Solo question

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by OrangeToys, Feb 4, 2009.

  1. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,378

    As a solo op you might consider sticking to smaller lawns payup

    Look into a 32", 36" or 44" or 48" depending on gates in your area.
  2. OrangeToys

    OrangeToys LawnSite Bronze Member
    from SW MO
    Messages: 1,034

    I have been doing this business part time for a while but im just going to be able to go full time this year. I already have a 61" and 48". I have just been curious as to what is the biggest most solos go?
  3. LawnGuy73

    LawnGuy73 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,946

    The sky is the limit, you could be solo and do a 50 acre park if you wanted to. We all know that you wouldn't get it done in one day but it can be done by a solo. Its all about what you want for your business, the area you live in, and what your motivation is. :weightlifter:
  4. zgrrl

    zgrrl LawnSite Member
    Messages: 27

    I have a 3.6 acre yard BUT with lots of obstacles, lots of string trimming, slopes, hazards, 3 areas each about 500 sf that had to be pushed. So did all this solos, string trimming, with 24" push and 50" z.

    I could do this and fit in a couple of small ones (.25 acre) and be home before dark...

    but the first one is kinda demoralizing solo cuz it never ends, and b/c of the obstacles etc.

    String trimming and transitions to different sizes equipment can really eat up your time.
  5. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,378

    What I have found is when you camp out too long on any single property SOLO it has demoralizing :cry: effect that is tough to kick.

    Maybe it's just me but for this reason I NOW bid very high on cleanups, installs, renovations and anything that becomes tough to work around with a normal mowing schedule and tends to be a time magnet. I'd rather run the expensive power equipment.

    As a solo operators we need to work smarter not harder.
  6. OrangeToys

    OrangeToys LawnSite Bronze Member
    from SW MO
    Messages: 1,034

    Smarter can also be Thanks for all the helpful tips.
  7. justanotherlawnguy

    justanotherlawnguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,282

    I use to do a commercial complex by myself, it was a pain with all the islands in the parking lot, few too many hedges, and a couple of retention ponds. It paid really good, but ended up being too much work once summmer rolled around.

    Try and thing about how long jobs take you, being solo you probably dont want to be on a job for more than a couple of hours.

    Small cookie cutter lots are where the money is at, if you can crank out 20 of those a day for a couple of days a week then you are golden.

    I have a nice mix of small cookie cutter lots, 1/4 acre lots up to an acre. Anything bigger then an acre and the profitablitly starts to drop off.
  8. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,378


    I'm assuming your manly talking smaller residentials spaced closer together? Do you do any commercials now? I'm considering writing off commercials altogether since I'm not a full service Co. I've see the bid amount many talk about here on lawnsite Google earth map aerial photos etc. and I always think it would be better to just stick with the smaller residential lots in the same area and be done with it.

    There does seem to be an implication on lawnsite that to be a truly successful LCO you need to do mainly commercial, have employees, be a licensed applicator, mulch and install beds, retaining walls, a little hardscaping, know everything there is to know about sprinklers and the list goes on.

    I will never be a full service LCO. I just don't see the point in spreading myself too thin. The market conditions dictate that we become very efficient at what we do and do it very well.

    There is an old thread here on lawnsite from last summer where the debate rose if you're going to mow then mow solo. Especially on smaller lots it's faster and more profitable. Well that's the point the a long time veteran tried to make. Only a few agreed with him. Most wanted to argue. I took the points to heart and I will be implementing those tactics myself for 2009 in the mowing market. My only regret is I found out about them very late in the mowing season in 2008.
  9. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,933

    Working primarily solo, I try to take and keep jobs that last no more than 1.5 hours. I allocate out about 1.25 hours/job (trim, mow - with selective bagging, blowing). My average job is about 25K sq ft of mowing, a few 1.5 to 2.0A. For me, a 60" machine would not get enough use to justify a purchase. I use a 48" ZTR for some jobs, a 36" w/b for others, plus a 21" hand mower. I'm not sure any LCO in this area uses anything greater than 52" mowers, most are 48". The terrain, sizes, etc just don't permit use of larger machines.

    One reason I like to keep the jobs at the size noted is the modularity of work. Having a job that takes three hours means the better part of the morning, or a large block in the afternoon. When mid-day rains come, or late starts because of weather, or early-quits because of weather, it is much easier to work around a smaller modularity.

    I have worked hard over the years to consolidate customers, 2-8 in one neighborhood, or connected on one street. Even if I get weathered-out, I can still work the smaller modules, rather than spending eight hours at one site.
  10. justanotherlawnguy

    justanotherlawnguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,282

    Yes, that is true
    Commercial is garbage, they are more cut throat in pricing than residential, especially here in FL. Every LCO you see has "commercial/residential" plastered all over their biz cards and trailers, when truly none of them even service commercial accounts. I get calls all the time for HOA's, condos and other commercial crap, and I wouldnt touch it with a 10 foot pole.

    I have had helpers in the past and sure it helps, but overall I enjoy it much more being solo.

    Somebody mentioned earlier, that the key to being a successful solo op is to work smarter, not harder. I been saying that for years.

    Good service and higher prices are the keys to my success. I have found that people have no problem paying a little more for good service. when i go on estimates, the price is the price. Period!!!!

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