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turfman59
12-11-2001, 05:08 PM
Is it just my imagination or is everyones brother want to be a landscaper? My best friend told me about a Whirlpool Executive that was Knockin down some serious JACK and after 7 years decide he wants to do sprinklers and service work> he also has a Masters degree in Engineering? I got into this because the BYOB Be YOUR own boss appeals to me after 23 years in the RETAIL business { worked every weekend By the way} I guess this question goes out to the SENIOR Pro's in the BIZ is it always like this or is this just a new trend By the way I asked a question Yesterday about a walker Mower GHS 48" is everybody afraid of some constructive criticism about Manufacturers If you Blow SMOKE Everybody Reads through it anyway GOOD Purchase or not ? THe price point is $ 8350.00 and Change?

AVRECON
12-11-2001, 06:03 PM
I agree with you. When I first started out there was probably a doz. lco's in my area, that was ten yrs. ago. Now I see that many everytime I stop to fuel up. And you know, with as many slack ass folks there are, I'm suprised to see so many wanting to do this hard manual labor type of work when its a 120 degrees outside. Also in my area, the big boys work on VOLUME. Instead pricing a job that should go for $45.00 per visit, they'll charge $30.00. I've just never understood, why do a job for less than its worth?

MWM
12-11-2001, 06:35 PM
Get used to it. It seems to run in cycles. People think this is a get rich quick scam because it doesn't take much money to start up. After a year or two of busting their 'cajones' they realize they are only working for an hourly wage. It is the nature of the beast

lost mountain
12-11-2001, 08:20 PM
I agree that 10+ years ago, there weren't so many lawn services. there are more larger operations that have popped up over the years (or appear large because they borrowed capital to start with a big Isuzu, etc.) but there is a slew of guys with PU/ trailer. And now I hear Home Depot is about to do some kind of "Servicemaster" model offering lawncare.

I have a certain perspective to add that's possibly different (sorry for all the personal detail):

I started out with a small lawn service because I wanted to BMOB and only had some occasional help. In retrospect this was a recipe for disaster: I burnt myself out totally tryin' to do it all. After 5 years when I got an opportunity to get out, I took it (as a Production Manager for an internet music company). But there I learned a lot about funding, operations, management and general business for 3 years in this new start-up. I loved my job, we were on the cutting edge before the whole Napster thing. I lost my job when the whole NASDQ meltdown happened. Got another PM job in a related field (CD duplication). I hated it. Back when things started to look bleak in the dotcom /stock market scenario, I started to think and reflect back on the landscape buisness. I thought hard and I realized what I had done wrong with that buisness and that is wasn't the industry or the type of work it was my small minded approach. Now, I've come back vowing not to make the same mistakes and to run a REAL buisness. It's fine if it's a small family-owned thing, but good customer service, image (graphics, logos, uniforms, etc.), proper techniques, equipment, good employees (that one's tough!) are key. It's an attitude thing too and the more professional approach has paid off as I set a major record for fall install work. We have done very professional work that I'm proud of - sodding, trees, shrubs, etc. and have picked up many maintenance accounts even in November (Bermuda). People are seem very glad to be doing buisness with us. My concern now is how to manage growth - investing back into the company and not develop a lot of overhead and get good employees (that are legal) who want to grow with this situation.

My point in this is that there is a lot if people out there who are not professional. they get into this and they get out. Some rip people off. and not to sound high and mighty, but there is a difference between a lot of the guys out there and "landscape companies". Everyone deserves a shot at it though. Just because you didn't get a degree in Grounds Maintenance or Plant Science doesn't mean you can't apply yourself. And if you don't then you'll probably be one of the people to get out.

Mark

HOMER
12-11-2001, 10:32 PM
I managed growth by getting rid of a few accounts.........now I'm broke and looking for new ones!

I'm confused about this whole business thing anyway........evidently I thought I knew what I was doing and found out I don't know jack.

I learn something new every day.

65hoss
12-12-2001, 02:07 AM
Originally posted by HOMER
I managed growth by getting rid of a few accounts.........now I'm broke and looking for new ones!

I'm confused about this whole business thing anyway........evidently I thought I knew what I was doing and found out I don't know jack.

I learn something new every day.

Isn't life grand? Everytime you figure something out it changes.:eek:



There are 2 groups out there that tick me off the most.
Group 1: The people that think I make a killin' from day one. Everything goes straight to my bottom line and I'm getting rich. So they might start cutting grass to make some of that easy money.
Group 2: These are even worse. They go out to Wallymart or Home Crapo and get a new $1200 riding mower. Get home and decide this is fun and since I bought this why not cut some yards with it and make some extra money. I have no insurance and don't have a clue as to pricing. What the heck, give me $20 for 1/2 acre lawn. That's $20 more than I had at the beginning of the day. As soon as it gets hot they quit. Now Mr. Homeowner that got my phone # somewhere calls wanting an estimate. WHAT? You want $35-$40 for this? The last guy did it for $20. Yep, the last guy was a dumb@zz but he drove the market down.

guess I'm finished ranting now.:angry:

Runner
12-12-2001, 02:20 AM
Great post! It's funny the title of this thread, because I just used these words in a post less than a day ago. I wonder if this is what brought it to mind? It was the post about some kid who just aquired a whole bunch of new equip. and getting jobs left and right. (probably for free).:rolleyes: Type 2 on your post. I looked it up. It's the one entitled WOW.

turfman59
12-12-2001, 07:51 AM
Sorry Runner

Didnt mean for any offense to be taken on stealing your line BBut
Ican remember my dad who has been in excavating biz for 40 years and his father before him also... say ing the identical PHRASE... My response should have been Ive seen;em come and seenEM go I just wish they would hurry up and Leave... I really thought the threads point was there is something or things that are appealing about the true nature of the landscaping Biz that Corporate America cannot duplicate, otherwise you wouldnt have the true Growth in the green industry that you have. As for the Mass Merchandisers of the World Like Home Depot They are doing alot for the exposure of the Business, as an item that used to be left out of a lot of peoples construction budget and that is landscaping. at one time lets say 20 years ago in our area, Rural Michigan, Irragation was considered a black art. Just was amazed that a corporate Exec would leave after getting a degree. That speaks volumes about why so many people look to landscaping
Its makes you feel good about doing improvements on peoples propertys that are long lasting ssssssssssseeeeeeeee ya Bruce

awm
12-12-2001, 08:18 AM
the yr i starteded over 20 yrs ago, i aquired all i could do pt time from one newspaper add,that ran 6 wks. about 25 lawns.
now days the same add might produce two good customers that are worth having.competition is varied as far as quality
and price,but mainly just to many people wanting a piece of the same pie.

turfman59
12-12-2001, 08:47 AM
3 years ago I wanted a lawn sprinkler installed. I called 3 regional contractors because no one was advertising in the yellow pages locally lets say 15 to 20 miles. No one returned my call after 10 days to even say I am to busy or I can get there next week to look at your project. after that I called a Nursery that said they would sell me the components and I could do it myself. They were very vague about the products and how i could get it designed... so i went to Lowes the guys in the aisles didnt know enough to come out of the Rain. So I got on the internet and found some basic design guides that someone posted. Got started on the project myself and realized that this was fulfilling work after working at retail and putting up with between 8000 to 10000 customers per week. it would be great to deal with customers on a higher quality 1 on 1 basis. after doing it and completing it people started saying what a great idea doing this as a business of all the people I know in our community Ive lived in for 40 years, Nobody knows a irragation specialist. I really felt like I wasnt stepping on anyones toes. there are very few high quality lawns in our community, when people see ours they say you spend a lot of time on it. And when they hear the opposite they want to hear more. The great thing about mowing or irragating is its all about the fundamentals in high quality low maintance Turf. I know.... now you Know... Bruce

1grnlwn
12-12-2001, 09:08 AM
Nice post lost mountain. How could you know all this with only 4 posts. Who ? What? Oh you you are successful and your just new to this site. Don't mind those threatened by your success. I would like to polish up my professionalism a bit. I still have mag signs and no uniforms, but they are on the way. Employee thing (beets the :angry: out of me)? Seriously I liked your post. Look forward to hearing from you again. Welcome.

HBFOXJr
12-12-2001, 09:17 AM
I know everybody works a lot and there are many 2 job households that cuts down time to do the domestic essentials. I have speculated for years that if the services were sold for what they were really worth there wouldn't be as many of us around because the industry is made artificially affordable by 15% business idiots and 70% business dumb people. Only 15% at the top (in my opinion) have a handle on how to run a business, think and make a living.

I should be popular now, right?

TCO
12-12-2001, 09:22 AM
I know I started my business this year, I thought about it for two years, asked a lot of questions, talked to my wife about the time and money spent to own and operate it.(actually, she was still talking about it, when I bought my trailer) I'm in the retail business, and like it. But I needed a challenge, my education is general high school, and I have four Teenagers that are threatening me with college. I simply am having the best time, it is a lot of work, and I get awful dirty. I also am learning that my time is worth more than I thought, I learned that I need to not be afraid to ask for what I originally thought an estimate should be.(lost a few dollars)This spring I'll do better!
I only have a few accounts, my friends think I should buy existing accounts, but I think that would take the fun out of building it.
This fall was an experience I'll never forget, I earned a lot of respect for you guys, this year I buy a leaf vac. But I like it!
I even took on a landscaping job this fall, planting and buying 30 trees, building a brume, sod,etc. I'm not getting paid, but I have people working with, and for me. I'm just learning. My friend is paying, while I get exposure, and accounts. I hope to create work for my 3 boys when they are home from school. I hope I'm not a fly by night business, I really try not to low ball out of respect to the professionals, but I plan to be a professional, I'm considering some classes in horticulture. hell , I think I finally know what I might wanna do when I grow up.

1grnlwn
12-12-2001, 09:46 AM
Sorry Homer, I think I misread your post.

Signed

On edge

odin
12-12-2001, 10:28 AM
around here they come and go but keep comeing.
As soone as one quits up pops another
I dont mind the competition but they have driven prices down.
It amazes me to see scurbs at 500000 to million dollar homes.

Runner
12-12-2001, 10:45 AM
By no means did you take my line, as that saying is much older than WE are.lol Even if it WOULD have been my line (how original:D ), I wouldn't be offended. :)

Tim, It's good to see someone else from the Flint area, here. Since you're just starting out, if you'd like, you can contact me anytime, if you have any questions about anything, and I can give you hours of information and tricks and techniques in the operation that will cut days off of your work. This is no exageration. There are alot of them. I only wish that I knew in my first 5 years what I know now! You've already MADE one big step in the right direction, and that was coming here. I have many friends in this area, many whom I have helped get started. We trade work on and off, and give reference for different types of work. We sometimes come together and help each other out on some bigger cleanups and stuff as well. WE have fun! I've been in the biz for almost 20 years now, and I'm sure you'd know me if you saw me. (Atleast the rig). Drop me a pm (private message) if you're interested. It's always good meeting people in the area. Oh, P.S., I can also give you the nicest looking lawns to mow on the whole block, without a whole bunch of top-growth to deal with if you'd like.;) Joe

Oh, incidentally, we are working on forming a new organization here in this area, (county wide) called FALCON. This stands for Flint Area Lawn Care Operations Network. Let me know if you're interested.

TCO
12-12-2001, 11:30 AM
Reply to turfman:

{Is it just my imagination or is everyones brother want to be a landscaper?}

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I busted My nose. After surgery, the Dr. told me I'm out of work for six weeks,not to lift even a six pack. Luckily My brother Has shown up to finish a job that i started. and yes now he wants to be a landscaper. as I sit here now, he's working.
I had to laugh when I seen your post!In my case the ansewr is yes.Luckily he's twenty yrs younger than me, he can handle the cold.
Tim:D :

TCO
12-12-2001, 11:54 AM
Thanks Runner!
I'm glad to be here. I enjoy having a place to get quick answers, and info. and also, while it's on my mind, nice post Mark(lost moutain) I really enjoyed it! Latley all I have been doin is, checkin the computer and reading lawn site. due to my injury, I think I'm the only union lawncare business in town(UAW)YOU AIN'T WORKIN:cool:
Tim

1grnlwn
12-12-2001, 03:19 PM
You know a lot of these scrub problems could be solved by union landscaping( dream sequence ) . Well wrong place wrong time. Just a thought.