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View Full Version : Keeping your head "above water" in 2003


MATTHEW
10-13-2002, 09:40 PM
Been doing some research about expanding services in 2003 (expecting another drought) and I have come up with these 2 areas.

#1. Tree service. I have 4 tree co's that I use for referrals. Ther are still booked for 4 months into the future.

#2. Blacktop sealing.

With the tree service, you need a chipper and a bucket truck. Fairly minimal training. You will go through a lot of chains, but other than that, the equipment will far outlast mowing gear.

I just paid a guy $20 to seal my apron. He said he set up 5-10 drives in the area recently and made $500 on a sunday.
He said he gets a 55 gal drum of the stuff for $55 and makes $500 on it.

I wish I had done this in 2002. The bottom line would have been a little sweeter!:(

cantoo
10-13-2002, 10:06 PM
matthew, you are right on track you need a second "job" that fits in with your business and is flexible. You know jobs that don't have to be done on a particular day or time ones that if the grass picks up you can put off for awhile.
Pressure washing, relevellling interlocking brick, tree work, fence building, driveway sealing, lot cleanups, etc. Take a look at the yellow pages and you will get some good ideas on part time jobs. The other thing is you don't want to lay out big dollars if the equipment will sit for long periods of time when the grass is good.

NC Big Daddy
10-13-2002, 10:34 PM
So you're going to cut grass oopps "landscaping" seal driveways and trim trees? I've got another idea. How about learing and growing the trade you're in. I'm sure the guys in those trades are thrilled about another "part time" or as some here like to say "scrub" coming in and screwing up their market like every Tom, Dick and Fireman has in this area. An old saying comes to mind here "Jack of all trades..........Master of none"

Brickman
10-13-2002, 11:17 PM
Another thing, tree insurance is HIGH.

Minnesota
10-14-2002, 12:28 AM
I would have to agree with Big Daddy

stick to what you know and try to expand

that.

Guido
10-14-2002, 05:24 AM
Option # 1 (tree work) I would shy away from. To properly prune trees there is a lot more to know then you think there is, there is also a lot more insurance and liability risk then you think. Now, dropping a tree in a wide open yard is a different story. Stump grinding is a different story. I would look into the last 2 options, but leave the pruning to a pro, unless you want to fully educate yourself in that area.

Option # 2 is a little easier to get into as far as experience goes. You could easily set up a trailer with all you need to seal cracks, seal pavement and even stripe / mark pavements. There is some good money in it also if you manage it right.

Good Luck!!

Shady Brook
10-14-2002, 07:18 AM
Minor pruning, or like was said, laying down a tree in an open space is one thing.... Insurance is crazy, workmans comp is almost hard to find. I thought of this, but you really need to run a crew year round in order to be profitable. A decent chipper, and bucket truck, chip truck are not cheap if you get something decent, if you skimp, they can be real expensive to fix. Stumping maybe an option, sealing, pressure washing, and better yet something you could do in the winter months would be great.

Have fun brainstorming.

Jay

MOW ED
10-14-2002, 08:01 AM
Its always good to think ahead and try and plan for the future even though you have no idea what it will bring. The other businesses you speak of have some positive as well as negatives involved. I have never done asphalt sealing but I do know that the bigger dogs in the biz have lots of bucks invested in machinery. The other thing is that they work in the HOT weather all the time with HOT tar. The other thing about it is that they mostly work weekends and holidays because that is when some of the businesses are closed. (big parking lots) Im not trying to discourage you.
I have done tree work with a guy that I know real well. He didn't have a bucket truck but he did have a chipper and dump truck. He worked for the city of Green Bay forestry dept. for 10 years to get his initial experience. There is a lot to be considered when doing tree work. It isn't that easy to just cut em down unless you are in the forest. Most tree work is because the tree is in a place it shouldn't be now. They are usually big and close to a structure of some type. It is dangerous and hard work and the bucket truck doesn't always fit in the backyard behind the house where the limb is hanging over the new addition. That means being an EXPERT at climbing. Which leads to the HIGH insurance rates. Once again, not trying to discourage you but if you are serious about it I would try and get on a crew this winter and learn the ropes.


Just a question for the NC BIG DADDY, Just curious as to if you were just using that second line as a figure of speech?

"How about learing and growing the trade you're in. I'm sure the guys in those trades are thrilled about another "part time" or as some here like to say "scrub" coming in and screwing up their market like every Tom, Dick and Fireman has in this area"

Its good to have an opinion but it probably isn't so good to pick out a group of people to equate to a scrub with the limited knowledge you have of who might be reading your posts here. Welcome to Lawnsite, let the learning begin.

awm
10-14-2002, 08:50 AM
well i already do what hes talkin ,and can tell u tree work calls for some real education. having said that,. all this guy is talkin about is a return to the, good all around get it done man. and i think its a good idea. aint to crazy about this idea of knowing what u specialise in and being dumb as dirt in most other areas.
no offence intended.
myself im going with buyin and sellin
used equipment i see around in my wk.. buy low ,sell at a profit. i still get the customer a good deal ,so when he thinks back on the deal ,he feel he has been treated fairly.thts one secrete to good buisiness.. as alway these are my opinions ,i welcome your views. kaplan[owns a tv station] aint got a thing on me:D . this is how he ended his tv commentaries. yaw have a good day.

Gravely_Man
10-14-2002, 02:51 PM
You never know what you can do until you try but having said that stick with what you know so you have something to fall back to. Tree work is very hard and requires a lot to insurance, training and equipment. To do tree work you have a much larger start up expense then you do with lawn work. Driveway work may make you some money on the side but I am not sure it people will take you seriously when they see that you do everything. I wish you the best of luck in whatever you decide.



Gravely_Man

f350
10-14-2002, 03:30 PM
we have aquired a few predictive dialers that we will use in 2003. some idea's we have:
use our systems and employee's to sell the following services:
(1) carpet cleaning
(2) window washing and deck sealing
(3) sell lawncare for other firms in a different county
the list goes on and on..
our systems can be set to auto dial with a recorded message,
thus an easy 1000 - 2000 calls a day can be made.

Dennis E.
10-14-2002, 05:20 PM
Plenty to do right thru the dormant months. New customers almost every week. Still have some waiting to get on the schedule.
That's the plus about Fl.
Things never slow down.

Tree service? Too much xtra for ins.
Blacktop sealing? UGH. PITA. I know some guys here that do it.


Stick with what you know and hone your skills there.
JMO.

Jusmowin
10-14-2002, 08:31 PM
I split firewood when the grass isnt growing, and sell it during the the winter months. Pretty good extra money !

hustlers
10-14-2002, 10:25 PM
vacation, when you work as hard as
i do, you ll need 4 months vacation,
mexico, grand canyon, mnt biking, doing
stuff with you kids.

Money comes from trees, just go cut a few down
when ya need some

life is short enjoy it.

Buy some property

f350
10-14-2002, 11:10 PM
work as hard as u do huh?? just kiddin dude!!!
it's ok because i dont work hard at all. hey has any one seen the movie " rules of attraction "??

Brickman
10-14-2002, 11:51 PM
Originally posted by f350
hey has any one seen the movie " rules of attraction "??


I want to. But not sure if it is worth spending money on. Wasn't sure about the preview.

The one I WANT TO SEE is the new James Bond coming out Nov. 22.

fireshawn1175
10-15-2002, 12:14 AM
nc big daddy

I guess southern hospitality wasn't taught in your neck of the woods! I personally take offense to the fact that you think that all firemen are scrubs. I have a fairly small landscaping company that makes about 12G a year. I use commercial equipment, have insurance, pay taxes, and I am growing my business slowly so as not to spread myself too thin. I do very good work, or at least that is what all of my customers say, and the fact that I chose to be a firefighter full time and a landscaper on the side doesn't make me a scrub. Maybe you have run into some fly by night operation in your little part of the planet, but there are plenty of firemen who are on a whole very concientious about doing whatever work we set our minds too. One more thing, when was the last time you did something for humanity that wasn't totally influenced by the bottom line. Being a fireman will never make me rich, but the satisfaction of doing something besides whining about the fireman that stole one of your accounts does wonders for you.

lawnworker
10-15-2002, 01:41 PM
Originally posted by NC Big Daddy
So you're going to cut grass oopps "landscaping" seal driveways and trim trees? I've got another idea. How about learing and growing the trade you're in. I'm sure the guys in those trades are thrilled about another "part time" or as some here like to say "scrub" coming in and screwing up their market like every Tom, Dick and Fireman has in this area. An old saying comes to mind here "Jack of all trades..........Master of none"

I didn't know that sealing driveways was a trade; lighten up a little. If matt wants to make a little extra on drive-way sealing or trees, So what. In fact, thursday, I have a drive to seal, first one this season, Does that make me a scrub? It sure beats no work at all.This seal job came to me by request I dont normally turn down easy jobs.Do you ?

E-Rock
10-16-2002, 03:36 PM
I think having a "back-up" income is a good idea. For the past two years here in Ohio there has been a drought during the summer. Lawns driend up and people were laid off from some of the companies I know. Unless you have landscaping jobs to fall back on you were in trouble. I went out with a painting buddy and we pressure washed a few homes. Seems like a good idea to me. And when we were at peoples homes, the neighbors came up wanting done too. So I might try to get into that as a backup.

MATTHEW
10-16-2002, 03:56 PM
Personally, I kept fairly busy all summer despite the drought.

I just ended up doing jobs that were a bit too labor intense for 90 plus degrees.

Now that I think of it, standing in a blacktop drive with hot, stinking goo doesn't appeal to me anymore.

Just forget I even brought it up!:blob2:

Clewsew
10-16-2002, 05:27 PM
Originally posted by NC Big Daddy
I'm sure the guys in those trades are thrilled about another "part time" or as some here like to say "scrub" coming in and screwing up their market like every Tom, Dick and Fireman has in this area. An old saying comes to mind here "Jack of all trades..........Master of none"

First of all, who cares what the other "guys" think. If you are doing any job, you are doing it for yourself!

Second, what gives you the right to call someone a "scrub" if they are doing lawn work for a primary job, with other areas secondary. My thought is that if they can do additional areas of work they may be able to serve their existing customers better. Someone people already know and trust! Have you ever worked 2 jobs in your life? Did that make you a scrub, or someone who needed/wanted more money.

So what if a Fireman, or any other professional wants to make some extra money. If that is what he/she wants, then go for it. If you are as good as what your post might imply, then the "scrubs" shouldn't be able to steal any business worth having, unless that is you are as tactful with your potential customers as you are with us here on lawnsite! I am not saying that there are not scrubs out there, because we all know that there are, just don't knock someone who is doing Lawncare for a 2nd source of income.

Just my $.07 worth.

The Lawn Choupique
10-16-2002, 05:41 PM
Firemen have got to make a living to. What whould you have them do. The reason they cut grass on their days off is they need the money and very few of them have any skills to be able to go out and make money doing much else except cutting grass.

MOW ED
10-17-2002, 04:29 PM
It seems like a few of the more uninformed people of the forum enjoy making baseless broad generalizations about certain groups of members that belong to this forum.

Like I said, Its great to have an opinion but try and not make yourself look completely ignorant by typing an opinion that you can't back up with fact.

If you can then have at it. If you are upset because I can do more than one job and do them well then just come out and say it.

paul
10-17-2002, 04:58 PM
We seem to have a bit of a flap here so I'm closing this thread down!