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  • The Next step.. Expanding help!

    i have been in business for four or five years now, im turning 18 and i want to expand i have been mainting on and off about 10-15 lawns and plowing about 25-50 accounts what i want to do this season is expand, i would like atleast 30 accounts, i have one guy that is 28 that works for me now and can get two others about his age i can pay them $15.00 an hour and there happy about it so $45.00 an hour run time just for workers, could anyone give me any advice on what to do? thank you

    my lawn equipment:

    - John Deere l120 48inch
    -2 push mowers with baggers craftsmen
    -one craftsmen push mower no bagger
    -ryobi weed wacker
    -craftsmen weed wacker
    -craftsmen blower
    -ford f150 4x4 8ft bed v8 5.4 2003
    -8 ft trailer

    Snow Equipment:

    -craftsmen snow blower small one with rubber plade for walkways
    -ariens 26 or 28 inch snowblower with light
    -8ft Meyer Snow Plow
    -2003 ford f150 4x4 v8 5.4

  • #2
    No reason for you to have so many guys working for you if you only have 10-15 lawns, unless they are football fields.

    If they are average sized residential properties, I take it you are making around $1000 per month for 6? hours work (alone) per week.
    Income approx $41.66 per hour.

    Minimum wage (I believe here) is $9.50/hour. (find out what it is in your area)

    How many lawns can you get done in an hour with one person, and then with two people?

    ^ Figure this out, and I'll show you how your answer can help you.
    Last edited by CHEESE2009; 01-07-2012, 05:01 PM.

    Comment


    • #3
      $15.00 is too much to be paying your employees. I pay $12.50/hr for each of my three employees but they have been working for me for three years. You should start them off at $10.00 or even minimum wage/hr. You can always give them raises depending on how they perform and how long they have been with you.

      You also said that it will cost you $45.00/hr to operate three guys. That is false because you have to look at all the overhead. For me a paying my employee $12.50/hr comes with $3.00 of burden and $5.00 of gas/equipment use. So in reality it costs me $20.50 to run a man for 1 hour.

      In your case it is going to depend on gas prices and other prices, but if you are paying $15.00/hr add about $3.00 for burden and $5.00 for gas/equipment use. So in reality for you to run one man it will cost you $23.00/hr. That means for three employees it will cost you $69.00/hr. This is really important to know and to take into consideration when you are not bidding the jobs and are charging by the hour.

      You and one other guy can handle all those accounts you plan on having. There is no need for anymore employees because then your cost will just go up. Then listen to what Cheese has to say because he will show you how to properly operate your business and to eliminate all those extra, unnecesary costs.

      Good luck and by the way I'm also 18 so I'm on the same boat as you.

      Curtis Michael
      President
      The Grounds Crew
      (425) 765-2638
      www.thegroundscrewllc.com

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi Andrew,

        Welcome to our forum!

        i have been mainting on and off about 10-15 lawns and plowing about 25-50 accounts what i want to do this season is expand, i would like atleast 30 accounts
        What kind of marketing have you done so far to attract these customers? Could you scale up those marketing efforts?
        - Subscribe to my Lawn Care Marketing Blog Feed and get daily tips sent to you. Free!
        Download your Free trial of Gopher Lawn Care Software.

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        • #5
          so far i have flyers i have i put in mail boxes i usually just go door to door and i have different clients hand out my business cards to neighbors, what do you mean by burdon? and how many guys in a crew is needed to do say 30 average sized lawns that take about 30-45 mins each lawn with one guy, is my equipment fine to do residential do i need more different kinds? in your opinions what's the best way of marketing and getting clients?

          Comment


          • #6
            Yikes!

            30-45 minutes per lawn is a rather long time! I will assume that these lawns are complicated and maybe you aren't being picky enough with who's allowed to hire your company. It's a mistake we've all made and must make during the beginning of running a business, but in time you will understand the importance of setting a standard for yourself.

            I suppose I do have a lawn that may take me 45 minutes to complete alone, and it's nothing but obstacles and hills. I dread it.

            You may also have a different technique than myself. It's always best to mow lengthwise and to never break from pattern. Ever.

            The first thing you should cut with your mower, is the perimeter of the lawn. This is so that you leave yourself room to turn (180 degrees) without missing any patch of grass. I'd love to make a new video, but it's winter here. Try watching my old video, and the following form should also be used with a walk-behind mower.

            <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/BBUcvk6-Iz8?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

            -

            As for your other question, of how long it should take 1 or 2 people to do 30 average sized lawns;

            The average time it takes me to complete a lawn maintenance job for the average property is between 8-20 minutes, including everything but drive time and also with two people, myself and an assistant.

            If you are alone, another person (1 person) will either waste a lot of time or actually triple your productivity, it's fascinating.

            I hope this helped! Your advertising sounds solid.

            Comment


            • #7
              in your opinions what's the best way of marketing and getting clients?
              I'd suggest getting referrals from current customers. Try to get the neighbors of your current customers. Reach out and meet as many people as you can. It's those personal connections that will help you land more customers.
              - Subscribe to my Lawn Care Marketing Blog Feed and get daily tips sent to you. Free!
              Download your Free trial of Gopher Lawn Care Software.

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              • #8
                so far i have flyers i have i put in mail boxes i usually just go door to door and i have different clients hand out my business cards to neighbors, what do you mean by burdon? and how many guys in a crew is needed to do say 30 average sized lawns that take about 30-45 mins each lawn with one guy, is my equipment fine to do residential do i need more different kinds? in your opinions what's the best way of marketing and getting clients?
                You cannot put flyers in mailboxes! Federal offense...yo can put them in paper boxes...We would pick a neighborhood where we know they have decent sized lawns and hammer that hood @ least 3 months in a row! Yes every month come back to the same hood , same paper boxes...good lucky A
                08 F250 Ext Cab/04 Chevy 3500
                05 F350/04 F350 Diesel/12 Ram 4500 Dump
                4 -60 Toro Zmaster/Lesco 48
                3 -8'2" Boss V-Plows
                1- Hiniker 9'6" V-Plow
                20' Enclosed trailer
                18' Skid & 16' Open Trailer
                2012 - S185 Bobcat


                Comment


                • #9
                  Check out the discussion. Putting Fliers in Newspaper Box Laws?

                  Now it may be different in different areas but, knowing that this law exists should make you concerned about the practice of putting flyers in newspaper boxes.
                  - Subscribe to my Lawn Care Marketing Blog Feed and get daily tips sent to you. Free!
                  Download your Free trial of Gopher Lawn Care Software.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    alright i will look into the mailbox laws, but that's one thing i have not done gone back to the same area i will have to try that when is a good time to start going out for clients for landscaping? do i need any other mowers or can i complete around 30 lawns weekly with the equipment i have if not what would you recomend for equipment? do any of you reach out to your clients montly via email? maybe sending out a news blast when your accepting new clients, saying clean ups are coming or try selling them new products to fertilize etc. so it seems with two guys working in a crew for a little above min. wage i could manage 30 accounts?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      when is a good time to start going out for clients for landscaping?
                      The reason I can assume most companies fail, is because they stop advertising. You should never EVER stop.

                      In all seriousness, you should hit advertising strong before and during the spring.

                      do i need any other mowers or can i complete around 30 lawns weekly with the equipment i have if not what would you recomend for equipment?
                      One lawn mower may be enough, but it's always good to have a spare. Depending on the abuse and what your equipment goes through on a daily basis will determine the true answer. One lawn mower WILL break down (I promise), having a backup/spare to use while your broken mower is being repaired is crucial to staying in business. There are even those dreadful times when even your spare mower gets broken, but this is usually only common with me because karma thinks I enjoy suffering..

                      In short, be prepared for the worst, because it does happen. It's not that rare either. I can go a season with maybe 3 major repairs, or I can go a season with 6 major repairs for only just one piece of equipment. On my last day of the season, I bent my tractor blades (maybe even drive shaft), tore the pull cord of one trimmer off, popped the primer on the other trimmer, and ran over a brick with one of my walk behinds. LOL, great final day!

                      do any of you reach out to your clients montly via email? maybe sending out a news blast when your accepting new clients, saying clean ups are coming or try selling them new products to fertilize etc.
                      Personally, I don't think our audience (not mine anyway) is familiar with using email. I could be wrong. It seems as those over 50 years of age have no interest in using email, and most of my clients are of that age or older.

                      The choice is yours, and I suggest that you do whatever it takes. It's worth a shot.

                      so it seems with two guys working in a crew for a little above min. wage i could manage 30 accounts?
                      two (2) people should be able to manage 20 lawns per day (comfortably)starting their first lawn at 8:00AM and finishing their last lawn at 2:30PM including drive time. One person on the mower while the other trims (take turns if you want). Whoever is finished their task first will have to grab the blower to clean up, simple.

                      It really isn't that hard once you understand your tasks and become familiar with the lawns. It's such a shame that employees only realize how easy it is after the first few months. It's repetition that makes us hate it, nothing else!



                      I hope I have been helpful, I'm glad to see you around!
                      Last edited by CHEESE2009; 01-11-2012, 07:50 AM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        i really appreciate all the help throughout the next few months i will start researching lawn care buying books etc. i will learn what i can and then i will be getting t-shirts made for my company to look more ledgit i will be getting completly insured workers comp the WORKS and i will also be looking for another mower possibly a WALKER something decent and not to expensive i will start advertising ASAP because now it looks like doing a min. of 50 lawns is really nothing to do with a crew of 2 guys and the equipment i have so i will be still aiming for atleast 30 lawns but i will see what i can get for clients first i hope to get them as close as possible to save time now i have another question with the bank my company name is Andrew's Landscaping should i consider changing the name? maybe something more mature my last name CALORE LANDSCAPING OR C&A LANDSCAPING any ideas? much appreciated

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          i really appreciate all the help throughout the next few months i will start researching lawn care buying books etc. i will learn what i can and then i will be getting t-shirts made for my company to look more ledgit i will be getting completly insured workers comp the WORKS and i will also be looking for another mower possibly a WALKER something decent and not to expensive i will start advertising ASAP because now it looks like doing a min. of 50 lawns is really nothing to do with a crew of 2 guys and the equipment i have so i will be still aiming for atleast 30 lawns but i will see what i can get for clients first i hope to get them as close as possible to save time now i have another question with the bank my company name is Andrew's Landscaping should i consider changing the name? maybe something more mature my last name CALORE LANDSCAPING OR C&A LANDSCAPING any ideas? much appreciated
                          I really recommend steve's lawn care business books. They have tons of ideas on how to get new customers, and what advantages certain ways offer.

                          Workers comp is more than general liability, I priced it the other day and kind of blew me away, minimum $750 for me.

                          Well, if your current clients know your company as Andrew's landscaping and you felt you have built somewhat of a brand (to anyone you think may have seen you), I wouldn't change it. Otherwise, its up to you. Sometimes people like the peronalness.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            alright i will look into the mailbox laws, but that's one thing i have not done gone back to the same area i will have to try that when is a good time to start going out for clients for landscaping? do i need any other mowers or can i complete around 30 lawns weekly with the equipment i have if not what would you recomend for equipment? do any of you reach out to your clients montly via email? maybe sending out a news blast when your accepting new clients, saying clean ups are coming or try selling them new products to fertilize etc. so it seems with two guys working in a crew for a little above min. wage i could manage 30 accounts?
                            i agree with the others, you do not need 3 15.00 per hour workers for what you have.

                            plus as far as costs, what about insurance and taxes? what about if your worker gets hurt? your general liability will not cover that.

                            will your workers be paid cash or on the books? if cash then they are inelgible to be insured.
                            and if you decide to pay them on the books you will need workers comp because in my state if you start sending in payroll tax to the state they automatically check for workers comp.

                            if you were to do it as you plan with 3 guys at that rate and you are legal and want to make a profit with also taking into taxes, insurance, fuel and equipment you would need to be pulling between 85.00 to 95.00 hour.
                            unless your properties are big and paying good money i don't think you will hitting that mark if it is taking you 30 minutes to cut a lawn.

                            if you have people working for you don't ever under estimate the value and importance of paying your employee's on the books and having the proper insurances.
                            there are many things to go wrong for a guy to get hurt, like a stone from the string trimmer in the eye or rolling a ankle in a divet in the lawn.
                            i even heard of a guy that was using a walk behind on a hill and he was facing down and was trying to pull the machine back and he lost his footing and one of his feet went under the machine and mangled his foot.

                            i know it is tough starting out and sometimes we need to take some chances. but those are the chances you take when you are working by yourself and as soon as you got guys working for you the game changes. if you don't protect yourself the tough times you go through now will seem like a walk in the park compared to the trouble you will have if something were to happen.

                            and it always does.
                            Last edited by dpld; 01-17-2012, 10:19 AM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              i have another question with the bank my company name is Andrew's Landscaping should i consider changing the name? maybe something more mature my last name CALORE LANDSCAPING OR C&A LANDSCAPING any ideas?
                              I think your current name is fine. It's personable.
                              - Subscribe to my Lawn Care Marketing Blog Feed and get daily tips sent to you. Free!
                              Download your Free trial of Gopher Lawn Care Software.

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