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Mow only vs. a Full Service

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  • Mow only vs. a Full Service

    What do you think is a better thing to offer to customers and to yourself? A mow only company that does just strictly mowing, or a full service company that does landscaping maintenance, installations, etc.

    Give me your thoughts and opinions on the matter

  • #2
    One side of me says try to do one thing really well and be known for that. However, with mowing it is really tough because you are competing with others who can have no overhead.
    This then leads me to my second thought. Offer full service because it takes more skill and know how to do this. Also possibly licenses. This weeds out competitors and allows you to charge more thus making a better profit on your hours.
    From all the success stories I have read in the green industry, most all of them are full service.
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    • #3
      Would you think thought that just mowing would be less of a hassle because all you have to worry about is getting the mowing done compared to, "trimming the shrubs" or "planting a new tree"?

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      • #4
        Absolutely but then what is the downside?
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        • #5
          downside is mowing probably is the lowest income producing service. The lowest profit margin.

          It is the most weather dependent than any other of the services as well.

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          • #6
            What about this?

            What if a lawn mowing company only serviced in a 2 mile radius. Then they are cutting down travel cuts, and only servicing one area. They would save on gas, and overhead. All they have to worry about is really mowers, trimmers, blowers, and edger. Nothing else. They don't have to worry about dethatchers, aerators, hedge trimmers, etc. I think that it could be a hit.

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            • #7
              It is a great idea. The only thing I would be concerned with, is the concept viable? Could it work? No one knows until it's tried.

              So then my next thought is how do you go about implementing it to try it out? What do you have to do?
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              • #8
                The reason that I am just thinking about it is because there are a lot of people that "need" their lawn to be mowed. By not offering any other service you can just concentrate on that one service, and not only be great at it, but provide it at a descent affordable price. Also in my opinion it is a more reliable income compared to other services.

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                • #9
                  I think it depends on many things. Whats your market like? Whats your competition like?

                  I've been putting alot of thought into where I want to go with the business lately and thinking of this area. The are is mostly elderly people (I had a link to a site that showed stats of the area), then we have alot of professionals. Doctors/medical professionals, attorneys, office workers. But theres also alot of middle class workers, that's what this area is mainly for jobs. I think the average income here is around $35-40K a year.

                  So when friends tell me I have to get rid of mowing and just specialize I tell them it's not possible. This area just can't support a landscape/hardscape only business. You have to diversify yourself here to be able to bring in revenue from all ends. Good example is a pond store, they're making it happen because residential people go to them and LCO's go to them to buy all supplies too, they also install but travel up to 4 hours away to do installs. If they did installs just here, it wouldn't work.

                  Next is your competition. Like I've said before about the application side, you (Troy) have it made because you only have a couple real companies to deal with. I on the other hand have 5 (and growing) BIG companies to deal with, so it wouldn't be worth it for me to try and go full bore application work.

                  After looking at this area and what I'm currently bringing in on residential lots, I'm starting to think commercial or large area residential mowing is the ticket. The large area companies are tight knit guys, a friend is one and theres only 5 or 6 of them in the tri-county area. They're more professional then the companies that go for smaller jobs.
                  \"Every strike brings me closer to the next home run\"

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                  • #10
                    ok, onto another topic off from this, would it be better to concentrate on all mowing (lots of mowing accounts), or only have a few (lets say 20-30) full maintenance accounts, and not take on anymore, just maintain those. Then you don't have to worry about advertising or trying to get new customers. You are only set at those ones, and nothing else

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                    • #11
                      I'd rather go full service properties.

                      If you want to go just mowing and have a ton of customers a few problems come to mind. If it rains, your backed up and you lose revenue. You have alot more office work/billing work to keep up with. Overall costs would be higher I would think due to running around so much.

                      I've got friends that are doing both ways that your saying. Both are solo operations, one has 80 accounts that he gets done weekly, he's out 7 days a week all day, he doesn't do anything else just mows thats it. Another friend has 40 weekly accounts but trys to do mostly everything else and mowin is just a 3 day thing to bring constant money in, he banks on upsales and one time landscape/hardscape jobs. Both make about the same, one works his butt off the other works 5 days a week only. Both bring in about the same earnings.
                      \"Every strike brings me closer to the next home run\"

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                      • #12
                        That is some interesting info about those guys. I can understand that the schedule would be very tight and you would work like crazy, but I would think that you would make more money off from just strictly mowing than anything else

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                        • #13
                          Let me say that more correctly:

                          I would think that you would make more consistant money off from mowing compared to other services

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                          • #14
                            The perfect split for me if I were to stay solo would be to have 4 days of mowing. Be it big commercial accounts or residential accounts. Then set yourself up with the other 2 days for other work (landscaping, hardscapes, pondscapes whatever). This way if it rains one week, you have 3 days to catch up, or if your on schedule you have 2-3 days for other work.

                            That's how the business was where I used to work, and it worked really well. I liked that split and thats how it is this year, just 3 days of mowing and whatever landscape work I do get in I schedule for the other 3 days of the week.
                            \"Every strike brings me closer to the next home run\"

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                            • #15
                              Well, what I am currently thinking about doing is this:

                              Have just a lawn maintenance and pesiticde company. That way both areas are covered in case the other one does or doesn't take off good. Then I don't have to worry about any landscaping maintenance such as pruning shrubs, planting flowers, etc. I can just concentrate strictly on two things. I feel that it would make me schedule easier too since I know exactly what I have to get done.

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