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S man
10-25-2008, 09:40 PM
I was thinking about justmowit's business plan where you do very small lawns with 21"s and keep your costs low and profits high. In new orleans and the area I'm in there are lots of very small lawns that can easily go for 30-35 when I'm already charging 30 to 35-40 for a much bigger lawn that requires me to bring my big ztrs and trailer and burn more gas to make the same profit. I was just thinking maybe next year it would be smart to only do small lawns and use the 21"s on them and make good money? Good idea?

MJS
10-25-2008, 10:03 PM
I was thinking about justmowit's business plan where you do very small lawns with 21"s and keep your costs low and profits high. In new orleans and the area I'm in there are lots of very small lawns that can easily go for 30-35 when I'm already charging 30 to 35-40 for a much bigger lawn that requires me to bring my big ztrs and trailer and burn more gas to make the same profit. I was just thinking maybe next year it would be smart to only do small lawns and use the 21"s on them and make good money? Good idea?

I dunno man - it might be a good idea, had you had it about two years ago - seems like you've made a lot of equipment/business changes in the recent past - not that you don't have the money, but continually changing your business plan/aim can't be a good thing in the long term.

I would stick to what you're currently doing, and maybe - maybe down the road look to expanding (or downsizing) your business into the 21"/small lawns model. You could always add another crew in a couple of years - have them do the small work, and you do the big work, or vise/versa.

Just my .02 :waving:

S man
10-25-2008, 10:19 PM
I dunno man - it might be a good idea, had you had it about two years ago - seems like you've made a lot of equipment/business changes in the recent past - not that you don't have the money, but continually changing your business plan/aim can't be a good thing in the long term.

I would stick to what you're currently doing, and maybe - maybe down the road look to expanding (or downsizing) your business into the 21"/small lawns model. You could always add another crew in a couple of years - have them do the small work, and you do the big work, or vise/versa.

Just my .02 :waving:

Well I'm not changing my current plan by any means I'm just throwing out another idea I was thinking about. I was running 21"s two years ago but was trying to do the biggest yards around. Now I know you can only do really small yards to make money using 21"s. The ztrs I have now are great only the overhead and extra expense of cutting big lawns and making 5-10 bucks more doesn't seem worth it. I don't know.

DillonsLawnCare
10-25-2008, 10:33 PM
I was thinking about justmowit's business plan where you do very small lawns with 21"s and keep your costs low and profits high. In new orleans and the area I'm in there are lots of very small lawns that can easily go for 30-35 when I'm already charging 30 to 35-40 for a much bigger lawn that requires me to bring my big ztrs and trailer and burn more gas to make the same profit. I was just thinking maybe next year it would be smart to only do small lawns and use the 21"s on them and make good money? Good idea?

Dude, then why do you have two ZTR's, that you really don't even need....!?!?!!?!?!?!?!??!

MJS
10-25-2008, 10:35 PM
Well I'm not changing my current plan by any means I'm just throwing out another idea I was thinking about. I was running 21"s two years ago but was trying to do the biggest yards around. Now I know you can only do really small yards to make money using 21"s. The ztrs I have now are great only the overhead and extra expense of cutting big lawns and making 5-10 bucks more doesn't seem worth it. I don't know.

Well I wasn't trying to criticize - just throwing out an idea. . . if that's what you want to do - by all means go for it! My only point was don't change your business plan repeatedly to no positive end.

Tyler7692
10-25-2008, 10:38 PM
Justmowit's "idea" is simply a business principle.... VOLUME.

I don't think 90% of you guys have business plans... you just mow and build and ****.


Hell with that.

I'm here to make a mil.

P.Services
10-25-2008, 10:41 PM
and did you all read the follow up to the justmowit article the next month?

LawnTamer
10-25-2008, 10:44 PM
A key piece to the Justmowit model is an abundance of inexpensive labor. Have you ever run a 21 all day, 5-6 days a week? That is labor intensive, and you just can't do the volume/man that you can with a larger machine. Good model, but unless you want to bring on a bunch of H2B guys, I'd stick with the model you have.

STIHL GUY
10-25-2008, 10:50 PM
another idea is to use a 36" WB instead of a 21". it would be quicker and easier with more prophit

topsites
10-25-2008, 10:55 PM
What have I always said a Ztr isn't cost effective on small lots?!

And it is why I recommend Lco's NOT buy a Ztr for at least the first 5 but really 8 years in the business.
But no matter how many times I say it, out they go and buy these things.
What can you do?

Thou the reason I interrupted is because I'd like to add the Justmowit plan really involves Mow-n-blo,
which is a perfectly sensible technique for a new Lco to build clients and experience, that's how I did it.
But to go from a Z to a 21" is a bit like going from a Formula I to a bicycle, why not try a 36" Walk-behind?

oakwdman
10-25-2008, 10:56 PM
Yes, like picasso said. did any of you even read the article that apoligized for putting the just mow it guy in turf because of his bad reputation (or something similar). S man I don't think it would be worth it for you to change your current set up, but some day expand to a second crew that targets those smaller yards. Set them up with a ranger or s-10, 21" blower and trimmer and your good to go.

P.Services
10-25-2008, 10:59 PM
hey oakwood did you catch that article about landscape concepts managment in the lawn&landscape mag?

oakwdman
10-25-2008, 11:01 PM
nah, I dont get lawn&landscape. turf and PRO right now. I'd like to see the article though!

P.Services
10-25-2008, 11:02 PM
you need to get it, it has a wealth of knowledge inside. and its free!!

oakwdman
10-25-2008, 11:04 PM
what was the title of the LCM article? i'm looking in thier archives right now.

P.Services
10-25-2008, 11:05 PM
it was called Fleeting seasons, it was in the october issue.

Tyler7692
10-25-2008, 11:09 PM
Having a "Z" isn't some kind of pinnacle in this business topsites.

Not owning one for 5-8 years is crazy. I bought a used 52" Bobcat Z for 3k and it paid itself off 3 times over in its first year. Three years later, its still running strong and has done nothing but make money ever since.

Run that ****..... Go big or go home.

sweetz
10-25-2008, 11:15 PM
Having a "Z" isn't some kind of pinnacle in this business topsites.

Not owning one for 5-8 years is crazy. I bought a used 52" Bobcat Z for 3k and it paid itself off 3 times over in its first year. Three years later, its still running strong and has done nothing but make money ever since.

Run that ****..... Go big or go home.

I was planning to say just what you said. Thank you!

brucec32
10-26-2008, 12:09 AM
Yes, like picasso said. did any of you even read the article that apoligized for putting the just mow it guy in turf because of his bad reputation (or something similar). S man I don't think it would be worth it for you to change your current set up, but some day expand to a second crew that targets those smaller yards. Set them up with a ranger or s-10, 21" blower and trimmer and your good to go.

Which article was this and in what issue? What was the apology for?

oakwdman
10-26-2008, 12:27 AM
I believe the apology was because the guy has a bad reputation in the area. Also that he does pretty Sh*ty work, I dont really remember completly but the editor fully apologized for featuring the just mow it guy in Turf Mag. I think all this was within the last 4 or 5 months.

PROCUT1
10-26-2008, 01:40 AM
what month was the article in turf?

buttaluv
10-26-2008, 09:54 AM
I think a 36" in the back of a little truck would be better, I started out with a 21" and it limits you too much! in my area you could almost mow any typical city lot with a 36", be in and out pretty quick and not have all the overhead.

shepoutside
10-26-2008, 10:03 AM
I believe the apology was because the guy has a bad reputation in the area. Also that he does pretty Sh*ty work, I dont really remember completly but the editor fully apologized for featuring the just mow it guy in Turf Mag. I think all this was within the last 4 or 5 months.

It was this past month in Pro. He apologized for not doing his homework, and and thoroughly checking the story out. Some had reported that this cut only dude was not all he claimed to be. The editor said he was not going to play judge, but advised that your reputation dose follow you. The article about cut only was in the previous issue.

shepoutside
10-26-2008, 10:10 AM
I was thinking about justmowit's business plan where you do very small lawns with 21"s and keep your costs low and profits high. In new orleans and the area I'm in there are lots of very small lawns that can easily go for 30-35 when I'm already charging 30 to 35-40 for a much bigger lawn that requires me to bring my big ztrs and trailer and burn more gas to make the same profit. I was just thinking maybe next year it would be smart to only do small lawns and use the 21"s on them and make good money? Good idea?

Depends what your area will allow. This set up has worked very well in my area. My city is a bedroom community for Toronto, and they are building houses like crazy. All small postage-sized lots, and as people are in the Big city all day, they tend not to do anything with there yards. They love the service, and has worked very well for me. I have daughters, and they have friends that work for me, as the training is almost nil with this type of set up, and I run rangers, no trailers, so no worries about them driving trailer, or where they may park in the subdivision. Tight routes, and scheduling, with paperless billing, make this all come together very well. It will not work in a lot of areas. I do run a quick also, on some larger properties.

S man
10-26-2008, 12:05 PM
Like I said I was just throwing out the idea. I need to start charging more for the bigger lawns I do because I'm making only a little more than some really small ones I do that take the 21" or pushing it the phazer can maybe do it. I guess next year I'll start charging more, get more lawns and put my ztrs to work. Then later I can add a crew with a mid size truck and a 36" w/b and 21". Here's some math. I like being a solo op so if I cut 80 lawns a week at an average of 35 a lawn brings in 11500 or more a month because of the average. Even if I wanted to drop my really big lawns I wouldn't go from a phazer to a w/b. I would rather save energy and ride.

Runner
10-26-2008, 12:43 PM
There is much more money in the small lots than the larger ones for one simple reason. you have to charge a minimum as a stop fee. You know that you have to have atleast $25 or so to do a postage stamp. Well, many times, a lawn 3 times that size (and larger) only brings in 20 to 15 dollars more. The same goes in fertilization. A small lot going for 36 dollars may not sound like much, but given only a fraction of 1 bag is used, and about a buck of weed killer is used, it is alot more margin than than a 20M lawn that goes for twice that and uses ALOT more product. This of course is only outweighed in both cases by the ability to have proficient logistics and administrative systems in place (more admin work required for higher volume small places).
Another thing to consider with the difference betwen the postage sized yards to the half acre lots, is the equipment overhead is completely different. With the half acre lawns, you HAVE to have more efficient equipment to get through them on a timely casis. This means higher depreciation, higher maintenance, and higher initial costs in some cases (not all, per amount of work they do...a 48" wb MAY not cost as much as a 21" push mower if it does a greater amount of work value). That is another chapter in itself, though.

TPnTX
10-26-2008, 01:19 PM
As someone mentioned already the key to the volume based enterprise is manpower. I live near this guy so I know the area well in terms of available workers. There are tons of undocumented workers and tons of small businesses that use them. You gotta have a fairly low profile.

Justmowit and other LCOs that have 30 or so employess can't run the risk. They either struggle year after year to find and keep employees or the may choose H2B.

A friend of mine did that and this year he about lost his ass. The goverment didn't continue the temporary part of the H2B program which allows more that the 66 thousand workers. So my friend wasn't going to get most of his crew back. Luckily at the very last minute someone he knew from another company gave him their visa's .

As far as justmowit and his h2b, I don't know. I do know this he was/is a fairly latecomer to the H2B program so I can see where he would have been in a similar situation than my friend.

Obviously to base a business off of something as unstable as immigration is very risky.

GrassBustersLawn
10-26-2008, 01:23 PM
Just because a business model worked in one area doesn't necessarily mean it will translate to yours!

Also, JustMowIt is replacing those 21's frequently. I have seen him selling some, if not all, of those mowers each year. The equipment definitely takes a beating and I suppose they aren't as durable as a commercial walk-behind or ztr. So you are going to have some higher expense for equipment (21s are intially less expensive than a walkbehind, but you might need 3 or 4 of them to last as long as the w/b) Also, he has expense in processing payments. He is paying a fee for each transaction thru credit card company that most of us don't have to pay. All this allows him to do an incredible VOLUME at likely a lower margin than many of us are getting. Works for him in his area...might not for you in your area. THen again, might be worth TRYING if you have the CAPITAL (money on hand...CASH...since banks are loaning less) and the ENERGY & TIME to do BOTH businesses!

dishboy
10-26-2008, 03:05 PM
I was thinking about justmowit's business plan where you do very small lawns with 21"s and keep your costs low and profits high. In new orleans and the area I'm in there are lots of very small lawns that can easily go for 30-35 when I'm already charging 30 to 35-40 for a much bigger lawn that requires me to bring my big ztrs and trailer and burn more gas to make the same profit. I was just thinking maybe next year it would be smart to only do small lawns and use the 21"s on them and make good money? Good idea?


My highest hourly and profit margin comes off small yards I use with the 21. Advantages are low mower cost, simpler maintenance, better ability to mow wet grass and easier to clean the deck, useful for mulching, more accounts help as losing a account does not hurt much. Customers prefer a 21 in their yards, less compaction, tight cut, less damage on turns. Downside my puppies can't stand walking all day, but if your can a hire a willing employee this could be resolved. Generally in a tight economy a homeowner with a small yard is more able to afford a mowing service.

PROCUT1
10-26-2008, 06:07 PM
Ok it seems there are two companies being confused here why it took so long for me to find the article.

"Cut only" is a different company. It is not "justmowit"

S man
10-26-2008, 08:02 PM
Hmmm. I was kicking butt on my phazer today and got a flat in one yard and it set me back three lawns that didn't get cut today. So bigger machines can have bigger problems.

NewHorizon's Land
10-26-2008, 08:42 PM
Dont know if it was posted but there are some people that have two businesses. One name for each business. One crew for each company. Company A does small jobs with 21" push mowers and a 1/2 ton truck. No landscaping, no extras. Company B does high end maintenance, installs, etc. Different everything except shop. Two seperate businesses by same owner. Its a good idea if you can do it. If one employee from Company B calls out sick then Employee from Company A just gets Company B shirt and go to work.

ALC-GregH
10-26-2008, 08:49 PM
who is going to take over work duties for the guy in company A if he's working for the guy that called in sick in company B?

NewHorizon's Land
10-26-2008, 09:12 PM
Good question. I guess if its just a as needed case you pull employees. This is not my business model, just how someone explained theirs to me one day. It has kinks of course but if planned right could work very well.

ed2hess
10-26-2008, 09:31 PM
Dont know if it was posted but there are some people that have two businesses. One name for each business. One crew for each company. Company A does small jobs with 21" push mowers and a 1/2 ton truck. No landscaping, no extras. Company B does high end maintenance, installs, etc. Different everything except shop. Two seperate businesses by same owner. Its a good idea if you can do it. If one employee from Company B calls out sick then Employee from Company A just gets Company B shirt and go to work.

In some states the tax laws put a heavy burden on after you reach a certain amount of gross. Hence you have to form two different corporations.

brucec32
10-26-2008, 11:44 PM
Hmmm. I was kicking butt on my phazer today and got a flat in one yard and it set me back three lawns that didn't get cut today. So bigger machines can have bigger problems.

Solutions:

1. backup mowers (you're telling us you don't have a backup available amongst that used mower lot in your photo?)

2. tire plug kit and inflator stuck in the toolbox.



I do some lawns using just a 21" and they do pay well for one's time on-site ($84-$104/hour), but the drive time to more numerous jobsites eats into that to the point where it's not much different than the usual lawns. And it's much more fatiguing, as I'm on my feet the entire time vs only about 1/2 the time with the ZTR lawns.

But let's get real. The small mower-only guys use 21's because they HAVE TO.

They hire newly arrived immigrants with limited english skills and don't have management manpower or time to train them on more complex machines which inexperienced new users would butcher lawns with.

They do small lots where the 21" time disadvantage isn't as bad. The 21 isn't MORE productive in many cases, it's just not so slow that the cheap wage labor can't offset it.

If you read some of the threads they even have the immigrants provide their own substitutes if they can't make it in! (so much for dotting the i's and crossing the t's on all the legalities and insurance requirements) So having some guy's cousin or roomate show up and hop on the lazer z when he's sick isn't going to work in that case. As long as the driver is legal, they can cover the absenteeism problem.

They do mow/blow/go because that's all they could do. You're not going to have your temporary visa guy sculpting the shrubs at a Mansion or diagnosing turf diseases or planting shrubs (w/o a lot of callbacks). It's not like they come from a place where they spent years striping and applying pesticides to their own Kentucky bluegrass lawns.

They understand that this business model won't work in areas not populated with limitless stretches of sprawling tract homes on tiny lots.

So please, let's get real. I mow lawns from 300 ft to 50,000 square feet in size. There is no 21" magic speed advantage. You use the 21" where bigger mowers won't fit or give a smooth cut. This is a strategy that has simply found a way to use a continuing flow of recently arrived unskilled immigrant labor in the areas where abundant small lot tract housing makes it feasible. To them the beauty is that their employees are effectively indentured servants beholden to the job for their legal status to continue. Blow off work and your legal status could be jeopardized. Without the visa program kicking the ladder out from under the local yokels seeking work, the wage structure would be too high for this to work.

As the middle class we rely on to use our services shrinks, we'll see the dark side of the "cheap labor" concept, as I've yet to get a call for lawn service from a rental house full of 10 immigrant workers making $10/hour for 9 months a year. The race to the wage bottom continues unabated.

brucec32
10-27-2008, 12:04 AM
Yes, let's get it straight. It was not justmowing but another company. And it was Pro magazine.

Poor Mr Malarney has had more troubles apparently, fair or not. And to be fair, we have not heard his side of the story in any detail.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOMYmTmRBIQ

http://www.snowmagazineonline.com/news/news.asp?Id=575

http://www.mlive.com/cadenceadvance/index.ssf/2007/11/egr_alerting_residents_about_u.html

Weedas_Lawn_Care
10-27-2008, 02:27 PM
yea it would be a great idea but if a good sized lawn came along it would suck and drive me crazy to turn it down

NewHorizon's Land
10-27-2008, 03:05 PM
Thats where the second company comes in. You recommend the "other company" but really its yours.

TPnTX
10-27-2008, 07:58 PM
cutonly, well thats why I couldn't find the article then. And the reason I was looking is because I've never heard anything bad about tj justice "justmowing". As far as I know he's still kicking butt and has moved in to other texas cities as well.

One reason he can do this is A huge investment intially which was several years ago.

B endless high end to middle class neighborhoods.

C booming economy at least at the time of startup and until now. Even now compared other parts of the US it's still limping along.

Not only is this area freaking huge, its also got a lot of people that would rather not mow their own yard.

S man
10-28-2008, 09:24 PM
cutonly, well thats why I couldn't find the article then. And the reason I was looking is because I've never heard anything bad about tj justice "justmowing". As far as I know he's still kicking butt and has moved in to other texas cities as well.

One reason he can do this is A huge investment intially which was several years ago.

B endless high end to middle class neighborhoods.

C booming economy at least at the time of startup and until now. Even now compared other parts of the US it's still limping along.

Not only is this area freaking huge, its also got a lot of people that would rather not mow their own yard.

The concept works because of volume. I realize now that if I wanted to do a setup like that I would have to have several workers doing the route while I handle the larger accounts and all landscaping.

K c m
10-28-2008, 09:41 PM
I was thinking about justmowit's business plan where you do very small lawns with 21"s and keep your costs low and profits high. In new orleans and the area I'm in there are lots of very small lawns that can easily go for 30-35 when I'm already charging 30 to 35-40 for a much bigger lawn that requires me to bring my big ztrs and trailer and burn more gas to make the same profit. I was just thinking maybe next year it would be smart to only do small lawns and use the 21"s on them and make good money? Good idea?

Philadelphia---> row houses and side by sides. Not unordinary to own a whole street consisting of 4 homes at 15 a pop.

willretire@40
01-07-2009, 10:25 AM
He is now cutting lots upto 28k sq ft. Does anyone know what he is using?

HOOLIE
01-07-2009, 10:35 AM
He is now cutting lots upto 28k sq ft. Does anyone know what he is using?

Looks like he took all the pictures of his operation off his website. I know back when he posted on here he said he had other companies he worked with that handled the large lots. I'm curious too as to what he's doing as I'm sure he's not doing large lots with 21's

Woody82986
01-07-2009, 10:37 AM
I was wondering the same thing. I saw that on his website a week or so back.

TPnTX
01-07-2009, 11:03 AM
The best example of anyone trying to copy this buisness plan was PTP (search) out of Tulsa. As I recall his first year investment was 85k.

Also JMI also uses H2B workers. I wonder how that is going workout. A friend of mine has built his 28 worker crew off h2b and last year almost didn't get his workers back from Mexico. It was a stroke of luck how he got them but that may not work again in 2009.

There is a 66,000 worker cap on H2B workers, Hotels, amuzement parks, landscape anything seasonal depends on imigrant workers. When they relaxed the cap to not include returning workers the numbers of workers shot up to just under 300,000 or something like that. In 2008 they didn't re-new that in it returned to the original cap. As far as I know 2009, will be the same.

paradisescaper
01-07-2009, 11:26 AM
i saw his prices and they didnt seem that low