Buffalo, N.Y.: “Since it’s 2010, what is the one goal that is actually reachable that you are setting out to accomplish this year? For example, 30 percent increase in profits, new truck, adding another crew, etc. Be creative, don’t say you want to make a trillion dollars this year, it must be attainable.
“This will be my first year and I would really like to make my business a full-time job, working 40 hours a week and having a full five days of mowing accounts. Also, to make some sort of profit after paying bills.”
Spring, Texas: “This year will be my fifth year, but second year doing it full time. We are going to be running two maintenance crews and one pool maintenance truck.”
Great Falls, Mont.: “I want to double my mowing accounts and add more services that will keep me busy in the slow season. I want to add debris haul-off, Christmas light decorations, even stuff nonaffiliated with lawns. I need to stay busy more often.”
Atlanta, Ga.: “After 12 years in business landscaping, my goal is to make the switch to nursery operations without going broke or causing my wife to leave me.”
Louisiana: “Meet with my CPA more often.”
Harvey, La.: “Pay off all my equipment.”
Parker, Texas: “Hit $2.5 million in gross revenue; increase the company’s net profit margin an additional 5 percent.”
Remington, Ind.: “Double my weekly mowing accounts.”
Cincinnati, Ohio: “Hit 20 to 30 residential accounts.”
Santa Fe, N.M.: “Pick up an additional $20,000. When December 2010 gets here, we should see how well we have done and somehow return to this thread and compare.”
Grand Haven, Mich.: “My business goals this year are to add five to 10 more accounts and buy at least one new mower and a new trailer. My ‘life’ goal this year is to get my EMT-specialist license.”
Hutchinson, Kan.: “Ten to 15 more residential accounts, pay off as much debt as possible, no new equipment, other than an edger and BP blower.”
NW Metro, Minn.: “All very interesting. Mine is to make enough and have my salary increased to where I can pay cash for my entire sophomore year of college (about $20,000).”
Ocean County, N.J.: “This year will be my fourth year, and my goal is to tighten up my business. We will be watching the books more closely, cutting costs, dropping some of the customers that don’t pay well, do a much needed price increase, do some heavy advertising in some of the better areas that we work in, and only make necessary purchases.”
Sedgwick, Maine: “OK, so this will be the tell-tale year for me. It will be my fourth, and I am making the jump to full time this spring and will be quitting my full-time job. I will be doing lots of advertising and love to increase my customer base from 35 up to 50 full-time maintenance accounts. Plus, taking on snow removal next winter. I will work my rear end off to make this work! On a personal side—getting married July 31. Very busy 2010, but I will be a very happy man if everything works out. I don’t need to make lots of money, I just want a job I love.”
Chillicothe, Ohio: “I would like to add three to five accounts as I go into my second year as a part-time LCO. I also want to cut down on labor costs and become a solo operation during the summer months, and finally have enough money to pay for a nice family vacation.”
St. Charles, Mo.: “I have already reached my goal. I dumped my PITA customers, they just don’t know it yet.”
Jupiter, Fla.: “Business goals: add another 15 to 20 residential accounts, two to three ‘big’ installs, more tree work and mulching jobs.”
Farmville, Va.: “Here are my top five. I graduated from high school this past spring, so this will be my first year working full time:
“1. I currently have 12 residential lawn accounts. I would like to increase that to about 20 accounts, all residential.
“2. Continue taking landscape design classes.
“3. Get six to eight good-sized design/install jobs this year.
“4. Upgrade my equipment for a more efficient operation.
“5. And, the big one (drum roll please): buy a used 3500 diesel Chevy/GMC dump truck.”
Thomasville, Ala.: “Here is my list:
“1. Restart my business under a new name.
“2. Attain an additional 25 customers, mixed residential and commercial.
“3. Buy a new Walker and enclosed trailer.
“4. Hit the marketing hard and turn a good profit.”
Freehold, N.J.: “This year will be a good one. We are almost done paying for all equipment. I just added a Boss V plow to our truck for the winter. I am dumping about nine clients (slow payers); I don’t need them anymore. I am going to advertise where we are already mowing. If we get more clients, great; if not, we’ll still do well. As long as we hit $100,000 or close to it gross each year, I am happy.”
North Somerset, U.K.: “My goal is to work less than the 30 hours I currently do per week and get enough money in the bank so I can take next winter off.”
McFarland, Wis.: “This year, we planned to buy the land that we are now on (45 acres, 1.37 zoned B1; the rest is zoned A1). Hopefully we can pull it off. The last year and a half haven’t been stellar years since the injury to my hand. If the landowner finds a buyer before we can buy, I have another shop that I am looking at. It is cheaper, but it is further from town.
“To make this happen, I have been talking to some investors. I didn’t want to go that route, but the landlord has a hair to sell the place like yesterday. Other goals are to become more efficient in our everyday operations.”
Tennessee: “Number one goal is to bank enough to take the winter off. The way I intend to do that is with about 20 new residential accounts under 10,000 square feet. That would equate to about $22,000 in additional gross revenue.”
Warren, N.J.: “To be honest, I’ll be happy if we repeat the numbers we did after the last two seasons. Last year, the number of accounts dropped, but so did payroll. We’ll see this spring. A lot of guys out there; it’s hard to get new customers without drastically slashing prices. If we get any smaller though, the fixed expenses might eat us alive, and I might have to rethink business model in 2011.”
Lake Zurich, Ill.: “To turn our dream into a reality, acquire a few commercial accounts and turn a great profit after taxes and bills.”
Rochester, Minn.: “Thirty percent increase in gross sales.”
South Florida: “Organize myself better. I truly hate paperwork, so I give my CPA fits.
“Spend $15,000 on new equipment, buy a new (used) truck and add 20 to 25 percent sales.”
DFW, Texas: “Goals this year are as follows:
“1. Gross at least $250,000 to $300,000.
“2. Ten to 12 large landscape installs.
“3. Add 85 residential and 15 commercial accounts.
“4. Buy a Grandstand.
“5. Enclosed trailer.
“6. Be better at returning phone calls.
“7. Be better about invoicing.
“8. Hire office help.
“9. Dump trailer.
“10. Smarter advertising.
“11. Hopefully add a second crew.
“Maybe not in that order, but that’s a start.”
Tulsa, Okla.: “1. Increase gross by 250 percent.
“2. Move into new office/shop.
“3. Systematize entire business.”
Colorado Springs, Colo.: “OK, here are my goals heading into 2010:
“1. Add 20 to 30 new residential accounts.
“2. Add three to four small to medium-sized commercial accounts.
“3. New Gravely or Toro 60-inch zero-turn mower.
“4. New BOP 16DE/36DD or the 44DD walk-behind.
“5. New snowplow for truck.
“6. Follow the 80/10/10 rule.”
Decatur, Ill.: “I would like to take myself from a small solo operation to a medium size. Doing 20 now with around $13,000 a year and would like to go to 40 accounts and about $30,000 a year in sales. That would set me up to be ready to go full time the year after that, being that I make $30,000 a year at my full-time job selling cellular phones, which is great because I can go back to that in the wintertime. That is when it pays the most.
“Also, would like to move up in equipment from 36-inch Exmark to a 52-inch zero-turn. I got to use a 56-inch Exmark zero-turn for a while and it was nice because I was able to fire the wife for the last couple of months of the season. She’s cheap help, but lots of bathroom and lunch breaks that I don’t take.”
Central City, Texas: “To heal from the injuries sustained in 2009 (two wrecks that were caused by other vehicles), to make it through the whole year without being kicked in the head by the heat and to grow wings out of my back so I can fly. I’d say they all have about the same chance.”
Grand Haven, Mich.: “I do have too add one more thing to my list of goals.”
“I want to buy a 2001-2003 Duramax diesel truck. Specifically a GMC/Chevy (doesn’t matter which) 2500 extended cab, 4×4, power everything. All in good shape though, but first I need to find one for a good price.”
Philadelphia, Pa.: “Make half a million from April to September.”
Iowa: “1. Get fertilizer application test passed so I can start spreading fertilizer.
“2. Purchase new truck, 2003-2006 model Chevy 2500 heavy-duty, and put a plow on it.
“3. And, the most important, get about 10 to 15 more customers. Hoping to have around 40 customers this season.”
Champaign, Ill.: “I wouldn’t mind paying off some debt and getting another truck to plow with. I also want an enclosed trailer. We will see.”
New England: “My plan is to double-up on my equipment to start a second crew.”
Burnsville, Minn.: “Can anyone tell me what their sales increase was from their first to second year? We did around $40,000 last year starting with no customers and starting at the end of April (too late to get a whole lot of mowing accounts). I’m just wondering what I can expect for sales increase. One hundred percent? Two hundred percent? I’m hoping for 500 percent, but I want to know what’s reasonable to set up my budget. As far as I know, we haven’t had any unsatisfied customers, so I’m hoping we’ll get a lot of referrals.”
Baton Rouge, La.: “My goal this year is to make a profit by picking up 30 more accounts, buy a new commercial zero-turn mower, hedge trimmer, chain saw and make enough to quit my night job.”
Argo, Ala.: “My goals for 2010:
“Pick up more large properties (I’d be happy with 20 to 30 cow pastures).
“Realistically pick up about 15 regular customers.
“Drop the PITAs and slow payers (this is a done deal).
“Find some decent help.
“All that is Plan A. Plan B:
“Find a regular J.O.B. (just over broke) and take a harder look at the yards I would keep or keep them all and hire a crew and let my dad run it (he says that’s what he wants to do. I don’t think he could run one all day five days a week).”
Missouri: “Some encouragement:
“Set goals that are objective: 20 new customers, increase net income by 25 percent, hire two new employees, pay off equipment by December 1, 2010, etc.
“Now I want a new zero-turn mower, maybe hire an employee, upgrade the truck, etc.
“Do not just go about your business life wishing something would happen or come true. Set objective goals and design steps to meet them.
“‘A goal properly set is halfway reached.’ (Zig Ziglar)”
Iowa: “Double accounts, make more money, get a truck, new mower without purchase of a truck and new trailer without purchase of a truck.”
Laurens, S.C.: “I would like to add 20 regular residential customers, 10 part-time residential customers and two commercial accounts. Also, pay down/eliminate debt and increase IRA investments.”
Northwest, Mo.: “Our goals for 2010:
“1. Find some employees that are motivated.
“2. Pay off debt (it feels like it is running our life and business).
“3. Reread number two priority.
“4. Increase gross revenue by 10 percent.
“5. Pay more attention to net revenue.
“6. Maintain existing equipment; purchase only what is truly needed.
“7. Make more money, spend less.”
“In Your Own Words” is contributed from the lawn care and landscape forum at www.lawnsite.com. Visit them, and join in the discussions.