How long do new start ups last on average ?

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Carolina Cuttin' Company

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
Swansea, SC
Ya I have a wife and a toddler. Wife is also in the medical field and works 3 12s... Last year I averaged about 12hours a week. This year I’m hoping to increase my efficiency and profit margins without adding a ton of hours. Ideally I would like to be around 20 customers in a 5 mile radius that all have at least 1 extra service besides mowing. With that I think I can gross around 40k
That's my biggest weakness. Having just completed my first full season (I started end of summer 2018), I've got about 20 regular customers in 4 main locations. None of them are less than 15 miles from where I live. Go ahead. Tell me that's terrible, but I live just outside a town of 800 where those who care about their lawn take care of it themselves and those who don't care, let it run wild. I try to watch my miles and plan my routes efficiently.

Currently I am mostly not supporting myself financially, although I am working towards that goal. Understanding that personal pay need not be a part of the picture right now, and that I try to keep my budget tight but flexible, anyone want to make predictions for my business? 2yrs from now? 5 yrs?
 

GRANTSKI

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
Ct Shoreline
That's my biggest weakness. Having just completed my first full season (I started end of summer 2018), I've got about 20 regular customers in 4 main locations. None of them are less than 15 miles from where I live. Go ahead. Tell me that's terrible, but I live just outside a town of 800 where those who care about their lawn take care of it themselves and those who don't care, let it run wild. I try to watch my miles and plan my routes efficiently.

Currently I am mostly not supporting myself financially, although I am working towards that goal. Understanding that personal pay need not be a part of the picture right now, and that I try to keep my budget tight but flexible, anyone want to make predictions for my business? 2yrs from now? 5 yrs?
Nothin wrong w traveling if the $ isn’t in your town and just starting. I use to go 30 minutes out. My logic was if I’m sitting on my ars half the week - I’m not turning down $$. Over the years you condense and / or target those areas w advertising so eventually you get a full day in that location.
Funny this year I was just about to drop my small route that is 15 minutes away. Then one of the owners bought a 2nd house - hires me for a $5k sod install - and about $5k of other work + the new lawn account. New neighbor moved in and hiring me for next year. So I’m keeping those lawns as a “loss leader” even though it’s not a loss - just under my target mowing income cuz they are large lawns and there’s travel time.
 

Jake the grass guy

LawnSite Senior Member
That's my biggest weakness. Having just completed my first full season (I started end of summer 2018), I've got about 20 regular customers in 4 main locations. None of them are less than 15 miles from where I live. Go ahead. Tell me that's terrible, but I live just outside a town of 800 where those who care about their lawn take care of it themselves and those who don't care, let it run wild. I try to watch my miles and plan my routes efficiently.

Currently I am mostly not supporting myself financially, although I am working towards that goal. Understanding that personal pay need not be a part of the picture right now, and that I try to keep my budget tight but flexible, anyone want to make predictions for my business? 2yrs from now? 5 yrs?
when i started i took almost every job.. with no thought on my route density.. i dont think your doing anything wrong.. last year was the first year i really "trimmed down" i worked less and made the same amount of money because my route got tighter and more efficient. i think there will come a time when your ready to do that. in the mean time sounds like your doing just fine.. personally i think having specific goals helps keep you motivated.. for me its paying off debt and buying rental properties.. i think some people push off paying themselves and look up and there company has grown but they havent really felt like they have "made any money". ive paid myself first every year it has increased. not much.. but i think you need to keep yourself motivated. anyway good luck!
 

MowDaddy

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Grand Rapids, MN
That's my biggest weakness. Having just completed my first full season (I started end of summer 2018), I've got about 20 regular customers in 4 main locations. None of them are less than 15 miles from where I live. Go ahead. Tell me that's terrible, but I live just outside a town of 800 where those who care about their lawn take care of it themselves and those who don't care, let it run wild. I try to watch my miles and plan my routes efficiently.

Currently I am mostly not supporting myself financially, although I am working towards that goal. Understanding that personal pay need not be a part of the picture right now, and that I try to keep my budget tight but flexible, anyone want to make predictions for my business? 2yrs from now? 5 yrs?
Is there competition from other lawncare companies around town?
You really need to target small businesses, the city, local township's.
With only 800 population not a lot of prospects. Probably less than 400 homes total.
 
OP
paulsgrass

paulsgrass

Banned
Location
Bradford Ontario
The key is to separate yourself from the rest of the other companies. Yes, cutting grass is easy enough to get into. Pick a specialty and offer extra services. I started off cutting residential, now we do everything from maintenance to construction on commercial and residential.
Quality over quantity will get you further in this business. Just my opinion.

There is money in construction and room for a very decent profit margin. The neighborhood kid does not have access to heavy equipment and no experience.
 

Carolina Cuttin' Company

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
Swansea, SC
Is there competition from other lawncare companies around town?
You really need to target small businesses, the city, local township's.
With only 800 population not a lot of prospects. Probably less than 400 homes total.
I started with a handheld blower and no insurance. I got a BR450 this summer and just got insured. I've been thinking about going after some commercial accounts. Thanks for the confirmation!
 

justanotherlawnguy

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
tampa, fl
Are those stats. specific to lawn care or general new businesses ? If not specific to lawn care those stats are useless. I have been in various businesses over the years. First year is a loss, second year is a loss . If everything works out and you are lucky ( luck is a BIG factor ) you will start seeing profits business growing after the 3rd year. A new business has to be in a financial position to take a loss the first 2 years.

That is a life lesson for younger people reading this.
Those stats are probably way higher for lawn guys. Think about every guy who has ever worked on a crew, they all think they can start a business. Only thing is they don't know anything about business. They usually Peter out in a couple seasons, but the thing is there are so many of them every year. It's a revolving door of idiot's saturating the market.
However, even with all those guys out there, there are plenty of homeowners out there that are sick and tired of these guys and willing to pay more money.
It's not hard to build a good successful lawn business, if you stick to a plan.
 

TPendagast

LawnSite Fanatic
“Back in the day” no one knew anything about business

you see people like tony bass, Ed Laflamme , Marty Grunder running around teaching people business,
They all started out the same way, chasing a snapper 21” around in circles.

it’s just that back then there was so little competition that even a hack could make a living.

these days people “think” there’s more work than they can do... but not if the price is right.

everyone wants something done, sure... but they want it done by the prime maestro for Juan Mcunder von tables price.

the thing is
Most guys are so busy saying things like “I don’t have any over head” they don’t realize they have no idea what the proper price for work is,

I don’t have any overhead
But I have a 2500 lifted diesel and a covered trailer filled with brand new shiney equipment large enough to haul a couple of dale jrs Winston cup cars around .... but I don’t have any overhead see because I cashed in my 401k from my job that paid 100k a year (which I quit) to pay for all this... so there’s no overhead see... because ummmm wait where’s all my money?
 
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