New, how much $$ to expect first year full time

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by shade tree landscaping, Mar 18, 2007.

  1. shade tree landscaping

    shade tree landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 915

    I'm new, just starting out. I was wondering what I coud expect to make my first year. Already put up signs on telephone poles @ high traffic intersections, and put out aprox 1000 doorhangers/flyers, posted a craigslist add. How can I land more customers? i already have about 10 lawn cutting accounts set up, but I can't seem to "close" a spring clean up job. I'm guessing that my bids are coming in too high. can somone help me out PLEASE!!
  2. elmo1537

    elmo1537 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 93

    The question is how hard do you want to work?

    Get business cards go door to door.
    Do more doorhangers.
    Put adds in local newspapers.

    Some people can only get 10 lawns per year some people can get 30 it just depends on how bad you want it.
  3. Uranus

    Uranus LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Mass
    Messages: 1,624

    Why cant you close the deal on the cleanups? What are you quoting them?

    It's looking like this is going to be a slow year. Just watch the news, they are saying that there are a lot of people who are going to be forclosed on and lose there houses. With news like that it dont look good.

    But hey, Full time you could struggle and only gross 20 K or you could gross over 100K. Depends on how hard you wanna work, and how bad you want to lose your social life. It takes a lot of work to get these business' off the ground

    Good luck and name your price, don't let potential customers dictate what they are willing to pay
  4. analogdog

    analogdog LawnSite Member
    Messages: 18

    I'm right with you guys on that I'm also starting out this year with a partner. We have about $7000 invested between a dump,trailer, 2wb's, andall the other equipment we need. I've been doing it for someone else for ten years. Part of the trick is how much $ you have invested.
  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I grossed 10k my first year solo, neither for lack of trying nor being took advantage of.
  6. Sandgropher

    Sandgropher LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 903

    It depends on if the area you live in is a heavly infested RED FLAG area or a STEAK,POTATOES zone, i saw a survey on here that 60% made a profit by year 2 a small % had not made a profit by year 4 , but i reckon you should break even the first year, you might not have any money but you will have equiptment paided for, 2nd hand that is, of course you could do very well, thats something none of us know, not knowing you or your area or the bad luck you may run into, good luck

    on edit, i will guess $12,000 gross let me know in 12 months if i am right ;)
  7. shade tree landscaping

    shade tree landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 915

    question of how hard I am going to work is not a questions @ all, I will be giving it 110%. As far as not landing the jobs, I'm guessing that my bids are coming in to high. How do you come up with the numbers for your bids? Thanks for the help guys!
  8. elmo1537

    elmo1537 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 93

    Here is the deal. Most of the time starting out is harder for a couple of reasons.

    The longer you are in a business the more referrals you will get from other customers those referrals by my experience usually are a little less tight fisted when it comes to spending money because they know you will do a good job and that is what they are looking for.

    You want to get work so bad you are always second guessing yourself on prices. Dont do this. Figure out what you need to make and charge that. If you have no experience then maybe charging a little less can help until you get the hang of things but by no means should you ever bid so low that you cant even make a profit.

    The first year is hard but bust your ass and you will be just fine. Dont spend too much money on equipment the first couple of years and build slowly. When you build too fast the whole snow ball effect starts and then you seem to get into more trouble than it is worth.

    I didnt pay myself for the first two years I put it all back into the business but after those two years I am making more than I ever was anywheres else because I can afford to pay myself more because I have alleviated all of my startup cost.
  9. Wells

    Wells LawnSite Member
    from SLC UT
    Messages: 0

    I agree with this statment.
    Also, it's not about "how much you make" but rather, "how much you keep".

    Lets say your first month you start with (10) clients @ $30 per cut, thats $300 per week or approx $1200 per month.

    Now lets take out some basic expences.
    Minus out approx:
    -350 for truck payment
    -100 for trailer payment
    -150 for mowers & equip. payment
    -250 for gas, oil, trim line, edger blades, etc
    - 50 for insurance
    - 50 for repairs

    Total expences = $950

    $1200 monthly earnings (-) $950 expences = leaves you approx $250 at the end of each month.

    Keep in mind that in the expence column we didn't account for any advertising, marketing materials, cell phone usage, stamps, envelopes, etc, etc, etc.

    So, the lower you can keep your expences the more your going to earn.
  10. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,988

    I agree, that's a REAL conservative expense list.

    Consider that "extra" 250 bucks gone as well, and then some...

    How many quotes have you given for clean-ups? Remember, you DON'T want everyone accepting your price. This means it is probably too low.

    For the amount of advertising you've done already, 10 accounts is not so bad. Keep up what you've been doing and you should land more.

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