Is this business worth trouble for the long term?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by BeastMowed, Feb 19, 2014.

  1. BeastMowed

    BeastMowed LawnSite Member
    Messages: 27

    Let me lead off by saying that I am in no way, shape, or form a lazy person and I am certainly willing to put in the time and effort necessary to learn a trade and business. That being said I am not completely convinced that lawn care/landscaping is a very good business to be in. I have only been in business for 3 years, which I know is a very short amount of time, but I am beginning to see that it is VERY difficult to turn a decent profit cutting grass. It just isn't there to be made. In my opinion most of the money made in the world is made off of ignorance. Your lawyer can charge you $400 for 15 mins work to make a living will because you know nothing about it. Your dentist can charge you $2000 for 20 mins of drilling your teeth because you know nothing about it. Well....... people DO know something about cutting their grass. They know they aren't going to pay someone $200 to cut a lawn they could cut in 30 mins. I am afraid I will put in 20 years of my life building a lawncare/landscape business that will be worth $250K. If I had gone into another business it would be worth WAY more. I just don't hear very many people saying " I started out with a push mower and now I make half a million dollars per year" . Maybe I'm unrealistic but I want a business with some upside potential.
  2. 360lawncare

    360lawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 962

    Well I have always been told if you find something you love do that and you won't feel like you worked a day in your life. This might not be the best money making business out there but if it's what you like and you can pay your bills and have some left over that's fine for me.
  3. SRT8

    SRT8 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from CA
    Messages: 1,318

    Stick with it my friend and stay positive. Your attitude will affect your business. This business isn't easy and success doesn't come overnight. We have been at it for 20+ years and we started just like you said "with a push mower". In this business its not only about how good you can mow a lawn, you have to know business and marketing.
    I ask myself every single day: " What can I do today to better my business?"
    It has worked for me, and kept me on track with my goals.
  4. Will P.C.

    Will P.C. LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 966

    You were comparing lawyers and dentists to someone cutting grass. The only barrier for cutting grass is hitting puberty.
  5. marc228

    marc228 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 11

    I guess my first question is what is your definition of a good business? You mentioned lawyers and dentists. You have been in business 3 yrs. The first 8 yrs plus of their careers they didn't make a dime. In fact they paid a lot of money and racked their brains day in day out in college. Then they graduate and hopefully land a job so they can start to pay back all the loans they have accumulated. Now just bc they have a job doesn't mean they will make it, much less be rich. Many lawyers fail and many dentists just work for someone else and make a decent living. Yes a few of the top at their profession make tremendous amounts of money but so does anyone else who is at the top of their profession. They also put in the 8 yrs of extra school to learn the things the public knows nothing about when most people (including you and I) aren't willing to do. We offer a service to the public just as the dentist and the lawyer do. The difference is anyone with a little money or credit can go buy equipment and then go cut grass. Actually its one of the only professions that requires no schooling or possessing a particular skill or trade. The ones who make it plan, advertise, and perform day in day out year in year out. The beautiful thing about our business is that you can make it anything you want it to be. As large or as small as you want it to be. I have been doing this 8 yrs now. I stay small bc I choose to be. I have a two man crew. I have 200 plus strictly residential accounts that I service. I am blessed to live in a part of the us where i get a 40 week mowing season. The rough math is 100 yrds a week mowed at 50 dollars a yard is 5000 dollars times 40 weeks is 200K a year gross. Not a terrible business for no college, overhead, corporate, prick boss, office, meetings, ect ect...Sorry for the book just trying to rap my head around what upside you are searching for?
  6. grassmonkey0311

    grassmonkey0311 LawnSite Gold Member
    from MD/NC
    Messages: 3,039

    I think its time to sit down and look at your business. If your not making money cutting grass, something is off. Cutting grass is the bread and butter for me. Everything else is extra.

    Prices? Overhead? Employees? Loans? Something is off.

    Comparing us to a lawyer or dentist doesn't make sense. We require no schooling at all. My older brother, at 31 years old, is a doctor. Yup, PhD and all....with that title also came over 100K in debt. He realized later the only way for him to make a lot of money is to open up his own practice. But with that comes experience....looks to me like a bad situation to be in.

    Like you, I was running a fairly decent part time operation. I was frustrated with the money, revamped everything, and started over. I was small enough that it didn't hurt me at all. With my new plan, things are going well. It took a lot of thinking on what I was doing wrong.
  7. CNYScapes

    CNYScapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 916

    I will tell you that it can be done and there are more than you think that have done it. You have to remember, this website is full of solos and small operations for the most part. There are some that are on here that have larger business.

    If you have marketing and management skills it is no different than building any other business. You might want to consider expanding to lawn treatments that will help you get there quicker as there is less competition.
  8. BeastMowed

    BeastMowed LawnSite Member
    Messages: 27

    I appreciate the replies guys. I know it will take time and I am completely fine with that but I just want to know it will be worth it 20+ years down the line. I think it will, I am just a little frustrated currently. I am going to stick with it and stay positive. I have heard that year 3 things start to become profitable so we will see. thanks again fellas.
  9. Armsden&Son

    Armsden&Son LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,358

    Sounds like you are getting a little bummed out...

    I hope that nobody told you to get into this business because you could get rich quick.

    Sure, you can make good money, you can make great money.... You can do it just cutting grass, you can do it just doing apps, you can do it just doing installs and you can do it just doing hardscapes. Or, you can do a combination of all of the above.

    I have seen so many companies just cutting grass that do great, but it has to be done right.... How much experience did you have before you started your business? To be really profitable at just cutting grass your business has to be running like a top. From your routing to your actual course of action on the property, everything has to be as synchronized and as efficient as possible.

    If you don't have much experience..... study, study, study!!!! I see you only have 21 posts here... Are you a member on another forum? Do you do a lot of investigating and studying on industry-related forums? There is a wealth of information here in the archives on business systems, how to be more efficient, different mowing, trimming, blowing techniques...

    Somebody else mentioned the quote about "not having to work a day in your life" and I have to tell you that I am one of those blessed to have this pertain to me. When I am not working I am here on L.S learning. Or, reading books about the industry and business and particularly the business of this industry.

    But, even if this isn't you, even if this is not your passion, you should still be able to turn a good buck mowing lawns.... So if it isn't working out how you want it to, take a look at what you are doing and how you can do it better. Then come on here to L.S and learn how to do it better....

    I wish you luck my friend...
  10. marc228

    marc228 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 11

    There is a lot of great advice on this forum and a lot of good, successful guys here. I am new to this forum and learn new things and ideas from it daily.
    Stay positive man. You get to wake up every day and answer to yourself.
    Murfeesboro is a beautiful place. I lived there for 2 years while attending MTSU
    about 10 years ago. I worked part time for a guy named Sam who ran a pretty successful lawn care/landscaping business in the Lebanon Murfreesboro area.

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