Your ideal lawn account?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by sailfish27, Jan 15, 2018.

  1. sailfish27

    sailfish27 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 17

    If you could clone 50 or 100 or 200 lawn accounts what would the look like? Do you prefer small medium large? What about high maintenance vs. mow and go?

    I am starting to lay the ground work to opening my business in the spring. I had a landscaping business back in the late 80's and then sold it after I had made just about every mistake possible. In general contracting the saying goes "you choose your clients, they don't choose you". If that's the case I would like to build the most profitable client base possible.

    Back in the 80's I had 3 types of accounts

    1. Small city lots less than 10,000 sq ft. I charged between 30-35 for mowing. These clients were great, wanted full service, spring/fall cleanups pruning, mulch etc.

    2. Suburban yards between 1/2 acre to 3/4 acre. Not very fussy, rarely bagged, weren't interested in full service, just mow and go. Charged between 25-35 a cut and could do 20 a day with 2-3 men.

    3. Ultra high end very fussy. Bagged every lawn, each one took about an hour with 2-3 men. Charged between 40-45 per lawn cut. All were full service, most wanted mulch every year or two.

    I started with mostly type 2 lawns and then ended up with only type 3 accounts with a handful of city accounts. Looking back each one has advantages and disadvantages. Didn't make any money cutting 3. Made money cutting 2 but wasn't steady. Type 1, city lots may have been the way to go but they were far away.

    Anyway, I would like to know how you guys feel

    Mike
     
  2. hackitdown

    hackitdown LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,660

    I like #2. Small to medium sized lawns. Charge $50 to $60 per cut. No bagging, no fert, no sprinklers. Barely trim after July. Older customers, been burned by other landscapers in the past, very happy you do what you agreed to do. Maybe not 20 per day, but easily 16-18 with 2 guys.

    Those are the money makers for mowing.
     
    CGros31 likes this.
  3. danothemano

    danothemano LawnSite Member
    Messages: 131

    Pay on time, don't look over my shoulder, trust my work,
     
    LawnAndTurf likes this.
  4. sailfish27

    sailfish27 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 17

    Thanks Hackitdown,

    Truth be told, we did 20+/day but were probably working 10-12/hr days. Young and stupid.

    I remember it being impossible not to be busy in the spring but how about middle of the summer and fall with your type of accounts? Enough of them request pruning and fall cleanup to keep busy?

    I am located on the Cape just moved here so I am very interested in your thoughts.

    Thanks Mike
     
  5. hackitdown

    hackitdown LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,660

    Not all of my accounts are like that, but those are my favorites.

    Spring is crazy, so I stretch mulching into June if I can. July and August we do plantings, cut new beds, mulch, brush-cutting, pruning, and work shorter days if it is hot. By the third week in August, we start aerating and overseeding, and lawn renovations which often go right into Oct. Then we have cleanups until Dec.
     
  6. Todd73

    Todd73 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from Florida
    Messages: 1,495

    I like 1/4 lots, basic weed eating and edging.

    Customer wise, I like people that are willing to listen to what I say. I also like the ones who realize that the mower doesn’t sprinkle magic pixie dust as it cuts and know they have to irrigate and fertilize as well.
     
  7. Mow-Daddy.com

    Mow-Daddy.com LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,869

    On your above prices, the only price that is in the ball park is #1.

    #2 a 1/2 to 3/4 acre I would be charging @$70ish ea mow. Not $25 to $35.

    #3 you say 1hr with 3 men for $45.
    Those yards should be around $130- $150 each time.

    But to answer your question. My perfect lawns are 3 to 5 acre, some maintenance beds, cleanup, mulch.
    But mostly mow, trim, blow.
     
    JMK26 likes this.
  8. sailfish27

    sailfish27 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 17

    Mow-Daddy, not sure you understand what I am asking or maybe I wasn't clear enough in my question. I would like to know what makes a certain situation or account more profitable than others.

    In my example (which by the way was 30 years ago) one type of lawn account #3., mowing was almost a loss leader for me. These particular clients would spend well over 4k a year on their lawns and again this was around 1987. Unfortunately the competition and the need for high quality compromised profit, at least in regards to mowing.

    What I am trying to understand is what makes one type of lawn more profitable than others? What do you like about big lawns?
     
  9. Mow-Daddy.com

    Mow-Daddy.com LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,869

    Your original post and your examples were not coherent at all on pricing.
    I understand these are 30 yrs ago, thats irrelevant.
    10,000 sqft $30- $35
    33,000 sqft $25- $35
    Ultra high end only $10 more ?

    And some were full service others not.
    Apples and oranges comparing mowing or full service. Like comparing whats better more makeup or facelift ?

    But to answer why I like large property's. My most expensive equipment are my zero turns. If their blades are not spinning they are not making money. So on small property's if 1/3 of my day is loading, unloading, driving, parking. Mowers aren't earning $$.
    Some days we only make 3 stops mowers are pulling in $60 to $72 per hr for 7.5 hrs out of an 8 hr day.
    Call me lazy, but I love hopping on mower and never leave the seat.
    I do very little residential, I like production mowing. Just what I like.

     
  10. Greencuts518

    Greencuts518 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 215

    My favorites are the small to medium sized properties ,prepay,full service and they aren't home too often. That way I can get in and out with no talkie talkie
     
    Mow-Daddy.com and JLSLLC like this.

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