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Money in landscaping biz

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Roachy, Jun 16, 2011.

  1. Roachy

    Roachy LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 125

    I would like to hear some feedback from those out there who have established lawn maintenance and landscaping companies. I havent been in the business long enough but I would like to know if you guys think it is hard for an established business owner with a college degree to make over $150K/yr in this business? I am not talking about the guy running a lawn mower gig out of his garage, but a fully licensed company that has been established for at least 5yrs. I am also referring to the northeast part of the country or any other parts that have a middle class in the $75k-$100k income range. I am looking not so much gross income of the business either. I dont want to hear comments from ppl saying they pay so much in expenses that they make nothing cause I obviously know thats a load to throw at young kids trying to get started. For those out there that make minimal money in this business Im sure it has to do with the direction of your business or your part of the country.
  2. Frue

    Frue LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,472

    def can do it. where you are from you should be able to do even more! It may take a while to build routes and get the maintenance needed to do it but you can def do it...
  3. GravyTrain

    GravyTrain LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 375

    I'll say this, my plan in the next 3 years running out of my garage (fully insured and licensed, completely legit), after expenses, probably still solo, to make between 60k-70k pre income tax during the roughly 8 month mowing season. That is after equipment maintenance/purchase and other business expenses.

    Although I have no guarantees, I feel comfortable I can be there.
  4. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I suggest you put in your first day.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2011
  5. Roachy

    Roachy LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 125

    Thanks guys. And yes topsites I have been working a lot lately. This is my first yr starting up my business and Im sure I have been pulling in 3-4K a month or more. The problem is I have to sub out fert programs, sub out hardscapes, sub out major renovation jobs, and dont buy plants at wholesale prices either yet. Ive always done well in school and have thought about studying more to go into a medical profession but now im starting to think, I can make just as much doing this stuff. If i were to go into Physical therapy or some similar field, id probably be making $70k-90K/yr. Im sure I could easily make that working half the year and doing work that I love in landscaping.
  6. madisonpressurewashing

    madisonpressurewashing LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 366

    Go to school i say
  7. GravyTrain

    GravyTrain LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 375

    get an education...some sort of education, that is invaluable...not to mention the experience of living life as a college student...you get so many free passes....

    but at the end of the day...do what you love. Doesn't matter if you make 20k a year or 220k a year....you have to wake up every morning and do something, why not do something you love.
  8. ALC-GregH

    ALC-GregH LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Messages: 7,051

    What's the problem then? Is it that you don't know how to do the other work or you don't have the funds to get what you need to DO the other work?

    You can easily make that much and more. It takes a lot of hard work and endless days that seem to blend right together to a point that you don't do anything but work. Chances are you'll need help doing the other work you mentioned. If the work is there enough and is maxing you out, find a friend in need of some extra cash until you can hire full time help. There's a pretty drastic fall when it comes time to hire a legitimate employee when it comes to income. You could be maxed out with work for your self and be rolling in the money BUT, once you hire it's going to drop drastically until you max out BOTH of you with work. A second employee will be easier to afford if you get the work flow going.
  9. 2ndNature

    2ndNature LawnSite Member
    Messages: 147


    I would suggest you stick to mowing and making customers happy for at least 5 years before you jump to trying to make $150k/year landscaping. The added cost of landscaping requires a LOT of capital to do it right and in less you have around 50% down then a bank will just laugh when you ask for a loan.

    To actually PROFIT $150,000 you will need to DO close to $1 million in business.

    Now, I am in Omaha not NJ but I am lucky because the down ecomony has had less effect on us like it has other parts of the country.

    My company currently mows 100 lawns weekly, 120 ferts(6 steps), and have a full time landscape crew and a part time designer. Plus snow in the winter.

    I have to have a Gross profit of $20k/month just to pay my salaries and overhead. And that is daunting some months. Oh yeah, I make NO WHERE near $150,000 per year.

    In all honesty, I could almost just mow, fert, and push snow SOLO and make close to what I do with everything.
  10. Roachy

    Roachy LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 125

    I do have some people that are already helping me part time because sometimes the work is just too much for one person. People always say do what you love, but the bottom line is most people work because of money. I dont hate this kind of work, but I feel that I have a pretty good eye at judging quality work and feel that I can make good money at it. Im only 22 though and at a cross roads in choosing a career path so I dont want to waste my time doing these jobs if I feel Im not going to be successful staying in this business.

    2ndNature: I figure with your 100lawn accts and 120fert programs youre probably avging $40 a lawn and $85an app. This is assuming you are mostly residential also. That would probably be about 16K/month in lawn accts and 9K or so in fert programs. Since you have a designer Im sure you can easily pull in another 20K a month in hardscapes. 45K a month minimum for your business? Not sure how much youre paying your employees but sounds like you are doing ok to me.

    Frue: I think you are right considering youre from the northeast. Ive heard of guys not too much older than me that pull in over 100K just doing some commercial snowplowing.

    Its just hard for me to consider 4years of undergrad at 40K a year and another 3yrs of grad school to get an MBA or medical degree when guys in this business will pull in just as much. Not everyone can run a business and Im sure its definately not easy the bigger you become, but Im just seeing whether the potential for money is there.

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