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Considering A start...

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by ryangrambart, Mar 3, 2008.

  1. ryangrambart

    ryangrambart LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3


    Great Forum. Lots of good stuff on here.
    A little background on myself. I am currently finishing my last year as a business student. I am also working part time selling insurance and investments. I hate it. There is a huge income potential but I just want to mow some lawns! I use to mow lawns and always worked construction and loved it! I am interested in landscaping and skid loader work as well. My goal is to work hard for about a year or two and have enough money saved up to start a company with cash...Which would make it much less stressful. I have a few concerns that I was hoping you guys could answer for me.

    1. What kind of profit margins can you expect for yourself...and your crews?
    Are crews even profitable?

    2. What kind of income potential is there in this business? Can I make 70-80k a season with a few employees? It seems like it would be hard to make over 40k since you really cant make that much per hour. I estimate like $40/hour would be tops and it seems like there just isn't enough light in the day to make big money.

    3. I live in Minnesota and would build my business in the twin cities area. A great area plenty of ritzy houses but a very short mowing season. Will this have a big effect on my profits?

    4. How many lawns can I take on? Like me and a helper just for the summer?

    Thanks guys. I love to work hard, and love to mow lawns, but I just want to make sure there is the income potential I am interested in. Ideally I would like to make 100k+ a year. I know thats high but I just want to know if thats possible in this business.

  2. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 19,478

    Im just now starting back. I have a slightly different business plan this time around. My last business I had 65 accounts and made a good living. For now Im starting part time for this year and mabey even next year. This time Im palning to build 30 accounts that average 35$ per week. Im buying every peice of equiptment known to man and hope to get 60-90 per hour for running it. I dont like having helpers.

    I dont know if you can make a 100k or not. I do know if this business is your passion you should be able to make 60k. 100k might be possible if you keep busy 10-12 hours a day 6 days a week.

    Just my 2 cents
  3. Raven386

    Raven386 LawnSite Silver Member
    from CT
    Messages: 2,169

    it wont happen overnight. it will take many years. but eventually Id say you can get to 100k. with the addition of many services like snow plowing and other misc work.
  4. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Business owners like myself don't believe in potential, that's just more of that crap when you work for someone else they keep throwing bs in your face until you believe it, but it's still bs.

    See potential is a bit like, say a Ferrari has the ability to do 200mph's, but if you never get to do it what good does that do?
    Now most folks own a Ferrari for a lot of different reasons, and the 200mph ability is nice, but most never get to use it.
    In that sense potential is not the actuality, it's just a word folks like to throw around to wet your appetite, but I can assure you in this world you will almost never realize actual potential.

    Aren't you frustrated right now?
    And why?
    Because you're not being able to realize your potential, isn't that right?
    So what good is it?
    I hate to be blunt like this, but more than likely you never will see it, either.
    Not as long as you work for someone else, and we can throw figures around here but they mean nothing, too.
    Technically the potential to earn millions every day is there, but you'll never see it because it doesn't work like that.

    Then it might take a wee bit longer than 1-2 years.
    1-2 years is about how long it takes to get your bearings, as in 1-2 years you might halfway know the direction you're supposed to be going in. And 3-4 years is about the time it takes before most know halfway what they're doing.
    So I'd be like thinking of a 5-8 or 10 year stretch, and forget about potential too.

    other stuff:
    Oh hey maybe we should, we should tell the new guys we have the potential to earn a million an hour.
    Why not, a thousand or a million, what's the difference we don't ever see either one.

    GSPHUNTER LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 311

    Don't just think mowing, MN is a snow removal state for sure. Also think mulch install, bed edging, pruning, fert with a license, learn landscape install. All of these extras could garner a really nice income.
  6. ryangrambart

    ryangrambart LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Ok. From surfing the forums I have come up with a general conclusion. Lawn Mowing is the base income. It also provides the customer base. Although the high profit and high income potential comes from the upselling and landscaping and extra services. My only question is every business has its "rough max" of hourly wage. Example, financial services there are guys that make 100+ hourly day in and out! And my Dad (commercial Excavating) makes around 100-200 a hour if he stays busy in the summer. He never works by the hour he bids jobs and then hires independent contractors to help him. Anyway, there is only so much light in the day, So with lawn care and lanscaping what do you guys see as your top hourly wage? I am just wondering because that way I can figure out roughly how much I could make in a season as a single operator. I realize everybody situation is different but you guys know this business and I think you could give me a idea of what the "top notch guys" can make.

    Thanks Again
  7. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 19,478

    My business plan is to service 30 accounts at an average of 35$, thats a thousand per week, at less than 30 hours. Im buying every peice of equiptment I can and will be sort af a rental-operator of it. I should be able to get 60$ per hour doing that, at 20 hours per week thats 1200 or even 30 hours could be possible. So 2200 per week less 200 for expenses, thats your 100k. Also I build or remodel 1 house every 2 years and I may or may not keep that going depending on how busy my landscaping business is.

    Also other oppertuinties in fertilzer handyman stuff painting you name it.
  8. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,280

    ryangrambart...I am from MN and may offer more insight than others here from other parts of the country.....
    First off, if you are motivated, business smart, a hard worker, and love the green business you can build a business here. Unfortunately, your hourly income is tailor-fit to YOU only - no one on here can match their figures and business situation with your unique operation. Everyone has a different business makeup, expenses, etc. I can tell you that I shoot for $40/hr for mow/blow/trim, shrub trimming, and landscape work, but that will not mean much to you - you have to come up with a preliminary business plan and map out your financial picture and calculate YOUR rough hourly income.

    As far as potential to build a business in the Twin Cities - there is huge potential. A lot of existing companies out there, but as you say, a LOT of high end houses that will result in good sized seasonal contracts once you get established. You will have to market yourself like crazy to get established.

    As far as how many lawns you can take on. Don't count on getting 100 yards your first season. You are going to have to grow your business over the course of several seasons . This will give you staying power. A solo op can't handle 100 yards himself anyway. You might want to shoot for 15-20 your first season and go from there. If you have a helper, multiply by what he/she can handle.

    In the Twin Cities, you can count on 25-28 cuts per season. This leaves a lot of off season. You can choose to snow plow OR better yet you can add to your income in season by adding extra services like fert, aerating, tree/shrub trimming, landscaping, overseeding, etc. Make sure you have some knowledge first before you commit to any of these add on operations.

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