how do you guys do it?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by burninbill, Oct 29, 2002.

  1. burninbill

    burninbill LawnSite Member
    Messages: 80

    We are in our second season and we a getting more accounts all the time. However with all the new equipment needed, from starting from scratch, we are finding it hard to pay ourselves the money we should get for all the hard work. Do you guys make your business struggle more or you own pocket? I know that you have to sacrifice for awhile before you can make the big bucks but living from check to check is getting old. Any advice would be very helpfull for a guys trying to make an honest living.

    Jon Walker
    Cutting Edge Lawn and Landscape
    Louisville, KY:confused:
  2. greenman

    greenman LawnSite Addict
    Messages: 1,405

    Have you compared your prices with others in your area? Maybe you can increase your prices. Maybe make a price increase the next season. Maybe try to bid on the "extras" more often (landscaping,ferts,and mulching pay really well).
  3. Atlantic Lawn

    Atlantic Lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Outer Banks NC
    Messages: 948

    My feelings are get good equipment when you start.New equipment really costs you less in the long run(IMHO),there is no down time and no repairs to pay for.Each week you make your equipment payments into an account.Pay youself every week as well and don't forget to set aside all your expense money too, like taxes.There are good deals out there on used equipment but always remember when you buy used you're buying whatever life that machine has left in it.Owning the first half of a machines life is way better than the second half.If after a few years you are still livin' pay check to paycheck than something ain't right.It's essential to raise your prices rather than work more hours.One BIG problem with lawn care is pricing. When the bottom of the bunch drives the pricing you are doomed. Find another niche which values your labor.
  4. scott's turf

    scott's turf LawnSite Senior Member
    from NH
    Messages: 949

    Think of how long the equipment that you are buying are going to last. Things will get better but be wise with your spending. If money is tight and you are not going to use a piece of equipment a lot than try renting it for the few times a year that you will use it. Don't get over your head. Buy used when you can and save money. If you buy all new equipment at the same time you will be digging yourself out of a hole for awhile.
    Good luck
  5. mowing king

    mowing king LawnSite Member
    from ct
    Messages: 85

    Keep a time card for each job and a time sheet for the day. Look at your total production dollars and divide that by how many hours you worked. That gives your production per hr. It should be between $34-$40 per man hr. Door to door.From the time you punch the clock to the time you punch out. These numbers are national avgs. so we know its done everyday.

    If your numbers are lower you need to raise your prices,get a tighter route and mow faster. Pick any two of the three.
  6. KirbysLawn

    KirbysLawn Millenium Member
    Messages: 3,485

    I could charge $5 a lawn and have more business than I could handle and be in the same boat as you. Have you taken the time to figure your cost per job v/s what you are charging? If you have more business than you can handle I would take a VERY SERIOUS look at what you are charging!!! Especially since you say you are working for check-to-check, you could be digging yourself a VERY big hole.

    I think you have underbid on your jobs if you are having the problems you describe.
  7. kjfaulk

    kjfaulk LawnSite Member
    from NC
    Messages: 80

    I agree with everyone else, sounds like you are to cheap. Probally would be a good idea to look at what your charging verses everyone else. People do not mind paying good money for good service.
  8. Bill Davis

    Bill Davis LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 397

    Just try to branch out into other areas such as mulching, sod, fert. and like you said it does take awhile to get established but you have to start somewhere.:)
  9. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087

    I got a shocker today when I went to a dealer outside my working area. We were jabbering about pricing a bit. Everyone began to talk in "blade minutes".

    I was a little shocked at this approach. They we all agreeing that they charged an average of $1 per blade minute for running the mower which is $60 an hour. WOW!!! :confused:

    I don't think the market in our area would accept that kind of pricing. I also can't really see how that can be a fair calculation. Also machines are different and have a different productivity level per minute or hour.

    Pricing per Square foot for mowing seems more sensible to me.

    What's some of your averages per SQ FT or acre?
  10. Swampbeast

    Swampbeast LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 463

    Gee, I am no where near so fancy, I just go take a peek at the lawn, walk around it for a minute, figure out how much money it would take to make me want to work on this yard, then add $5, and there you go. My pricing system. Simple as heck and I have always made a very good profit.


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