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Cosmic Hippo
03-03-2009, 02:27 AM
I've been watching this site for a long while now and I truly believe it is as good a business resource as there is on the entire world wide web, for any industry.

I've read nearly every thread on this site posted in the last several months. And my enthusiasm for what I learn from so many good and generous business men and women is sometimes tempered by frustration at the prevalence of the so many utterly negative posts this site seems to also generate. I'm not talking about the constuctive criticism or cautionary tales, which are invaluable. I'm talking about the nearly belligerent posts that seem to have no purpose other than discouragment

Before I rant to much, I certainly would like to reiterate my thanks to all of the good people here who are kind enough to share their expertise, ideas, and encouragement to us "newbies." There is no reason for you to do that except that you are good people who want others to succeed as you have. And all of us who are berated by so many here for not spending 20 years as some kind of a weedeater apprentice for a bonifide LCO before daring to venture out there ourselves, we are very thankful for what you do here. I'm sure more than most of you realize.

But, I hope you will permit me a small rant...

Those of you who say time and again something like, "keep your job, don't get into the biz", that it's terrible for this reason or that... why do you even do this kind of work??? Really? Perhaps you can extend some of us the benifit of the doubt that we are sufficiently introspective to determine whether we want to try this or not. I never see the question, "should I try this business?" But I often see the questions, "how can I make this work? How can I get started?" Why are there so many responses that say in varying ways "don't even try", that we are not ready, that we don't have what it takes, that we don't know what it takes, that it sucks to work in the heat and we'll all quit by June, that we're just idiots who have been laid off from "regular" jobs and think we can magically ride our way to paradise on a $100 used snapper, etc?

Another question: why all the defensiveness about the trade? Is there some sort of insecurity about the legitimacy of the profession? From some the overzealous comments, I surmise that there is. I think we all realize that there is a wealth of knowledge to be gained in this field. And I think we all know that most anyone can mow a lawn. The preceding two statements are not mutually exclusive. I can mow a lawn. And some people, many who visit this site, can make it into an art. My dad was a golf course superintendent for a major course, and a bit of a botany afficianado. From him I have been astonished to learn how much there is to know about groing grass and about managing it. Does it take that level of expertise to keep a yard nice? No. Do you need it to begin a small business? No. Does that knowledge have value? Yes! Will it help one manage turf better? Will it help create a better business? Absolutely! In short, we novices all know how little we know and how much we have to learn (that's why we come here). You don't have to beat us over the head with it when we ask a question that you deem elementary.

And, really...sorry, but why is it that the most vehiment criticisms come barely legible? I mean, typos and misspellings are common to all of us, but you could at least use complete sentences when criticizing us. We're all in a hurry, but a period at the end of a sentence or two should not be hard to manage, especially when you are lecturing us about our professionalism or our ability succeed in the business world.

Anyway, after my ranting I understand the irony and perhaps hypocrisy of the following request, but...Perhaps we can tone down the hosility just a bit. And please don't tell me that I am going to be eaten alive "out there" if I can't stand the criticism here. I can stand it just fine. I just have a response to offer it.

I am sure this post will make me unpopular and I do regret that part of it. To those of you who have responded constructively to my many questions, I thank you again. And, as always, good luck to all of you this coming season!

The Hippo rests.

supercuts
03-03-2009, 07:05 AM
yes i agree, but if your asking a question and looking for us to spend our time helping, make a good specific question and tell us alittle about yourself. what do you have for equipment?, experience?, how old you are?, what state your in?, etc. not the "what mower should i buy?" questions. well how big are the lawns? do you any mower now? how much money are you looking to spend? are you planning to do this for a long time? simple info that would help us give good advice. after coming on here for a while and trying to help is annoying to see so many horrible question wasting my time, and miscatorgized threads.

and i think the site should require us to list our age, years of service, and part or full time to help us understand who we are talking to. i know some will lie but most wont. it will help us all know how we are speaking with. if you agree at it to yoru signature like mine. not how many shovels, wheelbarrels, and trimmers you have

LKNBigFish
03-03-2009, 02:30 PM
i also think alot of the hostile/defensive posts are the result of someone either asking a vague question and getting broad responses or more often asking a question then not getting the response they wanted/were expecting.

Coastal Lawn Maintenance
03-03-2009, 03:21 PM
i do agree with the matter. People jump down each other throat to quickly on some matters. i do have to agree when u see a post that im 16 have all this equipment and have x amount of yards that this is hard to believe. Now some people at this age could have it ,but we dont have anything to go on but what they say. i do see where all u come from with people who lie on this site. i do agree with the vague questions are what get people ranting off. u can agree or disagree i just spoke my 2 cent on this matter

Toxey
03-03-2009, 03:32 PM
Thanks for this thread. It does not matter what question is asked the same people have the same smarta$$ response. I can name a few on here that are the smartest people in the world and should be worth millions. I love this site but trying to bash everyone that post something about starting a business is crazy.

CLARK LAWN
03-03-2009, 03:49 PM
i dont think anybody starts out to bash some one. i happens when they dont get the response they want then they try to argue with people that know what they are talking about that they are wrong. another thing is when people come right out and say im not going to pay taxes, have insurance and all the rest it gets alot of people pissed because it makes us all look bad.
when someone comes on here and says i have no expierence but im going to start a biz and they are told to go work for someone first to learn the ropes they get offended because hey anyone can cut grass, how hard can it be.

Coastal Lawn Maintenance
03-03-2009, 04:52 PM
i dont think anybody starts out to bash some one. i happens when they dont get the response they want then they try to argue with people that know what they are talking about that they are wrong. another thing is when people come right out and say im not going to pay taxes, have insurance and all the rest it gets alot of people pissed because it makes us all look bad.
when someone comes on here and says i have no expierence but im going to start a biz and they are told to go work for someone first to learn the ropes they get offended because hey anyone can cut grass, how hard can it be.
i understand where u are coming from that how i started was working 2 years with a company. and your right they don't come out and immediately bash some one until that person says something to provoke it but there is alot on this site

BigDigger
03-03-2009, 06:03 PM
Yeah I have seen the throat jumping here.

In my humble opinion, this is not rocket science, There is no reason to make it complicated, You need to work hard, have a solid business base, whether from experience or from establishing one with this business, and you need to go out there and do the best damn job you can for whatever you charge.

Simple...

I find the same people who seem to be negative on this forum are the ones who treat beginners like crap, and then talk about how important customer service is. It all starts here, it's how you treat anyone you come into contact with. This person you so despise could just as easily be a customer, would you so casually treat them like this?

These people have a choice to honestly see them selves as the person who should present themselves as a roadblock to anyone looking to get into the business. Or like many others do in the (and get this folks) STARTING A LAWN CARE AND LANDSCAPING BUSINESS FORUM, offer helpful and constructive input and advice.

So while I agree there is certainly many keys to success in this business, and much is required of someone who would accomplish much, it should be clear that this is an information forum and except for a few on here I am certain that not all of us have a Yale Degree. Stop acting like your running a multinational and instead impart some of this good wisdom you have those who would seek it.

As a couple of the previous posters stated however, if someone new comes on here and beaks off and generally makes trouble, by all means handle it, however let's not consider the statement *I am new to this business and want to start one up* as a sign of beaking off ;)

Cheers

DynaMow
03-03-2009, 06:15 PM
HOSTILITY?

Are you serious hostility? You have no idea what you are talking about. If you don't like it get out. Hostility? Maybe you need to get into a maid service business and then you can where a skirt! Hostility? We are the friendliest people on the internet. I can mow way better then you anyday!















Of course I hope you all know I am just playing.

Toxey
03-03-2009, 06:17 PM
Well said BigDigger. We need more people like this on this forum.
:drinkup:

DA Quality Lawn & YS
03-03-2009, 08:50 PM
I agree to an extent with the original poster. Some guys like to tout 'superiority' of their trade over the newcomers without a hint of humbleness or helpfulness. But, you aren't going to avoid it....I would recommend just ignoring the rude posts and learn from the helpful ones.

Other guys are just put off in general by new people to the trade. They equate them to the lowballer in town who took 5 of their accounts with a Craftsman Lawn Tractor as their weapon of choice. I can't disagree that this thought crosses my mind when I see new people asking for help. But, you must remember, most new people to the lawn industry would not even think of coming on here to ask for advice in the first place.
The vets should appreciate the genuine desire to want to learn and we should help the newcomers out in any way we can, without preconceived notions.

BigDigger
03-03-2009, 09:33 PM
I agree to an extent with the original poster. Some guys like to tout 'superiority' of their trade over the newcomers without a hint of humbleness or helpfulness. But, you aren't going to avoid it....I would recommend just ignoring the rude posts and learn from the helpful ones.

Other guys are just put off in general by new people to the trade. They equate them to the lowballer in town who took 5 of their accounts with a Craftsman Lawn Tractor as their weapon of choice. I can't disagree that this thought crosses my mind when I see new people asking for help. But, you must remember, most new people to the lawn industry would not even think of coming on here to ask for advice in the first place.
The vets should appreciate the genuine desire to want to learn and we should help the newcomers out in any way we can, without preconceived notions.


Good Points ALL!!! :clapping:

Hoots
03-03-2009, 10:08 PM
The reason some guys come down on new guys is because they ask broad questions that make them sound completely ignorant of the business.

Slam question: What mower should I buy?

Intelligent question: I have a 2 acre property without any trees. There are some tight areas and two gates that are 42" wide. The only mowing area in there is about 1500 sq. ft. Suggestions

Crowd response to an intelligent question: I would get a 60" XXXX and a 32" XXXXX becuase the 32" will fit in there and take care of it quickly. The tight areas can be taken care of the 32 also.

See the difference?

The other reason I feel we (myself included) do not care for some new members is the fact that they are here to "make some extra money". I'm sorry, but I feel you need to be hired by another business whether it is Dominoes Pizza or McDonalds in the evening.

The "extra money guys" whether they have insurance or not are taking food off my table. If I want to "make some extra money", I cannot go mow a lawn in my spare time, I have to earn a new customer.

Yet another reason is the fact that there are new businesses starting daily in this industry that are managed by people that have never maintained a property other than their own. They are the ones that have no background in horticulture, construction, irrigation etc. that do just "throw a mower in the car and go mow". Just today, I saw a new start-up. ZERO commercial equipment on the truck, oh by the way it was his Ford Explorer and a small utility trailer.

One more and I'm done. You must bring something to the table if you want to get a straight answer. Go to the Pesticide forum and ask a question. In that part of our industry you are required to be licensed, yet uninformed people ask basic chemicals 101 questions. If you were licensed you should know.

It all boils down to ask an intelligent question and get an intelligent answer.

Toxey
03-03-2009, 10:17 PM
I figured we would get a post like this before long. :clapping:

Hoots
03-03-2009, 10:51 PM
Yes hippo, I just read the post you made in the "What equipment do I need to restart my business" thread. He submarined all hope you may have had. That thread is one of many on this site. Sorry.

To make another point, would you rather people candy coat a response to starting a business? Sometimes when you don't have a clue about a business you don't belong there. What is the best way to make sure someone does not make a mistake in starting? DON'T DO IT! You don't know what you are getting in to. Keep your day job.

Maybe we can hold their hand and tell them that everything is going to be alright if they don't start a lawn care business, it's just not for them. We seem to have a president who thinks we can talk to our terrorist enemies and that will make them like us. Not being rude to you hippo, just making a point.

Sometimes you can tell whether someone will be successful or not by the way they ask a question. Most guys answer accordingly.

Raider
03-03-2009, 11:12 PM
This is the "STARTING A LAWN CARE & LANDSCAPING BUSINESS" section. Most questions will come from people with LITTLE OR NO EXPERIENCE. I would say if you don't want to deal with this type of a person, stay out of this section of Lawnsite. There are many on here that ARE looking to attack anyone that is new on here, or don't quite agree with their opinion. If you want to be considered a legitimate businessman, act like one and be professional.

mcgruff
03-03-2009, 11:22 PM
I dont think any of us started out with all commercial equip., and 125 lawns a day with 2 man crews.

We all started and learned as we grew. I did it that way and am still learning. Thats why I am here.:usflag:

Hoots
03-03-2009, 11:28 PM
Raider you are correct. This is the starting a landscaping business section. But it comes with some personal responsibility. You must ask intelligent questions. You must know something about this business to want to get into it.

If you expect to succeed you must have some experience. Those without experience show it in their question.

I like examples, so here is another one:
I want to start a coffee shop. I brew my own every morning, I want to start a coffee house. Where do I start?

Do you see how ignorant that sounds?

This is why people jump on these questions.

BigDigger
03-04-2009, 01:10 AM
I hear ya, but people have to start somewhere. I doubt the intent of how they frame a question, no matter how ridiculously general, is to piss people off. Again at the end of the day, the process no matter how infantile in nature has to start somewhere.

LKNBigFish
03-04-2009, 07:10 AM
Raider you are correct. This is the starting a landscaping business section. But it comes with some personal responsibility. You must ask intelligent questions. You must know something about this business to want to get into it.

If you expect to succeed you must have some experience. Those without experience show it in their question.

I like examples, so here is another one:
I want to start a coffee shop. I brew my own every morning, I want to start a coffee house. Where do I start?

Do you see how ignorant that sounds?

This is why people jump on these questions.

you dont need any experience to mow a lawn. if you have done your own lawn or your parents an it looks good, you'll be ok on that front.

alot of people on here are awfully proud of the fact they can run a mower and a trimmer and dont think newbies can handle that. they dont realize the reason they are good at what they do and have made it this far is due to their business sense.

running a business that lasts more than a year or two is going to be the hard part.

Hoots
03-04-2009, 08:01 AM
you dont need any experience to mow a lawn. if you have done your own lawn or your parents an it looks good, you'll be ok on that front.

alot of people on here are awfully proud of the fact they can run a mower and a trimmer and dont think newbies can handle that. they dont realize the reason they are good at what they do and have made it this far is due to their business sense.

running a business that lasts more than a year or two is going to be the hard part.

You are correct, anyone can mow. The problem is running the business more than a year or two. Most of the time you can read a question and tell if they are going to be able to survive. The bashing posts are not candy coated so hopefully the new guys will not continue. There is so much turnover in this industry.

If you want everyone to hold hands and "get along" to help people start businesses in an industry where they don't belong, we can do that. But I want to be the first to say "I told you so" when they fail.

Just because you can mow a lawn does not mean you can do it as a business. I can wash my truck, make coffee, wash my dog, mend a hole in my shirt, and even make my own beer, but that does not mean I can do those things as a business.

Roger
03-04-2009, 08:29 AM
Some see the grass cutting business as a piece of cake, and very lucrative:

http://www.lawnsite.com/showpost.php?p=2817663&postcount=105

If it was all this easy, why wouldn't the lawn care industry by flooded with people who can make a good living in another career?

I went to a green industry trade show yesterday. When walking through the parking lot, I took note of the vehicles parked outside. The kinds of vehicles said plenty about the financial success of those involved. Clearly, most of the attendees are rolling in cash, .... NOT.

JB1
03-04-2009, 08:40 AM
I've never seen so much crying about a topic, although typical in the US nowadays. Grow a set between your legs or get out.

jhastrello
03-04-2009, 08:49 AM
Just read the initial post (been really busy the past 10 days or so), so I'll give you my take.

I started out participating 'down the internet' on another lawn care forum - very similar to this. After I found this site, I found MUCH MORE CIVILITY and respect here. Yes, there are some 'other opinions', but for the most part almost every comment that I've recieved has been polite, and addressed my questions. Even though some have been asked by others before.

For me, I got into this to build a business, with no thought this would be easy or a piece of cake. My wife and I are working hard on this, doing our research and learning quite a bit about the business side from many here.

As someone else said, this is a 'Starting a Business' section, so there are going to be some questions that at first glance look amateurish in nature. I also agree with a comment above: try and make your question as insightfull as possible (good thought out questions).

Having said that, it goes hand in hand that someone answering should make their answers insightfull as possible also. What's good for the goose, is good for the gander.

Overall, this site works for me and provides very good info. Glad to be a member here.

mattfromNY
03-04-2009, 09:19 AM
I feel some of the mentality from some who have 'been there, done that' comes from the fact they have had to learn the hard way, and fail a few times. A good friend of mine recently retired from this profession, after 25 yrs. of hard knocks. He constantly reminds me "When I started, there was no internet, very few computers, everything was learned hands-on, and everything went through the mail (talking about me emailing invoices, and giving estimates online), and money was paper and copper, it wasn't on plastic"
Another example could be the service manager at the dealership I used to work for: He had almost 30 years of wrenching on motorcycles/ ATV's (He was wrenching before the invention of the ATV) and snowmobiles. When someone comes up to his counter and wants him to explain to them how to tear down/ rebuild a machine, or diagnose a problem, he often would tell them "I have forgotten more over the years than you will ever know about that machine", and "My knowledge is worth more than you are willing to pay".
Though it sounds arrogant, the years of hard knocks and failing/ succeeding to get where they are today, make some a little more reluctant to give up information.
Take it with a grain of salt and press on. You will make it some day if you want it bad enough.

Paradise Yard Service
03-05-2009, 01:09 AM
I think just about any comment offered no matter how harsh, has some element or tid bit of usefulness that I have been able to use.

In fact, many responses are an eloquent use of good ol fashioned Facetiousness. So a sense of humor goes along way around here.

If you want some good laughs try looking up some of the 'worst installs' on the Irrigation forum. I split my gut every time the pros take the time to upload. Its funny and a learning experience.

If its not a joke, then do what I do....grow a thick skin and move on.



As we say back home in Hawaii 'Easy Brah!http://www.lawnsite.com/images/smilies/10_1_20.gif

Aloha

White Gardens
03-05-2009, 01:14 AM
I think it's all in what you do in your spare time

Too much of this :drinkup: leads to harsh statements. :laugh:

DLAWNS
03-05-2009, 09:25 PM
I see a little bit of both sides of this. One thing that I've meant to say for a while but kept it to myself is this: If you think that a thread is stupid or "beneath you" why even post? Just pass right over it! It's that easy. Just my opinion.

Coastal Lawn Maintenance
03-05-2009, 09:28 PM
DLAWNS I see a little bit of both sides of this. One thing that I've meant to say for a while but kept it to myself is this: If you think that a thread is stupid or "beneath you" why even post? Just pass right over it! It's that easy. Just my opinion. totally agree

LKNBigFish
03-05-2009, 10:02 PM
totally agree

second that

BigDigger
03-05-2009, 10:34 PM
I ain't scared...I third that

ExtExc
03-05-2009, 10:49 PM
i believe its because some of these guys have been around quite awhile on here, and with any forum, FNGs sign on, and ask the same old questions, over and over and over... and dont take the time to take a specific intelligent approach on it. its called a search function boys. im new, i know i should use it. i have yet to ask a question. search, search, search, read, read, read.

also, this is one of the easiest and cheapest businesses, with little education, to start up, and a lot of guys grew up doing yardwork at their parents homes, so they have some experience and think they can run a business. there is ALOT more involved than just mowing and collecting money for it. not everyone is going to tell you how to do it either, why strengthen your competition? why make it easier for someone you dont know, especially when it took you years to get where you are. i believe in generosity and helping, but it comes to a point where it feels more like a hand out.

lastly, at least here its winter, everyone has freaking ants in there pants for warm weather and the weather has people cranky in my opinion.

JacksonLawns
03-06-2009, 08:12 AM
I completely agree with the original poster and have had similar thoughts for a while, but not just on this board. I have never posted about it, because I just write it off as typical message board behavior. Personally, I don't think the "hostility" is limited to the trade. I frequent a few message boards, with my main three being this site, a Chevy truck board and a runners board site. All of them have the groups of members who do nothing but pounce on someone posting a vague/dumb/repeat/etc question. As with this site, most message board sites have tons of valuable information and tons more very helpful members than not. I have found that ignoring those guys is the best option.

Though I have been in the industry for about 9 years (all part time), I have only been on my own for 2 years (this will be my third, coming up). I am a small operation that I am sure most of you big time guys dislike, since I do it part time-for now. I only have about 18-20 accounts. I do lawn mowing predominantly with a handful of landscaping jobs (edging, mulching, shrub cleanup). I am reluctant to jump in full time, for many reasons. The biggest being the fear of leaving a "comfortable" steady full time job. I am also still learning the ropes, from the business side. I am very confidant in my skills, both my work and with the customer interactions. I am not, however, as confident in my business management side just yet. If I go at it part time for a few years, I feel I can ease into it and learn from my mistakes much easier. I just wanted to throw that out, in hopes of gaining a little bit of credibility, as my long term goal is, in fact, full time.

I have to ask one sincere question, in regards to "stealing food off of your tables", for the full timers. Why is it that when you big company's scoop up new accounts, you are just "doing business", but if a small guy gets a new account, he is "taking food off of someone's table"? Again, I don't mean that in a smart @ss way. I mean that in all sincerity. I don't understand. Regardless of the size of the company, the number of accounts held, the number of crews, or the hours worked in a week, anytime a new account is landed, it is an account that someone else could have had.

All of that being said, I think this is a fantastic site with tons of invaluable information and a lot of very helpful people. I have learned a great deal in the year that I have been on this site.

just my $.02, which is rarely even worth that.

Jay

Valk
03-06-2009, 10:46 AM
3 things to consider when adding to, or posting on an existing thread:

1) be helpful
2) suggest a new line of thinking
3) add some humor :laugh:

Make me think and/or make me laugh...but above all - be tolerant. Less than this gets into the juvenile arena...where nasty remarks are the first line of thought. The typing of those thoughts confirms who we're dealing with.