Before this year I was doing some mowing as well as installs and fences. This year my step-son joined me and we decided to start up a mowing route. I did most of the sales and as of Sept we have about 40 accounts residential and commercial. We've had a couple of different helpers and for the most part that has worked out pretty well. We just hired a guy a couple of months ago who is excellent and I'm hoping to be able to keep him for a long time. My step-son however has decided not to continue after this year. He'll be re-enlisting in the coast guard. I'm disappointed but I could tell he's not into it. Maybe July and August took it out of him. There is a local business directory which is must-do in this area. If you're not in it, people often ask why. So far I've gotten several calls and its current until next summer. I bought the ads before I knew I would loose my main guy. I intend to focus on high end residential and commercial. I'm looking into some other things but for now I should be able to keep things running with that. If I had been focused on sales this year my route would be full. I got distracted by a heavy work load from doing installs and really I was constantly trying to encourage him to do more(any) sales. I really had high hopes because it's so much easier for two people to accomplish things. My hopes dwindled however as the summer went along. I can't say I was expecting it but at the same time I wasn't too surprised when he told me he would be leaving in Feb. So....I'll probably start out next year in the truck with Jose. Get it up and running and as soon as possible replace me with another helper. These 40 account I have, only a handfull of them are small yards. The rest are large resi or commercial. My 1st concern is my residential contract arrangments. I just got a cancellation of a lady and I knew it was going to happen. I already know getting the balance out of this person is not going to happen. So her canceling this late in the season means that she has been getting her yard mowed cheap all year. I think she's got it down to a scam. So am I doing this right? Take 38 mows/bed maint, 4 ferts, 3 seasonal color, weed control. Add all that up, tax it and divide it into 12 monthly payments. Doing this in March for example you stand the risk of mowing through September or November and then a customer dropping you and you holding the balance. Again this just happened and I think she had intended this all along. On the up side you have cash flow through the off season with a reduced overhead. You couple that together with the fact that it helps sales by allowing the customer to budget for the year. I hate to do it but I guess I'll have to call around to other contractors to find what the norm is for contracts in this area. So for those of you who do contracts, is this how you do it. Im hoping I'm not crazy for doing it this way. I based it off how the commercial contracts work.