How much can one guy do?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by lawnguy170, Sep 13, 2005.

  1. lawnguy170

    lawnguy170 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    I posted a few weeks ago about the possibility of starting in the bus. sometime early next year.

    I have a question for all of the solo operators:

    How many lawns can one guy expect to be able to do in one day? and be able to keep up the pace all season, 5 days a week? I'm in Alabama, so the season would be from ~March 15-Oct. I'd say most of my prospective clients will have lawns between 5,000 and 10,000 sq/ft on fairly flat ground, with most of them being 6 to 8k. My plan right now will be to have a 36" WB to do all of the work, with of course a trimmer, edger, blower etc. I'll just say for arguments sake that most of the lawns will be a 5 to 10 minute drive between each. Any input would be greatly appreciated.

    I'm trying to figure out how much I can hope to gross monthly so I can figure out whether this venture is even feasable.

    Thanks in advance,

  2. ThreeWide

    ThreeWide LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,116

    Just my opinion.....but judging by your writing skills and information you have collected thus far, you could probably answer this question on your own.

    Start with numbers that are very easy to achieve, like 5 lawns per day. Then start extrapolating "what if" that into higher and higher numbers until you reach something that sounds difficult to do. That should give you some idea where the amount of money you make would fall.

    Some guys do 10 per day with no problem, it depends on a lot of things. However when you consider weather, I don't think you can count on that many per day as a rule. It all averages out.
  3. JJLandscapes

    JJLandscapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 682

    me and my partner cut about 80 houses 3 1/2 days a week about 20-25 hours

    many people around here cut solo for years and years... if you are a hard worker you can work 8-5 everyday buyyourself
    probably 2 houses an hour with the proper equipment.....
  4. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    How many you can do is a combination of equipment, experience AND customer base, some of which comes with time, the rest of it comes with money BUT money can NOT substitute for experience, it can not buy it and there are other things which really, it takes time.

    I agree with the first reply, start with 5/day and work your way up from there, back in my 1st year it was all I could do to do 8/day and then I didn't have no work for several days because again, you need the customers. Now in my 4th year I can do 10/day in SPRING and in spring only and also it depends on size of lawn and if they're next to each other, I can knock out as many as 12 and as little as 8, it all depends.

    Some these guys here can do 20+ in a day but then they have these rows of small yards they knock out 6-8 and 10-12 at a time all for like 20 bucks each or whatever, mine average 30 each but most are not ducks in a row...

    I would concentrate more on getting your stuff ready than worrying about how much money you MIGHT earn, I would SAVE as much as you can because you'll need it to survive, things NEVER go as planned anyhow.
  5. tm ent.

    tm ent. LawnSite Member
    Messages: 21

    :waving: It varies for me, I have 10 commercial properties and 4 residential. In July and August when it's over 100 degrees I am worn out after 2 0f the commercial props. When it's cooler I can get 3-4 done in a day. I can usually get all the residential done in a day. I dont try to kill myself either I could do more but I have other things i would rather do. I drove a truck for 13 years and I've decided it's time to enjoy life a little. I hope to pick up more residential in the spring they are so much easier than the commercial properties.
  6. bohiaa

    bohiaa LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,220

    When I was younger me and a helper could do 10 a day.

    However, We were working for someone else and getting paid by the hour.

    Driving time is a killer.

    I would like to have an entire street, Now wouldn't that be cool.....
  7. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    It is really cool, even if they're not next to each other, I have a set of 7 yards all within a 1-mile radius so it's less than 5 minutes vroom-vroom. The one thing I noticed is I can do maybe 3-4 of these and then I HAVE to go someplace else because I NEED the 15-20 minutes of windshield time to catch my breath, so to speak.
    The LEAST I will do is 3/day, I always figure it's just not worth starting the truck for anything less... The other thing I try and do is always have at LEAST 2 yards in an area (say within 5 miles of each other and 3 yards is better) so then if I get to the first one and for some reason the grass hasn't grown, hopefully one or the other still needs cutting and it's not a total waste of a trip (from one end of the county to the other it's a 30-45 minute haul).
  8. Soupy

    Soupy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,125

    It sounds like you need to add to your agreements that all customers are required to call one day before schedule or they will be cut. If you arrive and they come running out to tell you no cut, then they pay anyway. With the scenarios you provided gas must be a killer for you. I'll knock out 10 lawns and only put 10 miles total on the truck from start to finish. I could never drive as much as you described. No money in driving. It did take me 14 years to build the tightest routes possible though.

    The least I do in a day is 10 unless rain comes. I do lawns just like the topic starter described, but I use a 52" ztr, 36"wb, and occasionally get the 21" out. The topic starter didn't mentioned gates, but I am assuming he has many if he is choosing a 36" mower. Go Hydro if it will be primary mower. Mine is belt, but only sees a few hours a week use. I wouldn't want to use it all day long everyday.
  9. freddyc

    freddyc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 578

    From what you write, you have is summarized very well.

    I think another way to look at is on a macro scale. In short, if you can only do 5 lawns in an 8 hr day and they are $30/each, then you gross $150/day. Now with the analytical skills you've shown, deduct expenses from that. You might come away with $80-$100 /day... or equal to about $10-12/hr at a corporate job with benefits. Please remember that lawns are you need to extrapolate to the entire year.

    So... the answer whether it's worth it really depends on what you HAVE to do to be profitable at the rate you choose.

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