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solo expaectations, realisticaly

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by fga, Sep 23, 2004.

  1. fga

    fga LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,449

    do you hit a ceiling working just yourself, totally solo? i'm not asking for numbers, cuz we've been throught that a 1000 times. just wondering if its even possible to run a profitable business, totally solo. not as a second income, not as a retiree, not as part time..
    i'm talking, if if iwent out with my equipment, is it possible to be able to support a family, be able to live, as a solo operator?
    do you get to a point in your business where you are doing as much work as you possibly can, and you're doing good, but not enough to feel comfortable. Don't get into the "great employee can make you money" discussion, just looking for solo guy expectations. thanks.
  2. HighGrass

    HighGrass LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Z5 MA
    Messages: 1,237

    Do you live in NYC? I imagine you have a unique set of circumstances that you have to contend with that most of us don't. I am cutting pretty much part time and will be going full time next year. Based upon my numbers that I've crunched, I'll have to do about 50-60 accounts to make a decent living. I think the winter months, if you can cover yourself with something else, part time job, whatever, you can do it.

    Medical coverage, insurance, taxes and the like all eat away at any profits youhave but it's a fact of life. A good CPA is worth their weight in gold!
  3. CharlieBingo

    CharlieBingo LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 400

    You can, But you must really break your a$$ and many times work like an animal. Another factor is will your back hold up. It's hard work to do alone.
  4. rookie03

    rookie03 LawnSite Member
    from OK
    Messages: 184

    You can easily make it if you are solo, but it's going to take a well thought out plan and a lot of time to grow. Here's my theory: You can only do so much if you are solo, which means you must make as much as you can per hour. If you go 110% everyday, every week, every month, every year; eventually it's going to catch up with you and you're going to be burnt out. What you want to do is of course work smarter not harder. So find the smallest properties around....and make 1$/min on them. The bigger the properties, the more careful you will have to be while bidding them. Making sure you're getting enough $/hr. The bigger the property, the more you should get paid, but most ppl realistically aren't going to pay enough that you need to make on those bigger yards. So the smaller the yard, the more likely you are going to make closer to what you want per min/hr. It's going to be easy to do a yard in 20 mins and make $25. But it's going to be tough spending 2 hours on a yard and pulling in $166. Also, you want those small yards to be as close as they can be to one another. I think in reality it's only a matter of time til all these things are able to happen. And if you are living in NY where there are all of those cookie cutter lawns then you're set up perfectly.
  5. Norm Al

    Norm Al LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,227

    mowing by yourself,,,,you should be able to make a reasonable living! it would be hard to earn more than about $4000.00 per month in your pocket tho!
  6. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Messages: 10,178

    possible but you must be willing to sacrifice. also, you will be much better off to add as much "higher value" work as possible. like today for example, every lawn i mowed, i ferted at the same time. brought the value of the stop up immensly, and there was no real labor involved(unless you consider pushing a spreader labor).
  7. all ferris

    all ferris LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,309

    Wow! Back the truck up! You can make way more than $4000. per month even if you're solo.
    To me solo is the way to go. Maybe one other employee would be alright. I think when you start running more than one crew you sacrifice quality for your customers. Just because you hire someone doesn't mean that you will double your income. Hiring someone means you have to: 1. Pay the employee. 2. Find more accounts. 3. Have more equipment and thus more maintenance. 4. Deal with more customers. --- the list goes on and on.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that you can make plenty of money working solo. You just have to be willing to work very hard(sun up to sun down and then some) during the growing season and then during the winter you can catch your breath and plow some snow.
    turf9 likes this.
  8. lawnguyland

    lawnguyland LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,108

    I'm doin it here on long island. Not too far from you. I think you'd have no problem dong it. I think grossing 80-100k /yr, especially with snow removal , fert, clean-ups, etc is entirely within exepctations. The net all depends on blah blah and blah.
  9. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,373

    16 years mowing lawns now.

    I've been back to solo for the last 3.

    I got rid of all the low paying accounts, collected some higher paying accounts after I got rid of my 2 crews, and net more being solo than I did when I had 7 guys working for me.

    It's a different situation though, since I already had enough equipment for 2 crews - 3 guys, I could sell some equipment off, get all new equipment. I still have 2 trucks, 4 trailers, 2 ztr's, plus... just don't want anyone working for me.

    I WAS putting in 90-100 hours / week of labor this spring, doing like bobby said, I've got all my customers (except 2) where I mow and fertilize, so I can do that in one stop.

    I do 38 accounts, all commercial, and I do okay. I can make a living, my wife works part-time as an RN for the state of MN, this way we get cheap health insurance.

    I'd rattle off the stuff that I've got, but then you start to sound like you're bragging, and I try not to be like that.

    You can make enough money being solo to own 2 houses, all new vehicles, mowers, pretty much whatever you want, but you WILL be married to your job.

    I've learned this year that I've got to cut back on the lifestyle a little, drop about $4000 / month worth of work and take a Sunday afternoon off once in a while.
  10. parkwest

    parkwest LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 678

    Of course there is a limit to how much a guy mowing lawns by himself can make. There are only so many hours in a day.

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