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. LawnBizCoach

    LawnBizCoach LawnSite Member
    Messages: 38

    Wow--this is quite the attention-getting post!

    A lot of good advice throughout. This is a challenging industry but I still think it is one of the best--I really do.

    I saw a lot of people mention a business plan and while that is a good starting point, as some others pointed out, it is only the beginning.

    We have all read good books, heard good advice, been to a great conference----all to come back to our "reality" the following week and find ourselves unable to accomplish what we wanted to do in our own business.

    This is what made me decide to do what I do by working with business owners to help them really be more self-aware and then to help them develop a realistic set of plans and goals and then work that plan with them week after week and month after month. It can get lonely in this business and we often get advice that is "general" in nature and not specific to our situation.

    Don't mistake this for some shameless self-promotion--while I would surely welcome the opportunity to explore working with anyone who is considering using a coach to grow their business, this is more an encouragement to find someone or a group of advisers who you can share the process of growing your business. The input of others into your specific situation is so necessary and helpful--be willing to receive good and wise counsel and accountability.

    That's all....great thread though....still love our industry..lots of money to be made out there.....
  2. Rivervalleylawns

    Rivervalleylawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 146

    The problem I have with the beg. of your post is the 100 lawns at $30 a pop. You said that you could make decent money after paying bills and payroll, etc..
    Correct me if im wrong,
    100 lawns x $30 a week is 3 grand
    To me it seems like you could do close to 100 of those by yourself with no help.

    You based your whole theory off of 30 dollar lawns. Unless someone has made their operation mow only, and small lawns only, this would not apply.

    Moral of your story:
    Dont mow only. And if you do, you better be doing more than $30 dollar lawns. But I will totally agree, I have noticed every year my commercial contracts seem to go down or stay the same rather than a gradual 3% increase.

    Our industry is just way to easy to get into, easy access/no barriers. Its one of the first things you learn in economics, a industry like this will have heavy competition and usually have a low profit margin. I have noticed by going more commercial only, the ease of access seems to get a little bit more difficult.

    I personally dont see how the mow only guys make it!!!
  3. DoetschOutdoor

    DoetschOutdoor LawnSite Bronze Member
    from S. IL
    Messages: 1,818

    There are quite a few co.'s around here that mow about 100-150 a week with the owner and one helper every week. Their average is about $40-45 a pop and dont take on yards under $35. Very tight route each week. Very good money there, little overhead.
  4. torotorotoro

    torotorotoro LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 510

    what dont you get about no rent and no employees. restraunts,retail,and most service industries have must have both.doing it all yourself out of your garage will be your greatest profit margin you will ever see,untill you start your internet buisness selling porn.i used to have a restraunt my labor always ran 30%to35% of my sales.and that was with me working 12hr. days 7 days a soon as you add employees your margins start to shrink and there is less room for rent for the restraunt was $2300 a month .that was alot of freeken lawn sarvice has only 2 full time and 1 part time
  5. MarkintheGarden

    MarkintheGarden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,140

    Toro, you make some good points and I agree in part with what you have said.

    I do not know anything about the porn industry, but I think the overhead can be extremely high; talent, sets, camera crews, make up, costumes, etc.
    Unless of course you think you can run a porn company out of your garage.

    My point is that running a landscape business out of your garage, is like trying to run a restaurant business out of your kitchen or a porn business out of your bedroom. You can do these things, but how well?
  6. DoetschOutdoor

    DoetschOutdoor LawnSite Bronze Member
    from S. IL
    Messages: 1,818

    Ummm, I dont run my business outta my garage, its ran from a shop that costs $225 a frieken month and that is extremely low!!! Been there for one year and already need a bigger shop. Alot of people on here run their biz. from their house because they are teenagers. That **** gets old. Low barriers to entry is only good when we all started out as young teenagers mowing grass. Its NOT good when you make a living doing it and have lowballers constantly doing it for less because they dont pay all the expenses a real biz. has. Take a business class, barriers to entry is one of the first things you will learn about.
    Lol, good business comparison...mowing vs. porn. And lets throw a restaurant into the mix so that we have all opposite ends of the spectrum!!!!
  7. head_start

    head_start LawnSite Member
    Messages: 147

    i am just happy i read that, i will keep it in mind, becuase that would suck.
  8. lawnkingforever

    lawnkingforever LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,280

    I run my lawn bus. out of my house and don't see why I would do it any other way. Now my operation is mostly solo and just mowing. If I was big into the landscaping side I do see where it would be difficult. I have a large garage, 2 good size sheds, and plenty of gravel parking for my truck and trailer. To rent what I already have set up at my house would be big money in my area. I also like the security of having my equip. on site. I usually unload the trailer nightly, but if I don't have time, I can back it in my garage or simply leave it out with a tarp over it during the summer months. The biggest benefit, is when I pull out of my driveway in the morning, I can be at my first account and ready to mow in 5-7 minutes. BTW, $225 is a good deal to rent a shop.
    hort101 likes this.
  9. Rivervalleylawns

    Rivervalleylawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 146

    Low barriers is what will always keep mowing prices extremly low. Like I said unless you can get into municipal or larger commercial, where you need alot of equipment. However with the economy the way it is, all the big boys are bidding just to keep the guys working. So really I stand firm on my statement: I dont know how mow only guys do it.

    Landscaping for me is my bread and butter. Mowing keeps guys busy and leads to landscape jobs. Once you get into the larger landscapes, people only feel comfortable with hiring a PRO. I think PRO in mowing is a funny word.
  10. torotorotoro

    torotorotoro LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 510

    that makes sence when you are talking about a landscaping company who is buying in bulk.i was talking about a mow and go. i think we are on the same page.sorry i just love the image of a porn buisness in my garage.if my lawn service fails that will be my plan B
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