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How many accounts

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by lone wolf, Sep 1, 2009.

  1. lone wolf

    lone wolf LawnSite Member
    Messages: 102

    I have been in business for 4 years. I am legit. I started mowing then expanded into landscaping and installing water fountains while still mowing. The first 3 years I was full time and I grew. Last Fall I was faced with the realization that me and my wife needed a more steady income, the economy hit me hard with no landscaping this year, I took a job with a local school district doing building maintenance. But my love is still operating my lawn business. Now for my question; I mainly do resi, but have a few comm accounts. I know my expences to the penny, and I would have to do 10 $40 ($400 per day), yards every day to replace my income and benifits at the school. That is 50 res accounts every week. I have no where that right now. I know it is doable, as I see many guys doing it. My company is a very lucrative part time job, but not a full time job. I am more happy cutting grass than my school job.

    When I was full time I was always busy. I liked it. But now while I have a steady income at the school, and my business is suffering. I think it is a catch 22. I go back and forth as to stay at the school and cut PT, or dive back in FT.

    Basically is that a reachable goal, having 50 accounts? And add in plowing and lawn maintenace items, I should be OK. Any comment and advice is welcome.
  2. bohiaa

    bohiaa LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,220

    Sounds like, you may need a crash corse in Business.

    you may want to look at your structure. for me, I found that keeping track of the amount of time spent at a site was importaint. But not as much as keeping track of down time.

    you also may want to dump the wife and get a real helper.

    Best of luck
  3. m&mmowing

    m&mmowing LawnSite Member
    Messages: 92

    Too late in the season, unless you can just make a couple thousand everytime it snows.
    I'd say stay on this year and hit it hard next year getting new accounts, don't want to get the lawns, have it figured out, and then just sit in the winter wishin you had the school job to pay bills and insurance.
    Now, you don't like you're job, therefore you should do something you do enjoy, mebbe look for another job that pays the same in the winter that you can deal with until it's time to mow again.
  4. mowerbrad

    mowerbrad LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,268

    I would keep your full time job for now, just with the economy the way it is. Hit the plowing really hard this winter and hope that you can get some more accounts for next spring. Do a bunch of advertising for clean-ups and plowing this fall and hope that those jobs may get you some weekly accounts next year. And once spring comes back around, then do a ton more advertising. So just wait until this spring and see where you are at customer wise. Then make your decision.
  5. SangerLawn

    SangerLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    from indiana
    Messages: 736

    By the time you figure you everything to stay laggit and your not paying for help other then your wife you should be able to clear $325 per day if your doing $400 in revenue a day. If you are making that at another job then you need to stay there because you don’t have any risk.

    I know that’s not what your doing but you said you need that in order to leave your other job…you must have 1 hell of a job if your making over $300 per day……is your work place hiring?
  6. lone wolf

    lone wolf LawnSite Member
    Messages: 102

    Thanks Sanger and Mower Brad. My wife has her own job, not with me. I didn't make that clear. I only make $18 a hour at the school, it is the benifits (heath ins. retirement) that add up to $400 per day. I like the security of the school, but I really just want to cut grass. I guess I am in a mood frame of mind feeling like I failed at my business and having to get a FT job. I am a smart guy, just I think I became caught in the down economy. Am I alone here?
  7. PerfiCut L&L

    PerfiCut L&L LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 458

    Yes 50 accounts is fairly easily obtainable. Question is how.

    Keep in mind one thing when it comes to adding more and more lawn customers. The more you have the more your expenses. There is a wave like effect or "hump" if you want to call it when it comes to certain aspects of a business like this.

    One man can only cut so many lawns in a week. Adding a helper greatly increases the # of cuts done in the same amount of hours. Lets break it down a little more. Let's say 2 guys cut 15 lawns in a single day, at $40 each, thats $600 gross for the day. For the sake of this conversation, each guy brings in $300 for the day. Theoretically (sp?) you would think adding a third guy would speed things up therefore you could increase the work load for the same amount of hours on this day. Whic you can, however, it is not proportional to the # of people. What I mean is, you will more than likely only add 2-4 additional cuts. Therefore at the end of the day you may only gross and additional $80-$160. So your per man rate has decreased significantly. Your third helper will only save you 2-3 minutes if that on a small single family home. This time or $$$ will be lost in the drive times spent during the day. If you are cutting large properties 1+ acres or more, or have a single large property of 2+ acres, a third person may save you enough time and increase his daily earnings to help offset drive time.

    The reason I bring this to you attention is this. Although you may know your costs to the penny, these costs constantly change as you increase your work. The easiest comparison is this. Take the # of cuts you do in a single day. Lets say you cut 15 homes in an 8 hr day. Now take those same 15 and put them all on the same street. How long would it take to go from one house the next, and cut them all? Probably would take less than 4 hours. You now saved 4 hours of labor time, plus fuel.

    So coming up with a number is not always the key. The locations of these customers is just as important and has a great deal of effect on your daily costs.

    Getting 50+ customers is very obtainable, but may or may not be what you will need to satisfy your budget.

    Hit hard early and often in the spring. Over, and Over again. One thing to keep in mind. It takes money to make money. Find out what advertisement works in your area.

    Good Luck
  8. fishfacejr2

    fishfacejr2 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 17

    maby you can cut the grass at schools that way you get all the benifits from the school but you get to cut grass at the same time. you can also try geting a gob with your city mowing parks
  9. MV Property Care

    MV Property Care LawnSite Member
    Messages: 169

    That is a good reply. Need more good advice like this on this fourm
  10. Kennedy Landscaping

    Kennedy Landscaping LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,597

    Good advice in this thread. I'm thinking of getting a second job for the winter, never know how the winter will be in Kansas.

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