This is why I went back to work for the man!

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by CRM Lawncare, Apr 6, 2005.

  1. CRM Lawncare

    CRM Lawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 176

    Pulled into the office today and happened to look out over the plant parking lot. I rode thru and saw approximately 10 full blown mowing rigs. 10 rigs in a plant of 85 (12% of employees mow grass). I was thinking what is up with that. Then it hit me, the plant just went on 30 hour per week for the remainder of the year. These guys need some extra money. So I see who's trucks they are hooked to and I headed out thru the plant on break. The first guy I ran into told me the whole story.

    Conversation went like this. I asked him if that was his new trailer, ztr, trimmers, blowers etc.. He has no idea I used to be in the biz. I asked him how business was and he says great. Said since he was on short time had to make some beer money. He mentioned one lawn he mowed near the plant. Its + or - 1 acre of turf. I asked him how much he charged. He answered $20.00. I asked per hour and he said no for the entire place. He was very proud he was making $20.00 per hour he said. I said well not exactly. He looked puzzled. I asked him how many lawns per month he mowed. He said about 30. I asked home much his payments on equipment was. He said $275.00 month. So $9.17 per lawn for payment. So he was back to 10.83 per hour. I then asked about gas, supplies, etc.. He is back to about 8.75 per hour. He said, ya know I make more than that working out here in the plant. I said yep sure do. I didn't even bring up insurance and taxes which he didn't have or pay.

    The bad thing is he does a good job when he does service a lawn. He as ran a bandsaw in this same plant since for 20 yrs and just doesn't grasp the business concept. I'll probably try to buy his ZTR for my house when he decides to give it up about July.
  2. marko

    marko LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 963

    This is a big problem for our industry. They see or hear $20/hr and they are in! Takes them a while to get it, then they disappear. Unfortunately for us, the new idiots are out every spring!
  3. Mower For Less

    Mower For Less LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 823

    I get $4.40 per lawn to cover the $275 payment.

    275 x 12 = 3300 (total payments for the year)

    3300 / 30 = 110 (each customers portion of the payments)

    110 / 25 (average 25 cuts per year) = $4.40 per cut per customer

    He will think he is making more until he starts making his November and December payments, then it will likely hit him that he's not cutting grass in the winter.

    Sounds like he has the potential to make more, I mean it dosent sound like he is trying to be a scrub. Maybe you should give him a couple more pointers to figure his costs and determine some realistic prices.

  4. marko

    marko LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 963

    I come out with $275/monthly payment divided by his 30 customers = $9.166 per customer per month goes towards his loan. If he is cutting an acre for $20 he will smell the coffee soon enough!
  5. richmadmax

    richmadmax LawnSite Member
    Messages: 80

    Wait until he breaks something or hit somebody. He got no insurance that going to hurt. Somebody should teach him to break down his numbers. If anything give him this web page. You can lead a horse to water, you just can't make him drink. He will find out soon.
  6. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,699

    A lot of times people tend to forget that local economies are not the same everywhere. All over North Carolina manufacturing jobs are disappearing to some forgein country. As was stated the plant this guy works at just cut everybody back to 30 hours a week. If you are paying a mortgage, have 3 kids at home and your wife is already working a double shift at the diner what are you going to do? Unemployment in the Hickory area is already at the 10 percent level so the chances of finding a good paying part time or full time job are slim. You're not talking about people who are just out looking for some beer money, they are trying to pay their bills and I wish them the best of luck. For them the difference between loosing their house and keeping it may be the 200 dollars that they actually clear on those 30 customers.
  7. richmadmax

    richmadmax LawnSite Member
    Messages: 80

    Very True. But in he is doing it wrong or charging to little somebody better tell him. If he doesn't listen, sham on him. No insurance and with a house and kids (if that is what he has or not ), he may loss it if he hurts somebody. Yes he may be doing this to pay the lost wages, but doing it wrong and cheaper is not going to help. I think he just does not know the numbers. We all been there. Like i said before giving him this web page if anything.I know what you mean about lost wages and job. I'm one of them, but will not do it cheap and unsafe. The only way is the right way.
  8. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,699

    So what's he supposed to do? Call his mortgage company and tell them that they are supposed to wait for the payments while he builds up a high paying client base? I don't think that's going to work. If it came down to it I would suck the snot out of snapping turtle noses for a nickle a piece if it made the difference between keeping a roof over my family's head or not.
  9. marko

    marko LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 963

    The point that is trying to be made is if you are legit and your making "$20 hour" before your expenses, something is wrong. Not busting the guys ba))s for trying to make some money, just not having a clue what he is doing financially. He might as well sit in the AC at McDonalds for $6.00 an hour or sell stuff on eBay, because in the end he will be making more working for "the man"
  10. Randy Scott

    Randy Scott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,915

    The guy has ran a band-saw for twenty years, I'm quite surprised they haven't trained a chimp to do that job. Let him do what he wants.

    A guy charging twenty bucks an acre is NOT my competition.

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