Prius Lawn Care - April

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by envirocleanhouston, Apr 25, 2019.

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  1. envirocleanhouston

    envirocleanhouston Banned
    Messages: 240

    The end of April is here and I wasn't expecting to give another update until after SUMMER. However, things grew so fast, here I am again, giving another update. Again, we can argue, or take it off track and get the thread closed, or we can be informative and debate, discuss, and talk. If you want to argue against my idea, no worries, but it would be awesome to do it through PM so others can get some info, and keep the thread open for others who do want to learn or read can do so.

    Bear in mind, I started in an entirely new city after relocating. I started up this year with ZERO (0) properties in Houston. I decided to ditch the big equipment. The big trucks. The trailers. Again, it's not that they don't have their place. But honestly, the troubles weren't worth it. Hydraulic Pumps, Replacement $2,500 engines, wheel motors, $70.00 a set blades and belts, pulling a trailer through bumper to bumper traffic, again, there were various reasons for my change.

    Let's fast forward from January to the end of April. I'll be the first one to admit, I still get daily looks from every single Hispanic Lawn Crew around here, but inside I think they're afraid they got a new type of competition on the block. I still get people telling me to use a truck, and giving their 2 cents. I respect those opinions, but that's someone elses opinion, not mine. I'm not ashamed to drive a prius. Those funny looks don't bother me. And the customers I communicate with verbally, actually like the idea. It gets the most attention when neighbors see you pull up, thinking your a "cheap guy", they laugh, thinking you're about to mess up their neighbor's yard. Then after their neighbors looks better than theirs, questions start popping in their hand, that's why I drop that flyer on all the neighboring yards. Again, they are paying me for the end result. Both platforms I use updated their system. Mostly they are now operating by offering the greatest number of jobs to "Top Tier" contractors. This change comes after hours and hours of interviews and talking with the Corporate Companies explaining to them the flaws in their system and how these flaws were unfair to us contractors who do-do top quality work. Needless to say, after 20+ emails, 20+ phone calls, phone interviews, etc. the systems have now changed how they operate and reward top tier contractors. With that said, with one platform, we have never recieved anything but a 5.0 rating. With the other platform, we have over 100 5-star reviews. The top pros in our area average a 4.7 review. We are higher than even the top pro's at a 4.9, with over 125 reviews.

    Now cover your ears. Again, after relocating and starting over with 0 properties in January. Fast forward to the end of April. We now sit at over 100 Properties! Again, every single property is Mow, Edge, Trim, Blow, and Go. We no longer accept any properties over 7,500 square feet, if we happen to be "assigned one" automatically, we drop it, and every single property is still being mowed with 21" Hondas out of a Prius. Today's was our best day. Over 25 properties mowed, totaling to nearly $600.00. I spent less than $5.00 i fuel all day long in the Prius. I paid a helper $150.00. And spent $10.00 in equipment fuel and mix.

    With the above said, the only problem I've ran into is small equipment problems. Honda 21's are nice, with the folding handles, they work perfect. But honestly, they aren't built to hold up to this many properties. We now have a total of 3 and back-ups to swap out when one goes down. Other-wise, I still have half of the headaches of my old set up with big equipment, trucks, and trailers.

    As for the platforms, many tried, said they weren't worth it. The truth is, you are right and they aren't if your the average person. Because the average human is going to think they have to play their rules, pay them their cut, and it's just not worth it. The truth is, there are humans that operate these big companies. These companies have more marketing power, finances, and have the leverage over you or I. But they are great people. And if you take the time to work with them, they will literally change the system, and how it operates for you if you had the patience to work with them and earn that top tier status.

    With the above said, many will still debate my idea, argue it, and that's still fine by me. I'm just giving my side to a different approach. I suspect we'll see more of it with the latest news with oil and gas now sky rocketing. I'm just giving my 2c and I"m not here to argue with those who disagree. But in the end, we're in business to make money. You can disagree, agree, or just read. But in the end, it's growing fast. We surpassed our prediction. And I'm now predicting 150 Customers by the end of the year. And we still have no intention in selling our Honda's or Prius.

    I scroll down and see a post about how many companies here use "secretaries." It makes me wonder, someone pays out a "salary" or $100 plus a day to an employee to answer the phone, but some would argue, that giving up 18%, 15%, and 10% of $600.00 a day is wrong, for a corporate company to handle their phone calls, billing, scheduling, and all of their troubles. With that said, I'm not arguing with your beliefs, again just giving my 2 cents.

    I'll end with, I respect all your opinions, arguments, and debates. If you want to argue that my way is wrong, please, please do it through pm's for the sake of others. I'll end this post with, my way be wrong to others, but it's working freaking AWESOME for us!
     
    Spartan57, sjessen and hort101 like this.
  2. Mowing monkey.

    Mowing monkey. LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 625

    So what if you had a bigger mower and ditched the helper and still grossed $600?
     
  3. OP
    OP
    envirocleanhouston

    envirocleanhouston Banned
    Messages: 240

    To reiterate, I've had bigger mowers. I've nearly posted my complate biography on this forum. I've personally OWNED nearly every single zero turn owned. Wrights, Exmarks, Scags, Toro's, Gravelys, Great Danes, Standers, Walk Behinds, 30's, ztr's. And I've made $600.00 a day with most of those mowers.

    From my stance. You do something you ENJOY for a living. Again, I've easily been able to profit $400.00-$500.00 a day with my set-up, (obviously more than enough for any human being to live happily off of, unless your a drug addict or have spending issues. And you enjoy doing what you do for a living.

    I love lawn work. I have for over 10 years. But when it comes down to it, I hate headaches. I hate adjusting deck pitches, spending for big repairs, and my biggest rant against that is, I HATE to pull a TRAILER through Houston or Austin traffic. Hate it.

    With that said, I love zipping around in the Prius. I hate the hassle of pulling a trailer in traffic every single day to make money. I make the same money with a small car. A small mower. And again, used to, when that zero turn would break down, it went to the shop. Today, I simply swap push mowers. Come home and order a $40.00 part for the broken one, and done in 30 minutes. I no longer worry about collecting money. Distributing flyers. Maintaining a website. Calling customers. Scheduling. I'm clearly HEAD ACHE FREE. I wake up and enjoy every single day and thank the lord I found a career I love, and I found a way to do it to where I can enjoy it free of headaches. Other than (1) Honda breaking twice for $20.00 parts, I've had ZERO HEADACHES like my old business. I haven't had any trailer flats. Nor had to wake up and load a trailer to my hitch. Nor have I had any expensive repairs. Nor have I worried about customers paying me. It's been baby smooth.

    When you can make $500.00 a day steadily, not worry about marketing, billing, scheduling, flats, hauling trailers in traffic, it was the best thing that ever happen to me.

    I've chalked it up to just having a different personality than most. Big trucks and mowers is the norm for lawn services now days. The same way with kids in high school having I-phones. It's the norm now days. The truth is, yards got mowed without big mowers decades back. And the truth is, we wet to school without cell phones as a kid, and we made it home safely each day, right?
     
    sjessen likes this.
  4. Mowing monkey.

    Mowing monkey. LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 625

    For me help is the biggest headache. And you could easily get a 36” in a compact pickup while still not having a trailer.
     
  5. OP
    OP
    envirocleanhouston

    envirocleanhouston Banned
    Messages: 240


    Like I said, I'm not arguing, just giving my stance to your post. Buy a bigger mower, that cost more to repair, cost more to put new blades on, new belts on, and maintain. Add a trailer. Hitch it daily. Haul it through traffic. And lose your helper who helps you operate in sync and gives you a hand through the day. All for the same daily profit. Those just sound like negative benefits to me.
     
  6. Mow-Daddy.com

    Mow-Daddy.com LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,932

    Awsome it booming for you !
    Truly happy its working out.

    I have nothing bad to say about using 21" Honda's, nothing bad to say about using a online platform.
    But your big spiel is always got the prius in it.
    The prius isn't what's makeing you the money.. So it saves you $5 bucks a day gas. You could make just as much money driving a Ranger with a topper.
    It's not even safe to have mower, trimmer, blower, gas in the passenger compartment.
    Tell your insurance company your workers have all that equip in passenger compartment they would flip.
    And gross $600 a day solo is righteous, but pretty common.
    So my truck burns $10 in gas. On a $1000 dollar day. Not a big deal at all.

    Trust me, nobody would have argued with you about using 21s or online platforms.
    It's using the prius. And thinking thats whats created your success.
     
  7. Mowing monkey.

    Mowing monkey. LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 625

    Your $150 or actually more for help is way more than the mower maintenance. Maybe you got extremely lucky with help but I think if you started a poll help would be way up the headache list. A set of nice ramps for a pickup, custom made ones not aluminum strap on the tailgate ones eliminates the trailer. You obviously started this thread for an argument. I’m giving you one.
     
  8. jonthepain

    jonthepain LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Raleigh
    Messages: 965

    I was on a job site a couple of years ago when a tech in a wrapped prius from one of the big local pest control companies parked in the client's driveway. I figured he was giving an estimate.

    He popped the back and filled up an SR200 with gas mix and Talstar.

    It was 100 degrees and of course he had the windows rolled up. And zero PPE when he sprayed.

    It made me wonder how an employer could subject his techs to the atmosphere insidethat car. Much less how our NCDA&CS and DEP would feel about it.
     
  9. rippinryno

    rippinryno LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,694

    Nobody in this business is headache free, that's a fantasy world.

    100 lawns with a prius and a 21" mower, some trimmers, and a blower is a FULL LOAD for a week.

    25 lawns in 1 day with a 21" is literally amazing, I would assume they are all next door to each other? That or you are working 16 hour days.

    What would be better, 25 lawns/16 hours = 600 bucks. Orr. 6 lawns/8 hours and 600 bucks? I understand that's not your business model, but it's something to consider.

    You definitely have productivity at 110%, no question about it.

    When you talk about companies using secretaries and how that costs the company in comparison to your setup, you should really grasp the concept that most of the companies using secretaries have several fleets, and hundreds of clients.

    I will also ad on to the claim about trailers being so hard to drive in town. There are plenty of options for that, box truck, ramps, custom gates to install on pickups, etc.

    This is all business 101 man. You talk about bigger mowers costing more to repair and to purchase, well of course, but they also knock out 3x's the amount of turf, so your cost is covered in much less time. Or, let's say the cost is covered in the same amount of time, and after that your profit greatly exceeds that of a 21" mower.
     
  10. mkralc

    mkralc LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    Props to finding a way to be successful and make money. My only thought is not on the equipment side but what about when one of the batteries goes out on the prius? Those batteries get expense to replace and it would be easy to transfer the mowers to a different vehicle but then you lose your gas savings while your prius is down. Im sure you've got the costs worked into your business plan but if you don't you lose all the savings trying to get the prius back up and running. Don't know if you've seen the slide in racks for truck beds those seem to be a good idea so you dont need to pull a trailer. Thats my only thought on things. Happy mowing
     
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