How long do new start ups last on average ?

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No gloves

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
California
I see the part timers come and go and I hear somewhat often about solo guys closing down because they needed a steady job with benefits.

It's a good business for solo guys if the wife has a job with good benefits like health insurance.

I rarely see someone starting out going "all in" and starting a lawn business from scratch with a big cash investment.

Back in 2008 some of the install companies went bust or tried to get into the maintenance business.
Benefits is definitely a big issue
 

Carolina Cuttin' Company

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
Swansea, SC
The guys that pay all cash and operate with “no overhead” in my opinion tend to be more prone to fail as their business grows. Owners get used to pricing like they have no overhead - but as you expand - you WILL have overhead no matter how you do it. Profit margins get lower and lower the bigger you get .
statistics :
20% of small businesses fail in their first year, 30% of small business fail in their second year, and 50% of small businesses fail after five years in business. Finally, 70% of small business owners fail in their 10th year in business
Well, I'm trying to budget, I'm trying to forecast expenses, etc. I'm licensed, insured, have a cash emergency fund.

All the same, I understand it just takes one mistake...
 
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paulsgrass

paulsgrass

Banned
Location
Bradford Ontario
Those stats def apply. Too many ppl think it’s easy. But to scale it to a reliable/ streamlined business isn’t so easy. Like you said figure on not making much $ the first few years . A lot of ppl don’t believe that and after a cpl years of working and nothing to show for it - they quit before they even get a tax ID so that’s why you never hear of them. Also the % that succeed almost always have failed and found a way to come back from serious set backs. Those big hits that can and will happen require alot of patience and problem solving as well as long term thinking that a lot of ppl just don’t have. I know personally 4-5 that failed without even thinking hard about it and I live in a very small town.
This type of business seems very cut throat. The local kid could easily scoop up a dozen accounts. People will feel sorry for them, think they are helping out for college money etc. etc. Other types of business there is more room for play $$$. You can go one way or the other only so much in this line of work. It seems everyone under prices and the ONLY way to make money is in volume. The customers are only willing to pay so much and shop around. It is specifically easy to shop with the advent of the world wide web.

Their is little profit cutting grass. I am thinking of getting into the snow next year or the year after to help with the months with no income.
 
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paulsgrass

paulsgrass

Banned
Location
Bradford Ontario
I see the part timers come and go and I hear somewhat often about solo guys closing down because they needed a steady job with benefits.

It's a good business for solo guys if the wife has a job with good benefits like health insurance.

I rarely see someone starting out going "all in" and starting a lawn business from scratch with a big cash investment.

Back in 2008 some of the install companies went bust or tried to get into the maintenance business.

That is the problem. It does not take a big investment to start up as in other business.
 

GRANTSKI

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
Ct Shoreline
This type of business seems very cut throat. The local kid could easily scoop up a dozen accounts. People will feel sorry for them, think they are helping out for college money etc. etc. Other types of business there is more room for play $$$. You can go one way or the other only so much in this line of work. It seems everyone under prices and the ONLY way to make money is in volume. The customers are only willing to pay so much and shop around. It is specifically easy to shop with the advent of the world wide web.

Their is little profit cutting grass. I am thinking of getting into the snow next year or the year after to help with the months with no income.
That’s not true. Yea many customers Want the lowest price - but many more want reliable - professional work. There are a few customers that give me raises yearly without me asking to the point I’m making $60-75 for 20-30minute lawns. But 5-6 years when I started full time - 1/2 my customers were in the $30-40 range and they were mostly deal shoppers and un loyal & complained a lot . Took me 5 years to build a solid base of 50 customers that pay well and will almost definitely NOT look elsewhere for service. In those 5 years yes I prob lost or dropped another 20 customers but as you gain experience you learn to turn a loss into a gain. Every time I loose a customer I have a specific goal to replace them with a higher paying customer. So as soon as I loose an account I really just Need 1 new account - and I’m instantly in a better place financially than I was before .
In a larger town w more ads I could easily be at 100+ solid customers. But it doesn’t happen over night. Like I said the tire kickers can kick rocks. I don’t even compete for bids unless I realllly want the lawn ....my price is my price. I made almost $70k solo this year and lawn mowing is my main income. Mulch and cleanups boost it way up but there’s def $ to be made mowing.
 
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paulsgrass

paulsgrass

Banned
Location
Bradford Ontario
That’s not true. Yea many customers Want the lowest price - but many more want reliable - professional work. There are a few customers that give me raises yearly without me asking to the point I’m making $60-75 for 20-30minute lawns. But 5-6 years when I started full time - 1/2 my customers were in the $30-40 range and they were mostly deal shoppers and un loyal & complained a lot . Took me 5 years to build a solid base of 50 customers that pay well and will almost definitely NOT look elsewhere for service. In those 5 years yes I prob lost or dropped another 20 customers but as you gain experience you learn to turn a loss into a gain. Every time I loose a customer I have a specific goal to replace them with a higher paying customer. So as soon as I loose an account I really just Need 1 new account - and I’m instantly in a better place financially than I was before .
In a larger town w more ads I could easily be at 100+ solid customers. But it doesn’t happen over night. Like I said the tire kickers can kick rocks. I don’t even compete for bids unless I realllly want the lawn ....my price is my price. I made almost $70k solo this year and lawn mowing is my main income. Mulch and cleanups boost it way up but there’s def $ to be made mowing.
Sounds like your business is doing well. That is nice to hear. I do have a friend in Toronto that works in the higher end posh area of Toronto. He has been doing this for 40 years and seems to make a decent living out of it. My point is I would think he could get more money from the $$$$ areas but that is not the case. I get roughly the same thing in a small town that is 45 minutes north of Toronto with a population of roughly 40,000. It seems in this town EVERYONE is into grass cutting. On the street that I live on alone there are 5 people that cut grass and I live on a side street :)
 

GRANTSKI

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
Ct Shoreline
I missed the Canada part. Every area is different for sure. In some areas w low paying customers - you are better off staying small and efficient w the low over head. Tough to scale on crappy margins I agree.
 
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