Anyone here just mow ?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by brucec32, Mar 4, 2003.

  1. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,403

    I'm curious. Is anyone able to make a go of just offering mowing service, and not doing anything else or maybe just minimal other work, like light shrub and leaf removal?

    Mulching, weeding, etc are relatively manpower intensive and I prefer to work alone now, given the current labor situation and the seasonal nature of this work. Currently I prune small trees and shrubs, spot spray weeds, do leaf removal, aeration, overseeding, and a very few other things. I'd prefer to just advertise the mowing and connect with customers who don't have the budget for "full service" but who want their lawns mowed by a professional and are willing to handle the other less time-sensitive tasks themselves.

    I can mow edge , trim and blow all day but some of that physical stuff leaves me tired and burned out mentally after only a couple of hours.
  2. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,501

    To be perfectly honest, the only reason we mow is to get our foot in the door to do all the very profitable other services we offer.

    As far as I am concerned, mowing pays your overhead and not a helluva lot more (especially with the price of new mowers these days). Aerating, fertilizing, dethatching, overseeding, prunning, mulching, etc., is where the high profit is.

    I would never ever just mow. I would be bored out of my mind, too.
  3. FrankenScagMachines

    FrankenScagMachines LawnSite Platinum Member
    from IN
    Messages: 4,739

    Several companies around here are "Joe's Mowing" for example. I think they offer a few side jobs such as you mentioned, jobs they found customers wanted done. You have to go with what people will pay for right? Some customers only want the mow and blow special and some want full service. What kind do you want and go after them....But mowing and leaves are only 2/3 of the year here and you can do some of that other work before you start mowing in spring. That means more money, at a time when you can't make money mowing (so you might as well do other stuff). Like I said alot of guys here are making a living mainly just mowing.
  4. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,403

    That's funny, I'm just the opposite. I enjoy the mowing (I listen to the radio and it's actually not boring at all, plus its so easy for me after all these years I can let my mind wander more than if doing something more technical, which I like) and I dont' really enjoy the other stuff. I hear this a lot. Some guys like installing and doing the ornamentals, others like the grass work better.

    Aerating is profitable. But to do much of it you need to do more than your own regular maintenance customers, which means....lots of phone calls and setting up jobs, which I am also burnt out on. It pays about double what I get for mowing "per hour", but there are more pitfalls and time spent setting up jobs, so it's no great shakes for me.

    I used to fertilize and do weed control, but it involves lots of customer calls too, messes up my mowing schedule, and the regulations and requirements got too onerous to keep up with on such a small level of operation. Nobody here waters in the summer(restrictions) so few lawns look great. I like showing up and NOT having to worry about weeds and how healthy the turf is. It's some other guys' problem. Besides, despite courses in turf management, I have a brown thumb.

    Dethatching. Well, let's just note that I recently sold my dethatcher! Too much work for me, and around here, properly maintained lawns haven't needed it that much. It's hard to convince people they need to spend $300 on it.

    Overseeding. Easy and goes great along with aeration. Profitable too, but again unless I do it for outsiders, there isn't a ton of business just doing regular customers. I do maybe 24 lawns a year, since many lawns don't require it. Since I don't do fertilization, the companies that handle that usually get first dibs on seeding. I haven't done much winter overseeding of warm season turf, but it's tricky and I'm not really willing to experiment and lose customers doing it. Few ever ask for it, either.

    Pruning is again more physical, and some types of it are more technical than I am comfortable with, though I'll give it a shot. Creative types probably love this, but I prefer the more (sorry) cut n' dried aspects of mowing. Pruning is more artistic and subjective. I can mow 10 hours. I can't prune 10 hours. That's my problem.

    Mulching. Again, dirty and physical work w/o expensive equipment. Around here it's pinestraw and bark or wood chips mostly. Labor intensive, requires careful scheduling/ordering of materials, and no way I can compete with others who have employees. I can compete mowing and get $60/hour, but few will consistently pay that for mulching.

    By your enjoyment and profitability of the above jobs, I'm guessing you have a few employees to handle the work. I've made the choice to work alone, so any job that is physically difficult or unpleasant for me I want to pass on. To me, nothing seems easier than sitting on a Lazer Z with my legs crossed. I can argue back to the guys on talk radio if I get too bored.
  5. Mickhippy

    Mickhippy LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,274

    All I do is mow, edge, blow and spray weeds. Thats it. I might do some extra brush cutting if theres a steep slope but thats all. I used to do the lot but where I live most people only want the basics anyway. I really hate gardening (pruning etc). Give me a couple of acres, a ride on and a brush cutter and I laughing.

    But thats just Me.:drinkup:
  6. Jason Rose

    Jason Rose LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,858

    brucec32, amen! i would love to do more fert. and spray jobs, as well as rennovations, trimming and light landscaping, but I would have to give up my regular mowing customers to do it! Mowing comes mumber one in my busuness, and until that is done nothing else can progress either. Mowing 5.5 to 6 days a week, nothing but mow, trim, edge, blow, and go, I am happy as a lark. Throw in 30 lawns to fert. or spray (when!) and I stressing out. A few other LCO's in my area can hire guys to mow, and they go out and do the "technical" stuff. Well if you ask me mowing properly, and on a time schedule that people depend on is technical. Others may think i'm lazy because I don't take on all this extra work, but the mowing is profitable for me and I enjoy it.
    :D just my opinion, thanks!
  7. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,403

    It's good to know I'm not alone in my ideas on what works and what is a pain in the rear. : )
  8. Strawbridge Lawn

    Strawbridge Lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 660

    I could not make it year round if all I did was mow. Think many others do also except for the deep south. I think mowing is very profitable providing you have a client base, and low overhead.

    Add in aerations, renovations, seeding, fert and so forth and
    is all extra, If you don't master the mowin part and do it well FIRST, the latter will be hard to come by.
  9. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,501

    Something that I should have added is...if you want to do this PT and just mow/trim/blow...then fine, do just that to make extra money.

    But, if you are in this FT like me and want to make a living for yourself, just mowing probably isn't going to be enough...unless you are in south Florida where your season is just bout year round.

    just my 2 cents
  10. Lawn Specialties

    Lawn Specialties LawnSite Member
    Messages: 207

    As off right now I am strictly mowing bush trimming and leaf cleanup. I am full time but do snow and work part time during the winter.It's hard to cover overhead to do full service around here. there are guys in my area knocking down six digits mowing so every body concentrates on mowing. With the exception of my truck I could replace all my equipment for less than 10 grand so a great pecentage of my gross is actual income.

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