Why so many "one-man shows"?

Marquis Lawn

LawnSite Member
Arlington, TX
I've been in this biz for about three years now. I am working to mature my biz to the point where I am no longer the lead foreman, mechanic, advertiser, CEO, CFO, etc. My sales are increasing rapidly each year and I hope to get out of the day-to-day maintenance aspect next year and just focus on the business side of it, while my employees do the actual labor.

This is the only way to make good money in this biz as far as I can see it. As a "one-man show" sales can only grow to about $100K or so, right? So you might net about $50-60 if you're good. Not a bad living I guess, but why not make more?

My question is this: Most of you here have been in this thing 10+ years and still run just one crew. Why is this? Are the demands of a big biz too much? Or are you just happy with a stable income level?

I am not trying to be a "know it all", I'm still a rookie, but I would honestly like to know why after so many years you don't choose to run $500K companies instead?



LawnSite Senior Member
South West PA
The more employees that you have, the less you will make from each employee.

Would you rather do $1,000,000 in sales and take home $75,000, or do $90,000 in sales, and take home $65,000?

It is not about volume, rather profit. Dollars in YOUR pocket after all is said and done.


LawnSite Bronze Member
Pittsburgh, Pa
More crews, More Stress, More people to deal with. I have two crews, but I know the pros and cons. I'm still young so I can deal with it, but for how long, I don't know. Yes, you make more money running more crews, but its money in the pocket thats the key. I have a higher overhead now then before, so its a fine line of its really worth it. I want to keep growing and be the biggest around!!! I think its just up to the owner, if you want the money you have to deal with the bad side to. THe phone calls, the repairs, the taxes, the EMPLOYEES!! There are Advantages and disadvantages to everything, its just a matter of if you want to deal with the aggravation or not.


LawnSite Gold Member
Personally, I depended on other people to do the job right for nearly 16 years.........they never met my standards. I don't want to be a major player in my area, just the best. I like knowing I've done a good job when I pass by one of my properties. Self satisfaction. If I made a million I would spend 2 million to get it.............more to life than money. If my business ever evolves into a more full service company I will still try to keep it small and manageable. I prefer the simple life to the stressed life.


steven Bousquet

LawnSite Member
read the E-myth by Gerber and you will find out for yourself.
Most of the one man shows are hands on techs who decided they want to by their own boss. the vision is to make a living and not to biuld a company. Nothing wrong with that.
most of the bigger companies started with the vision of building a company. nothing wrong with that.
there are 4 types in the business the factory worker, the Cowboy, the businessmasn and the Greenie. No one better or worst than the other.
i wrote about that in a post last winter.
good luck and good growing

Rodney Anderson

LawnSite Member
I am very comfortable running our business by myself. I had worked for the big guys,I trained indaviduals my way but they always thought they new more. When they wouldn;t show for work your daily, weekly work load increased. Supervisors ask why would he or she perform that way, you trained them. I really got tired of the B.S. I received exactly 3 service calls all year out of 503 customers because the job is done right and MY WAY!!!


LawnSite Fanatic
Flint, Michigan
When you start experiencing payroll, taxes, liability insurance, workman's comp., soc. security, employee quality control, employee supervision, employee absenteeism, employee theft, misuse or ABUSE of equipment, unemployment ins., customer complaints, customer relations with employees, and the headaches involved from all of the above, you start to ask yourself. Is it really worth it? For what I am making? I've been in this business for 16 years now, and I've seen alot of 'em come and alot of 'em go. I've also witnessed guys who went from running 3 crews, to running one, and make just as much money without the headache. THIS is why you see so many solo operators. Many of these guys, like me, have been at it for a long time. Bottom line is; one or two bad apples can literally break you.