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cleancutlawncare5382
01-08-2011, 09:00 AM
Any ideas how one might market to larger properties this up coming season? Last year was my first season and the lawns were mostly postage stamp size.
End of season 2010 John Deere was having a sale on tractors so I picked up the 320. Now I would like to move to 2 5 acres this season. Try to move away from push mowing so much.

turfmaster
01-08-2011, 09:52 AM
Any ideas how one might market to larger properties this up coming season? Last year was my first season and the lawns were mostly postage stamp size.
End of season 2010 John Deere was having a sale on tractors so I picked up the 320. Now I would like to move to 2 5 acres this season. Try to move away from push mowing so much.

Knocking on doors...Try to find out who in your area uses a lawn care service.

The Cleaning Doctor
01-08-2011, 10:14 AM
I can not help much with your question other than what has already been discussed on the forum but your post did send up a red flag to me.

You said that you wanted to get away from push mowing and concentrate on larger lawns. Not that this is all bad but there is something that you should be aware of.

You need a combination of both. Why? well let's say you are doing all large lawns, if you loose just a few customers you could end up out of business. Where as if you had a mix of large and small and you lost a few customers it would not hurt as much even though you lost the same # of accounts.

Example

Large lawns pay $100 per week and you have 10 customers. 2 of those customers decide they do not like you and so now you loose 20% of your income. Amount lost $200

Example 2

Large lawns pay $100 per week and small lawns pay $30. Because the lawns are smaller you can do 3.5 small lawns for every large one. Now your total take for the week is $1040 (5 large lawns and 18 small lawns). Here is where your savings come in.

Lose 2 large lawns = 19.23% of your income (Already lower because of the increase of $40 on revenue) Amount lost $200

Lose 1 large and 1 small not only does the total $ amount fall but also the % of income = 12.5% Amount lost $130

Lose 2 small = 5.76% Amount lost $60

I know of a company right now that is doing 7 figures in pressure washing but they only have one customer. If they lose that customer then they will be sunk.

It may be that you are using the wrong mower and need to upgrade to a walk behind instead of a push mower.

Which would you rather have, 10 paying $100 or 35 paying $50?

cleancutlawncare5382
01-08-2011, 04:37 PM
Yeah thanks Doc, I needed a reminder in the importance of being diverse. Last season was mostly small properties and going forward I would like to mix it up a little.

jasonw
01-08-2011, 08:02 PM
I market mostly to larger properties, not because I dont like push mowing or I am lazy but I have a simple formula. I have one I will do tomorrow for $200. First the equivalent number of small lawns would never equal that price. I find you can charge more for larger properties and you save a bundle as well. I try to plan it out so I only have one move per day at most. This means the property must take 4 hours to do. I also market to smaller jobs, I market to everything. Tomorrow I even start my new service "Mobile car wash" Mostly what I do with my marketing is use 2 things "No job to small" and next to "mowing" I put "Large lawn capable"

Steve
01-09-2011, 03:51 PM
Any ideas how one might market to larger properties this up coming season? Last year was my first season and the lawns were mostly postage stamp size.

Are you planning on altering the area where you market to in order to get mailers in the hands of customers with larger properties?

Also I would want to find out how their needs differ from smaller yard homeowners.

For instance, do the larger properties in your area want well groomed lawns at a higher price or do they not care about the way it looks and simply want more rough cut lawns at a cheap price?

USA Lawn Care
01-16-2011, 01:57 AM
I have to go along with The Cleaning Doctor's response with a couple points of my own.
Around my area at least, the smaller 'postage stamp' yards are my easy money makers.
With a $30 minimum cut I can mow 3-4 small yards in WAAAAY quicker time then I can cut one priced at $100 and make more money doing it....especially if they are on the same street or around the corner, etc. Look at buying cat food for example......the companies make more money on the small bags then the larger bag because they have to discount the bulk amount.....just like a large lawn (at least here) always seems to be cut cheaper than it should because it seems everyone is bidding and under bidding and trying like heck to get the prized big lawn. They can have it. A $90 cut is way larger than the size of 3 of my $30 yards. It's just the way it works. Now....you lose the $90 cut because someone lowballs you (and it's very easy to do because they now have $90 to play with based on how desperate they are for work). If I price my cut at $30.....it's a smaller to average lawn and as long as I come in and give great service, I'm more than likely not going to lose the account to someone undercutting it a few bucks.
So.......since I've restarted my business a couple years ago.........I'm a postage stamp guy so to speak.
Also.......big point here......in the spring when the grass is growing right before your eyes I don't think twice about double cutting my yards if need be....because they are small but nice priced yards. Pull up to your $90 cut after it's rained for 4 days and the sun came out and it's high...........wow........now your stuck and double cutting when you could have been out taking care of 3-4 more clients.
My 2 cents.......
Hope it helps.

Steve
01-16-2011, 03:24 AM
So.......since I've restarted my business a couple years ago.........I'm a postage stamp guy so to speak.

Do you feel that is a very important key to success? Will you ever expand beyond those kinds of lawns in the future or is this a niche you feel you will focus on and where the profits are at?

USA Lawn Care
01-16-2011, 04:53 PM
my profits are in the smaller to average size yards simply because of the efficiency, the pricing structure and (like mentioned in another posting), there is less risk.
It has all added up to a very reliable and profitable system with much much less aggravation involved.

USA Lawn Care
01-16-2011, 05:34 PM
another reason the big properties haunt me......so I have the choice of 3-4 small yards or a nice big $150 cut. I look up.....it's getting really really dark out.....storms are coming in fast......but guess what....I'd rather get 2 small one's FINISHED and paid then get caught in the middle of the big one, you haven't gotten the backpack blowers out yet because you're still mowing....so....then you're faced with where to stop.....then, geez do we go trim real quick? grab the blowers quick? I'd rather knock out a 20 minute cut and have it finished completely....then decide whether I can cut the next one and FINISH it......if yes, great.....maybe the 3rd one we forget and head back. Thing is.....I hate getting caught half way thru. The customer will totally understand when you pull up to the yard and it starts to rain, we knock on the door and say, 'see ya tomorrow' or in a few hours. No mess.....etc.
Just my 2cents. Oh yeah....and again....now that it's rained, if we do get back out, what if the grass is wet and clumping and we want to double cut it so it looks NICE, i have no problem double cutting my yards.....that big one isn't going to be fun.

jasonw
01-16-2011, 07:31 PM
Are you planning on altering the area where you market to in order to get mailers in the hands of customers with larger properties?

Also I would want to find out how their needs differ from smaller yard homeowners.

For instance, do the larger properties in your area want well groomed lawns at a higher price or do they not care about the way it looks and simply want more rough cut lawns at a cheap price?

Steve I find that the larger properties here pay more for less visual appeal. They just want the fields cut and dont give 2 $hits if it looks good. The larger properties I do tell me not to even bag it just cut it and leave it.

jasonw
01-16-2011, 07:41 PM
my profits are in the smaller to average size yards simply because of the efficiency, the pricing structure and (like mentioned in another posting), there is less risk.
It has all added up to a very reliable and profitable system with much much less aggravation involved.

As far as risk goes I agree totally. When I am doing a larger yard I have to pull a trailer with a tractor and that in itself carries a risk as well as more wear on the truck, While cutting I am putting wear on my tractor and risking hitting a stump "It happened to me last year, good bye blade" I love the larger yards because it means less moves. Moving my equipment is the expensive part for me so If I can park the truck and only move it once per day doing 2 large properties I am very happy.

jasonw
01-16-2011, 07:45 PM
another reason the big properties haunt me......so I have the choice of 3-4 small yards or a nice big $150 cut. I look up.....it's getting really really dark out.....storms are coming in fast......but guess what....I'd rather get 2 small one's FINISHED and paid then get caught in the middle of the big one, you haven't gotten the backpack blowers out yet because you're still mowing....so....then you're faced with where to stop.....then, geez do we go trim real quick? grab the blowers quick? I'd rather knock out a 20 minute cut and have it finished completely....then decide whether I can cut the next one and FINISH it......if yes, great.....maybe the 3rd one we forget and head back. Thing is.....I hate getting caught half way thru. The customer will totally understand when you pull up to the yard and it starts to rain, we knock on the door and say, 'see ya tomorrow' or in a few hours. No mess.....etc.
Just my 2cents. Oh yeah....and again....now that it's rained, if we do get back out, what if the grass is wet and clumping and we want to double cut it so it looks NICE, i have no problem double cutting my yards.....that big one isn't going to be fun.

I dont double cut the big yards, most of them I do take me about 4 hours and they are not yards at all but rather fields. A lot of them are large properties "1 acre or more" and the people just like them cut short. As far as it raining I have been caught is light rain before and it dose not bother me. Sometimes If its getting late and I dont feel like kicking on the tractor lights or if I am tired I will just part the tractor on the trailer, disconnect the trailer and tell the client I will be back tomorrow. Remember these are mostly large opened lots, out here in the country clients dont mind a tractor and trailer parked in front of the house. We dont worry about theft out here but if I have any questions I just pull off the tong and a wheel and go home.

mark123
01-16-2011, 07:45 PM
I market mostly to larger properties, not because I dont like push mowing or I am lazy but I have a simple formula. I have one I will do tomorrow for $200. First the equivalent number of small lawns would never equal that price. I find you can charge more for larger properties and you save a bundle as well. ...
If you have tight routes I've found the opposite to be true. As an example a larger lawn can net around $30/hour. 4 small lawns in a row at $20 each nets around $70 per hour. It's all in my pricing formula. Smaller lawns, as long as you route them efficiently, are a little more work and a lot more money.

jasonw
01-16-2011, 07:47 PM
If you have tight routes I've found the opposite to be true. As an example a larger lawn can net around $30/hour. 4 small lawns in a row at $20 each nets around $70 per hour. It's all in my pricing formula. Smaller lawns, as long as you route them efficiently, are a little more work and a lot more money.

For the larger cuts I do It averages $50 per hour.

mark123
01-16-2011, 08:05 PM
For the larger cuts I do It averages $50 per hour.
Well, how long would it take you to do 4 1000 square feet lawns at $20 a pop? I'm not saying you don't have a good plan, I'm just suggesting that one shouldn't discount smaller lawns because they offer smaller dollars. If you have a minimum price in your formula then the 15 minute lawns can net you some major cabbage.

jasonw
01-16-2011, 08:28 PM
Well, how long would it take you to do 4 1000 square feet lawns at $20 a pop? I'm not saying you don't have a good plan, I'm just suggesting that one shouldn't discount smaller lawns because they offer smaller dollars. If you have a minimum price in your formula then the 15 minute lawns can net you some major cabbage.

Oh I agree totally. I aim for larger lots but I dont turn down small lawns ether. Turning down any work is a mistake, especially in this industry. I happen to just have it made living in the country where most of the lawn outside the town limits are very large.

turfmaster
01-17-2011, 01:31 PM
Another thing to consider in small vs. large is the blade time as well as fuel consumption on your mower.
You will rack up the hours and go through much more fuel on the large properties. All this leads to more maintenance etc. for your equipment.
Those extra costs should be figured in.....