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SewellsLandscaping
07-31-2010, 12:31 AM
Hi Everyone!

I'm just starting out with my lawn-care business. I've been going at it now for about a month. I have grossed about $1500 in one month. By all means I understand this is nothing to brag about I'm just trying to give all the relevant information.

I'm willing to offer all kinds of services to my customers. My question is, what are the top profit-producing services? Can some-body give their opinion of the top money-making lawn care services?

Thanks,
Will Sewell

SewellsLandscaping.com

LawnMoore
07-31-2010, 02:09 AM
What i would say right now, Exceptional work in high end neighborhoods!

As far as the best profit producing, i would say new installs, and mowing more efficiently!

MAKLawnCutter
07-31-2010, 02:59 AM
Installs are awesome :D I love installs, and full sod jobs from A-Z. big money, 2 man crew can do 12K sq.ft. in a little under 12hours total. BIG BIG MONEY :D.

The higher end neighbor hoods do yield more in profit but, you also have about 80% more bitching, complaining and call backs to "redo" a job than any other. Pays off tho, and if youre there ASAP, they tell EVERYONE, evolves into a full time job.

Clean-Out is MY big money maker.

If you are just starting out, MAKE SURE TO DO ABSOLUTELY AMAZING DETAIL WORK. I mean, lay that weed eater down and make a perfect circle around trees, mail boxes, EVERYTHING. Make sure your areas at the base of trees and out lying fences are CLEAN, barry the weed eater line and make a nice perimeter around the yard at fence lines and away from plants. I am OCD about Detail. It is my way of standing out from other yards with service. My lawns look like a million dollar bill when i leave. I dont worry about "lines," i cut it and trim it to a T and I.

Matt

JP Landscaping
07-31-2010, 11:09 AM
For me, I think it would be mulch. It's light to carry, easy to spread, and quick.

Also doing dirtwork like putting it against foundations and grading it. I get it for $10 a yard and charge $50 a yard plus delivery to spread it. I could do 3 yards in half a day and charge $200. two of these jobs in a day and I gross profit $340 by myself.

If you are limitted on equipment, weeding is a big money maker. You basically need your hands and trashbags.

Or... How about poop scooping. here they charge 10-15 per lawn. It's easy and quick.

Steve
07-31-2010, 08:08 PM
Clean-Out is MY big money maker.

What do you mean by clean outs? What should others be doing to make them big money makers?


Also, what about organic fertilizer applications?

MAKLawnCutter
08-01-2010, 01:48 AM
What do you mean by clean outs? What should others be doing to make them big money makers?


Also, what about organic fertilizer applications?


My organic Fertilizer Apps - Composting is about it now...


"Clean-outs" - Large clearing jobs usually. I can clear 2/3 acre in two days by myself...

"Clean-up" - Basic blowing all my work clean with a back pack blower

Matt

picframer
08-01-2010, 06:26 AM
For me it changes from month to month depending on a host of factors, while excavation is the top profit maker, we have a host of services that require a small investment that yield a very good profit.

Pressure Washing - at the moment we have four commercial units going four days a week, it's perfect timing as it's pretty hot here at the moment. Our city has a large amount of maple trees which cause a black fungus/mold to grow on vinyl siding. We also offer pressure washing Bio Bins and garbage cans while we are on site.

Organic Spraying - while we spray some lawns the entire season, April/May/September are the big months.

Wood Chipping/tree cutting - we do some of this from March to November however the prime months are March to May and September to November due to the cooler temps.

Cleanup's - Mainly fall, due to the hardwoods and the fact you can not put your leaves out with your garbage, we have two tow commercial leaf collectors that mulch the leaves into powder, we leave in a neat pile and spray with an organic product that is very high in nitrogen to brake the leaves down quick into compost.

Mowing - I have shed the company of all lawn mowing contracts except for private communities and a few very large lots, as we all know it's hard to make a living mowing however these properties pay very well, and I do not have to move equipment very often.

We have a lot of other services we offer that make good money but those are the ones that are the core.

jasonw
08-01-2010, 02:11 PM
Working my regular day job is the best money maker for me. Sence I started this back up I have just a big goose egg to show for it. Not even one call.

SewellsLandscaping
08-02-2010, 11:36 PM
For me it changes from month to month depending on a host of factors, while excavation is the top profit maker, we have a host of services that require a small investment that yield a very good profit.

Pressure Washing - at the moment we have four commercial units going four days a week, it's perfect timing as it's pretty hot here at the moment. Our city has a large amount of maple trees which cause a black fungus/mold to grow on vinyl siding. We also offer pressure washing Bio Bins and garbage cans while we are on site.

Organic Spraying - while we spray some lawns the entire season, April/May/September are the big months.

Wood Chipping/tree cutting - we do some of this from March to November however the prime months are March to May and September to November due to the cooler temps.

Cleanup's - Mainly fall, due to the hardwoods and the fact you can not put your leaves out with your garbage, we have two tow commercial leaf collectors that mulch the leaves into powder, we leave in a neat pile and spray with an organic product that is very high in nitrogen to brake the leaves down quick into compost.

Mowing - I have shed the company of all lawn mowing contracts except for private communities and a few very large lots, as we all know it's hard to make a living mowing however these properties pay very well, and I do not have to move equipment very often.

We have a lot of other services we offer that make good money but those are the ones that are the core.

Picframer,
Can you rank your most profitable services in order. I'm really interested in the fact that you say mowing is not as profitable. How much and how do you charge for these services. If mowing is one of the least profitable then I need to start focusing on some of these others.
Thanks picframer or Andy.

Will Sewell
Sewellslandscaping.com

picframer
08-03-2010, 03:49 AM
Picframer,
Can you rank your most profitable services in order. I'm really interested in the fact that you say mowing is not as profitable. How much and how do you charge for these services. If mowing is one of the least profitable then I need to start focusing on some of these others.
Thanks picframer or Andy.

Will Sewell
Sewellslandscaping.com

The lawns we mow make a profit or I would drop them, they do not make the profit margin other services do. If I do not net a 30% return after expenses but before depreciation and tax, then I do not continue with the service.

To put them in profit order, profit being a percentage of return then

Excavation
Organic Spraying
Wood Cutting and Chipping
Landscaping (sod/seed/top soil/mulch)
Pressure Washing
Clean Up's
Mowing

Chachi
08-03-2010, 03:32 PM
Tree Cutting
Landscaping
Brush Cutting/Clean Up
Hedge Trimming
Mowing

SewellsLandscaping
08-03-2010, 05:15 PM
The lawns we mow make a profit or I would drop them, they do not make the profit margin other services do. If I do not net a 30% return after expenses but before depreciation and tax, then I do not continue with the service.

To put them in profit order, profit being a percentage of return then

Excavation
Organic Spraying
Wood Cutting and Chipping
Landscaping (sod/seed/top soil/mulch)
Pressure Washing
Clean Up's
Mowing

This is great! I'm actually looking into adding organic spraying as a service. What is in your spray? Do you use your own formulation or do you buy a product wholesale.
Do you use a simple pump-tank sprayer or something bigger?
How much do you charge for this service?

Thanks for all the info.
Time to make some $

Will Sewell
Sewellslandscaping.com

picframer
08-03-2010, 06:59 PM
We have a 45 gallon 3 pt hitch unit, a 25 and 15 gallon tow unit, 4 Gilmore backpack, two Fimco battery hand cart units and three hand units. We have 246 clients at the moment that we spray.

We buy our sprays from Natures Lawn Care http://www.natureslawn.com/index.php

and

Environmential Factor http://www.environmentalfactor.com/

No two lawns are the same so I add various products to meet the needs.

Charge depends on what we are spraying and the size, min $65.00 per lawn, the average is around $285.00

SewellsLandscaping
08-03-2010, 08:54 PM
We have a 45 gallon 3 pt hitch unit, a 25 and 15 gallon tow unit, 4 Gilmore backpack, two Fimco battery hand cart units and three hand units. We have 246 clients at the moment that we spray.

We buy our sprays from Natures Lawn Care http://www.natureslawn.com/index.php

and

Environmential Factor http://www.environmentalfactor.com/

No two lawns are the same so I add various products to meet the needs.

Charge depends on what we are spraying and the size, min $65.00 per lawn, the average is around $285.00

How do you market your organic fertilizer? Door-to-door demos? Fliers? How do you get people to pay for this? I'd love to get someone to spend $285 on fertilizer.

Thanks,

Will
SewellsLandscapes.com
352-514-5618

LawnMoore
08-03-2010, 10:29 PM
Andy, when your marketing this, what do you call it?

Organic lawn applications?

Organic Spraying?

What is your key phrase that explains the big idea?

You know, hello sir, i see your lawn is in need of some help, would you be interested in "insert the catch phrase here" to improve your soil and turf?

Im having a hard time figuereing out what to say with this, thanks

Is Organic Fertilizer the right classification?

and you say you differ in applications due to site conditions, i know you have lots of experience, and may be able to just tell by looking, or do you determine what the soil needs after a test of some sort?

MountainViewGreenskeeper
08-04-2010, 12:40 AM
and you say you differ in applications due to site conditions, i know you have lots of experience, and may be able to just tell by looking, or do you determine what the soil needs after a test of some sort?

Andy has more exp than me in this cause him and steve got me into this, this year but soil testing and just knowing what product does what. The 4 main products I use atm are Aerify, Nature's Magic, Dethatcher, and Fert for lawns.
The mix varies depending on what is needed. Those are quick release fert btw. For slow release we use Milorganite.

picframer
08-04-2010, 04:27 AM
We market the overall products as Organic Lawn Care, word of mouth has grown the majority of the new clients. We have cards that I hand out as I pass lawns in need of help, one is for weeds, one Chinch bug, one Grubs, one for compacted soil and one Are You Looking for an Organic Fertilizer for your lawn?

We receive a lot of business from gardeners in stores that sell sod/seed/shrubs etc. which we buy some products from, I made a point of befriending the head gardeners, in short our city is chemical free however their stores do not sell an organic solution for customers.

Organic Fertilizer would be the proper term.

Clay and compacted Clay/Soil is a big issue where I live, Aerify cures the issue, it can take three or four applications in the first year but I have seen so many lawns turned around it is simply amazing.

As for rates, we have many large lawns that run over $400.00 and we spray these from 2 to 4 times a year, once again it depends on the lawn. I worked all day yesterday on an excavator, came home at 5, loaded the tractor and sprayer as it calls for rain today, sprayed 6 homes and made a net profit of just over $780.00.

When I compare the ease, time, profit, training required for spraying vs lawn mowing the answer is pretty simple. It would be desperate hard for any of us to go out for three to four hours mowing and make this kind of profit. We still offer some lawn mowing but I have really cut it back.

Chachi
08-04-2010, 09:40 AM
Hmm this seems like a great idea. Do you need a license to use organic stuff like this?

picframer
08-04-2010, 11:02 AM
Hmm this seems like a great idea. Do you need a license to use organic stuff like this?

No, it is made up of Natural Ingredients

Chachi
08-04-2010, 03:48 PM
No, it is made up of Natural Ingredients

What equipment would you recommend getting to start doing this, since you really know what you're talking about. I never seen ANY organic spraying around my area at all.

picframer
08-04-2010, 04:08 PM
What equipment would you recommend getting to start doing this, since you really know what you're talking about. I never seen ANY organic spraying around my area at all.

To start I would suggest Gilmore backpack sprayers, trust me of all equipment that I have bought trying to find the one, I have wasted more money on sprayers than any other tool we use.

Backpack sprayers are fine for lawns up to 10,000 sq/ft, after that Femco makes a battery operated pull cart unit, stays charged about 10 hours. When you get enough accounts, you can't beat the tractor 3 pt hitch units, holds 45 gallons and comes with a 20 foot wand, we can get into pretty much anywhere with them although some gates pose an issue so we use a backpack or pull unit.

http://www.oakridgeyardcare.ca/images/Sprayer-002.jpg

This is my favorite setup that we use.

SewellsLandscaping
08-04-2010, 07:54 PM
Clay and compacted Clay/Soil is a big issue where I live, Aerify cures the issue, it can take three or four applications in the first year but I have seen so many lawns turned around it is simply amazing.

As for rates, we have many large lawns that run over $400.00 and we spray these from 2 to 4 times a year, once again it depends on the lawn. I worked all day yesterday on an excavator, came home at 5, loaded the tractor and sprayer as it calls for rain today, sprayed 6 homes and made a net profit of just over $780.00.

When I compare the ease, time, profit, training required for spraying vs lawn mowing the answer is pretty simple. It would be desperate hard for any of us to go out for three to four hours mowing and make this kind of profit. We still offer some lawn mowing but I have really cut it back.

Andy,

Clay compacted soil is also a big issue here in Columbus, OH. I think residents here would love a service that actually improved the these conditions.

How long does it take after an application of Aerify until results are seen?

Do you show before/after pics?
Do you just tell people "hey I can fix your compacted soil with this spray, but you have to pay $250." How do you convince them to spend the money?

Do you typically spray the entire lawn at one time? How long between applications?

This is really interesting!
Thanks for the info!

Will

SewellsLandscaping
08-04-2010, 08:03 PM
Andy,

I'm thinking about purchasing a quart bottle of Aerify Plus online for $25.00. this would be good for a 10,000 sq. ft lawn right? How much would you charge to spray the entire lawn with this?

And how long would the customer have to wait until they started to see any results?

Thanks,

Will

LawnMoore
08-04-2010, 08:27 PM
I just ordered 1k cards for my business!


I ended up going with:

"Organic" Fertilizer Spraying

as one of my bulleted services, i think i done a nice job on the cards, ill try to get the print shop to email me some sort of way to upload it to here.

They are double sided full color, uv coated.

Set me back almost 100 bucks but im 110% satisfied with the design and layout i made.

Now i just need to place an order with natureslawn and get me a backpack or broadcast sprayer, most lawns i do are atleast 1 acre, so im thinking i do need a pull behind with 15-25' hand sprayer.

So much to do and so little time to do it in ;)

swstout
08-05-2010, 12:19 AM
I just ordered 1k cards for my business!


I ended up going with:

"Organic" Fertilizer Spraying

as one of my bulleted services, i think i done a nice job on the cards, ill try to get the print shop to email me some sort of way to upload it to here.

They are double sided full color, uv coated.

Set me back almost 100 bucks but im 110% satisfied with the design and layout i made.

Now i just need to place an order with natureslawn and get me a backpack or broadcast sprayer, most lawns i do are atleast 1 acre, so im thinking i do need a pull behind with 15-25' hand sprayer.

So much to do and so little time to do it in ;)

I have 2 tow behind sprayers. A 25 Gallon and a 40 gallon. The 25 gallon has an 80" boom with about 6-1/2' coverage. The 40 gallon has 110" booms that gives about 8-1/2' coverage. I also use hose end sprayers (less that $15 at Lowe's for small areas, and backpack sprayers for flower beds (the liquid products tend to stain flowers and the backpack gives better control).

Steve

picframer
08-05-2010, 04:51 AM
Every lawn is different, some only require two sprays of Aerify in the first year and one thereafter in the fall, some require a double dose at the start, we have a few in the first year we will spray four times, 30 day spacing.

What I tell clients when asked if we do Aeration is, Core aeration is nothing more than a patch for your lawn, we offer a solution called Aerify, I have written an overview of how this product works and what you can expect on my website under products, in short it will brake down the clay in your soil, it is not an overnight miracle cure and it can take me up to a year to totally turn your lawn around, after which one spray in the fall of each year and sometimes a spray in the spring is all you need" Hand them a card, generally they accept on the spot, some read the article then write. I have never had anyone turn down this service.

The entire lawn is sprayed in every job we do.

We have over a hundred references that they can call, we generally have a lawn in the area where they can go and look for themselves.

picframer
08-05-2010, 04:52 AM
Andy,

I'm thinking about purchasing a quart bottle of Aerify Plus online for $25.00. this would be good for a 10,000 sq. ft lawn right? How much would you charge to spray the entire lawn with this?

And how long would the customer have to wait until they started to see any results?

Thanks,

Will

$158.90 for the first spray and we would double the Aerify and add Natures Magic, keep in mind I buy these products in large volume so my costs for the product is much less.

picframer
08-05-2010, 04:54 AM
If your lawns are that large a tow sprayer is necessary with a wand to get hard to get to areas. I have done 1 acre +/- places with a backpack but man it is a major workout. Brinly makes one of the best tow units going.