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. Lefet

    Lefet LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,887

    Just a very good thread I read frequently so I thought I'd throw it back up to the top.
  2. PROCUT1

    PROCUT1 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from TN
    Messages: 4,891

    Im going to reread it. I've followed the responses for a year now but dont remember my first
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  3. StrokerTurbo7.3

    StrokerTurbo7.3 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 150

    Old thread but showed up under "New posts" for me.

    VERY interesting story. Helped me realize some things with this being my first year and also part time. I love just sitting back and reading useful information!!
  4. Southern Pride

    Southern Pride LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Memphis
    Messages: 1,382

    I decided to bump this because it truely is a great read. It's also helps the small time guys get put into perspective how the big time game is not all peachy and perfect.

    I used to look at these big companys who have all these trucks and all these mowers, even a full-time mechanic on board in their own shop and think, wow, this is where I want to be. The owner must be rich, and sure, he probably makes out pretty good.

    It's easy to imagine having 500 accounts and multiplying it by an average $40 lawn. ($20,000) but what about those F-250 trucks, 5 lazer Z's, 5 walk behinds, countless trimmers blowers and everything else even before I think about how much you'd be paying in labor to get 500 done in a week. WOW.

    The overhead to me, is unimaginable. My goal is to eventually be "hands off" even though I LOVE cutting grass. Ok, so I'll probably stay out there on a ZTR all day, cuz I love it and I would never feel like the quality of work would be there unless I was. BUT my goal is to maximize one crew of guys (2-3 guys, myself included) that can do a max number of residentials each week consistantly. The number in my head would be 50-60, maybe more.

    I never want to get bigger than one crew. One work truck. My personal truck. a 16ft trailer and my small 5x12. A good ZTR, walk behind and push mower. I want to maximize one crew with as minimal overhead as possible. This way I can pay out labor without blinking and have enough money to buy another ZTR or similar piece of equipment in cash.

    I am embarking on a new career as an EMT after I finish school and pursuing becoming a fireman. Once I start either career I want my landscaping business to be able to run itself and me come in when I get the itch to ride the ZTR and knock out 10-15 yards a day. I don't think any of it is unrealistic. I know what I have to do. I know what I need to invest in and what I don't need. The best part is I am in no rush. I realize that the quality customers and employees will not come overnight anyway.

    I run just my 36" exmark wb, and have a guy weedeat and edge right now. We do between 25-30 lawns a week easy. I will continue to max this scenario out until I really NEED that ZTR and by that time I will have the cash saved to buy outright.

    I think that a HUGE key to success is maximizing what you already have working for you. Don't rush to increase your overhead and have $6000 in mower debt when you are doing 30 with a walkbehind and one guy easy. Sometimes I get the urge to make payments on a shiny new mower. I have to fight them off and realize I don't need that mower until I have 50-60. PROCUT, let me know what you think of all this. I like to discuss the details of business, and what really makes a business thrive. Let me know what you think of what all I have said and more importantly, thanks for takin the time to post all of this. It's always great to hear good information from an experienced fellow instead of the typical guy behind his computer screen talking out of his ace, so thanks!

  5. Ben's Landscape

    Ben's Landscape LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,438

    Thanks procut1 the information was great! It honestly mad me rethink that dream of haveing a big company and a big amount of trucks on the road etc. Now i think of how i can be so much more profitable with 2-3 trucks on the road instead of 10-15 trucks like some bigger companies have around. Also being a smaller business a more personal touch gets up into the job and as the owner a costumer can reach you even easyer.

    This has helped me a lot seeing as this is my first year being legal and i am 18 years old. Thanks again!
  6. Lefet

    Lefet LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,887

    Bump for all the newbies and just a darn good read!!!!
  7. Dogbonz

    Dogbonz LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 389

    Man, I just spent and hour reading this entire thread, (While the colts lost to the Jets ) for the first time.

    I think I'll stay solo and part time,,, till my son grows up enough for me to work has butt off, to keep him busy and out of trouble. Also to help build his character and work ethic.

    Great thread!
  8. Lefet

    Lefet LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,887

    Bump for a good Sunday morning read. Yayyyy JETS!!!!! (Well, the Giants didn't make it right??)
  9. twcw5804

    twcw5804 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 439

    Wow I'm at work right now, could only make it through about 14pages right now. Thanks for the bump, and thanks to Procut. As a guy who has been doing this part time for 7 years finally going to grow this year it is a very useful thread. My plan has never been to get huge, had too many people tell me stay small. I find out tomorrow if my full time job will let me go part time, if they say yes then I'm going for it but slowly.

    I will be starting another thread shortly on my own about trying to grow debt free, and while working a part time job on the side. I'm excited for this year and after about 5 years of talking about this can't wait to do it.

    I can't believe how resourceful this site is. With the Search bar and members like Procut posting things like this. I literally spend 4-5hours easy a day on this site in the winter just learning from other members.
  10. STL Cuts

    STL Cuts LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 493

    Bump for the,imo, one of the best threads I've read on this site. Always good to read through it again.
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