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looking to start up in the spring

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by zfisher, Nov 2, 2011.

  1. zfisher

    zfisher LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    Hey guys new to the site and after weeks of research had a few questions.I already have a decent amount of equipment. have a few that I do already but i want to do the real thing. Where do I advertise and how much do I charge. not looking to make it rich in one job or one season but would like to make a profit after paying my helper,fuel,insurance,equipment and most of all my time.
    Thank in advanced guys!:drinkup:
  2. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,983

    Being that you have done a few. At the end of the season figure out what you costs where for doing these jobs. Then figure your gross and your net. Then take your gross and net and divide them by the hour to do those jobs. Come back and then we can talk some more.
  3. JodyG

    JodyG LawnSite Member
    Messages: 27

    Go solo and pocket what you will be paying a helper. You need a lot of accounts or several larges one to justify a helper. (You can always use causal labor.) Business license and a small liability policy won’t cost much. Fuel is going to be a big issue because of the price fluctuation. Figure up what it would cost to replace or finish your equipment purchases, add a small amount of interest and calculate payoff in 12/24/36 months. (There are a lot of interest calculators on the net.) Your time should be worth around $60.00 / hour. That being said there are many lawn care companies who operate on a lot less. The minimum for dropping the gate around here seems to be $35.00 but I see ads all the time for less. It’s been a tough year here due to the drought. I really didn’t do anything to expand and may not do so this year either. I am going to spend the next couple of months trying to decide what direction to head in.
  4. Ijustwantausername

    Ijustwantausername LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,717

    I had about 30 accounts a week this past summer and I only had a part-timer. That includes, businesses, estate homes, Churches, etc., not just homes. Do what you can by yourself until you absolutely have to have someone. You'll know your limits.
  5. zfisher

    zfisher LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    Thanks guys! the helper only gets 8 bucks an hour. while I am on the zero turn he is trimming and blowing.what takes me an hour alone takes me about 25 mins with him.I could just ditch him or use him if i scored a large job.
  6. jsslawncare

    jsslawncare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,673

    JodyG- Sounds GOOD! Follow that and it will be a good start. Hepler? Go Solo.
  7. zfisher

    zfisher LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    Hey 32vld, after making payments on the new mower,fuel,trimmer line and other stuff I was making about 12 bucks an hour from the formula you gave me above.I think I must be to cheap I could make more working at wal mart unloading trucks! That was not having a helper , just had him start helping me with fall clean ups
  8. lawnman24949

    lawnman24949 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 145

    One thing you should do for advertising is run a ad in the newspaper and another in some sort of advertiser year round. One thing you may want to consider with advertising is running a special in the winter months for mowing with a slight % discounted if they prepay before a certain date. If you keep a ad in year round people will see it regularly and consider calling you. You asked about pricing but that is up to you. One suggestion would be figure out about 5 local companies prices and then you can have a basis as to what you should charge. Just remember you may need to charge more than them but make sure it is not to much more because people wont go with you and if the price is to low you will get all the cheap people. Good luck with expanding.
  9. FDJ

    FDJ LawnSite Member
    Messages: 23

    The way I like calculating mulch is by the cubic yard.
    if it is between 2 and 11cy of mulch I pretty much know how much I am going to spend and need to make.
    Our mulching here includes:
    Weeding, trimming, edging the beds edges, cleaning, installing mulch and hauling away the debris.
    If it is nothing out of ordinary, like the client ask us to use clippers instead of the power trimmers. or there are no trees such as holly over 8ft... well you get the idea.

    I generally would not charge less than $120 per "cubic yard" of installed mulch.
    say 2cy or less is more labor and expensive, so I'd definitely charge more .. and anything over 12cy I'll calculate on the hrly + material + costs base.

    That seems to be a good number to be at with the level of work required around here.
  10. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,983

    What are you charging per hour?

    "I can dump the helper unless I have a big job"

    If you have a good helper and want to keep him you won't if he needs steady employment.

    You hire a helper because you need the manpower. And his employment allows more jobs to be taken, increasing gross and net.

    So going solo or hiring help has to fit your needs.


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