possible new side job

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by grasshopper323, Nov 25, 2005.

  1. grasshopper323

    grasshopper323 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 44

    HI Im looking to start a side business doing lawns, I'm not real sure what to charge and what I need to get for insurance. As far as equipment I currently have aquired a exmark 48" metro walk behind and a Grasshopper 323 zero turn with bagger. I also have two echo trimmers, and a back pack blower and a pb2100 echo blower and a 14x7 enclosed trailer pulled by a 2000 Ford f250. Im located in Saginaw, MI. I,m just trrying to get some guide lines on where to start as obviously I have all winter to figure this out and hopefully maybe get someting goin. thanks in advance Aaron:cool2:
  2. DLS1

    DLS1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,619

    Do not charge less than $30/$35 a cut. Remember you will have overhead costs factored in that charge.

    Overhead is truck, trailer, mower payments if if paid off then cost of replacement the equipment (depreciation) in the future, insurance of vehicles (business insurance) insurance of equipment if stolen or lost in accident, liability insurance if someone gets hurt at customers house when a rock flys into a house or hits a person or something flys off your trailer and hits another vehicle, gas for trucks and equipment, marketing/advertising (newspaper ads, flyer's, business cards,etc.), storage rental for equipment if can't park it at your house, taxes, license plates for trailer and truck. Thats a few overhead items to consider and then you must also consider new items you buy during the year you want to make mowing easier for you as you grow.

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,534

    Read DLS1's post carefully.
    I hate that you refer to this as a side job.
    Not saying that this is you but many look at this as just a way to pull in a "little" extra cash while believing that all their stuff is paid for and no need for insurance or even paying taxes. They charge 1/2 what it really costs to do the work thinking that they can put it all in their pocket. Than in mid July the mower breaks down and it will cost more to fix than they made in total so far. So they throw in the towel and just quit.
    But they have left behind a price point that the customers now think is right and the guys that need real money to feed their families can no longer break that point. Don't be that guy!

    Now as far as equipment, It looks like you are off to a great start. Did you just go buy all this stuff or did you have it before. Looks great.

    Just for exercise- Take all the stuff you have and add it up. Lets say about $40,000.00 new. Lets put about a 3 year life on it all. So about 13K a year. Add another $500.00 in advertising and about $1000.00 in gas and another $2000.00 in overhead. (just wild guess here) So about $16,500 total a year to operate. Lets say you want to work about 20 hours a week,(part time), And I am guessing about 30 weeks-35 weeks of cutting round to 33.
    20 x 33 = 660 hours of work a year. 16500 / 660= $25 per hour just to pay for your stuff. Now if you want to make $10.00 per hour at this work you need to charge at least $35.00 per hour for the work you do.
    This is not covering your time to maintain the equipment or do the selling or paper work.
    It is also not giving your business a profit

    So to really make worthwhile money for the hard work that is this business and to cover all your equipment and repairs and supplies and overhead and to make a profit (profit belongs to the company by the way and not to you. Till you pay yourself a dividend) you will need to be between 50 - 60 per hour of work sold. Now just figure how long the work will take. Good luck with it.

    Again, the numbers are just for example.
  4. Precision

    Precision LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,995

    very good basic idea of how to not lose money from the start. Pay close attention to the idea, not the specific example.

    Also do forum seaches. Most everything you could possibly think or or encounter has been discussed and often by very smart, experienced people. Learn from our mistakes, you will make plenty of your own so you don't need to repeat ours.
  5. grasshopper323

    grasshopper323 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 44

    Pm lawn, The equipment i've aquried over the last few years bought the metro about five years ago, the trimmers were given to me in non running condition, the back blower same way. the pb2100 I bought and the grasshopper I just bought thinking of doing this. As far as the no insurance and not paying taxes thing noway. Thats why Im asking this question, I wouldnt dare go out and work on someones property with out insurance. Its just not worth it to save a litlle money at tax time, too much risk. Sorry about reffering to this as a side job, I just didnt know how else to put it. My hopes are to get this up and running and be able to leave my current job, and gofull time. I appreciate the advice so far its helping me get a idea on how to appraoch this. Ive been trying to get everything in order for a year or two so I dont have any surprises.(yeah like thats going to happen!)
  6. grasshopper323

    grasshopper323 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 44

  7. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,587

    its the best example ive seen to explain why charging the proper rate is so detromental..:)

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