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single man show/hourly operating cost

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by bobbygedd, Dec 29, 2003.

  1. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Messages: 10,178

    for you solo operators, have you figured out what it costs you hourly to run your business?
  2. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,501

    Over 30 views bobby and no replies. Pretty sad IMO cause this says no one (solo ops.) has any idea on what it's costing him or her to operate their business.

    Makes ya wonder...
  3. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Messages: 10,178

    yea rod, this is incredible. i talked with two guys i know the other day. they have both been in business for over 20 yrs. neither of them had a clue, not even a tiny clue, of what it cost them to operate. they even called me "stupid" for inquiring, saying that i was making mountains out of molehills, "its only a lawn service" they said, no reason to to make things so "technical". i promised them both, that i would beat thier bottom line my first year full time.
  4. Turf Dancer

    Turf Dancer LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 681

    My rough estimate is that it cost me between $5.50 and $6 including Equipment and vehicle costs associated with my business. That will change now that I trying to go full time and I will need bigger equipment.
  5. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,501

    I admire your reply TD, but tht figure seems low when you need to consider the all of the following...

    1. Fuel & Oil
    2. Insurance
    3. Registration and Title
    4. Depreciation
    5. Replacement
    6. Employee labor cost to operate
    7. Normal wear & tear
    8. Initial purchase
    9. Etc., etc., etc.

    Need I go on???
  6. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Messages: 10,178

    rod, i've been over my plan and projected totals for this upcomming season. it will cost me roughly $6.30 an hour to operate, if i stay strictly solo, which is what i'm thinking of doing.
  7. Johnny

    Johnny LawnSite Member
    Messages: 101

    How many hours/week and weeks/year are your numbers based on?
  8. FrankenScagMachines

    FrankenScagMachines LawnSite Platinum Member
    from IN
    Messages: 4,739

    IMHO, it would definitely depend on how many hours the costs are spread out over. Things like insurance, licenses, etc. do not change with your hours worked, therefore if you only work 10 hours a week it may cost you $10 an hour to operate but if you work 20 hrs a week may only cost you $5/hr for example (just an example not actual figures). See what I mean? Now that I’ve actually done it a year I will be going through all my paperwork and receipts to get a real figure of what it cost me to operate. I think I will just say “per week” or per day instead of per hour that way it’s more accurate.
    I always try to make a dollar a minute minimum on-site time and after travel that’s usually $45 an hour. I try to keep it at least $40 an hour and figure if I’m making $35 then I need to do something about it. $30 and I consider I’m close to break even. $25 and I’m breakin’ even, $20 and I’m just donating my time. That’s just how I feel about it I guess. I’ve had some lawns I made over $100/hr on but I was only on that lawn for 15 minutes. If I had 4 of those lawns lined up in a row all in one stop then I’d have something to talk about. Hourly rate means nothing unless you are consistently making that much hour after hour day after day. When I talk about what I make per hour on LawnSite or any other forum, I add up all the money earned and divide it by total time invested (not counting the paperwork, billing, accounting etc. part of it) just driving and work time on site and that gives me an AVERAGE hourly rate. I figured I was at about $47/hr average after drive time this year. Not too bad for a solo 16 y.o. operator IMO.

    Good thread Bobby.
  9. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Messages: 4,899

    Afternoon guys
    better figure closer to $10 Health in. alone adds almost $2 an hr.
    Did you figure out if your gonna use a contract or not Bob
  10. Doc Pete

    Doc Pete LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,469

    For a solo guy it’s really impossible to give a “number”. Also, you need to “add” the perks of being solo to the “costs” of doing business. That alone is hard to evaluate.
    If you don’t mine me asking, what is the reason for your question? I don’t know about you, but I pay my expenses as I go every month, put away my winter money each month, and save what I need for next year’s start up (Workers comp., liability, and miscellaneous costs for truck and trailer tags.) The rest I use to live on.

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