What to do

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by mikewhit1010, Mar 31, 2008.

  1. mikewhit1010

    mikewhit1010 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 394

    Ok I live in TX so we have been mowing already for a month. I started this business a year ago but this isnt the first time I ran it. I work full time and run a crew while I am at work. Its starting to take its toll. So what do I do.

    I have 40-50 accounts. Most of them will go to weekly in May. My average account is $30. I do a lot of landscaping but am in fear that it might die down a bit. Honestly I would quit my job now but I need just about 3500 a month to survive and pay down past debt.

    My questions are. You bigger guys have you seen a down turn in business due to the economy? When did you know it was time to break off? How much are you guys really making. I make 42K a year at my job and this year all my sales for lawn care will be 40-50K. I have to pay out a lot of labor and I lose a lot of jobs because I cant do them all.

    I have posted on here that I was doing both but I have decided it needs to be one or the other or I need to drop down my lawns so I can manage them better. Any thoughts?
  2. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Raise your prices so then your problem is gone and you can help me work on mine :laugh:
  3. mikewhit1010

    mikewhit1010 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 394

    What do you mean work on your problem
  4. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 19,650

    I would work on that pasT debt then save a little......THEN JUMP IN HEAD FIRST WITH BOTH FEET FOLLOWING.
  5. mikewhit1010

    mikewhit1010 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 394

    The problem I have is I think I can make more money doing this. I started to raise my prices and currently accounts I pick up now start at $32 and these are accounts I can get done in 30 minutes max. I have accounts on the same street so I normally can average about 50-60 an hour. It makes more sense to do it but I am worried about the slow season. To be honest I would love to be out on my own but just not sure. However I dont know if I can run this business from work. My guy is late today and hasnt started. I have about $400 worth of business out there and its not being started. That means I will probably lose at least one of those accounts. Ahhhhh. I wish I had all the answers. Thanks for the help so far guys.
  6. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 19,650

    Well Im also on the bubble sot to speak, I have decided <unless I get laid off my job> to wait 1 year before going full time. Im building a new house and remodeling another by myself. So I only fave 9 accounts and 2 are close to my job and wont be able to keep them when I go full time. Hopefully next Spring I can start advertising and building my business. I have been purcahsing eqiuiptment and just need a decient box truck now.

    Also theres that Health Ins thing.
  7. mikewhit1010

    mikewhit1010 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 394

    The good thing is I am 23 and covered under my parents until Im 25 or married.
  8. nitro121

    nitro121 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 380

    So this year I'm kinda taking a partner. I work full time and run this mowing business during the summer (6 months). So this year I'm bringing on a partner to run all the mechanical stuff (so I don't get phone calls at work for flat tires, broken mower, etc)...I pay him more but he's also going to expand the business in to landscaping too. Basically I provide the funds and equipment....he's going to be the labor and if we run two mowing trucks this year, he'll be the supervisor. All I want to do is return calls, print invoices, and cut/accept checks.

    I don't make as much as a full time guy but I've been w/ the gov't 16 years and have a cush job. So I made almost 20g's last year and hope to hit 30 for a part time job/business. That's all I need to get ahead...and my partner will make some decent money and get to work for himself too.

    Just hire a guy to go out and cut your yards for you I've done that for the past 2 years. I pay by the yard so if they slack off, they don't get paid (unless traffic or something, then I throw them some money when it's not their fault to keep them happy).

  9. ALC-GregH

    ALC-GregH LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Messages: 7,051

    What are you paying the guy doing all the labor, if you don't mind me asking?

    Now, the reason I'm asking is, one of my life long friend's wants to do the same kind of work I want to do only he has the cash and right equipment to do it right of the bat. He wants ME to do all the labor while he finishes up his current full time job to retire. What would be fair wages being I NEED to make a living and he has a union job he'll retire from? If it starts out slow, I won't make ends meet until it's large enough to have us both running it.
  10. bullethead

    bullethead LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 273

    FEAR is a great motivator. That being said - I honestly think you will take somewhat of a paycut in order to dive in full time. (I remember going from making $90k in another field to $12k my first year in landscape.) I also think it will take longer than expected to start realizing your goals. (I thought I would have a "real business" in 2-3 years, it took 5). You need to carve out a weekend of uniterrupted time to sit down and seriously assess your current load, develop reasonable and conservative forecasts - see what it looks like. The key is to be realistic. For example, to sell more work you will need to more labor to free you up. If you start selling more landscape construction work - probably need another crew that focuses on this type of work. More people, more equipment etc. You need time to plow through all of these assumptions. Two of the biggest mistakes I see are a failure plan for additional overhead/personnel to properly manage growth (so you end up with lots of work that is executed poorly) and unrealistic growth forecasts.

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