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Commercial or residential?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Pave_A_Lot, Oct 29, 2006.

  1. Pave_A_Lot

    Pave_A_Lot LawnSite Member
    Messages: 38

    Hi guys and gals, i have been considering getting into the lawn biz. i own a scag Turf tiger mower and many other tools blowers, weed-wackers, edgers and trailers.

    And my question is what is more profitable commercial accounts or residential?
    also what is a rough guesstimate as far as pricing goes, by the acre, sq-ft, or by the hour?.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. DBL

    DBL LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,219

    just starting take what you can get and grow on that a really rought estimate for a simple acre we charge $60
  3. Trinity Lawn Care  LLC

    Trinity Lawn Care LLC LawnSite Senior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 946

    I know that you have a lot of experience on the paving side, but I would say stick with res. for a bit until you get comfortable with bidding.

    With that said people use different formulas for estimating. We use an hourly rate formula. If you know what your operating expenses are and what your market rate is then it will be fairly easy to do. We are now to a point where if someone calls from a specific development we pretty much know right away about how much it should be.

    As far as profit goes I would say that commercials are more profitable. We obviously get done residentials faster, so it would seem time spent to money earned would be better. However, with commmercials you are more likely to get big dollar add-ons: Landscaping, lighting, mulch, hardscaping, snow plowing, etc.
  4. Pave_A_Lot

    Pave_A_Lot LawnSite Member
    Messages: 38

    thanks for the great replys. The reason i want to start mowing is we get asked alot while sealcoating and paving driveways if we know any mowing services around the area after i have thought about it for awhile it seems like i would get alot of business with little advertisement.

    I Also run part time a small stump grinding and tree trimming service and get lots of questions about mowing
    the way i'm looking at it is little advertisement with the only overhead being fuel insurance and man hours. we do lots of business so cold calling or dropping a flyer off or two somewhere where we are already working would not hurt anything

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,534

    Residential will throw off more profit, and is going to be easier to start up in.
    The difference is not so much in res-com, but in the size of the lot. The smaller job --less than an hour--will allow a higher rate, and after a few years you can develop a route that is close enough to profit form that, Your larger lot will run the rate down lower but you can profit from the fact that you park the truck once for the day and may be able to run more more workers from that truck.
    Not sure but I believe that seal coating will produce a much higher profit margin than mowing as there is not the easy entry and the undercutting like mowing. Just something to think about.
  6. DuraCutter

    DuraCutter LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 806

    You said you wanted honest answers. Stick to what you're now doing, grow it and you'll make so much more than lawncare. I do lawncare but restrict it due to low profit. Believe me, you'll realize it within a year and it will hit you like a ton of bricks. Also, commercial pays way more and is a lot less headaches. There are just too many lco's in residential.

    Stick to paving etc... if you want more profit. :)

    Btw, just because you get asked about mowing a lot does not make it a good thing. Most times they just ask and eventually they'll get someone. Lco's are a dime a dozen.
  7. CNY Property Management

    CNY Property Management LawnSite Member
    Messages: 11

    I do not know what your long-term objectives are in your business, but it sounds like you are well on your way to being a full-service property managment company. I think it makes sense to leverage your customer base and add profitable services. Likewise, the new lawncare business will open other opportunities for your other services. It also sounds like you might be able to leverage some of your existing resources (i.e. equipment, labor, etc.). IMO, doing strictly lawncare has limited growth potential long-term.
  8. Pave_A_Lot

    Pave_A_Lot LawnSite Member
    Messages: 38

    I don't think i would ever go into lawn care if i didn't have an well-established Paving company to support it. I know i can make a profit in the LC Biz i already have all the equipment, men and experience of operating a company the only thing I'm missing right now is warm whether. i have tons of prospects and lots of friends (two very helpful things when starting a new business LOL)

    If someone were to ask me about lawn care i would talk to them until a contract was signed as any good salesmen would do. that would not give them time to get in touch with another LCO

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,534

    RED FLAG!!!

    "I don't think i would ever go into lawn care if i didn't have an well-established Paving company to support it"

    Are you really stating that you plan on starting a business based on another to support it.
    You were doing good till this post-- You have all the equipment--Why??
    You have guys just sitting on the sidelines waiting to mow grass, where did they come from?? and why do you already have them?? (if they are you pavement guys-- who will do that??
    You believe all it takes to make money in this business is warm weather??

    And than the biggie!! You talk till they sign??? --GOOD SALESMANSHIP:laugh: :laugh: , That type of selling went the way of tail fins, and was only needed to if you do not have a good product to sell anyway.

    You asked about how to price-- what pays better,--and state that your only overhead is gas, insurance and labor, And yet you say "I know i can make a profit in the LC Biz " I think you need to ask yourself how you KNOW that!!
    just my thoughts
  10. Pave_A_Lot

    Pave_A_Lot LawnSite Member
    Messages: 38

    What i mean is a "fall back" type of deal. if mowing lawns fails it will be no biggie, unlike many other people who if there business fails there done for.
    I Have the equipment for my own yard and the two guys i would have mowing punch out at 5pm from the asphalt crew and do not work weekends During the summer it does not get dark until 10pm this time of year its too cold to pave or sealcoat so everyone else is free
    Yes i do believe once the temps raise i will start making $$$ in the mowing business

    I don't understand the part of your post about pricing can't see where your getting. Fuel insurance and labor would be my only overhead
    to say I'm 100% sure i will make a profit I'm not but there is a good chance i will

    This is how all of the pavement guys feel when a Lco Adds sealcoating to there service, So i cant blame him for getting on my case

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