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View Full Version : number of lcos is rediculous!!!


lsu03
03-25-2008, 11:51 PM
i see TONS of lcos in my small city of only 10000 and now am recondisdering even starting up. pretty much everyone with a mower and truck and/or trailer is starting to cut now. how could i even convince potential customers i am a better choice???????

Raven386
03-25-2008, 11:55 PM
Welcome to the wonderful world of being an LCO...... you are a better choice because you are insured,liscensed etc...

lsu03
03-25-2008, 11:58 PM
a lot of these other ppl are too unfortunately...

a lot of you guys are not also 15 and probably looked down upon by customers and have some/lots of experience...

qualitylandscaping
03-25-2008, 11:59 PM
I'm really starting to think this is going to be the year that seperates the men from the boys..

With gas prices skyrocketing, fly by nights can only operate at the cheap rate for so long.

We are growing more than 75% this year, and I credit it to LCO's going out of business and bad poor service/bad results from the ones that are still around.

Hang in there

mattfromNY
03-26-2008, 12:03 AM
Keep your costs down, do a good job, weather the storm. You will survive and prosper. It just takes time, its not going to happen overnight. The guys just looking for a quick buck because its 'Easy' aren't going to be around long.

topsites
03-26-2008, 12:51 AM
Sheee who you telling?

I see it too, the parade of trucks-trailers keeps getting bigger and bigger every year.

a lot of these other ppl are too unfortunately...

a lot of you guys are not also 15 and probably looked down upon by customers and have some/lots of experience...

Ohhhh yeah I'm 41 and I get "bestowed upon the privilege of being 'allowed' to do a little work for some CASH *IF* I would be interested" all the time. Here's some cookies and a soda, come'n get it, made them just for you! and so on.
Sure I'm just an ungrateful bastard now by looking their kind generosity of a gift horse in the mouth, but I feel that way about it too...

That was one of my biggest complaints last year, and then when I let them do it because I'm short on work and I can't afford to tell them how it is then next thing that happens is they keep taking more and more advantage of me, it just never f444n ends I swear.

I really wouldn't have a problem with it, if it wasn't always that one thing leads to another garbage that almost invariably comes around... Only a matter of time, but I can say I still have some customers who do it to me and they're with me today and for the most part I can't really say it's all that bad either.

So what can we do, what can I do, what can you do?
Just deal with it best you can, if it's a stupid answer it's because it's the only one I know for sure that works.

LawnNc
03-26-2008, 01:45 AM
I'm starting out, part time just six months in. Lic. and Ins. listed on your business card helps. Do a quality job, take the time to do the little things no one else thinks of. As far as all the lco's, I said the same thing to myself last fall when I started out, but remember all you need is your small corner of the market to get started. Impress the heck out of your customer, get to know their yard and them, then treat em' both like gold. Then pray they appreciate your hard work.

LindblomRJ
03-26-2008, 02:03 AM
I'm really starting to think this is going to be the year that seperates the men from the boys..

With gas prices skyrocketing, fly by nights can only operate at the cheap rate for so long.

We are growing more than 75% this year, and I credit it to LCO's going out of business and bad poor service/bad results from the ones that are still around.

Hang in there

I hope so. I really do. So far the have pretty much the same customers as I did last year. I was starting to become concerned but am starting to feel better about the season.

Its funny last season most of the south was in a drought now fuel prices... Yet new LCOs keep coming up like weeds. I think there are several factors that will thin the herd.

coif_kid
03-26-2008, 09:50 AM
You may get mad at me saying this, but I do look forward to your opinions.

First off this really applies to anyone who started in this business less than 10 years ago because prior I would say that it was signifigantly more difficult to see the upcoming growth of the industry.

Anyway, why is everybody whining about the amount of LCO's out there. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that in the long run more and more people will be entering this field as the manufacturing jobs dry up. This industry is easy to get in and there still is some money in it so of course there will be continued entrance into the industry by further competition. I just don't get it why people start in this business and then complain about the competition. The writing is on the wall. Expect competition to continue to get worst. Expect prices to continue to stagnate while your costs go up. The reality is for the most part, this is a low skill industry when compared to other areas (You can argue all you want, but I can list hundreds of jobs that require greater knowledge, talent or skills than the lawn industry) with low barriers to entry. Just read an economic book on perfect competition and it is clear what is and will happen to this industry.

That said, when you know what is going to happen I really don't think people have a right to complaining about how hard it is to compete or low balling is killing their business. If you want to make more money or make a business prosper with less competition get into a field where it is harder for just anyone to enter (ie. skilled tradesman or profession).

Roger
03-26-2008, 10:21 AM
.... The reality is for the most part, this is a low skill industry when compared to other areas (You can argue all you want, but I can list hundreds of jobs that require greater knowledge, talent or skills than the lawn industry) with low barriers to entry. .....

...If you want to make more money or make a business prosper with less competition get into a field where it is harder for just anyone to enter (ie. skilled tradesman or profession).

I have been saying this for a long time. The market value of anybody, regardless of industry and level, is directly related to the uniqueness of what is being offered.

Residential grass cutting isn't rocket science -- no education, no training, no special skills, and the up-front cost of getting a business started is very, very small. Seeing new entries as competition to the business should be no surprise, and not unexpected.

larryinalabama
03-26-2008, 10:57 AM
I have been in and out of this business since the earily 1980s. Sure its an eaisy business to get into I did it in High School insteat of working at McDucks.

Im reentering with a different approach this time. I plan on owining more equiptment than a rental yard. I will be a rental yard on wheels so to speak. So If a customer ar another landscape contractor was installing a bed for example, they would have to go rent a bed edger and sod cutter, or they could call me and I do that pard of the job with my 60$ minimum, chances are I would be done in 30 minutes or less.

Anyway thats my idea for anothe start at this business

coif_kid
03-26-2008, 11:15 AM
Well definitely good luck. That said though if your successful, no doubt you'll have imitators and no offense, but it does sound like your business would be easy to imitate and so expect the same price pressures that LCOs have to fall on you. In addition, you constrained to what you can charge based on what landscapers get paid. In other words, you can only charge so much so that a landscaping company can still make a profit after utilizing your service. This may present a problem, because on larger jobs you wouldn't be able to compete against the landscaper using one of his own workers and renting the sod cutter (in house) if you wanted to make more money per hour than his employee. Now that I think of it, what is the cost advantage to hiring your service, rather than renting the cutter and making his employee do it.

Lawn-Sharks
03-26-2008, 12:33 PM
I feel your pain i live in a ghost town and still manage to pass 6 LCO's on my way to the gas station not to mention the other 30 throu out the day! But i have multiple licenses that allow me to service 3 different Counties in Florida so it helps to venture out but only when it profitable

larryinalabama
03-26-2008, 02:01 PM
Well definitely good luck. That said though if your successful, no doubt you'll have imitators and no offense, but it does sound like your business would be easy to imitate and so expect the same price pressures that LCOs have to fall on you. In addition, you constrained to what you can charge based on what landscapers get paid. In other words, you can only charge so much so that a landscaping company can still make a profit after utilizing your service. This may present a problem, because on larger jobs you wouldn't be able to compete against the landscaper using one of his own workers and renting the sod cutter (in house) if you wanted to make more money per hour than his employee. Now that I think of it, what is the cost advantage to hiring your service, rather than renting the cutter and making his employee do it.

First of all my main market is the homeowner who is tired of the rental yard hassle. For other contractors the value is in having more than 1 machine. Like I say if your installing beds you need a bed edger and a sod cutter. The rental yard charges you min 50$ for each totalling 100$. there for at 60 for both machines hes saving 40$ and e can be putting the sod in a wheel barrow as I cut the sod.
Also the equiptmenr lets me serve my weekly accounts better and faster thus making me more money and customesrs happy.
Can it be duplicated? SURE However most start ups are buying ztr, blower , and trimmer and going after grass cutting.

J&R Landscaping
03-26-2008, 02:07 PM
I hope so. I really do. So far the have pretty much the same customers as I did last year. I was starting to become concerned but am starting to feel better about the season.

Its funny last season most of the south was in a drought now fuel prices... Yet new LCOs keep coming up like weeds. I think there are several factors that will thin the herd.

I agree! I have not seen as many new start-ups yet but we'll see what happens. This year will hopefully be a decent year for me while it is harsh on some lower level competition!

coif_kid
03-26-2008, 02:58 PM
Ok, I understand your business model now. What type of return on capital are you expecting? I mean I take it your going to have to spend a signifigant portion on equipment, so what type of return can you expect on it over and above lawn services. I'm just curious if your business plan works out in a way that would be profitable in the 'real' sense over and above opportunity costs.

While this is not completely correct it is the most simplistic way of thinking about it. In other words, take your gross revenue per hour expected with your new business subtract it by the gross revenue per hour that you would make cutting lawns then then subtract the depreciation on the capital that you're buying per hour (ie. total depreciation of the capital divided by the average number of hours worked during the season). Multiply that number by the average number of hours worked during the season and divide it by the cost of the capital. If its better than lets say 4 - 5% then go for the business while if not, your better off just investing the money or saving it. That said, this does assume that you have a full schedule of mowing. If you don't have a full schedule of mowing and need the work and this does generate positive nominal profits then of course this would be a good idea.

Lawn-Sharks
03-26-2008, 03:10 PM
Ok, I understand your business model now. What type of return on capital are you expecting? I mean I take it your going to have to spend a signifigant portion on equipment, so what type of return can you expect on it over and above lawn services. I'm just curious if your business plan works out in a way that would be profitable in the 'real' sense over and above opportunity costs.

While this is not completely correct it is the most simplistic way of thinking about it. In other words, take your gross revenue per hour expected with your new business subtract it by the gross revenue per hour that you would make cutting lawns then then subtract the depreciation on the capital that you're buying per hour (ie. total depreciation of the capital divided by the average number of hours worked during the season). Multiply that number by the average number of hours worked during the season and divide it by the cost of the capital. If its better than lets say 4 - 5% then go for the business while if not, your better off just investing the money or saving it. That said, this does assume that you have a full schedule of mowing. If you don't have a full schedule of mowing and need the work and this does generate positive nominal profits then of course this would be a good idea.

..................Dang my i went crossed eyed reading this :dizzy: sounds good though

topsites
03-26-2008, 03:38 PM
You may get mad at me saying this, but I do look forward to your opinions.

I think it has something to do with what you say, once you get into fields of expertise such as the ones that require certification and what have you, that does tend to cut out some of the nonsense.

I was just checking into some jobs over at odesk which is a central freelance outsourcing location... In short, you can hire yourself out as say a Linux administrator for around 10-15 or more an hour, then work from home so long you got yourself a desktop, an internet connection, and a strong certified background. It's not some bs 'work at home' scheme, there's no upfront fee or any fees ever unless you hire someone, and this of course there are always folks who might be willing to say build you a web site for less than what it might cost you to get a pro to do it.

I hired a guy to fix my email, it's still not working 100% but so far it has cost me 100 for what I was previously quoted 150 / hour for and it's looking like I'll come out smelling like a rose (the guy knows his stuff too thou, this is on a Unix CentOS system and has to do with postfix and spamassassin and smtp/pop and aliases and all kinds of implications and technicalities, not like I didn't try to get it to work, not like I haven't admin'd my own system for 3 years now, but...)

It's really not that bad so long you know your stuff, they have tests on the site itself where you can self-certify yourself but... I just took the Xhtml test which, I've got my two sites 100% compliant with w3c standards and I coded them myself so I figured this would be an easy test... Yeah, just like that DMV driving test thou, I found out right quick you have to study.

Still it's likely something I'll be checking into, some of it is as simple as keyword data entry but that's not what I'm into so once I bone up on some of this redhat apache dynamic html crap there's guys there earning 18-30 an hour right from their home. odesk.com

HOOLIE
03-26-2008, 03:59 PM
I find it humorous to be just starting out, and complaining about the number of LCO's...:laugh:

lsu03
03-26-2008, 04:52 PM
hoolie, that is why i am wondering if i should even be starting up.

LindblomRJ
03-26-2008, 08:30 PM
hoolie, that is why i am wondering if i should even be starting up.

Not to scare you, but you might want to look at some other venture. Unless you can provide something unique to your market. Or do some market research, is there demand and a need. I would stay away from if you built they will come mentality.

That is a decision you will have to make.

verant
03-26-2008, 08:37 PM
i have seen 7 other LCO's driving across my 15,000 pop. town. it seems to increase every year

mattfromNY
03-27-2008, 08:00 AM
hoolie, that is why i am wondering if i should even be starting up.

I would much rather try and fail (IF you fail), now, rather than when you are older with a family to feed. You are young enough to take risks, and put your full attention to your business. If you dont do it now, you will always wonder 'What if?' and as you get older you will have more responsibilities that distract you from giving it your all. I say go for it. Kind of like the old saying 'Better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all'.

larryinalabama
03-27-2008, 08:09 AM
Ok, I understand your business model now. What type of return on capital are you expecting? I mean I take it your going to have to spend a signifigant portion on equipment, so what type of return can you expect on it over and above lawn services. I'm just curious if your business plan works out in a way that would be profitable in the 'real' sense over and above opportunity costs.

While this is not completely correct it is the most simplistic way of thinking about it. In other words, take your gross revenue per hour expected with your new business subtract it by the gross revenue per hour that you would make cutting lawns then then subtract the depreciation on the capital that you're buying per hour (ie. total depreciation of the capital divided by the average number of hours worked during the season). Multiply that number by the average number of hours worked during the season and divide it by the cost of the capital. If its better than lets say 4 - 5% then go for the business while if not, your better off just investing the money or saving it. That said, this does assume that you have a full schedule of mowing. If you don't have a full schedule of mowing and need the work and this does generate positive nominal profits then of course this would be a good idea.

Thanks for the input.
As far as deprecation of my equiptment,,, So far I have bought all my equiptment slightly used for 30-40% of their origional cost. Its al worth what I paid for it and some of the stuff I could make a little profit on it.

My overall business plan is to get 30 weekly maintance accounts averaging 35$ per week. Then the hard part will be lining up 2 to 3 "extra" jobs per day.

I plan to only spend up th 15000, including a box truck which I have not found yet. Thats less than most of the fellers have invested in just their truck. Thats not counting my tractor and 3000lb excavator which I bought years ago.

Also I am currently working full time doing this business part time building a new house remolding a nother house and have 2 propertys totaling 14 acers to maintain. All by myself, so you can see time saving equiptment is my friends.

Atlantic Lawn
03-27-2008, 08:44 AM
What kills me is people who have two jobs, I can't blame them for wanting to make life better for themselves and their families. Their first job provides Health care, Retirement plan , Paid days off, Sick leave, etc. Heck that's half of what I work for. And now they want to get into lawn care to get some extra money. Same thing with retired guys, I talked to one guy he said he didn't really need the money but just liked to keep busy.Well if people keep jumping into this biz and only stay for a year or two it maybe helped them, but hasn't helped the industry as a whole.