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View Full Version : Being a Landscaper in Myrtle Beach SC.


orangeblossom
06-27-2007, 12:28 PM
Well, with bluntness, it stinks.

Let me describe the area to you: (1) Homes are booming and new developments are popping up all over the place. (2) Beautiful area to live in. (3) Busy in the summer, small town feel in the winter. Sounds like a perfect area to start up a landscape company....yes?

Well, the answer is flat out NO. EVEN if you are in HOME contruction....NO, unless you are the BIG man running the entire developments; who is ususally the one that gets all the money. There are basically OWNERS of this town. It reminds me of the OLD WEST....they EACH own 20 different business (want insurance, go to Bob...need an attorny...Bob is one too....want to buy land, hey BOB is the guy because he is also a realtor!...get my point?), and you eventually get paid from them.

The price for labor here is DIRT cheap. Many want to blame the mexicans...I can see their anger, but, I also think a lot has to do with themselves also undercutting each other. And from what I have seen, I can't blame their Hatred towards the Mexicans. I really can't.

Here is an example:

We met a site manager, contractor who has landscape jobs for one of Bob's companies. Ok...he comes to us with a job. Being rather a new friend, he provides us what other landscape companies are willing to get paid for this job: 10 large trees, 2 huge new beds (buildt up and all with top soil, mulch), Sod, etc. Brand new landscaping. The other landscaper's cost? The higest was $4,000. When asked what we would do it for, we laughed....because $4,000 covers ONLY THE SUPPLIES AND EQUIPMENT! We told him roughly $10,000.

How can one just do a job, that pays for only SUPPLIES AND COSTS?

Then he asked us, if we would do a paver walkway that is 3 feet wide and 20 feet long. As 'friends,' IF THEY SUPPLIED material, would submitted the LOWEST price in OUR history......$750.00. We were told, others were willing to do the job, TOP.....$450....they also had a bid for $200.00.

After a long talk, we decided that the landscaping industry in this area stinks. So, later that week, over some beers we asked another contractor if he knew of anyone who wanted to buy our dump truck. Practically brand new, and we are sacrificing it for $10,500 (it is paid for, and we just want it off our hands now).

He called a few contractors and a local deli hangout....gets off teh phone and tells us, bad time.....there are at least 8 guys whose homes are being repossed by the banks! What?, we cried? This is ridiculous!

The stories jsut keep getting better and better. I've got right now, at least 100 of them in my pocket.

But, let's me give you an idea of living expenses here: A good 1200 sq foot home cost, in a good area to raise kids, is about $215,000 to $250,000. A condo can cost up to $500,000.

Every where one goes, a new tax bill arises. For instance, with all my vehicles combined, I have to pay $444.00 a year on them (1 car, 1 scooter & one dump truck - can't get your registration tags w/out paying). With a brand new 2007, my neighbor had to pay $500.00 on that one alone. Tax is at 9.5% here. And everything one esbalishes here, you must pay a "DEPOSIT" & they are not cheap.

The prices and cost for supplies are jsut the same anywhere else in the U.S....nothing has fluctuated in THAT! Go to a Home depot, you are paying the same. Buy a new truck, you are paying the same....a home, it cost more. Taxes cost more. Go to a nursey, they cost the same.

BUT, go and do work, and they expect contractors (landscapers or contruction workers), to work for UNDER the cost of supplies, labor, etc.

Not only that, but NON-U.S. CITIZENS are able to open companies here, and totally underbid, doing work that is jsut not feasible to living wages. They work for 4 months, and go home for 8, because the U.S. dollar let's them do that.

Now, I speak the TRUTH! And the joke is, I now understand why SOUTHERN LANDSCAPERS defend the PINE mulch....because it does look like CRAP! But, MONEY wise, it is the cheapest so they can put $1.00 in their pockets. But, at least I AM HONEST on why they use it....they lie about it.

I do not know if I am angry at this time, or disgusted. In truth, when I talk to contractors ( when the come in at lunch), they are REALLY, REALLY hurting big TIME! They got families and homes, bills, etc.

AND IF YOU THINK I AM LYING....then simply show up in the area and talk to some of them. IF YOU AGREE to these low prices, them kudos to you....but, in REALITY....when one starts hearing of foreclosures, it is NOT a good thing.

And what happens with the foreclosures? Ppl from out of state or some of the big ones here buy them, and sell them for double the money.

In closing....I was thinking that UNION was a bad thing. But now, I rather wish unions were in the South....one thing about them, was at least they kept the market up.

My advise....if any one of you come to Myrtle Beach and think of moving here, DO NOT! Stay where you are, if you have a good business. TAKE my words as a great testimony! Enjoy your vacation, and then GO HOME!

To those who are here.....I truely feel for all of you. And, I am going to write a letter to the newspapers, complaining. Call me an activist, but something has to be done with the market here. What is happening in this area is ridiculous, and ethically wrong! I am going to do research, get figures, etc. I hope that my article will be published by the newspapers here, but it may be rejected do to WHO OWNS THE DAMN THING! It is the first step I believe.

To those who are blind, and prefer those cheap rates....I can't stand you! You do not just hurt yourselves, stupidly, but you are hurting families across the area; emotionally and breaking men's souls who love this work! There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING YOU CAN SAY TO DEFEND YOURSELF! You got to be the lowest speciman on earth!

OB

razor1
06-27-2007, 01:09 PM
I'm sorry to hear about your plight and the work conditions in Myrtle Beach. We share some of the same problems here, but not as bad. Foreclosures are increasing too.
I'll be in Myrtle Beach for a weekend getaway, this weekend. Anything I should see or do? I haven't been there in many years. Thanks and hope things somehow improve.

orangeblossom
06-27-2007, 04:30 PM
We bought a restaruant to get us "into" Myrtle Beach. Two families on a one family income restaurant. We thought, with our contruction experience that we both could do side jobs, and build back up our business, then sell the restaurant.

Well, that was the story. Now, we find out....hey, one can't. lately, we are trying to figure out what to do otherwise. Not easy.

So, stop by our restaurant and have a pizza. Try to come around NON-busy times, even to chat to listen to the stories I have posted here. ALL CONTRACTORS ARE WELCOMED!

When we get busy, it is hard to talk....in fact, we can't at all as much as we would love to. But...... We are at 6613 North Kings Hwy. New York Pizza AND DELI.....Now, is the busy time with tourist...everyday is a new exception. But, then all teh sudden, we have the place entirely empty and will sit in the back table having coffee, doing nothing. So, if you catch us at that time.....we will let it allllll out.

Thanks for your support, and look forward to catching up with you. I hope you enjoy your stay at Myrtle Beach....as I do with all tourists....but if you are thinking of ever moving here.....take my advice and DO NOT!

cooksjr537
06-27-2007, 05:34 PM
I had no idea that Myrtle Beach was like that. Sorry to hear about that. I'm pretty sure your Pizza and Deli does good during the summer. But anyways me and some of the guys are heading down July 7 i'll stop by and get a piece of pizza take care and see you soon!

cmitcham
06-27-2007, 10:21 PM
didn't we already ask/tell this orange guy to move back to the midwest?

it does seem as though he has mellowed quite a bit since his first tirade, maybe in just these few weeks, the southern way of life is already converting him. perhaps he'll make it after all.

orangeblossom
06-28-2007, 12:25 AM
Look to see you all soon!

Just remember...if we are busy, can't talk....but if nothing...then you'll be able to hear the stuff.

See you there! And have a great time, in all honesty....I hope.

heather
06-28-2007, 02:13 AM
I live just north of myrtle beach 30 miles.Lots of work but all by the same 5 developers and building contracters.They inturn set the price.Mowing here has hit bottom $200 a month is considered high for a single family home. One company will reel cut your lawn for $25 a cut. Soon I will just give up mowing and stick with pavers.
Whats the deal with the golf courses letting them selfs go? I counted maybe 7-8 courses that just quit cutting.I would hate to have bought a golf course home and the course go belly up. seems to be a myrtle beach trend

razor1
07-01-2007, 07:54 PM
I just got back from Myrtle. Thanks for the invite orangeblossom, sorry I didn't get a chance to stop by, I was with a large group and and wasn't the one driving. Maybe next time. As a tourist, I had a good time, nice looking town. We had a big house right on the beach, and the beer flowed like wine. :drinkup: Gotta love that warm ocean, must've been 80+ degrees. It's nice not having to freeze your cahoneys off like you do at O.C. MD. Saw the Dixie Stampede, Broadway at the Beach, T-Bones, Hooters, & mini golf. If you hadn't told me I would have never known there was a problem. Hope things work out.

PatriotLandscape
07-02-2007, 11:00 PM
We almost moved to Myrtle beach before we started the business here thinking it would be a longer growing season. Thank god i didn't after reading this post.

kootoomootoo
07-03-2007, 12:36 AM
But U Have A Friggin Beach At Your Door...sux To Be You.

AGLA
07-03-2007, 08:28 AM
Another way to look at this is to think about how these people that dominate Myrtle Beach, assuming that is the case, have been able to do so. You can look at your own business as being a microcosm of their situation. If you do, it begins to make sense and look more like good management than the man keeping someone down.

Wouldn't it be great if you could hire subs at low prices, if your help did not run away from you every time someone offered them fifty cents more an hour, if you got every job there was out there, ...? And pretty soon you realize that there are too many outside influences around that you can not possibly do that.

It is also not possible for the developers of Myrtle Beach to keep others from buying and developing land. Those others can buy it and I'm sure do buy it.

Just looking at the responses above it seems clear that a lot of people like Myrtle Beach and are attracted to it. Could it be that there is too much competition? Are there so many people flocking down there that you can get help pretty cheap or replace them in no time if they don't work out?

You can not get subs to work if they are not making money. You can't get your lawn mowed for short money if someone is not making money. Obviously some companies are surviving and thriving. Could it be possible that it just takes a much higher ability to manage than it does in other places?

There has been a big long feast going on for a long time (so much for the worst economy in 50 years). People have been able to get work and make good money with not so close cost control and management. Inexperienced people have been able to get work and charge "the going rate" and getting it. It won't always be this way.

You can just start a business and believe you have the right to make money and if you can't compete it is someone else's fault. It is competitive and some have built themselves up to have competitive advantage. That is reality. If you look at yourselves, you know you have competitive advantages over some others around you. Yet, there are still others who are better positioned than you.

Some places are easier to compete in than others. You can't just walk into the arena and decide that the game is not played well because it is not played in a way which allows you to win. You either need to learn the game and try to win, or join a new league that plays the way that you are competitive in.

baddarryl
07-03-2007, 09:43 PM
I live an hour up the road in Wilmington, NC. I am getting back into business again. I had a pretty successful company in the 90's. What I am finding is that I can't charge anymore for a lawn than I could in 1994. Sad but true. So I am going to go more towards developing the hard scape type of business. I was in Home Improvements for a while and that industry has been cut too, but not as bad.

Seems like the Mexican invasion hasn't quite hit the things that take true talent just yet. Maybe I will take some of those skills into the yard with decks, arbors, and all the other hard scape ware. The real problem is you aholes that hire these illegals which allows you to make money at $25 a cut. They are about all I see doing maintenance these days. You can't really blame them, but the people that hire them should be severely penalized. Whatever it takes to destroy the practice. This is the not the only industry it is hurting. Hell, I could get more to frame a house 10 years ago than I can now too! Can't get a job as a foreman if no hablo espanol. I can think of several companies around here that need to be investigated for hiring illegals. You know if we all started reporting it, it would make a difference. Hrrm, if only there were an INS office in town......:usflag:

gll
07-12-2007, 10:43 PM
I lived in Myrtle Beach for five years. I tried to operate a Landscape Business there and found that it was a terrible place to do business. Alot of people there think that $30000 a year is a good salary. I found that it's a tough place to live, it gets old real quick. As for southern hospitality, I didnt see it there, alot of animosity(or maybe I should say jealousy), towards northerners. Dont get me wrong, I have nothing against southerners. I have been to many other southern US towns and cities and have found that the people are wonderful. But not Myrtle Beach. Take my advice, if you are thinking of relocating there, DON"T!

SOUTHERNGREENSCAPES
09-18-2007, 01:32 PM
gll, you don't find much southern hospitality in Myrtle beach b/c it is full of outsiders. Mostly northerners who are looking for a good vacation spot. I grew up in Columbia, SC about 2.5hours from the beach and now live about 1 hour further away in Rock Hill, SC. That area has always been a hot spot for crap business. take a walk down OD (ocean drive) and you will see that. Personaly, i wouldn't want to try to compete in that area. The realtors drive the local business. My father in law has been investing in the realestate market down there with two homes that he purchased and he said that you have to really take your time and buy right b/c the realtors will all gang up together and push the market up with ther prices to the notherners who are not in town and don't know anythging about the area. they guys will buy a house over the phone b/c their realtor told them it was a good time to buy. I know that all this seems off the subject, but when the realestate market is that volitle, that means that the business's that follow that market will be just as volitle. When the market slows down, business's get hungry and will undercut each other, the only problem is once you have undercut yourself once, you can really never go back. Plus, when you everyone is willing to compete on prices, it tells the customer to shop around. That is why i always tell my customers that i always present my best price. I may loose a job here and there, but when it comes to peoples yards, they tend to want quality over price. best of luck if you contiue with your venture.

gll
09-18-2007, 10:29 PM
gll, you don't find much southern hospitality in Myrtle beach b/c it is full of outsiders. Mostly northerners who are looking for a good vacation spot. I grew up in Columbia, SC about 2.5hours from the beach and now live about 1 hour further away in Rock Hill, SC. That area has always been a hot spot for crap business. take a walk down OD (ocean drive) and you will see that. Personaly, i wouldn't want to try to compete in that area. The realtors drive the local business. My father in law has been investing in the realestate market down there with two homes that he purchased and he said that you have to really take your time and buy right b/c the realtors will all gang up together and push the market up with ther prices to the notherners who are not in town and don't know anythging about the area. they guys will buy a house over the phone b/c their realtor told them it was a good time to buy. I know that all this seems off the subject, but when the realestate market is that volitle, that means that the business's that follow that market will be just as volitle. When the market slows down, business's get hungry and will undercut each other, the only problem is once you have undercut yourself once, you can really never go back. Plus, when you everyone is willing to compete on prices, it tells the customer to shop around. That is why i always tell my customers that i always present my best price. I may loose a job here and there, but when it comes to peoples yards, they tend to want quality over price. best of luck if you contiue with your venture.

Anytime that I tell a southerner about the lack of southern hospitality in Myrtle Beach, I get the same response, "It's because of all the northerners down there". You guys have this attitude all northerners suck and southerners are the greatest people on the face of the earth. I was treated great by southerners many times until I told them that I grew up in Pittsburgh. I actually had doors slammed in my face and was told to get the hell out of our town and move back north YOU F---Ing yankee.
Get over the fact that the civil war ended over 100 yrs ago.

YardPro
09-18-2007, 11:09 PM
orange blossom....

get over it.

i remember the post when you first moved there...

if it is so bad move back home.....

any time you are trying to get into new commercial construction, you are always faced with rock bottom prices.. that's the way that game goes....

there is PLENTY of residental work that has much higher margins.

as for some of the prices you quoted.... a 3X20 foot paver walk should only take about 6-10 houes labor, depending on the skill of the worker....
if it took 8 hours, you expect to get $90.00/hr (your $750.00 labor quote)...


i think you are too far out of perspective, and mabey should stick to pizzas.

YardPro
09-19-2007, 07:17 AM
also as for the pine STRAW, although it is my least favorite, it is better for the soil in many areas. It decomposes quickly, and acidifies the soil. Many coastal areas (ours especially) have a very alkaline pH, and pine STRAW (you just keep calling it pine mulch) helps to correct this problem.

I know you came from the north, and have seen two posts by you complaining about how bad it is here in the south.... if it's that bad why stay?

Smallaxe
09-19-2007, 11:10 AM
Is there much work for winter months in Myrtle Beach? There has to be good neighborhoods in an international tourist destination :)
I need another place to go in the winter and picking up a few coins down there would be great.
No reason money cannot be paid in any economic environment. I winter in El Salvador and people survive just fine there, doing what needs to be done.

SOUTHERNGREENSCAPES
09-19-2007, 11:42 AM
Hey orange blossom, we are all over it down here. the civil war has nothing to do with it, it has to do with the way we do things down here. nothernerns try to come down here and act and do things the way they do up north, and we don't take kindly to it. So don't think we are singling you out b/c you are a notherner, it is probally just your attitude. and from other post and this one, it looks like i hit the nail on the head.

getting back to my post, if you reread it, you will understand that i was not saying that the notherners that had taken over Myrtle Beach were bad or rude or any of the other steriotypical things that northerners are typically known for, i was simply telling you why you don't find a lot of "Southern Hospitality" down there because there is a lack of "Southerns"

SOUTHERNGREENSCAPES
09-19-2007, 11:42 AM
sorry, that wasn't meant for orange blossom, that was meant for "gll".