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Making Large Property More Profitable?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Arvydas, Feb 5, 2013.

  1. Arvydas

    Arvydas LawnSite Member
    Messages: 57

    Hi everyone,

    I have an issue I hope I can get your opinions on.

    I've been landscaping for a large residential estate property (12 acres of ornamental gardens) for the last 4 years. I don't tend the lawns, but the landscaped garden areas.

    I charge $25/hr at this property (haven't raised my price since I started), which I know is low to a lot of you guys, but it's also my most steady work. I'm usually there at least 2 full days a week.

    After reading the thread that Sean posted in the general discussion forum, I've been thinking about how I could transition the account to a monthly flat rate, instead of hourly.
    On average, I gross around $1600-$2000/mo in the Spring and Summer months, and $1100-$1400 in Winter (mild Winters here). This is my biggest account but it's hard when the numbers fluctuate so much, and I make less per hour here than anywhere else.

    However, I don't think that my client would agree to simply paying more per hour. You guys know what a tough sell that can be.

    Basically, I'm trying to figure out how I could be there less per week, make more per hour, hopefully lower the average cost for my client, and provide the same (or higher) level of quality service.

    Any ideas from more experienced business owners? Am I even asking the right questions or thinking about this right?
  2. HPI_Savage25

    HPI_Savage25 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 192

    Any way you could try to up sell some other stuff?
    Posted via Mobile Device
  3. knox gsl

    knox gsl LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,164

    I would talk to them and raise the price up to around $30 or more if you think you can. I know there are several guys on here that rave about $60/ hour but in this setting I think you're about maxed out (depending on your market). I'm assuming that most everything is done by hand and that there is very little power equipment being used. There is a difference in getting $60/hour and doing a one time project and $60/ hour and being on site 2 days a week.
  4. clydebusa

    clydebusa Inactive
    Messages: 1,660

    Well maybe hire a helper. I take it you are doing this alone. If you hire someone and for easy figuring at 10 an hour and have 5 hour in expenses on him that makes his total at 15 hour. Making you a 10 hour profit on the employee and changing your work load from 2 days to 1 day at $10 more an hour. This would free up the other day to make more money at other locations.
  5. Monroe74

    Monroe74 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 322

    When you say you tend the gardens.
    What are doing?
    Are you using plant growth regulators, preventive weed control and charging for them and the benefits they provide?
  6. Arvydas

    Arvydas LawnSite Member
    Messages: 57

    Thanks for the responses everyone. I agree that I'm close to maxed out for my hourly price considering the context. Hiring someone might be the best option. There's not a whole lot more I could up sell, I don't think.

    To be more specific, I do all-organic maintenence at this property, so no weed prevention chemicals are used. Most of my time is spent weeding, pruning (lots of it), fertilizing, tidying, mulching, etc.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  7. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 19,478

    If your not using much heave equiptment and burning alot of fuel to get to the property I wouldnt rock the boat.

    Sounds like the 25$ is pure profit. 400$ per week is a good "base".
  8. Arvydas

    Arvydas LawnSite Member
    Messages: 57

    Larry: all the equipment I need is on site, but I use about $15 dollars in gas to get there. Between gas, and taxes, I net about $17/hr, which sounds good but isn't that high in the Pacific Northwest.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  9. Ben Bowen

    Ben Bowen LawnSite Bronze Member
    from PNW
    Messages: 1,178

    Hey Arvydas- good to see you here. Been meaning to email you. Does she have a good relationship w the guys who care for the lawn? I know you don't generally do lawns- but maybe just for her?

    Might be a way to roll it all together and squeeze some more profit out of it. Just a thought...
    Posted via Mobile Device
  10. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 19,478

    Its a tought call, actually 17$ after expenses and taxes is real good in the Pacific Northwest, as the illegals will work for less than 10$. Even if you can get 30$ your net will only be close to 20$. If your not satisified with the situation "phase it out". In my personal situation Id love to have account like that. However generally running equiptment on weekley accounts is alot more profitable.

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