Expanding into turf/landscape??

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Deerfarmer, Dec 4, 2018.

  1. Deerfarmer

    Deerfarmer LawnSite Member
    Messages: 27

    I’m currently working full time for a guy farming plus I own a snow removal business and another small business and would like to expand the snow removal side to be 100% self employed. I have around 32 accounts and counting. I’m looking for ways to generate money over summer. Closest big city is around 12k ppl and that’s where 90% of my customers are (30min drive) Some of the things I’ve thought about are
    1- lawn mowing, fertilizing
    2- smaller landscape jobs
    3- custom spraying lawn/trees/mosquitoes (I am certified but don’t know crap about tree spraying it really but there’s a small market here)
    4- wanted to put a truck together for dust control on gravel roads. Could have one job lined up for that already.
    5- small hydro seed machine
    6- concrete curbing (expensive to get into)

    Now if I take my snow removal numbers from last season and add them to my guaranteed account numbers for this year, which I didn’t have last year I fall about 10k short of what I make at my full time job. Now the numbers a alittle skewed because I changed my trigger to 1” halfway threw the season last year cuz I asked a few older ppl if they preferred I come at 1” and they said yes. Fortunately all but 3 or 4 ppl went with 1”. Now I have increased my accounts with 4 commercial accounts and sub out 1 of them. I’m working on another big commercial one as the guy they have isn’t working out.
    So just trying to figure out what I should do lol.
  2. Rockbridge Lawn Care LLC

    Rockbridge Lawn Care LLC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,089

    IMHO you seem to be doing well at snow removal. Why not market a bit and get a couple more Zero-tolerance contracts/accounts? Or land a few more good size contracts in general and get a skid steer for summer work (see below of diversification)

    Your already set up for snow removal. The best diversification is to utilize your existing equipment year around. That will have the lowest cost and highest profit potential with the quickest turn around.

    if you get into these other fields there are high cost of additional equipment, and the uncertainty of your/biz ability to perform or a steep learning curve. If you get into mowing, you'll work all summer and break even on paying that equipment off.....so you don't get decent return on your investment

    smaller landscape jobs could require specialized equipment, and are here and there with a seasonality, and are not a reliable income maker, unless you specialize in that; as you hop from job to job and are really gunning for the bigger landscapes....Many times lawn maintenance companies diverse the business into landscaping as extra. they are set up that the mowing covers their business cost fully, and any landscapes that they land are like a bonus revenue stream, if and when they do win those jobs.... IN WHICH CASE you really have to be out there marketing so that you can get RFP's....when you can sit back a bit and just market your snow plowing game...IF you jumping to full-time you want that sense of "reliable" revenue; landscaping is not that unless it's your business' bread and butter.

    you could act as a sub-contractor for hydro seeding, but might be a bit of a credential leap for a prime contractor to seek you out for that aspect of their project, and limited on the size of the job due to capital

    Your best diversification is to sell a service that uses your existing equipment...Like:
    1: hauling (I assume your rig is beefy given snow plowing)
    2) site prep or equipment rental of your skid steer if you have one for plowing....rent it out during the summer and cash in for paper pushing
    3) get out and be a sub contractor for snow with a bunch of these lawn mowing guys that don't want to do snow...
  3. OP

    Deerfarmer LawnSite Member
    Messages: 27

    My biggest problem right now with snow removal is finding help. It’s almost non existent. I handle 32accounts and counting by myself pretty much. A decent size snow fall and it’s an 18 hr day. I’m working on buying an Ebling right now and I’m hoping that will cut my time by 35-40%
  4. Mac-s Lawn & Snow

    Mac-s Lawn & Snow LawnSite Member
    Messages: 150

    For the concrete curbing part I don't think that's a good move. The guy's I see making money doing that run 4 man crew's. They won't take the job unless there is at least 250 feet of edging and they get the job done in a day. There just wouldn't be enough jobs to justify the cost of equipment.
  5. Green Industry Pro

    Green Industry Pro LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Tyler Texas
    Messages: 480

    Definitely agree. Figure out what you really want to do with your business. Try and utilize the equipment that you have now to make you more profit through the year with minimal investments. Opening your business to a completely different line of work involves a lot more than one might realize at first. You are already feeling the burn during snow operations (18hr days) which is good, just figure out what you need to do for that side of the business to become more profitable and more efficient.
  6. OP

    Deerfarmer LawnSite Member
    Messages: 27

    I agree. I know there’s not enough work for concrete curbing where I live.
  7. OP

    Deerfarmer LawnSite Member
    Messages: 27

    Thanks! So to become more profitable and efficient on the snow removal side I need to buy a back blade to get my jobs done quicker and I can take more on. Hopefully get somemore commercial lots. I’m fairly sure I’ll be getting 2 more bigger lots nxt year.
    As far as the back blade goes I think I’ll be ordering one nxt week or at least I hope so. Then I need snow snow snow

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