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The Business of Landscape Maintenance

Landscape Maintenance is a great business

Did you know that by owning and operating your own landscape maintenance company you can earn between $30- $100 an hour or more? This is a great business for those who want to be their own boss, make their own schedule, be in control of the amount of money they make, and increase their quality of life. I have been a landscape maintenance technician for over half my life and I have learned that there are two types in this business:

There are those who believe that landscape maintenance is simply a job where lawns are mowed, weeds are hoed, and walkways blown. Usually they work very hard, underbid one another for work, and barely eke by financially.

Then there are those who treat landscape maintenance as a business. They take into consideration and control their operation expenses, use professional forms and uniforms, know how to obtain quality customers for top dollar, and train employees for efficiency. They understand that to truly be successful in this business they have to take much more into consideration than how green the lawn is, and they use little known skills and techniques to save and make themselves more money.

I am sure you know that working hard is not the answer but working smart is always better. I will give you an example of two landscape managers and the difference that their maintenance techniques can make in a year.

Lawn mower/Gardener (Commercial Account)
Gets the job at $200 a month

* Time- Spends about two hours a week (has no gauge)
* Cost- Spends $80 a year on fertilizer
* Terms- Gives a two month 50% discount in winter
* Special- Spends four hours two times a year pulling weeds out of the lawn
* Service- Shows up weekly at 10 a.m. (business opens at 9 a.m.) thus bothering the business owner and customers with distracting and bothersome noise

Time: Nine hours a month x 12 months= 108 working hours
Charged: $2200 for one year (with 50% discount)
Minus fertilizer: $80 Minus 8 working hours for pulling weeds @ $30 an hour: $240

Made: $1,880 ÷ 108 total hours = $17.41 an hour

Technician/Business Owner
Gets the job at $200 a month

* Time- Spends no more than one and a half hours a week (Gauge- $30 per hour)
* Cost- Hires a licensed sprayer for $300 a year who fertilizes and sterilizes soil with preemergents so there are no weeds, saving 15 minutes on weed control per visit. Customer pays for the service plus 20%.
* Terms- No discounts. The contract is for one year, twelve payments, at full price
* Special- Not necessary with this example
* Service- Shows up at 7 a.m. when there is no foot traffic or cars, thus saving 15 minutes a week, reducing liability, and keeping the customer happy.

Time: (reduced monthly time by half an hour) 4.5 hours a month x 12 months= 54 working hours
Charged: $2400 for one year
Saved: 15 minutes per visit by eradication weeds
Saved: 15 minutes per visit by arriving earlier with less traffic

Made: $2,400
plus 20% spray service $60

Total made: $2460 ÷ 54 total hours = $45.56 an hour

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