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Scenario: Starting A Mow & Go Business

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Sean Adams, Dec 4, 2005.

  1. Sean Adams

    Sean Adams LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,597

    If you have been a member of this site for awhile or if you have used the search feature extensively you have probably come across the many different discussions about the "mow & go" concept. In fact, there is a business owner on this site who has seemingly perfected this approach, and has been kind enough to help members of the site and explain how things are done, etc...

    For the last two days (Friday and Saturday) I have spoke to 3 different people who have asked me about this type of business - if it can work, how it needs to be set up, the pros and cons, the expense, the profit potential, etc... I have lots of conversations with lots of people about many different aspects of business, and it was odd to me that in 2 days this type of business was asked about by 3 different people in 3 different parts of the country.

    So I figured I would open it up here on LawnSite to let these particular 3 people see what everyone else has to think....

    If someone were to start a mow & go business - meaning offering nothing but mowing services (basic mowing, trimming (no edging), blowing off of hardscapes), what would it take? What kinds of trucks and equipment are needed? How do you get the customers? How many customers are needed to make it worth-while? How many lawns can one employee handle? How many employees are needed? How do you compensate employees? How does this business differ according to region (Florida vs. Michigan, Michigan vs. Nebraska, Nebraska vs. New England, for example)? What type of payment set up do you install? How do you handle scheduling? And anything else anyone can think of or wants to comment about.

    Personally, here in Pittsburgh where I am, I think it would be extremely difficult to set up this type of service due to terrain, short growing season, etc...

  2. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Messages: 10,178

    i am also positive it won't work in new jersey. so don't even try it
  3. Sean Adams

    Sean Adams LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,597

    Don't get me wrong - I am not trying to discourage anyone from thinking this can work - it has worked for some... I think bobby just doesn't want anyone to mess with the promise in his signature :)
  4. Howard Roark

    Howard Roark LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 805

    The success of this type of business in my opinion (as I did start one this past year) is purely dependant on having several small (5-12K sq ft.) properties in your area to market to. These properties hopefully will have owners who take pride in their lawn, but just don't have time or do not want to take care of it themselves. I happen to be in a fast growing area of Texas.

    Any other info you could possibly want is in the "lowballing or smart thread".

    Good luck! :waving:
  5. stumper1620

    stumper1620 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,889

    well Sean,
    the problem I see here in West Michigan is the customer base, a basic mow and go operation would be unwatered, uncared for lawns, people who water & fertilize want that perfect manicured look, those who just want a mow are weed infested 5 times in may once in july type mows, then getting payment is whole different story, while most full service lawns are quick payers, (near me) the basic mow could take a while before you see the money unless its prepaid. also, most mow and goes are flat out hard on equipment, weeds and dirt ruin blades fast, mole mounds and high spots that you can't help but scalp (even at 3+ inches) and the dust could choke out a cow, (air filters and oil more often) plus a short season, simply put, Its just not worth it.
  6. stumper1620

    stumper1620 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,889

    oh ya,
    And all the properties around here are 3/4 acre and up. too big for that type operation.
  7. greengiant9963

    greengiant9963 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 762

    I believe it can work. I have a friend who basically just mows and blows. He has a 3 man crew and all of his properties are small lawns that are grouped close together. I think they mow around 220 lawns in all. But I also believe that the more you offer a customer like trimming, edging, bed work, etc. You will keep the customer happy and probably not lose the account to another guy the next year who tries to under bid you that just mows and blows.
  8. shepoutside

    shepoutside LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,208

    There are a few of this type of set up around my area, and as we are a " bedroom community" For Toronto, that meaning, people live in Toronto, and drive 1 hour to My area, that they have no use for the outdoors. Most don't have gardens, or even bother with trees, and all they want, is the basic. This is all most people want, so this type of set up is fast becoming popular around here. Most of the new subdivisions are not alot of property, as thats what the expense is, so most have walk behind mowers.
  9. Turfdude

    Turfdude LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,899

    Wasn't it you who started a thread about a second company the leagalities, etc.. for a mow, blow & go company w/ cheaper prices & lesser service. You are all over the place w/ your stories. Customer appreciation week, don't do something for nothing, etc.

    Back to the topic: as stated above, m,b, & g services do work everywhere. They attract lesser paying clients who really do not care about the appearance of their property, just that the grass is cut. They generally want 2 week or lesser service, want a 8-10" lawn cut down to 1 1/2" and have a service because they're too lazy to do it themselves. You generally won't get any up-sells from them, maybe occasional pruning when stuff is totally overgrown and of course will beat you up on your price. Any leaf removal will be "when all of the leaves are down". If you're just starting out and need work, a lot of guys will take "whatever they can get". It is tough to have employees w/ this clientele base. You must also take into consideration the extra wear & tear on your equipment for cutting high grass, and for mowing in extra dusty conditions. Personally, we strive to cater to the high-end residentials who want pristine properties which some refer to as "PITAS", but those people pay top $$ for a job well done in a timely fashion. THats my niche. To each his own.
  10. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,447

    The mow and go works well in our city. There are probably 300 different subdivisions with 300+ homes in each. Most lots are 10K(with 36" gates) and 85% of the people don't care about full service items like bushes/fert/aeration/pest/disease adders. And 20% don't want weekly mowing. They are looking for a low monthly payment!!!! When you can have a 4 man crew mowing in an area all day you can bring in some very good money. On the other hand there are still probably 20,000 homes that want full service with very good money.

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