Bottom line - $40,000 realistic

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by BoHog1634, Apr 30, 2004.

  1. BoHog1634

    BoHog1634 LawnSite Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 33

    OK, I need to know if it is going to be worth it or not. I currently work a decent desk job for a decent corporation making about $40,000/year, and there is some pretty good potential for advancement.

    BUT, I want to be my own boss, own my own company, be outside, and 'work' for a living, not just sit on my butt for 40 hours a week. I was involved with golf course maintenance for 7 years prior to getting my current 'corporate' job, and I really miss it.

    I basically need to know, bottom line, if $40,000/year is easily possible in the Cincinnati and surrounding area. I want to do mowing service AND landscaping projects. I would also to the aerification, seeding, sodding, mulching services, and possibly add a pesticide license and pest control to my list. I would only be able to do 40 - 50 hours/week, not the 60 or 70+ other guys do.

    My dilemma is I need to have confidence that I can make at least what I am making now, and then hopefully grow from there.

    Is this realistic? Thanks for your replies!!!
  2. Grassmechanic

    Grassmechanic LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,697

    It might take a few years if you go slowly and build up a good clientele base, but 40 G's is not that hard to reach.
  3. BoHog1634

    BoHog1634 LawnSite Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 33

    Thanks Mike!
    I really want to do this, but am kind of afraid of sacrificing a pretty good thing with my current 'corporate' job. But making about the same income and having some time off in the winter would be nice. Thanks again!!
  4. twins_lawn_care

    twins_lawn_care LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 932

    I think you have to note that it would not be an "easy" $40 G's.
    You'll be putting in countless hours above the actual labor running your own company. My recommendation would be to do as I am, start working it part time for a couple years. Some reasons I am doing this:
    1) to see how much I actually like working outdoors, when it goes from 2 hours in the backyard, to 50 hours every week
    2) see if I can handle running a business
    3) how much I grow in the short time, and estimate how much more I can by going full time
    4) build up the company slowly with its own funds earned, rather then financing everything just to start, and not be sure if it will work out

    I was in the same boat as it sound like you are in now, and plan to go full time possibly 2-3 years, all things considered.

    One thing you should also factor in is benefits! Health insurance, and 401k's and so on. Those things you'll have to get on your own somehow, and you need to consider those as well. So your $40 g's a year job is actually worth about $45-$50 when you add those in. (just estimating)

    Good luck with it, I will say, I am doing it part time now, but look forward to going full force!
  5. EZTarget

    EZTarget LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 295

    look at this way.

    strictly based on ROUGH numbers on mowing service only

    take 40k and divide by 33 weeks. (i think that is what most are getting in mowing in a season RE: posts read here)

    = ~ 1200.00 /week.
    divide that by ~35.00 based off average i found on a website sometime ago for lawn service.

    = ~ 35 WEEKLY lawns a week.
    = ~ 7 lawns a day

    that doesnt count everything not mentioned.
    fuel cost
    equipment cost
    and anything else i left out

    also i would say you are easily lookin at 8-9hrs / day depending on density of customer base. doesnt even account for billing/collection/scheduling/equip maintenance/bidding.

    many other factors - biweekly mows, lost customers, slow pays, etc.

    i have almost talked myself out of this!
  6. ThreeWide

    ThreeWide LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,116

    I'm just starting up myself, and the biggest thing people overlook is the marketing process. Customers just don't fall into your lap. You can buy the nicest equipment, but it does nothing for you without a client base.

    My advice would be to start slowly while you still have another income and benefits. Summer is coming, so you have extra daylight hours once your day job is over. You could get a couple of accounts and do a "pilot" of sort. Based on how those go, you can extrapolate what your income might be doing it full time. Easier to make mistakes on a small scale while you are learning how to bid jobs and estimate your operating cost.

    Get only the equipment you need to service a couple of accounts. You will learn a lot just from doing that.

    Also realize that if you dropped your job now, it would take quite some time to find enough accounts to keep you fully busy.
  7. CNE

    CNE LawnSite Member
    Messages: 238

    BoHog, I also work 40 hrs a week at my regular job. I work afternoons and Saturdays. Sundays too if I have to (commercial jobs) I am doing this because I can't afford to go full time and risk not staying busy. My wife is in school full time and has 2 more years. I plan to build my clientel up and get my name out so when she starts working, I can go full time.
  8. EZTarget

    EZTarget LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 295

    Wow, you have a lot of equipment for doing this just on the weekends and afternoons. Do you use it all? How much business can you handle part time? I am thinking of doing the same.
  9. BoHog1634

    BoHog1634 LawnSite Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 33

    Thanks for all the replies and input. I really appreciate the information!! This helps a lot!!!
    Looks like I will just start out slowly. I wouldn't mind just doing it part-time anyway, unless the business really takes off. It would be nice to make a little extra money, even part-time money, doing something I really enjoy.
    Again, thanks for the replies!

  10. EZTarget

    EZTarget LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 295

    good luck and i hope you do well

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