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Old 12-06-2006, 01:22 PM
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Lawn care business tipsLawn Care Business Book
Beginner Mistakes from our friend Jim of promower.net

Excerpts from "Earn $300 a Day Mowing Lawns"

From Chapter 1 – Management
Quote:
Originally Posted by [b
Quote[/b] ]“To manage a business is to make decisions. There’s really nothing more to it than that. What services to offer; how much to charge for them; how, when, and where to advertise; how to deal with customers; who (if anyone) to hire or fire; policies on buying, bidding, scheduling, setting work rules and quality standards – these and a thousand other decisions are yours to make. When you are running a business, the ball is always in your court.

“In the mowing business, all you have to do to succeed is make fairly good choices. This isn’t rocket science – perfection is not required. If you don’t know it already, you’ll soon learn that there are a whole lot of dummies out there among your would-be competitors.... Just be a little smarter than the dummies, and everything will work fine.

“This chapter is about making those smarter choices. I discuss major issues ... [and] give you my opinion of what you should do. We might not agree. Our life experiences and goals are different, and so may be our choices. But at least you’ll know what I think and why.”
.....

“In older neighborhoods with small lots, mowing prices may be as low as $10 to $15. But that doesn’t mean you’re working cheap. The trick is to build clusters of jobs, so you have three or five or twelve lawns per stop. (How to do this is discussed in later chapters.) We had great success building clusters in our early years in business, in part because in older neighborhoods there is little competition worthy of the name. The tough competitors are busy beating each other up in fancy areas, where the grass, they think, is greener."

“In the 1990s a young guy named Art (not his real name) made quite a splash on the local mowing scene. New trucks, new trailers, gleaming new mowers, fancy airbrushed paint jobs on everything, even a nice piece of property and a stylish new building – it was Art, Art, Art everywhere you looked. He made some of us nervous. But not to worry, for his business soon bit the dust. Rumor has it that so did his father’s lump sum retirement, some $180,000.

The moral of this sad story is that Art knew how to spend but not how to earn. Don’t do that. Don’t start at the top and hope it works. Start at the bottom. Learn how to earn good money in a small, low-risk operation. Then you can expand to your heart’s content.”
....

“Though there are no firm rules, small mowing businesses commonly spend about one-third of gross income on expenses such as fuel, insurance, equipment, repairs, and so on. The remaining two-thirds (give or take) is divided between the employees and the owner. Just where you make the split is up to you. You can give your employees all of it, some of it, or – if you’re as cheap as I am – none of it.”
I think you hit on some very important points Jim. Don't start at the top. If you try to do this, you will quickly find you don't have the infrastructure to maintain it. You don't have the customer base. You don't have the word of mouth. You don't have the business knowledge.

I also liked how you pointed out there is money to be made in the small accounts when you cluster them and keep your drive time to a minimum. Most often we do see lcos shoot for the high end market but maybe they should be reconsidering this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by [b
Quote[/b] ]You can give your employees all of it, some of it, or – if you’re as cheap as I am – none of it
What percentage would you suggest lcos pay their staff? What kind of turn over rate would be associated with such a salary %?

Remember this section is only a small part of chapter 1, to read more please visit promower.net and order Jim's book!
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