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mow only

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by soccer coach, Sep 10, 2002.

  1. soccer coach

    soccer coach LawnSite Member
    from midwest
    Messages: 104

    Can someone explain to me how mow only co. make money? I have bid against several of them in the past to be out bid by as much as 50%. It seems to me that these guys just buy bigger equipment in order to work faster but in turn they charge less. THese big machines don't come cheap and I just don't see how it works. I have mainly done clean-ups, verticut and seed and so on but am considering a mow only deal. Thanks for the insite.:blush:
  2. sgtgm5

    sgtgm5 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 81

    For me mowing is the backbone of a operation. It provides for the basic costs and covers a paycheck(If you dont own the equipment)but if you have little or no overhead then yes, you can make more then the average Joe.
    Thers more then enough work out there for all of us. The keyy is having the right equipment, meaning, bigger mowers for a faster out put. It all depends on what you want to do and how much time you want to spend doing it. I enjoy the day of mow and blow so I load up mower, blower, weedwhacker and make enough in one day that most dont make in a week- but I do own my equipment so costs are down on my end.
  3. Guido

    Guido LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,087

    I'm glad I read this one.......I almost didn't because the title scared me. I thought it was an offspring of one of Casey's "Mow and Go" posts talking about just mowing, not trimming or anything else....

    Anyway, there's a lot less overhead in a lawn care only firm, once the stuff is paid for, they use volume as their tool to make money. They still shouldn't be lowballing, but they can get away with it in a lot of cases and still make a good buck.

    Like a lot of people, when I was still in biz, I used the steady mowing accounts for my daily bread.......it was guranteed xx amount of dollars a month coming in. The rest I could bid the way I wanted because I payed my overhead and made a decent profit from the mowing side of the bid.
  4. soccer coach

    soccer coach LawnSite Member
    from midwest
    Messages: 104

    I guess I stil haven't been told how someone running a bigger mower should charge less or even the same price as someone using smaller equipment. The equipment might be paid for but the cost of upkeep and even replacement has to figure in the cost of the job. I have seen several mow only co. running around but still don't understand when they have 3 guys in the truck hauling around 40,000.00 in equipment to stop and do a lawn for under 40.00. I see it all the time. Could someone explain this to me?
  5. Guido

    Guido LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,087

    Some company's may justify it by how much less time it takes them to knock out the job.

    Your right, prices (not costs) should be a lot more on the level, but they're not.

    Its going to take you longer with smaller equipment ( a lot longer) than it will me with a 62" ZTR rider. Enough to make up a 50% price difference, .....probobly not, but there is a difference there.

    Also, I know maintenance costs are much higher on the bigger machines, but think about this.....your running your 22" for an hour to complete the job. I'm running my Z for 15 minutes to do the same job.

    All the little stuff adds up. With all that time they have left over when their done with that job (that you don't) they can have a lot more volume than you can handle. They can do 4 jobs in an hour where you can only do one. They make up the difference in volume, and they end up doing okay.
  6. Likestomow

    Likestomow LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 997

    soccer coach --- what is the equipment you’re using to make this comparison to?
  7. FrankenScagMachines

    FrankenScagMachines LawnSite Platinum Member
    from IN
    Messages: 4,739

    We have probably 5 "mow only" companies to every one that offers landscaping, etc. At least 5, maybe even more. One guy I know has an unmarked rig and does not advertise, is not in the phone book. He has a 60" eXmark Turf Ranger 3 wheel rider, 48" eXmark Lazer ZTR, '98 Chevy 3500 extended cab long bed truck, diesel 5 speed, and a 16' trailer. He has a few Homelite trimmers (yuck! :rolleyes: ) and maybe a blower (yes, maybe a blower I said that right, not everyone here uses one). No edger, none of his accounts want edging. He has a 21" self propelled 2 cycle Lawn Boy for mowing banks etc. He and his dad do this (his dad is in his fifties and Nathan, the owner is in his early 30's). I am pretty sure he bases prices on $40/hour. Mainly mowing, light landscaping maybe. This is the typical setup around here, 2 man crew, usually a ZTR and a WB, trimmer or two and BP blower. That is about the going price too.

    One company, the giant around here, has at least 3 Ford F350's less than 3 years old, and a F250 less than 3 old, and at least 3 16' trailers, and at least 3 eXmark LC or Deisel Lazers, 60" and 72". Several eXmark walk behinds and a ton of two cycle equipment. Lord knows how many employees he has. So he has at least 2 crews. Mowing only, maybe light landscaping. Obviously he is making good money on this.

    Another guy has two crews with newer Dodge 2500's and 16' trailers, each crew has 2 Dixie's 60" and a Stander 48" I think. With a couple trimmers and blower(s) and a couple men per crew. He's makin good money too. These are the typical companies here, most are one crew, or solo, but a few really thrive and have a couple crews at least.

    So my answer is yes you can definately make good profit "mow only" style. Oh yea, none of these guys edge either....

    It also has alot to do with the market, here they only want the lawn mowed and trimmed and blown off drive. Not many people want fertilizer sprays etc. Not alot want landscaping. When they do they go through a different company. It works good here and I plan on "mow only" when I get bigger probably. I enjoy it most and it seems better for the market and it probably makes more money per hour.

    Good luck,
  8. soccer coach

    soccer coach LawnSite Member
    from midwest
    Messages: 104

    Equipment is 37" wb Toro. I also have a 21" JD which I think cuts very well. Most of the customers are willing to pay a few bucks more around here to have a smaller mower. I understand the less time it would take but still the cost of the machine seems it would force a higher price to maintain the same profit margin. I'm looking at going to a mow only or at least mainly mowing. Most of the customers are high end res. and don't want it to look like a tractor cut it. THanks for all the info.
  9. sgtgm5

    sgtgm5 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 81

    Ok , what ever you say.. :D
  10. Big machines on good size lawns are going to generate more money per an hour than smaller ones.

    I was one of the first in my aera to get big ZTR's, now they are found on almost every trailer.

    But they seem to not keep their price scale up with inflation.

    Mow, trim, and blow, your missing out on the real money, and it aint mowing grass, it's all the extra associated with it.

    Fert n Squirt




    Leaf removal

    Spring Clean up

    What get's you in there, gets more money out of each client?

    Come here I have a lot of mowing I don't want to do anymore. I would rather let some poor schmuck do it and maintain the equipment and pay the labor to do it. I'll do all the real money makers.

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