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yokes
11-17-2007, 11:43 AM
I'm a college student and have been doing lawns part time for about 4 years. I am about to graduate and am contemplating whether or not I should go full time. My question is what do you think the future of this business will be. Will fuel prices go so high that the lawncare industry fades away or will there continue to be a demand for our services? Lawncare is what I love doing but I am unsure about the future of this industry. What do you think?

Dunn's
11-17-2007, 11:48 AM
In some areas this industry has already faded away. Well sort of if the price you can get is $15-20 dollars on a 10k property. The industry is pretty much gone.

bohiaa
11-17-2007, 02:03 PM
dont know about it drying up.

I guess it depends on what type of Business you have.

If your customer base is 1/4 acer homeowners, or major contracts.

around most Cities the business has been booming for 47 years that I personaly know of.

In fact I just submitted a 67,000.00 bid.

and to be honest I really dont care if I get it or not

DuraCutter
11-17-2007, 10:31 PM
I'm a college student and have been doing lawns part time for about 4 years. I am about to graduate and am contemplating whether or not I should go full time. My question is what do you think the future of this business will be. Will fuel prices go so high that the lawncare industry fades away or will there continue to be a demand for our services? Lawncare is what I love doing but I am unsure about the future of this industry. What do you think?

If you really love lawncare, be prepared to live well but no better than a good paying job. You can go out and snag a good job, work for someone else, have healthcare paid for, regular hours and after 5 to 10 years, an above average wage and some savings, retirement funds maybe.... who knows.

Lawncare, headaches and very low profit... if you still enjoy cutting lawns, don't dream of riches, that may never happen. Only maybe 3 to 5 % or lcos make really good coin...

Good luck

:)

daveintoledo
11-18-2007, 04:41 PM
that is the big question...

flairland
11-18-2007, 04:56 PM
I think it just depends a lot of how well the economy in your city/state/province is. Everybody with their regular jobs are getting busier, putting in more hours a week, and therefore, that leaves no time for them to take care of their own property, and thats where most of us come in. However, if the economy slows down, people start making a little less, I think that one of the first places the homeowner will cut their expenses, is in their lawn care. All in all, just look at the city you want to work in, look at its future, and I think that'll give you a good indication as to where the "lawn care business" is going to go.

Marcos
11-18-2007, 07:43 PM
Yo habla Espanol?
:laugh:

THRIFTY
11-18-2007, 09:08 PM
Good Thread Keep the thoughts coming! Im in the EXACT boat you are in my friend!

topsites
11-18-2007, 09:53 PM
Ok I'm not sure if this helps but if we run out of fuel then we're not the only ones in deep :usflag:

But so long there exists grass that grows, there will be lawn mowers cutting it.

Roger
11-19-2007, 06:22 AM
What is missing in the initial post? If you are nearly graduation, why aren't you looking for employment in the field of your study? Asking the question about working full-time in the lawn service business, after getting a college education, indicates something is askew in the motivation and reasons for spending time and money in the college experience. What are your goals? Why would you want to spend time at tasks that require little education and no experience?

To be sure, some LCOs are college graduates, some with Master's degrees -- they have posted this fact. But, I believe them to be in the extreme minority. Perhaps they migrated back to being a business owner.

If you wish to be a business owner and an entrepreneur, why not consider something that has greater potential. The turnover and failure of lawn service businesses seems to be very, very high. I have not seen any objective statistics. Wanting to start a business is an admirable goal, but your choice of what kind of business and which market sector is important. Think closely about the service or product question. Think closely about the kind of customer (e.g. low end services to residential customers -- most lawn services fit here). There are many, many choices on business startups, lawn service being just one.

One suggestion is to work with SCORE (Service Corp of Retired Executives). They are associated with the SBA, and can provide experienced counselors in giving advice on business startups.

rsp1961
11-19-2007, 08:51 AM
i think about the future of the business just as the original poster, but i always go back to what "topsite" said...if something happens to the economy that is so drastic as to affect our line of work, (such as total year round drought and lack of petroleum resources) then we will not be alone, and well, i believe we will be getting ready to move on to a better place anyways. at some point, you just have to make a decision and go for it, because there are absolutely no guarantees in life. maybe someone has commitment issues..lol...j/k :hammerhead:

Exact Rototilling
11-20-2007, 02:51 AM
i think about the future of the business just as the original poster, but i always go back to what "topsite" said...if something happens to the economy that is so drastic as to affect our line of work, (such as total year round drought and lack of petroleum resources) then we will not be alone, and well, i believe we will be getting ready to move on to a better place anyways. at some point, you just have to make a decision and go for it, because there are absolutely no guarantees in life. maybe someone has commitment issues..lol...j/k :hammerhead:
+1
___

Also another +1 for what Roger said.

Lawncare is hardly rocket science and I never thought 5 years ago I would be making plans going all out for next season Lawn, Garden, Rototilling & Power washing etc. I absolutely dislike being stuck indoors all day stuck behind a PC or being a desk jockey. My other home business is just that.

I actually know of an electronic engineer who was actually really good at his profession and made really good money at it but preferred mowing lawns all day. I also have a brother in-law who loves being a fisherman vs. being tied down to a regular time clock punching job. I don't blame them at all.

The industrial revolution and the urban cultural environment has force man to live what I believe to be an unnatural lifestyle. I believe many people have fairly high levels of discontent with their jobs weather it be professional or not. Anti-depressant use is high in out civilized culture. I suspect the constant use of Prozac, Paxil & Zoloft during the summer months by LCO who actually do the work is well below average. I have no proof just gut level suspicion. Personally I have very low tolerance for the urban indoor professional life. I want to be outside in what I believe to be our natural environment. Will I being doing this 5-7 years from now? Not sure. If not maybe something more wild and back to nature if opportunity arises. So my $0.02 is take this into consideration. Making better money in a profession your not happy with is hardly success.

Yes the economy is tightening. In some areas more than others. Profit margin for LCO's and many other services to the private & public sector will taper off some.

work_it
11-20-2007, 03:18 AM
This was by far the worst year I've experienced in the lawn care industry. We had a drought that started in the spring and has continued on through the beginning of fall. We're just now starting to see some normal precipitation, but the majority of the lawns have been damaged to the point where they won't recover on their own. Most of the time this last season I was only cutting every other week...huge dent in the income. On top of that we had a large influx of lowball companies which under cut the local market by an average of 35% in which I lost over half of my customers. Now take into consideration the huge increase in the price of fuel as well as anything that's transported by truck; along with the higher cost of living (for obvious reasons), and you have the perfect recipe for a failing lawn industry.

I may stick it out one more year, but it's a decision I'll have to make after seeing what the market is like at the beginning of next season. More than likely I'm going to bail and just work on growing my automotive airbrushing business.

grassnazi1
11-20-2007, 07:53 PM
I think the market is there, it's just lacking good experienced workers. Lacking the quality of people dedicated to this and going forward 100%. The commitment is very low on a alot of lco's in my area. Everyday I get calls from irritated people claiming there last lco never showed up, or did a piss poor job, left a mess, gave a different bill then the estimated price, looking to recoup big bucks for there financial mishaps off of them etc. I think it has alot more to do with the lco's presenting themselves and there "quality" of work that is making it seem like its dwindling.

Also, to the guy who recommended SCORE as a valuable resource. Be prepared to sit down and have them tell you your business is crap and will never work. I use to work for a company that was involved heavily with SCORE and to be honest, they arent worth a penny (which is good because they are free) I have listened to numerous SCORE reps and have not gotten one once of good information from them. If your serious about being in this business then take the time to invest in yourself and put forth 110% everyday. I dont know one person who gave 110% and worked everyday fail. If you fail to plan then you plan to fail.......

work_it
11-20-2007, 09:18 PM
Everyday I get calls from irritated people claiming there last lco never showed up, or did a piss poor job, left a mess, gave a different bill then the estimated price, looking to recoup big bucks for there financial mishaps off of them etc.
I've run across this too, but it doesn't happen that often. When you have someone telling you a bunch of horror stories about some other business keep in mind that they're not always telling you the whole story. Or some times they're just fishing for a lower price from someone who's willing to cut their own throat to get going in this business.

I think it has alot more to do with the lco's presenting themselves and there "quality" of work that is making it seem like its dwindling. Hate to say it, but don't see that too much in this area either. Even the low ballers with their illegal workers are doing first rate work.

If your serious about being in this business then take the time to invest in yourself and put forth 110% everyday. I dont know one person who gave 110% and worked everyday fail. If you fail to plan then you plan to fail.......Once again, not a very valid point. I'd be happy to introduce you to people in almost any industry who did eveything right and gave 200%, but the business still failed. Starting any business, no matter how large or small, is a crap shoot at best. I'll be curious to see your views after another 6 years in this industry.

Roger
11-20-2007, 10:15 PM
....

Also, to the guy who recommended SCORE as a valuable resource. Be prepared to sit down and have them tell you your business is crap and will never work. I use to work for a company that was involved heavily with SCORE and to be honest, they arent worth a penny (which is good because they are free) I have listened to numerous SCORE reps and have not gotten one once of good information from them. If your serious about being in this business then take the time to invest in yourself and put forth 110% everyday. I dont know one person who gave 110% and worked everyday fail. If you fail to plan then you plan to fail.......

I was the one mentioned SCORE, maybe there were others too. I made the mention in the context of entrepreneurship, not necessarily focused on a business offering lawn services.

I suspect you are right in they will tell you "your business is crap." These are people who are interested in working with entrepreneurs who have sights set higher than offering lawn services. These folks have experience in businesses that have been successful, and are willing to share their expertise with others. They expect their audience to be disciplined in getting a business off the ground with all the pieces in place, including well-written business plans.

These are characteristics not demonstrated by those on LS who have started a lawn service business. Therefore, I am not surprised that somebody at SCORE would scoff at the approach taken by most LCOs starting a business. After reading threads on LS for years, it is quite clear that those starting are more interested in ground speed of their ZTR, blade tip speed, how much money can be made working solo, how to fix an engine that isn't working right, and so on. Getting a good business plan together, and seeking the business advice of others is very far down the list of concerns. Those at SCORE aren't going to give a hoot how fast anybody's ZTR mows grass. They also know that the services being offered are not unique, almost anybody with a few dollars can enter a competing business. And, the lawn service business requires no training, no special or higher education, no certification or accreditation. If a SCORE representative is going to spend time and effort working with somebody, they want to work with an entrepreneur who has a bigger vision that mowing grass.

I would be interested in knowing what kind of information you were seeking from the SCORE rep. If your question was what ZTR to buy, I'm sure you did not get an answer. Perhaps your idea of "good information" and his/her idea of "good information" did not match.

Working hard is important, but that is far from any measure of success. Restaurants are a fine example. Those starting a restaurant business work very, very long hours, and work hard at getting off the ground. However, the failure rate is very, very high. Just having an interest in an industry, and working hard at a business related to the interest, does not provide much protection from failure. Many technical businesses fail because they get so entranced with their technology, they forget to sell it to somebody else for profit. Or, maybe they are poor at selling, or poor at developing a market for their work. Or, maybe they are very poor at handling finances. My point is there are many facets of having a thriving, profitable business still running after five years.

... so much more to say, but will stop here.

B_gerrits
11-20-2007, 11:33 PM
Hey Work it do you do any landscaping? Maybe xeriscape would be a great new market for you. Here in Calif we are experiencing drought and xeriscape landscapes are replacing lawns. If this is not being done in your area this may be a great new market for you. If you are unfamilar with what a xeriscape is go to google.com and do a search on it .

work_it
11-21-2007, 08:03 AM
First I'd like to say excellent post Roger. Not only well said, but so true.

B_gerrits, thanks for the idea and info. To be honest I'm simply not that interested in pursuing different ways to beat a dead horse. This next year I'll be using the profits from the lawn business toward setting up the automotive airbrushing business. There's a huge growing interest in the field of custom autos in my area, as well as across the nation, and there's only one guy in this city producing quality airbrush art on vehicles. Another great aspect is that I don't have to worry about a bunch of people running out and buying airbrushes and spray booths thinking they can corner the market with a Wal-Mart approach to business. My airbrush business has been in the planning stages for over a year, and it'll be another 6 months to a year before it's ready to launch. Can't tell ya how much I'm looking forward to that day.

rsp1961
11-21-2007, 09:15 AM
as much as i totally understand being discouraged in this business, or any business, or in life in general when things are tough, i also feel that there are some on here that tend to have the attitude that they have some rights to do this business, and others dont, and that they are struggling because of the newbies and illegals in the business...to those poor souls that have been the victim of the effects of capitalism, losing work to other hard-working-for-less-pay-individuals, i say, im really sorry. youre right, you should get out of the business and go work for someone else, or try another business that no one else is doing, because you are right, you have the right to succeed. so good luck. to those individuals that are planning on undercutting me or competing with me, i say, bring it on...but be prepared to live below the poverty level, because i am. ive lived a good life, and i have been without, and i have chosen to do this work because i actually enjoy it, and i dont mind working for less, as long as i have work. to all the immigrants, i say welcome. i love that finally the american worker has and is being challenged to get off their union organized fat a$$ and actually do an honest days work. im glad to see this country getting back to its roots when everything is being challenged, immigrants have a chance, nature is our foe, and nothing is set in stone. we as americans have had it too good for too long. we are FAT and we need to be shook up and kicked in the rear. so, i say, at the risk of this coming back and biting me in the butt, bring it on...if you cant handle the heat, get out of the kitchen! :usflag:

work_it
11-21-2007, 09:53 AM
You make some good points rsp, and I too used to love this business. What you're failing to keep in mind is you're not in competition with immigrants; you're in competition with illegal immigrants. If you think you can live in poverty or without the luxuries in life; try their way of life before coming here. You're also failing to take into account that they don't pay taxes, don't pay for health care, only pay a fraction of the living expenses a legal citizen pays, and don't pay for schooling, insurance or anything else a average US citizen pays for. Not only that but they receive government assistance for section 8 housing and most receive food stamps.

As gas prices and the cost of living keep going up; coupled with this industries prices going down due to overall poor business practices; do you really think there's a bright future in it for you? If your answer is "yes" then I wish you all the best. Just keep in mind that it's hard to plan for the future when you're working 60 hours a week, living in poverty, have no health insurance, no food stamps, no gov't assistance, can't afford repairs on equipment/vehicles, and find out you didn't make enough to pay your taxes at the end of the year.

But hey! I'm happy for you. Maybe you can be part of that 1 to 1.5% of the successful LCO's in this country. It's a long shot, but I believe in you. Just brace yourself because, in the end, you'll either be able to proudly look back at your life of poverty or you'll bail ship for a better life.

B_gerrits
11-21-2007, 01:21 PM
. to all the immigrants, i say welcome. :usflag:

Dude you live in Tenn and don't think you understand what you are saying. I live 600 miles from the border and we are overrun by these people. My friends are sacrificing to send their kids to private schools because the public schools are overrun with them and the teachers have to spend half their time teaching their kids english therefore lowering the time spent with our kids and lowering our kids education. Most of the jobs here want you to be Bilingual. What the hell they invade our country illegally and I am suppose to learn their language :mad: We have them selling fruit on the street corners illegally and I don't think it will be long before they have their kids out selling chicklets. :cry: I didn't move to Mexicio and do not see why I should change to their culture or standard of living:confused: By the way I don't live in the inner city I live in a suburb 60 miles north of San Francisco. I love what I have been doing but it costs a lot to live here and can't afford to live on peanuts to compete with people who don't belong here;)

IMAGE
11-21-2007, 01:40 PM
Dude you live in Tenn and don't think you understand what you are saying. I live 600 miles from the border and we are overrun by these people. My friends are sacrificing to send their kids to private schools because the public schools are overrun with them and the teachers have to spend half their time teaching their kids english therefore lowering the time spent with our kids and lowering our kids education. Most of the jobs here want you to be Bilingual. What the hell they invade our country illegally and I am suppose to learn their language :mad: We have them selling fruit on the street corners illegally and I don't think it will be long before they have their kids out selling chicklets. :cry: I didn't move to Mexicio and do not see why I should change to their culture or standard of living:confused: By the way I don't live in the inner city I live in a suburb 60 miles north of San Francisco. I love what I have been doing but it costs a lot to live here and can't afford to live on peanuts to compete with people who don't belong here;)


I agree with you completely! Lets put of a fence with :gunsfirin is what I say!

B_gerrits
11-21-2007, 02:14 PM
Amen bro but don't stop there go after the people that give them work and:gunsfirin is what I say! Hey where did you get the gunsfiring that is hot!

B_gerrits
11-21-2007, 02:32 PM
Back to the subject at hand The future of this Industry If you are young and only do LCO no landscaping I suggest you stay in school and either pick another industry or take some horticulture and landscape design. The days of lawn being the #1 groundcover are comming to an end . Xeriscape is comming on big and astroturf for residential homes is also gaining ground. Right now the asrtoturf is expensive and doesn't look that great however in the future I will bet they will get it looking awesome and it will become affordable.

work_it
11-21-2007, 02:33 PM
Something drastic needs to happen about the illegals, and I agree with you B_G.
I'd like to see a bill passed stating something to the effect of: Anyone, business or homeowner, who knowingly and willingly hires an illegal immigrant will be subjected to no less than one year in prison with a minimum fine of $10,000 per illegal immigrant employed.

An answer to the anchor babies: if illegal immigrants have a child within the borders of the United States it does not make that child a legal citizen of the United States. It does not entitle the parents or the child any legal rights for health care or any other services.

rsp1961, that had to be one of the dumbest things someone's said in a very long time. Do you understand that illegal immigrants are costing us, the tax payers, over $10,000,000,000.00 per year? Yes, that's 10 BILLION dollars!

topsites
11-21-2007, 05:22 PM
Amen bro but don't stop there go after the people that give them work and:gunsfirin is what I say! Hey where did you get the gunsfiring that is hot!

:gunsfirin = : + gunsfirin
Sorta like :laugh: = : + laugh + :
Then there's :p = : + p
payup = pay + up (all one word)
:cry: = : + cry + :
And :) = : + )

You can Go Advanced (while posting)
Whole selection in there.

rsp1961
11-21-2007, 07:04 PM
haha..i said, "to the immigrants, i say welcome"...i didnt say to the illegal immigrants, im hoping they will figure out a solution. im quite aware of how many are abusing the system, im also quite aware that they are humans as well, and all humans, white, black, yellow, or red, deserve to be treated equally and justly and have just as much rights to the freedoms of this country as you and i. lest you forget, we all ARE IMMIGRANTS! :usflag: or did you skip grammar school history? :rolleyes: why do you think we are celebrating thanksgiving day? so get off your high horses. :hammerhead:

this was not a thread about illegal immigrants, so let it be. the industry is what it is, and if you want more or better, go for it. my point was, that no one has any claim on this business, so stop blaming your failures on the newbies and or the illegals or anyone else. life is what it is and we do the best we can and we make choices and have to live with them.*trucewhiteflag*

work_it
11-21-2007, 09:01 PM
haha..i said, "to the immigrants, i say welcome"...i didnt say to the illegal immigrants, im hoping they will figure out a solution. im quite aware of how many are abusing the system, im also quite aware that they are humans as well, and all humans, white, black, yellow, or red, deserve to be treated equally and justly and have just as much rights to the freedoms of this country as you and i. lest you forget, we all ARE IMMIGRANTS! :usflag: or did you skip grammar school history? :rolleyes: why do you think we are celebrating thanksgiving day? so get off your high horses. :hammerhead:

this was not a thread about illegal immigrants, so let it be. the industry is what it is, and if you want more or better, go for it. my point was, that no one has any claim on this business, so stop blaming your failures on the newbies and or the illegals or anyone else. life is what it is and we do the best we can and we make choices and have to live with them.*trucewhiteflag*
True, they have rights, but they don't have the same rights to the freedoms of LEGAL U.S. citizens. That's where you're wrong. My grandparents came over from Scotland and Ireland and had to go through all kinds of garbage to become legal citizens. They went to war for this country and so did I. So don't tell me to get off my high horse so I can hand over my money and freedoms to a bunch of scum bags burning the American flag while singing our national anthem in Spanish.

B_gerrits
11-21-2007, 09:49 PM
im quite aware of how many are abusing the system, im also quite aware that they are humans as well, and all humans, white, black, yellow, or red, deserve to be treated equally and justly and have just as much rights to the freedoms of this country as you and i. lest you forget, we all ARE IMMIGRANTS! :usflag: or did you skip grammar school history? :rolleyes: why do you think we are celebrating thanksgiving day? so get off your high horses. :hammerhead:*

I only have a few questions for you, If we let everyone who wants to come here do so what would this Country be like? Think it might be overpopulated? There might not be much pie for anyone. It would probably be a blast to drive to work. As far as I know there isn't a Country in the world that will let just anyone come there and steal their citizens work except this one. I'm not saying that we should close all the borders and not let anyone in. I am saying there should be a process that those who want to come here must follow. I am saying thet we should as a Country to be able to select who will be let in. I am saying that we as a Country have a right to limit the number of immigrants we allow in! As for my forefathers when they came here the main mode of transportation was the horse, the population was 1/100 of what it is now and there was no such thing as the Oakland Raiders my point things change.

lawnprosteveo
11-21-2007, 09:52 PM
Im optimistic about the future. Im a solo operator and dont have alot of overhead. I handle about 60 properties a week. All but one are small (1/4 to 1/2 acre) residential. Most of those are retired people. With the Baby Boomers aging, how long will it be before there is an enormous surge in retired people who cannot or will not do their yard work? That tells me there will be a bigger market to get my little niche from. All I really need is about 60 to stay very busy....

hackitdown
11-22-2007, 08:19 AM
Im optimistic about the future. Im a solo operator and dont have alot of overhead. I handle about 60 properties a week. All but one are small (1/4 to 1/2 acre) residential. Most of those are retired people. With the Baby Boomers aging, how long will it be before there is an enormous surge in retired people who cannot or will not do their yard work? That tells me there will be a bigger market to get my little niche from. All I really need is about 60 to stay very busy....

I totally agree. The baby boomers are now beginning to reach 60, and many have loads of cash to spend. Also, as long as people are working in "white collar" jobs, there will be a need for services like lawncare, housekeepers, daycare, etc. Don't forget divorced people. Older people. Rich people. The list goes on.

Remember, cutting the lawn really sucks for most people. Since our area has a minimum 2 acre lot, it can take an average homeowner most of his Saturday to do it with his 21" craftsman WB, and that is no fun. So they try a tractor, but it breaks at year three and cost $300 to repair. People are afraid to prune their own shrubs in fear that damage will be done. Cleanups can take two full weekends with a rake. Aeration or dethatching requires a $75 rental and hours of time. I have several people who pay only to get stripes on the lawn, they know a mower which can strip will cost $2500+.

Here's an example...My wife and I pay to have our house cleaned! An I love it!

cpel2004
11-22-2007, 09:22 AM
I think the lawn care business looks good for the long term. I still think the industry will be faced with many low-ballers who business strategy is only price. However I feel "landscaping professional" that can offer their customers choices will be ahead of the curve. Being able to provide many different levels of services will be huge, from full service to DIY service. Giving customers choices I feel will defiantly pay huge dividends. I think the web will become more of a force, from billing to advertising. Im in the process of developing more of a retail feel to my current client base, with news letters, knowledge center, to delivery services. I feel the more you can provide your clients the better off your company will be.

I know GA has been hit hard by drought, we have already begun preparing our customers on Best Management Process for droughts. Our big push for this year is designing landscape of the future that uses less water than traditional landscapes and using more organic means to maintain your landscape.

Another issue is gas prices, the tighter and more dense your route in your service area will be huge. I think engine/mower and two cycle manufactures will be forced to make more efficient machines.