How lucrative can the landscape maintenance business be?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by foss, Mar 16, 2008.

  1. foss

    foss LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    I know this is a very broad question but in general what can one expect to make per year in this business(assuming that they know what they're doing, i.e. they bid jobs correctly, they're in an area where there is plenty of work to be had, ect. ect. ect.) Maybe a better way to put this would be, to make somewhere in the neighborhood of $60-$80K a year(gross for the business owner, not the business itself) can that be done as a small 1-4 man operation or do you need to be a fairly large company for that. Thanks in advance for any input.:)
  2. PlatinumLandCon

    PlatinumLandCon LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,315

    I think 6-figures can be achieved working solo or with 1 part-time helper. A "large company" should be able to turn out 200-300k+ for the owner after you have a few years of steady growth. This is, of course, assuming you know what you're doing and can run a business (any business, not just an LCO)

    DUSTYCEDAR LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Messages: 5,132

    we r all rich dont u know all depends on how motivated you r is u hustle u can make a good buck
  4. KS_Grasscutter

    KS_Grasscutter LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,335

    I would like to be netting $60,000 in about 3 years, working solo, doing mostly mowing.
  5. tyler_mott85

    tyler_mott85 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 582

    Mowing is a complicated thing.....You can make impressive numbers in sales with just yourself. But the equipment is sooo expensive that its hard to actually profit. Now, my experience is mostly with a larger 1mil a year company with 3 or 4 mowing crews and i know that they didn't make money off of our crews. The profit came from the landscaping, irrigation and fertilizing....
    I work part time now with a buddy of mine. We work about 15 to 20 hours a week doing about 30 yards and i think we did about 30k last year....with a few small landscape jobs and what not...Pretty easy money really but take out the three trimmers, two blowers, three mowers, trailer, truck and fuel...and we really didn't end up with as much as we'd like. But if you can make your equipment last more than 3 years you'll be in the profit zone since all your stuff would be paid for.
  6. KS_Grasscutter

    KS_Grasscutter LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,335

    Which company did you work for? From the outside looking in, some of those bigger ones in Wichita look pretty impressive. Then again some of them look pretty ran down lol.
  7. tyler_mott85

    tyler_mott85 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 582

    I got my start in commercial lawn care at Michael's Complete Lawn Care about 5 years ago. At that time there were about 8 employees. The first winter I was the only employee kept on staff outside of the owner and his dad. (the owner is my age, btw) I left about two years ago and that point we were doing 850K. I went to Green Thumb which i would say is about 2mil a year now. Most of their sales are from landscaping and irrigation.
    I'm sure Green thumb was in much better of a situation than Michael's. Michael is only 24 now and has a million dollar company. I can't imagine the trials and tribulations he has to go through to make things work.

    I suppose I should reiterate my original statement of larger companies not profiting on mowing crews. If you're wnating to grow year after year you have to put your money back into new trucks and showing a profit may be hard. If you were a one man operation or a large company that wants to be a steady size it would be easier to profit.
  8. KS_Grasscutter

    KS_Grasscutter LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,335

    Yea, went to the Maximum Equipment open house, Michael's had their name on 5 new Walkers and 3 new Grasshoppers. Guess they must be growing quite a bit more this year. I'd imagine with Suburban (doing whatever they are doing, I heard they scaled back quite a bit), that will open up a lot of commercial properties over there. I am just amazed that those big companies can keep any level of quality...seems like overall they all do pretty good work (from what I've seen anyway).
  9. Military Lawns

    Military Lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 323

    The bottom line is that I would rather go through the trials and tribulations of growing my company to $1 million in annual sales then to have to work a
    9 to 5. I believe that some of us just want to make a living (nothing wrong with that), and others want to grow a company to certain number. I believe it comes down to how bad you want it and what you want.

    I would like to hit a half-million in sales in the next 3-5 years. Hire some people and concentrate on the next half-million.

    All in what you want!

  10. foss

    foss LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    Thanks for the responses everyone. As a follow up question i am curious as to the number of employees some of you currently employ, your annual gross profits for the business, your approximate annual expenses, and whether or you are currently growing your company or not(not trying to be too nosey, I understand if people aren't comfortable with sharing this info.)

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