who is truly solo?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by ozarkbilly, May 3, 2014.

  1. inzane

    inzane LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,478

    I am solo, 2nd year. Things have really picked up this year. I had to drop about 12 mowing customers recently so i can handle it all without having to get a helper. I have limits to how many services i can offer out of one truck on my own i believe, and spraying and mowing is kinda tough sometimes. 40 mowing and over 100 spraying accounts, plus aerations, shrub trimming and all the other extras got to be alot to deal with especially because of 1 rain out every week so far. not to helpful. more so the drive time. I cut out most of the stuff that was far out enough to where i was wasting time driving (had tried to expand into other areas.. bad idea) as well as dropped some big lawns that took me to much time with a 36 WB, as well as every other week customers that took to much time. So, it Seemed cheaper to me to drop some accounts than to pay a helper for the year. I'm happy with my routes now after cutting loose some customers as well as the amount of revenue potential i have with my current customers this year. I need to add more spraying which is gonna be more profitable, and can't do that if i'm mowing every other week lawns for $35 bucks a pop. lol. and, One smelly guy in the truck is enough for me as well.
  2. OakNut

    OakNut LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,104

    I believe my exact words were "The only farts I want to smell in my truck are mine."


    Solo. I don't really want the headaches of having an employee.

    The disadvantage is that I'm not a young kid, so I turn down labor-intensive work, or jobs that involve risk of serious (or even moderate) injury - if I get hurt and can't work, I have no income.

    The other disadvantage is that I don't have time to do a lot of add-ons. I can do hedges/shrubs, but if someone needs something done that will take me several days, it's really tough to schedule that because I only have two days a week that are semi-free for "project" work.
    This spring has been tough because winter dragged on and on, and most people weren't thinking about "spring" projects because it kept snowing off and on. Now that the grass needs cut, I'm getting a ton of calls for cleanups that should have been done a month ago. I don't have time to take them on now that I'm into a full mowing schedule.
    If I had help, I could get more of these things done, but I just have to plug away the best I can.
  3. StanWilhite

    StanWilhite LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,380

    As "Larry the Cable Guy" would say, "now that's funny.....I don't care who you are....that there is funny"!! :laugh:
  4. locallawncare.ca

    locallawncare.ca LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 756

    Solo here too, 3rd year and loving it, cut 3 days a week do extras stuff the other 2 days. I do it all from answering the phone/email, scheduling and doing estimates, all the work, all the paperwork, etc. Wouldn't change a thing, gets better every year, customers love me and I have built many good relationships. I could use a hand in the winter simply because timing is everything and there is only so many hours to get to everyone, but I only take on as much as I can handle, price them right and keep smiling.
  5. herler

    herler LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,139

    If you start going solo and you do that for a number of years you will find yourself one day unable to hire anyone to keep around, and for more than one reason. The more years you have down the harder it gets, after about 6 or 8 years solo I can almost guarantee you will never hire anyone for more than a few hours (if that) and no more than once or twice a year and that's after someone practically begs your ear off.

    And it's not completely impossible but after many years it would have to start out slow, couple of hours here, and there, and one day here and there, and it would take weeks and months before any progress is made, probably a good 2-3 or more years in terms of going from full solo to having a full-time helper, I can see it could easily take 4-8 years and in some cases it might never happen.

    Just thought I'd mention it, I have nothing against it but I thought some folks should know this before they embark on that journey.

    So, when I say I wouldn't have it any other way..?
    I'm also saying I really don't have that much of a choice anymore.
    Last edited: May 4, 2014
  6. Mickhippy

    Mickhippy LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,274

    This is in the back of my mind all the time. Get injured, Im screwed!
    Xmas eve, a lawnie friend of mine fell off a ladder while cutting a branch. Long story short he landed on his shoulder fracturing it. He had to sell up the business (for half what he wanted), sell his new truck and has just recently had to put his house on the market. He's lost the lot! It was his second last job of the day and wanted to help out the customer but by doing so risked it all, and lost. For the sake of a branch.

    He was solo, priced way to low so had to keep the number of customers high.
    Im opposite, much fewer customers, charged properly and less stressed. I am solo and have been for 18yrs now!

    And this is where I agree with Oak, limiting the labor intensive work etc is a must if your in this for the long haul, and want to stay solo.
    Also, charging the absolute max you can for as little effort as possible. Work smarter, not harder.
  7. CreativeLawncareSolutions

    CreativeLawncareSolutions LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,017

    This post makes absolutely no sense.
  8. inzane

    inzane LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,478

    couldn't agree more... lol. some may call it lazy, i call it smart. Shoulder injuries are no joke to recover from. i already been down that rabbit hole once, and i gotta say.. there is no piece of cheese at the end of that tunnel!

  9. Mickhippy

    Mickhippy LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,274

    You can call it lazy all you like! I'll freely admit it! Im lazy as they come but what I love is sitting up on my deck, drinking a nice cold beer watching the low baller goof mowing across the road.
    Id rather make $400 in 4.5hrs than $400 in 8.
    Its a no brainer!:drinkup:
  10. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,983

    Why not set up to a 48" - 60" mower to increase production efficiency and take in more work instead of giving up customers?

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