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View Full Version : Finding work in charlotte county florida. New lawn service. Prices?


Florida's Suncoast Lawn Care
01-14-2012, 02:49 PM
Hello, :hammerhead:

I just started a new lawn service in Port Charlotte Florida. I plan to cover Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte, North Port, & the Deep Creek area. I used to have a lawn service here 2003-2005 until we moved back up north because my wife hit a downed power line in hurricane Charley and didn't want to stay another season. She was in the hospital for 3 days and has heart valve damage from it. She is in good shape though.

Well we finally moved back and bought a house with cash from the equity of our home up north that we sold. I have purchased about $7000 in lawn equipment that is fairly new with a 48" Zero turn Bad boy and all. So I know how the lawn service business works. But I'm not getting any calls. I'm all over Google at Florida's Suncoast Lawn Care Service. And twisted the name about 5 different ways to show up in Google. I'm in the local papers at $140 a month and even the business service directory color big ad twice a week. But I have gotten only 3 calls in 3 months. And none of them want monthly service. They want it cut for $15-$20 a cut and you know how that goes. You can drive out there once a month in winter wasting fuel and the grass can be 6 inches high and they want to wait until next week. But when it's by the month they want it cut every week. I want monthly accounts but I can't seem to even get that. I offer $65 a month for straight lots, and $75 for corner lots and I'm not getting anything. How do you guys stay in business with $4 a gallon of gas? :cool2: What are the going rates in SW Florida? I used to charge $60 and $70 in 2003 and people paid. You would think it has went up by now since fuel prices are way up... I see people offering to mow lawns for $12 in Craigslist here. WTF

Florida Gardener
01-14-2012, 03:00 PM
I'm doing well in business bc I live near some of the wealthiest people in the country who want their properties maintained to the highest standards. EOW or by the cut is not too common around here. I don't know much about the west coast but am curious as to why you purchased such a big mower to start put with? Good luck to you and I hope that things work out for you down here.
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fl-landscapes
01-14-2012, 03:18 PM
Port Charlotte prices have indeed come down since 2003. And I can tell you 2003-2006 my phone rang off the hook. I would screen so many calls and voicemails and cherry pick the work I wanted. Now THE PHONE DOES NOT RING! I have been fortunate to keep most of all my contracts from when the economy was good. If I had to start over right now, I don't even think I would try. This area is economically depressed for sure. Sorry about the wife, hurricane Charlie was brutal but it was also a huge boom in business doing tree work. No per cuts or per season for me, only yearly, but starting from scratch you might have to take all you can get. Good luck.
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Florida's Suncoast Lawn Care
01-14-2012, 03:22 PM
I'm doing well in business bc I live near some of the wealthiest people in the country who want their properties maintained to the highest standards. EOW or by the cut is not too common around here. I don't know much about the west coast but am curious as to why you purchased such a big mower to start put with? Good luck to you and I hope that things work out for you down here.
Posted via Mobile Device

I can't seen to find work here. The fuel prices and home owners lack of wanting to pay monthly has me disturbed. I'm already considering shutting down before I even start. I have my business license and liability insurance and advertising. I can't even get enough work to pay for my magnetic signs and business cards. LOL. I know it's the slow season but shesh. People don't want a monthly contract. I even have a nice contract all made up. But people want by the cut only. And even then they don't want to pay $20. It's pathetic. I'm hoping by the spring I pick up some contract monthly accounts. I'm just glad we don't have any house payments.

I purchased the 2010 Bad Boy 48" for $2000 from a divorcing couple, they had to split all assets and let me talk them down $1000. It only has 30 hours. I bought it and the trailer in Indianapolis before we left. The enclosed 5x10 trailer was only $600. Plus then I bought a new Hasqvarna walk behind for smaller enclosed areas on sale at Sears for $200 after my wife's 10% Sears discount. Just cheap Homelite weed eaters but I like them. They last forever and are only $95 at Home Depot. Bought a nice Hitchachi blower online for $100 -$30 mail in. $70. And bought a 98 Dodge van v-6 with 90K miles for $2500. That's how i started my business last time too. 48" doesn't seem so large. I usually mowed 95% of my lawns back in 03-05 with a zero turn no problems. I even used to open the fence up on two lawns to get in to mow the back yard. It was quicker than walking it still. So I got it all cheap enough. But no calls doesn't help. :-)

Florida Gardener
01-14-2012, 03:34 PM
Wow, I wouldnt have passed that up either. Just a thought-the customers that are yearly prob already have a service right now. I'm sure in spring you can get customers from services who aren't doing a good job. The per cut cheapos let LCOs go for the winter.
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Florida's Suncoast Lawn Care
01-14-2012, 03:34 PM
Port Charlotte prices have indeed come down since 2003. And I can tell you 2003-2006 my phone rang off the hook. I would screen so many calls and voicemails and cherry pick the work I wanted. Now THE PHONE DOES NOT RING! I have been fortunate to keep most of all my contracts from when the economy was good. If I had to start over right now, I don't even think I would try. This area is economically depressed for sure. Sorry about the wife, hurricane Charlie was brutal but it was also a huge boom in business doing tree work. No per cuts or per season for me, only yearly, but starting from scratch you might have to take all you can get. Good luck.
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Ya thank you for the information. What are the going rates? I just don't get it. Because older people still need help mowing. Plus there is money that comes down from up north that own vacation homes here. I think the people offering to mow by the cut at $15 and such has ruined it. They must be working for beer money or something. It's unreal. I'm about to go get a job in computer service or something. I really need to work though I've been sick with 5 stupid surgeries in the last 4 years and I'm in misery and when I get out and work and such it takes my mind off of the pain and misery. Plus it helps to get moving. Intestinal problems and a dark spot the size of my hand on my right hip that burns like hell. The moron doctors do nothing anymore. The doctors now just say IBS and send me home. Ya IBS causes a dark spot the size of my hand and burning like madness. They have no clue and don't care. They just want paid. So i'm trying but not getting work. It's making it stressful plus I'm wasting so much money advertising it's killing us. I'm in a 12 month contract with Sun Herald for advertising now.

williams lcm
01-14-2012, 03:41 PM
You will have to offer more than just mowing. Most want mowing, shrubs trimmed, weed control ect for $65 per month. Alot of low ballers willing to do it for $10-15 per cut.The scabs only need beer money and would never be on a lawn site forum. I have seen some retired guys doing it for under $45 per month. . Good luck

Florida Gardener
01-14-2012, 03:43 PM
You will have to offer more than just mowing. Most want mowing, shrubs trimmed, weed control ect for $65 per month. Alot of low ballers willing to do it for $10-15 per cut.The scabs only need beer money and would never be on a lawn site forum. I have seen some retired guys doing it for under $45 per month. . Good luck

$65/mo for full maintenance is pretty bad. Those are lowballer prices.
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Florida's Suncoast Lawn Care
01-14-2012, 03:45 PM
You will have to offer more than just mowing. Most want mowing, shrubs trimmed, weed control ect for $65 per month. Alot of low ballers willing to do it for $10-15 per cut.The scabs only need beer money and would never be on a lawn site forum. I have seen some retired guys doing it for under $45 per month. . Good luck

Oh I know they probably don't even know how to read probably :confused:.

I offer mowing, edging, weed control and some minor tree/shrub trimming for $65. Larger trees and such i trim for $15-25 per tree. I even pluck weeds as I go; in flower planters if it's not an overgrown situation from neglect to begin with. I keep stuff maintained. Or at least I used to. I even cleaned up a lot of stuff. I hate the ones that want it cleaned up for $20 a cut then they never maintain it and want it done for $20 forever but let it overgrow. I've dealt with good customers and bad. I would say it's about 10% bad and 90% good overall if I can get customers again. But shesh I can't believe how bad it seems anymore. This economy sucks.

Florida Gardener
01-14-2012, 03:50 PM
I am getting $80-$90 for little backyards with 500-1k sq. Ft of turf with some plants and $120+/mo for lots with 3-5k sq ft. I only do full maintenance. I guess prices are way lower in other areas or im just getting good numbers??
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Florida's Suncoast Lawn Care
01-14-2012, 03:51 PM
Wow, I wouldnt have passed that up either. Just a thought-the customers that are yearly prob already have a service right now. I'm sure in spring you can get customers from services who aren't doing a good job. The per cut cheapos let LCOs go for the winter.
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Ya I'm hoping I can pick up at least 10-20 monthly accounts in the spring/summer. I would love to have about 50 accounts again. We don't have anymore house payments and my wife has a job at $8 an hour at Penney's. So we will be ok eventually I hope. Glad we are getting a $6k tax refund in two weeks or we would be screwed.

We bought a 4 bed 4 bath home for $41k on Oct 7. I talked them down from $59k. I can't believe it still. Someone added two bedrooms and two more baths to this home back in the mid 60s right after it was built. And a sun room on the front with sky lights. And a big enclosed lanai on the back. We painted the house pink. (my wifes idea). So I just say I'm tickled pink. I love Florida. I sold our home in Indianapolis. Came down here and bought a house in 1 week. Went back to Indy and loaded a 26' Uhaul. Came back down and closed on the house the next week driving straight through to meet the title company that morning. All in 14 days. We had to be out of the sold home in 14 days LOL. Perfect.

Keith
01-14-2012, 03:54 PM
I offer $65 a month for straight lots, and $75 for corner lots and I'm not getting anything. How do you guys stay in business with $4 a gallon of gas?


Honestly, existing customers. Ones I have had for many years pay the bills. I don't even actively advertise at this point because I know how cut-throat it is out there right now. I see people quoting the same monthly prices, or even lower than I was charging in 1986. I let the decent ones come to me via word of mouth. If they got my number it's a fairly reasonable assumption that they got it from one of my existing customers. Therefore they kind of know what to expect.

More power to you, but I can't imagine starting from scratch right now. It seems that the worse the area was impacted by the housing bubble and foreclosures, the farther the prices of lawn care have been driven down. The worst part, people will be so used to getting those kind of prices they will not recover for many years. These people move too. When they do they contaminate other areas with the idea the guy doing the work should pay them for the privilege of working for them. Around here, so far, prices are down. But the real low prices seem to be isolated to certain subdivisions. The ones hardest hit by foreclosure. I won't even go near them.

Florida's Suncoast Lawn Care
01-14-2012, 04:00 PM
I am getting $80-$90 for little backyards with 500-1k sq. Ft of turf with some plants and $120+/mo for lots with 3-5k sq ft. I only do full maintenance. I guess prices are way lower in other areas or im just getting good numbers??
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Probably both. :rolleyes:

Ric
01-14-2012, 04:30 PM
Hello, :hammerhead:

I just started a new lawn service in Port Charlotte Florida. I plan to cover Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte, North Port, & the Deep Creek area. I used to have a lawn service here 2003-2005 until we moved back up north because my wife hit a downed power line in hurricane Charley and didn't want to stay another season. She was in the hospital for 3 days and has heart valve damage from it. She is in good shape though.

Well we finally moved back and bought a house with cash from the equity of our home up north that we sold. I have purchased about $7000 in lawn equipment that is fairly new with a 48" Zero turn Bad boy and all. So I know how the lawn service business works. But I'm not getting any calls. I'm all over Google at Florida's Suncoast Lawn Care Service. And twisted the name about 5 different ways to show up in Google. I'm in the local papers at $140 a month and even the business service directory color big ad twice a week. But I have gotten only 3 calls in 3 months. And none of them want monthly service. They want it cut for $15-$20 a cut and you know how that goes. You can drive out there once a month in winter wasting fuel and the grass can be 6 inches high and they want to wait until next week. But when it's by the month they want it cut every week. I want monthly accounts but I can't seem to even get that. I offer $65 a month for straight lots, and $75 for corner lots and I'm not getting anything. How do you guys stay in business with $4 a gallon of gas? :cool2: What are the going rates in SW Florida? I used to charge $60 and $70 in 2003 and people paid. You would think it has went up by now since fuel prices are way up... I see people offering to mow lawns for $12 in Craigslist here. WTF



Viper

You should of done your "Do Diligence." You missed the boat by moving to the wrong area of Florida. You went just a tad too far South and should have stopped in Northern Sarasota County instead of Charlotte. Do a Simple Demographic comparison and your mistake should be very apparent. Sarasota has the second highest disposable income per capita in Florida only after Collier county. However cost of living in Sarasota is lower than Collier so Sarasota County is the best area for Income to cost of living ratio. Charlotte County has the LOWEST income per capita of the Coastal Counties. Poor Charlotte is just that POOR or a Broke area. Just look at the number of house you can buy for $ 30 & $ 40 K. Anywhere else they are 150 K or more.


.

Florida's Suncoast Lawn Care
01-14-2012, 04:31 PM
Thank for the information guys. I appreciate it. It doesn't sound too great. But I'm here. I already paid for the county license and fictitious name. Plus have all the equipment. So I will keep up some hope for summer time. It sounds fair to partly cloudy with a chance for sunshine. :cool2:

Patriot Services
01-14-2012, 05:06 PM
I am getting $80-$90 for little backyards with 500-1k sq. Ft of turf with some plants and $120+/mo for lots with 3-5k sq ft. I only do full maintenance. I guess prices are way lower in other areas or im just getting good numbers??
Posted via Mobile Device

This is what I am getting in the Tampa metro area. You are going to have to wait a bit. Picking up accounts in winter is tough.Typically I get a huge rush in spring when it seems like things explode overnight. Then another surge in July when the new guys can't hang with the heat. Keep your name out there. If you can swing it start with doorhangers in Feb, repeat again in March and April. If it's not above you there is money in leaves and gutters right know since were in Florida fall mode.:usflag:

Florida's Suncoast Lawn Care
01-15-2012, 01:57 AM
Viper

You should of done your "Do Diligence." You missed the boat by moving to the wrong area of Florida. You went just a tad too far South and should have stopped in Northern Sarasota County instead of Charlotte. Do a Simple Demographic comparison and your mistake should be very apparent. Sarasota has the second highest disposable income per capita in Florida only after Collier county. However cost of living in Sarasota is lower than Collier so Sarasota County is the best area for Income to cost of living ratio. Charlotte County has the LOWEST income per capita of the Coastal Counties. Poor Charlotte is just that POOR or a Broke area. Just look at the number of house you can buy for $ 30 & $ 40 K. Anywhere else they are 150 K or more.


.

Ya but we bought a nice 4 bed 4 bath for $41k. No more house payments and it's a nice area. My wife has a job at the mall and I will eventually pick up 20-30 monthly accounts or more. It will be ok. Maybe this area will bounce back 5-10 years. I'm just thrilled to be away from Indianapolis. We sold our house there for $110k and I can't believe it. I'm so happy to be out of the home loan and used the equity to buy this house and lawn equipment. It's just a matter of time. I might get into real estate in a couple of years when it starts turning around. I've always been around it with my mothers rental homes and such working on them over the years and maintaining the lawns. We sold them off for the estate after she passed away. :usflag:

jvanvliet
01-15-2012, 09:05 AM
MegaV;

Don't quit, persistence pays. Use your time to make the homes you do have premier properties.

It's very difficult to start from scratch, it's taken me 10 years to get from solo operator to where we are now, 2 crews, trucks, trailers and a boatload of gear. All of our business is from referral and, I've eaten plenty of canned beans.

A lot of guys down here have bought a route. That may be a good option for you. Check the business section here to see how to go about it. Be careful how to structure the deal, check back here with questions and ignore the "nay" sayer's, surround yourself with a positive support group & make sure your wife is in the loop and on-board. :D

You can make it! Don't quit before the miracle!

Florida Gardener
01-15-2012, 09:37 AM
MegaV;

Don't quit, persistence pays. Use your time to make the homes you do have premier properties.

It's very difficult to start from scratch, it's taken me 10 years to get from solo operator to where we are now, 2 crews, trucks, trailers and a boatload of gear. All of our business is from referral and, I've eaten plenty of canned beans.

A lot of guys down here have bought a route. That may be a good option for you. Check the business section here to see how to go about it. Be careful how to structure the deal, check back here with questions and ignore the "nay" sayer's, surround yourself with a positive support group & make sure your wife is in the loop and on-board. :D

You can make it! Don't quit before the miracle!

Good advice. I have been in biz for almost 3.5 years and I am just recently starting to see strides. I am nowhere where I want to be, but am on the way. If you want to be successful in this biz, you are going to have to be in it for a long time. Any of the guys I know that are doing great have been doing this for at least 10 years, most closer to 20.
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TheBetterDoorhanger
01-15-2012, 11:41 AM
Hi there. I wanted to say congrats on your new business and I am sorry you are having trouble finding clients who don't want to pay for monthly service. I'm not sure what kind of advertising you are doing right now, but are wondering if you are using door hangers? Door Hangers are the least expensive yet one of the most effective way of getting new clients. You can also target the nicer looking neighborhoods and perhaps avoid the issue of customers not wanting to pay for monthly. I work for Adeas Printing and we have a wonderful special right now. For only $99.00 you can get 1,000 door hangers with Band-It on them (it keeps them securely on the door). We also offer postcards and fliers for really good prices. http://www.adeasprinting.com/Door-Hangers We also offer door hangers with Stick-It for a really reasonable price too (only 20.00 more) Take a look at our website or call us. We ship all over the country. We do a lot of work for lawn care business owners and we can help you decide what to make your door hanger look like. Don't give up on your business quite yet, you may need to just try some different advertising techniques! -Robin :-)