What Direction Would You Take...

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by getdown, Jun 25, 2013.

  1. getdown

    getdown LawnSite Senior Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 297

    Okay. Here's the scenario. I want to know what direction you all would take this business as a manager/owner. Please, don't get on me about not having a business plan, because this is purely speculative...sort of a case study/assessment of "what would you do".

    All Paid for in Cash and Owned Outright:

    7x16 enclosed trailer
    60 inch Zero Turn
    36 Walk Behind (with or w/o sulky)
    Reliable 1/2 Truck
    Stihl Commercial Trimmer, Blower, Edger & Hedge Trimmers

    Also, 20 residential accounts (suburban 1/4 - 1/2 acre lots) all worth $100/month. Mowed 4x monthly for warm 6 months, every other week, cool 6 months.

    Where do you guys take this business from here. Total revenues as it sits are a mere $20k annually. Summer time, working 4 days a week, doing 5 yards a day.

    How do YOU expand...adding more $100/month accounts, and trying to fit 8+ per day, and maxing yourself out (as a solo) at 40 accounts ($40k revenue)...then maybe you can hire someone else to expand, but your profit margin is going down significantly.

    Do you get into larger acreage? $300/month properties? Where do you take it from here?

    Interested to here your ideas. Thanks in advance from all the experience out their in the lawnsite community!
  2. 205mx

    205mx LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,377

    Sounds like you're too cheap. My cheapest lawns are 130/mo for 12/mo.

    You need to sell people on mulch and hedge trimming. Also cut more than 5 a day. Me and one guy did 23 today.
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  3. knox gsl

    knox gsl LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,918

    Build a tight route and get to the point where you can do 12-15 solo a day at least 4 days a week then look at getting some help.
  4. LBOperator

    LBOperator LawnSite Member
    Messages: 209

    These guys are right, and I just want to say I love your equipment choices, especially the Stihl products :) Don't forget the ole regular push mower, they are handy.
  5. Kurt6845

    Kurt6845 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 128

    How long are you taking on these lawns? It seems to me that if they are 1/4-1/2 acre lawns, you should be able to bang em out in 2 days and maybe a partial third. I have a guy that works for me(if I wasn't active military I'd be solo, interesting situation) and he did 13 today by himself and then we finished with 2 more once I got off work and we were back home by 7 pm. All of these accounts are about the same size. If you are looking to increase revenue to expand, I recommend do 1 of 2 things. 1 route would be to go after bigger properties, not necessarily more complex places, but bigger. If you think about it, everyone has a house and most have flowerbeds, etc. So you will spend about the same time trimming and edging, relatively speaking. That being said, the rest is going to be more mowing. You can mow a lot of turf pretty quick with your 60" that you already have and folks with an acre or maybe two will pay pretty well to have it mowed, anywhere from $70-120 depending on complexity. The 2nd route to take is to market in subdivisions that have a bunch of 1/4 acre lots. Try to get into a few in a subdivision and do really good work. Once people notice, you will start picking up more and more and eventually you may get to the point where you can spend a day in one subdivision. Pull up and edge 4 lawns at a time and never move the truck, then repeat for trimming, mowing, and everything else. You'd be surprised how much time we waste between jobs with drive time. You have the right equipment, now market and decide which way you wanna go. knox is completely correct as well, build a tight route that cuts down on your "in between job time." Good luck!
  6. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,620

    I realize the Florida market likes this monthly priced crap. And I know the prices are very low in that market. Still 25 a cut for half an acre is nuts 35-40 would be a much better price range when you get to that size. Now you have 2 ways to go fair pricing and you will deal with the drive time or cheap pricing and you should have a dense list.

    Now you mentioned a few wants such as a 60 inch ztr I used one all day today me and one employee knocked out 27 lawns and that was driving through 3 towns. With that kind of fire power there is no reason you shouldn't be doing 10-15 lawns the size you mentioned solo per day. In fact 5 would be at your prices 125 dollars I brought in 856 dollars today obviously that would be more desirable. You also mentioned an enclosed trailer with a 1500 truck. I don't know your budget but I would like to see a 2500 or 3500 instead. The 2500 would be my minimum now, trailers kill the brakes on smaller trucks I use to need full brake jobs ever single year when I did 1500s. The 3500 dump is ideal as it lets you do a variety of other landscaping jobs. But the budget you have will have to determine that.
  7. birddseedd

    birddseedd LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,111

    flyers will get you 1 to 2 percent if well designed. stay away from teh phone book. you will regeret the lost money. Craigs list helps.
  8. JCLawn and more

    JCLawn and more LawnSite Fanatic
    from MI
    Messages: 5,238

    Ok here are some numbers I have ran before. Its costs me $30 a hour to run one guy in the truck ($15 a hour for the guy and $15 for the eqipment) and $45 to run 2 guys. So in order for you to make an actual profit for your company, you have to break $300 a day with one guy. That's 12 lawns. So first thing is that $25 lawns don't make a profit. They all need to go to $35. Now your making $420 instead of $300. $120 profit. Now if you hired another guy you need to make $450 a day, but you can average 2 lawns a hour pretty easy in a tight route. So now instead of 12 lawns in 10 hrs your busting out 20 in 10 hrs with a $700 income. So now your making $250 instead of $120. You just doubled your profits. So now I'm profiting 30k in 6 months instead of grossing 20k in 12.
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  9. birddseedd

    birddseedd LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,111

    I disagree. 25 dollar laws are quite profitable. 3 $25 dollar lawns an hour is 75. then - the $30 an hour and you are profiting 45 an hour before expenses.

    companies around here aim for 45 an hour and make big profits. 75 an hour is even bigger profits.
  10. JCLawn and more

    JCLawn and more LawnSite Fanatic
    from MI
    Messages: 5,238

    There is no way your going to be able to drop trailer, mow, trim, blow, get fuel as needed, pick crap up, make sure no clumps of grass are in the yard, load up, strap everything down, flip up the gates, check off the paperwork, start up the truck, pull out of the drive and hit 2-8 stop signs or lights and get to the next lawn in 20 min from dropping the gate at the last. You will spend 10-15 min per lawn with 2 guys and a 5-10 min travel time. That's 2 lawns a hour with a little of screw up time, not enough time for 3. Yea if they were all neighbors I'd be able to rock out 4 houses a hour, but not with travel time.
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