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ron
10-22-2001, 08:03 PM
Help
I am losing customers faster then you can say Lawn Mower.
right now I only have 15 clients..thank god this is a part time job for me......What can I do I just made 300 fliers and will be trying to place them out on tuesday. My main money maker had also just broke down Scag Super Z 52 in it has 1,700 hrs on it last week had to replace the exhaust system and now I have no compression,that's what the Dealer said..Should I trade this Monster in and get something better or should I just hang on to this and go for broke..........:confused: any suggestions would be great.......

MuskTurfKing
10-22-2001, 08:12 PM
Why are your customers leaving you? Because your equipment is down? I think you need to look at yourself and figure out the reason, then change it. Sometime you just lose people. I lost...3 people this year. Not bad, but considering I only have 7 yards, it hurt me. It wasn't because of me, they were having money troubles..:(. Just do good work, be there when you say, and always be nice, and your work should stay with you.

Hank

ron
10-22-2001, 08:26 PM
Ops Sorry
the reason why people are leaving is because they have found someone who charges less then I do........Like example this client I had for almost one year strong said he found another LCO who charges alot less then you I charge 25.00 per cut and this LCO charges $25.00 plus cleans his pool for free.well this is way too low for me and he said good bye........there are soo many LCO'S and Low Ballers that it is not funny..Plus the weather here is cooling down and many people just want one cut per month...
I must get some more clients..or I will have to fold....ever since my accident back in May when I fell and broke my back I had 49 clients..when I came back in July I lost everyone but since this accident I have had my machines go down and all my clients total 15 people ,then Aug 29 I had another accident this time with my full time job crashing the van and now I rebroke my back again,and now I am on workman's comp I will be going into back surgery some time in November,they will be placing cement into my vert. so it will heal... well since my accident I have been unable to pay my credit cards and my sheffield account for my new Scag 36 in w/b I need to get more clients fast or I will have to file bankrupt and lose it all.......... :confused: :cry:

KDJ
10-22-2001, 08:39 PM
I plan on moving to Port Orange Florida next summer.
I mow grass for 15.00 See ya soon.

Runner
10-22-2001, 08:40 PM
Ron,
This is a tough one, let me think about it awhile, and see what I can come up with to help you. As far as your Scag goes, is everything else on it mechanically fine? What motor does it have on it? I have a friend here who can give you a fresh built 25 hp. Kohler and he gives you a 1500 hour guarantee for 1000 bucks. That's cheap for a new motor, and this thing is built right, and ready to bolt in. (Actually, it's built by his cousin that's his mechanic, and has a masters degree in Diesel mechanics. He did one for a friend of mine, and this friend went back and told him that it didn't run like THAT when it was NEW! Anyway, I'l get back with you on the other things.

ron
10-22-2001, 08:44 PM
Ok thannks Runner Oh one other thing my web site will be going down in November,I guess that Juno will not be carring Homestead anymore.......WOW WHAT LUCK THIS YEAR......

ron
10-22-2001, 08:46 PM
KDJ WHAT are you cutting for only $15.00 3x10 ft strip of grass....YOU MUST BE A LOW BALLER NO LICENSE OR INSURANCE YEP >>>>>>>>

KDJ
10-22-2001, 08:54 PM
I do 10,000 sq ft lawns
Mow
trim
edge
and real busy!

LoneStarLawn
10-22-2001, 09:07 PM
Originally posted by KDJ
I do 10,000 sq ft lawns
Mow
trim
edge
and real busy!

I would imagine.

If you are lowballing though it will catch up with you.

bubble boy
10-22-2001, 11:08 PM
nice posts KDJ

you always kick people when their down?

move up here my firm eats lowballers like you for breakfast.

i promise to hire you when you go under.

Ric
10-22-2001, 11:14 PM
Welcome to pair of dice. Fora Land the son shine state. Home of the low baller. Land of the cheapskate.

I hate to be sinical, I know only to well how hard the market in Florida is. Not just lawn service. All business have a tough time making it here. I lost my tail in the horse & carriage business. If I had penny for every business that went under in the last 10 years ( Good Times ) I would be a millionaire. Do what you have to, work at Circle K at nights etc. Good Luck

KDJ
10-22-2001, 11:36 PM
Originally posted by bubble boy
nice posts KDJ

you always kick people when their down?

No not really, but when I read his posts he sounded like he was babbling. Should have asked him if he wanted some cheese to go with that wine.

move up here my firm eats lowballers like you for breakfast.

Move up there. Why??? I live I sunny Florida. You can have the snow.

i promise to hire you when you go under.

I don't work for lawn FIRMS.


Look he works a full time job and people are dropping him left and right, stop and think. Here in sunny Florida grass grows all year. There is so much grass we could tripple the lc's all there would be room for more!!! Just do a good job and be dependable
that's all it takes. I don't drop my gate for less than 35.00 and never give a low baller a second thought. My good work keeps me busy.

Advantage Lawn Care KDJ

ChadsLawn
10-24-2001, 07:37 PM
Hey guys I gotta stick up for KDJ somehwta on this..Down here in central florida most of the yards in neighborhoods are very small..maybe 1/3 acre..with my 52 inch cut..I can mow a 1/3 acre with a house on in in 10 minutes down the road..So $15.00 isnt lowballing down here..$10.00 would be..All my bids start out at $20 per cut..Senior citizens will get the discount and pay $15 a cut..

Bottom line $15 per cut isnt lowballing down here..

Chad

Eric ELM
10-24-2001, 07:43 PM
1/3 acre is a good sized lawn. It's around 14,000 sf and I would think it should be higher than $15 or $20.

I have a 1/4 acre lawn I get $40 for and that's smaller than 1/3 acre.

leeslawncare
10-24-2001, 07:45 PM
Would you call 35.00 for a 10k lowballing? just wondering .thats what i've been getting an i'am part time ,an pay taxes an all that b.s.

XOFMOT
10-24-2001, 08:41 PM
According to all my calculations, I will need to make $27.00 per hour based on a 7 hour actual work time per day. Taxes, Insurance, Overhead and everything else associated with being a business owner. I'm lucky enough, that my TARGET area will allow me to charge $45-$55 per hour of service, with a minimum charge of $37.00 for a visit. If I was to only charge $15.00 per cut, I would be BROKE in about a week!

I would rather spend 1 hour at one clients property making $55.00 then have to do 4 at $15.00. If your area LCO's are charging only $15.00-- see what services you can add to boost your per vist charge. I travel approx. 10-15 miles from my home to my SERVICE AREA, Maybe you can try a different area. My hometown area, the average LCO is charging $15.00 to $20.00 per vist for a MOW, TRIM, BLOW type of service. Thats why I'm no longer servicing my HOMETOWN (except for 3 ORIGINAL CUSTOMERS).

Fantasy Lawns
10-24-2001, 08:58 PM
remember Fla has NO State income tax (what's THAT save you each year?) .... cost of living here is much cheaper ...... for what I paid for in Fairfax VA .....a $90k home here would be in the $+150's up there ...3 bed 2 bath home with a garage rents for about $800-700 monthly (no .... not on the beach ;->)

anyways I do not know ONE LCO in my area that cuts per cut .....you will not make it in Fla on per cut (unless its lot clearing or field work) ......it's monthly pay or you will slowly die......40-42 cuts per year

average small 1/4 acre lot ......basic service is $65-60 per month or $780-720 of yearly income ......can do 2-3 n hour ....this type of small basic account is a 1 man 30-20 min job or about 20-14 hours of yearly hour work for $780-720

would your work 20 hours for $720 of pay ??? ... now fill up your schedule .....keep em close ....weed out the slow n no payers ....if they drop you in fall n call in spring up the price ;->

granted that is simple math .....with LOTS of Variables left out ....but get em together .....reduce drive time ....up grade slowly to the premiums n larger full service .....than get a 2 man crew to do the mow n go's

before you jump on this response .....NONE Resi's yards on my web page are under $100 .....but when you first start n are hungry .... the small quick yards will fill the plate

Ric
10-24-2001, 11:31 PM
Unforturely but true in Fla. there are a lot of lowballers that cheat themselves and pass the saving on to the customer. Every spring a new group rolls the old craftman out of the garage and put an add in the local paper $12.00 cuts. Some go to Home Depot and buy a Scott tractor then return in when it breaks down or at the end of season for a full refund. The old Folks that are retired are from the depression era and love these guys. It takes a long time to build a clientel that is willing to pay a fair price for good work. I have to drop my gate for $20.00 on a small yard and I am darn glad to get it. We cut 36 to 42 times a year depending on weather. In my area retirement is the biggest industry. I was where Ron is and I feel for him, My first year I had the cheap retiree quit me when the grass slowed down and the weather got cooler.

Ric

Flex-Deck
10-25-2001, 01:10 AM
I have no problem with per hr charges because I mow my church and its cemetary for nothing. I bet I get just as many complaints though as you guys.

Island Lawn
10-25-2001, 02:33 PM
Do y'all Floridians use written agreements?

Put a clause in there if they drop you (30 day written notice), they owe you for the work you've done.

While you're at it, put a clause that there will be a late fee for late payers and make it worth it!



flex-deck,
You win the Lowballer Award!

BTW, I bet you are NOT doing the church for FREE!
I bet you are PAYING for the PRIVILEDGE

(I know it's costing you gas!)

Ric
10-25-2001, 10:51 PM
Island Lawn

People in Fla. are very careful about signing contracts with one man operators. A lot of fly by nights come and go here each year. A lot of good people with good intention go under here each year. So the answer is "NO" I use proposals and now that I am established 99% of my customer are good. However when I started out I got burned many time. I am in a small town that has no industry not even tourism only retirees. I won"t touch condos or trailer parks because of the lowballers. Condos etc. love contracts and write them to their benefit. The little old ladies are the worst. I am sure the big towns are different. As you know not every body can cut grass, do landscape, and Pest Control. But Are industry is looked at as very un-professional. They think we can't hold a regular job and take their money straight to the bar. What makes Fla. a hard market is that everybody comes for our good weather. They stay and try to make living. Wages are so low that they go in business for themselves and don't know how too. The end results is a hundren lowballers cutting grass for $10.00 a cut.

Ric

kutnkru
10-25-2001, 11:03 PM
The thing that I can gather from talking with friends in the biz down there in Fl. is that because they have clients on a 12 month plan that they are able to charge flat rates and although it may seem like its a little bit (or a lot) shy of our figures here in the North, they are not cutting 4 weeks each month to make their money.

They play the law of averages more than those of us with shorter seasons do. Personally I like to get $45 for a 10/msf property and $35 for an 8/msf.

Of course if your in the Carolinas you can get even more than we do for Greens Services. It really just depends on how far you can push your clients and what type clientele your after.

Kris

Ric
10-25-2001, 11:37 PM
kutnkru

You got it. 7 months a year we cut every week. 5 months ayear we cut every other week. In the winter we do more landscape and tree work. We make (keep) more money in the winter cause every customer pays year round. Thanksgiving to Super Bowl Jobs slow down because everyone is buying or paying X-mas

Ric

thelawnguy
10-25-2001, 11:56 PM
Are you the same guy who broke his back a while back???

Island Lawn
10-26-2001, 01:07 AM
Ric,

I encourage everyone to be carefull with hiring any contractor.

One of the best ways is to have it all in writing so that everybody is on the same page and all expectations are known.

It is only one of the things that can seperate a pro contractor from a fly by nighter.

At least in these parts...

BTW, you say "the industry" is looked at as "unprofessional".
To me, a well written contract / agreement increases the percieved professionalism.

My .02


What makes Fla. a hard market is that everybody comes for our good weather. They stay and try to make living. Wages are so low that they go in business for themselves and don't know how too. The end results is a hundren lowballers cutting grass for $10.00 a cut.


Same thing here.

lotsa retirees too (and golf courses, of course)

Good Luck

HOMER
10-27-2001, 09:37 AM
Kutnkru,

Your doing good to get $45.00 for 10,000 sq. ft.! We have a hard time getting that for 25,000. Of course we make it up in the winter due to the 12 month agreements so it might work out the same. How long does it take you to mow edge and trim that 10,000.00 anyway?

kutnkru
10-27-2001, 10:41 PM
If you are stuck using a 36 deck about 45 minutes to complete the job. If you can use a 52 like I try to most of the time about 28 minutes in and out the door.

Kris