Question concerning SOLO OPS

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by dcplace2004, May 9, 2006.

  1. dcplace2004

    dcplace2004 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 423

    Solo ops have to consider that it takes longer to mow a lawn by themselves. The question is how do they adjust their prices against the 2, 3, and 4 man crews that take half the time of less to cut the same exact lawn. I have a lawn that takes me 35 to 40 minutes to mow, edge, trim, blow. Now, do I charge 35 to 40 dollars and this "dollar a minute thing" for this lawn when the crews are charging 25 and 30? I don't think the customers are trying to hear it. I am thinking that I have to eat that extra time and charge the 25 to 30 and live with it. What do you think? I am using a push mower again this year and up against the walkbehinds...Good for me because I lose weight and stay fit walking many, many, miles a day - bad for time and money.
  2. Jpocket

    Jpocket LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,281

    Yes it may take you longer to do the job but it costs you much less per hour to operate....your not paying 3 guys $10 an hour, and burning twice as much fuel cuz you have twice as many machines running, and you not paying WC.
  3. wski4fun

    wski4fun LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 323

    of course you can't make the same amount with a push mower as you can with a walkbehind 36/48/52. If you could where would be the incentive for anyone to buy one. Did I miss something or do you not understand the principles of business?
  4. PGA

    PGA LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 710

    My prices are right in line with 90% of the big companies around here and Im solo.
  5. dcplace2004

    dcplace2004 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 423

    but to me, to spend 3 and 4 grand on a walkbehind will have to wait until my business grows. I don't buy myself into debt then get accounts, but get the accounts first and then buy with cash. It is true that my BR600 backpack blower saves me time but it had to pay for itself first. If a monkey had just a little more sense, they would be out mowing lawns and customers know this. Therefore, why do people call solo ops? For the most part, it is cost. People think the little guys will charge less. When I show up and estimate 36.50 for a 6000 sq foot lawn and that is what the large companys charge, then personally, if it were me, I would go with the large company. Just what do you think you offer to justify charging the same as a big company. Do you juggle balls while you mow? Do you have a magic show after you mow? Do you do tricks on your mower like headstands? You can offer a higher quality than the kids that big companies hire. Most kids are worrying about their next date and the pimples on their face than mowing and trimming a lawn with precision.
  6. Jpocket

    Jpocket LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,281

    If you present your self right, and have the right image, most ppl. won't know your solo until they happen to see you mowing on day, when I was solo most didn't know it until they came home on there lunch break or I go there B4 they left for work. JM 0.2
  7. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,501

    It's simple, you price accordingly to the total amount of time a job will take whether it's with 1 person or 5.
  8. scagwildcat

    scagwildcat LawnSite Senior Member
    from nw. ct.
    Messages: 507

    this is what you need to think of, fist off, by the time you save money to pay cash for every thing, something else will come up that you need to pay for, also you need credit, second you cant really wait to get a job for you to purchase equipment, if someone calls you to trimm srubs, do you go get a cheap one just to do that job,or should you already have what it takes to be in buisness? as far as you time/income, well look at it this way, for the time it takes you to mow one acre yourself, you could have had a second lawn started with a comm. mower.. thus increases your profit... as far as your and the big companies, well, im a solo opp. and im priced right with them, you need to know what the going rate is in your area. as far as people asking you if you have workers, feel the client out, tell them that you have part time help when you need it.... then tell them that you mostly work alone on the smaller jobs to ensure quality at all tiimes... verses the bigger companies that hire school kids that just dont care....set your self apart!! this will allow your clients to view you as a profesional, and not just a solo opp, that should be cheap!!!!! as for myself, ive been in your shoes, i still deal with your issue now myself. the advise i gave you help me set myself apart from the rest.. i hope it helps you also,,,, good luck
  9. JohnsonLawn

    JohnsonLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 400

    When I first started out I also considered using a push mower, but then realized that I did not want to look like a subpar, half a$$ operation. I wanted to be taken serious and promote a professional appearance. I also figured that having the right equipment is going to make me more money. I purchased a brand new 48" walkbehind before I had 1 customer (maybe not smart). I am glad I did, because some of the properties I did get would have taken me all day with a push mower. My advice is get some decent equipment (does not have to be new), as there is an investment in every business, promote a professional appearance, do the best possible work you can, and by all means dont be afraid to charge for your work. If you do good work people will pay for it. Rememeber if you land every job you bid on, your not charging enough money. Good Luck this season
  10. mowerman90

    mowerman90 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,491

    Not necessarily, many times over the last 17 years that I've been in business as a solo operator, I've pulled up to a 10K lawn to see a crew of 2 mowing the 10K lawn next door. And guess what? I've finished before they did. Why? Well, for one thing I use the most productive equipment made, i.e. Hustler Super Z (15mph). Another is the fact that I'm working for ME, not someone else.

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