Some mid-term dollar figures are in !

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by topsites, Jul 23, 2006.

  1. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I offer these figures as a study in progress.
    The goal of this ongoing experiment is to prove that higher prices are better than lower, in more ways than one.
    I'm doing it mostly for myself, but I like to share when an experiment is going well :)

    I am using last year's figures vs. this year's.
    Last year, I priced most jobs right down to the wire, meaning if it took any longer than I thought, I was losing money. I prided myself on being able to get things done like that, and it worked in so far that I was able to fill the gaping financial holes left from the drought the year before that. I was able to buy a brand-new Wb and pay for a half-dollar size ad in the Yellow book, among other things.
    And yes I worked my tail off, with 55 customers I made enough to make ends meet and then some, but it burned me out.

    I thought, why work like this? I kept thinking, why not get paid more for less work?
    I was so tired of working like that, I figured what the heck, advertise like mad and go for it.
    And so:
    1 Jan 2005 - 31 Jul 2005 gross deposits: $ 18,070.51
    Not as easy or low as it might look, for a solo operator this meant a thousand dollars / week minimum deposit for 90 days straight, then some more on top of that. It wasn't that easy an act to follow, even thou there are several who may claim otherwise.

    1 Jan 2006 - 24 Jul 2006 gross deposits: $ 21,254.98
    A difference of $3,184.47 over 7 months is not that amazing, but I only have 46-odd customers this year and it was less work, hence less wear and tear and also less maintenance and fuel, so there is more gained than meets the eye (translation: less expenses and less work for more money). There is still one Monday left this month, but I am not sure yet whether I will have enough for a deposit and even if I do, I might save it for August, so...

    Yes I must admit, I like highballing more and more :)
    p.s.: Keep in mind, as a result of having less work I had time to concentrate more, which means a slightly better quality output.
  2. wski4fun

    wski4fun LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 323

    Just wondering. Does the gross receipts include everything mulch,fert,and any other materials you bought?
  3. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    These are not gross receipts, they are total deposits, as in all the money I put in the bank, literally.
    Yes, this account pays all expenses, yes all of them, a.l.l., everything.

    Please lets not go through why I do this via total deposits vs. gross receipts, it detracts from the thread but I'm cool with the question.
  4. Sandgropher

    Sandgropher LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 901

    Yes this is proof that this is the way to go, higher prices, less customers, less work, more money well done.
  5. wski4fun

    wski4fun LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 323

    That's the way I do it also. I figure it all out later on. Do you keep track of time spent this year as opposed to last? For me as a fellow solo I look at total deposits and I know if I am working more from one year to another. I just got back in after 7 years and I am working about half of what I did before but making about 2/3.
  6. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,587

    price it high, im already as busy as i can be , you need something, i price it pretty high. and get enough of em to make the difference..:)
  7. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    As for the actual labor hours, the simple answer is if I tracked it I would get very angry because I'm not getting paid enough, so no. But I can feel it, I am 90 percent certain if I were to track it, the figures would come out to less hours this year vs. last. The machines show it, too... It's hard to explain but once you do this for some time, you can just tell without paper to prove it. My stress level alone is far less than last year, you could easily tell from the way I used to go off here (but don't go back there, it's not pretty lol).

    The other thing is, although the day-to-day maintenance is the same (well I gotta lube and swap blades regardless), I do less yards / day this year so the blades stay sharper. The quality is higher just in this way but I also feel it in the field, I am not as rushed and I have the time to go behind myself and doublecheck (even if I don't always do it). There is a beauty to being so rushed that I literally don't have the time to double check behind myself and if I missed a spot so be it, but I like the quality aspect just as much if not more.
  8. dtelawncare

    dtelawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 227

    I do like approach you have taken. Being that this month makes my first year in the business, so I am still learning. After figuring in a loss of 15% you are only clearing a little over $2500 a month. I understand we all live on a different budget, but that seems like a lot of work for no more return than that.
  9. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    You don't have to tell me LOL! But look, I spend a lot of my time doing things other than working for the check. I spend time fixing my own cars and equipment, I spend time looking for supplies I need at a discount (like at least 30 percent off), I also spend time reducing my cost of living (currently, my electric bill runs $960 / year, my food budget is $120 / month, my car's fuel budget is $20 / week max (just think, I have two of them), my truck gets 15mpg with the trailer and so on... I have to live on a thousand / month, there's not much left but one thing I have learned is it doesn't matter how much you earn, there's never enough.

    So the way I see things, I get return in ways invisible to the IRS, because man I am so sick and tired of working twice as hard for 1.2 times the money, if you catch my drift. I would rather earn the most I can earn while I still fall under the poverty line, and pay almost no taxes (trust me, they still want at least 10 percent, and that's just the IRS, nevermind Social Sec, state and county, pos...)

    At the same rate, total deposits have no loss, only gross receipts have loss. My deposits, the only way there would be a loss is if I dropped money on the way to the bank and sometimes a check bounces but that is rare.

    Why do I not have more customers? For one, I cherry pick like a mad dog. My non-payment issues (meaning people who NEVER pay no matter what) are around 1%, where the standard for businesses in general is 10% (how they tolerate this is beyond me). I look at a pita job, I'm gone. They say something funny over the phone, I don't even go estimate, and so on.

    Nobody is perfect, trust me I have a few on the schedule I'd like to you know what, but at least I feel like it is better this way than the other. Another way to say it is, for me, doing things this way at least gives me the illusion that I am a little bit better off than everybody else, and I think that is most people's goal anyway, and the illusion is so real that I believe it, so I do it.

    Hope that explains things...
  10. dtelawncare

    dtelawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 227

    Hey Topsites, I applaud that. I do agree with you about doing other things. I work about 50 hours a week at my full time job and at least 30 to 40 with my business. You are right, there is never enough. You seem like you have it figured out by saving whenever possible. I recently started trying to penny pinch and it is a work in process.

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