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View Full Version : What did you learn from the 2011 mowing season? Good or bad


Ijustwantausername
10-30-2011, 10:35 AM
1. Never do business with realtors, you'll never make any money, at least in my area.

2. If the customer seems shady from the beginning, chances are they are going to be shady.

3. Put EVERYTHING in the contract, even the smallest detail, if you don't, it will come back to haunt you.

4. Take as many accounts as you possibly can, because everyone and I mean everyone is mowing grass.

5. You have to spend money to make money :( unfortunately..

THIESSENS TLC
10-30-2011, 10:51 AM
I learned lots this year, it was a good year!
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93Chevy
10-30-2011, 12:13 PM
I learned how to cut in the rain 1-3 days every week and not leave everything looking like crap.

GMLC
10-30-2011, 12:14 PM
I had an unexpected rise in upper middle class properties and a small drop in high end properties. My stress level dropped as well. I need to take some time this winter to figure out why and if I should shift my niche market.
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MOturkey
10-30-2011, 12:52 PM
I learned that just because someone finally pays what they owe from the year before, it doesn't mean they will pay you this year. :)

I also learned it is OK to say "no" occasionally. I turned down a few jobs this fall, and I didn't miss a meal, or any sleep, because I did.

93Chevy
10-30-2011, 12:55 PM
In addition, I'm glad I sold my business and I enjoy working for somebody else...for right now. Things may change and I have to deal with management BS occasionally, but I'm happy with my decision.

Agape
10-30-2011, 02:22 PM
I learned the same things I learned last year but failed to implement, but I came out of the winter this year with 6 or 7 rear round accounts (just started the year before) 2 of which had paid year in advance, so I only had the income of 5. now I have 27 year round accounts, all but 2 on autopay.

fresh paint on my trucks and new trailer/equipment and next year is going to be awsome!! I have to get a system for meeting ALL my estimates/appointments, work on timing. etc...

I get a bit depressed in the winter when it's slow but trying to keep a positive attitude. it'll be good.:waving:

weeze
10-30-2011, 03:09 PM
i learned there are about 3 full time lawn care companies in my area yet there are 500 part timers.

drenchedlawn
10-30-2011, 03:32 PM
All things considered, we could have it a lot worse. Not a bad way to make a living even though we all have our gripes.

Darryl G
10-30-2011, 03:32 PM
Well, I already knew this but it was reinforced: Good customers are hard to find. I took on 5 new accounts this spring and only one of them worked out for me. Some people, especially those that are new to having a contractor take care of their lawn for them, are just difficult to work with and don't seem to understand that IT'S A ROUTE and that the lawn gets mowed when you're in the area. They also don't seem to understand that they signed up for lawn maintenace service, not perpetual lawn reclamation service. I don't think they'd be wanting to let the lawn go 2 or 3 weeks without a cut if they were the ones cutting it!

So lets say I get 20 calls for lawn mowing...perhaps 10 of them won't be in my preferred service area or won't be lawns that I want to cut. I might only get half of the ones I do bid on so now we're down to 5. If only one in 5 of them works out to be a long term customer, that's only 5 percent of the leads I get.

joel29m
10-30-2011, 04:00 PM
what i learned from the begining of my business but became worse this year:

1. one way to know a person is to let them owe you money...

2. friends/relatives figure youre doing them a favor by cutting their yard
(discounts, free cuts)

3. if the customer gives you the run around for your money, when you are finally paid, give them the run around for a yard cut.

4.get at least one commercial account so you wont cry during winter, cause i need one!!!!!:cry::cry:

hoopzers3
10-30-2011, 04:05 PM
I learned that there is alot of competiton in the:usflag:

Patriot Services
10-30-2011, 04:10 PM
i learned there are about 3 full time lawn care companies in my area yet there are 500 part timers.

Part timers is being nice. I have seen some real half butted jobs this year. Garnered more work for me but had to really work to get the proper price even after they got burned by the cheapo outfit. I learned not to bend on price and its ok to say no.
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32vld
10-30-2011, 05:00 PM
Avoid people that want their lawns mowed every other week.

If you need the business and want to take them on then you need to get paid 50% more then your regular weekly rate.

Hold to your prices. Don't low ball. Lowering the price will get you the job but you will get a customer that you don't want.

TMlawncare
10-30-2011, 05:37 PM
I realized that after 15 years in business fulltime, nothing scares me more then drought conditions. It is the one thing that can paralyze a company. Employee problems, rain outs are all extremely stressful as well. Still nothing makes fear run down my spine like a widespread drought.

cpllawncare
10-30-2011, 05:53 PM
Man! this was my first year and I learned a lot!
1- defintily know how to say no.
2- don't lowball you'll regret it
3- Stick to your guns and do all your customers an above avg job
4- I have a 100% retention rate because of the quality and level of service I provide, that is my mantra, don't rely on price to get your business.
5- Listen to the guys that have been in this for a long time they pretty much know the deal.

Agape
10-30-2011, 06:19 PM
My cat Izzy is ready for winter!!

Kelly's Landscaping
10-30-2011, 08:05 PM
I learned older tucks cost way more then you ever plan for and there is no comparison with a 12 year old truck and a brand new one. I wonder why I waited so long now.

joel29m
10-30-2011, 08:08 PM
I realized that after 15 years in business fulltime, nothing scares me more then drought conditions. It is the one thing that can paralyze a company. Employee problems, rain outs are all extremely stressful as well. Still nothing makes fear run down my spine like a widespread drought.
You're right about the drought, we had a bad one here in Louisiana this year.
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larryinalabama
10-30-2011, 08:23 PM
I learned that my body si getting older.

One thing I need to learn is how to get better organized, thats the winter tiome project

jaybow
10-30-2011, 08:37 PM
I learned I couldn't do without my Exmark 60" Lazer, so I bought a new one again. I also learned that rather then carrying a 21" mower and a 36" to just buy a 32" and have a mower that can fit through all gates on my trailer. Also learned to just wear ear plugs instead of ear muff style ear protection when it's a hot. It allows more heat to exit the body in my opinion.
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nightshutter
10-30-2011, 09:33 PM
Avoid people that want their lawns mowed every other week.

If you need the business and want to take them on then you need to get paid 50% more then your regular weekly rate.

Hold to your prices. Don't low ball. Lowering the price will get you the job but you will get a customer that you don't want.

Thats the truth!!

DA Quality Lawn & YS
10-30-2011, 10:19 PM
I learned if it doesn't rain, you don't mow.

I learned it is better to have a bit too much rain, then have the spicket shut off, it just kills top line growth.

KS_Grasscutter
10-30-2011, 10:54 PM
-If a customer seems like a PITA to begin with, it's not worth it to try and work with them, just cut your losses and move on

-Don't have too much money tied up in equipment, sure makes things get real tight when it doesn't rain all summer and there are hundreds of dollars going out on loan payments

-If customers have trouble paying on time, go to prepay or drop the client (got 2 or 3 that are way far out on invoices, one i "can't drop" cuz it's my biggest residential, but that only applies when they PAY me lol)

-It sucks replacing Walker blowers, don't mow up dog bones

-Spend the winter looking for a replacement to my not-so-profitable lawn mowing "career"

calvinslawnservices
10-30-2011, 11:02 PM
I learned I couldn't do without my Exmark 60" Lazer, so I bought a new one again. I also learned that rather then carrying a 21" mower and a 36" to just buy a 32" and have a mower that can fit through all gates on my trailer. Also learned to just wear ear plugs instead of ear muff style ear protection when it's a hot. It allows more heat to exit the body in my opinion.
Posted via Mobile Device

Thats the truth. I wear ear muffs for the 1st month of the season and the last. Every other month is plugs.

Calvin

Ijustwantausername
10-31-2011, 09:20 AM
-Spend the winter looking for a replacement to my not-so-profitable lawn mowing "career"[/QUOTE]

Exactly what I will be doing, now I won't say its not profitable, but I will say I got burned out this year for sure.

Lawn Pawn
10-31-2011, 10:30 AM
* We do not provide a service that people need, we are not doctors...

* Always be professional and honest, but separate business from friendship...

* Work hard, but not stupid...

* Know what you WANT to do and pass up the rest, you are in business for yourself and need to make a profit...

When it's all over and done...
There will be two dates on your tombstone, and when friends stop by to read them.
The only thing that matters, is the little space between them.

cborden
10-31-2011, 10:57 AM
To insist on payment by cash or credit card only and at time of service, way too many NSF checks this season.

Agape
10-31-2011, 12:19 PM
I learned older tucks cost way more then you ever plan for and there is no comparison with a 12 year old truck and a brand new one. I wonder why I waited so long now.

IDK,I have older trucks, and I had 4 truck "payments" this year. (2 new radiators-got aluminum for $130-$165, and a couple minor things) my dump truck currently needs a gasket ($100 at shop, I'll check/top off coolant until things slow down or it "pukes") and when the motors give it'll be cheaper IMHO to put new engines/tranny's in em'

I looked at new trucks a few years ago when the rate was 0% financing and it was still gonna be $600/month plus ins. on a half ton.

I can write off like $0.56/mile, so they're making me money by just being on the road.

Groomer
10-31-2011, 05:38 PM
I learned:
The rustbelt is still in a downward spiral
That supply and demand in the lawn biz are on a crash course
the middle and upper middle class homeowners of yesteryear are quietly fading away

RussellB
10-31-2011, 05:57 PM
That the Myrtle Beach area is loaded with retirees and all of them are looking for lawn care services.
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lawnman24949
10-31-2011, 09:15 PM
Did not learn this from this year but always carry around at least 10 business cards whenever you go because you never know when a bunch of people will ask for them. Also the day you forget them many people will ask for them and when you say you have none you will look unprofessional and I know from experience.

jaybow
10-31-2011, 09:42 PM
This summer I kept forgetting to put them in my wallet, and that's when everyone asks.
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joel29m
10-31-2011, 10:26 PM
another thing is that some people thinks that your truck and trailer is old because youre not making money, so when its time to pick up the cash at the end of the month i pull up in my bling bling truck...... :confused:

Ducke
11-01-2011, 09:00 PM
1- Know when to say NO.
2- Don't ever don't never low ball.
3- Once you quote a price Stick to it.
4- Always do your best never cut corners it will catch up with you.
5- Read, watch and learn, You can never know it all or enough about this business.

Ducke
11-01-2011, 09:01 PM
Oh ya
6- You have to love what you do in order to be successful at it.

Darryl G
11-01-2011, 09:12 PM
another thing is that some people thinks that your truck and trailer is old because youre not making money, so when its time to pick up the cash at the end of the month i pull up in my bling bling truck...... :confused:

The contrary can be true too...if you have a fancy new truck you must be expensive. I actually had a call in spring from the manager of a non-profit agency who was perfectly happy with his lawn care provider but thought that he must be paying too much because the guy doing it had "all top equipment."

ozarklawns
11-02-2011, 12:35 AM
I realized that after 15 years in business fulltime, nothing scares me more then drought conditions. It is the one thing that can paralyze a company. Employee problems, rain outs are all extremely stressful as well. Still nothing makes fear run down my spine like a widespread drought.

This is so true!!!. Im in NW Arkansas and this summer revenue was down 30%! Too bad we cant mow dirt. I grew client base by 15 accounts and made as much as last season. I learned mother nature can wreak havoc on a lawn business. Thankful I will make it through winter! Trying to keep the dream alive!

32vld
11-02-2011, 11:16 AM
The contrary can be true too...if you have a fancy new truck you must be expensive. I actually had a call in spring from the manager of a non-profit agency who was perfectly happy with his lawn care provider but thought that he must be paying too much because the guy doing it had "all top equipment."

I won't go that far because I know what it is to work with nice equipment, junk equipment, and like to keep my stuff looking nice.

But Red Flags will pop up when a guy comes to give me an estimate in a Corvette, Cadillac Escalade, or some equally expensive automobile. I have to start thinking that this guy must charge too much and or not pay his employees enough.

MDLawn
11-02-2011, 12:06 PM
To the post about part timers. I know I'm probably the 1% but I was beat out on price by the full time companies around here. More calls this year and the main complaint was the company did a garbage job. These were full time companies. Just because one is "full time" doesn't mean they know everything about business or quality.

What I learned?

1.) I can no longer handle the demands of a full time job, family, and a mowing schedule. I'll continue to landscape but the mowing is too much of a PITA. Plus i earned more with landscaping this year and last compared to mowing.

2.) When meeting a potential customer find out every reason why they are looking for lawn/landscape service. 9 out 10 times there was a problem with the last company. If they talk about quality being the main concern over price find out what the previous company did wrong and dont do that, you'll have a customer for life! I acquired a great $3000+/yr residential lawn/landscape account because the previous contractor never returned calls and never mowed a small 2ft wide 25ft long patch of grass.:hammerhead:

3.) I must have done a good job because when I informed all my customers I was no longer mowing for them they were rather sad and mad!! People don't get that way with bad service.

4.) EVERYONE is doing this business right now. Separate yourself in any way you can or you'll just get lost in the mix.

A+Grounds
11-02-2011, 02:25 PM
i HATE triton decks and LOVE ultracuts

MOW ED
11-02-2011, 03:42 PM
I learned that I am doing something right because I am almost finished with my 16th successful season. I learned to keep doing what I am doing.

jaybow
11-02-2011, 04:54 PM
i HATE triton decks and LOVE ultracuts

Never had a Triton but love my series 6 ultracut!
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bmw5085
11-02-2011, 04:59 PM
in eastern pa we were forced to learn to cut all of our lawns in 2 days while wet and growing like crazy because of constant rain. learned how to deal with customers who think commercial mowers cant go on a lawn until its bone dry. learned how to turn around EXTREEMLY careful since it was almost impossible not to leave marks even with lots of experiance. and im still learning since the leaves are still on the trees and it snowed 5in last week out of nowhere which has never happened. Usually we dont finish until leaf clean up is over but they are still on trees and it snowed. Pry the wettest most hectic season I have ever had but good learning experiance.

A+Grounds
11-02-2011, 06:22 PM
Never had a Triton but love my series 6 ultracut!
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if you ever get the chance to use a triton, try it, you'll love your ultra cut even more!