Ouch...Lesson Learned

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Firefighter Dave, Jul 10, 2002.

  1. Firefighter Dave

    Firefighter Dave LawnSite Member
    Messages: 166

    The new kid on the block (that's me) has been working out of the back of my truck for the last month and a half. Today just as I was starting to cut a lot, two lots down was a "pro." I have just a K-mart Special 21" push mower, hand blower and a gas whipper. This guy two lots down has a huge trailer, one of those zippidy Z's, and a helper. Lesson learned today - took me almost 45 min to cut this lot, Mr Zippidy Z - less than 20 min, I need one of those Zippidy Z's next year when I expand. Even though I won't get a rider, makes me think twice about getting a Hydro over a Belt Exmark!!!!

    Just Venting,

    :blob2: :blob2: :blob2:
  2. Scraper

    Scraper LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,656

    Don't worry. Most of us started just like you. Just save that money and reinvest, reinvest, reinvest....
  3. C & S

    C & S LawnSite Member
    Messages: 125

    I also feel your pain. Started out this spring and I am having some troubles. Just hope the future is brighter!!!:cool:
  4. awm

    awm LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,354

    if u are a paid fire fighter . around here they make pretty good. i advise u to go on to a 52 z. lazer mabe. after a month u will be glad ,is my opinion. keep the 21.
    i do believe every fireman i know ,has another job or buisiness. good luck whatever.
  5. coonman

    coonman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 686

    Dave, whats wrong with 45 min to complete a lawn. I do most of mine in 45 min and charge 30-35 per lawn. That is good money in my mind. I have very little overhead ( no trailer, 21inch toro and a 30inch sarlo and trimmers and edgers). This guy is probably pulling around 20,000 dollars worth of equipment and is paying a helper. Unless you plan to get very large commercial accounts, I believe in staying lean and mean and keeping cost down. Just my opinion though. I can make 300 a day with this equipment and do not pay a helper. Good luck!!

  6. Firefighter Dave

    Firefighter Dave LawnSite Member
    Messages: 166

    Because I only get $15.00 for the lot...... I am sure he also charges $15.00 for the same size lot..... Just saying the lesson I learned was bigger machines do a better and fast job.


    :blob2: :blob2:
  7. Albemarle Lawn

    Albemarle Lawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,544

    Zippeddy Z was probably trying not to spill the coffee in his cupholder. At 20 Minutes sounds like he was pushing the sticks about 1/4 of their forward travel, with throttle set at 75%

    If you took 45 Min with a push mower, myself + helper would be able to mow the same prop in 5-6 minutes. (Provided it is under 1 acre).

    (2 72" ZTR's, wide open, 11 Acres/hour)

  8. bubble boy

    bubble boy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,020

    45 min job, even with a push mower, you should up your price.

    that guy, ill tell you, is charging more. took him 20 min, or 2/3 man hours - $22.5 hour. that does not buy a z. or a hydro. might buy a belt, but wont leave much to fill it with gas.

    whats the general rule? about $1 per inch of mower deck per hour?

    if you had a self propelled 21", could cut your time to 1/2 hour. thats $30/hr, which isnt bad, depending on your market.

    a good point was made, that as a firerfighter you have the option to truly work smarter, not harder. if you want a z, make sure you charge a price to pay for it. you can grow slow and be extra profitable, since volume shouldn't be an issue with your main income being pretty decent.
  9. proline32

    proline32 LawnSite Senior Member
    from 98383
    Messages: 278

    DUDE, up your rates.... $15.00 for 45 minutes of work is not good, ( I learned this the hard way) how can you expect to pay for that nice hydro ? I would get at least $28.00 for the 45 minutes then you get a larger machine and cut your time down and still charge the same. You'll get there...... Just takes time and experience.
  10. Same lesson here ...

    Back when my main mower was a 32" Toro, I was getting ready to do a corner lot when I noticed the one next door needed a mow. But when I asked for the work, the lady said that someone was on the way.

    Anyway, I was about 1/2 way done with this corner lot making back and forth passes across the front, corner, then the side. Then coming back around the corner, I saw a 72" Liquid-Cooled Dixie Chopper sitting in the middle of that other lawn. I thought, "Cool, now I get to see one of those $16,000 machines at work."

    Wrong!!! As I watched, he retracted his deck (sounded like a flock of Blackhawk Helicopters taking off). In other words, in less time than it took me to complete one lap on that corner lot, he showed up, unloaded, and finished the front lawn!!!

    By the way, he scalped the snot out of it too, hehe.

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