Newbie seeking advice

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by lawn_love, Jul 25, 2013.

  1. lawn_love

    lawn_love LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Hi all,
    I'm interested in starting a lawn care service, and have some questions regarding logistics. Based on some of the polls I've seen on this site, it appears that most people charge about $35 for a basic mow/trim service.

    How do you work out the scheduling? It doesn't seem like it would make sense to drive too great a distance for a single $35 job. I can see how it would work if you had a bunch of jobs scheduled in a smaller area, but when you're just getting started you only have one or two jobs here and there, and they can easily be spread out across the city.

    How did you deal with this logistical issue when you first got started and didn't have the volume? Also, for those of you who have larger operations now, how do you handle scheduling based on regions or zip code?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
  2. magicmike

    magicmike LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 266

    1. Just because most people on here charge $35 for a "basic mow/trim" doesn't mean you can charge $35 for the same service, It has a lot to do on your area if there are a high number of landscapers in your area, the odds are that is a very high price and you would have to lower the price. Especially if you have a lot of illegal companies in your area and your state, county, etc. require a license and a certain amount of insurance requirement. (This is my first year, and reading on here kinda gave me a mindset of a minimum of $30 a property, boy was I WRONG, I overbid a lot of my estimates and lost a lot of business). Before you start have a few landscapers come by and bid on your property, ask some other friends, and family members to do the same.

    2. As for your other 2 questions I don't mean to sound like a prick but if you you don't have the common sense to prepare your route and cannot time manage a route... you might not want to be a business owner. But my advice is to break up your service area into zones (depending on how big your service area is) Do zone 1 on Mondays, Zone 2 on Tuesday, and so on. So to make it easy if your service area is 60 square miles and you work 6 days a week each zone should be 10 square miles. As a start up your going to have to drive for your properties unless you get lucky and get a bunch of customers close to one another. I would place the most profitable accounts in a zone that is serviced closer to the weekends as most want their property to be mowed closer to the weekend. So if you can service smaller properties with a smaller mower faster than you can do larger than they are more profitable and you want to keep them happy or vice versa.

    Hope this helps but if any more knowledgeable owners reads my post and my advice is way off please let me know.
  3. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,983

    Not $35 for a basic mow.

    $35 minimum for a 1/4 acre or less SF mow.

    One can do a basic mow on 10 acres. No one is doing that basic mow for $35.

    As to driving far for a $35 mow. It can be good or not worth it.

    You have 10 hours a week mowing. You have 30 hours sitting home on lawnsite because you need customers.

    It can be a half hour away. Again your schedule looks like a slice of Swiss cheese. So you take it. Next month you get a customer 25 min on the same road. Then next month another one 5, 10, and 15 min's away. Now you drive out to the farthest lawn and work your way back home.

    Now that 30 minute lawn is no longer that out of the away.

    Or that one out of the way lawn in a desirable area to get business in. That one lawn gets you in to this area.

    The people that bragg they have 100 lawns within a half mile of their home did not have such a route their first year. It takes many years to build such a tight route.

    Or you can sit in your garage, drink a beer, wax your mower, pass up that job, and complain you do not have enough customers.
  4. alexschultz1

    alexschultz1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,588

    I charge $45 on average and my price goes all the way up to $120. at $35 i would have to be in and out of the property in 30 minutes or less
  5. CreativeLawncareSolutions

    CreativeLawncareSolutions LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,017

    I'm in and out of most of my properties in 20-30 minutes and I'm solo. Those go for $30-$35. I have some that take 45-60 minutes and I get $50-$60 for those.

    Tight route, low fuel expense, low wear and tear on equipment. Great profits. It's a good biz and there's plenty of work for everyone unless you live in the sticks.
  6. nismothunder

    nismothunder LawnSite Member
    Messages: 53

    I charge $15 and a rock.
  7. magicmike

    magicmike LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 266

    You must have a lot of customers
  8. lawn_love

    lawn_love LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Wow, thanks for all the input guys! :)

    Another question: I understand that there are many different services people offer in the lawn care space, some of which include basic mowing/trimming, tree care, core aeration, fertilization, weed treatment, etc. How did you decide which services to offer? Also, I imagine that some services are more easily included as add-on's to basic lawn care, while others require much more extensive training, licensing or equipment. In your experience, which services are the best to get started with, and which ones should I look at adding on down the line?
  9. CreativeLawncareSolutions

    CreativeLawncareSolutions LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,017

    What part of the country are you in? That info would help.
  10. lawn_love

    lawn_love LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    I'm in San Diego. :usflag:

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