Growing a solo company and being concerned

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by IN2MOWN, Aug 13, 2007.

  1. IN2MOWN

    IN2MOWN LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,993

    Ive been in business for 7 years now and I feel like I should be further along then what I am so I would like to take a substanial step next year.

    I work by myself and I take care of about 60 houses. I let some go last week that were complaining about numerous issues such as cost and how often I wanted to mow. On an average I would say the houses are around 10,000 sq feet. The smallest being 4,000 and the largest being 3 acres. I have no problem at all getting them done with a lot of extra time to spare during the week even in the growing season.

    The services I offer include:

    Bed Mulching
    Gutter Cleaning
    Spring and Fall Cleanups
    Bush and Hedge Trimming
    Small Landscape Projects

    I use Encore walkbehind mowers, I have a 48 and 36.

    I have 2 3/4 ton trucks and 2 trailers. One single axle that is 12 feet long and one dual axle which is 16 feet long with walls.

    I dont do chemicals. I sub them out to a company. I have no interest in doing them either. I tried it one year. To much paperwork and red tape for me.

    My goal next year is to add about 30 - 40 new customers, upgrade my equipment to Wright Standers, buy other miscelaneous new equipment, and possibly hire someone to help me.

    My question is what is the best way to accomplish this and what can I expect? I'm ready to make the leap to an "employer". I'm ready to take on some commercial lots. I'm ready to hit the big time. To be honest. I need to. The last few years I've been flying by the seat of my pants. I've never really advertised surviving by word of mouth. But now that my family is growing I need to seriously consider the future. I make a decent living now. I gross about $80,000 a year but the cost of living is going through the roof and to be honest I dont want to be 65 and finally paying my house off. I want to retire early and enjoy life.

    Any ideas?
  2. delphied

    delphied LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,067

    Im solo and just started this year. I was chasing my 44 toro walk behind til late June when I bought a ZTR. I only have 20 accounts and I dont see how you do 60 with walkbehinds. You must already have help?
  3. grassmedics

    grassmedics LawnSite Member
    Messages: 109

    The walk behinds arent that slow 60 a week is very easily accomplished with the equipment he has, but the wrights will cut down on that time even more. Good Luck to you in your venture, i myself just went to full time landscaper. :hammerhead:
  4. IN2MOWN

    IN2MOWN LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,993

    Im solo. No help at all.
  5. Albery's Lawn & Tractor

    Albery's Lawn & Tractor LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,674

    If your solo why do you need 2 trucks? I would sell one and use that money for advertising.
  6. privatelawn

    privatelawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 301

    Advertise big time, March or so I will be spending about $5k on postcards which should be 20,000 or so all sent at once, anytime I send postcards I get about 2% in customers, out of 20000 postcards that would be 400 new customers but if I get just 100, 1 month will pay for it plus some. I have never really worked solo, I started with part time employees from day 1 and pretty much 100% of the profit went to the employees but I did not start broke and did not need the money, I also didnt start the business to be solo.
  7. Vikings

    Vikings LawnSite Bronze Member
    from canada
    Messages: 1,657

    You're doing great and you're in a position to not do ANY work. Hire a crew and concentrate on sales and supervision.

    I'm in your boat almost except my main thing has been window cleaning for 8 years and snow in the the winter. 2nd year in lawns. I actually think I went backward this year because I can't hear the damn phone ring anymore (lawn mowers) and I'm too tired from mowing to call up my window cleaning customers.

    I'll tell you when I use help I make good money both in lawns and window cleaning. I'm going to focus on trying to keep one or two full time guys next spring and it has to be in lawns because it's hard to find a skilled window cleaner that likes unsteady work. PLus I think I kinda like being solo even though it's getting tiresome.
  8. carcrz

    carcrz LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,085

    Advertise a lot. It's the best way to get your name out there. Also, try offering referrals discounts to your current customers.
  9. bigbone

    bigbone LawnSite Member
    Messages: 101

    Next year I plan on going door to door and begging people to hire me. Just kidding. Have you considered buying some accounts from other LCOs?
  10. IN2MOWN

    IN2MOWN LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,993

    I had one break down last year and I was down for 10 days. I bought another one and I keep the older one for backup.

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