First year!

Kmason714

LawnSite Member
I have a full time job at the moment but am going to try to make mowing and landscaping my full time job ASAP. I have bought two mowers used off craigslist both with less than 200 hours (a 44z gravely and a 34z gravely), trailer, and all the handheld trimmers and stuff now all I need is the customers. I am going to stay with my full time job until I get enough customers but my question is how many customers can I relistically expect my first year in business? I have around 1000 door hangers to pass out and 40 lawn signs that I plan to place around the city in the areas I want to service. I am planning on charging a minimum of $35 per cut for mowing so I will not be lowballing trying to pick up customers.
 
Definately don't quit your day job just yet. I'm about ready to start my 2nd year and I don't have as many as I want to. Make sure you charge enough to pay yourself, cover your overhead, ins (assuming you are legit) definitely don't lowball. You will be frowned upon here if you do that. A lot of people say i want to start a lco and think they will strike gold in the first year. From my experience from my first year, you will make mistakes that you learn from. Beware of advertising on Craigslist. You will find many cheapskates there. Charge what you feel you are worth. Don't grab accounts just because you want work. 35 bucks might be good for you, it might not be. Good luck to you
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Adeas Printing

Sponsor
Location
Wichita, KS
Sounds like you are all set with door hangers for now, but when you need to get some more (or just better ones) :) don't forget us. We have the most unique door hangers in the industry! With our awesome Band-It & Stick-It attachments you will definetly get noticed! Band-It It safely secures your door hanger to the handle and Stick-It allows your customer to stick it right to their fridge. Take a look at our video explaining:
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Good Luck to you!

Robin Christopherson
A'DEAS Printing
Home of Band-It & Stick-It® Products
www.AdeasPrinting.com
robin@adeasprinting.com
(316) 269-2494 ext. 200
(866) 251-3181 fax
719 S. St. Francis
Wichita, KS 67211
 

living Green Property

LawnSite Member
Location
PA Erie
To be honest you most likely won’t make a dime your first 2-3 years. it’s a hard business to break into. It’s possible but right now the mowing thing is really beat out. Get your pesticides and concentrate on that and yard work. If you do, the mowing customers always seem to follow. Just remember to keep your prices up.
 

JMK Lawn Service

LawnSite Member
Location
Island Lake Il
This will be my 3rd season mowing and i still dont have any money haha! i only have been growing my business and assets. i am on my 4th mower, had several problems with my first 3 mowers so that cost me a lot of money. Word of mouth is the best form of advertisment. my first year i had about 12 accounts and my second i had over 20. just by word of mouth really. that was all by myself, this year i plan on hitting lots more homes and some commercial and hire a helper full time if i can. as long as you can cover your expenses and overhead and maybe invest in another mower or something to help your business grow. Watch your taxes thats what is killing me right now. Good Luck to you!!
 

DA Quality Lawn & YS

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Rochester, MN
Yeah your net income first few years will be minimal, with investment in equipment and ridiculous self employment taxes.

As for customer count, for mowing, if you have 0 customers now, try to get a dozen or so first year and satisfy the heck out of them.
 

417lawncare

LawnSite Member
Location
Springfield MO
I dont agree with what most people have said on this thread, it is easy to make money your first year, if you cant make money cutting grass youre an idiot. This will be my second year doing it full time and my first year after taxes and everyday costs I still made 28k, which is above the average annual income in my area. This year I am projected to make twice what I made last year. The way to make money is a proper marketing strategy! 1000 fliers you might have 10 accounts. I started with 5000 got 48 but already had 12 from when I was doing it part time. This year I am putting up 5000 more fliers of better quality and hopefully getting the same or better response as my first year.

Also maybe not this year but end of next winter sit at your computer for hours on end cold calling every church, bank, apartment, and business you think you can handle mowing and ask "Are you accepting bids for your 2013 lawn care services?". Use google type in church and it will have little red dots where all the churchs are etc. Call all of them.

Secondly this year while you mow trim and blow these residential accounts start calculating and writing down how long it takes to mow, how long to load and unload equipment, how long does it take you to trim the perimeter, how long does it take to blow off x sqft of sidewalk. This way when someone says "yeah we are accepting bids" next winter you can go out measure the property and have a rough Idea of how long it will take. then you multiply your residential rate per hour by how many hours it will take to mow this business. If you charge $30 for a residential that takes 30 min then your hourly rate is $60. usually I give a 10% discount to commercial accounts. I have a bank account that will net $9,000 for one season. They signed the agreement last tuesday. Its actually 3 banks neting 3,000 each for a total of 9. These three banks wont take me more than 60 min to do each.

Minus 12.4% i put out to the side for taxes, but then my CPA will get me deductions for things I spent money on for my business. Bringing me to the third thing save all receipts for everything and keep track of the mileage you put on your truck. I.E. paper, envelopes, new equipment, etc etc. For last year I only paid about 6% use a CPA not a "tax professional".
 
OP
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Kmason714

LawnSite Member
Thanks for all your replies and 417 your post made me feel better about my chances because im up in kansas city so not too awful far from you.
 

417lawncare

LawnSite Member
Location
Springfield MO
One thing you are gonna notice on this site is a bunch of negative people, haters, and people who try to discourage you from achieving your goals. When tax time comes around make sure you have all your receipts and get a CPA and youll be fine, since its a startup there will be ALOT of deductions. Oh yeah and a CPA is a deduction. People will tell you you cant do this or that but dont listen to all of them. Purchase within your means and grow slow and steady and youll be fine. Also there are alot of people on here with AWESOME advice, you will figure those people out because once you look through 1000 threads, you can weed out the ones who just get on here to bring people down. They especially like to go after people who havent started out yet.
 

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