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Huge problem Monday morning

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by DFW Area Landscaper, May 7, 2004.

  1. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 2,116

    I have been absolutely swamped so far this year. From the second week of March until today, I haven't been able to get caught up. Remove some Photenias here. Install some sod there. Design and install a landscape here. Trim shrubs there. Clean beds here. Prune trees there. It's been unreal so far.

    Well, I've got about one hour of non-recurring work to do next week in addition to our regular maintenance stuff. I don't even want to think about straight lining the revenues from regular recurring maintenance. The annual numbers are HORRIBLE.

    So next week will be the first week that we will really have idle time to get door hangers out all season.

    I just hope and pray that at least one of the three landscape design/proposals I have to do in the next few days comes through. If it doesn't, I guess I'll find out what kind of response I can expect from my new door hangers post-spring rush.

    Scared to death right now. The mowing schedule is only about 40% full. Even at full capacity, the numbers aren't that good. If I can't get substantially above 40%, I'll have to exit the business this winter.

    DFW Area Landscaper
  2. lawnguyland

    lawnguyland LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,108

    holy shiite, that bites. I forget do you work alone? If not get rid of some employees.
  3. work_it

    work_it LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 976

    I agree. Do what you have to. Even big corporations cut back labor to keep their heads above water, and it's more vital to know when to make cuts when you're running a small business. Re-evaluate the entire operation and try to find out where you can streamline . Then don't hesitate to take action, and make the necessary cuts.
  4. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,403

    I'm not sure I'm reading it correctly, but are you saying you can't get good numbers mowing?

    Everytime I hear that mowing/maintenance isn't profitable, I just run down the numbers The money is pretty good, but the main advantage is that it isn't a stressfull rat race, which is what I got into this in the first place to avoid.

    (these numbers would apply back in Georgia for a solo operator with properly sized and high quality equipment...feel free to plug in your own numbers for your market and climate)

    $33/avg lawn x 12 lawns in 10 hour day (avg. 35 min/lawn plus 15 min/lawn avg drive/load/delay time) x 4 scheduled days/week (other day is rain makeup, maintenance, extra work ) x 35 visits/year = $55,440 revenue just from mowing for one man. If you're handling other routine maintenance items (shrubs, mulch, spot weed spraying in beds, etc) it works out to about another $7000 of revenue, (3 hours labor/lawn/year @ conservative $48/hour, with much of that work is done in cool weather or rain days when you can't mow anyway, and on your 5th workday of the week ). Remember, not every customer wants the works, so some you just mow and others require more than 3 hours a year. That's the AVERAGE figure I had.

    Depending on how you calculate your expenses you're making over $50,000/year with low stress, Winters mostly off, and 40-45 hour workweeks even in busy times. And you can sleep at night.
  5. Tvov

    Tvov LawnSite Bronze Member
    from CT
    Messages: 1,157

    brucec32, damn good post.
  6. houston

    houston LawnSite Member
    Messages: 71


    In a post a month or 2 back, you said that your yellow pages ad was hauling in the work. Has the yellow pages quit bringing in any work?

  7. NCSULandscaper

    NCSULandscaper Banned
    Messages: 1,557

    We are going through the exact same thing right now. We were swamped from mid january through a week ago. Now we have caught up and calls are not coming in. I do not believe its only us, but all companies in the area. Hopefully something will come through soon. I do have a feeling most people are waiting to do major projects this fall, so i have a feeling i will be making up for this slump in a few months.
  8. dvmcmrhp52

    dvmcmrhp52 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Pa.
    Messages: 4,205

    It is priority for us to bring the cutting schedule to near full by this time of year.
    Cause it pays the bills quite nicely when all else slows down.
    The cutting customers bring in quite a bit of additional work on there own as well.
    It's a win,win for us.
    Hope things improve for you..................
  9. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 2,116

    ++++In a post a month or 2 back, you said that your yellow pages ad was hauling in the work. Has the yellow pages quit bringing in any work?++++

    Won't be investing in yellow pages anymore. Too much drive time for the yellow pages customers. The target market is a 3 mile radius around my home. In all actuality, I think I can easily stay within a 1.5 mile radius with door hangers. The problem for me is that people just outside of the 3 mile radius keep calling from yellow pages and I haven't been declining the work. But when we do service these accounts, figuring the drive time, the margins are low.

    Paid about $1,800 for a third page ad last year and I've picked up 4 regular customers in areas I like and three in areas that are too far away. Turned down a lot of others. Can't justify it. When I said in early March that I'd be renewing the yellow pages, that was the emotional side of brain talking. The business side says it's no good.

    DFW Area Landscaper
  10. mtdman

    mtdman LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,143

    A 3 mile radius around your home is an awful small target area. Drive time is a concern, but limiting your work area to such a small area just doesn't seem to be a great idea. I hate driving to do estimates just as much as anyone, but it's a part of the business.

    Personally, I think if you are falling short on one time work, you should focus on more recurring maint work. If the one time work can't support having a payroll, you need to expand the regular maint to provide that support. IMO.

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