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jasonw
10-04-2012, 09:41 PM
So after fighting and fighting for three years I may be bowing out of the property maintenance business. I just don't know what I am doing wrong and don't have much more fight in me. I am sitting at home now, the season is over, it was a terrible season and I have NO work lined up for the rest of the year and all winter.

I am sure after all of this time it SHOULD be pretty steady for me so I am SURE I am doing something wrong. My back is killing me, I have one tractor down and out and another on its way and no money in the bank to fix them, thank god for my new tractor and my day job or I would be really worrying right now.

I was always told a business will turn a profit after a year, After my first year I was upset because it never happened, then I was told that it usually takes 2 years so I jumped back on the horse and went at it, well........ I just closed out my 3rd year and still have not made back my original investment.

Not sure what to do from here, I am considering pulling all of my adds and getting rid of all the equipment that I will not use on my own property but for some reason I am still holding on by a string, hoping I guess...................

Apex Lawn & Landscape
10-04-2012, 10:21 PM
So after fighting and fighting for three years I may be bowing out of the property maintenance business. I just don't know what I am doing wrong and don't have much more fight in me. I am sitting at home now, the season is over, it was a terrible season and I have NO work lined up for the rest of the year and all winter.

I am sure after all of this time it SHOULD be pretty steady for me so I am SURE I am doing something wrong. My back is killing me, I have one tractor down and out and another on its way and no money in the bank to fix them, thank god for my new tractor and my day job or I would be really worrying right now.

I was always told a business will turn a profit after a year, After my first year I was upset because it never happened, then I was told that it usually takes 2 years so I jumped back on the horse and went at it, well........ I just closed
out my 3rd year and still have not made back my original investment.

Not sure what to do from here, I am considering pulling all of my adds and getting rid of all the equipment that I will not use on my own property but for some reason I am still holding on by a string, hoping I guess...................

Sorry to hear of your hardships man. Do you think it could be your area? I had trouble starting up in my hometown..could not get work for the life of me. Packed up shop and moved out to where my fiancé lived...networked a little with the use of the Internet and have done very well out here. I can't imagine being in the situation your in and heading into winter. Have you thought about going around to the other local landscapers and sayin hey are there any yards your lookin to get rid of..maybe they'll have some sympathy for ya. I hope it works out whichever path you chose..best of luck man.

willshome
10-04-2012, 11:45 PM
Could we get a little more info about your problems like
*Are you making money per hour?
*how many lawns do you have?
*how many hours a week are you working?
*Do you have any fall cleanups?
I don't know where you got you should be making good money after one to two years but I have always been told after 3
"3 is the magic number"
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stevef1201
10-05-2012, 06:11 AM
Accorking to the IRS, they expect you a new business to turn a profit at the 5 year mark. whaere did you hear 1 or 2. This is the end of my third season and I have jyst barely hit into the black

CHEESE2009
10-05-2012, 10:39 AM
Every year is a learning experience I suppose.

What you can try and do, is condense your days so that you have at least one free day at the end of the week to play with.

With that day you should offer to repair damaged lawns to make some quick money.

I've received so many jobs out of random this year... Usually I decline odd jobs or refer my client to another company... But so far I've taken on what I could when the weather cooled down - realizing what $$$ I've been missing out on.

Every year I usually give away thousands of dollars of work because I'm usually just too uninterested, or just want to relax with my free time... but actually doing the work can make a huge difference in what you will make $$$.

Grass cutting is "ok", it brings in consistent income, but in order to get rich we'll need to offer more, and actually be willing to do the work.

The best thing I can think of, is to hire someone to assist you, or send them out on their own to take care of simple jobs. Advertising is no fun, especially when you're the one stuck doing all the work.

-

Right now is a good time to spread some soil around, throw some seed down, etc... Maybe cut a few pieces of sod and flop it down where the client has a dead patch of grass... The work is actually very easy, but our clients don't need to know that!

If you're like me, you focus too much on grass cutting - fck it, that's what is holding all of us back. This year I've given away 16 hedge trimming jobs, it's stupid. Granted, if you don't feel like doing additional work during the hot months, I understand - but now is the perfect time to get out there and grab what you can. The cool weather will put frost on your balls to keep you going.

-

Love,
Cheese xoxoxoxo

jasonw
10-05-2012, 10:49 AM
#1. No.
#2. None, the season is pretty much over, when Spring comes around I might have 2, 1 large one and one small one.
#3. 30 minutes maybe. My one big lawn takes about 3-4 hours once per month, its not really a lawn but rather a large lot full of weeds. That one ends each year once the weeds stop growing. The small one is weekly and only takes 30 minutes but just because of the experience this last part of the season I doubt I will be doing that one next season. The client was one of those that are not happy getting everything for free "you know the type"
#4. No.

My advertising this entire years has yielded a few calls and only one job "the small lawn above" I got my info about "1 year profit" just from reading online, then I actually talked to a business owner who told me it was more like 2 years. On top of that my tax person told me if I don't show some sort of profit by the end of this year the IRS will likely reject my filing because they will call me a hobby rather than a business and no longer let me write off my "hobby" expenses.

My biggest issue is I am finishing up my 3rd year and when I look at the numbers "you see some above" there is no way in hell I will be making a profit or even close to it on my 4th year.

I recently came off of a labor strike at work and one thing I learned from that is this is a make or break situation. I need to get away from that place and finally work for myself. I am already equipped to do property maintenance but can not continue putting time into something that will not pay off.

I am getting older "only 34" but my back is killing me each day, just standing to long causes back pain, I am getting more and more tired each day and more and more poorer every time I have to hook my trailer up there is money flying out of my truck bed. I have had to cut my prices in half because of unlicensed out of town providers mowing lawns for dirt cheap.

I sat and thought about it while talking to a friend the other day who is a state licensed contractor and the way I see it I have it in me to start another business from the ground up but am so wore out this one last time will probably take every last bit of life I have out of me and if it does not work there will be NO next time.

My back has been a HUGE issue, especially as of late, normally it's once every week or 2 but now it's every single day, lucking for me I am set to start getting it fixed next month. One HUGE worry of mine is once they look at it they will tell me it can not be fixed, then what? If that happens there is NO WAY I can lug a weedeater around for the next 20 years. My only option would be to hire others to do the work but local prices are so low and wage expectations are so high there is no way to find good people to do the work at an affordable rate.

I have no given up totally yet but at this point I do not see myself running any new adds at the start of next season. for three years now my monthly income dose not even cover my monthly add costs, To be honest I think the wife is also getting tired of me dumping all of our savings into this as well lol.


Could we get a little more info about your problems like
*Are you making money per hour?
*how many lawns do you have?
*how many hours a week are you working?
*Do you have any fall cleanups?
I don't know where you got you should be making good money after one to two years but I have always been told after 3
"3 is the magic number"
<iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/aU4pyiB-kq0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

CHEESE2009
10-05-2012, 11:18 AM
After three years, you will learn enough to make the fourth year count.

The first year is just a total mind-fck, so much information is being processed.

The second year, you begin putting things into practice, avoiding the mistakes of year one.

The third year, you know how things should be, and how to run the ideal company... but there is not enough time to prepare for the season.

The fourth year is where you make money, and put final touches on how your company should operate.

-

In my time, I've learned many things that helped me improve:

Year 1
I learned that people generally suck, everyone is cheap and willing to take advantage of me to receive a lower cost. My ads sucked, and I didn't put in enough effort (I just didn't know where to start).

Year 2 (worst year)
I realized my mistakes from year one. I avoided all crap work, and put my foot down and denied service for those who refused to pay on time. It was a bad year, I became 'Hitler' of lawn maintenance. If you missed a payment, you were dead to us. People panicked, and we got rid of a LOT of business. I was generally happier without the headaches, but I had no money.

Year 3.
I realized my mistakes from year 2... I didn't want to lose business by firing ignorant clients like last year, so I had them all pre-pay with post-dated cheques. I no longer had to chase them around for money, or worry!

Because they were all forced to pay properly, I had less stress. I didn't cut lawns thinking, "I'm wasting my time, I'm probably not going to get paid for this"... Instead, the passion for my work came back!!! I felt great cutting grass again, and this made me feel better as a businessman. I was now willing to go after more work.

Year 4 is all about perfecting year 3. Knowing something is working, at taking advantage of it!

Steve
10-05-2012, 01:45 PM
Jason,

Why are you not making money per hour?

What is your gut telling you as to the reason why this isn't working for you yet? Take a moment and step back from it all and tell me your thoughts on this.

LawnBoy0311
10-05-2012, 02:37 PM
I feel your "pain" on this one. Literally. Back in 2006, I was deployed to Iraq, and was hit by an IED. Long story short, I have nerve damage to my neck, problems in my chest (feels like a heart attack sometimes), knee problems, and back problems. Doing 1 aeration job in enough to have me curled up in pain and can't wait to get home and get "high" on my pain meds. I've been dealing with it for a few years now, and have figured out solutions to my problems. Walk behinds = PAIN. ZTR = less pain. I have a guy who trims for me, since I can't hold the trimmer too long. I have to do many other things too, just find out what may work for you. Don't let your pain get to you, find a way to get around it!!

I'm only 28, but I've seen A TON of business's go under. The main factors? Costs, and theft. I'm not saying thats why your not doing so well, but have you thought of things you may not need, but want them anyway?

What services are you offering? How are you advertising? Whats your routing look like? Are you driving an hour to service 1 customer? Are you more residential or commercial?

The people in this forum have a lot of knowledge. Let them help you. Do you have a website we can look at? Where are you located? I know I'd like to help as much as possible. I know what it feels like to have a business go under, I had one 3 years ago. We'll all do what we can to get that "spark" back. Give me some info and I'll see what I can come up with, its a slow weekend for me.

dpld
10-05-2012, 09:02 PM
So after fighting and fighting for three years I may be bowing out of the property maintenance business. I just don't know what I am doing wrong and don't have much more fight in me. I am sitting at home now, the season is over, it was a terrible season and I have NO work lined up for the rest of the year and all winter.

I am sure after all of this time it SHOULD be pretty steady for me so I am SURE I am doing something wrong. My back is killing me, I have one tractor down and out and another on its way and no money in the bank to fix them, thank god for my new tractor and my day job or I would be really worrying right now.

I was always told a business will turn a profit after a year, After my first year I was upset because it never happened, then I was told that it usually takes 2 years so I jumped back on the horse and went at it, well........ I just closed out my 3rd year and still have not made back my original investment.

Not sure what to do from here, I am considering pulling all of my adds and getting rid of all the equipment that I will not use on my own property but for some reason I am still holding on by a string, hoping I guess...................


i am sorry to hear you are having trouble and considering getting out of business.
with that said and without knowing all the details of what is not working for you i would suggest you keep it going and seek the help to find out what you are doing wrong.
if you are doing something wrong then the signs will be there and maybe you are so consumed by the misery of not being where you want to be that you can not see it but someone else may be able to see the things you are doing wrong more easily and give you the insight to make the corrections to get it going on the right track.

a couple other things you need to consider is, 1. we have a horrible economy right now and most businesses are not doing all that well and growing in leaps and bounds.
2. the general population is struggling and barely treading water right now and as a result people are just not spending money like they did in the past and depending on which state you live in it could be even worse.
3. i don't know where you get your information from but it takes more then a couple years to get a business going and from my experience as well as most of the information i have read and learned from my financial advisers over the last 23 years of being in business the general rule of thumb would be 5 years.
the landscape business is a fickle business and most rules don't always apply because it is a highly competitive business that also requires you to build up a client base that takes years to do.
if you had a retail business in a strip mall where your customers come to you i would say that after a few years if you were still struggling you would probably be in trouble.

my business for example had a couple different life cycles, when i started i took everything i could get and had work but most of my clients were just your everyday run of the mill basic customer who only wanted the bare minimum. then i started to replace them with high end accounts that were full service and i ended up with 150 accounts of high end customers that had gorgeous properties and spared no expense.
i was making good money but i was not happy with the direction i was going and thought i could do better and make more.
i then decided i wanted to get into big commercial properties where i could make more money with larger contracted jobs where i only needed a handful of accounts instead of having to deal with 150 accounts every week and 150 bills to write every month.
when i was in that transition i got to a point where i had to phase out my existing accounts and give up that safety net i spent all those years building up and step back into that grey area of uncertainty.

it was tough and had some brutal moments where i thought i made a big mistake and screwed myself but i held the course and kept plugging away and eventually it all worked out.

the morale of the story is a business is a series of evolution's and it takes a great deal of time to get established and it is like a roller coaster ride and if your season is pretty much wrapped up and you have a job to provide you a income then maybe you should take the down time to assess what you are doing wrong and recharge your batteries and get you equipment back in order and come back next year with all your guns a blazing.

maybe as time goes on you can keep us all posted and better enlighten us as to what exactly you are doing and we can all help you make the right choices to get you going in the right direction.
there are plenty of people here that can give you advice and help you and i am sure that everyone here would be glad to help.

i myself would be happy to help and i am 100% positive that everyone here feels the same way.
i also feel obligated to help a fellow tradesman out because in the end we are all a bad stretch away from calling it quits and we all have so much to gain by helping each other out rather then go it alone and fend for ourselves.

good luck and keep us posted and don't do anything in haste.

jasonw
10-05-2012, 09:13 PM
Kinda hard to make anything per hour when you work one job, one day per week. My last month revenue was $20 per week, I guess on a 40 hour week you can say I made $.50 per hour.

Jason,

Why are you not making money per hour?

What is your gut telling you as to the reason why this isn't working for you yet? Take a moment and step back from it all and tell me your thoughts on this.

willshome
10-05-2012, 09:52 PM
jasonw I just checked out your craigslist ad
I would list what you do not just talk about unlicensed out of town people.
If someone searches c-list for lawn care, fall cleanup, mulch, mowing..... you will not come up

LawnBoy0311
10-05-2012, 10:35 PM
jason- send me an email. lets get you back up and running turning a profit. even with a little while left. jcboyd1210@yahoo.com

jymie
10-05-2012, 11:07 PM
I learned over the past few years that the following is the most critical things you can and should do for your business:

Website - Have it listed on as many search engines as you can. Make sure the website is rich in keywords of all the services that you provide and be sure to include the towns by name and zipcode in your keywords.

List your business on as many free business directories as you can. Google is your friend, google *Free Business Directory*

List your business on google places, Bing places and yahoo places. They are the first things that appear in search results.

Craigslist & Backpage - Every ad you place on craigslist or backpage should include all the same keywords you have on your website as listed above, otherwise no one will see your ad. Picture ads still need keywords written separate from the picture ad as pics are not searchable. Make sure to provide a link to your website in all advertising.

When you service a customer, have you handed out advertising to the rest of the street? I have picked up several customers that way.

Signs on your truck doors and Trailer with your phone number. Having a sign on the back gate that includes your logo, phone number & list of services is huge as well. Hand out business cards to everyone you meet, great places to do that is grocery stores, gas stations, bars choose a bar where older folks go.

Have a page on your website totally geared for people to request a quote for a service from you. This year alone I received 69 quote requests just from that one page.. You can see it here: http://lunchesruslawncare.com/lunchesruscontact_us.htm

You can design your own quote page here: http://www.emailmeform.com/ The best part is I use the basic plan which is free, you get 200 submissions a month. See the plans page here: http://www.emailmeform.com/v-plans.html

Its very easy to work with, once you design the page the way you want it, save it then copy the code for it, paste the code into your websites page and thats it. You get an email every time some one completes the form.

Another thing I did this year was get listed on Angies List, I got customers from there as well.

stevef1201
10-06-2012, 11:02 AM
here is a list of ad keyword I use on craigslist

lawn service, lawn-care, lawn care,
cut, mower, lawnmower, mow, insured, insurance, licensed, registered, estimate, edge, trim, leaf blower, blow, blowing, sidewalk, driveway,
walkway, mulch, mulching, mulches, spring, fall, clean-up, cleanup, twigs, weeds, branches, trees, recycled, recycling, compost, summer,
winter, rain barrel, weed-wack, weedwhacking, weedeat, weed-eat, weedeater, shrubs, shrubbery, bush, hedges, forsythia, trimming, hedge, hedge trimming, hedge trim
cutting, pruning, fertilize, organic fertilizer, fertilizing, plant, plants, planting, beds, flowerbed, garden, gardens, raised garden, prune, annuals,
flowers, flower, rake, raking, shovel, digging, sweep, haul, hauling, debris, removal, honest, honesty, integrity, pride, diligent, reliable,
responsible, fair, detail-oriented, affordable, satisfaction, lawn mowing, grass cutting, lawn mowing, landscaper, landscape, landscaping, cut grass, mowing grass, lawn, low priced, affordable, affordably priced, curb appeal, gardener, maintenance, lawn maintenance, maintenance, maintenance, fertilizer, organic, sod, low emissions, free estimate, estimates, green, handyman, water conservation, pond, fountain, fountain, thinning, removal, chain saw, lot, vacant lot, property, hauling, roses, bush, bushes, trimmer, snow blower, snow thrower, pole pruner, pruner, shaping, cutting, push mower, discount, referral discount, low priced, landscaper, landscaping, pet, pet friendly, pet-friendly, dog, pet safe, pet-safe, weekly, biweekly, bi weekly, monthly, annual, annuals, last minute, hurry, asap, quote

Of course I add the city(ies) I work in or am looking to work in

Hope this helps

ringahding1
10-06-2012, 11:34 AM
"If you have lost the passion or love for your lawn mowing business don’t just hang it up or quit. Take a step back and start over, YES I said start over. Reevaluate your commitment to yourself, employees and customers.
Operating a lawn mowing business can be scary in any economy. Having the right people in place for your operation will create time for you to market and promote weekly services. If you think your lawn business will run itself after it has grown, forget it. The landscape industry is demanding. Only hard-working and committed individuals will succeed."

Okay there it is Jason...This quote is from one of my posts on my website.

Here is what I am offering you today:

I'm not gonna promise you anything, but I will guarantee you a re-vamping of your website for FREE that will get you found....yes I can do that, and since I see you like WordPress...you just fell into my trap..lol

I love WordPress and actually have built several business websites, for $$...but for you my man...F ~ R ~ E ~ E ~ , plus I have access to 70+ Themes you can choose from and I will Host your website FREE...

Never have I offered to build, host or SEO a website for FREE, but your story TRAPPED me...

YOU ARE SAYING "Too good to be true"....

Here is the deal, Steve(GopherHaul)has provided a forum for instructions on how to be successful. And over the past few years I have been a member here these instructions have only increased my knowledge and income in the Green industry.


So yes this is a pay it forward situation....take it or leave it.. The only thing I need is a commitment from you to take your business to the next level...DO NOT BE FOOLED, I am busy as fckn HELL! !

willshome
10-10-2012, 09:18 AM
Jason how are things going?
Still thinking it over, is there anything you need help with?

jasonw
10-19-2012, 10:45 AM
I sent you an email the same day but never got a response.


jason- send me an email. lets get you back up and running turning a profit. even with a little while left. jcboyd1210@yahoo.com

jasonw
10-19-2012, 10:52 AM
Things are going as good as they can, I am sitting at home no working other than my day job lol. If there is anything good to come of this I have been redoing my shop while I consider if I am going to stay in the business. Now I have all 3 tractors in the shop which is the first time I have ever been able to fit them all. I am still undecided if I want to continue. I would love to continue if something will happen but I can not keep losing money. The bottom line is after 3 years of hard work I now have $4.40 in my business account. If it were not for my good paying day job I would have lost everything a long time ago. I am NOT in a position that I can invest a lot of money to keep going, for 3 years now I have only worked for the opportunity to say I own a business but I have made nothing from said business, got some cool toys but have no profit to show for it. My only real worry is that if I keep investing time and money to it that it will never change, I am here to work for money not work for nothing. I am thinking that the local economy and unlicensed competition is just way to much for any honest person to sustain a business.

Jason how are things going?
Still thinking it over, is there anything you need help with?

SECTLANDSCAPING
10-19-2012, 12:01 PM
I would reevaluate your prices. Theres no way your charging enough if you dont leave every job with something.

Then I would look at expenses. Your prices could be in line and your cost are to high. I have never lost money or broke even. Then again If I cant get the job for my price I walk.

The other part would be lack of work. If your not working enough look at your marketing. Drop everything that is not working for you and only stick to what had results. This is a complicated thing to do because sometimes its good for your name to be seen even if you dont get a call.

Other then that branch out to other companies. I been looking for snow subs for two months now and have had no responses. I pay these guys $75 a hour or give them a site to do for the year.

LawnBoy0311
10-19-2012, 12:08 PM
Send an email to me again. Same address. Put in the subject Hey Jay! I think my spam box got it and deleted it. I have some time this weekend and I'll come up with a game plan. I did some research on your area, you have a lot of potential!!

willshome
10-19-2012, 03:58 PM
Jason did you talk to ringahding1 about a website?
are you listed on yellowpages.com
would you like help with a craigslist ad? If so I need to know
your services
towns/areas you service
"sale" you would like to run like 50% off first mow...

jasonw
10-20-2012, 02:06 AM
My minimum use to be $40 for a lawn and $35 per hour but because of out of town, unlicensed labor I was forced to drop it to $20 per lawn and $20 per hour and there are still A holes out bidding me.

As far as advertising NONE of it is working, nothing offered locally at least, thats one of the big problems, this year for example, all year long I only got a few calls and one one job from them.


I would reevaluate your prices. Theres no way your charging enough if you dont leave every job with something.

Then I would look at expenses. Your prices could be in line and your cost are to high. I have never lost money or broke even. Then again If I cant get the job for my price I walk.

The other part would be lack of work. If your not working enough look at your marketing. Drop everything that is not working for you and only stick to what had results. This is a complicated thing to do because sometimes its good for your name to be seen even if you dont get a call.

Other then that branch out to other companies. I been looking for snow subs for two months now and have had no responses. I pay these guys $75 a hour or give them a site to do for the year.

jasonw
10-20-2012, 02:07 AM
I got a notification that I had an email from you but I just got home after volunteering at a haunted house all night so I will check it now and get back to you.


Send an email to me again. Same address. Put in the subject Hey Jay! I think my spam box got it and deleted it. I have some time this weekend and I'll come up with a game plan. I did some research on your area, you have a lot of potential!!

jasonw
10-20-2012, 02:10 AM
I am thinking about the offer but at the same time already have a website. I am NOT listed in the yellow pages, I called them but they wanted far more money than I made so I hung up. My services other than mowing are Weed Spraying

Pest Spraying

Field and Brush Cutting

Chipping Shredding

Clean Up

Pressure Washing

I recently learned that pest a weed control might not be legal for me to offer here without an applicators licences from the state although I have not confirmed that with the state yet.


Jason did you talk to ringahding1 about a website?
are you listed on yellowpages.com
would you like help with a craigslist ad? If so I need to know
your services
towns/areas you service
"sale" you would like to run like 50% off first mow...

willshome
10-20-2012, 09:18 AM
I am thinking about the offer but at the same time already have a website. I am NOT listed in the yellow pages, I called them but they wanted far more money than I made so I hung up.

Are you in Jackson CA?
your website is hard to find and does not have your service area listed
yellowpages.com (https://adsolutions.yp.com/listings/basic) is free for a basic listing (they will call to up-sell just say no thanks)

I would let ringahding1 build you a new site and back link it so it can be found.

STOP SELLING YOURSELF ON PRICE you will never win. Just bid jobs to make a living.

Steve
10-23-2012, 01:08 AM
I just got home after volunteering at a haunted house all night

It sounds like you are pretty plugged into your local community which should make it easier to find customers.

jasonw
11-04-2012, 09:57 PM
Yes and no Steve, when you take business, even if you get on your knees and plead, everyone is good at just ignoring you around here lol

Organic Ken
11-05-2012, 12:37 AM
Jason, Jason, Jason, my little brother. Sorry to hear your not doing good. I want you to come over to my house so I can set you straight and give you some advice. As you know, I did residential gardening from 1982 to 1998 and then did commercial maintenance from 1998 to 2003 when I moved to Ione. I had 5 full time employees (with benifits) when I sold it. Think about the following points and then call me tomorrow afternoon or evening. (im busy in the morning)

Whats the population of Ione? Jackson? maybe 3,000 each. How many manicured lawns? maybe 300?

How many manicured lawns are thee in Folsom? Stockton? Rancho Cordova? probably 40,000- 100,000 each.

Most of the jobs around here are weed wacking fields and vacant lots. Thats fine if you had a base of lawn accounts bringing in 1,000 or 2,000 then the one time weed wacks are gravy on top! you can't build a business on them.

I called you with a lead on a new homeowner that wanted lawn care. Her front lawn is 50' by 20', no back yard. you said $20 per mow. I thought it was a little high since its so small and said how much for a monthly contract and you didn't want to do monthly. You probably could have got it if you quoted 45 or 50 per month. She has plans to have cement put in the back and then some landscaping, etc. you could have got in on that. and when her yard is finished, and the yard is bigger, increase your mowing to 65 - 75??

Hang in there my friend, were here for you! If you don't recognize my user name, its Ken H

jasonw
11-05-2012, 07:27 AM
Ken, at $50 per month that is $12.50 per visit per week. That won't even pay for the tires on my trailer and to be honest I would rather hang it all up than work my butt off for such chicken feed. The bank interest rates pay better than that.

jasonw
11-05-2012, 07:59 AM
You see, Let entertain this for a minute off of that number "12.50" @3,000 per month divided by that would be 240 divide that into 4 weeks @5 days per week and it puts me at 12 jobs per day before I can consider leaving my day job. Lets say it took 30 minutes per job, I would be working after work for 5 hours per day meaning when I get home at 3PM I would be working until 8pm, now I have no problem working but as you know the sun is going to bed at 6pm meaning I will be mowing lawns for 2 hours in the dark by flashlight I don't know about you but I would fire someone if they showed up at my house at 8PM to mow my lawn.

Now you look at the numbers I shoot for and I only need 7 jobs per day to go full time meaning I am only working until 6-6:30PM which while still being late in my book is far better.

Maybe I should get into real estate? LOL:)

Organic Ken
11-05-2012, 09:31 AM
That job is a bad example because it is a postage stamp yard. Not the type of job you want to base your business plan on, but would still be profitable. That yard only takes 15 min. thats $50 per hour - whats the problem? and yes you will need to do 10- 15 jobs per day, 5 days a week to make $$$ in this business.

When I was doing residential, I did 70+ lawns. Some were postage stamps and some were 3 or 4 hours a week and I did them by myself - no employees!

the problem is that if you need to make 3,000 in order to quit your job, that will never happen. you might be able to build it up to 1,000 per month or so but then when you quit, youll have to live on that 1,000 until you build it up to 3,000 which may take a year or two. the other alternative would be to buy an existing route, if you can find one.

jasonw
11-05-2012, 06:12 PM
the problem is that if you need to make 3,000 in order to quit your job, that will never happen.

Which is exactly why I am leaving this business. Shoot I make more money on YouTube now than anything ells and I actually enjoy that, Never have to deal with customers as well lol

jasonw
11-05-2012, 06:13 PM
I guess on a bright note, I have some super sweet equipment to work on my own yard with.

jasonw
11-14-2012, 03:22 PM
Anyone ells want to chime in? It's been a while.

avetslawncare
11-14-2012, 09:59 PM
Give it up, with that attitude, you will not make it

LawnBoy0311
11-15-2012, 06:22 AM
I tried to help him, but he stopped emailing me.

My advice- hang up the boots, bro. Move on.

jasonw
11-15-2012, 06:35 AM
With what attitude? The one that wants to actually make money?

Lawnboy, I never heard back from you after our last exchange via email.

ringahding1
11-15-2012, 06:46 AM
After three years, you will learn enough to make the fourth year count.

The first year is just a total mind-fck, so much information is being processed.

The second year, you begin putting things into practice, avoiding the mistakes of year one.

The third year, you know how things should be, and how to run the ideal company... but there is not enough time to prepare for the season.

The fourth year is where you make money, and put final touches on how your company should operate.

-

In my time, I've learned many things that helped me improve:

Year 1
I learned that people generally suck, everyone is cheap and willing to take advantage of me to receive a lower cost. My ads sucked, and I didn't put in enough effort (I just didn't know where to start).

Year 2 (worst year)
I realized my mistakes from year one. I avoided all crap work, and put my foot down and denied service for those who refused to pay on time. It was a bad year, I became 'Hitler' of lawn maintenance. If you missed a payment, you were dead to us. People panicked, and we got rid of a LOT of business. I was generally happier without the headaches, but I had no money.

Year 3.
I realized my mistakes from year 2... I didn't want to lose business by firing ignorant clients like last year, so I had them all pre-pay with post-dated cheques. I no longer had to chase them around for money, or worry!

Because they were all forced to pay properly, I had less stress. I didn't cut lawns thinking, "I'm wasting my time, I'm probably not going to get paid for this"... Instead, the passion for my work came back!!! I felt great cutting grass again, and this made me feel better as a businessman. I was now willing to go after more work.

Year 4 is all about perfecting year 3. Knowing something is working, at taking advantage of it!

Completely Agree Cheese! You must know your prices before stepping foot on any property. Your mindset should be second nature when estimating any job! Soon you will be at a point where you can actually pick and choose clients, you will know who are going to be the good payers.

jasonw
11-15-2012, 07:03 AM
Completely Agree Cheese! You must know your prices before stepping foot on any property. Your mindset should be second nature when estimating any job! Soon you will be at a point where you can actually pick and choose clients, you will know who are going to be the good payers.

He did hit on some good points, my 2nd year was full of non paying clients who were great payers the first year. I am a little confused as to where to go now though, I have virtually no business and next year will be my 4th. Do I start fresh like it is the first year or try to make it my 4th and first profitable year?

ringahding1
11-15-2012, 07:30 AM
Do I start fresh like it is the first year or try to make it my 4th and first profitable year?

Well, I hate to sound like your 3rd grade school teacher, but yes! ! If this is something you have a real love & passion for, Start over!
Take the past 3 seasons and learn from them. I cannot guarantee your success, but Hansens Lawn Care (Now a True Friend through this endeavor)has provided for his family after this season ~ Truly his first real season in business!

Do not get me wrong, your market may be different than ours, but clearly you see other companies making it in your area, right? So WTF can't u?

The offer still stands man regarding your website...you just pay for hosting and your domain and I will help you SEO the iiiiiiiiiiiiisssssssssshhhhhh out of it! !! This winter will be perfect for this!

Do not take this the wrong way either, but stop playing thumb war with yourself and accept that you are at a cross roads and most people will NOT offer you anything FREE!

If you are not willing to work as hard or harder than me, then forget it!

jasonw
11-15-2012, 08:03 AM
Thank you, I think I can deal with a fresh start, especially not being as "stupid" as I was on year one it will help progress faster. A question though, do you think charging $20 to mow, edge and blow is to much as was stated earlier? The biggest problem I have faces is pricing, sometimes I am worried I am not going to make a profit and others I am worried the price sounds to high. Are there any calculators out there "Specifically for an android phone" that can be used right on site to give prices? It would be great to use my wheeled tape, punch in a few numbers and give a price right on the spot.

I find a good deal of people "maybe 90%" call several people for prices and usually its the first one that give a number that gets the job, a lot of jobs have been lost in the middle while figuring numbers out, meanwhile someone spits out a price and gets the job, maybe they will make money or maybe they wont. this is one reason while for anything under a 1/4 acer I just spit out $20 for basic service. As I am sure you know doing this can bring in great profits for some yards but kill you with other yards depending on obsticals exc exc.



Well, I hate to sound like your 3rd grade school teacher, but yes! ! If this is something you have a real love & passion for, Start over!
Take the past 3 seasons and learn from them. I cannot guarantee your success, but Hansens Lawn Care(Now a True Friend through this endeavor)has provided for his family after this season ~ Truly his first real season in business!

Do not get me wrong, your market may be different than ours, but clearly you see other companies making it in your area, right? So WTF can't u?

The offer still stands man regarding your website...you just pay for hosting and your domain and I will help you SEO the iiiiiiiiiiiiisssssssssshhhhhh out of it! !! This winter will be perfect for this!

Do not take this the wrong way either, but stop playing thumb war with yourself and accept that you are at a cross roads and most people will NOT offer you anything FREE!

If you are not willing to work as hard or harder than me, then forget it!

SECTLANDSCAPING
11-15-2012, 11:13 AM
Your gonna have a hard time finding a job when doing a 1/4 acre for $20.

I found out in year 1 and a little in year 2, that if you bid low your considered cheap and inexperienced. The customer thinks do they know what there doing? The last guy charged double.

In your mind you might be thinking that they went with someone cheaper but thats not true. Everyone wants something affordable but they also want quality trouble free service. If you can sell that your twice as better then the next guy at about the same price youll always get the job.

LawnBoy0311
11-15-2012, 11:35 AM
Your gonna have a hard time finding a job when doing a 1/4 acre for $20.

I found out in year 1 and a little in year 2, that if you bid low your considered cheap and inexperienced. The customer thinks do they know what there doing? The last guy charged double.

In your mind you might be thinking that they went with someone cheaper but thats not true. Everyone wants something affordable but they also want quality trouble free service. If you can sell that your twice as better then the next guy at about the same price youll always get the job.

Well said.

Steve
11-15-2012, 11:42 AM
I think I can deal with a fresh start, especially not being as "stupid" as I was on year one it will help progress faster.

What were some of the mistakes you feel were stupid?

jasonw
11-15-2012, 06:39 PM
Actually my $20 question was more referring to the conversation Ken and I had earlier in this thread, was I right or wrong, I normally still to the $200 per acer rule which I feel for this area is a fair price.

jasonw
11-15-2012, 06:41 PM
What were some of the mistakes you feel were stupid?

Steve, I can't even count the ways. There are a lot of jobs that I left that I should have kept and a lot that I took and should have walked away from. I had HUGE equipment expenses that I did not need, I upgraded any chance I got even when my older stuff still got the job done. I worked with advertisers and consultants that I NEVER should have paid or listened to, I think it's safe to say just about every part of the last 3 years has been a big flop.

jasonw
11-15-2012, 06:48 PM
If you can sell that your twice as better then the next guy at about the same price youll always get the job.

That is something that has always stumped me, I have NOTHING to compair my prices to other than Ken saying a $20 mow is to much. I have even called the local big place to give me an estimate so that I can comp[air and they never return my calls, I figured "Maybe they know me and what I am doing" so I had my mom call for an estimate on her yard and still they never returned her calls. Bidding has always been a HUGE problem. I bid what I would like to make but at the same time I never ever have any way of knowing how my bids squar up with everyone ells. Every now and then I get lucky and a client will tell me what there other quotes are but that is rare. How am I to properly bid when I have nothing to compair my prices to? Do I just focus on bidding high and hopign I can sell myself or what?

SECTLANDSCAPING
11-15-2012, 07:07 PM
That is something that has always stumped me, I have NOTHING to compair my prices to other than Ken saying a $20 mow is to much. I have even called the local big place to give me an estimate so that I can comp[air and they never return my calls, I figured "Maybe they know me and what I am doing" so I had my mom call for an estimate on her yard and still they never returned her calls. Bidding has always been a HUGE problem. I bid what I would like to make but at the same time I never ever have any way of knowing how my bids squar up with everyone ells. Every now and then I get lucky and a client will tell me what there other quotes are but that is rare. How am I to properly bid when I have nothing to compair my prices to? Do I just focus on bidding high and hopign I can sell myself or what?

call the small guys and like a dozen of them. Thats what I do and I only get a quote from a few. I do this once a year.

Recently I tried to sub a tree job out and must of called up 15 companies. I got 2 quotes on the stump and none on the tree.

jasonw
11-15-2012, 07:35 PM
call the small guys and like a dozen of them. Thats what I do and I only get a quote from a few. I do this once a year.

Recently I tried to sub a tree job out and must of called up 15 companies. I got 2 quotes on the stump and none on the tree.

Do you find such unreliability a trend in this industry? I have found when giving quotes the most common complaint I hear is "They just stopped showing up"

ringahding1
11-15-2012, 10:02 PM
I'm certain I have said this somewhere on this forum before: "You gotta be a hustler"...You need to convince yourself you can sell water to a well...


Sell yourself not your machine, your truck, etc.


What are you worth, really per hour? $50, $60? Once you know, you will be able to COMPARE your mowing times from other jobs you actually have done or do.


Let's say your work ethic is worth $50 per hour. Lawn mowing with all the extras(trimming & blowing)takes you a 1/2 hour....Ya think $25?(too low ~ Joe)Bump it up $5 ~ Bam ! ! $30

Now get 10 of those $30 jobs, you are in business. I personally think you are a hard worker that is lacking the confidence to sell YOURSELF

jasonw
11-15-2012, 10:26 PM
I honestly think you hit the nail on the head with that last line. I have hired people in the past for odd jobs and I would honestly say that I would pay $100 per hour for a good honest worker so I guess the question is, how does one determined how much they are worth lol. Whats to stop me from saying I am worth $500 per hour other than the fact that no one would hire me lol.


I'm certain I have said this somewhere on this forum before: "You gotta be a hustler"...You need to convince yourself you can sell water to a well...


Sell yourself not your machine, your truck, etc.


What are you worth, really per hour? $50, $60? Once you know, you will be able to COMPARE your mowing times from other jobs you actually have done or do.


Let's say your work ethic is worth $50 per hour. Lawn mowing with all the extras(trimming & blowing)takes you a 1/2 hour....Ya think $25?(too low ~ Joe)Bump it up $5 ~ Bam ! ! $30

Now get 10 of those $30 jobs, you are in business. I personally think you are a hard worker that is lacking the confidence to sell YOURSELF

SECTLANDSCAPING
11-15-2012, 11:53 PM
Do you find such unreliability a trend in this industry? I have found when giving quotes the most common complaint I hear is "They just stopped showing up"

To many part timers with another job. They cant pick up the phone at the other job and have to work and quote on there day off. They end up giving up or taking work they cant handle and working for gas money.

ringahding1
11-16-2012, 05:50 AM
I honestly think you hit the nail on the head with that last line. I have hired people in the past for odd jobs
If you are truly going to start over ~

Do not hire anybody until the workload becomes completely overwhelming!


Do Not quit your full time until the steady income has arrived


Your Hourly Rate ~ Let's be realistic


Just recently I posted about the new skid steer I purchased. If you read it you will note that is was a decision I have been battling with for the past 3 years.

Why did I finally break down and get it, you ask? MORE jobs, simple! The snow account contracts were getting signed, and I was actually having more jobs than equipment....this = overwhelming!

Normally instinct should take over. Purchase = a needed JUSTIFICATION.
I don't know 13 commercial accounts, up from 6 last year...JUSTIFIED!

Let's be honest, I have been in business for 10 years and have a steady income that has given me this option. This option would have never presented itself if I did not put in the hard work.

Dude(that is right, I said Dude...42 year old kid)My wife is an over-educated woman with countless degrees in Business, Accounting & a PHD in Education & even she looks at me sideways in amazement that we are living off of this business.

Mowing lawns for a living? Who wouldn't kinda shake their head?

jasonw
11-16-2012, 07:52 AM
Thank you to everyone, you have all been a great help.

Organic Ken
11-18-2012, 02:19 AM
The way you set your rate has nothing to do with what the other guy is charging. You figure out what it takes to run your business and "sell" that to the customer.

figure your costs on a yearly basis then break it down to monthly and then hourly, then look at the job an decide how long, on average, its going to take you to do it the right way.

Assume you have enough accounts to keep you busy 40 hrs a week. So if you want to make $30,000 per year, and you want to buy $2,000 in equipment, and you need $2,000 for gas and repairs, $2,000 for insurance. and $2,000 for taxes, that,s $38,000 per year. (I'm using rough numbers - up to you to determine what your costs are going to be. This is the first job of a business owner!)

So divide the 38,000 by 52 weeks divide by 40 hrs/ week gives you $18.27 per hour.

So if your bidding a job and you think it will take you 30 min/ week then quote them $9.14 per week or monthly would be 9.14 X 4.3= $39.30 per month.

Make sense?

By the way, I'm talking lawn care, not weed wacking and lot clearing.

jasonw
03-01-2013, 08:26 AM
Something I just thought of while revisiting this post, We don't have 52 serviceable weeks per year. We only have about 6 months which by your number "doubled since you divide 52 by 2" Which put's a person at $18.28 per visit per week for a total of $73.12 per client per month which for my in town residential service is not far off. Towards the end of the season I was charging $20 per week which I felt was WAY to low but that's what I was charging for $80 per month. That is only a few dollars more than your numbers but considering that there are NO lawns that need to be mowed over winter time here. This is not even considering at current prices $9.14 per week would not even pay for the gas in the truck and equipment, It might if you had 100 accounts within a small area but that is un likely, we live in a far spread county so one trip from one town to another for service would cost more than the service you perform at those prices. For larger jobs I am still getting $200 per acer and with my equipment it takes me about 4 hours to do a GOOD job which put's me at about $25 per half hour of work. That is money I can agree with, $9.14 per half hour of works puts me at $18.28 per hour to run my own business which is less than the mill is paying me per hour to work an 8 hour day and let them run their own business.

jasonw
03-01-2013, 08:27 AM
Again, like you said Ken none of this includes weed eating or land clearing, just lawn care during the time of the year in our area that laws require care which is NOT all year round.

jymie
03-01-2013, 12:13 PM
In my area, I will not go any lower than $25 for any lawn, regardless of the size of it. I went through that thought of taking anyone who would call me and charge what they wanted to pay. Not anymore, those were the customers that were just looking for the lowest guy to come along. Forget about getting any additional work from those ones. I rather have $30 and up yards all day long, at least those ones you can market your other services to as they will most likely have you do other things for them like trim bushes, weed the beds and mulch installs. The cheapo will never have you do anything else. I have found that when I'm trying to sell a service to an existing customer, provide them with pictures of your before and after work, that sells bigger than you just saying you do this or that.

SECTLANDSCAPING
03-01-2013, 12:16 PM
Jymie, I was at $30 last year and will be $35 this year. I found that 90% of my problems came from lawns under $40. From nonpayment to complaining. There just not worth it.

That is money I can agree with, $9.14 per half hour of works puts me at $18.28 per hour to run my own business which is less than the mill is paying me per hour to work an 8 hour day and let them run their own business.

Thats what it comes down too. If youll make more money working for someone else with less stress, Then whats the point?

Working 40 hours a week to make $30k is less then what the average person makes.

Jason, if you cant get money in mowing. Find a few services that you can. Just use the lawn service to cover some expenses and get in the door. The best service is a dirty job that no one wants to do. I'm the only company in the area that does Roof Cleaning. I can name my price. No one has the experience or the know how to compete. The only landscaper that offers chimney sweeping and sealcoating. I keep looking for niche services to get into.

The majority of guys run their business the opposite way I do. I could careless about cutting grass. Its my lowest profit and most time consuming service. In 2012 I average over $200 a hour in 4 different services.

djlandscaping06
03-01-2013, 12:30 PM
i am sorry to hear you are having trouble and considering getting out of business.
with that said and without knowing all the details of what is not working for you i would suggest you keep it going and seek the help to find out what you are doing wrong.
if you are doing something wrong then the signs will be there and maybe you are so consumed by the misery of not being where you want to be that you can not see it but someone else may be able to see the things you are doing wrong more easily and give you the insight to make the corrections to get it going on the right track.

a couple other things you need to consider is, 1. we have a horrible economy right now and most businesses are not doing all that well and growing in leaps and bounds.
2. the general population is struggling and barely treading water right now and as a result people are just not spending money like they did in the past and depending on which state you live in it could be even worse.
3. i don't know where you get your information from but it takes more then a couple years to get a business going and from my experience as well as most of the information i have read and learned from my financial advisers over the last 23 years of being in business the general rule of thumb would be 5 years.
the landscape business is a fickle business and most rules don't always apply because it is a highly competitive business that also requires you to build up a client base that takes years to do.
if you had a retail business in a strip mall where your customers come to you i would say that after a few years if you were still struggling you would probably be in trouble.

my business for example had a couple different life cycles, when i started i took everything i could get and had work but most of my clients were just your everyday run of the mill basic customer who only wanted the bare minimum. then i started to replace them with high end accounts that were full service and i ended up with 150 accounts of high end customers that had gorgeous properties and spared no expense.
i was making good money but i was not happy with the direction i was going and thought i could do better and make more.
i then decided i wanted to get into big commercial properties where i could make more money with larger contracted jobs where i only needed a handful of accounts instead of having to deal with 150 accounts every week and 150 bills to write every month.
when i was in that transition i got to a point where i had to phase out my existing accounts and give up that safety net i spent all those years building up and step back into that grey area of uncertainty.

it was tough and had some brutal moments where i thought i made a big mistake and screwed myself but i held the course and kept plugging away and eventually it all worked out.

the morale of the story is a business is a series of evolution's and it takes a great deal of time to get established and it is like a roller coaster ride and if your season is pretty much wrapped up and you have a job to provide you a income then maybe you should take the down time to assess what you are doing wrong and recharge your batteries and get you equipment back in order and come back next year with all your guns a blazing.

maybe as time goes on you can keep us all posted and better enlighten us as to what exactly you are doing and we can all help you make the right choices to get you going in the right direction.
there are plenty of people here that can give you advice and help you and i am sure that everyone here would be glad to help.

i myself would be happy to help and i am 100% positive that everyone here feels the same way.
i also feel obligated to help a fellow tradesman out because in the end we are all a bad stretch away from calling it quits and we all have so much to gain by helping each other out rather then go it alone and fend for ourselves.

good luck and keep us posted and don't do anything in haste.

This is going on my 7th year in business and I still do a 40 hr a week regular job to keep everything going but just the last couple years I have made decent money but still when it all was said and done money from the business is all gone just to make it thru the winter months. After looking at everything for this next season I believe this will be my best year but it has took me 6 to get there. Several seasons had a lot of equipment troubles that ate a lot of my profit but I kept at it and would not give up and it has and is going to get better! You can do it if you just keep plugging! Believe me I wanted to give up many times but I just knew in my heart that if kept on it would eventually work!

Be persistant. Figure out what is wrong and make it right and then give it all you got! I wish you the best!

Steve
03-01-2013, 01:14 PM
After looking at everything for this next season I believe this will be my best year but it has took me 6 to get there. Several seasons had a lot of equipment troubles that ate a lot of my profit but I kept at it and would not give up and it has and is going to get better! You can do it if you just keep plugging!

What top 5 lessons do you feel you learned from those 6 years that will make this coming year the best so far?

dpld
03-01-2013, 07:54 PM
i am curious as to what decision you have made in regards to going forward?

it has been about 4 1/2 months since you posted this thread and being spring is upon us i would think you have made a decision by now.

as i said i am just curious to hear how you made out.

jasonw
03-02-2013, 06:45 PM
To be honest I am not really planning on doing anything for now. I have been hearing to much back and forth about what I charge and at that lower end I refuse to even start my truck for a $10 lawn. If that is how cheap people around here are then I will focus more on my other venture for now that seems to be growing well.

jasonw
03-02-2013, 07:26 PM
To be honest I am not really planning on doing anything for now. I have been hearing to much back and forth about what I charge and at that lower end I refuse to even start my truck for a $10 lawn. If that is how cheap people around here are then I will focus more on my other venture for now that seems to be growing well.

To clarify I guess I am still on the fence about it. I have not started advertising this year at all. I have wanted to but I am really worried because every penny comes out of my pocket and right now with bringing up a family and a home remodel my pocket is rather thin lol. I do have 1 large job that I will continue to do this year as soon as I get a phone call to do it but that job is only once a month at best and it's only $200. I really really really want to make it work but I just don't know, I am just to scared that I will keep dumping money into a money pit.