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K.Carothers
06-27-2006, 04:18 PM
Do you ever feel like throwing in the towel with this business?

I have days that I feel like doing it. I have a nice solid business that I built but what gets to me the most is the bs. When I say bs I mean customers calling because it rained for days and the first day its nice, they feel they should be cut first. Also, that same customer doesn't call once but multiple times that day. I just want to shake the H*ll out of them. Some days it feels as if all I am is a slave.

What about when you spend the entire evening working on your equipment(only getting 4-5hrs sleep) and a customer complains about something as you bust your tail in the heat to make their lawn look good?:hammerhead:

The list is endless but I just feel burnt sometimes.


kc

kc2006
06-27-2006, 04:25 PM
I always want to throw in the towel but I realize how good I have it really. We take for granted what we have going I think, especially if your doing good in the business.

I remember the days of our restaurant and how big of a PITA that was, so many freaking complaints about stupid stuff or so many problems just in day to day events...it makes this business a walk in the park.

BSDeality
06-27-2006, 04:31 PM
The only thing I hate about the business is the mowing, spring and fall cleanups. I'm going to finish this year and probably not offer those services next year. Do strictly turf renovation, installation, hardscaping, ponds and planting jobs. They are much more profitable and less headaches and overhead than what is involved with lawn care.

Husky05
06-27-2006, 04:34 PM
Hey K. Carothers,

I hear ya there are days when it seems nothing goes right, I have old ******s complaining to me about scheduling conflicts and if there grass really needs cut or not. Then im like guess what, you are 1 of the 78 accounts that I service do you really think I have the time to come back on a different day and cater to your stupid demands. SORRY!

The part that I absolutely hate the most is all the paper work. My mom helps me out alot with it but I have so much stuff to. Payroll, entries to my daily journels, estimates, bills, monthly invoices. That is the stuff that I hate.

But I really cant complain to much I really do enjoy this. I enjoy having my own business and controlling what I do and how I choose to expand. I also enjoy working for about 8 months and not really do much of anything for 4 months. But those 8 months are hard especially spring and fall.

I see that you are from Pittsburgh as well....I live in the South Hills where are you at?

Jpocket
06-27-2006, 04:38 PM
There is not a week that goes by that I don't thing about throwing in the towel. Eventually I will do something else but for the next 5 or so years im in this thing for a living.

Have have learned this past spring ( Many on here read my thread "BURNED OUT....." how to put things into prospective. You have to grow some thick skin, and not pay any mind to ALOt of the complaints and attitudes your gonna get. A valid complaint sure, but BS ones like your talkin bout they get deleted from the machine. Like I said you have to not care, and go on about running your business. Willl you lose customers sure, but thats what Advertising is for to maintain your volume. Im to the point where, I know we are doing a satisfatory job, and if a customer doesn't like it they can go elsewhere. they can be replaced usually within the week, with an account that is just as good if not better.

Do what benefits you more...not because a customer wants such and such a job done right away. Do it when you FEEL like doing it. Send your employees where YOU want them.

ANd finally DRINK MORE BEER:drinkup: :drinkup:

bigjeeping
06-27-2006, 05:13 PM
There are a million and ONE things that can go wrong in our line of work. I'm sure I've yet to encounter my share of disasters, but believe me I have stories which can match anyone elses.

In the end just charge alot, over charge if possible. When the money keeps rolling in, you'll stay happy.

JJLandscapes
06-27-2006, 05:53 PM
first 2 months of the season..... once checks come in life is beautiful .. im 22 work with my friend i knew since 3rd grade and make more money than any of my friends there first year out of college and probably most there parents.. and realize in this business you can expand your income as far as you want to unlike a corporate job where its a 5% raise every year

i have no boss, phone calls are rare(even with 116 houses) so no headaches... i can eat anyhing i want and manage to lose weight and still go out everynight and get crunked

:)

MMLawn
06-27-2006, 06:01 PM
NOPE!! The last year (MANY :laugh: years ago) before I decided to take it fulltime I made $62,000.00 a year working for the government......no way in crap I'd take that kinda pay-cut now!

Rhett
06-27-2006, 06:09 PM
Every stinking day. Heck MM is your old job still open?

MMLawn
06-27-2006, 06:14 PM
Every stinking day. Heck MM is your old job still open?



:laugh: :laugh: last I heard the person that filled it from me retired, and over the years they have fired the next 3 and are now on the 5th replacement.....

Jpocket
06-27-2006, 08:44 PM
:laugh: :laugh: last I heard the person that filled it from me retired, and over the years they have fired the next 3 and are now on the 5th replacement.....

You guys gotta realize you can't take everything MM says and apply it to your business...He has reached the "Pinnacle" of this business one of the largest operations on this site, from what I gather from his posts.

The majority of us still work in our businesses and always will. Alot of the things we deal with, are not as prevelent to someone who has other ppl. working for them whos job is to deal with the customers and weather.

MMLawn
06-27-2006, 08:57 PM
But JP- While I do have employees, I still work many days out in the field. As a matter of fact there are certain commercial accts that I personally supervise nearly every week and probably will for the life of the contract. But, no I don't probably del with the PITAS that I use too and a lot of folks on here still do probably. BUT also a big part of that is my decision to go strictly large commercial only. NO MORE $25 Mrs. Jones yards in our present or our future....and those are where most of the headaches come from/

AL Inc
06-27-2006, 09:19 PM
KC, definitely have considered getting out many times, I'm now in my 12th season. I made some changes to my business last year, scaled back about a 1/3 on my maintenance accounts. I rid myself of the people I just couldn't stand, the slow payers, and the distant accounts. I just have one 3 man maintenance crew now, with a solid foreman that runs it. I also have a 2 man crew that does all the add-ons, planting, mulch, pruning, etc. I can honestly say I (usually) come home with smile on my face.
I guess what I am getting at is that if you aren't happy, make some changes. I'm happy I did. Let all the BS (which I definitely still get some) roll off your back, it just isn't enough money to get yourself twisted over. Hope things work out for you.

Jpocket
06-27-2006, 09:49 PM
But JP- While I do have employees, I still work many days out in the field. As a matter of fact there are certain commercial accts that I personally supervise nearly every week and probably will for the life of the contract. But, no I don't probably del with the PITAS that I use too and a lot of folks on here still do probably. BUT also a big part of that is my decision to go strictly large commercial only. NO MORE $25 Mrs. Jones yards in our present or our future....and those are where most of the headaches come from/

Gotcha...I do notice that when you have someone answering your phone, it's better b/c you won't take everything personal when a customer calls upset. In turn you end up keeping more accounts. Also when your not working in the field you don't have to deal with the ever changing weather conditions. Making sure the work is getting done on time and satisfatory is more of a priority.

BCF
06-27-2006, 11:12 PM
Thinking about throwing in the towel is at least a weekly prerequisite for owning your own business. But then you must think about how bad you would feel if you were to clock in to a job that you're over-qualified and underpaid to do. In the end, I keep coming back to MY desk.

topsites
06-27-2006, 11:27 PM
I know it, some days...

The ones that frustrate me right now are the schedule controllers... You know the kind, they pretend they only need it this one time, then they call you every so often... Technically, I'm ok with it because the 1-2 I have doesn't let the grass grow out of control, but it's just the whole rigmarole when it would be easier (and likely the same result for them) if I just kept them on a schedule.

But take a day off, I do that a lot... Just cram a bunch of work into the day or two before, and take off. Or if all I got is 2-3 yards, same thing, see you guys tomorrow. Because all it takes for me is to start thinking about working at a real job (you know what I mean), and I know right away that if given the choice, I could NEVER work with or for someone else again, I just can't do it.

The part that I absolutely hate the most is all the paper work. My mom helps me out alot with it but I have so much stuff to. Payroll, entries to my daily journels, estimates, bills, monthly invoices. That is the stuff that I hate.

LOL I hear you, I got to the point I don't file my taxes quarterly anymore because I find it is way cheaper to pay the IRS fines at the end of the year than it is to do the paperwork. Most everything else is automated thou, things I have to do manually every 2 weeks the schedule, and endorse (stamp) the checks and the deposit slips, oh and pay myself, everything else is point-and-click and card swiping.
Card swiping really rules, everything is auto-tracked.

The cable bill is still manual pay, so is the cellular...

Don't laugh too hard :laugh:

K.Carothers
06-27-2006, 11:29 PM
LOL I hear you, I got to the point I don't file my taxes quarterly anymore because I find it is way cheaper to pay the IRS fines at the end of the year than it is to do the paperwork.

Don't laugh too hard :laugh:


I hate paperwork!!! I hate paperwork!!!

Did I say, I HATE PAPERWORK!!!


kc

naturescape
06-28-2006, 06:05 AM
It can get you down. Just keep in mind the average American is a complete moron. Sad but true.........

And ever hear the statement "No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public."?

Cheers me up to think that when they call to request shorter cutting (won't do it, I have a factsheet made that tells them why, if they continue to ask for shorter cutting, they are gone!). Or when they want to know why it wasn't cut on time after 3 days of rain like you mention, whatever.

F Haney
06-28-2006, 10:29 AM
Hey Carothers- some days are like that. I'll share one day I had last week with you so you can have a laugh and just realize doo-doo happens and we must go on....it's not a bad business to be in. Here goes.....
I went out to load the trailer up and noticed I had a flat tire on one of the trailer tires. Had to fix that.....delay. Then on the 2nd account , a cable broke on my Toro 21", putting it out of commision for awhile...had to order part. Don't use it much but i do need it on a few lawns for small areas. Then later in the day I had a gated back yard to do....got my 36" Toro off (it's a 2002 and just serviced 15 hours prior) and it would not start ! Drove it to my dealer and the mechanic looked at it, said it wasn't getting a spark...left it there. Now I'm down to my 62" Toro Z and 48" Bunton, which is ok but I do have more gated back yards and small areas to do. THEN .....as I was going home for the day and went to put my truck (elecrtic ) window up, it didn't work ! All I could say is what's NEXT !!!?? There are days when it seems everything breaks and puts you behind. But you always get thru it and things get fixed. It pays to keep your equipment well maintained, yet stuff still happens. But think about all those days that, at the end of the day, you have completed your list and everything worked fine, you've satisfied all your customers and made some money, that good feeling, which I'm sure happens many more times than the doo-doo days. Hope you got a laugh on me..I know how you feel.

gmenvirolawns
06-28-2006, 02:57 PM
If you feel like throwing in the towel do it. The thing is a business is harder to run than a normal job. Most of us business owners spend all day busting our a$$ and then spend all night putting bills on the computer, working on equipment and even planning jobs. This gets extremely strenuous and sometimes I feel the same way. however when you look at the big picture somehow the future looks better from where we are, especialy since you are not in some dead end job. i love my business even though I cant go get "crunked" every night. I say stick with it!!!!!!!!

Cahsking
06-28-2006, 05:19 PM
The only thing I hate about the business is the mowing, spring and fall cleanups. I'm going to finish this year and probably not offer those services next year. Do strictly turf renovation, installation, hardscaping, ponds and planting jobs. They are much more profitable and less headaches and overhead than what is involved with lawn care.


nothing like a retaining wall to break up the monotony of mowing. I love landscaping, but mowing and clean ups are almost a must.

AintNoFun
06-28-2006, 06:08 PM
amen,

thats why you dont see many succesful, healthy, large companies doing a lot of residential. theres not enough money in it for the headaches it brings along...



a big part of that is my decision to go strictly large commercial only.

rodfather
06-28-2006, 06:17 PM
amen,

thats why you dont see many succesful, healthy, large companies doing a lot of residential. theres not enough money in it for the headaches it brings along...

personally I like resi...I don't like playing Monti Hall and "Let's Make A Deal".

ProStreetCamaro
06-28-2006, 06:17 PM
amen,

thats why you dont see many succesful, healthy, large companies doing a lot of residential. theres not enough money in it for the headaches it brings along...


We have been doing residentials for 20 years. The couple commercial contracts that we got we had to take them ALL to court to collect our money. We never did anything wrong but at the end of the year they were always way behind and stoped all contact with us so we had no choice but to take them to court. We NEVER have problems with residential customers. Actually we still have some of our original customers from 20 years ago.


As far as landscaping goes we do as little as humanly possible. Its to much of a hassle and we hate doing it. On top of that to mulch beds here in MD your suppose to have a home improvement license which is complete BS.

AintNoFun
06-28-2006, 07:33 PM
personally I like resi...I don't like playing Monti Hall and "Let's Make A Deal".


i said not many companies rod, from reading your posts it seems like you have a very good business, so you wouldn't fall under the many catergory.. lol.. shoot i mean with what you pay your foremans you gotta be doing something right!







We have been doing residentials for 20 years.


pro, just curious how many lawns a week do you guys do?

logan
06-28-2006, 08:18 PM
You know what is great about this job? The fact that, you can make as much or as little money as you want. You can do as much or as little work as you want. If you need a raise, go get a raise. We all have days that we want to let an employer deal with the stress, but look at the winter months when we don't do much at all. The day we decided to be self-employed is the day when our future opened up to unlimited potential.

WJW Lawn
06-28-2006, 08:47 PM
You know what is great about this job? The fact that, you can make as much or as little money as you want. You can do as much or as little work as you want. If you need a raise, go get a raise. We all have days that we want to let an employer deal with the stress, but look at the winter months when we don't do much at all. The day we decided to be self-employed is the day when our future opened up to unlimited potential.

AMEN BRUTHA!!!

AL Inc
06-28-2006, 09:31 PM
I agree, Logan...that's what got me into it, and keeps me going every day.

topsites
06-28-2006, 09:36 PM
amen,

thats why you dont see many succesful, healthy, large companies doing a lot of residential. theres not enough money in it for the headaches it brings along...

I'm a verbal guy, I tell people this you know, like when they ask?
Yeah but some don't get it, they have to have a contract.
I then tell them sorry, but a few still insist...

Twice I fooled with it, twice I was left with a bad taste in my mouth.
That is not to say the customer liked it any more than I did.
Neither lasted more than 90 days... I ain't messing with this no more, one day someone's going to take me to court.
But I did tell them I don't do contracts, did I not?
Yeah, I mean wt*&(% somedays...

The only way I'll do another contract is:
1. NEVER
2. Come up with the price, then double it.
3. See 1.

With per cut / per job, they just don't ride me nearly as much.

6'7 330
06-28-2006, 09:55 PM
personally I like resi...I don't like playing Monti Hall and "Let's Make A Deal".

Me to, I don't a problem with resi either, the right kind of resi for the last 25 years.

BSDeality
06-28-2006, 10:17 PM
nothing like a retaining wall to break up the monotony of mowing. I love landscaping, but mowing and clean ups are almost a must.I said the same thing 2 years ago when my buddy was considering going to just hardscaping/landscaping, and dropping lawn care. I didn't think he could make it, but he does alright with it. The cleanups are for chimps now. there are soo many guys doing this you can't get more than $45/pmh if you quote it upfront, while other "landscape" work will bring down $90, $100, $125+/hr.

Right now mowing makes up 9.62% of my business this year. it takes 2 days of my schedule. So 33% of my workweek (about 24 days to date) of my times goes to 9.62% of my gross. I've spent about 12-14 days doing pond installs this year for 18% of my gross. You do the math, half the time, twice gross. Sure there are materials in there, but its only so much. Last year was my first year full time and grossed about 60K in the entire year. By tomorrow evening when I finish my second pond this year I will have surpassed that marker. I've got bigger fish to fry than just mowing and cleanups. Unless you are a "grandfather" LCO (as I call them); it is a very challenging task to build up an excellent landscape business while supporting lawn customers too. There is too much competition for lawns/cleanups to get your normal rate. The only way that happens is if you have long term customers who appreciate the hardwork and operation you run and don't question your pricing. The lawns chew up too many hours where you can be pulling down double, triple or more when doing landscape work.

meets1
06-28-2006, 10:58 PM
I have trouble with the NEW guys coming in all the time. In my area - they ususally stick around. I have guys mowing 5 days a week - 6 people all times on mowing crew. I do all the spraying/fertilizer. I also do all landscape, new work, renovation work, decking, fencing etc. I use my mowing customer base as future landscape / small construction work to build on. I serve these people - why not tie other things into it. Sure mowing goes good - but we are the highest in my area. Others are using daddy's money, craftmans, weed eater trimmers and charging alot less. Total return on work - landscape/construction projects. Mowing was the beginning but I have realized I need to branch out to keep things going. I am very competitive with the other landscapers so I am not shooting low bids to get additional work.

Days to throw the towel - when an awesome mowing account is lost due to a low ball bid by a new guy who is cold calling my customer base - and then to find out that their bid was 30 - 40 % less than ours. But today myself and one other landscaped 4 island area's in a new retail area - awesome weather, people liked the work we were doing and my wife and 2 year old stopped by and brought some pop. That I LOVE!

NNJLandman
06-29-2006, 12:37 AM
I've been in your shoes so many times this year, customers calling about the silliest things, Are you going to bill me at the end of the month, how are you going to bill me? and this is after I discussed it with them. It gets really annoying, I can understand they have questions and concerns but some days its one call after another. Im having a party this week can you cut me later in the week, you cut my lawn last week when are you going to be cutting my lawn again(this was the best one got this WHILE i was cutting her yard), all sorts of stuff. Trust me, I've thought of throwing in the towel and getting a job with one of my buddies but then you have those days were you just can't have enough of it "hey lawn looks great, thanks so much" "Jeff I just saw the work you did and it is amazing" Ya know days like that or days that jus work out perfect. Keeps me going.

Jeff

Sandgropher
06-29-2006, 01:55 AM
Do i have days where i think about throwing in the towel ???

Only with the days that end with y. :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

My mistake was not buying a business, all the hard works done for you, starting from scracth can be very hard for the 1st two years or more and most fail.:hammerhead: :hammerhead:

meets1
07-01-2006, 09:26 PM
Ran into a the "new brothers" in town here last nite. One is a banker during the day and his brother works for an electrical company. Both have 7 - 4:30 hours. They just got a new set of condo's that there doing. Hence the reason for me walking across the street where I was mowing. Not only did they get this account away from the last guy of 10 years but they are double what he was charging. A little chit chat and that was it. Today I run into one of the condo owners - we were tired of the other guys work and thought we would call these guys. I asked - I'm sorry I missed your call about giving your condo's a price - he says - no we just figured you have enough work, although your works looks great, but we decided to go with the new guys - to help them along a little.

That is when the towels are flyen! I told him well that is what myself and crew do for a living - not a sideline after hours hussle thru the yard. I can't wait until it is dark at 6 - 7 at nite - these guys will never get done.

topsites
07-01-2006, 09:59 PM
I've been in your shoes so many times this year, customers calling about the silliest things, Are you going to bill me at the end of the month, how are you going to bill me? and this is after I discussed it with them. It gets really annoying, I can understand they have questions and concerns but some days its one call after another. Im having a party this week can you cut me later in the week, you cut my lawn last week when are you going to be cutting my lawn again(this was the best one got this WHILE i was cutting her yard), all sorts of stuff.
Jeff

Ohhhh yeah, I call this the 'hand-holding.' Like they're insecure so they need us to hold their hands and walk them through this almost problematic moment lol. Funny thing is if you catch me at a good time, I kinda enjoy doing this but you're right, it can get very tiring.

At the same rate, I like the ones who, after you've done handled their issues a dozen times over this 100-dollar job, you leave the bill for 140 and they pay no questions asked :)

topsites
07-01-2006, 10:04 PM
Ran into a the "new brothers" in town here last nite. One is a banker during the day and his brother works for an electrical company. Both have 7 - 4:30 hours. They just got a new set of condo's that there doing. Hence the reason for me walking across the street where I was mowing. Not only did they get this account away from the last guy of 10 years but they are double what he was charging. A little chit chat and that was it. Today I run into one of the condo owners - we were tired of the other guys work and thought we would call these guys. I asked - I'm sorry I missed your call about giving your condo's a price - he says - no we just figured you have enough work, although your works looks great, but we decided to go with the new guys - to help them along a little.

That is when the towels are flyen! I told him well that is what myself and crew do for a living - not a sideline after hours hussle thru the yard. I can't wait until it is dark at 6 - 7 at nite - these guys will never get done.

There exists a rule in this business: NEVER steal another Lco's work.
These two may not have stolen the work, but something's still fishy.
Just as likely the condo owners saw these two coming, do I need to translate?
Something about it comes back on you, it amuses me to think about the look on their face when it does come back on them. Funnier still is when they know nothing about this rule, it never dawns on them why they're having bad luck, but it is always because of that.
And no, it has nothing to do with the former Lco taking revenge, I know for a fact you do absolutely nothing and just watch, and you will have a great laugh sooner or later.

And we shouldn't laugh, but after you've been doing this for some years, you know why you lasted and why most don't make it.
It's not that we're better than them, likely we got took too, but we toughed it out and that marks us.
It is the realization that things DO get better with time keeps me going.

sweatyclippingcoveredguy
07-01-2006, 10:28 PM
Like any job, there are horrible downfalls, yet the positive overweighs the negative. Like for example, you know it's going to rain in about 3 hrs, so you get to your closest cluster of jobs, bang them out, collect your money, it rains, and you laugh at everyone who is working 8hr days at a warehouse just to make as much as you did in that 3 hr time frame. Then you get some beer, and spend some quality time for once. :drinkup: Those occasional incidences make me keep my sanity

chipk1
07-01-2006, 11:02 PM
Grossing between 45 and 90 dollars an hour on the job comes at a price. But it beats the hell out of answering to some pric* boss that doesn't know is a$# from a hole in the ground. I have days that I am both mentally and physically exhausted, but that is no different than when I worked for someone else. But now I make much more than I did before.

Summary: I have had that thought cross my mind but I just slapped myself upside my head and say what the he!! are you thinking about!:hammerhead:

Cheers:drinkup: