How to fail in the lawn business by someone who did it.

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by PROCUT1, Feb 18, 2009.

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  1. ALC-GregH

    ALC-GregH LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Messages: 7,051

    Heck, with that kind of money, I could have my goals reached in half the time. I want to do the same basic thing your doing. Work 3-4 days a week and have off in the winter. Maybe plow driveways when it snows to play on the Grizzly. :D
  2. tallimeca

    tallimeca LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,229

    Nail on the head!!!!

    And the same goes true for most businesses, however in this business, we see this all the time.

    Guy comes in, starting out cutting lawns. Peaking at equipment.

    Next thing you know he comes in driving a brand new truck and trailor with a bunch of crap machines on it. Then has a fit when he finds out he bought a bunch of junk.

    Runs all year, nickel and dimes himself to death. The next season , he decides to buy some new equipment. Not only does he have a 600 dollar truck payment, a 200 dollar trailor payment, but now he's got a 400 dollar payment on the ZTR he just bought.

    Now, he needs to get more lawns, which means more people, more salaries.

    And ALAKAZAM!!!!

    Right to the story you just told.

    You want to make money cutting lawn in a competition soaked environment? Stay small and do it yourself. Otherwise, better get into irrigation and construction or you want make it.
  3. Nick's Lawn Care

    Nick's Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 662


    Thanks for posting this thread! This is one of the best posts on lawnsite!!

  4. delphied

    delphied LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,067

    I think some people are missing the fact that this business of mowing now belongs to a solo with equipment and insurance. He in turn gets undercut by the guy with a 21 in his trunk mowing for beer. Im wondering why I ever got into this seeing how these goofs even undercut the kid down the block.
  5. capnsac

    capnsac LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 702

    So you're telling me at $20 per lawn and roughly 15 lawns a day you can't make money doing this? (I don't do this by the way, I average $31 per lawn) To play devils advocate though, that's $300 a day or $1500 a week if you really bust ass and get out there. I think complacency has more to do with failure then actually not being able to find the work. It's easy to fail, hard to win. You either get busy living or get busy dying. Which is it gonna be?
    hort101 likes this.
  6. whoopassonthebluegrass

    whoopassonthebluegrass LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,305

    $1,500/wk x 30 weeks/season = $45,000/season

    Now start subtracting all your expenses... then subtract something for your personal insurance (since you have none)... then subtract something for retirement... It ain't pretty... unless you live in mom's basement.
  7. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,403

    I came to the same conclusion over 10 years ago after running the numbers. With two 2-man crews you're just beginning to replace the income you made by yourself with 10% of the hassles. You're just trading physical effort for mental. This is a low margin business when you hire employees beyond a helper that sits beside you in the truck

    If you want an empire, there are better businesses to be in than lawn maintenance. The labor situation, market prices, and capital requirements are just not favorable now. 20 years ago it was a different picture.

    Now if you want to break the law and dump all over your fellow americans in the process you can probably make it work for you by cutting enough corners to actually turn a profit.
  8. scottgalat

    scottgalat LawnSite Member
    Messages: 72

    With 22 weeks vacation each year....I guess it is hard.
  9. lawnsaspire

    lawnsaspire LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,695

    In his sermon on the mount Jesus said to "keep your eye simple"
  10. delphied

    delphied LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,067

    We only get about 25 weeks of mowing unless its wet all summer and that takes it below 40000. To do 1500/ week here would require 12 hour days. Thats 1500 hours /year before I do maintenance,accounting, bidding, and all the other business chores. I know most folks on here dont have expenses of any kind but I sure do and I know what they are. By the way, all of my equipment is paid for but it doesnt mean it doesnt cost anything. After you buy a little health insurance, liability, commercial vehicle insurance and all the expenses of just operating the truck and mowers. Throw in a little advertising to get all these accounts. Etc,etc,etc........I kinda figure working at Home Depot is a pretty good deal. But guys,if you love mowing, dont like to enjoy your summer and 10/ hour looks good to you, go for it.
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