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View Full Version : This is why I went back to work for the man!


CRM Lawncare
04-06-2005, 01:36 PM
Pulled into the office today and happened to look out over the plant parking lot. I rode thru and saw approximately 10 full blown mowing rigs. 10 rigs in a plant of 85 (12% of employees mow grass). I was thinking what is up with that. Then it hit me, the plant just went on 30 hour per week for the remainder of the year. These guys need some extra money. So I see who's trucks they are hooked to and I headed out thru the plant on break. The first guy I ran into told me the whole story.

Conversation went like this. I asked him if that was his new trailer, ztr, trimmers, blowers etc.. He has no idea I used to be in the biz. I asked him how business was and he says great. Said since he was on short time had to make some beer money. He mentioned one lawn he mowed near the plant. Its + or - 1 acre of turf. I asked him how much he charged. He answered $20.00. I asked per hour and he said no for the entire place. He was very proud he was making $20.00 per hour he said. I said well not exactly. He looked puzzled. I asked him how many lawns per month he mowed. He said about 30. I asked home much his payments on equipment was. He said $275.00 month. So $9.17 per lawn for payment. So he was back to 10.83 per hour. I then asked about gas, supplies, etc.. He is back to about 8.75 per hour. He said, ya know I make more than that working out here in the plant. I said yep sure do. I didn't even bring up insurance and taxes which he didn't have or pay.

The bad thing is he does a good job when he does service a lawn. He as ran a bandsaw in this same plant since for 20 yrs and just doesn't grasp the business concept. I'll probably try to buy his ZTR for my house when he decides to give it up about July.

marko
04-06-2005, 01:41 PM
This is a big problem for our industry. They see or hear $20/hr and they are in! Takes them a while to get it, then they disappear. Unfortunately for us, the new idiots are out every spring!

Mower For Less
04-06-2005, 02:17 PM
I get $4.40 per lawn to cover the $275 payment.

275 x 12 = 3300 (total payments for the year)

3300 / 30 = 110 (each customers portion of the payments)

110 / 25 (average 25 cuts per year) = $4.40 per cut per customer


He will think he is making more until he starts making his November and December payments, then it will likely hit him that he's not cutting grass in the winter.

Sounds like he has the potential to make more, I mean it dosent sound like he is trying to be a scrub. Maybe you should give him a couple more pointers to figure his costs and determine some realistic prices.


Kevin

marko
04-06-2005, 02:25 PM
I come out with $275/monthly payment divided by his 30 customers = $9.166 per customer per month goes towards his loan. If he is cutting an acre for $20 he will smell the coffee soon enough!

richmadmax
04-06-2005, 02:29 PM
Wait until he breaks something or hit somebody. He got no insurance that going to hurt. Somebody should teach him to break down his numbers. If anything give him this web page. You can lead a horse to water, you just can't make him drink. He will find out soon.

Richard Martin
04-06-2005, 02:51 PM
A lot of times people tend to forget that local economies are not the same everywhere. All over North Carolina manufacturing jobs are disappearing to some forgein country. As was stated the plant this guy works at just cut everybody back to 30 hours a week. If you are paying a mortgage, have 3 kids at home and your wife is already working a double shift at the diner what are you going to do? Unemployment in the Hickory area is already at the 10 percent level so the chances of finding a good paying part time or full time job are slim. You're not talking about people who are just out looking for some beer money, they are trying to pay their bills and I wish them the best of luck. For them the difference between loosing their house and keeping it may be the 200 dollars that they actually clear on those 30 customers.

richmadmax
04-06-2005, 03:00 PM
A lot of times people tend to forget that local economies are not the same everywhere. All over North Carolina manufacturing jobs are disappearing to some forgein country. As was stated the plant this guy works at just cut everybody back to 30 hours a week. If you are paying a mortgage, have 3 kids at home and your wife is already working a double shift at the diner what are you going to do? Unemployment in the Hickory area is already at the 10 percent level so the chances of finding a good paying part time or full time job are slim. You're not talking about people who are just out looking for some beer money, they are trying to pay their bills and I wish them the best of luck. For them the difference between loosing their house and keeping it may be the 200 dollars that they actually clear on those 30 customers.


Very True. But in he is doing it wrong or charging to little somebody better tell him. If he doesn't listen, sham on him. No insurance and with a house and kids (if that is what he has or not ), he may loss it if he hurts somebody. Yes he may be doing this to pay the lost wages, but doing it wrong and cheaper is not going to help. I think he just does not know the numbers. We all been there. Like i said before giving him this web page if anything.I know what you mean about lost wages and job. I'm one of them, but will not do it cheap and unsafe. The only way is the right way.

Richard Martin
04-06-2005, 03:15 PM
So what's he supposed to do? Call his mortgage company and tell them that they are supposed to wait for the payments while he builds up a high paying client base? I don't think that's going to work. If it came down to it I would suck the snot out of snapping turtle noses for a nickle a piece if it made the difference between keeping a roof over my family's head or not.

marko
04-06-2005, 03:37 PM
The point that is trying to be made is if you are legit and your making "$20 hour" before your expenses, something is wrong. Not busting the guys ba))s for trying to make some money, just not having a clue what he is doing financially. He might as well sit in the AC at McDonalds for $6.00 an hour or sell stuff on eBay, because in the end he will be making more working for "the man"

Randy Scott
04-06-2005, 05:16 PM
The guy has ran a band-saw for twenty years, I'm quite surprised they haven't trained a chimp to do that job. Let him do what he wants.

A guy charging twenty bucks an acre is NOT my competition.

zd21man
04-06-2005, 11:05 PM
I see guys all the time cutting big yards for 20 to 25 dollars.Yes they are a lot of jobs leaving going to china my job included.But the problem is everybody that has a truck is cutting grass.Example i bid two housing complexes together 20 houses in one and 15 in the other about 16 total man hours.Mow trim edge blow only.My bid 750 low bid 230.Now 230 dollars would barely cover expenses.Ill stay at home before ill doit that cheap.

Mower For Less
04-06-2005, 11:27 PM
I come out with $275/monthly payment divided by his 30 customers = $9.166 per customer per month goes towards his loan. If he is cutting an acre for $20 he will smell the coffee soon enough!


This would assume cutting grass year round. I estimated just the summer months, and applied it towards a years worth of payments. So the $4.40 per cut figure would be $19.07 per customer per month. If you only get $9.17 per customer per month, you will shortchange yourself come Christmas.

Kevin

GrassBustersLawn
04-06-2005, 11:52 PM
Hope he doesn't break anything on his new mower & have to take it into the "nice dealer" that sold it to him. The "nice dealer" will sock him for $55 per hour minimum on repair time. Will make that $20 an hour look puny!

Mike

CRM Lawncare
04-07-2005, 09:31 AM
My point was this guy had no idea about his costs, he was picking up accounts left and right because he did excellent work. Its hard to compete with someone when the bumpkins around here don't care if he has insurance, license, etc.. and he does a great job for $20.00 an acre.

If it was only one of him doing this, but approximately 25,000 manf jobs have been lost in this area in the last 3 years so if only 1% of those folks try to start in the business (and based on flyers & advertising thats probably low) that's 250 new competitors with no idea of the market price and who will probably do a good job for $20.00.

freddyc
04-07-2005, 09:35 AM
In the last three years, how many of you guys have filed an insurance claim?? ;)

LWNMWR1
04-07-2005, 10:22 AM
the better question is who dares to file a claim. i have all the insurance in the world but if use i'll be hunting for another company who will already no that one company has dropped me. my old man is an agent and i let him know every time i see him that he is a crook!!

moremowing4me
04-07-2005, 10:43 AM
I see guys all the time cutting big yards for 20 to 25 dollars.Yes they are a lot of jobs leaving going to china my job included.But the problem is everybody that has a truck is cutting grass.Example i bid two housing complexes together 20 houses in one and 15 in the other about 16 total man hours.Mow trim edge blow only.My bid 750 low bid 230.Now 230 dollars would barely cover expenses.Ill stay at home before ill doit that cheap.

For some of these guys that have alot of time on their hands and dont make enough at their regular job to cover their living expenses, any profit at all is another meal on the table. I know this because I used to be one of those low bidders. I have now built to a size that I am comfortable with, and can work less and still make more. Who knows, this guy might get so many customers with his low prices that he can eventually raise them, and make a killing off of his already established client base.


I do feel your pain one waisting your time bidding what you think to be a fair price and then losing to a competitor, but I know that I stay over booked, and with as many lco's or the like that we have around here that there must be enough work for everyone. payup

Richard Martin
04-07-2005, 11:20 AM
that's 250 new competitors with no idea of the market price and who will probably do a good job for $20.00.

If the majority is cutting for 20 bucks an acre and a select few are cutting for 75 bucks an acre guess what the market rate is for an acre of grass? 20 bucks. Just like the market rate can go up it can also go down.

Eho
04-07-2005, 11:38 AM
Sounds like this guy just doesn't understand how the biz works. Sounds like he is a good guy, hard worker trying to make ends meet. Why dont you have a little talk wtih him and try to help him make it?
EHO

Fvstringpicker
04-07-2005, 11:48 AM
By the time Congress gets done providing/encouraging business to export jobs and the administration supporting massive influx of illegals to provide low wages for remaining business, twenty bucks an hour is going to look like top dollar.

Pecker
04-07-2005, 01:12 PM
If it came down to it I would suck the snot out of snapping turtle noses for a nickle a piece if it made the difference between keeping a roof over my family's head or not.

Things that make you go "hmmm". . . ;)

bobbygedd
04-07-2005, 02:02 PM
the only way to do this is keeping your overhead at rock bottom, and your prices up. you won't get as many clients with high prices, but you won't need them with your overhead very low.

earthtrends
04-11-2005, 09:59 PM
CRM do you still do lawncare? If not do you have some hookups for the hickory-hildebran area.

Guthrie&Co
04-16-2005, 12:12 AM
CRM do you still do lawncare? If not do you have some hookups for the hickory-hildebran area.
why are you so interested in the hickory area if you dont mind me asking?

just Cuts
04-17-2005, 12:18 AM
I get $50.00 to $60.00 an acre.I can't even imagine $20.00. :dizzy:

Likestomow
04-17-2005, 01:47 PM
Very True. But in he is doing it wrong or charging to little somebody better tell him. If he doesn't listen, sham on him. No insurance and with a house and kids (if that is what he has or not ), he may loss it if he hurts somebody. Yes he may be doing this to pay the lost wages, but doing it wrong and cheaper is not going to help...

Re-read the original post. This guy is working for beer money, not to put shoes on his kids or pay his mortgage. It does seem a little odd to me that he would buy new equipment and have such a high payment and only do 7 yards a week, but what ever.

As far as "he is doing it wrong or charging to little somebody better tell him. If he doesn't listen, sham(e) on him" --- well were do you get off saying that? Isn't this still America? Aren't we allowed to charge what ever we want to charge, be it high or low? I'd like to watch you get out of your truck and come over to me or someone else and try to do a little "educating".

Remember, Lowballers exist because Buyers demand their services, not because they are too dumb and need education on how to charge more.