If you answer these I'll pay you when I get rich!

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by cypresslawncare, Oct 28, 2004.

  1. cypresslawncare

    cypresslawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 46

    1.how much are sulky's? can a 36" with a sulky handle dragging around my 220 pound butt? do they slow down mow time?
    2. can you mow with a 36" mower on wet grass, won't it leave ruts? If it does, how do you get around this?
    3. I have a tight schedule and want to schedule 5 yards a day for four days a week, with a fifth day to tie up loose ends/rained out yards. What if it rains a few days and I just can't catch up on the fifth day? Is it OK to just skip that week and start as usual on their next scheduled day?
    4. I've never even used a push mower, but the 21" mowers that are self-propelled always give me transmission problems (had a honda $500 21" and a $500 21"). So I'm thinking about getting a snapper commercial push mower to save money, but are they hard to push? Are you guys having problems with self propell wearing out? Also what's your opinion on the 22" push murray with the 4.5hp briggs engine for $149?
    5. What is the advantage of a contract. ALso I heard a guy say he prorated his contract to get paid all year round? what does that mean?
    6. How can I save time on edging/blowing/mowing? Any tricks?
    7. Who thinks a stick edger saves time? I consider myself fast at edging with a trimmer. Plus, isn't the extra time to get the stick out, use it, put it back, get out the trimmer, trim, put it back, etc. more hassle than it's worth?
    8. I don't want to go legit, but all of you say I have to. So, if I"m gonna do that, what kind of tax write offs/advantages do you guys take advantage of as a legit business.
    9. How much net a year do you guys make and what kind of operation do you run?
    10. How many of you guys are sick of mowing yards and how many guys love it?
    11. What do you say to a customer if, for whatever reason, you want to stop taking care of his yard?
  2. Wreak

    Wreak LawnSite Member
    Messages: 90

    I saw that nobody answered so I'll take a stab at some answers. I posted the other day and only one person replied so I felt sorry for your ZERO answer post. HAHA

    1. $100 +....it depends on how big the engine is. :) Depends on if there are hills but usually a 36" shouldn't have any problems dragging around 220lbs.

    2. Mow when it's dry. But you can mow wet grass as long as the ground isn't soaked and saturated from rain. If you leave mud tracks then it will either dry up or wash away when it rains. The tire ruts will piss people off.

    3. Mow the missed yards as soon as possible. I wouldn't skip a week. Try to stay on schedule and let the customer know if you are running late.

    4. Stick with commercial 21" mowers. I've had my honda (non commercial) for a while and I love how it drags me around yards. LOL I'd stick with Honda, Toro, or Snapper. Stay away from that 4.5hp Murray. You'd end up spending $149 each season or pay a high price for something that will be around for years.

    5. A contract will pretty much guarantee that you will have some type of cash flow each month where customer's pay up front. I just do monthly and haven't pursued the yearly option yet.

    6&7. You can trim the sidewalks edges with a trimmer but you won't get the nice cut that an edger gives. It's better to have a nice straight blade cut then a string cut. Just get a routing going. Some like to trim and edge first but I usually mow, trim, edge, then blow. To save time just get a speed loader and carry some precut string with you so you don't have to make trips back to the truck. Things just look nicer when you use an edger to edge and a trimmer to trim.

    8. No idea. My partner deals with all of that. I really haven't asked. But going legit will save your a$$ if something happens.

    9. Depends on how many jobs and how much you charge. Some guys down here that land some of the home owner association jobs can stay in one neighborhood all day and do 40 per day and charge $110 per month. They drop the trailer ramp and leave it in the same spot all day and never have to drive anyplace. 6 figures easily. Others drive to a neighborhood and maybe do 4 or 5 and then drive a few miles to the next stop. They might (2man crew) get 20 to 25 done. It just all depends.

    10. I love it. I do this part time and all I can think about is starting up my any grass cutting engine. All the stress just melts away once you hear an engine start up. I'm seriously thinking about quitting my job and doing this full time. I'm still building up my arsenal.
    11. You can say a number of things depending on the situation. If you've had issues in the past with this customer and can't stand getting yelled at for things or maybe the customer is a slow payer, or for whatever reason you can just be up front with them and tell them, "Mr. Customer, I know we don't see eye to eye on things" or "I'm not going to be able to take care of your yard anymore since you are too far out of my route but I can suggest some other LCO's in the area that you may be able to call" You may be able to talk to some other LCO's and give them the customer's name so they can go to them instead. But just be up front and let them know that your relationship with them may not be ideal and that you will not be able to continue service for them any longer.
    TClawn likes this.
  3. boxoffire

    boxoffire LawnSite Member
    Messages: 169

    Great answers for you there bub!
  4. cypresslawncare

    cypresslawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 46

    thanks a lot wreak, i appreciate you takin' the time to answer my post! I'm gettin' pretty excited about starting up next year talking to you guys!
  5. allseasonturf

    allseasonturf LawnSite Member
    from ohio
    Messages: 15

    Stand-on's run anywhere from 100 buks and up. You dont say if the 36" is a hydro drive or belt ? either way so long as it has 14 Hp or more you should be ok. And I dont feel they slow you down any to notice.
    Deck size really dont play a major factor in the wet grass as much as tire size, type of drive, weight, experiance and how wet the grass really is. Experiance and type of equipment are your major factor here. For really wet ground slow down.
    Doing 20 lawns a week is no problem even with rain delays. BUT you wont be able to keep a regular schedule all that close as rainy days will change your schedule for you. Just try to keep as close to it as you can even in the rain. We cut in the rain so long as its not a down pour or lightning. Playing "catchup" will do away with any planned days off though. Hey your in business now and you will have to run it 7 days a week almost to keep it going. NEVER skip a cut if your customers are set up on a schedule.
    Self propeled mowers if you need one arent really all that bad, its a preference in my opinion and mine is LAWNBOY 2 cycle self propeled in the commercial grade.
    Contacts are ok but not really needed for residentials unless your financing your equipment and the bank requiers them, to pro-rate means that you have a customer your going to do 34 cuts per year times the amount charged per cut divided by the number of months you want them to pay. Example; 37 cute per yr. @ 45.00 per cut = $1665.00 divided by twelve months = $138.75 per month billed to customer.
    Mow from back towards your truck and trailer. Trim and blow the same way. Working from the farthest point away from truck towards the truck makes cleanups simple and fast.
    Stick edgers are great, they anytime you use an adger your "digging" down and "cutting" a small "trench" that looks and functions good. I edge twice a year and trim edge the rest a the time.
    Why not go "legit" ? its to your advantage, first and foremost if your caught by the IRS or other legal eagle making an income and not reporting it your really gonna get it in the backside. Besides "legit" you get all the tax breaks, you will most likely show a loss for the first few years due to paying for equipment and start ups. Well that is a write off along with equipment purchases and other items business related. Check with your local tax advisor.
    I run a small one man show most a the time and the money is slow for me because i'm in my first year by myself. I dont have all that many accounts as yet but the onetime shots I have been getting have been great money. Next season however I have accounts lined up and will stay busy and I also do snow in the winter.
    I love working for myself, its the only way to go.
    To "dump" a customer I have had to do that once. I had this one lady that just didnt understand the weekly program. She would call me one week and say she didnt want her lawn mowed, I reminded her of the aggreement and she said "well since it rained on the day you would have cut just dont come and i will mow it as soon as it dries up" . So I politely told her that I can not nor will not continue to work for her if she continually breaks our agreement and that she should look for another company.
    Dont let the customer brow beat you into doing things THEIR way, your in business for YOU, so service your customers courtiously and with fervor and dilligence but always keep your appointments on time and do quality work and you'll do just fine.

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