How Big is Big?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Smartgene, May 14, 2002.

  1. Smartgene

    Smartgene LawnSite Member
    Messages: 62

    I'm Gene from Leyton's Lawn Cutting Company and I'm new to the business and have been reading these boards for a couple of weeks now. Obviously, from the name of the company (named after my 5 month old son), I'm into the maintenance side of things. I'm wondering, how large a company can be built primarily through maintenace? Trying to avoid getting to personal, but I'm wondering if there are any 500k per year guys participating on this board? If you have it like that, please don't be reluctant to tell us of your success.
    Gene from Mich.
  2. TGCummings

    TGCummings LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 773

    Welcome to LawnSite, Gene! :D

    I believe 500K in annual revenues is possible in the maintenance end of the business, but only if you're not working in it. What I mean is, at that level, you'll be managing a large number of maintenance crews (and consequently, the headaches thereof ;) ) and working on the business only. I can't imagine you'd have any time to do the work yourself at that level.

    Of course, you'll have to determine whether your market can handle this volume of service.

    As for the secret of success, I imagine anyone operating at that level would tell you the same thing: hard work, good systems, customer service, and integrity. Of course, each trait can be broken down and volumes can be written about each one.

    Since you're just starting out, build on the basics of each principle. Learn everything you can about what you're doing. Learn about marketing, equipment, safety, etc. Build systems within your company to streamline it's effectiveness. Learn how to deal with customers comfortably. Give them the best service you can without comprising your systems (and integrity).

    Build systems for employee hiring and retention. Build systems for marketing and growth. As the months and years go by you can perfect these systems. Find your comfortable level of growth.

    Charge more than you think you need, and find out what your market will bear.

    You can make a lot of money, or enough money. You can work with two guys and make a good living while keeping the business 'manageable'. You can run 10 crews and bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars a year (and pull your hair out all the way to the bank!). It's up to you.

    But, start at the beginning.

    And welcome to LawnSite once again! :D
  3. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    Where in Michigan are you? I may be able to help.;)
  4. Smartgene

    Smartgene LawnSite Member
    Messages: 62

    Thanks Thomas for your reply. There's a great deal of sense in what you wrote and I'm sure I'll read your post several times. As for Runner's reply, I'm in New Baltimore - I certainly do not service Flint or any areas close to Flint. I'd appreciate any help I can get and will even pay for the correct type of personal consulting. (should i have offered to pay?)
  5. Kent Lawns

    Kent Lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 870

    $500,000 is still a small company.

    By the time you add revenues of mowing, mulch, clean-ups, etc. it adds up quick. Then if you do fertilizer, irrigation, snowplowing and some tree service...
  6. Toroguy

    Toroguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,075

    At least 6 two man crews. depending on location and/or volume. Thats my guess-timate. Based on $40K gross per individual.

    Good luck
  7. TGCummings

    TGCummings LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 773

    Maybe to you! ;)
  8. John Allin

    John Allin LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,488

    I believe Mr. Cummings said it quite nicely....

    Although I don't quite agree with the "what the market will bear" comment, his advice is sound and would appear to have come from first hand experience.
  9. Kent Lawns

    Kent Lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 870

    Gonna need more than luck! You'll need around $70,000 per employee to cover your costs, pay decent money and derive a decent profit.

    Remember, in the North you'll add snowplowing revenues.
    In the South, you add more cutting weeks.

    Either way, the half million mark should be do-able with the owner plus 6 or 7 employees.
  10. Turfdude

    Turfdude LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,899

    I am striving for this level. It is do-able w/ 8 guys - if the owner is still an operator, or w/ an extra man if the owner is supervisor only.
    1 employee -paid well to fertilize the accounts - his/her main responsibility - we do approx 180
    1 - 3 man maint crew
    1 - 2 man maint crew
    1 - 2 man landscape and landscape maint (mulch, prune, etc) crew

    (sometimes switch 3rd man from maint crew to landscape maint crew)

    I work my ass off - 50 hrs a week - 55hrs a week in field and about 3 hrs/nite in office.
    No work Sundays thoug and done by 2PM on Saturday (rest of day for bids)

    Cummings - you're on the ball.

    I only hope to get the guys trained well enough that I only work 1/2 days next year so I dont work more than 60 hrs/week total.

    Sometimes at this level it feels as if the "Business rns me more than I run it!!"


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