  2. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,219

    I do it part time. As far as hourly rate you want to make, you have to decide that with your own unique expense and income structure, and the type of equipment you have. With my Quick mower this year, I would say my hourly rate is going to fall in the $40/hr range. You may want to call a few LCO's in your area and have them quote your own lawn to get an idea of the going rate, but ultimately you need to charge what you have to have to be profitable.

    As far as the nuts and bolts of cutting - don't sweat it if you can mow your own yard and make it look nice you can cut lawn for others. I cut to 3" in the main season and a little lower in the early spring and late fall. Any taller and the lawn looks unkept and any shorter and you are stressing the lawn. I cut weekly without exception, under signed agreement. Drought conditions may make me skip a week or two, but if its reasonable growing conditions, weekly it is. I bill monthly 1 month in arears and it works well. If you don't trust someone to pay, don't take them on in the first place.
  3. ffemt1271

    ffemt1271 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,285

    i run a lawn service part time, actually make more money at lawn service though. i have gotten into a decent amount of tractor work, spreading rocks in drives, bushhogging, and discing deer food plots.(big money around here).
  4. milkie62

    milkie62 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 834

    I am a part-timer.I make anywhere from 40-60 an hour.My son works with me.He is 15 and next year I will work for him.I only did it to get him started.I charge the same rate for him on our other than mowing jobs.I take roughly 30/hr for myself and rest goes towards expenses.I pay him 15/hr and the rest of his goes towards expenses.It works for us.
  5. Bennett scape

    Bennett scape LawnSite Member
    Messages: 201

    anime fan out here in the lawn site cool Full Metal Alchemist
  6. Paulup

    Paulup LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 270

    I'm part time, actually started last week. I work one day a week, and in that day make about $355. I usually finish before 3pm. I plan to stack on a couple more yards to fill out the day, would be nice to finish at 500 for the day's work.

    I don't cut small lots since I only work in rural areas and very large subdivisions. I charge 45 for the first acre, 25 for additional acres, and a surcharge for trimming if I'm gonna spend 20 minutes on the line trimmer. I don't own an edger, have yet to pick up a client that needed one.
  7. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,219

    Good point about the edger, I don't own one either and none of my customers have lawns nice enough (ie right turf level vs the sidewalk/driveway) to warrant it.
  8. Fine Lines

    Fine Lines LawnSite Member
    Messages: 23

    Part time here.Work for Care Medical supplies full time,do this in the evenings and weekends,2nd year of it,this year being the busiest.I only ran an ad for a week last year got a couple lawns from it the rest has been word of mouth.Quick story,pulled up to do a lady"s lawn on Sat.,no place to really park,so I pulled up kinda on the edge,in front of her neighbors property.This older lady comes walking out from the neighbors house,and I instantly ask her if I could park here (thinking this was what she was coming over for) and she said ya that's fine and ask if I was hunting for her....said she was waiting for someone to come bid her yard.Well needless to say I bid it and got the job and mowed it along with her neighbors.Never know when an opportunity will arise. :) Other guy never did show up to bid it.
    One word of advice though,that I'm having to watch is getting too many accounts with a full time job and getting over your head.With all the rain lately,I'm borderkline at the moment.But would love to do this full time,could see making a lot more doing this than I make with my regular job!
  9. jds720

    jds720 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 346

    I work for the fire dept, and do lawns about 8 days a month. Its more like 1 1/2 days a week. i have around 16 accounts and pull in about 1500 a month
  10. elite lawns

    elite lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 363

    thos is my last year as a part timer i've been teacher for 5 years i'm going into lawn business full time wish me luck

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