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How am I doing? Any advice?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by BobbyKnight, May 6, 2005.

  1. BobbyKnight

    BobbyKnight LawnSite Member
    Messages: 45

    OK, I want to know how I'm doing. I'm relatively new at this, but I'm learning. I don't mow full-time, but I would like to take on more accounts. Last year I had 7, and this year I have 12. Here are the facts:
    1. Lawn #1 takes 40 min. to mow and trim ($15)...it's my wifes grandmother.
    2. Lawn #2 takes 15 min. no trimming ($15). It's an open lot.
    3. Lawn #3 takes 30 min. to mow and trim ($15)...my mom's.
    4. Lawns 4-6 takes approx. 60-75 min. to mow and trim. ($45) Two are family members and one isn't.
    5. Lawn #7 takes 50-55 min. to mow and trim ($35).
    6. Lawns 8-9 are a combo deal. Small business and his house. Between my mow and drive time between his house and business, it takes me approx. 2 hours 15 minutes ($60).
    7. Lawn 10 takes approx. one hour, a lot of trimming ($40)
    8. Lawn 11 takes 45 min. to mow and trim ($60), but I split this with a friend who helps.

    So, I have about 7.5 hours in these lawns just mowing. Drive time is probably 30 to 40 minutes. By days end 8 to 8.5 hours. Gas, I'm kind of guessing here, but based from what I have done so far this year, I could probably do these yards twice on a full tank possibly more. But, I usually mow my own every 5 or 6 days (4 acres).

    Equipment: I almost have my mower paid for (JD 737 w/ 54 in. 23 Kaw.). Should be paid for by the end of the summer. Truck too is almost paid for ('99 F150 w/ 67,000 miles), so this should last me quite some time hopefully. Trimmer, blower, etc. all paid for obviously.

    I have insurance on my mower. I turned in my income from my mowing last year. Truth be told, I don't have insurance yet to cover myself incase my mower throws a rock or something else happens. I plan on getting this done though.

    So, all in all, I want to know how I'm doing so far. As you can see, some of what I have is family. I know I could charge more, but with family I don't feel right doing so, plus their lawns take very little time.

    In the future as I pick up more accounts, what could I do differently? I believe I do a great job. I look at my jobs in comparison to what I see being done by those who do it full-time, and I don't see any difference. My yards are clean, stripped, all grass is blown, edged, etc. What advice for now do you have for me? By next year, I would like to up my accounts to 20 or 25. Thanks for the advice. It is appreciated. Who knows, I may drop my full-time job one day for the lawn business!
  2. freddyc

    freddyc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 578

    so without relatives, you have 7 lawns???

    $285/week is your gross pay. After giving your friend the $30 split, then its $255/day or about $37 /hr gross.

    Is this right???

    Is your friend an employee or just helping out??
  3. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,587

    you need to charge more to mow then 15 bucks..... i know its family and id be stuck too... need other clients you can charge more.
  4. BobbyKnight

    BobbyKnight LawnSite Member
    Messages: 45

    He's just helping out.
  5. MMLawn

    MMLawn LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,569

    I haven't and won't cut any lawn for a measly $15 since I was 10 years old and I'm 46 now. Your prices are way too low for the time it is taking you esp using a ZTr which would lead one to believe a lawn that takes 2.5 hours with a Z is either huge or you are just creeping around cutting it. I mean we cut a 7.2 acre prop with a 757 and it only takes 3-3.5 hours
  6. Jay Ray

    Jay Ray LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,510

    IMHO you are doing okay. Your relatives are a source of cash flow and public exposure in their neigborhoods (and hopefully talk you up to others), plus they are giving you momentum you would not otherwise have. This is a positive.

    I have found work very hard to get here and people have a lot of resistance to paying a fair price for the work. I'm bidding 20% under last year and thinking of going lower. Only you know what it is like where you are.

    One guy waited me out all last year, watched me mow two across the street. Decided (to himself) that if I came back this season, then he would use me. He grabbed me the first cut this season. He is real good and pays good (one of the few). It is not uncommon here for people to wait out any business whatever, from a restaurant to a paint store, for at least a year.

    When you hear the bragging about how easy this is, like taking candy from a baby and all the money pouring in, new accounts signing up in droves, take it with a grain of salt. The tenth of it ain't true.
  7. Expert Lawns

    Expert Lawns LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,660

    stop stripping your lawns, you need to STRIPE them. also, think about advertising...letter your truck or get magnets. If you mow for family, ask them if you can put a sign in their yard, something that might say "Another Beautiful Lawn by John Does Lawn Care", or offer someone on a busy road a discount if you can maintain their yard and put a sign in it. some people dont' like having signs in their yard, so you need to offer them something in return, or maybe just leave it in while you're there........just a few ideas
  8. BobbyKnight

    BobbyKnight LawnSite Member
    Messages: 45

    I agree. So far, I am pretty satisfied, but wanted to know from others who are experiencing what I have. I live in a rural community, and it is hard to "make the money pour in." Everytime I leave my regular job (teaching) I see two or three LCO's driving around or working. There are four who advertise in our local paper, and none of those four are the "big" lco's in my area. It just seems to be saturated out there, so I am happy to have what I have, but would eventually maybe like to get to having 20 to 25 accounts. Thanks for the help.
  9. BobbyKnight

    BobbyKnight LawnSite Member
    Messages: 45

    I agree, I think a sign is a very good idea. I mow an empty lot for a guy in a town near where I live and it is on the main street. I get all kinds of "lookers" when I am mowing. I have been thinking about having some signs made and put out. This particular lot I think would bring in a little more business.

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