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Ric
01-02-2009, 10:00 AM
Yo

Much to my surprise I am actually gaining accounts. On just the 30th of Dec I lost one smaller dollar account and gained 3 high dollar accounts in one day. Since Oct when the market took the big crash I have gain a number of new accounts. I have only lost two accounts during that time period. One to a British customer who's Pound took a big conversion loss and the other to a snowbird customer with 2 airplanes because his new neighbor claims to be an expert from NY. They will be doing their yard together until that expert finds out Florida isn't NY.

Living and servicing a small retirement town our economy is heavy on retiree services and the Stock Market should be a big factor in disposable income in my area. Because of construction slow down or just plain no construction the working class are losing homes and collecting food stamps. A real situation of haves and have not's. I am in an investment club and pretty much have all my money tied up in that club which has most of their investments in several local bars. The Bar business is way down and starting to be in negative numbers. I have made a point of checking out other bar business to find them extremely slow also. While the Club has a reserve, I am preparing to reinvest to help keep our investment afloat until things turn around. But it does seem I have the reverse King Midas Touch in the fact my gold investments keep turning into pig slop.

SpreadNSpray
01-02-2009, 10:18 AM
Still gaining, Slowly. drop 2..gain 3.... drop 1...gain 1...
Most of the customers dropping were late payers even during the good times. Remember 2005. The phone rang off the hook. I'm optimistic for 2009. Ok maybe 2012!

grassguy_
01-02-2009, 10:27 AM
Have been balancing out to this point, have lost a few but mostly ones that have been slow pays prior as well, have also gained a few from referral and competitors. I'm not sure to this point how many of the competitors have mailed renewal letters as most called havent indicated anything to that regard yet. I assume they either are in the process or are going to be holding with the fert prices still in limbo.

Ric
01-02-2009, 10:54 AM
Yo

Maybe I started this thread wrong. What I am really interested in is now bad is the general economy in your area and how is it effecting you???

Like I said My area has the haves and the have nots. But in general my area is starting to get very depressed even with this being our high season. Our roads are not the normal winter traffic jam and I don't see the large number of snowbird tourist like in years passed. The Market closed for the year just under $ 8800 about half of last year. Real upscale restaurants and clubs seem to still have customers but working class is hurting. A buddy is have his house remodeled for $ 10 an hour labor and the guy is doing a great professional job. I may have him do some work for me at those prices. Good help is all over the place looking hard and heavy for work at what every they can make. Our county school system reported 3,700 less students enrolled this year because of all the young families leaving to find work else where.

tremor
01-02-2009, 12:24 PM
A person's home is usually their largest investment. Since LCOs are in the business of improving that investment it stands to reason that LCOs should grow during a recession. Conversely new home builders, masons & new landscape construction companies take a beating unless they can change the scope of their marketing.

I watched our customer base change during the last recession (late '90's). As the planting jobs dried up, big landscapers all started offering full service. This stayed constant until 5-6 years ago when most were either subbing LCOs or just walking away from maintenance all together. All throughout the Bush years the larger Landscapers never darkened my door unless they owned a hydro-seeder or needed a bag for a friend's house.

Now the pendulum has swung again. Those new trucks are for sale (cheap). Low hour excavators area dime a dozen. It's a real buyers market out here.

Regardless the price of fertilizer, this cycle continues on a recognizable if not predictable pattern. If we all knew how to read the cycles we wouldn't be wasting time posting here. LOL We'd be buying distressed sales like Warren Buffet.

Ric
01-02-2009, 01:04 PM
Tremor

After my nursery was blown away by Hurricane Charlie I never rebuild and was lucky enough to sell the land at the high of the real estate market. But last week in the Miami Area for Winter Festival with my children. I spend some time driving the Homestead area which is the Nursery Capital of the South, even shipping as far as Calif. They were really hurting and their fields were bare by comparison. Many of the grower I purchased from were in fact gone. When I realized my investment income was not enough to live and went back to work. I looked at the Idea of plant brokering, Buying in Homestead and selling truck lots all over the state. Thank heavens I didn't go that route.

My main Market is water front homes in the 1/2 to a million range. These people are mostly depended on the market for their income in one way or an other. I believe because I ate margin with the fert price increase I am now picking up business. Many of my competitors cut quality and are now paying for it in lost customers which I am picking up. But maybe because I feel I am doing well right now I am also scared as heck of going down the tubes. I know I can lose it faster than I picked it up.

Your post about Homes being a big investment and people wanting to keep up appearances may be my(our) salivation. While ego are such that pride goes just before the fall we may be OK. But I do see an awful lot of boats worth more than the house they are docked behind for sale.

BTW Real Estate people are telling me, house sales are up finally. But it is the foreclosures and short sales that are moving.

DUSTYCEDAR
01-02-2009, 01:26 PM
ITS SCARY i keep seeing houses go up for sheriff sale in my area.
as for the bottom line i am still holding on to my ????

KACYDS
01-02-2009, 01:39 PM
Everyone remembers Hurricane Katrina in 2005. It did affect my business, because at the time most people were in a daze and didn't know what the future would bring. Since the storm, I am back to were I was pre-Katrina. Last year 2008, started great with new customers, but with the economy the second half of the year was flat (no new customers).

On my last bill of the year, I send out a card stating if the customer wants to continue the service for 2009, please initial and return. All but one customer has renewed for 2009.

I do alot of work for 2 major landscape companies in the area. On Tuesday, one of them called to give me 5 address to give estimates. Today, the other company called and gave me 2 address. Both companies do installations and maintenance, but do no spraying and fert. When they complete the install, they give their customer a price for a complete maintenance package. Of all the estimates I have giving in the last few years, for these two companies, I have picked up 80% of them. And have kept them since, with no cancellations.

Hopefully 2009 will be a better year. :usflag:

DA Quality Lawn & YS
01-02-2009, 02:35 PM
Up North - its too cold for anyone to remotely think about green services right now.
I got all but one of my renewals back for mow/blow last fall. No chance anyone will contact me about service until March at least. Thats the way it works up here, its cold season now.

Ric
01-02-2009, 03:00 PM
KACYDS

I worked for the state of La back in the 70's & 80's. In the early 80's a recession felt all over. Somehow this was very delayed hitting the Baton Rouge area. In fact after the rest of the country was coming back up Baton Rouge seemed to get hit. By 1987 it was hit real hard and I moved back to Florida by selling my house on land contract. Interest was high and credit was hard to get. By 1991 credit and interest came down and I got my money in full for my house. But Louisiana has the Gold Coast Chem plants up and down the river as well as oil that kept it alive back then. Hopefully the same Chem plants are keeping you going today. But just like Las Vegas that is a tourist town, New Orleans has got to be feeling the lack of tourist income as we here in Florida are. I try and eat out most nights of the week and I am seeing a slow down in clients at Restaurants as well. I am sure just like my area that was hit by hurricanes (4 in fact) in 2004 N.O. still has a lot of blue tarps and uncleared damage.

DA

One thing nice about our weather is year round green service. But we make about the same money for working year round. In fact maybe less because of the competition. But March will bring your wake call depending on the economy at that time. I have a little money in the bank and some breathing room, but at the same time I am not about to spend it. My neighbor was cutting grass and has decided to give it up. So I am now cutting my own grass. Like me, I think you will find many who can afford service will decide to do it themselves. Just like the grass many are not spending money on any thing.

superintendent
01-02-2009, 04:35 PM
This is my opinion and it's probably not worth alot since I haven't started this line of business yet, but the golf course I'm at no one has dropped out yet and I feel if the economy is bad this would be the first thing they would drop, but then again hardcore golfers will leave their wife before they leave golf. I think that the one who has there yard sprayed in the first place has enoug money to do it and will keep on having it done.

Russ
01-02-2009, 06:02 PM
The working poor here have been devastated by the economy. Many of my children's friends (25-40 age group) have lost jobs and their homes. Unable to survive on unemployment they have moved their family's in with parents or grandparents to weather the storms. Here, the owners of the "McMansions" in the "Golden Ghettos" have become very cost conscious. Services that were taken for granted (yearly mulching, 3 season annuals, tree sprays) are being curtailed and folks that used to pay like clockwork at invoicing are going 90 and 180 days. There is another group we service in the 2.5-4.5M range (here above 4.5 they generally have their own grounds keepers)that seem for now, to be insulated from the economy. Last year this is were we showed our greatest growth. One of these guys told me ""everybody knew this was coming. The only people going to hurt are the peons and the people who had money in institutional funds. I didn't get hit by the Market and I don't know anybody who did."" I am worried about 2009.

ted putnam
01-02-2009, 08:21 PM
I guess I'm kind of insulated a little from the problems with the economy much of the rest of the country is struggling with. We have an oil and gas boom going here. Chesapeake Energy and DeSoto Gathering and the list goes on along with all of the businesses that support them. A lot of poor old country folk getting rich in a hurry with mineral rights. We also have Hewlett Packard moving into town bringing 1200 jobs. Business is good here. I honestly feel terrible for some of you guys. Keep your chin up! We're just lucky here...

JDUtah
01-02-2009, 08:28 PM
Market aggressively, gain business, employ more of the working folk that are hurting...

grassguy_
01-02-2009, 08:56 PM
I stated earlier about accounts but to adjust to what Ric was looking for, our local economy (Akron/Canton) is not immune to the current situation. Outskirt jobs with the auto industry are faltering big time as cutbacks have already taken place and subsequent secondary business that rely on them are closing doors. State unemployment fund is tanking quickly as it was to run out of funds here in January without some federal intervention. So i imagine that not only will state unemployment sky rocket to us employers soon, but now county sale taxes are making jumps too. Much of the diversification from the earlier recessions of the 80's and 90's, along with the collapse of steel here, have caused much of the business transition into a service economies, with some ties to the medical and polymer fields, as big industry has either ran south across the US border or at least across the Ohio River! It will be hard to tell just how badly its going to hit here as it seems to lag here until about 6 months after the rest of the country makes the turn, but early indications are things are not very good. Just hoping for some repreive going into spring, but that might be high hopes!

RigglePLC
01-03-2009, 08:06 AM
The economy is poor here, a few foreclosed houses on my street. If you want to buy a house, they are priced very low here. However my sales are actually up 3 percent--part of that is due to my price increase, however.

Ric
01-03-2009, 09:29 AM
superintendent

IMHO the receipts from the club dinning room and bar would be a better indication of the economy than Greens fees. Last Sunday night I was playing in a pool tournament. A very competitive friend and myself were both out and BSing over a beer. We both have been top dogs at one time or an other. We both agreed we played more competitive pool when we were broke and not when our businesses were doing well. I believe Golf is a stress relief that is the last thing people give up. Some will use Golf like I use pool and actually make a little money when times are bad.

Russ

My son works in the real Golden Ghetto of Miami Beach's Fontainebleau Hotel. He is in a Jr management position and has some access to the numbers in his area. Trust me the rich and famous are not cutting back. Their numbers might hurt but their life style has not changed. I will refer you to the book "The Great Gatsby" about the 1929 crash and the rich who kept their life style going. But my own local Silver Ghetto has it's have and have nots who are cutting back also. Yes I am very scared about 2009 also.

TED

They tell me Dallas Texas doesn't know hard times and is still booming. A niece who is in high finance was just bought out by Bank of America. Her high 6 figure job appears to be stable for now. Her husband's Landscape install business is slow this time of year but he has plenty of work lined up for spring. Certain areas of the country will hurt worse than others.

JD

Yes I am marketing again for the first time in 5 years. But I am marketing straight Insect control, feeling it is a more essential service than Green Grass that can not be eaten or sold.


PS I blame our present condition on Globalization and corporate greed. I made that statement years ago on this very website. As a working class guy I feel we are the present day wage slaves that keep the rich, richer. While my heritage might be as mixed as a mongrel dog my ancestors came to this land as indentured servants. They were but one step above a slave and I am but one step above a wage slave.

superintendent
01-03-2009, 10:16 AM
Private club, no green fees. montly bills. Dining room always slow at this time due to cold weather. Bar-no bar here we are in a dry county. Yes, I said that we are a dry county

Russ
01-03-2009, 10:55 AM
PS I blame our present condition on Globalization and corporate greed. I made that statement years ago on this very website. As a working class guy I feel we are the present day wage slaves that keep the rich, richer. While my heritage might be as mixed as a mongrel dog my ancestors came to this land as indentured servants. They were but one step above a slave and I am but one step above a wage slave.
Well--I certainly couldn't agree more about the cause of the economy and I can't see anything in the future changing. As far as the slave wage, I have long held that we are all slaves on the plantations owned by the banks, insurance companies, oil companies and drug companies of the world. These international INC.s run the governments of the world that pass the laws to keep the slaves serving the masters.

greendoctor
01-03-2009, 07:15 PM
I am gaining accounts as well. Prospective clients are educated in alternatives to ripping out and resodding lawns or tearing out problem shrubs. What I cost per year is often less than what a reinstall costs and there is no guarantee that the problems inspiring a re-do will not come back. As I mentioned in another thread, my business does not contribute to the race to the bottom. My goal is to elevate this industry. I am no longer working for someone who had a third world plantation mentality. Therefore, I do things in a first world way, as a specialist and professional.

whoopassonthebluegrass
01-03-2009, 09:02 PM
I'm doing great. I just empower myself: when people call to let me go, I just respond, "You can't fire me - because I QUIT!!" and then hang up on them. This way, I haven't LOST any accounts, only thinned out the less desirables of my own free will and choice.

rcreech
01-03-2009, 09:24 PM
I am pretty pumped up right now!

That may all change come spring, but I have landed some pretty nice accounts during the off season.

I have had a slight change in plan also.

With the current changes in the economy, I am now going to drive farther (about 25 miles one way from home, vs my 16 mile radius from home) to get in "nice neighborhoods and I am also growing my commercial side.

I think these two will be standing last (the rich and business).

greendoctor
01-03-2009, 09:38 PM
I am pretty pumped up right now!

That may all change come spring, but I have landed some pretty nice accounts during the off season.

I have had a slight change in plan also.

With the current changes in the economy, I am now going to drive farther (about 25 miles one way from home, vs my 16 mile radius from home) to get in "nice neighborhoods and I am also growing my commercial side.

I think these two will be standing last (the rich and business).

Most of my high value clients are not close to me. If I were near them, I would not have to work for a living. Even on a small island, it is a 20+ mile drive to get to where the money is. I do not have much business within 16 miles of home.

EagleLandscape
01-03-2009, 10:44 PM
signed an additional $250,000 of maintenance only services for 2009. Last year we did over 150k, but less than 250 in sales. (I'm only 24 years old). Have $300,000 in contracts pending. Anticipate on winning 50% of this third round of contracts.

Ran one full time crew last year. Aleady booked up for a second, attempting to start a third as well this year.

Running 3 irrigation techs currently as well. Purchase two existing large irrigation repair companies, and expect to purchase another within the next month. Those three companies should have annual sales of over $750k combined.

2009 is looking to be a good year.

greendoctor
01-03-2009, 10:49 PM
I have talked to people in the business here and new installs are hitting the bottom. Thank goodness I got far away from that part of the industry. The money seems to be in high end maintenance. I also do not seek out commercial work. They are participants to the race to the bottom.

LIBERTYLANDSCAPING
01-03-2009, 10:57 PM
I am pretty pumped up right now!

That may all change come spring, but I have landed some pretty nice accounts during the off season.

I have had a slight change in plan also.

With the current changes in the economy, I am now going to drive farther (about 25 miles one way from home, vs my 16 mile radius from home) to get in "nice neighborhoods and I am also growing my commercial side.

I think these two will be standing last (the rich and business).

That's awesome!

Just think, a few months ago you were contemplating getting out of the industry:laugh::usflag:

Ric
01-04-2009, 09:23 AM
Yo

Just some salt and pepper thoughts about Golden Ghettos and business customers. I think no matter which market area you go after, it will be like salt and pepper. Some will be good while others are going down the tubes. One thing I have experienced with the Golden Rich, they don't pay there bills on time. They look at your bill as small potatoes and wait for it to get bigger before paying.

Now here in God's Waiting Room we have people from all over the world. We also have tons of Mobile home parks. Interesting enough many people living in these trailers can buy and sell the Golden Ghettos twice over. They didn't get or keeper their money by living high on the hog and blowing it. A personal friend is in fact a trust fund baby, not Jet Set but he has a 6 k income per month after taxes and 1/2 my age he doesn't work. Rather than live high on the hog he owns a 80K house in a working class neighborhood. Taking advantage of the slow construction he is remodeling his house including new storm windows. My point here is the Golden Ghetto may not be so golden and many of those people are living way over their heads. Working class neighborhoods might have some very sound customers.

As far as Business surviving, I think that is not a sure bet either. Retail stores are hurting bad. Having investments in working class bars, I can tell you the Bar business is way off. New Years Eve was down and the weeks before and now after have been dead not slow. Just last night our Saturday pool tournament had 5 people show up, when a year ago we would of had 24 to 32. BTW 3 of the 5 were investors or employees. I think most reading here realize the over head of running a business. Somehow because you are a business everything is twice the price of the homeowner. Taxes, insurance and even the cost of a bottle of beer is more because Florida law requires you buy from a commercial licensed distributor. Many small and even large business are feeling the trickle down effect of a slow economy. Look at Circuit City to name one.

I have down sized my living arrangement about a year ago and feel I am in a position than I can collect coke cans to survive if I have too. Rather than purchase a new personal truck I put a used engine in my old Ford Ranger. Yes I am running scared and make no bones about it. I am at an age where I know my getty up and go has got up and went. I am more interested in holding on to what I have than going out to get more. But because I believe in the salt and pepper theory I am now going to try and go more full time and build enough clients so when the pepper falls out I still have my part time semi retirement salt.

rcreech
01-04-2009, 11:45 AM
That's awesome!

Just think, a few months ago you were contemplating getting out of the industry:laugh::usflag:

Tell me about it! I was just joking with a guy about that earlier this week.

I went from possibly selling out (because of fert prices and economy at the time) to growing my gross sales by over 30% and haven't even started my busy marketing season yet! :dizzy:

Guess one just needs to step back and re-evaluate from time to time. Sure glas I decided to stay in as I see this being an awesome year for my business!

Who knows....guess all one can do it sit back and enjoy the roller coaster rides!

I guess people go to parks and pay to ride on them, and look at it on the bright side...we get to ride it for free all year! :laugh:

whoopassonthebluegrass
01-04-2009, 12:05 PM
I guess people go to parks and pay to ride on them, and look at it on the bright side...we get to ride it for free all year! :laugh:

Rodney, Rodney, Rodney. That's like the tale of the kid digging through the mountain of horse $hit because he just KNEW there had to be a pony in there somewhere! :laugh::laugh::laugh:

LawnTamer
01-04-2009, 06:08 PM
It is too early to know for sure. We are buried in a foot of snow, and the highs are in the teens, but judging by fall cancellations, we should be just fine. We had 4-5 fall cancellations, which is very low. We have regular turnover just from people moving, dying, loosing jobs etc, and there seems to be a portion of the market who are just price shoppers, regardless of the job you do, they will go with whoever gives them the best deal, or the biggest coupon. Good years, we will loose about 5% of our fert and spray clients, our worst year, we have lost nearly 10%, of course that was also the year we had a substantial raise in our pricing.

I am hopeful this year will be good. I really didn't market at all last year. I had one add that wasn't effective. And I was too busy with existing clients, and building my wife's dream deck.

This year, I plan on hitting hard. I created a flier in 2007 which was very effective. I plan on using it again this yr, and also pushing clients for referrals by offering a nice free service, or perhaps a nice dinner for two at a local restaurant for successful referrals. I have had success with this in the past.

Ric
01-04-2009, 06:24 PM
It is too early to know for sure. We are buried in a foot of snow, and the highs are in the teens, but judging by fall cancellations, we should be just fine. We had 4-5 fall cancellations, which is very low. We have regular turnover just from people moving, dying, loosing jobs etc, and there seems to be a portion of the market who are just price shoppers, regardless of the job you do, they will go with whoever gives them the best deal, or the biggest coupon. Good years, we will loose about 5% of our fert and spray clients, our worst year, we have lost nearly 10%, of course that was also the year we had a substantial raise in our pricing.

I am hopeful this year will be good. I really didn't market at all last year. I had one add that wasn't effective. And I was too busy with existing clients, and building my wife's dream deck.

This year, I plan on hitting hard. I created a flier in 2007 which was very effective. I plan on using it again this yr, and also pushing clients for referrals by offering a nice free service, or perhaps a nice dinner for two at a local restaurant for successful referrals. I have had success with this in the past.


LawnTamer

Lucky you to have a change of seasons. As of 6:15 pm we are still 75 degrees.

tlg
01-04-2009, 06:50 PM
I spent an hour on the phone the other day with treasurer of one of our largest condo accounts. This is an account we have serviced for over 9 years. It seems this year they are upset about their price going up and are afraid to prepay for their service as well. This account has never had a service call or complaint and they are a satisfied customer. This is a $6000 account. Losing them would really be a shame. It's not so much about the money that bothers me. It's the relationship we have built with them over the years, the satisfaction of keeping this customer happy, and knowing we did a good job. Strong satisfied accounts are worth a lot more than their face value. Knowing you've'e done your best is really what success is all about. I'm going to meet with the board this week and see where we are at. I just hope this is not the beginning of a trend. Good customers are hard to replace. I'm trying to keep a positive attitude, but this economy has really got everybody thinking it's never going to get better and second guessing their financial dealings.

greenskeeper44
01-05-2009, 11:31 AM
I am going to remain positive for the 2009 year as I feel this is the only way to strive through this economic situation. I know things are bad but I think people need to remain positive and keep working hard. Also quit watching the news all they report is doom and gloom and give people a negative mentality.

jeffmoore
01-05-2009, 11:34 AM
I spent an hour on the phone the other day with treasurer of one of our largest condo accounts. This is an account we have serviced for over 9 years. It seems this year they are upset about their price going up and are afraid to prepay for their service as well. This account has never had a service call or complaint and they are a satisfied customer. This is a $6000 account. Losing them would really be a shame. It's not so much about the money that bothers me. It's the relationship we have built with them over the years, the satisfaction of keeping this customer happy, and knowing we did a good job. Strong satisfied accounts are worth a lot more than their face value. Knowing you've'e done your best is really what success is all about. I'm going to meet with the board this week and see where we are at. I just hope this is not the beginning of a trend. Good customers are hard to replace. I'm trying to keep a positive attitude, but this economy has really got everybody thinking it's never going to get better and second guessing their financial dealings.

Good post, hope it goes well for you. So far we haven't lost any and have gained two since the first.

Ric
01-05-2009, 12:07 PM
IMHO

I believe repair business with survive hard times better than new sales. Hopefully we are in the repair business side. Talking with a customer just now, he brought up the fact that allowing maintenance to slip cost's you a minimum of 10 time the amount to bring things back up to speed. How many times I have seen that fact in landscape and even my own equipment in some cases. But if there is no work or income just eating can be a problem for some people.

Media Doom & Gloom is certainly keeping those with money from spending. I made that point before in this thread and see others have also. Hopefully Obama will do a great job but it has taken well over 30 years of living over our heads to get where we are. Turning around the economy is not going to be an over night job. I think when housing does pick up, homes will be much smaller and not as grand.

rcreech
01-05-2009, 02:07 PM
LawnTamer

Lucky you to have a change of seasons. As of 6:15 pm we are still 75 degrees.

Ric,

I was in FL on Friday and almost called you to see where you were at. I flew into Jacksonville at 10:00pm and it was short sleeve weather down there, and when I got home (here in OH) about 1:30am that morning it was 23 degrees!

I seen a few crazy things down there that I wanted to ask you about. When I flew in I seen TONS of dead trees inside healthy trees. It was really weird looking as they were big patches (probably several acres). Do you know why that would be?
Also it seemed like all the wooded areas there (100's if no 1000's of acres)were planted in rows. Our woods here trees were not planted per say they are just natual/blotchy and no consistency.

Just curious as I have never been there before and it looked very different from what I have seen from the sky.

ted putnam
01-05-2009, 02:26 PM
Ric,

I was in FL on Friday and almost called you to see where you were at. I flew into Jacksonville at 10:00pm and it was short sleeve weather down there, and when I got home (here in OH) about 1:30am that morning it was 23 degrees!

I seen a few crazy things down there that I wanted to ask you about. When I flew in I seen TONS of dead trees inside healthy trees. It was really weird looking as they were big patches (probably several acres). Do you know why that would be?
Also it seemed like all the wooded areas there (100's if no 1000's of acres)were planted in rows. Our woods here trees were not planted per say they are just natual/blotchy and no consistency.

Just curious as I have never been there before and it looked very different from what I have seen from the sky.


I'm sure they are like here. Pine plantations. Weyerhauser and International Paper own a lot of property in this state(they plant in rows). If the dead trees are knocked down, it's a clear cut. If they are standing it's probably cypress trees that have lost their needles. Like here, Florida has a wide range of ecosystems.

DA Quality Lawn & YS
01-05-2009, 03:30 PM
IMHO

I believe repair business with survive hard times better than new sales. Hopefully we are in the repair business side. Talking with a customer just now, he brought up the fact that allowing maintenance to slip cost's you a minimum of 10 time the amount to bring things back up to speed. How many times I have seen that fact in landscape and even my own equipment in some cases. But if there is no work or income just eating can be a problem for some people.

Media Doom & Gloom is certainly keeping those with money from spending. I made that point before in this thread and see others have also. Hopefully Obama will do a great job but it has taken well over 30 years of living over our heads to get where we are. Turning around the economy is not going to be an over night job. I think when housing does pick up, homes will be much smaller and not as grand.

Isn't it amazing how the media causes people to do the exact opposite of what might be able to pull us out of the funk? Objective reporting??? Yeah right.

Ric
01-05-2009, 05:31 PM
Isn't it amazing how the media causes people to do the exact opposite of what might be able to pull us out of the funk? Objective reporting??? Yeah right.

DA

I have my own Media Objective reporting story. My name was on the front page as going to trial for hitting a TV Cameraman and putting him in the hospital. But when the judge found me justified in doing so protecting my children, they never ran a follow up story. I complained and they wrote a retraction on page 14,023 inside column in extra small print. I believe in freedom of the press but this has gotten ridicules. Just like the credit crunch and mortgages gone south, It is all about making money and no honor.

ted putnam
01-06-2009, 01:26 PM
My renewal letters hit mail boxes this past Saturday. I've had 3 calls total. 2 cancels-one cheapskate, one "sold" house(house was for sale for months)the 3rd for add-on services and 9 prepays in the mail so far. Looks like my business is going to hang in there for 2009. :drinkup:

americanlawn
01-06-2009, 06:27 PM
Our average "start date" is about March 15. Many customers that sign up often forget, delay, etc. We just sent out our residential sign-up letters today ... offering prepay options too. Our commercial bids will go out soon. We won't know our actual numbers until early April at best. As far as the recession.... we probably got hit the least, cuz we have a somewhat stable economy compared to the rest of the U.S.A. Right now, we have ice on most lawns. So pretty much everybody here is not even thinking about lawn/tree care.....They're just wondering when the next snow/ice event will hit and how much 'ice melt' products will cost 'em. But I figure Wal-Mart, Menards, etc will soon get their 'spring stuff' in. Go figure. :confused:

Up North - its too cold for anyone to remotely think about green services right now.
I got all but one of my renewals back for mow/blow last fall. No chance anyone will contact me about service until March at least. Thats the way it works up here, its cold season now.

stroker51
01-06-2009, 07:03 PM
2009 looks pretty good so far for me. Picked up a $3500 fert/spray account, another not quite so big fert/spray account, added a decent maintenance account at my bank, and working on an almost $10k install right now, with some irrigation work lined up after that. I have been picking up work from several companies that made their money doing new construction and didnt care a whole lot about maintenance, and now just seem pissed at the world, and for whatever reason their remaining customers. I am trying to get away from the middle class residentials, the money has been marginal at best with a lot of them for a while as far as I'm concerned, and pushing the commercial and high end residential side. The quality issue on the commercial jobs I've bid have been the big part to make my sale, they are tired of paying good money for inferior service. We are a college town and building has slowed, but for the most part our economy has been so far holding it's own. I'm planning on growing the maintenance side and having the cash to jump into construction when building picks back up.

Ric
01-06-2009, 07:30 PM
Ric,

I was in FL on Friday and almost called you to see where you were at. I flew into Jacksonville at 10:00pm and it was short sleeve weather down there, and when I got home (here in OH) about 1:30am that morning it was 23 degrees!

I seen a few crazy things down there that I wanted to ask you about. When I flew in I seen TONS of dead trees inside healthy trees. It was really weird looking as they were big patches (probably several acres). Do you know why that would be?
Also it seemed like all the wooded areas there (100's if no 1000's of acres)were planted in rows. Our woods here trees were not planted per say they are just natual/blotchy and no consistency.

Just curious as I have never been there before and it looked very different from what I have seen from the sky.

rcreech

Always nice to meet Internet people in person. But I am a days drive South of Jacksonville. Next time you are coming to Florida, PM me. I have driven two hours to tip a few Silver Bullets with the infamous BooBy Gedds at Rip Off Rat.

ProLawns
01-06-2009, 07:40 PM
I'm gaining accounts. :)

Ric
01-07-2009, 11:11 AM
I'm gaining accounts. :)

Much to everyone's surprise both myself and the lawn guys I network with are also gaining accounts. Just yesterday my main guy I network with called me with two new accounts he picked for both of us. How can I not jump to help the guys who sells my service. Yes networking is a win, win situation for all concerned. But I know of many who are crying the blues right now. I fear I can lose it faster than I gained it.