Sole income? How Many?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Braxton, Jan 17, 2005.

  1. Braxton

    Braxton LawnSite Member
    from TN
    Messages: 81

    OK, I've seen a couple of threads here in the last day or so about how many customers/accounts, etc.

    There were some good replies, but there were some things unclear. So, how many of you out there do this full time, with no other income ?

    If you fit the above, here are a few other questions for you if you don't mind answering:

    1. How many accounts did you have before going full-time (making this your sole income)?
    2. Are you solo, or do you have employees? If you have employees, how many and how many crews?
    3. How long did it take you to go full-time (making this your sole income)?
    4. What does your company gross/what range of personal income do you take from that? (I understand if no one wants to answer that one)
    5. What advice would you give someone about to start part-time with the intention of going full-time in a few years?

    Thanks for all y'all have done and continue to do to educate new guys like me.

  2. newbomb

    newbomb LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 391

    I currently have 35 residentials and will have to double that to go out on my own. I may do some power washing to fill in.

    If you do go for it start as a solo operator You don't need the headaches of employees right away. Learn the business first. The right equipment setup can easily eliminate the need for help. Don't get a helper till your so busy you just can't keep up. There are solo guys here that do very well.

    How long it takes to go out on your own is up to you. What can you live with for income? What are your bills? Do the math and figure out what income you need to live, and can you make that much mowing? I am doing this right now. I have been part time since 1987. It's really your decision. How broke can you afford to be?

    Gross profits of any other LCO here are meaningless to you. No one here knows what you or any other LCO needs to succeed. A friend of mine needs his crew (4 people) to make $1000 per day to show a profit. I work alone. If I gross $200 per day I can make it.

    My advise for a part time start-up assuming you have nothing:

    1 Start small, do what you can manage. I started strickly with town houses (I still think they're the best profit margin).
    Don't work cheap.

    2 Buy good quality equipment. Get a good straight shaft trimmer largest size you can afford, maybe echo or stihl. Get a good back pack blower, they're fast and you can do leaves in the fall. I have an Echo 603, solid performer. Buy a good quality self propelled 21" mower I love my Honda's (aboout $650) but John Deere makes decent stuff for about $500. Add bigger and better when you need it. Remember profit margin. Don't work cheap.

    3 Talk to other LCO's in your area. Many don't want small stuff or gated yards. I have 3 that refer customers to me. If you ask the might even give you a good Idea of what to charge. Remember profit margin. Don't work cheap.

    4 Learn all you can. Buy what you need not what you want. Remember profit margin.

    5 Get insurance ASAP. Remember your profit margin. Don't work cheap.

    6 Remember your profit margin.

    And finally

    7 Don't work cheap.

    I hope this will help some. -Paul
  3. grass-scapes

    grass-scapes LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,552

    I started out part time with a full time job back in 2000.
    Laid off from full time job in November 2001.
    Collected unemployment while looking for a job.
    Started doing lawns as my only source of income the next spring and have been doing it every since.
    First full time year $7000
    second $13000
    last year I more than tripled income

    I only take personal money out if I need it to pay personal bills. Otherwise, it stays in business.

    IM solo with 18 full service accounts (multiple properties on some accounts) and some spray and fert only accounts
    one account alone is worth about 15000 for 2005.
    Looking to at least double this year. Im lucky due to the fact that I have another income in the house and Im not relying on just my income. I spent a LOT, a whole lot, this year on equipment. I have nearly everything I need for 2005 other than a truck loader and a dump trailer or insert. Those are my next purchases.

    for advise? Hmmmmm. Buy good equipment. Be consistent with your customers. Do good work. Get Insurance and pay your taxes. Network with your fellow lawn services. Be able to provide as many services as you can. Makes you more valuable to your customers if they can get what they need in one place.

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