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View Full Version : What A Year!


Mike Blevins
08-22-2007, 05:02 PM
I just noticed a few trees starting to turn. I have definately not had the year I was expecting. I guess in this part of the country no one has due to the drought conditions. I have a feeling that we are going to be seeing a few good snows this year. It amazes me that how a few weeks of hot weather and no rain could cost someone so much money.

fergman
08-22-2007, 05:15 PM
I just noticed a few trees starting to turn. I have definately not had the year I was expecting. I guess in this part of the country no one has due to the drought conditions. I have a feeling that we are going to be seeing a few good snows this year. It amazes me that how a few weeks of hot weather and no rain could cost someone so much money.

yup its hot and dry for sure. what is the name of your company? ive heard your name before at abingdon mower but i cant remember exactly who you are:confused: :waving:

fergman
08-22-2007, 05:24 PM
where did you get your scags? boones creek outdoor or lebanon equipment?

im gonna have to try a scag and see how it is compared to the ultracuts i got. you mow all around me i guess. i mow from marion to kingsport have over a hundred yards and it would be nice to have another truck running so i dont have to work approximately 100 hours a week or more. i already have 2 60"exmarks 28efi and a 31horse but i need a 18 or 20 foot trailer so i can haul a walkbehind and two z-turns on both trailers. the triton decks with the update kit still are pathetic i think. but you say u like the scags better than the exmark then i gotta try one 4 a few days and see what happens:drinkup:

tjsquickcuts
08-22-2007, 05:40 PM
Man you just don't know how bad it really is until you come down this way. We have been in the upper 90's for the last 25 days, with 12 of those days including today being over a 100. Oh, and not to mention that we are behind 20 inches on rain this year, with about a trace of rain over the last 30 days....Just about all the last with a few exceptions have gone dormant, and leaves are falling off trees like its Nov. All my flower planting with a few exceptions are all but fried...or baked I should say....I have 3 commercial accounts that I took up the flower today.....they were just starting to look really bad.

J&R Landscaping
08-22-2007, 07:37 PM
It has been really dry this year and browning the grass out really easily. Its surprising though that some lawns (even non irrigated lawns) are still ready to be cut week after week. Some of the trees are dropping leaves but for the most part, I think this 3 days of rain we just got should keep it week to week till the end of the season. Then I'll be ready for the snow!!!

Americal Vet
08-22-2007, 07:52 PM
Dang, I feel for you guys because it's been the same here. That is until this past Monday, over about a 30 hour period we had more than 10" of rain. It has greened things up very nice. It had been almost 30 days without any rain to speak of and triple digit temps.

I've got a 35k sf yard to put in tomorrow, and then it looks like I will be mowing all weekend on two commercials. I sincerely hope you guys get some rain.

supercuts
08-22-2007, 07:57 PM
I just noticed a few trees starting to turn. I have definately not had the year I was expecting. I guess in this part of the country no one has due to the drought conditions. I have a feeling that we are going to be seeing a few good snows this year. It amazes me that how a few weeks of hot weather and no rain could cost someone so much money.

i just said the same thing today, trees are turning! we, on the other hand, have had a great year, lawns really didnt slow enough to skip much more than a single week. last year on the other hand, we skipped many for a month at a time. what come around goes around i guess. i only had 2 plowable storms last year too. hopefully a busy winter will turn this year profitable in a full swing.

Tomt
08-22-2007, 08:02 PM
I guess I don't have so bad. Spring was dry, but in July lots of rain and now HOT= grass growing well. Have picked just enough customers to fill some holes in schedule. Hope we don't have any Aug-Sept. hurricanes or $$$ will suffer. Hope you guys get the needed rain soon.

Americal Vet
08-22-2007, 08:20 PM
i just said the same thing today, trees are turning! we, on the other hand, have had a great year, lawns really didnt slow enough to skip much more than a single week. last year on the other hand, we skipped many for a month at a time. what come around goes around i guess. i only had 2 plowable storms last year too. hopefully a busy winter will turn this year profitable in a full swing.

I told myself that I was not gonna mess with plowing this year, but now it looks like I'll have to so I can pay off a new mower.

tjsquickcuts
08-22-2007, 08:25 PM
You guys are lucky....We have only serviced 30 lawns this week....thats two crews....we have been doing a lot of hedge and shrub trimming, and other misc things, but not much mowing at all....We would be well over a hundred accounts in the bank by now....its been bad, but really just got worse over the last 30 days....irrigated accounts are finally starting to show signs....all my commcials are hurting....and most areas I have only have one day a week watering....with some with no watering days...If you look at any weather report, it shows that we are getting it the worse in my area....almost like the desert this year.....Hopefully next week will bring relief, but not much hope....

KTO Enterprises
08-22-2007, 08:37 PM
I swear I am seeing oak trees here dying. I think it has been so dry and with oak being a shallow rooted tree they are starting to die. The last 3 years have been very dry here.

Midwest, send us some rain!

topsites
08-22-2007, 08:42 PM
The year before I came to ls was slow as this one for me, and the old man who owned the farm where I used to keep my stuff told me a little story... I'll pass it on to you guys, maybe it helps someone, I think it went something like this:

Man I feel bad for you, I know exactly the feeling because I been in this business and I've had ups and downs that track scars down memory lane. The bad news is I'm not trying to scare you but this isn't your first or your last hard and dry one, it's not like this every year but come around it does, you're lucky if it only lasts a few months or a year or two, sometimes this nonsense goes on and on until nobody but the toughest few survive.
The good news is better times are coming, but I don't know when and one day sure enough, good times or not the hard times will be back. So what you do is when times get good do not forget the bad, keep putting your money away and live below your means, continue to operate on a minimal expense margin and put as much as you can aside. For the money you can't save because you just have to spend it, make sure you buy supplies and parts and machines for your business, and spend it on business and live the low life and put the rest away, that is the key to how I survive, year after year.
A lot of guys think first time around the money is so good, simple truth ain't nothing in agricultural industry easy or good, some is better and some is worse, you come out of bad times into good that's the best time to be in the business so the key is long term survival, ride out the waves of good and bad and stay in it for the long run, otherwise you might as well pack up your bags now because you're just wasting my time.
Now when the good times come you remember this lesson and you'll be fine, because the next time the bad times come around it's going to be the same old story all over again. You want to be the one sitting on a loot of back stock and money that keep your equipment functioning for several years or you want to be back here crying the blues, I don't mind listening but your choices will affect whether you come out unscathed, you take it on easy now, I think it'll be alright so best of luck.

Chilehead
08-22-2007, 09:15 PM
Man you just don't know how bad it really is until you come down this way. We have been in the upper 90's for the last 25 days, with 12 of those days including today being over a 100. Oh, and not to mention that we are behind 20 inches on rain this year, with about a trace of rain over the last 30 days....Just about all the last with a few exceptions have gone dormant, and leaves are falling off trees like its Nov. All my flower planting with a few exceptions are all but fried...or baked I should say....I have 3 commercial accounts that I took up the flower today.....they were just starting to look really bad.

I'm not too far from you T.J. and I'd have to agree. I have found that concentrating on other avenues of work like irrigation or ponds--projects that a drought can't alter--are very profitable. You do what you need to do: take $200-$300 and advertise for a few weeks. Heck after one sprinkler system, the ad has paid for itself and made me a profit.

Mike Blevins
08-22-2007, 09:19 PM
yup its hot and dry for sure. what is the name of your company? ive heard your name before at abingdon mower but i cant remember exactly who you are:confused: :waving:

Name of my company is Blevins Professional Lawncare.:usflag:

Grits
08-22-2007, 10:05 PM
I guess I don't have so bad. Spring was dry, but in July lots of rain and now HOT= grass growing well. Have picked just enough customers to fill some holes in schedule. Hope we don't have any Aug-Sept. hurricanes or $$$ will suffer. Hope you guys get the needed rain soon.

I can't believe someone from Pace is on here!!! I am from Pace, now living in Gulf Breeze. Mom still lives over there off Bell Lane. That little town used to be nice, and then came Wal-Mart!!! Every time I go over there, something new has popped up.

rodfather
08-23-2007, 05:44 AM
Here in NJ we never stopped this year, rained every week.

LawnBrother
08-23-2007, 06:41 AM
Sucks here too. I have lawns that I haven't touched in 3 weeks and a couple that have been a month. JUST NO GROWTH AT ALL. :(

mdlwn1
08-23-2007, 07:34 AM
I'm 15 min outside of manhatten....I will give you some of our excess........(rot)

MOW ED
08-23-2007, 07:35 AM
We just had a month plus of nothing and now within the week we got 1.5". I went from 2 irrigared lawns to my full schedule. It took about 4 days for the rain to regenerate growth but once its green the mowers come out. Time to repair my bank account too. I know some of you guys have had it real bad and I pray for rain for you. I see Atlanta is roasted. Didn't you guys have a bad drought a few years ago also. I recall seeing impressive pictures of a pretty big dried lakebed. Anyway, its gonna rain lets just hope its today.

CleanCutMowers
08-23-2007, 01:35 PM
Dang, I feel for you guys because it's been the same here. That is until this past Monday, over about a 30 hour period we had more than 10" of rain. It has greened things up very nice. It had been almost 30 days without any rain to speak of and triple digit temps.

I've got a 35k sf yard to put in tomorrow, and then it looks like I will be mowing all weekend on two commercials. I sincerely hope you guys get some rain.

I sure wish we could have got some of that. Over 15 inches behind down here and we just had 18 days all reaching over 97 degrees.

scchamblee
08-23-2007, 01:51 PM
If it gets any dryer I am gonna put the whole damn rig out on the road for sale.... Truck,trailer, mower, trimmers, blowers, the whole d*amn thing!!! This sucks big time!!!! I am going year round contracts next year... that is the only safe thing to do. We have had no rain in the last 30 days and ther is none in sight!!!

If we dont get rain soon my mower wont know what the outside of my garage looks like till it does rain.

tinman
08-23-2007, 02:25 PM
You guys are lucky....We have only serviced 30 lawns this week....thats two crews....we have been doing a lot of hedge and shrub trimming, and other misc things, but not much mowing at all....We would be well over a hundred accounts in the bank by now....its been bad, but really just got worse over the last 30 days....irrigated accounts are finally starting to show signs....all my commcials are hurting....and most areas I have only have one day a week watering....with some with no watering days...If you look at any weather report, it shows that we are getting it the worse in my area....almost like the desert this year.....Hopefully next week will bring relief, but not much hope....
Bad here again..last 2 weeks were as hot as I remember with NO rain. Might be a sign we need to not work when it is 105 degrees! My mowing numbers are way off. I have grown steadily until this season which will likely be a little less than last season.

tjsquickcuts
08-23-2007, 03:09 PM
I have also seen a drop off of new accounts.....Last year I had so many people calling for estimates, that I hired my brother-in-law just to run estimates for me. This year, the season started out pretty good, then we had the bad frost....from there, no rain for about 5 weeks, but temps were in the low to mid 80's which wasn't so bad. The middle of June, we started getting a little rain which really really helped. Without that rain in Mid June and early July, I think many people would have gone out of business by now....but the rains came and really helped us out....but then, the rains got cut off again from the High Pressure over top of us in Mid July, and haven't seen a thing since then. But the bad thing is, temps shot up to over 90 to 100 degrees and thats where the problem came in at....High temps and no rain has all but baked all of my lawns....Even those with irrigation are sufferring because they just aren;t getting enough water...Trees are starting to die, and leaves are all over the place. Its 3pm, and I am home already.....finished up today around 2pm today, and we only did a total of 22 lawns today....12 with the lead crew, 10 with the 2nd team....was talking with another LCO who leaves next door to a new account we picked up from one of my customers who's brother was living there, but just past away and they needed someone to maintain the lawn until they can sell the home....I hated to do it because its in a pita neighborhood, but felt bad about his lost. But here are some pics of the lawn, and as you can see, dry as the desert....Also the other LCO truck parked....he said he has nothing to cut until tomorrow and Saturday, and then he only has a few accounts he will be servicing....and he is operating solo now....The last pic is a photo of one of my commercial accounts flowers....as you can see, all but dead are the Verbena's, and the petunas are struggling....and you can also see in the pic that the grass is super tan, and super dry even with being watered 4 times a week...

Mike Blevins
08-23-2007, 04:08 PM
where did you get your scags? boones creek outdoor or lebanon equipment?

im gonna have to try a scag and see how it is compared to the ultracuts i got. you mow all around me i guess. i mow from marion to kingsport have over a hundred yards and it would be nice to have another truck running so i dont have to work approximately 100 hours a week or more. i already have 2 60"exmarks 28efi and a 31horse but i need a 18 or 20 foot trailer so i can haul a walkbehind and two z-turns on both trailers. the triton decks with the update kit still are pathetic i think. but you say u like the scags better than the exmark then i gotta try one 4 a few days and see what happens:drinkup:

I bought my first Scag which was a Wildcat 52" 25 kawasaki at Lebanon Equipment.Great people and great service. I bought my Turf Tiger off a man in Johnson City. I couldn`t pass it up it was such a good deal. And I just recently purchased a 36" Walk Behind Scag with a 16 kawasaki off of Lawnsites member classifieds. I haven`t even used it yet. I have had it for 4 weeks. I am thinking about selling it. I use Boones Creek Scag now as my service and mechanical. I also by my blades and supplies from them.

J&R Landscaping
08-24-2007, 05:33 PM
Here in NJ we never stopped this year, rained every week.

Damn, are the majority of your lawns irrigated or was that just from rain?? I'm right over the bridge from ya like 25 minutes or so and its been almost the exact oposite.

WhitakerServices
08-24-2007, 06:37 PM
My numbers have been way low this year. looked at it the other day and noticed a decrease in service dollars but an increase in customers (number of lawns). If we do ever get some rain I will be way behind because I am adding as many customers as i can find just to fill in the scheduling gaps, from the slow growth.

fergman
08-24-2007, 08:46 PM
I bought my first Scag which was a Wildcat 52" 25 kawasaki at Lebanon Equipment.Great people and great service. I bought my Turf Tiger off a man in Johnson City. I couldn`t pass it up it was such a good deal. And I just recently purchased a 36" Walk Behind Scag with a 16 kawasaki off of Lawnsites member classifieds. I haven`t even used it yet. I have had it for 4 weeks. I am thinking about selling it. I use Boones Creek Scag now as my service and mechanical. I also by my blades and supplies from them.

how much you want for the 36" scud mobeeyle?:laugh:

rodfather
08-24-2007, 09:56 PM
Damn, are the majority of your lawns irrigated or was that just from rain?? I'm right over the bridge from ya like 25 minutes or so and its been almost the exact oposite.

zero irrigated Joe...even matt in saucon valley said the same thing last week...weird

dgfitz
08-25-2007, 03:13 AM
[QUOTE=tjsquickcuts;1939174]You guys are lucky....We have only serviced 30 lawns this week....

I'm just west of you in Augusta, and the rain skipped you and came over
here, but in patches only. My house is nourished,but less than a mile
from here, the neighbors lawns have just wilted, reminds me of the
late Eighties drought.

J&R Landscaping
08-25-2007, 07:39 PM
zero irrigated Joe...even matt in saucon valley said the same thing last week...weird

Your Lucky!!

Grass Happens
08-25-2007, 08:09 PM
If any of you want, Ill gladly put some hours on your machines while they sit. :) In all honesty I'm a 1/2 week behind, but by the time i get to my last accounts, I'm probably going to have to cut them 3 or 4 times. ~8" in the past week, something like 20-ish this month. Not to mention that some of my yards were, and still are, ponds isn't helping matters. We had a bad drought here in 05, so i never ever complain about rain. But I wouldn't mind if the next batch went down by you guys. At least some of the hacks will go out and you can pick up slightly used equipment for cheap!

WhitakerServices
08-25-2007, 09:24 PM
i HAVE noticed less part timers around here this year. This drought has put some out of business (the guys who go out and finance a complete set-up).
I am definately going to be looking for a used Z ( these walk behinds are kickin my ass ). The hard part about this business for me is that "enough yards" in a drought year is way to many in a rainy year. feast or famine.
got to love it.

nashmower
08-25-2007, 10:04 PM
It's my first year here in Nashville. I've got another job pulling most of the income, but wow. . . . . we have had the driest June through August ON RECORD. When you couple that with 20 days over 100 and 27 or so days over 95, well. . . you get the picture. I went around the other day and trimmed up some yards - but kept the mower off of all but one back yard. Franklin, TN has cut off all irrigation meters and threatened to cut off all meters to any customer who waters their lawn. Needless to say, it's not been the best first year. :) With irrigation cut off, seeding and sodding is out unless they lift bans by early September. It would've been nice to make back all of the money I spent on equipment this year. thoughts anyone?

WhitakerServices
08-25-2007, 10:33 PM
learn to install irrigation. Drip systems are easy to sell, and installl and cheap to build . and fulll systems are good $$$. In a dry year irrigation systems seem like money well spent to the homeowner who wants a nice lawn, regardless of watering restrictions.

clallen03
08-25-2007, 10:34 PM
I hate to hear all of you'lls misfortune but I took great advice from LCOs on this site. The best advice I ever received is "MAKE YOUR CLIENT SIGN A CONTRACT". This advice has made these high temps and lack of rain into a wonderful season for us. I look forward to driving to a lawn and all we have to do is trim a few seed heads of dallasgrass and blow off leaves that has fell from the dry trees. I have been getting finishing by 2pm Mon-Thur and off on Fri and I still get paid the same. One of my guys have been asking about taking some classes so I have given him the OK to go part time. This is a win-win situation because I dont need to pay him and he can further his education.

I am even picking up new account because guy are going out of business or not willing to mow in this 100+ degree heat. Their customers next to mine are begging me to take their lawn. I politely say "No contract, No service" and they reluctantly agree.

By no means am I bragging, I just wanted to pass on this great advice and what can happen when its put into place.

Grass Happens
08-25-2007, 11:22 PM
Yea, next year I plan on doing contract cuts. no matter what i get paid. I'll charge a little less per visit, but say for 25 services (i think our seasons are about that, i'll dbbl check first). But i know theres a couple weeks that due to the weather, we wont cut. Plus if we have a longer season, everything over 25 cuts will be billed at whatever rate.

South Florida Lawns
08-25-2007, 11:26 PM
Its been kinda dry here but still slamming on yards like crazy. I'm making good money doing yard repairs and re sodding.

tjsquickcuts
08-26-2007, 12:14 AM
I have each account on contract as well....even though I have taken on a few new accounts that I haven't even tried to contract out because not sure if I will still be mowing in the area next year....sorta out grown the area......but We have shown up to every lawn, but haven't done alot of mowing....We did start aerating a few accounts last week with the hope it would rain this week and it worked out well....I have told all my accounts in the monthly news letter that I would be extending weekly service thru the end of Sept oppose to the end of Aug....But, I did get all of my accounts fertilized today and yesterday, so hopefully with the rain we have gotten I should be in great shape for the holiday....I know I could just bank that money from all the skipped service visits, but I feel I owe my accounts what they have paid for....If I skipped an account more then twice, I aerated the lawn. Just so that I could make up for missed service visits....But this has been a good year for me too...picked up a contract with a builder, working on added a full time hardscaping crew with myself included for next year with the demand we have been getting for custom curbn and patio's.....Well good luck all, hope yall all got rain because I have been getting it...

tjsquickcuts
08-26-2007, 12:55 AM
check these pics out.....this is a lake that down the street from my house....man its bad....the first pic is of one side of the lake...at least 7 to 8 feet below its nomal level...second pic is part of the other side....complete dry....the last pic is the other half of the 2nd pic side....still a little water, but its bad....if I wasn't driving :hammerhead: I could have gotten some better pics...