Please help me

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by C&L, Feb 24, 2005.

  1. C&L

    C&L LawnSite Member
    from mn
    Messages: 11

    Wow, great web site!
    I am looking for some advice. I have read most post here and haven’t found the exact answer's I am looking for. I have run a successful landscape business for the last five years. I am in the process of entering the lawn care market. I will be taking my pesticide applicators license test in a few weeks. My plan (which could change after I hear some input) is to buy a used enclosed v-nose drive on, drive off trailer. I would have it professionally stickered up. The thought behind this is that the extra money spent on the trailer is good marketing? I already own Sthil power brooms, weed whackers, chain saw and a blower that see sporadic use in the landscape division. I thought I would buy the trailer, a larger mower (main question) and a trimmer mower (another question). I was thinking of keeping just one or two (any thoughts here) employees busy two to three days a week. I am planning on about 18-25 commercial accounts, maybe some residential.
    What kind of mower should I start with? A new Kubota 60" zero turn, a used walk behind? There is such a huge difference here. I don't want the stuff breaking down all the time. I want to keep my overhead under control. I am looking at 9k to 40k sq ft size accounts. Also I figure our overhead based on gross volume. My early projections on this venture put my overhead around 29% of my gross volume leaving 70% for labor and profit. I figured my fertilizer into my overhead. Does this seem to be concurrent with your businesses? Where do you like to see your net profit? I am looking at bidding around $50. per man hr. I will bid contract, but figure my time do the job based the $50. mark. Sound right?
    I will stop here for now.

    I really hope to gain some insight here.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. plateau lawn care

    plateau lawn care LawnSite Member
    from georgia
    Messages: 195

    If you have the money, cutting that size lawns get a rider and a walk behind and a 21 inch push. That should take care of any problem that should arise. Walk behind for any hills a rider couldn't hold. Also get hydro's not belt drives
  3. westwind

    westwind LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 444

    you can charge more for mowing, depends on where the clients are in minnesota. as for machines that also depends on where you are located. i would choose whoever has the closest dealers. 52in. cut has got to be the minimum, for those type pf accounts. trim mower, do you mean 21in, or a larger commercial unit for gates like a 32 or 36. i am located in the west metro. and i seem to be able to get 1.00 to 1.75 dollars an hour. i am not the cheapest on the block. good luck! payup
  4. TScapes

    TScapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 453

    This is a big debate amongst landscape companies, including myself. (Riders vs. Walkbehinds) I personally feel that your clientele will determin your needs. I have 100% commercial and do anything from 10acres to 10,000 sq. ft. of turf. My one account that has 10 acres, is a mall. I can actually cut this property just as quickly using 2 48" walkbehinds on velkes than with one 61" ztr and a 48" w/ velke. Plus, on cost factor alone, you can purchase (2) walkbehinds for a little over the average price of a 60"+ ztr. Not to mention the versatility that it gives you. Several companies won't bid on a property unless they can get their large ztr on it. What they don't understand is that it costs them more to opperate that bigger mower per hour than it does a mid mower.
    A two man crew should generate atleast $100k-200k in annual sales. That figures to be $50k per person. Whether that means you have one property or 25, it still should come out the same. Personally, I believe it takes just as much time and effort to sell the larger clients as it does the small residential, only with much less "hand-holding" during the year. Good Luck!
  5. C&L

    C&L LawnSite Member
    from mn
    Messages: 11

    did you mean per minute? or am i confused?
  6. westwind

    westwind LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 444

    yes per minute. :dizzy:

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