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View Full Version : It's getting bad down here in FL.


SunState Lawn Care inc
12-03-2009, 07:35 PM
I looked at a job today for a lady she wantd the yard done it had been a while since it was last mowed, it was a larger residential for the area and on a lake. I bid 75.00 on it she also wanted the shrubs trimmed up I told her 40.00 more on that then she said she just wanted to remove another large bush so I charged her 15.00 to remove it and haul it away. She was good with the price and said she had to talk to her spouse I said great just let me know. She calls back later and said her husband found someone to do it all for $40.00 :hammerhead::wall Folks are working for next to nothing these days around here.

santafe
12-03-2009, 07:53 PM
the only thing ,so far, that i have noticed from a "lagging" economy is i picked up fewer new customers this year. these guys getting laid off from the factories thinking they can run a business for little more than what they were getting at the factory won't last.

However, how long will they last? is it going to be a year,2 or 3? I am not going to do it YET! but we might have to think about " if you can't beat them join them" . break even on a customer now and keep the flybys at bay until they decide to go back to work. then take the price back up. I'm just Saying.

unkownfl
12-03-2009, 08:01 PM
the only thing ,so far, that i have noticed from a "lagging" economy is i picked up fewer new customers this year. these guys getting laid off from the factories thinking they can run a business for little more than what they were getting at the factory won't last.

However, how long will they last? is it going to be a year,2 or 3? I am not going to do it YET! but we might have to think about " if you can't beat them join them" . break even on a customer now and keep the flybys at bay until they decide to go back to work. then take the price back up. I'm just Saying.

It will never happen unless you take a lose per job. These guys are conducting business without licenses, insurance, and decent equipment.

Florida Gardener
12-03-2009, 08:50 PM
Wow, that's pathetic.

I bid a job that was referred to me about 2 weeks ago. Small yard that was overgrown a little, clean up 3 Queen palms(remove old boots,fruits,etc.), and trim a arbicola hedge and a euginia hedge that was overgrown. Bid $100 for the whole thing and never heard back. Maybe it was high by $15-$20, but not absurd.......

zturncutter
12-03-2009, 08:58 PM
After 18 years in business I let my foreman of 10 years and my #2 guy of 4 years go because the market has crashed so bad in south Florida. I did this last fall and have finally, working by myself, got the company profitable again, mostly by selling to the quality existing customers I have left. I am finally selling some paver and landscape work again. Unbelievable.

Yater
12-03-2009, 08:58 PM
It will never happen unless you take a lose per job. These guys are conducting business without licenses, insurance, and decent equipment.

I think you meant to say loss:laugh: ...I'm mostly kidding.

unkownfl
12-03-2009, 09:01 PM
Go ahead by tonight there is 700 post to correct. I am aware of the mistakes in this sentence and the one before it just to piss you off

FBT
12-03-2009, 09:34 PM
What the hell is a arbicola hedge and a euginia hedge?

lawnguy001
12-03-2009, 09:35 PM
That's really nothing new here ,Sunstate, It's been going on for years. Market here has always been depressed. Wait till spring and see how bad it is as new LCO 's start up and try to drive the business in the ground. ALL you can do is keep a loyal customer base and wait out the fly by nites till they go under. Happens every year. After 23 yrs. , I've learned.

Florida Gardener
12-03-2009, 09:38 PM
arbicola and euginia are two plants that grow down here.

brucec32
12-03-2009, 10:49 PM
My observations of florida is that I wouldn't want to run a lawn care business there. S. Florida was terrible. People would scoff at what I considered really low prices. The weather causes all sorts of delays. And all this in 100% humidity.

I lived part time in Jacksonville and noticed that the majority of lawn trucks/trailers were just not very spiffy. It really looked like they did not have a lot of extra cash to put into equipment. Saw a lot of old mowers. That seemed to indicate competition was fierce and rates were not high.

It's all supply/demand. This can be a brutal business in some locales, I'm sure.

SunState Lawn Care inc
12-04-2009, 12:09 AM
That's really nothing new here ,Sunstate, It's been going on for years. Market here has always been depressed. Wait till spring and see how bad it is as new LCO 's start up and try to drive the business in the ground. ALL you can do is keep a loyal customer base and wait out the fly by nites till they go under. Happens every year. After 23 yrs. , I've learned.

I have been in it for 27 years now here and have never seen it this bad. A friend told me tonight about a guy who cuts there friends yard said he drives from the northside to Green cove springs for a $40.00 job. It takes him at least 20.00 in gas in his truck rig to just get there and back.

Landscape Poet
12-04-2009, 03:04 AM
I had a pool company enter my neighborhood with a mowing person in tow - I do most of my neighborhood cheap because it is 750 houses of small lots and simple landscape, however this pool company got a new company in with there flyers. Guy is doing lawns for $10.00. Shows up in a enclosed trailer with equip and spends roughly a hour on the property, however he does not show up until after 5pm which makes me think he is one of the pool guys doing it for extra cash. Extra cash is one thing, but working after work for $10 a hour is crazy, he would be better off working at McDonalds and getting some OT!

coolluv
12-04-2009, 06:17 AM
Its not much different here in North Georgia. Prices are going down every year. LCO's out the @$$ and more coming every day. Boy I can't wait for spring and the thousands upon thousands of flyers an door hangers on my property every day.

All the newbies with big dreams of getting rich mowing lawns. Its a wonderful life.

Dave...

CkLandscapingOrlando
12-04-2009, 06:26 AM
In the last 2 years I've lost 30,000 in comercial work. All to underbids. One cut me in half on a 450 a week walmart. I have'nt had as much trouble in the resi market though. I got a chance to bid on an apartment complex last week. On the phone the guy tells me this

We want better quality for a cheaper price. Looked at the place. Looked at the price. Never called him back. I've gone from 1000 a week in landscape profit to being lucky to do a 500 buck job total a month. If you look at the pics on my site, we dont do crap work. I just would rather sit home than work for nothing. Gets depressing

delphied
12-04-2009, 08:45 AM
I dont see a change in the future either. There are no good paying jobs to sustain the economy. People who have lost there jobs will be running out there credit cards over the next few months. Many of the guys writing on these threads are the guys with a so called business working for 10 an hour and saying its better than nothing. We are watching our economy fail even though the media says its turned the corner.

coolluv
12-04-2009, 09:13 AM
What you guys need to understand is that this is exactly what the government wants. Lower wages so that the wealthy business owners can make more profits. Who puts politicians in government? Well lets review. People with money and large businesses donate to campaigns in return for what? Well think about it. They send their lobbyist up to Washington after they help get them in there and they tell them what laws to pass, what laws to turn down etc.

For who's benefit? Yours or theirs? They pass laws to benefit themselves and the people who put them in there. And the American public just sits by and takes a screwing. With all of the people unemployed right now which way do you think wages and prices for services are headed? Up or down? You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure that one out. 10.4 percent overall unemployment, yeah right try doubling that figure and you will get close to the real numbers.

This is not a recession its a depression. 25 and 30% unemployment was what we had during the Great Depression and that's where we are at right now. Don't be fooled by what you hear in the media. Its alot worse than what they are telling you. They just don't want people to panic. If you watched the speech from the Fed, they said unemployment will rise next year and won't level off until the end of next year or possibly the beginning of 2011 and then stay flat for 2 or 3 years.

Sounds great don't it. Now add in higher taxes on business and people in general. Just a great country we live in.

I could go on but I will get off my soap box and let you guys think about it.

Dave...

Richard Martin
12-04-2009, 09:23 AM
My sister lives in Ft Myers. Back before I moved to NC in '06 I gave very hard consideration to moving close to my sister. When she told me what she pays a month for her lawn maintenance I changed my mind real quick. She's on 3/16 acre. Has a couple of palms and a bunch of other plantings. Full sidewalk and driveway with a sidewalk along the road. Her guy takes care of everything weekly for $75 a month. I told her I'd have to charge at least double that and she told me there was no way I'd every get it there. I believe her.

Florida Gardener
12-04-2009, 10:31 AM
Richard,

There is/was a company that came into my area sending out flyers for the same lot sizes with that same price. $75/month for everything(mowing, plant trimming,etc.) This guy I know that has a good amount of houses in that neighborhood said he has been picking up his accounts b/c the quality sucks and people realize they are getting what they pay for. Nonetheless, it still sucks b/c a lot of people will jump on it.

Florida Gardener
12-04-2009, 10:43 AM
Getting good rates down here is tough. You guys up north are lucky with the rates you get. We have to deal with all the lowballers,latinos,fly by nights,etc.

When I get $45-$50/hour, I am thrilled. Thank God I have everything paid off. Hopefully these bad times will weed out some competition and I can get more business.

Groomer
12-04-2009, 11:46 AM
You guys sure don't make it sound like the sunshine state. Wow, I thought the rust belt was bad.

BearWise Landscapers
12-04-2009, 03:59 PM
Those are some bad stories. I wish all of you the best in this tough market. I knew it was very price-sensitive, but I didn't realize it is getting that bad!

zturncutter
12-04-2009, 04:10 PM
You guys sure don't make it sound like the sunshine state. Wow, I thought the rust belt was bad.

It sure isn't the Sunshine state today, I actually had a small landscape to install, maybe tomorrow.:realmad:

david shumaker
12-04-2009, 05:44 PM
I get people who want work done below cost all the time. I've got enough good repeat customers now that I can blow off the free loaders. It takes some time, but once you get enough business, you can turn down the low profit jobs.

If it does get bad for me, I will just find something else to do. There are other ways to make money besides cutting grass.

santafe
12-04-2009, 06:54 PM
I get people who want work done below cost all the time. I've got enough good repeat customers now that I can blow off the free loaders. It takes some time, but once you get enough business, you can turn down the low profit jobs.

If it does get bad for me, I will just find something else to do. There are other ways to make money besides cutting grass.

have you applied for a job lately? 10.2% unemployment.

CkLandscapingOrlando
12-04-2009, 06:57 PM
Oh now my rates aint changed. If anything I've tightened up. I refuse to lower my price. I got guy's doing windermere properties for 80 a month where I'm still at 120-150 a month. I still pick up work. I do much better work. My trouble has come from the comercial sector. I dont pick up as much in the lower pay areas but If I could I would dump every thing outside of windermere and DP. If a person dont like my price keep looking. But dont ask why my house looks better than yours

topsites
12-04-2009, 08:34 PM
I get people who want work done below cost all the time. I've got enough good repeat customers now that I can blow off the free loaders. It takes some time, but once you get enough business, you can turn down the low profit jobs.

If it does get bad for me, I will just find something else to do. There are other ways to make money besides cutting grass.

That's it, the line of folks who need something for nothing is always the longest,
no offense to Florida but I doubt that changes much anywhere you go,
it's all the same sad story for sure.

SunState Lawn Care inc
12-05-2009, 12:07 AM
That's it, the line of folks who need something for nothing is always the longest,
no offense to Florida but I doubt that changes much anywhere you go,
it's all the same sad story for sure.

You just have no clue how bad it is down here then. There are so many new LCO's this past year it isn't even funny. I have never seen this many trucks and cars even escalades and cadallic cars pulling trailers. We were joking tonight on the way to supper about waiting to see a Vette pulling a lawn trailer next.

Be thankful you live where there is plenty of GOOD customers willing to still pay Good for Good service. I'm real lucky most of our customers we have had for many years and they are loyal customers that pay good. It's the new ones that are looking for a cheaper price then they are now paying or wanting something done as cheap as they can get it and not caring about quality of work as long as the grass is cut.

unkownfl
12-05-2009, 12:17 AM
Ck landscapes I maintain about 6 yards in your sub sorry bro didn't mean to steal your lawns if I did.

topsites
12-05-2009, 03:23 AM
You just have no clue how bad it is down here then. There are so many new LCO's this past year it isn't even funny. I have never seen this many trucks and cars even escalades and cadallic cars pulling trailers. We were joking tonight on the way to supper about waiting to see a Vette pulling a lawn trailer next.

Be thankful you live where there is plenty of GOOD customers willing to still pay Good for Good service. I'm real lucky most of our customers we have had for many years and they are loyal customers that pay good. It's the new ones that are looking for a cheaper price then they are now paying or wanting something done as cheap as they can get it and not caring about quality of work as long as the grass is cut.

I figured out a few things along the way :p

One is there are ALWAYS those neighborhoods where there is literally a scaper on every corner,
I can't hardly drive to-from a customer's house without seeing a half dozen other fellows.

I used to deal with that crap, it took years to get away from it.

CkLandscapingOrlando
12-05-2009, 06:36 AM
Ck landscapes I maintain about 6 yards in your sub sorry bro didn't mean to steal your lawns if I did.

Brother I've only lost 2 windermere spots. Both time they were moving. Both times they gave my name to the new owner. Both times I got the house back.

So no worries:walking: Besides I dont mind losing a job to someone that does good work for a fair price. In fact windermere has kept me alive when looking at my comercial lose.

unkownfl
12-05-2009, 10:25 AM
Brother I've only lost 2 windermere spots. Both time they were moving. Both times they gave my name to the new owner. Both times I got the house back.

So no worries:walking: Besides I dont mind losing a job to someone that does good work for a fair price. In fact windermere has kept me alive when looking at my comercial lose.

No I'm talking about right there on Beggs rd. Only properties I take care of Winderemere are my family's and some in summerport.

CkLandscapingOrlando
12-05-2009, 05:27 PM
That little hoa? Thank God. Do you do the HOA or for the rental comunity? At one time I did both. I would'nt bend over for the maintance guy so he did'nt like me. Once the money was gone I hated doing the little entrance way.

Are you doing the holiday lighting as well?

unkownfl
12-05-2009, 10:22 PM
That little hoa? Thank God. Do you do the HOA or for the rental comunity? At one time I did both. I would'nt bend over for the maintance guy so he did'nt like me. Once the money was gone I hated doing the little entrance way.

Are you doing the holiday lighting as well?

No I mow the bigger properties on beggs not HOA stuff. I don't touch commercial because I can't operate that low.

CkLandscapingOrlando
12-05-2009, 11:11 PM
I never did a big property on beggs. I had one small entrance with a little field for an hoa. And in the same comunity I had the back side of probly 20 houses for another hoa. 3 man hrs tops and that was walking the dog.

I'm not sure what your talking about.

CkLandscapingOrlando
12-05-2009, 11:13 PM
How do you mow big stuff but dont do comercial? What big stuff are you doing on beggs?

unkownfl
12-06-2009, 10:37 AM
I call it Beggs but they are over off Lakeville. I thought you lived in Brecken ridge in Apopka thats why I said I had 6 in your sub. I only have two off Lakeville. They aren't huge just about 3/4-1 acer. They are huge compared to lots in summer port 50x100's with 3000 square ft homes on them.

CkLandscapingOrlando
12-06-2009, 11:16 AM
I do live in BR but I dont work in here. I cut the guy next door from time to time but no charge. He is the pastor that married me so I try to help him out. It's not apk though. It's off claracona. There are some nice yards up the wekiva area but my work has just never taken me there. What areas you work in? Sometimes if I pick up more work in one area I shed work in another. If that happens and the work is close to you I'll let you know.

I thought you were talking about this little dust bowl I was doing for a few years. Place sucked but it payed 3hr for 1.5 and hardly anywork in the winter. Then the maint guy started asking me to do every thing in the world but the manager said they could'nt pay. I'm not working for free. I'll do what ever with the extra time left but after that you need to pay.

unkownfl
12-06-2009, 11:20 AM
I do live in BR but I dont work in here. I cut the guy next door from time to time but no charge. He is the pastor that married me so I try to help him out. It's not apk though. It's off claracona. There are some nice yards up the wekiva area but my work has just never taken me there. What areas you work in? Sometimes if I pick up more work in one area I shed work in another. If that happens and the work is close to you I'll let you know.

I thought you were talking about this little dust bowl I was doing for a few years. Place sucked but it payed 3hr for 1.5 and hardly anywork in the winter. Then the maint guy started asking me to do every thing in the world but the manager said they could'nt pay. I'm not working for free. I'll do what ever with the extra time left but after that you need to pay.

There is a subdivision off of binion and boy scout of ocoee-apopka rd called brecken ridge as well. I work off 535 one day a week one day in winter garden two in ocoee and one in apopka.

MikeKle
12-06-2009, 11:35 AM
The reason Floridas lawn care industry is in the shape its in is due to many people moving there or starting there because they think a lawn care operation in an area that doesnt have winter has to succeed. Hell, even i thought about moving there for that reason! It will only get worse, and the only winners will be the homeowners that are getting lawn care services for well under value. I just wonder how it is in California, or HI, both areas are perfect weather wise, so I would imagine its the same as FL?? But then again, I dont think theres many people on here from southern CA or ANYONE from HI, that Ive seen. The only way out would be to make it harder to even start a lawn care business, but when your only getting $10-$15 a yard, that may be a problem as well?

CkLandscapingOrlando
12-06-2009, 11:56 AM
Dude I get far more than 15 a yard. I can knock down 2 houses an hour at 30 a visit thats 60 an hour. Granted thats perfect condition with no drive between. I dont have any monthly clients that would ever switch for that price. You already know what your gonna get. But then again I'm focusing more on higher end resi. Now you get into pine hills and what not then yea they'll jump all over the cheap work. I had a guy bid 10hr per guy against my 35hr per guy with 3 guy's. I got the job and at least 10 this year off that one

unkownfl
12-06-2009, 12:01 PM
Dude I get far more than 15 a yard. I can knock down 2 houses an hour at 30 a visit thats 60 an hour. Granted thats perfect condition with no drive between. I dont have any monthly clients that would ever switch for that price. You already know what your gonna get. But then again I'm focusing more on higher end resi. Now you get into pine hills and what not then yea they'll jump all over the cheap work. I had a guy bid 10hr per guy against my 35hr per guy with 3 guy's. I got the job and at least 10 this year off that one

I'm with him we work in about the same area's. I don't maintain the high end stuff he does but I still get at least 20 for a 10 min job and 25 for a 20 min job. I have never worked for less unless it is a 12 month contract then I make it up in the winter. I have never seen a 10-15 dollar lawn unless you have 20 in a row like in celebration which you can complete a lawn with two guys in literally 5 mins, and could mow 60-80 yards a day.

CkLandscapingOrlando
12-06-2009, 12:28 PM
Either other states got real bad production or we got real small lots. Cause I dont see how you cant make money at our rates and production time. I dont do all hi end but theres where I'm shifting. I got a lot on Hia, some in apk, and a day in st.cloud. I know alot of driving but I hit the pike and am there in 30min so not bad for a day

Richard Martin
12-06-2009, 01:17 PM
I just wonder how it is in California, or HI, both areas are perfect weather wise, so I would imagine its the same as FL??

Huge portions of HI and CA have something that most of FL doesn't. Sky high costs of living. What it costs to live somewhere will have a huge effect on how much people get paid. It extends from the highest paid executives right on down to how much they pay at Micky Dees.

CkLandscapingOrlando
12-06-2009, 02:30 PM
Yes sir that is a great point.

lifetree
12-06-2009, 03:12 PM
unkownfl -- Is ee that you're from Windermere ... do you do Tiger's lawn ? Did you see the aftermath of the accident ?? :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

unkownfl
12-06-2009, 03:19 PM
Tiger has his own gardener I'm sure. Tiger, Shaq, Ken griffy jr, and Howard all live in a very exclusive subdivision called isle worth. It's next to impossible to get a lawn in there. Although I wake board in front of their houses almost every weekend.
Posted via Mobile Device

CkLandscapingOrlando
12-06-2009, 05:29 PM
It's not impossible but can take years. But once you get through that gate you find the promise land. Those fools have been camped out in windermere every day. Like 6 cameras right at the gate and big trucks down by the police station. I have'nt been lucky enough to get in isles worth but I'm in Keenes Point and a few others. Close enough. 150 a month for tiny lots

Florida Gardener
12-06-2009, 05:59 PM
^That's funny, there are three areas down here(Jupiter Island,Palm Beach Island,Lost Tree Village) that are of the caliber of that neighborhood by you guys. Accounts are like $1000/mo average. It is the promised land down here. That is what I am aiming for.

unkownfl
12-06-2009, 06:04 PM
^That's funny, there are three areas down here(Jupiter Island,Palm Beach Island,Lost Tree Village) that are of the caliber of that neighborhood by you guys. Accounts are like $1000/mo average. It is the promised land down here. That is what I am aiming for.


Same here we have Isle Worth, and then on the north side of town Heathrow and Lake Mary have some exclusive subs as well.

CkLandscapingOrlando
12-06-2009, 07:15 PM
Heathrow has got some sweet spots. The best about the high end, big comps dont compete to much. It's also harder for the low ballers to get in. It's not as tuff of a market either. They dont balk cause your higher than the last comp and dont tend to switch because of price.

fl-landscapes
12-06-2009, 07:32 PM
Either other states got real bad production or we got real small lots. Cause I dont see how you cant make money at our rates and production time. I dont do all hi end but theres where I'm shifting. I got a lot on Hia, some in apk, and a day in st.cloud. I know alot of driving but I hit the pike and am there in 30min so not bad for a day

compared to wear I grew up in MA the lots here in florida are tiny.....might have something to do with it.

unkownfl
12-06-2009, 08:05 PM
Yeah in Orlando they are even smaller than SWFL.

exmark614
12-06-2009, 08:18 PM
^That's funny, there are three areas down here(Jupiter Island,Palm Beach Island,Lost Tree Village) that are of the caliber of that neighborhood by you guys. Accounts are like $1000/mo average. It is the promised land down here. That is what I am aiming for.

I had even thought about comin down from the tundra of MN to penetrate those exclusive areas down there, Boca, West Palm, Del Ray, etc. Beautiful areas and where I wanna live one day! :D