Number of Clients??

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by shopritecrisco, Sep 10, 2005.

  1. shopritecrisco

    shopritecrisco LawnSite Member
    Messages: 11


    My husband just started his lawn business a few months ago. He has close to 20 clients now and he works alone. I wanted to know for those of you who are also SOLO AND DO THIS FULL-TIME, how many clients do you have? Can you break this down into residential and commerical for me please?

    Example- 17 residential and 3 commerical

    I'm just trying to get a sense of how many clients ONE man can handle?

    Thanks for all your responses.
  2. Scotts' Yard Care

    Scotts' Yard Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 343

    What size are most of his lawns? What machines is he using and how much drive time between jobs? Some of our lawns take fifteen minutes and are grouped together closely while others take 30 minutes and are widely separated. So many things affect how fast the day goes :)
  3. Green-Pro

    Green-Pro LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,420

    Welcome to LS

    I have about 8 commercial and 32 residential yards, the res, yards range from about 9k sq ft to three acres, with many being on the larger side, that is 20K on up. Simply cutting alone this is not difficult to handle and lots of folks on here do many more. They usually have dense routes in larger metro areas, though to be fair. The things that keep me hopping are the additional services like spring/fall cleanups fertilizing and spraying for weeds, mulch, aeration, gutter cleaning, hedge/tree trimming or pruning, and I dabble in some landscape endeavors like bed renovations, plant bed installs, some hardscapes i.e. retaining walls, paver patios, etc. Heck I was even contracted by one client to install some drain tile in a low spot in her yard. I have gotten work comp ins. and have had a few kids work for me, but since college started back up my wife has stepped up, she quit full time teaching to substitute for the flexibility and staying home with our kids, now they are all in school but the youngest so she helps from time to time (keep the money in the family payup ) This is our first year and it has been very busy, trying to get it all done has been a good problem to have but... still a problem, fortunately I have yet to have any job wait to long to get done.

    Good Luck
  4. eliahwoodcutter

    eliahwoodcutter LawnSite Member
    Messages: 41

    i had 50 costumers.
    now i am down to 43
    3 commercial rest of them home owners.
    i do have some body helping me but just in the spring when i am very busy. during the summer i am by my self .
    it is getting harder but i am still ok.i can handle it.
  5. ArizPestWeed

    ArizPestWeed LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,457

  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Yes, it all depends:
    1) What your services are, and include (how long it takes).
    2) How far apart and what size the yard (postage stamps vs. acre lots).
    3) Other factors.

    Your husband has roughly the accounts I had my first year and things are likely a bit rough. Don't feel bad and stick with it, now in my 4th year, here is what I have:

    54-58 active accounts: In order for an account to be considered active, it has to be listed ON the 2-week schedule I use, thus the actual number remains in constant fluctuation thou I would say at least 50 is a solid guess.

    Most of my yards are 1/4 acre to an acre in size. My smallest lot is in a trailer park, my biggest is 1.3 acres. Lawns go for anywhere from 20 dollars for the trailer park lot to 60 dollars for the 1.3 acres and prices always finish in 5 or 0, my largest number of same-price lot is the 30-dollar lawn AND my average collected/lawn is between 30-35.

    My 2nd year was much better, I switched from flyers to a newspaper ad and have never gone back to flyers. My 3rd year sucked as I replaced over half my customer base (some intentionally, most not) but now I have my ad in the Yellow Book (don't jump the gun) and all brand-new (and paid for) equipment, except the truck (but even that looks better than my 1st year's truck).

    All in all, it's a combination of TIME, experience, number of customers / customer base, AND equipment.

    Your husband will be fine, don't let these numbers fool you into thinking he's doing badly, he's not... What he's going through is normal for a 1st year and it can be disheartening but is also one of the reasons why a lot of businesses never make it and it has to be this way. Stick with it and keep working hard.

    One thing I can tell you will help, as soon as he can afford it and it may be best to wait until spring to start is 24/7-365 advertising. He CAN start it now but be aware he'll get stuck doing a LOT of leaves and leaves SUCK in more ways than one. Either way, constant-ON advertising (ad in a newspaper, cost about $85/week) was what allowed my business to grow and even then it still took years. In the end, paid advertising doesn't cost, it PAYS.
    To be honest, I only would run it 6-8 weeks on then 2-3 maybe 4 months off but now that I look back on things, constant ON would've been better it's just I get tired of all the phonecalls, too, and like to be on cruise control with my regulars for prolonged periods of time while the mind relaxes.

    Don't be afraid of taking on more work than you can finish.
    Best of Luck.
  7. Turf Troll

    Turf Troll LawnSite Member
    Messages: 227

    Do you go solo through your route ? What size yellow book ad and is their another phonebook, how many other ads in lawn maintanence or landscaping what section did you place that ad or what does it cost monthly?
    The newspaper ad what is the circulation of the paper for distance people might call you in respone to ad ?

    I ask because I am trying to find or I should say develop a plan on where I can place /do advertising for the best results with residential clients. I have all I can handle with commercial and need to diversify.
    Thanks for the help

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