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P/T LCO's with 9-5's

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by SMSnyder, Dec 12, 2011.

  1. SMSnyder

    SMSnyder LawnSite Member
    Messages: 20

    I'm in the process of researching, getting paperwork/business plan together, getting my costs right and all that jazz but was wondering how many accounts you guys do AFTER your 9-5, maybe how many normal sized residential accounts you do lets say? Do you guys pack your schedule full during Mon-Fri or do you keep it pretty slim, maybe 1-2 and then have full days on the weekends?

    I'm going to have to keep my day job to see if I can make this venture work or not. I get up around 5. Work from 6-6:30 to usually 3ish. Can anyone share how they're schedule goes, I'd appreciate it.
  2. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,983

    With 9 to 5's there's not enough light in the spring and fall to get work done.

    Now there are people that work full time and get off at three. Then the ones that work 3/12 hour shifts or 4/10 shifts a week.

    Do a normal lawn?

    There is no normal. Some areas 1/4 is normal, some 1/2, then other's 1-5.

    How long does it take you to do yours? 1hour then you may think then you can do 8 on the one day you are wrong. Thing is drive time.

    Drive time to that 1 hour job unloading, reloading can turn that job into a 1 1/2 hour job. So you will only do 5 lawns that day.
  3. ny scaper

    ny scaper LawnSite Member
    Messages: 171

    Let me tell you that you are lucky getting out at 3.
    My hours are till 4-4:30. I ended with 12 accounts this year and let me tell you, it was a lot at the end of the year. Not the actual work, but balancing F/T gig, landscaping, family, hobbies(yeah right - I used toi have them). If I didnt have a family, I would push for near 25-30 accounts where I am located. But not seeing my family at all would make landscaping P/T pointless to me.
    I try to have the lawns cut over a 3 day period in the Summer and 3 days in the fall when light is less and less. My accounts are within 4 mile radius. In the Spring, I will work weekends doing cleanups as I hate starting one and not finishing on the same day. That being said I start in early April so I have all my customer's taken care of by Mid May, leaving some room for 1 timers. Summer mowing is no issue, but I would not and will not go mow one lawn after work and then go home. Not worth it after gas unless its on the way or some 3-4 hour lawn. Like I said do your lawns in as little amount of days as possible.
    Fall is tough...less light and leaves means more time. Luckily my F/T job allows me to take leave pretty regularly so I wont fall behind.
    Fall cleanups are same way as spring...Done on weekends.
    And lastly, be up front. Tell prospective clients that you do this P/T and that you may not mow on the same day every week and that you would likely be mowing later in the afternoons. Personally, I take pride in my work and if you do good work, this should not be an issue with them.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2011
  4. SMSnyder

    SMSnyder LawnSite Member
    Messages: 20

    I fully understand about the drive time/loading/unloading, just didn't think too much about it. Good point, 32, thanks!
  5. SMSnyder

    SMSnyder LawnSite Member
    Messages: 20

    Great post man, lots of insight, thanks!
  6. TripleALandscaping

    TripleALandscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    It is a practical way to start.

    I kept around 10 lawn accounts this year.

    I could easily get these done on a Thursday and Friday after work(flex schedule); which is when my clients wanted their lawns cut.

    This left more than enough time to account for things like weather that you can't always prepare for.

    This also left time for me to focus on up selling other work for those same clients.

    As ny scaper stated be up front with your clients, they can appreciate that you are working two jobs.

    It also gives you a lot of financial flexibility to slowly grow and not get in over your head.

    Those 10 accounts and a few larger jobs have paid for almost all of my equipment thus far.
    Don't get me wrong, most of my equipment is older and used, but I maintain it and I don't have any business debt or payments outside of my insurance premiums.

    Take it slow, try to think ahead in every case/scenario, read as much as you can here on the forums....20 hours of reading here could save you months of heartache and lost money in the field.

    I am part time now, probably going to be part time during 2012, then I plan to quit the 9-5 and go full time winter 2012 - Spring 2013.

    Good luck!
    Have fun!
    Grow your business and your professional/personal relationships!
  7. SMSnyder

    SMSnyder LawnSite Member
    Messages: 20

    Yeah I will definately tell potential customers up front I'm P/T. So do any of your guy's customers have a problem with you doing their yards in the afternoons/evenings? I'd hate to roll up and start my mower while they're eating dinner with their family etc etc. I've seen my neighbor's LCO come at 9pm during the week in the summertime.
  8. TripleALandscaping

    TripleALandscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    You said it all right there.

    That family is eating dinner spending time with their family, not wasting their time outside.

    Always put a positive spin on any situation.

    It gives your client face time, the opportunity to see the amount of quality work you put into their property.

    If you explain it that way to them they usually don't see your late mowing in a bad light.

    There are always two sides though, your equipment better be in 100% working order or have backups, nothing worse than doing your last late lawn and having a mower go down and not having the time to finish your job....which I've never let happen.
    if it were to happen,do youhave the flexibility in your day job to come back the next morning...

    All things to think about.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  9. RGM

    RGM LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Baltimore Md
    Messages: 979

    If you have an night time job it works kind of hard if you work a 9-5 job.
    I tried the part time thing 3 different times and found it hard to keep up with my lawns because of the demands of my job. You get money tied up in equipment that business truly isn't making enough to pay for. The third time I guess was a charm for me I kept it going for 5 years but when it got rough in the fall the last year I quit my job instead. For the next 7 years I went all out full time 6 days a week and was loving the money but where was I going. About 8 years ago I got a part time job at home depot now I have better health insurance for a 1/3 of the cost a 401k and can buy Home Depot stock 15% of 2 times a year.
  10. ny scaper

    ny scaper LawnSite Member
    Messages: 171

    Definitely true stuff TripA! Dont think clients/neighbors arent watching what you do too!!! Picking that extra weed or trimming everything nice to make it look mint goes a long way too. Neighbors become clients sooner or later. It might take a while but on several occasions, I have had neighbors comment that I am non stop hard worker and the property looks great. I offer a card and say anytime you need something, give a call. May not be that year, but when they take you up on it, they pretty much will pay anything because they already know what you can and WILL do and are not just a fly by nighter. Its good to know there are other guys like me out there.
    Also, the most important thing is to keep the overhead low as possible. I started with a honda push mower (still have and works great), broom, hand shears, and loppers. I try to make one "large" purchase every year to make things more efficient. But if you have 5 accounts, why have a ZTR??? You cant make $ because it all goes to the ZTR you bought.
    For me, I have opted to use high end resi/low end commerical equipment based upon the small size of my operation. That means a 55R trimmer, HS45 gas shears, a 33" resi walkbehind that actually works and stripes surprisingly well as long as you dont beat it. Yeah its a crap machine compared to Scag, Exmark, etc. and I get made fun of it by the F/T guys I'm bussies with who have all the best, But blades sharpened and everything tuned regularly, it does the job. Stuff paid with cash therefore it only makes me money. I still use an electric blower, but a backpack is on the agenda for next year. Then upgrades as I gain accounts. Sorry to be longwinded...Just some insight from a guy who has learned through trial and error.

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