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golfnpreacher
09-09-2009, 09:50 PM
In the thread about the guy hiring someone to cut take care of his lawn the Firefighter took a lot of grief. It was assumed because he was taking cash he was not declaring it on taxes. It was also assumed that because he had decent full time job, he offered something less that quality service on the lawns.

So, my question is why the hard feelings to those that do lawn care less than full time?

I am licensed and insured for everything I do within my state. I have business insurance on my vehicle and liability insurance for my business. I declare every penny that I make, be it cash or check. I invoice and give receipts for every transaction, even to the guy that stops me and asks if I'll do his yard for him "just this one time".

Now, because I've got another job which provides retirement and health care, I don't need my lawn business to provide that. Since I've got another job, I don't worry about my house payments, etc. But none of this means I don't offer the same quality of service that any other company offers.

Lawn care is the best part time job I could ask for. I bill $400-500 a week for 10-12 hours of work. Now, roughly 20% of what I make is set aside for expenses (insurance, taxes, future purchases, etc) and it covers those very well. So I am making $320-400 a week after expenses. But that is not the best part.

I'm also able to deduct certain expenses on my taxes. A percentage of my truck, my cell phone, a percentage of my home mortgage (for office use and trailer storage) etc. Something I can't do with most other part time jobs.

Providing lawn care is the best part time job I can imagine, but I can't see it working as a full time job. Because even though I can project out a decent billing for 45 hours of work, I'd have to increase expenses that are now covered elsewhere, which would increase my overhead tremendously and I would have to raise my rates accordingly.

Therefore, don't get upset with me (or any other part timer in this business) because I can do the same job as the full timer for less, because my overhead is less. BTW - this is why I target upper end townhomes. This is a market that the full time LCO's in our area find difficult to target because it their cost is so high it prices them out of the market, but since I don't have their overhead, my cost are considered "reasonable"

Uranus
09-09-2009, 10:10 PM
I did some quick math to see what the weekly price was for the first company for mowing. It worked out to around $50 per cut if there are 25-27 cuts per year in the section on NY that I think he's in. Now the firefighter comes in and tells the guy $25 per cut. I dont give a rats a$$ what his overhead is, he is bringing down the market for everyone. I cant tell you how many times I get the crazy eye from people when I give them my price and find out that "some guy", or " I dont remember his name" did it for 25% less than what I just quoted.

Bottom line is know what the market value is for your service.
The math may be off but I'm not going back, you can if you want to.

Florida Gardener
09-09-2009, 10:24 PM
it's the fact that he is lowballing and most likely not paying taxes. I have heard plenty of stories on here of firefighters lowballing the hell out of an lco account and getting the job b/c of that. like uranus said, i dont care what his overhead is, he is bringing down the market for everyone. i bid a job about a month ago on a referral for $250/month(about right bid) and the current company was doing it for $150/month. I asked the woman how many guys show up at her property and she told me 5-6:dizzy:. I don't care if they get that place done is 20 minutes, do the math......

golfnpreacher
09-09-2009, 10:26 PM
you don't have to go back...

My overhead is roughly 20% of what I bill, but I know of companies that have 50% overhead. So the job they want $80 for I can do for $50 and we both would make the same profit.

Now I'd be willing to take the odds that the majority of LCO's don't have a clue what their profit margin is. They think they are making money because they have money left over at the end of the month. They may or may not be setting aside money for replacement equipments (most likely not) They probably don't have health insurance or retirement and haven't even thought of it. And too many of them are not setting aside money to pay for the lean winter months that are about to hit us, so they will be selling their equipment because they can't afford it. But don't hate me because they fail to put together a proper business plan.

I've you've made the leap to full time, then I'm not taking business from you because you've already got your clients. If you're not full time yet, then you're no different from me, except that I've got another job that might be better than yours. But that is just life, there are people with jobs better than than mine and I'm not complaining about them.

Mike Blevins
09-09-2009, 10:27 PM
I am a fulltime Firefighter/Emt. I also own and run a lawncare company solo. I have a business license,business insurance,work-comp, and everything else that makes my business "legit". Another thing that I do is work very long hours each week taking care of my customers. I might not be considered "fulltime" but I do log in the hours as I have a condo complex that takes me 6 hours to complete along with now 26 more residential and commercial accounts to get weekly. I have found that in my area the guy that isn't legit is the guy out there with his shirt off and flip flops mowing out of an older truck with a "buddy" doing the trimming. And believe me there are many of these outfits out there. I have cash accounts but most pay by check. I leave it up to them on how they want to pay. At the end of the year my totals are added up along with my reciepts and taken to my tax lady for processing. I have nothing to hide and have been doing this "part time" for 5 years now. With the Good Lord willng I will be doing it for many years to come. :usflag::usflag::usflag::usflag::usflag::usflag::usflag:

AmGreen
09-09-2009, 10:34 PM
the exact reason everyone didn't go for the fire fighter. don't get me wrong, i've great respect for them, but just b/c they have all the extra days off during the month, doesn't mean they have to spend it cutting grass. I can appreciate the desire to work from anyone, but when it affects my ability to get what i'm worth b/c some ****** bag can do it cheaper just b/c he wants a little extra spending money...that ish pisses me off. I'm glad to hear that you do have all your ducks in a row preach, but I know plenty of fire fighters around here that don't and it just ain't right.

as bad as it sounds, sometimes I wish/hope that something will happen that screws 'em and they don't have the necessary documents to CYOB - maybe it'll teach the others a leason. (without anyone getting hurt of course)
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THC
09-09-2009, 10:36 PM
That fire fighter offered to do the job for $35 but if he paid cash, he'd do it for $25. He OBVIOUSLY DOESN"T PAY TAX. If he doesn't pay tax.. what about insurance?

I accept cash, but I still charge tax.. if I don't charge tax then I have to pay it. And I sure don't give an additional $10 discount on top of that if they don't pay tax. That sounds to me like a sales pitch to get EVERYONE of his customers to pay cash. That fire fighter is no better then a Mexican. I could understand if it was a kid saving for a first car or something. Don't hate the guy but it's still not right.. what happens if he breaks a window or shoots a rock at a pedestrian and the FF has no insurance?

Uranus
09-09-2009, 10:47 PM
So if you know the job is worth $80 then why the hell would you do if for $50.

If you think the job is worth $80 then charge $80. That's our point. Stop bringing the market down because you (not you personally) have another job that gives you beni's and pays well.

Also, if your overhead is about 20% then you would need to charge $64 for that job. No harm, no foul, but I hope you were just blurting out numbers and not serious about that example.

mjealey
09-09-2009, 10:54 PM
I completely agree with all the posters above as you can see both sides of the story.

I will tell you my story real quick. I am very proud of the fact that I graduated from college with an Accounting degree and work at a local bank working with businesses. My wife Just got out of school and she spent 7 years getting her credentials to become an Occupational Therapist. We did it to provide for our family and hopefully our kids won't struggle like our parents have growing up with no education.

Do we make good money? Yes!!!
Do we have a ton of student debt? Yes!!! In oreder to get where we are we had to take out student loans.

I can do one of two things, I can sit around on my rear and complain about it, or I can get off my rear and do something about it. Go to work 8 - 5. Mow from 6 - 7:30 and on the weekend.

Wife has a second job on the weekend doing therapy on Sunday's at a different hospital and teaches cheerleading and gymnastics on Saturday's to make extra money so we can knock out the student loans in less than 10 years.

With all that being said, I do this part time because I love it!!! Everyting I own is paid for! I am as legal as anybody with licensing and insurance. Going to start studying to get my charter to spray. I can charge less and make more on some properties than other people. However, if I am going to do something I am going to make sure it is worth my time. I will never do anything less than $30, and it has to be a pretty small yard for me to take time out of a full day at work to go mow something. I am not out there low-balling by any means.

I work with many businesses every day for the past couple of years at the bank, and from dealing with the successful ones I see what it takes to succeed. These owners know exactly where every penny goes and they do finance from time to time, but it is very minimal and their returns on that financing far outways their cost.

The successful business owners always tell me this: I CAN'T CONTROL WHAT OTHER BUSINESSES DO BECAUSE I HAVE NO CONTROL OVER THEM. IF I PROVIDE GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE AND MAKE PEOPLE HAPPY THAN I WILL BE SUCCESSFUL AND THEY WILL CONTINUE TO GIVE ME BUSINESS. I REALLY DON'T CARE WHAT THE BUSINESS AROUND THE CORNER IS DOING.

I could care less if a guy in an old beat down truck with a push mower is mowing 2 acres for $25. I have a good customer base of 15 and they are happy and love what I do and all pay on time or ahead. I do not have to worry about one of those guys taking somebody from me.

Just my thoughts.

fastlane
09-09-2009, 10:59 PM
If you are legit your bottom line should be the same- cash or check. Why would you give a discount for cash. You would be losing money!

THC
09-09-2009, 11:02 PM
I can do one of two things, I can sit around on my rear and complain about it, or I can get off my rear and do something about it. Go to work 8 - 5. Mow from 6 - 7:30 and on the weekend.


That is the way of Dave Ramsey.

93Chevy
09-09-2009, 11:04 PM
Look at it from a customer's perspective.

Why would they spend more money for the same service?

Toy2
09-09-2009, 11:07 PM
So if you know the job is worth $80 then why the hell would you do if for $50.

If you think the job is worth $80 then charge $80. That's our point. Stop bringing the market down because you (not you personally) have another job that gives you beni's and pays well.

Also, if your overhead is about 20% then you would need to charge $64 for that job. No harm, no foul, but I hope you were just blurting out numbers and not serious about that example.
why? Cheaper piece....

Because you have no regulation in the industry, does being legit make you better, hell no, I've seen some sprinkler installs that look like some fool did it, yes licensed fool, and I've seen some installs done by illegals that were top notch.........me, I'm in it for the quick cash......

mjealey
09-09-2009, 11:10 PM
I am not trying to be negative, but I see people come in to the ank all day long and complain about how hard it is to live off of their fixed income for disability. I understand that they probably can't go out and do landscaping. By golly they can go work a cash register and do something about it or something like that. That is why I am the way I am. I know it is a good thing and people need help, but they don't do anything and are always complaining.

A guy came in the other day and was complaining about fees for being overdrafted. Yeah i know the fees suck and I hate seeing them. You get to looking at his account and he eats out everyday and at good places and is going out to bars. I really don't feel sorry for him. I am not refunding anything. Not to mention he walked right outside and had no problem getting in his 3 year old Ford truck with rims, but he is drawing disability and doing all this. I don't ever want to be like that, as it could be very easy to go and look for handouts.

Sorry to get off track, just was on my mind and I don't want to start anything.

WGLandscapeMaintenance
09-09-2009, 11:19 PM
I completely agree with all the posters above as you can see both sides of the story.

I will tell you my story real quick. I am very proud of the fact that I graduated from college with an Accounting degree and work at a local bank working with businesses. My wife Just got out of school and she spent 7 years getting her credentials to become an Occupational Therapist. We did it to provide for our family and hopefully our kids won't struggle like our parents have growing up with no education.

Do we make good money? Yes!!!
Do we have a ton of student debt? Yes!!! In oreder to get where we are we had to take out student loans.

I can do one of two things, I can sit around on my rear and complain about it, or I can get off my rear and do something about it. Go to work 8 - 5. Mow from 6 - 7:30 and on the weekend.

Wife has a second job on the weekend doing therapy on Sunday's at a different hospital and teaches cheerleading and gymnastics on Saturday's to make extra money so we can knock out the student loans in less than 10 years.

With all that being said, I do this part time because I love it!!! Everyting I own is paid for! I am as legal as anybody with licensing and insurance. Going to start studying to get my charter to spray. I can charge less and make more on some properties than other people. However, if I am going to do something I am going to make sure it is worth my time. I will never do anything less than $30, and it has to be a pretty small yard for me to take time out of a full day at work to go mow something. I am not out there low-balling by any means.

I work with many businesses every day for the past couple of years at the bank, and from dealing with the successful ones I see what it takes to succeed. These owners know exactly where every penny goes and they do finance from time to time, but it is very minimal and their returns on that financing far outways their cost.

The successful business owners always tell me this: I CAN'T CONTROL WHAT OTHER BUSINESSES DO BECAUSE I HAVE NO CONTROL OVER THEM. IF I PROVIDE GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE AND MAKE PEOPLE HAPPY THAN I WILL BE SUCCESSFUL AND THEY WILL CONTINUE TO GIVE ME BUSINESS. I REALLY DON'T CARE WHAT THE BUSINESS AROUND THE CORNER IS DOING.

I could care less if a guy in an old beat down truck with a push mower is mowing 2 acres for $25. I have a good customer base of 15 and they are happy and love what I do and all pay on time or ahead. I do not have to worry about one of those guys taking somebody from me.

Just my thoughts.

Why not just charge what the other LCO's are charging? Rather than less and getting the same margin, you have more of a margin.

mjealey
09-09-2009, 11:33 PM
Why not just charge what the other LCO's are charging? Rather than less and getting the same margin, you have more of a margin.

I am charging what other people are charging, however there are some properties that I do and I am less. Some properties I am actually more, but I am there when I say I am and do a good job and they keep me.

Richard Martin
09-10-2009, 04:31 AM
The successful business owners always tell me this: I CAN'T CONTROL WHAT OTHER BUSINESSES DO BECAUSE I HAVE NO CONTROL OVER THEM. IF I PROVIDE GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE AND MAKE PEOPLE HAPPY THAN I WILL BE SUCCESSFUL AND THEY WILL CONTINUE TO GIVE ME BUSINESS. I REALLY DON'T CARE WHAT THE BUSINESS AROUND THE CORNER IS DOING.

Just my thoughts.

Exactly. I know there's other people out there working for dirt cheap. I DON"T CARE. It does irritate me to a degree that they may not pay taxes or have insurance but that's just the way it goes. I can't do anything about it so why fret over it.

THC
09-10-2009, 04:33 AM
Exactly. I know there's other people out there working for dirt cheap. I DON"T CARE. It does irritate me to a degree that they may not pay taxes or have insurance but that's just the way it goes. I can't do anything about it so why fret over it.

Thats' the way I think. It irks me but I've been there... 90% of the time I'm thinking there's lots of work for everybody. I mean I've dealt with low ballers.. I'm talking about CUSTOMERS here :laugh: I don't even want them most of the time. Lowballers or the lowballer customers.

SCAG POWER
09-10-2009, 05:53 AM
Around here you have to listen to the fireman will cut "CHEAPER THAN YOU". I use to through the whole thing, but latley will not even talk to any one that say that . They start with that and say call him no may he can rush over and mow the put out your fire.

Lets face it there will always be people in this business that will low ball and do what ever it atkes to get business. I have seen more mowers in the trunks of cars this year than any other.

I know a couple of fire boys one one mows grass and he has more equipment than i will ever have , new stuff and plenty on mexican help. The others teach class at the locial college and make a little more than he does. In the summer he is working like a dog, most of us do. While those teaching class are nice and cool.

I would go into pools if i was looking for a secound job or wanted to get outof this mess.

Rite now there is a guy cutting in Sweet water Oaks Subdivison in Longwood Fl for $ 50.00 a month. I ahve had a few calls from there , but tell the i am not taking new business at this time. It shocks the heck out of them I can't get my free estament from you and i tell them nope not interested at this time in biudding your business.

flame a way................... Just one other thing any guys want to go in on buying a fire truck , there is one for sale in the Dupount Registery for around 35k comes complete with all the hoses and the equipment you need. and is in good working order.we call our self lawn guys on firs and low ball the fire guys.

By the way all the fire service companys around here are rasing there prices for responding accident sceans and other things.....................

1grnlwn
09-10-2009, 09:36 AM
Yea ok! If everyone who has started part time, under bid jobs, or occasionally slipped a Sunday payment in there pocket, kept there mouth shut, this would be a mighty short thread. Stop your ball-baging. The best advise is to always observe you competitor you might learn something, but you need to only worry about your self.

1grnlwn
09-10-2009, 09:38 AM
How would you like being a tile setter? There is just as many part timers in that as lawns.

brucec32
09-10-2009, 06:50 PM
While they should have the right to do it, and I'm sure many do fine work and do it properly, I worked part time for a fire fighter who worked a full time fire dept job, some paid shifts at a "volunteer" fire dept, and who did lawns on the side.

My impression was that he was double dipping from us taxpayers somewhat. He would basically sleep on his fire dept shifts and hang out, maybe take a training course. I recall them complaining when they outlawed watching movies at the firehouse. (oh the humanity!)

If he got too many calls at work that night then he would be quasi-worthless the next day when he had to go mow lawns. He would often use "sick days" to mow lawns if he got behind. I'm sure the fire dept intended that their firefighters use their time off to make up for the lost sleep of a 24 hour shift, not to work side jobs. So many times he wound up working 24 hours, then catching a couple hours rest, then mowing lawns, then working a shorter volunteer shift the next day, then back for another 24 hours with almost no rest. I wouldn't want that kind of fatigued person working on me if I was injured. Even though much of the time was just sitting around, he was still not getting a lot of sleep.

Anytime it rained on his days scheduled to mow lawns his customers would be screwed as he couldn't just come out a day later. His phone rang off the hook with "where are you" calls. It was hilarious to come in and listen to him play them back. In 18 years I have never received a single call as angry as those he'd get almost every week.

He even used govn't funds to pay for a lawn equipment manufacturer given course on how to repair 2 cycle equipment under the pretext that they had some machines to cut vent holes in roofs and they needed those worked on. He gave up the biz after a few years and the realization that he managed to actually lose money after his expenses. (he liked fancy equipment and trucks, just not the actual work)

I supervised bus drivers for a recreation company years ago and some of them were fire fighters. Great guys, but we soon realized they were coming off 24 hour shifts and wanting to drive buses full of people for us for 12 hours a day over two weekend days each week in a pretty wild and hectic environment (passengers were often drunk). They explained it was ok because they mostly caught up on sleep at their firefighter jobs Friday and Monday. Still, if they happened to get a lot of calls the night before it was obviously not a great idea to have someone working 72 hours out of 96, sleeping some of it or not.

So I would say if their shifts allow them to get adequate rest AT HOME, and still do both jobs, fine. But in my experience that got abused.

Ironically one of his contracts was mowing the fire dept stations, because the firefighters and paramedics refused to do it. Eventually his own fire dept fired him for not showing up enough and not doing the work promised.
His defense was "but I was up all night running calls!". LOL

golfnpreacher
09-10-2009, 08:50 PM
So if you know the job is worth $80 then why the hell would you do if for $50.

If you think the job is worth $80 then charge $80. That's our point. Stop bringing the market down because you (not you personally) have another job that gives you beni's and pays well.

Also, if your overhead is about 20% then you would need to charge $64 for that job. No harm, no foul, but I hope you were just blurting out numbers and not serious about that example.

I don't charge what the market will bear, I charge what I deem is acceptable. If you went to buy a piece of equipment that was available at two stores, but store "A" charged 2/3 of what "B" charged, would you go to A and tell them to raise the price?

Second... if the company that charges $80 pays 50% in overhead, they are making $40. If I charge $50 but lose 20% ($10) to overhead then I'm making the same profit. If I charged $64, then I'd be making roughly $50, or 25% more than the other guy.

johnnybravo8802
09-10-2009, 10:42 PM
I did some quick math to see what the weekly price was for the first company for mowing. It worked out to around $50 per cut if there are 25-27 cuts per year in the section on NY that I think he's in. Now the firefighter comes in and tells the guy $25 per cut. I dont give a rats a$$ what his overhead is, he is bringing down the market for everyone. I cant tell you how many times I get the crazy eye from people when I give them my price and find out that "some guy", or " I dont remember his name" did it for 25% less than what I just quoted.

Bottom line is know what the market value is for your service.
The math may be off but I'm not going back, you can if you want to.
I agree 100%. This business attracts way too many people who want to do it for extra money or they "think it looks easy" and that kills the entire industry. You're right, overhead isn't the point, it's about what a job is worth. You don't see electricians and plumbers doing work for half of everyone else and lowballing the He#@ out of it-everyone charges about the same because that is what the work is worth. As a part-timer, you have the luxury of benefits but someone doing this for a living has to pay for insurance out of pocket and put back for retirement and therefore has to charge "what a job is worth." When a part timer decides to get out of this business, the fulltime guy is left with all of the damage the lowballing caused. People in this business need to stick together and charge accordingly!!!! In my opinion, lowballing destroys the credibility of this industry and therefore people start thinking we aren't worth much.

ffbking157
09-11-2009, 07:28 PM
I find it hard to concern my self with the guys out there trying to earn a quick dollar. If you are in the green industry and you are losing business to low ballers then you are part of the problem you are complaing about. I would be so bold to say that if your customer base is not that loyal to you then your business is missing something vital to your sucess. Why dont you "professional" guys accept our industry will always have low ballers who want to make an extra buck. "heck is that not how a majority of us got our start?" I for one will stick to setting myself apart from others in the industry. And by the way it aint easy but nothing worth doing is..... and as you probably guessed I am a firefighter who "cuts grass".

golfnpreacher
09-11-2009, 07:49 PM
I find it hard to concern my self with the guys out there trying to earn a quick dollar. If you are in the green industry and you are losing business to low ballers then you are part of the problem you are complaing about. I would be so bold to say that if your customer base is not that loyal to you then your business is missing something vital to your sucess. Why dont you "professional" guys accept our industry will always have low ballers who want to make an extra buck. "heck is that not how a majority of us got our start?" I for one will stick to setting myself apart from others in the industry. And by the way it aint easy but nothing worth doing is..... and as you probably guessed I am a firefighter who "cuts grass".

Nearly every service business has this same situation, there is always someone that will do the same job for less. Plumbers taking side jobs, mechanics doing the same. Not to mention HVAC, carpenters and the rest of the construction business. Like it or not, it is a fact of life.

I'm with you, if you are worried about lowballer, then you've got other problems that you're ignoring.

ffbking157
09-11-2009, 08:03 PM
If he got too many calls at work that night then he would be quasi-worthless the next day when he had to go mow lawns. He would often use "sick days" to mow lawns if he got behind. I'm sure the fire dept intended that their firefighters use their time off to make up for the lost sleep of a 24 hour shift, not to work side jobs. So many times he wound up working 24 hours, then catching a couple hours rest, then mowing lawns, then working a shorter volunteer shift the next day, then back for another 24 hours with almost no rest. I wouldn't want that kind of fatigued person working on me if I was injured. Even though much of the time was just sitting around, he was still not getting a lot of sleep.

I could not help myself. This thread picked a nerve with me. To say that the fd intended employee off time to be used for rest might be true but... I make 26K a year at the FD and our highest paid are making just over 30k. So sleep or no sleep I get out there and bust it just like any body else in the business. As for the guy using sick days to work his side job... are you kidding? did you see the guys time sheet? I use vacation or swap shifts to catch up. If this fireman did it wrong then shame on him but lets keep from contributing to a negative stereotype. Because firemen do a needed job, but they still need money to survive! Instead of griping lets teach each other and make ourselves more professional instead of whining.

ffemtmcd
09-11-2009, 08:20 PM
This is America - I can do whatever I want to do

Ever heard of the "free market"? I can charge what I want to charge also - if I under charge, the only person I'm hurting is me - I can only take care of x amount of customers anyway.

Do you really want the customers that will pay half "market" rate?

ALC-GregH
09-11-2009, 08:49 PM
Do you really want the customers that will pay half "market" rate?

you can have them. :laugh:

memac259
09-11-2009, 09:05 PM
You complain and cry about "lowballers", you complain about part-timers, you complain about firefighters and other professions trying to advance themselves just like you. You make allegations and assumptions that you have no right doing. My belief is that if you spent half the time worrying about your own business as you do worrying about everybody elses, we would all be better off.

93Chevy
09-11-2009, 09:29 PM
You complain and cry about "lowballers", you complain about part-timers, you complain about firefighters and other professions trying to advance themselves just like you. You make allegations and assumptions that you have no right doing. My belief is that if you spent half the time worrying about your own business as you do worrying about everybody elses, we would all be better off.

I'll drink to that. :drinkup:

johnnybravo8802
09-11-2009, 09:53 PM
I don't think you guys are getting it. I've been in this industry for 29 years now and I live to get on my mower every morning. I do it because it has been my passion for 29 years and it isn't even work to me. I am not personally downing any firefighters, part timers, etc. I"m simply stating that there needs to be an industry standard in price like a lot of other professions. Heck, I'm still gettiing 1980 prices and it's not because that's what I charge, it's simply what people are willing to pay. Why? It's because the industry is flooded with a million start-ups that either don't know how to price something or they are just throwing out some cheap price just to get the work. When is the last time these people got out a wheel to measure square footage or actually counted shrubs to get an accurate time for trimming-they don't. You think this only hurts you? You're wrong, it hurts you, your family, me, my family, and anyone else in this business. The only people benefitting are the customers who are getting quality work for a fraction of what it's worth. I know a reputable company that dropped their price on a golf community by $10,000 this year just to keep the contract. They had been doing it for about 8 years. This company does excellent work and they are out pounding the lawns every week like clock work. By the time they add everything up, they'd be better off staying at home. The comment from the guy taking the bids-"If they are dumb enough to drop the price that much, we'll let them do it. I don't see how they are making money." I've heard that comment several times when I was outbid by lowballing. Even the customers think it's stupid to get out there and work all day for pennies. Also, it just cheapens people in this as "professionals." The bottom line is, "If you choose to get into this profession, take pride in it and don't sell us all short."

memac259
09-11-2009, 10:01 PM
And I don't believe you are getting it either. I get on my mower at 7AM after working till midnight the night before. I have to work at my so-called part-time job 7 days a week because I go to work at my "full time job" 5 days a week at 3PM. I do it because I love it too....and just because I work another job doesn't make me any less professional or that I charge any different than you do. I respect what you do-I don't have the guts that you had to take the leap and do this full-time. You should respect what I do also and not assume that I am hurting a business that you and I both love.

johnnybravo8802
09-11-2009, 10:07 PM
And I don't believe you are getting it either. I get on my mower at 7AM after working till midnight the night before. I have to work at my so-called part-time job 7 days a week because I go to work at my "full time job" 5 days a week at 3PM. I do it because I love it too....and just because I work another job doesn't make me any less professional or that I charge any different than you do. I respect what you do-I don't have the guts that you had to take the leap and do this full-time. You should respect what I do also and not assume that I am hurting a business that you and I both love.
You don't think it hurts you when you spend $2 to make $1? When you price things too cheap, that's exactly what you're doing.

memac259
09-11-2009, 10:10 PM
What does pricing cheap and part-time have to do with each other?

borwicks
09-11-2009, 10:17 PM
I'm also able to deduct certain expenses on my taxes. A percentage of my truck, my cell phone, a percentage of my home mortgage (for office use and trailer storage) etc. Something I can't do with most other part time jobs.

Providing lawn care is the best part time job I can imagine, but I can't see it working as a full time job. Because even though I can project out a decent billing for 45 hours of work, I'd have to increase expenses that are now covered elsewhere, which would increase my overhead tremendously and I would have to raise my rates accordingly.


You pretty much answered your own question right there. LCO's like you keep everyone in check but also keep some other full time LCO's from getting the work and supporting there families. No hate here. I realized a long time ago mowing alone was not going to pay my bills. We do full service grounds and building.

johnnybravo8802
09-11-2009, 10:23 PM
What does pricing cheap and part-time have to do with each other?
I was talking about all of the newbies that get into this industry on a daily basis. You know, the ones who roll out of bed one morning and decide they are landscape professionals even though they don't even mow their own yard. Those people are a dime a dozen and need to stay in bed. The industry is flooded with newcomers who don't know the first thing about input vs. output and society is primed to believe lawn maintenance is only worth X amount of money because of what "Little Johnny" priced them. I've even found that most people who accept commercial bids have no idea of what a job is worth. I's up to us as professional to educate the consumer on why a job is worth $50 instead of $30. That's what I'm trying to say.

borwicks
09-11-2009, 10:29 PM
I's up to us as professional to educate the consumer on why a job is worth $50 instead of $30.

Really. If the same quality of work is done.
Its only worth $50 if someones willing to pay it. If the $30 company has a lower overhead and the money the want to net is lower they can charge that. Its that simple.

johnnybravo8802
09-11-2009, 10:35 PM
Really. If the same quality of work is done.
Its only worth $50 if someones willing to pay it. If the $30 company has a lower overhead and the money the want to net is lower they can charge that. Its that simple.
I stand by my original statement.:walking:

memac259
09-11-2009, 10:40 PM
Unfortunately, business is built on competition......I think that is what you have issues with!!

PROCUT1
09-11-2009, 10:41 PM
Really. If the same quality of work is done.
Its only worth $50 if someones willing to pay it. If the $30 company has a lower overhead and the money the want to net is lower they can charge that. Its that simple.

Bingo

Who decides what a job is worth? Everyone keeps saying even if your profit margin is good and your overhead is low, that you should base your price on what the other guy is charging.

Whats anyone else got to do with it?

I never understood why pricing is such a mystery to so many people. When I first saw "what do I charge" threads on here I couldnt believe what I was reading.

How can someone else tell you what you need to charge?

Pricing is the easiest thing to figure out in business.

Expenses+overhead+profit margin = price

What someone else charges doesnt make a difference.

Because some other guy has $5000 a month in truck payments, and rent, and office staff, and payments on all his mowers.......He is the one that sets the price?

Explain that to your customer.


Ma'am I would make great money off your lawn if I charged you $30 a week,
But you see....My competitor has a lot of bills and debt to pay for....So Im going to charge you $50 so he doesnt get mad at me.

PROCUT1
09-11-2009, 10:48 PM
My first laptop was $3000. I thought it was worth every penny. It was cool as hell.

$3000 was nothing to have a computer that I could stick in a bag and take with me.

Well Ive had probably 10 laptops since then.

Every single one of them has been cheaper than the last one.

The one im on now is loaded with all the bells and whistles and was $400. And its 10000 times the computer that my first one was.

The customer will always be looking for a lower price. And its up to business to figure out how to give the customer what they want. And the ones who do that will be successful.

i was in an area where $30 lawn cuts were the norm. I could not get my business in line to provide $30 lawn cuts and be profitable.

That was my fault. Not the customers. Not the competitors.

Roger
09-11-2009, 10:50 PM
I think all the comments in this thread are related to residential lawn mowing. If not, then I'm off base here. Reading some of the objectors posts makes me wonder if we all need to stop from time to time and realize a couple of things: (1) Residential lawn mowing is not brain surgery, or rocket science. It is a menial task that nearly anybody can do. It requires no special education, no training, or no special skills. (2) Getting into residential lawn mowing business, albeit part-time, or full-time, is extremely easy, and requires very little capital investment. Not many other business ventures can be started with such a low entry point.

Probably most people who post here on LS want to have their own business. The unique thing about those who frequent these pages is the choice of business, lawn care service (and, as per the discussion of this thread, residential lawn mowing). There are thousands of choices, but those who frequent LS, and post in these kinds of threads, have made a very specific choice. Some businesses produce products, others offer a service. The point is that there are many, many choices for having a business in which to earn money. For some, the income requirement may be high, others it may have a much lower threshold. Every situation is different.

Any business that isn't unique has competition. Since residential lawn mowing requires no special education, training, or skills, and has such a low cost entry point, it is an easy attraction for many people. This means lots of competition.

For those having trouble with others pricing their services lower, there are two options. Find a different business with less competition, or find a service that requires unique skills, training, or education. On the open market, one's value is inversely related to the uniqueness of what one has to offer. This principle applies to both a business venture, and to individuals.

I agree with those who suggest spending energy on growing your business. If that means changing services, getting to school to learn a new trade or area of expertise, or whatever, so be it. Find a niche that is not occupied. What can make yourself, or your business more unique? Just running with the herd, and expecting to be well compensated, just doesn't work.

clcare2
09-11-2009, 10:58 PM
If you are mowing residential clients, which is the majority of what a part-timer will usually have, then you have to realize that your pricing is going to be low. People on here keep on comparing us too the plumber or the electrician, but truth is that we are closest to the cleaning lady. Your average joe can't do much more than change a light bulb or pour drano down a clogged drain. He can however mow his own yard and trim his own bushes. Please stop lying to yourselves, we provide a service that push, come to shove everyone of our residential clients can do. Heck, my son has been puish mowing my yard since he was 9 and could reach the handle.

Think Green
09-11-2009, 11:14 PM
So between all the bickering and paddle boating, where is the business standard of profit margins???
Is there such a thing?
We are not bankers to get set prime rates!!
We are not Doctor's to get set office rates!!
We are not Attorney's to get 35% to 45% retention on courtroom wins.
So where do we fit in to this equation??
What all is saying is...........keep your overhead low............pay your employees crap......don't offer them any perks....................bid the lawns low and do bulk accounts weekly.............................bite the bullet............take the tax crunches.......pay the federal government and the state their share.............pay all of the other business stuff......................pay indescriminate costs for fuel, maintenance, parts, labor,etc..................live a mediocre lifestyle...............dress our family in rags.........drive a used vehicle...........clunker no doubt!!..............and bid these jobs low enough so as to keep the profit margins within a comfortable level as to not exceed the other man down the road.???????????????????????????/ BOHS!!!! (Not Happening))
Price is price............profit is profit!!! Do it in a way that doesn't bloat the pig that dwells within all mankind. Make a fair profit and move on!!
We are going to argue and bash each other and not get any farther down the road than we were 15 minutes ago. How many years has this same topic been echoed in the mountains waiting for a response??? This topic will not and ever change as long as professionals will quite telling their customers that they are overpaying for services. What in the hell do you tell your Doctor when they charge you 85.00 for a office visit, you sit 30 minutes in the waiting room, 15 minutes in his room......talking to a nurse instead, and finally talking to him for 8-10 minutes. After medications, CBC,X-rays,etc. you will walk out paying 250.00 on the slim side for an hours worth of work. Think of the profit margins made! Think of his overhead!! Can they charge less?? Are they going to charge less?? Where is their compassion??
Before we start slamming someone for not making a fair percentage on their wages of labor, then we need to start looking in other avenues for the truth.
We are all in this game together...................lets stick together.!!!! And quit the fighting.!!!! The Doctor's, Lawyers stay together don't they?
We chose this line of work.....................we need to deal with the fact that if things were better, we would have picked something else more profitable to do with our passions.------EH!

I don't care if the guy next door is a Fireman, Policeman, CamelJockey or whatever, as long as he or she pays their dues, charges for tax's, pays their tax's, get their licenses, insures their stuff, and goes through the same rigors as we all do. Be it a shame that most of us don't have the luxury of working for some other company and have the ability to work in the lawn services also. It must be trying and hard!!!!
We are in this business to make money and nothing more. I love this line of work or I wouldn't have stayed in it for 19 years. This business has bought me 3 homes, 6 cars, property, 4 kids, and something to go home to each night. That is what counts.!!!!
Where is the American Dream anymore!!!!!??? It is right under your nose if you can smell it!! put down the potato chips and dip........!! get off the couch and go get it!!!!

The bottom line is charge accordingly...................make a fair profit!!!!!

WGLandscapeMaintenance
09-11-2009, 11:36 PM
I agree 100%. This business attracts way too many people who want to do it for extra money or they "think it looks easy" and that kills the entire industry. You're right, overhead isn't the point, it's about what a job is worth. You don't see electricians and plumbers doing work for half of everyone else and lowballing the He#@ out of it-everyone charges about the same because that is what the work is worth. As a part-timer, you have the luxury of benefits but someone doing this for a living has to pay for insurance out of pocket and put back for retirement and therefore has to charge "what a job is worth." When a part timer decides to get out of this business, the fulltime guy is left with all of the damage the lowballing caused. People in this business need to stick together and charge accordingly!!!! In my opinion, lowballing destroys the credibility of this industry and therefore people start thinking we aren't worth much.

Amen to that!

rain man
09-12-2009, 12:04 AM
I believe the problem with the fireman in said story is that his primary means of keeping his overhead low is that he does not pay his taxes. He is a crook. He will charge some customers more for the same job if they pay with a check. Or perhaps he is just a liar. He lets cash customers "asume" that he is giving them a break but in reality isn't. I see nothing wrong with suspecting fowl play when two sets of books are being kept or two different prices charged for the same job. No one "hates" him. They hate his corruption.

PROCUT1
09-12-2009, 12:15 AM
The last four posts....First one a little harsh with the name calling......But factually are perfect.

Almost everyone got into this business because its easy and doesnt take much to make money.

You cant compare it to a "professional trade" like an electrician or auto technician.

Go ahead and walk up to a jobsite and tell them they're equal to the lawn guy. See how quick they fall over laughing.

Thats not to say you cant make a good professional business out of this. You just have to understand the business for what it is and then figure how to exploit that and make a profit.

But sitting back complaining that people who went to school and learned a skilled trade are making more money is silly. Of course they are.

Kiril
09-12-2009, 10:32 AM
Guess what .... you don't need 100K in equipment and a 50K truck to mow a lawn. The guys on here that complain the most are the ones are in debt up to their ears, and hate it when someone comes along that can do the same job as you at half the price because they were smart enough to spend within their means. Doesn't matter if it is a "low baller" or not.

johnnybravo8802
09-12-2009, 11:00 AM
You guys sound like a bunch of little girls.

Guess what .... you don't need 100K in equipment and a 50K truck to mow a lawn. The guys on here that complain the most are the ones are in debt up to their ears, and hate it when someone comes along that can do the same job as you at half the price because they were smart enough to spend within their means. Doesn't matter if it is a "low baller" or not.
What do you call the guy who is makes $25,000 + mows grass in order to pay for the $300,000 house, drive the $50,000 truck with $2000 of accessories, etc? Do you think he's mowing to make ends meet? NO, he's in debt up to his eyeballs also and living beyond his means!!!! I see it everyday. I drive a 03' Dodge with 117,000 miles and we live in a $150,000 house and I don't have any hobbies because I can't afford it!! That comment is directed towards all of you who show off your nice boats, jet skis, motorcycles, etc. We are talking about living beyond our means aren't we? I gave up my motocross bike and Ninja in 02' when we had our first born because I took responsibility for being a father. I'm not in the woods hunting every weekend and neglecting my family.

You guys are really clueless. If you have two guys mowing with equal amounts of overhead-I say this for these reasons. An average lawn service has to have a sensible truck, mower, etc. to operate. Both guys have to pay $3/gallon for fuel, both pay $10 for 2 cycle oil, both pay $65/hour to have equipment fixed. Now bear with me here profit and margin guys-the fixed costs are the same and each guy operates at the same cost. It was estimated that the industry standard back in 1995 was about $500/day which means that it should be a lot higher in 2009-You agree? You know, houses $300,000 instead of $190,000, fuel $3/gallon versus $.87gallon, trucks at $50,000 instead of $25,000. It's simple arithmetic for all of you math wizards!!!!!With all of this, how can guy one charge $25 when it's well known in the industry(Guy 2 charges correctly) that it takes $50/hr. to operate. Profit margin is only a fraction of the equation which you guys don't get. Doctors are charging more than 1985 and the cost of living is much higher so why are we still having to charge the same amount? That comment is for the guys who may remember what the industry was like 20 yrs. ago. Again, it's about the BIG PICTURE!!!!! As long as you fail to realize this, the industry will always be the same. Talk about that in your next economic class!!!!!:walking:

Kiril
09-12-2009, 11:06 AM
So basically you are saying you feel threatened by people who are willing and can do the same job for less.

And FYI, overhead is NEVER exactly the same.

borwicks
09-12-2009, 11:14 AM
Pricing is the easiest thing to figure out in business.

Expenses+overhead+profit margin = price

What someone else charges doesnt make a difference.

Because some other guy has $5000 a month in truck payments, and rent, and office staff, and payments on all his mowers.......He is the one that sets the price?

Explain that to your customer.


Ma'am I would make great money off your lawn if I charged you $30 a week,
But you see....My competitor has a lot of bills and debt to pay for....So Im going to charge you $50 so he doesnt get mad at me.

I agree 100 percent. This business is that simple

johnnybravo8802
09-12-2009, 11:18 AM
So basically you are saying you feel threatened by people who are willing and can do the same job for less.

And FYI, overhead is NEVER exactly the same.
You really are narrow minded. You think about it and get back with me.

Kiril
09-12-2009, 11:25 AM
You really are narrow minded. You think about it and get back with me.

No, I just see someone working really hard to justify their pricing structure and complaining about people who can do the same for less. It really isn't anything more than that ..... is it?

borwicks
09-12-2009, 11:34 AM
What do you call the guy who is makes $25,000 + mows grass in order to pay for the $300,000 house, drive the $50,000 truck with $2000 of accessories, etc? Do you think he's mowing to make ends meet? NO, he's in debt up to his eyeballs also and living beyond his means!!!! I see it everyday. I drive a 03' Dodge with 117,000 miles and we live in a $150,000 house and I don't have any hobbies because I can't afford it!! That comment is directed towards all of you who show off your nice boats, jet skis, motorcycles, etc. We are talking about living beyond our means aren't we? I gave up my motocross bike and Ninja in 02' when we had our first born because I took responsibility for being a father. I'm not in the woods hunting every weekend and neglecting my family.

You guys are really clueless. If you have two guys mowing with equal amounts of overhead-I say this for these reasons. An average lawn service has to have a sensible truck, mower, etc. to operate. Both guys have to pay $3/gallon for fuel, both pay $10 for 2 cycle oil, both pay $65/hour to have equipment fixed. Now bear with me here profit and margin guys-the fixed costs are the same and each guy operates at the same cost. It was estimated that the industry standard back in 1995 was about $500/day which means that it should be a lot higher in 2009-You agree? You know, houses $300,000 instead of $190,000, fuel $3/gallon versus $.87gallon, trucks at $50,000 instead of $25,000. It's simple arithmetic for all of you math wizards!!!!!With all of this, how can guy one charge $25 when it's well known in the industry(Guy 2 charges correctly) that it takes $50/hr. to operate. Profit margin is only a fraction of the equation which you guys don't get. Doctors are charging more than 1985 and the cost of living is much higher so why are we still having to charge the same amount? That comment is for the guys who may remember what the industry was like 20 yrs. ago. Again, it's about the BIG PICTURE!!!!! As long as you fail to realize this, the industry will always be the same. Talk about that in your next economic class!!!!!:walking:

I dont agree entirely with your post. No two LCO's are the same. If they were we woulnt be talking about this. In this business Profit margin is set at the sole discretion of the owner and what the market will bear. Each owner will have different goals and dreams as well.

I buy used equipment. Used trucks. Operate out of my house. Store my equipment at my brothers farm in exchange he gets to use it. I maintenance and repair my own stuff. I enjoy repairing and maintaining my own stuff. Now you tell me how someone that buys new trucks, new equipment, gets there stuff repaired at the shop, has storage dues or business location can operate as low as I can. This is why you see price differences.

asps4u
09-12-2009, 12:41 PM
I can't believe how many people are concerned with what anyone else does. I own/operate 4 businesses including my lawn care business, and have never advertised or marketed any of them and they are all very successful! Why? Is it because I'm concerned with what joe blow is charging or how he runs his business? No, it's because I set myself apart from everyone else! I make sure to take care of my customers and go the extra mile for them when I have to and my business finds me. In this economy we're in especially, you have to be better than the next guy not cheaper. My collision shop is busier than anyone else in town and I'm by far one of the highest priced, but my work is flawless and my customers are taken care of better than anywhere else. Same goes for mowing, which I do part time because I enjoy it, all I've done is do the best job I can and do what I promise when I promise and people sign up from referral without even questioning what the price is as long as I give them the service they want and deserve. Who cares what anyone else is charging or doing, that has no bearing on how I run my business. Ok, I'll get off my soap box now.
Posted via Mobile Device

johnnybravo8802
09-12-2009, 03:52 PM
I must have a lot of people misunderstanding what I'm saying. For starters, the two guys were just a text book sample. All I was saying is if two people have similar setups, then the two people should have essentially the same prices for a yard, if we are talking about knowing your numbers. I"m not comparing my prices to others, I"m referring to a loosely knit industry standard, such as $50/hr. It's about the guy who is doing a job for $25 when 4 other guys came in at around $50-that's what hurts this industry. Yea, he may justify it as being enough in relation to his setup but, in the long run, it hurts everyone. When he goes out of business from not charging enough and you come back around in 2 years, that person isn't going to pay you $50 when she just got through paying $25 for 2 years. There's a potential customer gone.

PROCUT1
09-12-2009, 04:03 PM
Im not disputing that you need to know what your competitors are charging and what the market is for an area.

You certainly do.

I knew my market was $30 lawns.

If I wanted to grow slow and steady and have a nice manageable list of customers who were willing to pay a premium for lawn mowing, I could have done that. It would take some time but those customers are out there.

I took the volume approach. I tried to figure the quickest way to get the most number of $30 lawns done in a day.

I made a lot of mistakes in that thinking. If I had it to do over again, I could have done it and had it be profitable.

The thing is you can not mix the two approaches on a LARGE scale.

You cannot do a mass number of low priced cuts and cater to the customers they same way you would if they were paying double for their lawn.

PROCUT1
09-12-2009, 04:09 PM
I must have a lot of people misunderstanding what I'm saying. For starters, the two guys were just a text book sample. All I was saying is if two people have similar setups, then the two people should have essentially the same prices for a yard, if we are talking about knowing your numbers. I"m not comparing my prices to others, I"m referring to a loosely knit industry standard, such as $50/hr. It's about the guy who is doing a job for $25 when 4 other guys came in at around $50-that's what hurts this industry. Yea, he may justify it as being enough in relation to his setup but, in the long run, it hurts everyone. When he goes out of business from not charging enough and you come back around in 2 years, that person isn't going to pay you $50 when she just got through paying $25 for 2 years. There's a potential customer gone.

I look at it a little different though i understand what youre saying.

I used to have the same way of thinking.

Now.....I care about myself. I charge what I need to charge to cover my expenses and leave a substantial profit that Im happy with.

I dont care in the slightest if its lower or half of what others charge.

In my case its not, I dont take on the cheapy jobs I bid on a different type of client.

But the guy charging $30 a cut and profiting $5 or the guy charging $20 a cut and profiting $15.

Whos better off?

Whats to say that job is a $30 job just because one contractor needs to charge that to cover his bills.

The whole point of business is to find your advantage over other contractors and use it to get their customers.

This isnt a big happy family in this business.

If you can charge less then your competition, do the same job, and make more money than them. Well......I would make sure their customers knew that.

johnnybravo8802
09-12-2009, 04:27 PM
I look at it a little different though i understand what youre saying.

I used to have the same way of thinking.

Now.....I care about myself. I charge what I need to charge to cover my expenses and leave a substantial profit that Im happy with.

I dont care in the slightest if its lower or half of what others charge.

In my case its not, I dont take on the cheapy jobs I bid on a different type of client.

But the guy charging $30 a cut and profiting $5 or the guy charging $20 a cut and profiting $15.

Whos better off?

Whats to say that job is a $30 job just because one contractor needs to charge that to cover his bills.

The whole point of business is to find your advantage over other contractors and use it to get their customers.

This isnt a big happy family in this business.

If you can charge less then your competition, do the same job, and make more money than them. Well......I would make sure their customers knew that.

It's not that I care about what the other person is charging, it's that I care about the industry as a whole. I may not have 20 trucks running around but very few people have been in this industry as long as I have. I have seen it go from no lawn services in sight in the late 70's to 10 for every block in 2009. I want to better the industry for everyone........(Including firefighters) and see it grow as a profession not just "cutting grass." In order to do that, I truly believe that there has to be a standard that the majority don't go below that. Yea, you'll always have lowballers and people in today and out tomorrow but the ones who remain and try to run a professional company will have to carry the torch.

THC
09-12-2009, 04:30 PM
It's not that I care about what the other person is charging, it's that I care about the industry as a whole. I may not have 20 trucks running around but very few people have been in this industry as long as I have. I have seen it go from no lawn services in sight in the late 70's to 10 for every block in 2009. I want to better the industry for everyone........(Including firefighters) and see it grow as a profession not just "cutting grass." In order to do that, I truly believe that there has to be a standard that the majority don't go below that. Yea, you'll always have lowballers and people in today and out tomorrow but the ones who remain and try to run a professional company will have to carry the torch.

You sound like a guy whining because people swear on the internet. Too bad, that's life.

"Why does everybody swear on the net? I remember in the early 90's we all had respect":cry:

PROCUT1
09-12-2009, 04:41 PM
Its nice to think about the industry as a whole and to think we;re all a big brotherhood of guys making an effort to beautify the country one lawn at a time.

When i was a major player in the HOA market, there were 3 or 4 other companies that also were. Since we were all respectable reputable companies we had an understanding not to bid eachothers work.

One by one that went out the window.

I kept my end of the deal. And even though I thought we had an understanding and I believed in it.

It was all BS.

They were the first ones to be on my sites meeting with owners and trashing me to no end.

Then when they got the job....."It was an accident, they just ended up with the job"

One of my biggest mistakes in business was trying to be friends with my competitors.

Never once did it work in my favor.

In my business now. Im all about myself. I care about no one. Im friendly with guys, Ill BS with guys in the business when I run into them.

But when it comes down to business, Ill take every last one of their customers If I can.

I no longer live by "theres enough work for everyone"

Enough work for everyone means Im not working hard enough to change that.

memac259
09-12-2009, 04:43 PM
I'll go back to my original statement....if everyone worried more about their own business and less about everyone elses, we would all be better off!!!!!!!!!

PROCUT1
09-12-2009, 04:52 PM
I'll go back to my original statement....if everyone worried more about their own business and less about everyone elses, we would all be better off!!!!!!!!!

Youre right.

Think Green
09-12-2009, 05:09 PM
Bravo,
I understand completely what you are saying...................I do not get offended directly by rebuttal!!!!!
The only way to stop all unappropriated issues from hitting the floor is to become a member of the City Cousil and change the Laws that affect your community. It took 16 years of griping for our community to impose an ordinance of enforcing the Priveledge License issue for doing business. There wasn't enough power given to the city officials to properly impose and secure the ordinances that was set in place. Now, all it takes is for a Policeman to see an unlicensed trailer hauling a riding mower, to get pulled over and questioned where they are going. Tags must be on all trailers.........Commercial and utility alike!!! If you are mowing a couple of friends houses down the lane with a truck and trailer, you must have a valid priviledge license to be on the street with the equipment. I tell you what-----This cut out alot of miscreant activity!! Now you ask--what about those who haul around a trailer with the usual ATV or Motorcross cycles.?? They must have a license on the trailer but not a lawn mower!!
We have had other issues with debris dumpage. The only county landfill that will take green waste is centrally located outside of town. A citizen can dump whatever green waste they prefer, but a licensed Lawn Service cannot do so without paying for a county class 4 haulers license. We are charged by the tonne for weight of materials. Citizens pass over the scales for free. Now, try to explain this to a customer when it comes to disposing of materials from their lawn!!! This brings on another list of Tom-Dick-and Harry haulers out there without a license hauling trash for customers....??
The minute I cross the scale for a minimum of 16.50, someone is eating my cost of driving and labor. It sure isn't those illegal guys!!!!! They are making 100% profit out of it!!!
I will cease to further any more speech until I recieve more responses from everyone else who is faced with these same issues. How does it digest in your stomach when these types of actions are unnoticed by the tax paying license wielding businessman!!

I know these issues will never go away, so we can all just cope with the aftermath and continue to do our job and make the money to pay our bills.

Think Green
09-12-2009, 05:18 PM
As far as this industry as a whole, it takes more than pricing to change the way the public thinks. Today, there are more choices in all aspects of business and lifestyles.
There are different categories of financial regions to inspect. A person can seek high-medium and lower income customers if they choose. I have a friend who works 45 hours a week for a mega giant company and he wants to start mowing for the elderly to pass his time away on the week ends. HUH!!!!!
We have a mixed income customer range. They are all great and each one recieves the same quality of our services as the next. I won't get into the topic of who pays the best and who pays on time.................every time!!!!!

THC
09-12-2009, 05:23 PM
Its nice to think about the industry as a whole and to think we;re all a big brotherhood of guys making an effort to beautify the country one lawn at a time.



It was all BS.





EXACTLY!:laugh:

Kiril
09-12-2009, 05:28 PM
It's not that I care about what the other person is charging, it's that I care about the industry as a whole. I may not have 20 trucks running around but very few people have been in this industry as long as I have. I have seen it go from no lawn services in sight in the late 70's to 10 for every block in 2009. I want to better the industry for everyone........(Including firefighters) and see it grow as a profession not just "cutting grass." In order to do that, I truly believe that there has to be a standard that the majority don't go below that. Yea, you'll always have lowballers and people in today and out tomorrow but the ones who remain and try to run a professional company will have to carry the torch.

You need to understand the "green" industry is for the large part on its way out. As potable water sources continue to dwindle, the first area that will take the hit is landscapes. Best prepare now for the inevitable because if you live in an area the depends on irrigation to keep turf alive ..... well .... you are probably gonna be looking for a new job.

As far as a "standard" ... there will never be a industry standard because different markets will carry differ rates, not to mention no two LCO's are alike. That my friend is this short truth of the matter. Take care of your own and stop bitching about the rest.

Florida Gardener
09-12-2009, 05:45 PM
While I agree that it isn't "rocket science" in cutting lawns, there are some basics that many companies around here either don't get or don't care about. For example, cutting off to much grass and cutting it shorty than it should be(depending on grass type) is going to stress the grass and invite weeds,fungus,pests,etc. Most companies around here cut the grass so damn short it looks like ****. Now, is that something your average homeowner is going to know the difference about or even care? More than likely no. But, that is something that is important that many companies bypass. How about hurricane cutting trees? For palms, leaving 2 fronds on the crown is REALLY bad for the tree. Most people do it though. You get these guys that come in and say i'll trim all your palms for $10/each. Well, that flushes the market down the tubes. This industry can be way more professional than it is if the company informed the customer about things such as these. The thing I think is most people are in it for the quick buck and don't care. To say that all this industry is is jumping on a mower and cutting the grass as fast as you can is BS to me.

tinman
09-12-2009, 07:02 PM
Why the hate,,,, because some people love to drag others down. Negative people are some of the loudest. Just ignore those that are criticizing without helping.

Think Green
09-12-2009, 07:08 PM
Diamond,
Every time I pull up to the pumps, I hear the word "EASY MONEY" come from the mouths of some people as they meander over to chit-chat and look at the mowers and fancy truck. They are there to pick your brains............!!
We are viewed as glorified door greeters from wal-mart making all the cash and doing a sit on your butt thing. I smile--shoot them a inner-monologue finger--and pump my gas.
The average person don't give it a second glance to know what is involved in this business because the truth is clouded by the likes of chemical companies and television advertisements. The use of commercial advertising in showing a man on a Bad Boy mower or a Dixie Chopper cutting grass at 15 mph, the customers think we are supposed to charge less for less time on the property. Wham Bam--Thank You Maam! Ideology is way overrated. I don't care if a lawn takes us 22 minutes. 3- men times 22 minutes equalls-----66 minutes. The hourly charge rate implies to this account.
You do need to know what you are doing.........and if readers think that we are just a bunch of drunk retired fisherman on fancy ZTR's then that is their opinion. Some may be right, but for the most part, we are professionals.
I like to blow off steam on this forum and learn some new things that the industry doesn't share in my area. I love the game and the threads that this forum seem to bring to the table each day!!!! I love it!! This is like sitting at the coffee shop drinking a cup of Cappa!--listening to a politician score a vote..........it is great!!

horsequick
09-12-2009, 08:01 PM
What type of cheese would you guys like with your whine....OMG get a grip. Competition is in EVERY industry. Some people are legit and some are not. It's the way it is with most any manual labor from painters, to mechanics, to electricians. The good thing about grass is that there are PLENTY of customers out there.

There's an outfit here in Memphis that is made of of three VERY goodlooking women in bikini's that offer a lawn service. Do they get a crap load of customers? Hell yeah they do!

If you dont have enough customers...then work on your marketing!

PROCUT1
09-12-2009, 08:06 PM
This business can be anything you make of it.

There are so many great options to make a living, earn extra money, use it as a part time job, make it a full time career, stay small, go big.

Not contradicting my last post, but there is room for everyone to do their thing.

You do have to admit and realize this business for what it is.

As long as we compare ourselves to electricians, plumbers and mechanics and think that our business commands the same respect, we are kidding ourselves.

Some of you think Im trash talking the lawn business. Im really not. Im being realistic. Ive done a lot of things, failed at a lot, succeeded at enough and have learned a lot along the way.

The "firefighter" types are always going to be here. They want to make some extra money, they can cut grass just as well as anyone else. They arent going to take over the world. Fortunately they only have so much free time and can only handle so many customers.

The full service guys can seek out the full service customers who want to hire a company to keep their property looking great. Those customers are out there, you can charge what youre worth and provide overall service thats profitable.

The mow and go operations cater to a different kind of customer. Those customers are the most plentiful. The customers who can cut their own lawn and know it. They dont care about having the nicest lawn on the block. They just know their grass grows and it needs to be cut every week.

Those customers just want someone dependable, at a reasonable price, to cut the grass. Once you take a customer like this on, you will keep them forever.

What can change that is:

If they find out that you are significantly higher price than others.
If they lose income and NEED to cut their monthly bills.
If you really screw up on service.

Other than that, they wont even give a second thought to their lawn service.

The thing is you have to set your company up for the type of customer you want to service.

You have to understand that mow and go work is very profitable while youre solo or work with a helper.

You have to understand that the situation changes DRASTICALLY when you try to multiply what you are doing now.

Adding crews, adding equipment, etc does not just add to the bottom line in the way it does right now while you add lawns to your own route.

You DO go from profiting 70% after legit expenses to profiting peanuts.

But you can make a ton of money profiting peanuts. Its done everyday.

You have to know how to do it.

PROCUT1
09-12-2009, 08:12 PM
If I were to do my same exact business again.

I would be using small trucks.
Walkbehind mowers
2 men per truck PAID PER LAWN.

Fixed expenses. I would have down to the penny what each lawn cost me to mow.

My mistakes:

Big ZTRS
Big trucks and trailers sucking fuel
Big crews
Hourly employees
Not enough automation
And even at 500 houses.....Not enough volume.

The number one thing I would do is control the payroll. I would pay per lawn or per route.

I experimented with this before I sold and It worked great.

Not only did I save a ton of money on payroll........My employees made MUCH MORE per week than they did before and worked LESS HOURS.

All of a sudden the third guy on the crew that the other two "couldnt live without" they didnt want because they got the lawns done quicker without him and didnt have to split the pay 3 ways.

PROCUT1
09-12-2009, 08:15 PM
Just think about what it costs.

Just to outfit one crew.

Decent used truck $15,000
Trailer $ 3,000
2 ztrs $20,000
1 wb $ 3,500
Small equip $ 1,500

Forget crunching numbers like an accountant. Just think about how many lawns you have to mow to pay for that stuff. Think about how long in reality it lasts.

Think about what your payroll is and just your direct costs for mowing that lawn with 2 or 3 guys being paid hourly, with taxes, with comp.

Think about how much is really left over to pay for the equipment.

And trying to do all of that with $30 lawns.

Its not easy at all.

horsequick
09-12-2009, 08:24 PM
If I were to do my same exact business again.

I would be using small trucks.
Walkbehind mowers
2 men per truck PAID PER LAWN.

Fixed expenses. I would have down to the penny what each lawn cost me to mow.

My mistakes:

Big ZTRS
Big trucks and trailers sucking fuel
Big crews
Hourly employees
Not enough automation
And even at 500 houses.....Not enough volume.

The number one thing I would do is control the payroll. I would pay per lawn or per route.

I experimented with this before I sold and It worked great.

Not only did I save a ton of money on payroll........My employees made MUCH MORE per week than they did before and worked LESS HOURS.

All of a sudden the third guy on the crew that the other two "couldnt live without" they didnt want because they got the lawns done quicker without him and didnt have to split the pay 3 ways.



I totally agree with you. I've seen guys go out and buy expensive diesel trucks and only pulling 2000 lbs of equipment. Then they have a 8000 dollar zero turn on 15-20 accounts. The only thing they look at is their "monthy note".
I like small equipment on most residential yards with by the job employees. If they hee haw around then they get paid less.

PROCUT1
09-12-2009, 08:34 PM
The biggest lesson I learned.

No matter how much time you spend with the pad, paper, and calculator before you make a decision. It NEVER works out that way.

I never made a stupid purchase in my life.

Anything I went to buy, I figured, I planned, I calculated, I budgeted.

All of my calculations made perfect sense.

Yet somehow, without fail........It didnt work out that way.

topsites
09-12-2009, 08:55 PM
The anger isn't just against the next jerk who comes along, but in my case the
anger builds out of the frustration in many of the things mentioned thus far.
To keep the story short, anyhow.

So then over time I got this pissed off-ness building up inside of me and that's got to go,
somewhere, somehow, sooner or later somebody's going to get it and LOL!

Because it seems every time I turn around, someone's trying to get cute with me, trying to jerk me around,
trying to be funny, who knows... And it doesn't have to be just me, it could also be that someone has some
pre-conceived notions about the Industry that I don't care for, or something along these lines.

Then there are a lot of times I can't let it out...
I would like to, but for one reason or another I just CAN'T...
And it builds up, and it keeps doing that, some days it just puts me in a mood, too.
And some comedian or a wise guy catch me right about that time the anger's ready and built up,
sorry bud, bad timing or something but I'm in the right mood for you and here goes.

Pretty much

borwicks
09-12-2009, 09:14 PM
If I were to do my same exact business again.

I would be using small trucks.
Walkbehind mowers
2 men per truck PAID PER LAWN.

Fixed expenses. I would have down to the penny what each lawn cost me to mow.

My mistakes:

Big ZTRS
Big trucks and trailers sucking fuel
Big crews
Hourly employees
Not enough automation
And even at 500 houses.....Not enough volume.

The number one thing I would do is control the payroll. I would pay per lawn or per route.

I experimented with this before I sold and It worked great.

Not only did I save a ton of money on payroll........My employees made MUCH MORE per week than they did before and worked LESS HOURS.

All of a sudden the third guy on the crew that the other two "couldnt live without" they didnt want because they got the lawns done quicker without him and didnt have to split the pay 3 ways.

Thats how we roll now. Small truck walk behinds and focus on the little stuff. Its alot cheaper to run. 3-4 yards per hour $25 each with a 21" mower. The mowers were bought used for less then $200 all of them with bags and blade disconnect. There in there forth year now.

THC
09-12-2009, 10:09 PM
If I were to do my same exact business again.

I would be using small trucks.
Walkbehind mowers
2 men per truck PAID PER LAWN.

Fixed expenses. I would have down to the penny what each lawn cost me to mow.

My mistakes:

Big ZTRS
Big trucks and trailers sucking fuel
Big crews
Hourly employees
Not enough automation
And even at 500 houses.....Not enough volume.

The number one thing I would do is control the payroll. I would pay per lawn or per route.

I experimented with this before I sold and It worked great.

Not only did I save a ton of money on payroll........My employees made MUCH MORE per week than they did before and worked LESS HOURS.

All of a sudden the third guy on the crew that the other two "couldnt live without" they didnt want because they got the lawns done quicker without him and didnt have to split the pay 3 ways.
When I bought my 36 toro I could'nt get it in the back of my full sized chevy and I'm used to going up ramps with snow blowers, thousands of times. It took 3 of us to wiggle it up the ramp and I took it off by myself, it was very dangerous.

I had to go out and buy a damn trailer. I was trying to avoid that but.. well If I knew I needed a trailer I might have bought a Z.

I know I did see one person on this site with 36 quick an a Ford Ranger and he had one of those giant ramps but in real life all I see are 21's in the bed of a pick up of a small truck.

THC
09-12-2009, 10:13 PM
The anger isn't just against the next jerk who comes along, but in my case the
anger builds out of the frustration in many of the things mentioned thus far.
To keep the story short, anyhow.

So then over time I got this pissed off-ness building up inside of me and that's got to go,
somewhere, somehow, sooner or later somebody's going to get it and LOL!

Because it seems every time I turn around, someone's trying to get cute with me, trying to jerk me around,
trying to be funny, who knows... And it doesn't have to be just me, it could also be that someone has some
pre-conceived notions about the Industry that I don't care for, or something along these lines.

Then there are a lot of times I can't let it out...
I would like to, but for one reason or another I just CAN'T...
And it builds up, and it keeps doing that, some days it just puts me in a mood, too.
And some comedian or a wise guy catch me right about that time the anger's ready and built up,
sorry bud, bad timing or something but I'm in the right mood for you and here goes.

Pretty much
I know how you feel... did you ever see that Sopranos episode where they beat up the lawn boys?:mad:

Roger
09-13-2009, 07:15 AM
.... It was estimated that the industry standard back in 1995 was about $500/day which means that it should be a lot higher in 2009-You agree? ...

...!
The only way to stop all unappropriated issues from hitting the floor is to become a member of the City Cousil and change the Laws that affect your community. It took 16 years of griping for our community to impose an ordinance of enforcing the Priveledge License issue for doing business. ...

While I agree that it isn't "rocket science" in cutting lawns, there are some basics that many companies around here either don't get or don't care about. ....
To say that all this industry is is jumping on a mower and cutting the grass as fast as you can is BS to me.

Trying to make cutting grass more than it really is. When talking about doctors and grass cutters in the same sentence makes the statements loose all credibility. This work is menial, simple tasks, without the need of training, special skills, or education.

Suggesting more government involvement in private business is not the road to a better business environment. Why not go further, and have the government set the rates for your work?

One of the great things about our country is that each can pursue opportunities they believe to be best for them. Listening to some here, the complaints lead me to believe it is time to take another path. Find something that fits your wishes and something that does not provide a constant irritation. Establish yourself as offering something unique in the marketplace, where you can set your prices apart from competition. It happens all the time.

PROCUT1
09-13-2009, 11:11 AM
If you pick a job that everyone can do, you cant complain that everyone is doing it.

tinman
09-13-2009, 12:16 PM
I don't think you guys are getting it. I've been in this industry for 29 years now and I live to get on my mower every morning. I do it because it has been my passion for 29 years and it isn't even work to me. I am not personally downing any firefighters, part timers, etc. I"m simply stating that there needs to be an industry standard in price like a lot of other professions. Heck, I'm still gettiing 1980 prices and it's not because that's what I charge, it's simply what people are willing to pay. Why? It's because the industry is flooded with a million start-ups that either don't know how to price something or they are just throwing out some cheap price just to get the work. When is the last time these people got out a wheel to measure square footage or actually counted shrubs to get an accurate time for trimming-they don't. You think this only hurts you? You're wrong, it hurts you, your family, me, my family, and anyone else in this business. The only people benefitting are the customers who are getting quality work for a fraction of what it's worth. I know a reputable company that dropped their price on a golf community by $10,000 this year just to keep the contract. They had been doing it for about 8 years. This company does excellent work and they are out pounding the lawns every week like clock work. By the time they add everything up, they'd be better off staying at home. The comment from the guy taking the bids-"If they are dumb enough to drop the price that much, we'll let them do it. I don't see how they are making money." I've heard that comment several times when I was outbid by lowballing. Even the customers think it's stupid to get out there and work all day for pennies. Also, it just cheapens people in this as "professionals." The bottom line is, "If you choose to get into this profession, take pride in it and don't sell us all short."

It's great that you love what you do for a living. I do as well. But reality is that this business will always have "low balling", which is just code for competition. Every business has it. Every one. I think the best thing veterans in this business can do is try to persuade and educate start ups on better business practices. Downing people will not work. Also everyone cannot be persuaded either so we have to accept that a portion of startups will always charge less than we think is correct.
No one forces us to continue in this line of work. It is up to the businessman to be more efficient and innovative so profits can be made even at lower pricing on individual lawns.

Heintooga
09-13-2009, 03:45 PM
"Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door." Ralph Waldo Emerson

cpel2004
09-13-2009, 06:11 PM
Many firefighters and Policemen in my area are lowballers, not all but many. Just my .02

golfnpreacher
09-13-2009, 08:50 PM
Business "A" has being giving a service for years. They have competition from businesses B and C. They all charge about the same for their services. Now someone comes along and figures a way to offer the same service / product at a lower rate.

A guy named Ford did this with the assembly line. He reduced overhead and improved efficiency and lowered cost. People hated him.

Ray Koch did it with McD' He only made a penny on every burger, but he sold enough burgers to make a fortune.

Sam Walton did it, and put Sears Roebuck - JC Penny's and other retailers on notice.

If the lowballers are as bad as everyone here says they are, they will go out of business and the law of "supply and demand" will bring those customers to you.

But what if it is your business is "fat", you haven't watched your overhead, you haven't watched your expenses. What if you assumed your product was worth more than it really was because other people were charging / paying that much and this competition does share that assumption. What if they prove that assumption is false?

Until Obama changes something, the price of service is a balance between what the market will bear and what the provider will charge. Competition is GOOD! It makes people look for ways to do "it" better, quicker, more effectively. Competition keeps your business from getting fat and careless.

I don't care about the Firefighter or the car full of Mexican's. I'm not worried about the large company with uniformed employees and enclosed trailers that double as billboards. I don't lose sleep over the guy who lost his job and is trying to make ends meet but doesn't have insurance, nor do I care if you have everyone bonded and every license in the book.

What I do care about it my business and my reputation. Did I do what I said I would do? Did I show up when I said I would? Did I leave everything better than I found it? Yes, you left the garden hose out, but I rolled it up neatly. Yes, your kids left their toys all over the yard and I put them away.

Now, if you find someone that does what I do and they offer to do it for a lesser price, go for it. Change providers. I've seen them do just that. I've seen them leave because of price, but come back because of service. I've seen them leave because of price and not come back because of service. It is the nature of the business.

Lawn Care is a business that can be entered with low overhead and a minimal skill set. It will always attract new people. It will attract the High School kids that see it as quick and easy money. It will attract the college student that needs a summer job that pays decent. It will attract those that have a "real job" that allows enough time off to "mow and blow" These are a part of the hazards we face in this business. These challengers come with the territory. And if we are all open and honest, we were all one of these groups at one time before we crossed the line and made lawn care our chosen field. And even then, most of us needed a working wife for health benefits during the early days. And those that didn't start this way, had enough money that they don't "feel the pain" everyone else is talking about.

johnnybravo8802
09-13-2009, 09:26 PM
"Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door." Ralph Waldo Emerson
I can't remember where the quote came from but there is the one I live by that I've heard for years:"Businesses don't go out of business from lack of work, they go out of business because they don't charge enough." Just because you have 1000 customers doesn't mean you're making money. A lot of people in this business are fooled by the impression that they are making money but 5-10 years down the road realize they were never making money-it was nothing more than perks. Who is to say that Wal-Mart won't be out of business one day.

Florida Gardener
09-13-2009, 09:31 PM
there is a difference b/t products and services. I will go to Wal-mart and save money on something that is exactly the same product that is offered at Walgreens or CVS. The product is the same at all three places. Services on the other hand are never the same. 8/10, the "lowballer" will give you what you are paying for.

golfnpreacher
09-13-2009, 09:51 PM
Your service is your product. If you don't understand that, then it explains why there is a difficulty here.

An item on the shelf in the store costs a certain amount to make, it costs a certain about to transport, it costs a certain amount to maintain (you need a store, you need employees to sell it, etc) It is the store that manages these costs and then makes what they deem an acceptable profit that will succeed.

As a LCO we too have have a product to sell, our service. It "costs" us a certain amount to transport ourselves and equipment, it cost us a certain amount to have and maintain our equipment. And from there we should manage those costs and make what we deem an acceptable profit.

If one company or operator can manage those cost better than another, and they deem it acceptable to make smaller profit margin. Then they are not "lowballing" but simply doing business better than someone else.

johnnybravo8802
09-13-2009, 09:53 PM
there is a difference b/t products and services. I will go to Wal-mart and save money on something that is exactly the same product that is offered at Walgreens or CVS. The product is the same at all three places. Services on the other hand are never the same. 8/10, the "lowballer" will give you what you are paying for.
Have you ever bought anything at Wal-Mart that lasted 20 years. Everything they sell is disposable. They will even tell you that it's cheaper for them to replace a product than to pay someone to fix it. Years ago, you could buy a GE washer for example that would last for 30+ years. We live in a disposable society which is breeding a me me attitude(Pro-Cut attributed to that). I, for one, don't think that way. I am traditional and still believe in quality at a fair price(Fair for you and fair for me) and I still help my neighbor. The world was a better place when more people thought that way. This whole da@ site is full of people who just want to call names(I've been guilty of this myself and it goes against my nature) and not try and learn, help others, or better the industry and that's what's wrong with the world today. This eliminate the competition bullsh@$ has got to go!!!!

Florida Gardener
09-13-2009, 10:51 PM
^dude, i agree with you...i was referring to stuff like juice,soda,shaving cream lol....

Oxmow
09-13-2009, 11:07 PM
Having been on lawnsite for many years both lurking and posting this is a debate that just won't go away. Yes I was on here for many years as a full time fireman. I took up the offense of people ranting about firemen lowballing, using city equipment to mow with, not "serious" pro's, no taxes, lazy, double-dipping, using the term "firewhatever" to gain business, and whatever else someone has seen them doing. There is a phrase that was used "if it can be screwed up, a fireman can screw it up."
I would wager to say that if your house was on fire, you wouldn't gripe at him for putting it out faster than the other guy.
I am not a fireman anymore. I quit to run my business full time and raise my family. I still pay for insurance, taxes, licenses, and whatever else Unca Sam says to. I also have increased my business and provide my employees with health and dental ins. I am not yanking my own chain here, but i have to deal with guys that try to lowball who have lost their jobs at this city's biggest employer to anybody else who has a lawn mower and a way to carry it from their yard to someone else's. As it has been said before almost anybody can cut a lawn. My proposals that I win are sometimes more than others and sometimes less than others. I know this because sometimes I hear them say that they have never paid this much or that much before. It is based on given or percieved value. This comes from having a working relationship with your client. I have screwed some things up at properties before, but because I have had such a good relationship with them they have let me fix it and go on. I think that people will spend a little bit more if they percieve that the value they are getting is much greater than a lowballer can give. Sometimes you do have to educate the customer.
If we want standard rates, why don't we form a union? Unions get to set rates don't they? I mean if we all pay into the union all we make and get the union rate for what we do then it wouldn't matter what my business made as long as the union paid us the going rate. Isn't that umm...redistribution of wealth? Corny sounding, I know, but it is what some of you sound like you want.

rain man
09-14-2009, 01:10 AM
A large company I know of recently reduced overhead, improved efficiency, and enabled themselves to lower cost. They relocated overseas. Just one of many gone in pursuit of building a better mouse trap. Every day it happens. Left behind are gutted towns, broken homes, and ruined lives.

The only theory of economics I know of which will provide long term stability is one recommended a long time ago. Love thy neighbor. It gets in the way of better mouse traps however. Evenso, we must give unto Caesar that which belongs to him. Caesar says we are to compete and so we shall, and so shall I but if ole' Henry Ford could come back I believe he would have some words of wisdom to impart to us. You can't take it with you.

PROCUT1
09-14-2009, 08:54 AM
Just what I said before.

If you do something that everyone can do. You cant complain that everyone is doing it.

93Chevy
09-14-2009, 09:00 AM
Just what I said before.

If you do something that everyone can do. You cant complain that everyone is doing it.

Exactly. This is grass cutting, for crying out loud. It would be different if it were landscape masonry or architecture.

Heintooga
09-14-2009, 09:13 AM
A large company I know of recently reduced overhead, improved efficiency, and enabled themselves to lower cost. They relocated overseas. Just one of many gone in pursuit of building a better mouse trap.
That's not a better mouse trap.
Love thy neighbor. It gets in the way of better mouse traps however.
If the "mouse trap" is product/sevice, how does it conflict with "Love thy neighbor"? The mousetrap is built to serve thy neighbor, not thy self!

johnnybravo8802
09-14-2009, 09:40 AM
That's not a better mouse trap.

If the "mouse trap" is product/sevice, how does it conflict with "Love thy neighbor"? The mousetrap is built to serve thy neighbor, not thy self!
It's because people think you have to run over others to get what you want. I had an uncle with a flourishing lawn maintenance company of 10+ yrs. who used to say, "I'll cut it for free if it means eliminating my competition." He is no longer in business....couldn't make ends meet. Oh yea, he was a firefighter also!!!:laugh::laugh:

Oxmow
09-14-2009, 09:42 AM
It's because people think you have to run over others to get what you want. I had an uncle with a flourishing lawn maintenance company of 10+ yrs. who used to say, "I'll cut it for free if it means eliminating my competition." He is no longer in business....couldn't make ends meet. Oh yea, he was a firefighter also!!!:laugh::laugh:

Like I said, "if it can be screwed up"

rain man
09-14-2009, 11:28 AM
No, the mouse trap is not built to serve thy neighbor. It is built to make a profit. If it catches the mouse (customer) better then its a better mouse trap (more profitable). Reducing overhead by relocating to foreign soil can reduce overhead. Out-sourcing jobs improves efficiency and saves money. Employee benefits are a drain on profit so they must continue to erode. Competition is the only and best game in town but you can't have your mouse trap and eat it too. If practiced without restraint it has an effect on people. It affects who I am.

PROCUT1
09-14-2009, 11:42 AM
If you want less competition, get an education and a skill that not everyone with two legs has.

AI Inc
09-14-2009, 11:50 AM
And there ya have it. When you have a job that anyone can do it will only pay so much.

johnnybravo8802
09-14-2009, 12:49 PM
If you want less competition, get an education and a skill that not everyone with two legs has.
I have an education and a profession that not everyone can do-I"m an ICU nurse and I've been paid $30-$45/hr. to keep people alive in the past-I can find a job anywhere in the country making that kind of money. I have choices. However, my passion has always been in the Green Industry and I've always run a business on the side hoping to get into it full-time when the time was right. Currently, I only do lawn maintenance and am a much happier person. This is the first time in years that I've only worked one job versus 2-3 jobs. The Green Industry is something that I claim as my own and something I care about seeing it improve over the years, especially the professionals in it. I try to separate myself from the "Grass cutters" and want to see this profession grow as a profession. However, it takes people sticking together and standing up for what they believe in to make this happen. This country is already full of people who want to give in to everything around them-let's change the Ga. flag, let's take prayer out of the schools, lets change the constitution, let's elect a president that isn't truly American and doesn't want to swear on the Bible. Where does it STOP!!!!!!!!

PROCUT1
09-14-2009, 01:07 PM
Im sorry but this is not a "profession" that brings along respect from the public.

Again....If you understand that, you can make it work in your favor.

People will pay $80 an hour to an auto mechanic.
They know their car died, and now its fixed...They dont know how he did it, but he did and thats worth it.

People will pay 50 an hour for an electrician or plumber....They know they plug something in the wall.....But whatevers behind that wall they aint messin with.....Theyre gonna "call a professional"

Those are skilled professions that the average person pays for because these guys do something the homeowner cannot or will not do themselves.

People are afraid of messing with electricity. They gladly pay a professional and not worry about buring their house down.

They turn the dial on the thermostat, if nothing comes out the vents.....A professional does whatever the heck it is he does and I have a warm house again.

When it comes to mowing.....

The attitude is..

THIS SUCKS!!!!!! Why am I sweating my balls off doing this on my day off?
I DONT WANT TO DO THIS ANYMORE.

What? Contracts? Fine print? FIFTY BUCKS to CUT THE GRASS???

I mow the dam thing myself in a hour

Who does this guy think he is? Im not building a shopping mall here.

Oh how cute.....Look.....A "contract"......Got Mr. Corporate america here with his terms and conditions to MOW MY LAWN.

Honey...Call your friend down the street see if her boy wants to make a few bucks.

PROCUT1
09-14-2009, 01:15 PM
I have an education and a profession that not everyone can do-I"m an ICU nurse and I've been paid $30-$45/hr. to keep people alive in the past-I can find a job anywhere in the country making that kind of money. I have choices. However, my passion has always been in the Green Industry and I've always run a business on the side hoping to get into it full-time when the time was right. Currently, I only do lawn maintenance and am a much happier person. This is the first time in years that I've only worked one job versus 2-3 jobs. The Green Industry is something that I claim as my own and something I care about seeing it improve over the years, especially the professionals in it. I try to separate myself from the "Grass cutters" and want to see this profession grow as a profession. However, it takes people sticking together and standing up for what they believe in to make this happen. This country is already full of people who want to give in to everything around them-let's change the Ga. flag, let's take prayer out of the schools, lets change the constitution, let's elect a president that isn't truly American and doesn't want to swear on the Bible. Where does it STOP!!!!!!!!

You answered your own question.

What did you have to do to become an ICU nurse? How many ICU nurses are out there?

I know for fact not many. Nurses are in HUGE demand and hospitals and doctors are competing to fill their slots from a small pool of people.

I know nurses who have come out of retirement to go back to work or work part time because they are getting offers so enticing they cant refuse.

Nurses arent lowballing eachother....There are more positions available than nurses to fill them.....They are the ones in the driver seat.

You cant say that about mowing.

You dont have to go through years of school, training, interships, certifications, exams and constant training for updates to cut grass.

You roll out of bed grab a mower and start knocking on doors.

Thats it.

You can mow
I can mow
My grandma can still mow
My kid nephew can mow
The accountant can mow
The doctor can mow
The highschool dropout can mow

Barring the disabled....Anyone can mow a lawn.

Just how much is that service worth?

PROCUT1
09-14-2009, 01:21 PM
How many guys work on their own trucks and equipment because they dont want to pay the outrageous prices the dealers charge?

Well....The prices are "outrageous" because you are comparing paying someone to do something that you can do yourself.

If truck repair was an unskilled task and I was getting a million flyers in my mailbox to fix my trucks at $20 an hour.......You bet your ass I wouldnt be laying under them on my weekends.

But as a mechanic myself....I cant see paying someone else that much money for something I can easily do myself.

Im not a carpenter....Woodwork and me do not see eye to eye.

Paying a carpenter $35 an hour to work on my house is plenty worth it to me. He does stuff I dont have a clue how to do.

piste
09-14-2009, 03:13 PM
I have an education and a profession that not everyone can do-I"m an ICU nurse and I've been paid $30-$45/hr. to keep people alive in the past-I can find a job anywhere in the country making that kind of money. I have choices. However, my passion has always been in the Green Industry and I've always run a business on the side hoping to get into it full-time when the time was right. Currently, I only do lawn maintenance and am a much happier person. This is the first time in years that I've only worked one job versus 2-3 jobs. The Green Industry is something that I claim as my own and something I care about seeing it improve over the years, especially the professionals in it. I try to separate myself from the "Grass cutters" and want to see this profession grow as a profession. However, it takes people sticking together and standing up for what they believe in to make this happen. This country is already full of people who want to give in to everything around them-let's change the Ga. flag, let's take prayer out of the schools, lets change the constitution, let's elect a president that isn't truly American and doesn't want to swear on the Bible. Where does it STOP!!!!!!!!

You constantly speak out of both sides of your mouth. Your version of "sticking together" is called price collusion and is really about "sticking it" to the customer so that you pesonally can enjoy greater than market prices and profits. Where's the passion in that? Sounds like a passion for handouts to me. If you are a "lawn care professional" then service that market and don't worry about the "grass cutters" as you aren't really competing with them. Know what service you are providing and worry about that. Some customers just want their grass cut and will go to the cheapest bidder...others want lawn care and know that comes at a premium over grass cutting...but it's also true that everyone wants the best price possible and has to make a personal choice in the balance of price/quality....and that's called "value". No matter what quality level your provide...cutting grass or superior lawn care...provide good value and you are good to go.

Many people have passions...look at artists...they follow their passion knowing it may not bring them riches. You say your have choices...well if you don't like your current situation make a different choice. Otherwise be happy you can follow your passion but don't whine to the rest of the world about the consequences. You say you are happier but you sure don't sound it. I have a passion for hiking and enjoying the mountains...I also have a passion for drinking beer. Unfortunately neither of those pay very well and I also have a passion for the fining things in life which requires $$$$. So I worked multiple jobs since I was 12 years old some 40 years ago. Had the opportunity for an education which came harder for me than many and worked various jobs while in school. Then once graduated...busted my butt for decades more to pay off loans..buy a car, etc....had some tough breaks but dealt with them. When my daughter was born I looked at her in the delivery room and said "Life ain't fair ...so now you can't ever say I didn't tell you." True story. Someone obviously never clued you in to this fact. You say you want to see the "profession" grow? Start by acting professional.

johnnybravo8802
09-14-2009, 03:35 PM
You constantly speak out of both sides of your mouth. Your version of "sticking together" is called price collusion and is really about "sticking it" to the customer so that you pesonally can enjoy greater than market prices and profits. Where's the passion in that? Sounds like a passion for handouts to me. If you are a "lawn care professional" then service that market and don't worry about the "grass cutters" as you aren't really competing with them. Know what service you are providing and worry about that. Some customers just want their grass cut and will go to the cheapest bidder...others want lawn care and know that comes at a premium over grass cutting...but it's also true that everyone wants the best price possible and has to make a personal choice in the balance of price/quality....and that's called "value". No matter what quality level your provide...cutting grass or superior lawn care...provide good value and you are good to go.

Many people have passions...look at artists...they follow their passion knowing it may not bring them riches. You say your have choices...well if you don't like your current situation make a different choice. Otherwise be happy you can follow your passion but don't whine to the rest of the world about the consequences. You say you are happier but you sure don't sound it. I have a passion for hiking and enjoying the mountains...I also have a passion for drinking beer. Unfortunately neither of those pay very well and I also have a passion for the fining things in life which requires $$$$. So I worked multiple jobs since I was 12 years old some 40 years ago. Had the opportunity for an education which came harder for me than many and worked various jobs while in school. Then once graduated...busted my butt for decades more to pay off loans..buy a car, etc....had some tough breaks but dealt with them. When my daughter was born I looked at her in the delivery room and said "Life ain't fair ...so now you can't ever say I didn't tell you." True story. Someone obviously never clued you in to this fact. You say you want to see the "profession" grow? Start by acting professional.

We'll, it's nice to see that there are still people out there who see the glass half empty instead of the glass half full. I'll clue you in buddy, if I weren't professional, why in the he#@ would I be worried about the profession to start with. I'd just say, let me go "Mow my grass" and the he#@ with everyone else. It's people like you who are going to keep this profession from being more of a "Profession." Think about this-You come into the ICU or your wife or child are in there and I'm the nurse. Would you want me treating your loved one with an "I don't give a sh#@ attitude" about my job or the profession of nursing? There are a lot of nurses out there like that and I'm not one of them and I will jump someone's a#@ real quick if I see that attitude around a pt. I take that same caring attitude to all of my customers also and that's the kind of person I'd spend my hard earned money on in my yard. You may want to think about that the next time you're on a job or in a hospital.:walking:

PROCUT1
09-14-2009, 03:54 PM
We'll, it's nice to see that there are still people out there who see the glass half empty instead of the glass half full. I'll clue you in buddy, if I weren't professional, why in the he#@ would I be worried about the profession to start with. I'd just say, let me go "Mow my grass" and the he#@ with everyone else. It's people like you who are going to keep this profession from being more of a "Profession." Think about this-You come into the ICU or your wife or child are in there and I'm the nurse. Would you want me treating your loved one with an "I don't give a sh#@ attitude" about my job or the profession of nursing? There are a lot of nurses out there like that and I'm not one of them and I will jump someone's a#@ real quick if I see that attitude around a pt. I take that same caring attitude to all of my customers also and that's the kind of person I'd spend my hard earned money on in my yard. You may want to think about that the next time you're on a job or in a hospital.:walking:


Nursing in a profession. Nursing is something that requires A LOT of school, study, devotion, and effort to work in that field.

People dont roll out of bed one day saying "I need some extra cash, lemme go down to the hospital and see if anyone wants some stitches cheap"

If you do into nursing, its because you want to be a nurse. You dont go through all those requirements and treat the job as a joke.


You cant compare that to lawn mowing.

Some guys do it because the love it.

Many do it because its the easiest thing they can do to make the money they do without being qualified to do anything else.

93Chevy
09-14-2009, 04:00 PM
We'll, it's nice to see that there are still people out there who see the glass half empty instead of the glass half full. I'll clue you in buddy, if I weren't professional, why in the he#@ would I be worried about the profession to start with. I'd just say, let me go "Mow my grass" and the he#@ with everyone else. It's people like you who are going to keep this profession from being more of a "Profession." Think about this-You come into the ICU or your wife or child are in there and I'm the nurse. Would you want me treating your loved one with an "I don't give a sh#@ attitude" about my job or the profession of nursing? There are a lot of nurses out there like that and I'm not one of them and I will jump someone's a#@ real quick if I see that attitude around a pt. I take that same caring attitude to all of my customers also and that's the kind of person I'd spend my hard earned money on in my yard. You may want to think about that the next time you're on a job or in a hospital.:walking:

Not trying to be a downer, but it's cutting grass.

I'd be more jacked about losing a landscape design and install job to a scrub than a lawn mowing account.

PROCUT1
09-14-2009, 04:13 PM
Not trying to be a downer, but it's cutting grass.

I'd be more jacked about losing a landscape design and install job to a scrub than a lawn mowing account.

Its much easier using the "you get what you pay for" logic with that.

We all like to think when we lose a job due to price that the customer is gonna be sorry and end up with some screwball hack.

Sure it happens......Rarely.

Most of the time you lose it to someone who does the same exact job you did if not better....

I got that all the time when i did a lot of residential sealcoating.

Id give a price for $200. Which was reasonable.

The customer would keel over and say she has someone who will do it for $75 and she was hoping to go cheaper.

I think to myself "I cant wait to see this job when its done"

And lo and behold, I drive by a week later.....And its a good job.

That just sucks.

johnnybravo8802
09-14-2009, 04:16 PM
All I"m trying to say is, "Take pride in whatever you do and own it." I"ve always had that attitude. Even if I'm just mopping floors and making $3/hr., I do the best job possible and take pride in it. Nothing makes me more angry than to have a worker or co-worker say that they aren't going to work that hard because, "I only make minimum wage." My reply is always, "I've worked harder for less." I"m not just talking about mowing, I"m talking about spraying, landscaping(I do this also) and anything that comes up under the "Green Industry" umbrella. Yea, you're right, and I've always said the same, that a lot of people don't see this as a profession but it's up to us to change that image. Without that change in attitude, things will remain the same-we'll be mowing lawns for $25 ten years from now.

93Chevy
09-14-2009, 04:24 PM
Its much easier using the "you get what you pay for" logic with that.

We all like to think when we lose a job due to price that the customer is gonna be sorry and end up with some screwball hack.

Sure it happens......Rarely.

Most of the time you lose it to someone who does the same exact job you did if not better....

I got that all the time when i did a lot of residential sealcoating.

Id give a price for $200. Which was reasonable.

The customer would keel over and say she has someone who will do it for $75 and she was hoping to go cheaper.

I think to myself "I cant wait to see this job when its done"

And lo and behold, I drive by a week later.....And its a good job.

That just sucks.

That's a very good point. I lost one job because my price was "too high." Then their son came and did the work, and did a good job. Just a simple planting bed, but it looked alright.

asps4u
09-14-2009, 05:50 PM
Doctors are charging more than 1985 and the cost of living is much higher so why are we still having to charge the same amount? That comment is for the guys who may remember what the industry was like 20 yrs. ago.:

Think about this-You come into the ICU or your wife or child are in there and I'm the nurse. Would you want me treating your loved one with an "I don't give a sh#@ attitude" about my job or the profession of nursing? There are a lot of nurses out there like that and I'm not one of them and I will jump someone's a#@ real quick if I see that attitude around a pt. I take that same caring attitude to all of my customers also and that's the kind of person I'd spend my hard earned money on in my yard. You may want to think about that the next time you're on a job or in a hospital.:walking:

These are two of the most idiotic comparisons I've ever heard. Comparing the medical profession and the green industry? Seriously? You obviously went to school to become a nurse, you should know better...Hell, you work in both fields and should know better. Your arguments lost any remote chance of credibility after those two posts.:hammerhead:

Charles
09-14-2009, 06:02 PM
Well this forum is not about arguing anyway. This topic has been run into the ground.