Non-business man needs help

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by nashvilllian, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. nashvilllian

    nashvilllian LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    I'm not much of a business man and it shows in my financials. Up to now, I haven't taken the time to crunch the numbers the way I should, but I'm not really sure how to do this. I have calculated jobs based on what I think is a fair price, but I know I cannot survive financially with that mentality. I have read many posts and have heard of spreadsheets but do not have one for myself.

    I have been in business for 4 years and want to make it through a winter without borrowing funds to make it through to spring.

    I'm not really sure where to start. Any help is appreciated. I am happy to answer any questions you guys have.
  2. MasScape

    MasScape LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 258

    I highly believe in education to be successful. I would really suggest going to the local community college take a business 101 class. It will help you greatly in the future and pay for itself quickly. Right now, doing things such as setting up a spreadsheet that has your monthly costs, billable amounts, payments outstanding, and etc. Could really help you basically see the bigger picture. Or starting to use a form of software like quickbooks and really use it. When you purchase things such as gas, parts, seed, and etc. Always enter it in the system to you can truely track your costs. That will help you with the overall business management. A lot more you can do but just to start.

    Bidding, you really need to find out your cost and how much you wish to markup for profit. How much gas your mower is using for 1 hour of opperation and same for other equipment. Nothing has to be completely exact but closer you get the better you have a handle on your cost of doing business. As always, you never want to be doing a job that you are only breaking even with how much you are charging and cost of doing it. Anyways, just little on the subject. I would really recommend if you feel your not good with business that little night class or such could do you a world of good.
  3. nashvilllian

    nashvilllian LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    Thanks Chris.

    I have quickbooks, but I do not think I am getting the most out of it.

    I have never calculated the cost of operating equipment/truck but I know I need to.
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    I don't like to have different pages of a computer screen showing the critical numbers separately... I find it is much simpler to understand if it written on a sheet of paper...
    You'll want to see from your business checkbook how much you've paid out for operating expenses for the week.., look at your time card and see how much money you'll be able to bill for the week...
    Let that trend for the month when you add in your installment payments for the business only(include taxes for a realistic view)...

    Subtract expense column total from the income column total and that is your personal money... Divide that by 12 and put away 1/12 for each month you're off work in the winter...

    People confuse themselves by making a fuss about details that really don't matter until you're actually doing the tax return... a good ballpark figure is all you really need to get a grip on your finances... :)
  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    BTW, for your truck go with SMR(Standard Mileage Rate) at tax time, but for now just keep track of the expenses in your Business Checkbook to monitor the finances...
  6. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,996

    Find a good CPA. By that, I mean one who will sit down with you, lay out what to track and how to understand it, and meet with you on a regular business. This person will have a network of people they can refer you to as you need them - attorney, bookkeeper, etc.

    These CPAs can be hard to find, but you can start by asking at the chamber of commerce or your local SBDC (Small Business Development Center).

    You can spend days worth of hours cobbling together advice from the internet, or you can find someone who can rock your world with knowledge. I wasted a lot of time trying to do it the first way to save a buck.
  7. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    I remember when I spent winters working at tax prep and one thing that we do is just give enough information to let the prospect know that he/she doesn't have a clue what they're doing and we do it all for them... a new client... most of the time those questions arise becuz they were overthinking ideas that don't even apply to what they need to do... :)

Share This Page