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TriCityLawnCareLLC
02-13-2012, 07:00 PM
I WILL be there next year! I look forward to meeting you.

Junior M
02-13-2012, 09:57 PM
These conferences, are they just for landscaping companies or is the information kind of interchangeable?

etwman
02-15-2012, 08:00 AM
They are focused on the green industry, but I think any business can gather good insight from it.

BigMatt11
02-15-2012, 01:44 PM
Wow! What a great source of information, along with a remarkable business.

Subscribed

etwman
02-16-2012, 01:27 PM
From a good friend of mine: "You spend the first 10 years finding your way in your business and building infrastructure, the next 10 are spent improving processes / efficiencies, and the 10 after that (assuming a 30 year career), are spent reaping the benefits of what you have built."

I believe there is alot of truth to this and if you think for a moment that you are going to start a company and its going to be a well oiled machine I have news for you. Its gonig to take time and patience. If you don't believe the above quote take a look around at companies that are 10, 20, and 30 years old.

KS_Grasscutter
02-16-2012, 01:41 PM
From a good friend of mine: "You spend the first 10 years finding your way in your business and building infrastructure, the next 10 are spent improving processes / efficiencies, and the 10 after that (assuming a 30 year career), are spent reaping the benefits of what you have built."

I believe there is alot of truth to this and if you think for a moment that you are going to start a company and its going to be a well oiled machine I have news for you. Its gonig to take time and patience. If you don't believe the above quote take a look around at companies that are 10, 20, and 30 years old.


I agree with you that there is a lot of truth to that. You don't build a successful company overnight.

I may of overlooked it, but what equipment are you running for your maintenance division? Still the old Hustler mowers?

MDLawn
02-16-2012, 02:10 PM
From a good friend of mine: "You spend the first 10 years finding your way in your business and building infrastructure, the next 10 are spent improving processes / efficiencies, and the 10 after that (assuming a 30 year career), are spent reaping the benefits of what you have built."

I believe there is alot of truth to this and if you think for a moment that you are going to start a company and its going to be a well oiled machine I have news for you. Its gonig to take time and patience. If you don't believe the above quote take a look around at companies that are 10, 20, and 30 years old.

I completely agree with this. A friend of mine has about 14 years into his business, although part time, and when starting out he just worked his tail off with only me helping and currently he has about 2-3 guys doing the work for him now. I know he's not doing this full time but it's a legit company and he's really reaping the benefits of it.

I've just wasted too many years :hammerhead: Hopefully I can get things going better. This thread is always a good motivating tool. Along with Joe Calloway's book.

meets1
02-16-2012, 06:19 PM
I read that somewhere and for the life me I cant recall when or where but that quote is hanging on the wall in the office. Thing is I have a hard time conviencing the bank once in a while. They think 3,5,7 yr that project, equipment, expansion should be paid. I beleive you need a great banker, lawyer and accountant on speed dial and one that will take time to listen to your idea's, concerns and not just show up with numbers and say oh, maybe i can work with ya type of attitude.

TriCityLawnCareLLC
02-16-2012, 07:56 PM
From a good friend of mine: "You spend the first 10 years finding your way in your business and building infrastructure, the next 10 are spent improving processes / efficiencies, and the 10 after that (assuming a 30 year career), are spent reaping the benefits of what you have built."

I believe there is alot of truth to this and if you think for a moment that you are going to start a company and its going to be a well oiled machine I have news for you. Its gonig to take time and patience. If you don't believe the above quote take a look around at companies that are 10, 20, and 30 years old.

Awesome. I wish we had a like button on here...

Junior M
02-16-2012, 10:57 PM
They are focused on the green industry, but I think any business can gather good insight from it.

I cant really get the time to go to one of these conferences, are there any dvd's or books or anything like that I could learn from, at home?

etwman
02-17-2012, 07:51 AM
Marty Grunder has a pack you can buy off his website. Also Joe Calloway has some good books and I've begun to dive into Larry Winget's stuff, which is pretty down to earth.

Meets, the stronger you believe in what you can accomplish, the stronger a WRITTEN business plan you have, the more convincing you'll be to banks, accountants, etc. In defense of banks, this industry as a whole doesn't have the best track records in success so they do have a right to be concerned.

The more you focus in on doing what you are good at, or have a passion with, the more successful you'll become.

Graveslawncare
02-20-2012, 02:33 PM
If it's in Nashville, TN next year then I'll BE THERE!!! That cuts my expense of going in HALF! Awesome, best news I've heard all day :)

etwman
02-20-2012, 06:39 PM
Yes it will be in Nashville.

Here's my two cent piece of advice for the spring.

Item #1. If I had a dollar everything I heard a landscape company crying the blues over no snow removal this winter I'd be stupid rich by now. Here's the deal, you should never ever bank on any snow removal income. If you get it, its a cherry on the sundae. I mean I know companies that do hundreds of thousands in snow removal but you can't bank on that. So when you are doing annual budgets and estimate sales for 2012 I never put any snow removal in that. Do I feel bad for companies that didn't get any snow? Sure I do. Do I feel even more sick for them if they banked on it? Nope, not in the least bit. Our snow removal sales are less than 2% of our annual sales, not much, but I don't even think about it.

Item #2. What's worse than banking on snow removal and not getting it? Going into the spring heavily discounting grounds and landscape services to try and cash flow the mess that was created over the winter. Company's that are sitting on mountains of salt, equipment, etc. trying to get spring work out of desperation to try and stop the hemmoraging. Are you out of your mind? You are headed into your bread and butter season. While small discounts may be okay to stimulate interest, discounting things significantly to cash flow a train wreck is a disaster in the making. Two wrongs don't make a right.

So you say "there are companies doing this?" I'll guarantee it. Don't do anything stupid.....or stupider.

Make the spring a strong one, don't look back, just go forward. Go out there and get some early spring hardscape or landscape work. Good grief we have two crews in the field in Feb. That's a first!

meets1
02-20-2012, 06:58 PM
ETW - Very well said. Yes I have alot of snow clients, equipment, some salt/sand on hand yet but I budget in a small percent every year but that is no means what makes the company. I also dont beleive in huge discounts especially early on in the year. Poor excuss for running a business. Sure maybe an attention grabber but that is it.

RLS24
02-24-2012, 08:55 PM
Jarod, I'm sure somewhere it has been mentioned before, but do you usually stick to one brand of block product from job to job? If so, what is your preferred brand and why? I guess depending on the answer to that question, my next would be if you're not brand-loyal to one in particular, how are you selecting certain product for certain jobs? Will you ever use multiple brands of block on one project or do you try to keep that uniform throughout the project?

I've been looking at the way I'm doing things, and would like to get my feet wet in the hardscape side of things as a way to sell more complete jobs so we have been going to a lot of the block company shows and events to check out the different manufactures. My thought was to pick ONE thats going to have the best product, best contractor support and good availability and then stick with them. That way, we're familiar with that line of block and how to work with it so we're not re-learning things every time we do hardscaping (which prob wont be that much) as well as have good relationships with the dealers and reps. Just wondering what your take is on it.

As always, phenomenal work and great business and industry insight! You truly are an inspiration!

etwman
02-25-2012, 07:51 AM
This is a very good question and I'll give you my opinion on it, once again its mine, take it or leave it.

The hardscape supplier market is oversaturated, especially in the northeast. Giving a client 3-4 100 page catalogs will confuse the daylights out of them. I would suggest 1 or 2 at the most.

We used to be brand loyal, putting alot of eggs in one basket with EPHenry. I'm not going to go into details on how the relationship fractured but if you ever wanted to watch the downfall of a powerhouse pull up a front seat to this story. The dissolvement of the conserv division, lack of innovation, removal of key players from the authorized contractor program, removal of key dealers, etc. has all happened. I had lunch a month ago with a few friends of mine who are large contractors, together 4 years ago we represented about $400k in combined annual sales to EPH. That's a dealership. Today none of us buy from them. At first I thought it was just us witnessing all of this until I stepped into a Techo-Bloc round table the other month. (I rarely go to these but did this year). There was a comment said amongst 20 contractors and an applause to the tune of , "don't do what EPH did, leave us and fail to innovate." That's huge, the problem is monumental. The were the Goliath 6-8 years ago and now they are off major percentages in sales in their prime markets. This failure has spread like cancer accross the hardscape market. All that will carry them is their brand name and that will fail at some point too. See what the smart producers realize is their consumer isn't the homeowner (yes they are interested) its the contractor. No homeowner is going to install a 1500 sf patio, sorry. Fail to support and listen to the contractor and you're removing a major customer. Most of our clients will follow our lead in whatever product we suggest because they trust us, and rightfully so they should.

With this said you need to select a brand that is a quality product, gives great customer support, and truly innovates. Also you need to select a dealership that is close to you. Techo may not be there, it may be Belgard, not sure.

We aren't totally brand loyal anymore, we learned our lesson with that. We won't do it again. My suggestion is to pick one that you feel very comfortable with, and have a few others you use on occassion.

Hope this all helps.

RLS24
02-25-2012, 11:12 AM
This is a very good question and I'll give you my opinion on it, once again its mine, take it or leave it.

The hardscape supplier market is oversaturated, especially in the northeast. Giving a client 3-4 100 page catalogs will confuse the daylights out of them. I would suggest 1 or 2 at the most.

We used to be brand loyal, putting alot of eggs in one basket with EPHenry. I'm not going to go into details on how the relationship fractured but if you ever wanted to watch the downfall of a powerhouse pull up a front seat to this story. The dissolvement of the conserv division, lack of innovation, removal of key players from the authorized contractor program, removal of key dealers, etc. has all happened. I had lunch a month ago with a few friends of mine who are large contractors, together 4 years ago we represented about $400k in combined annual sales to EPH. That's a dealership. Today none of us buy from them. At first I thought it was just us witnessing all of this until I stepped into a Techo-Bloc round table the other month. (I rarely go to these but did this year). There was a comment said amongst 20 contractors and an applause to the tune of , "don't do what EPH did, leave us and fail to innovate." That's huge, the problem is monumental. The were the Goliath 6-8 years ago and now they are off major percentages in sales in their prime markets. This failure has spread like cancer accross the hardscape market. All that will carry them is their brand name and that will fail at some point too. See what the smart producers realize is their consumer isn't the homeowner (yes they are interested) its the contractor. No homeowner is going to install a 1500 sf patio, sorry. Fail to support and listen to the contractor and you're removing a major customer. Most of our clients will follow our lead in whatever product we suggest because they trust us, and rightfully so they should.

With this said you need to select a brand that is a quality product, gives great customer support, and truly innovates. Also you need to select a dealership that is close to you. Techo may not be there, it may be Belgard, not sure.

We aren't totally brand loyal anymore, we learned our lesson with that. We won't do it again. My suggestion is to pick one that you feel very comfortable with, and have a few others you use on occassion.

Hope this all helps.

Thanks for your response! We went to a Techo-Bloc showcase this past week, and I was quite impressed. As with anything like that put on by a manufacturer, you go into these things expecting a sales pitch, and it was to an extent, but I was able to sit there all day and be able to be continually interested. The other thing they did (or did NOT do I guess) that I really respected is they did not stand up there all day and say things like "we do this with our products, so and so does not" or "so and so is inferior to us because of this" and I thought that was great. They didn't feel the need to bash other companies, they just said hey this is what we have, this is how we do it, and this is the technology we are using.

I spent a lot of time talking to the local sales rep and explained what we were looking to do in the market, and that I am taking the ICPI course coming up. He asked if I had any projects planned yet and I said that I was going to go some wall and a patio at my own house sort of as practice sometime this spring, and he actually offered to come to my house for a couple days and help me do the work and show me how to do the work. I was pretty impressed with that. The other reps from other companies just said "oh, heres a catalog and some pamphlets with some how-to tips." It sounds like you were also pretty impressed with Techo at one point.

Again thanks for your response and as always I look forward to more pictures of your work!!

SNAPPER MAN
02-25-2012, 02:22 PM
Posted via Mobile Device

lukemelo216
02-25-2012, 05:49 PM
Yes it will be in Nashville.

Here's my two cent piece of advice for the spring.

Item #1. If I had a dollar everything I heard a landscape company crying the blues over no snow removal this winter I'd be stupid rich by now. Here's the deal, you should never ever bank on any snow removal income. If you get it, its a cherry on the sundae. I mean I know companies that do hundreds of thousands in snow removal but you can't bank on that. So when you are doing annual budgets and estimate sales for 2012 I never put any snow removal in that. Do I feel bad for companies that didn't get any snow? Sure I do. Do I feel even more sick for them if they banked on it? Nope, not in the least bit. Our snow removal sales are less than 2% of our annual sales, not much, but I don't even think about it.

Item #2. What's worse than banking on snow removal and not getting it? Going into the spring heavily discounting grounds and landscape services to try and cash flow the mess that was created over the winter. Company's that are sitting on mountains of salt, equipment, etc. trying to get spring work out of desperation to try and stop the hemmoraging. Are you out of your mind? You are headed into your bread and butter season. While small discounts may be okay to stimulate interest, discounting things significantly to cash flow a train wreck is a disaster in the making. Two wrongs don't make a right.

So you say "there are companies doing this?" I'll guarantee it. Don't do anything stupid.....or stupider.

Make the spring a strong one, don't look back, just go forward. Go out there and get some early spring hardscape or landscape work. Good grief we have two crews in the field in Feb. That's a first!


I agree with this 100%. I was running my own company, but I didnt enjoy it as much as I thought I would. It just wasnt for me. Now I am the maintenance and snow manager for another company. Its a perfect fit. All winter long I have been hearing we have no money we have no money becasue of no snow. Well I told them maybe next year we should look at a few seasonals. I wasnt apart of the selling this past year. But they didnt like seasonal last year becasue we had the big blizzard and on one account that was seasonal they got smoked, so this year everything is per push. Well guess what no money this year. Now as i am bidding the maintenance I am trying to sell snow services in with it, and we are doing a handful of seasonal contracts. The company is over 15 years old (snow for about 4 now) but hasnt realized yet that you need to have a good balance of seasonal and per plow accounts. I like to cap my snow, others dont, but that is an entirely different discussion.

As far as the spring pricing, that is my biggest concern right now. All of these companies coming in at 1/2 our cost just so they can get some work. I had a 4k contract (simple maintenance: mowing, trim bushes, and lawn care, no cleanup or anything becasue they did it as a commmunity) with a HOA that i did with my own company for 4 years. I switched to the new company and he was ok with that and said he will most likely be re-signing with me again but had to put it out to bid as always. New company came in for $1400.00 for the year. I know the company and they are hard up for $ because of no snow.

Graveslawncare
02-25-2012, 08:23 PM
I agree with this 100%. I was running my own company, but I didnt enjoy it as much as I thought I would. It just wasnt for me. Now I am the maintenance and snow manager for another company. Its a perfect fit. All winter long I have been hearing we have no money we have no money becasue of no snow. Well I told them maybe next year we should look at a few seasonals. I wasnt apart of the selling this past year. But they didnt like seasonal last year becasue we had the big blizzard and on one account that was seasonal they got smoked, so this year everything is per push. Well guess what no money this year. Now as i am bidding the maintenance I am trying to sell snow services in with it, and we are doing a handful of seasonal contracts. The company is over 15 years old (snow for about 4 now) but hasnt realized yet that you need to have a good balance of seasonal and per plow accounts. I like to cap my snow, others dont, but that is an entirely different discussion.

As far as the spring pricing, that is my biggest concern right now. All of these companies coming in at 1/2 our cost just so they can get some work. I had a 4k contract (simple maintenance: mowing, trim bushes, and lawn care, no cleanup or anything becasue they did it as a commmunity) with a HOA that i did with my own company for 4 years. I switched to the new company and he was ok with that and said he will most likely be re-signing with me again but had to put it out to bid as always. New company came in for $1400.00 for the year. I know the company and they are hard up for $ because of no snow.

I would venture to say that the companies that are underbidding you like that will be out of business within the short term. Then the account will be up for bid again. My opinion is that patience wins out. I bid on a Target location last year. The property management company said we were "too far apart" on our numbers. I was coming in at about 19k (that's mowing, trimming 3 acres of turf, 19 zone irrigation maint, 60 yards mulch, aerating, overseeding...you get the idea, the whole schabang). Well I asked HOW far apart was "too" far apart and they told me they were looking to spend about $350 a month!!! That was 1/5 of my monthly price! I did the math and I couldn't even JUST MOW it for that, much less do everything else in the scope of work. So this January, guess what? Same location is up for bid again. I talked to the management company who told me the "contractor" they hired last year "failed miserably". I literally told the guy "I told you so."

Moral of the story is, don't compromise your prices and profits just to sell work out of desperation. Hold fast, and within a short time, that undercutting contractor that is in your way right now, will cease to exist. The client will have learned the valuable lesson that they don't want what they get for 1/2 price, and your higher bid will actually start to look refreshing, even desirable to them. Low bids cut in front of me ALL THE TIME. Do I lower prices to "compete?" No. I wait until they go out of business or get fired, then try again. Like ETW says, that's just my 2 cents. Take it or leave it.

Thanks for all the business insight, ETW. I look forward to meeting you here in Nashville next Feb!

TriCityLawnCareLLC
02-25-2012, 10:13 PM
I'm in there too, ETW I'm making it a point to find you, shake your hand and thank you next Feb. Looking forward to the whole event!

etwman
02-26-2012, 07:22 AM
Green Earth - People that banked on snow removal, didn't budget correctly for it, it didn't happen as predicted, then they are scrambling to find money elsewhere, and the others that did budget correctly are paying the price for the idiots that are blaming the weather. Ironically as it may sound it has very similar characteristics to the infamous housing market tabocle. Maybe the government will bail people out.

Techo-Bloc is extremely innovative and "gets it" When you can draw 400+ people to just one of their dozens of showcases I'd venture to say they've figured it out. If their not #1, they are very close.

Triple L
03-30-2012, 08:58 AM
Any new pics or advice for us yet?

Last post was over a month ago...
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sepm
04-12-2012, 08:41 PM
Read this entire thread your work is excellent. Do you think that GROW could be a benefit to a landscape architecture student?

etwman
05-08-2012, 12:47 PM
We've been busy again this spring. Having two LA's inhouse was the right move. It was a big step, but the timing was right.

Here are a couple designs and pics of projects underway. New equipment on the way? I just ordered a tandem dual axle deckover trailer that will enable us to haul both the mini-ex and track skid loader at the same time. We'll be able to carry 24,000 lbs on it. Cam Superline once again took the sale. We loaded it up with air brakes and options. Cam makes one of the best trailers on the market. We'll have to wait 5 weeks for its arrival but it'll be worth it.

What a difference two years makes. This time last year we couldn't buy 5 sunny days in a row, this year we're tearing through work with 50 hour weeks. If you like consistancy this is the wrong industry to look into.

Graveslawncare
05-08-2012, 02:04 PM
I pray every day that someday I will get to feel the overwhelming feeling I'm sure you feel when you stand back and look at all you have accomplished. Incredible.

willretire@40
05-08-2012, 03:18 PM
Etw. are you going to marty sales seminar?
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etwman
05-08-2012, 03:51 PM
A good friend of mine who is in this industry said to me, "You spend the first 10 years in business finding your way, the next 10 are spent improving processes, and the last ten (assuming a 30 year career) are spent reaping the benefits of what you have built."

Having gone down this road I believe there is alot of truth to this. Its almost like you are profitable at first, as you grow internally you become less profitable, mainly because you add overhead and don't recover it correctly. Then you improve the systems, increase profitability again, and really become a well oiled machine.

Building a company from scratch to a multi-millior dollar machine in this industry takes an enourmous amount of dedication, risk taking, and hiring the right people at the right times. I have by no means perfected this, but have a true appreciation for peers in this industry who have walked this road.

etwman
05-08-2012, 03:53 PM
I went to the sales symposium last year, its good. You'll enjoy it if you go.

willretire@40
05-08-2012, 06:14 PM
I am more on the maintence side of things willbit still be good for me?
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etwman
05-08-2012, 06:43 PM
Yes it's good for either maintenance or design build.
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etwman
06-24-2012, 08:35 AM
Here's a link to a video interview by L&L from GROW 2012 that may be some good useful information for you. Its a little slow to load, but some good information for you.

http://www.lawnandlandscape.com/Content.aspx?content_id=3381

etwman
06-27-2012, 07:55 AM
Our new, very long awaited, 12 ton CAM Superline tandem dual. With any new piece of equipment we take lenghty time to set it up right. This has air brakes, ABS, and a custom deck length that will accomodate moving a mini-ex and track skid loader legally at the same time. These trailers are not cheap by any means, and I went new just because its not worth the risk in moving equipment on a scabbed used trailer. Especially with the value of the equipment that is on it. CAM is one of the very best made trailers on the market. Our dingo trailer is a CAM.

More equipment will follow later this year as we are busy as always.

noahb195
06-27-2012, 09:14 AM
Nice trailer. Your shop looks pretty fancy.

BrandonV
06-27-2012, 07:40 PM
like the d-drings. I'm with you on the trailer department, you'll see guys since $65k on a big dualie pickup and then tow a trailer that is not worth $500

SIWEL
06-27-2012, 10:14 PM
That is a sharp looking trailer. Very rarely do you see chrome wheels on a tag trailer. How long is the deck on it?

etwman
06-28-2012, 07:53 AM
28' foot I believe. Useful caring load of 24,000 lbs. Here's one more hitched up to #5. I did research used trailers, but for an extra $10k you are all new, and when you are setting it up to carry $120k in equipment on it, its worth the added assurance that its solid.

To my knowledge its one of the only CAM trailers with Alcoa's on it.

Barrett Landscaping
06-28-2012, 05:18 PM
thats one impressive rig!

MDLawn
06-28-2012, 11:25 PM
Very nice. Your stuff is very clean and very presentable. Definitely fits your niche of high end residential design build. Thats the rig they want at their place! Do your clients ever comment on how nice the stuff is or actually thank you for having nice clean equipment? I know the friend I worked for years ago would get those compliments and we were only a maintenance company. His stuff wasn't all new but it was clean and presentable and people seemed to appreciate it.

etwman
06-29-2012, 11:02 AM
We get it all the time. From equipment, to how professional our staff is, to the quality of our installation. Every customer says something about it and really notice the difference in a professionally run company. People tell me all the time "we saw your trucks running down the highway." I sit here and think we have 5 trucks, that's it, and people see them all the time?

Then there are those people (not our clients) who will say, "they're expensive because they have those nice shiny trucks." A bucket of soap and a hose makes us expensive? Really? Most of our trucks are 10 years old with a great paint job. Do you want someone showing up to build your project who knows what they are doing, are professional, don't smoke, curse, are in uniform, etc. Or do you want someone showing up in a broken down pickup who looks like they just broke out of prison. You tell me.

RLS24
06-29-2012, 04:14 PM
We get it all the time. From equipment, to how professional our staff is, to the quality of our installation. Every customer says something about it and really notice the difference in a professionally run company. People tell me all the time "we saw your trucks running down the highway." I sit here and think we have 5 trucks, that's it, and people see them all the time?

Then there are those people (not our clients) who will say, "they're expensive because they have those nice shiny trucks." A bucket of soap and a hose makes us expensive? Really? Most of our trucks are 10 years old with a great paint job. Do you want someone showing up to build your project who knows what they are doing, are professional, don't smoke, curse, are in uniform, etc. Or do you want someone showing up in a broken down pickup who looks like they just broke out of prison. You tell me.

That is a sharp looking trailer. I agree with you on what I've quoted above. We're not the biggest company or have the most equipment, but I'll tell you what: I'm glad I spent the money and had my second truck painted to match the other one, and then had it lettered. And I take it one step further, every friday at the end of the day, the guys and I wash the trucks and clean the inside of them. Everytime we're at a job, I step back and see both the trucks the same color lettered up and all cleaned up, the guys all wearing the same blue t-shirt with our name on it and grey shorts, and our sign in the front yard. It makes me smile every time. We get a lot of looks and get noticed for sure. I also have people tell me they see my trucks all the time....and I only have 2 trucks! I guess when you get noticed, you REALLY get noticed!

MDLawn
06-30-2012, 08:38 AM
We get it all the time. From equipment, to how professional our staff is, to the quality of our installation. Every customer says something about it and really notice the difference in a professionally run company. People tell me all the time "we saw your trucks running down the highway." I sit here and think we have 5 trucks, that's it, and people see them all the time?

Then there are those people (not our clients) who will say, "they're expensive because they have those nice shiny trucks." A bucket of soap and a hose makes us expensive? Really? Most of our trucks are 10 years old with a great paint job. Do you want someone showing up to build your project who knows what they are doing, are professional, don't smoke, curse, are in uniform, etc. Or do you want someone showing up in a broken down pickup who looks like they just broke out of prison. You tell me.

I'd recognize your trucks if ever in that area. Just very different than say my pick up and dump trailer. Regarding the "Oh they must be expensive" because of shiny trucks. They would never be a customer of yours anyways. Like you've said your customers choose you because you deliver a superior product and that's most important to them, not a super cheap deal.. The clean staff and equipment is just part of it and a bonus for them. I'm trying to make that decision to head away from most lawn mowing work as it seems lately most people want the smoking criminal in the rusted beater. Not all, but most. When i had a glass block window installed the window company was great. Well dressed, neat, etc... The subbed out trim company, not so much. I came home to a beat dodge truck filled to the brim, inside and out, with junk. Was not happy about that and for the 3 hours they spent there, horrible job. Kinda ruined the reputation of that window company.

Anyways, I just need to get better educated on the hardscapes installs and such. Gotta move in that direction along with a possible name change.

Thanks for the tips and the business experiences you post and of course the pictures are great too.
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Junior M
06-30-2012, 10:41 AM
how long did it take you to build a crew of clean, presentable guys?

my best decorative concrete guy is one of the best around. But he's just so rough, he smokes and cusses like a sailor. But his attention to detail and quality of work is just spectacular.

etwman
06-30-2012, 02:37 PM
About a week, because I only hire clean presentable guys. My job descriptions are very clear about the caliper of people we hire and what is expected.

Whatever you allow......you encourage. If you allow people to smoke, you encourage it. Simple as that. If you're a chain smoker, and need one every hour, you aren't going to make it at our company. Its as simple as that.

Not trying to sound ignorant. It all depends on what standards you set. I don't care how good of a mason you are, if you don't meet the criteria that we lay down, you don't work here.

MDLawn
06-30-2012, 03:31 PM
This thread, along with a few others, is so inspiring and full of FREE great information and tips on running a business. Not how to lay pavers, how to stripe lawns, how much to charge, or other things you can learn on your own. There is a reason ETW has become a top player, not by accident.
Posted via Mobile Device

nolatoolguy
06-30-2012, 04:17 PM
how long did it take you to build a crew of clean, presentable guys?

my best decorative concrete guy is one of the best around. But he's just so rough, he smokes and cusses like a sailor. But his attention to detail and quality of work is just spectacular.

Dont get me wrong he may be a good worker but if he scares away the customers that aint gonna get you bussniess. If I was a parent I would tell him to get out if he was cussing like a sailor around my kids an stuff.

As Etwman said you encourage it. Just in your signature an avatar aint the best langauge, not the worst but not the best. I think it helps to lead by example.

My best buddy was in need of a job an I like ok I got some extra work for you. We did one job together and I stright up told him I like you as a person you work great but your not acting professional an that aint gonna fly on my jobsite so go home I like you as a friend but not as a employee.

P.Services
06-30-2012, 09:47 PM
About a week, because I only hire clean presentable guys. My job descriptions are very clear about the caliper of people we hire and what is expected.

Whatever you allow......you encourage. If you allow people to smoke, you encourage it. Simple as that. If you're a chain smoker, and need one every hour, you aren't going to make it at our company. Its as simple as that.

Not trying to sound ignorant. It all depends on what standards you set. I don't care how good of a mason you are, if you don't meet the criteria that we lay down, you don't work here.



caliber, trees are measured with a caliper. :waving::waving:



amen to what your saying though, i need to find some more good guys also.

JCResources
06-30-2012, 11:23 PM
subscribed

magnificentmowing
07-01-2012, 02:33 AM
Earth Turf and Wood I am blown away by your business. Simple as that.

etwman
07-01-2012, 07:57 AM
Every year we spend alot of time with photography on our completed projects. Here's just one simple shot of many that we've taken. There is more editing to this that needs to happen before we will use it in publications.

MDLawn
07-01-2012, 01:15 PM
Photo makes you want to be there! So there is a lot of computer editing to your photos, as I'm sure most are. Probably lighting stuff and coloring?
Posted via Mobile Device

S-205
07-03-2012, 05:39 PM
I love the Cam tag, it looks very professional. The quailty of the pictures is very high end also, the clarity and sharpness is right on when it comes to the final photos.

Triple L
07-04-2012, 09:39 PM
Just a curosity question... How do you jusify the aluminum wheels on a trailer? I know alot of guys say chrome dosent make you any more money... That can be thought of in two ways... What are your views on it? Its kinda been touched on in your "a bucket with soap and a hose makes us expensive?" but chrome may or may not? Or do most people not even notice the difference?

etwman
07-05-2012, 07:17 AM
Valid question. 12 years ago we started out with an image of a clean black fleet and standout rims on our equipment. Consistency I believe is key. The rims are probably one of the very few things I bend on from an expense category. A black fleet with shiny rims pops and people notice. Now a lift kit, big tires, rims, brush guard, pimped stereo, etc are a complete waste on money in my opinion.
Posted via Mobile Device

MDLawn
07-05-2012, 04:00 PM
Now a lift kit, big tires, rims, brush guard, pimped stereo, etc are a complete waste on money in my opinion.
Posted via Mobile Device

Hmm, half of the landscape/lawncare/whatever companies I see have these......or a rust bucket.

I always just ask myself what I'd like to see pulling up to my house if I needed to hire someone. Myself along with others probably wouldn't think about it if someone showed up in a clean regular or crew cab, gas or diesel, pick up or dump truck. I don't think many potential customers could even remember what you showed up with. But the lift kits, wild rims, crazy loud exhausts, truck falling apart or other things that make me think is this a contractor or what? Again I agree these are a waste of money and a lot of guys have them for whatever reason...... Personally I am much more at ease when a clean truck shows up with someone dressed for business (polo or very clean t-shirt) for an estimate. I'm sold on the image thing with a company. If I come over to a work site, then yes people may be dirty and whatnot. But the clean image thing can go a long way I believe.

Swampy
07-06-2012, 02:17 AM
Hmm, half of the landscape/lawncare/whatever companies I see have these......or a rust bucket.

I always just ask myself what I'd like to see pulling up to my house if I needed to hire someone. Myself along with others probably wouldn't think about it if someone showed up in a clean regular or crew cab, gas or diesel, pick up or dump truck. I don't think many potential customers could even remember what you showed up with. But the lift kits, wild rims, crazy loud exhausts, truck falling apart or other things that make me think is this a contractor or what? Again I agree these are a waste of money and a lot of guys have them for whatever reason...... Personally I am much more at ease when a clean truck shows up with someone dressed for business (polo or very clean t-shirt) for an estimate. I'm sold on the image thing with a company. If I come over to a work site, then yes people may be dirty and whatnot. But the clean image thing can go a long way I believe.

I always think that, personal image. Now I'm no where near the standings of ETW and his company. As in me the owner, My shirt is dirty, my cargo shorts have dirt stains, my one day stubble on my face, my shoes and pants are covered in grass clippings where 9 times out of 10 when a potenial customer walks up and talks to me. They currently see the work behind me, or have talked with the home owner if they are from the neighbor hood. When working is one thing, going to the call on someones property I do the opposite. I have a company t-shirt set aside, my shirt color is red with yellow lettering, that looks great (almost right out of the box from the printer's), I wear black cargo pants, nice shoes, clean shaven, clean hair cut and a must as I do most of these on a friday cleanest truck (truck gets washed every thursday, mostly cause its diesel and its a white).

As for trucks, its really depends on the area. Rust in my area is a normal sign, being from the rust belt in WI. Now by all means my current truck is a 98 K3500 Chevy, its not new nor bling'ed out. The only thing beyond stock is relocated PMD/FSD, aftermarket injectors (they don't make OEM injectors to the civilian market anymore), a 4in stainless steel dual exhaust (didn't put it on, bought it that way, but sounds good not loud plus helps the engine out, also being a plow truck it helps), and lastly a plow that techinically aftermarket as well but again it makes some money. I'm a firm beleiver if your going to sink money into a truck, its got to do something. I have plans for my truck on adding a trans temp gauge and a trans cooler fan. This is for again plowing snow. I've seen to many trucks go down for overheating trans issues, a few bucks to help solving a weak link is fine.

Now on to rust, in my area its common. Now having rust on a work truck is acceptable, BUT THERE IS A POINT: and a fine one that rust on a work truck becomes S%&$ box. Good note is if there is surface rust on cab corners its time for a maaco paint job for 200 bucks. Rear bumpers, beds (OEM and aftermarket) on trucks rust. They know it comes from salt, even their BMW's and Lexus's rust. If its leaking any kind of fuild (diesel, oil, or coolent) is a no go, even if you use a truck only a few times a year. Look over it and crawl underneath if its seeping that seal needs to be replaced soon, if its fuel its replaced since yesterday (its a waste of money).

There is more I can go in on it, but I won't. But in any industry Clean isn't show room but it has to be acceptable.

Take a look at bigger operations like your brickman, US lawns, or David J Frank's. They don't have show room quality, but they are cleaned. Older trucks are replaced (due to rusting/ age issues). They have dents, frames are rusted once you look closly enough.

etwman
07-19-2012, 10:58 AM
ETW does it once again, from great designs to great builds by great employees.

eatonpcat
07-19-2012, 12:17 PM
Looks great...Do you have a filter on your lens??

coolbreeze
07-19-2012, 12:19 PM
This is beautiful. It looks like a magazine photo.

MDLawn
07-19-2012, 01:24 PM
That's because his companies work is magazine worthy!! I really need to get myself better educated on hardscapes and start building some basic things to get going!!!!
Posted via Mobile Device

RLS24
07-19-2012, 03:24 PM
Hmm, half of the landscape/lawncare/whatever companies I see have these......or a rust bucket.

hey now....at least mine is "tastefully done" and still functional, which a lot of them arent. I'm not afraid to dump mulch in mine, throw a wheelbarrow over the side, hook up to a trailer or get in it with mud on my boots!


Jarod, do you hire a professional photographer for these shoots or are you doing it in-house?

MDLawn
07-19-2012, 04:47 PM
Mike, yours is FAR from a rust bucket.
Posted via Mobile Device

RLS24
07-19-2012, 09:21 PM
Mike, yours is FAR from a rust bucket.
Posted via Mobile Device

i was referring more to the lift kit and big tires part haha

While I'm posting, Jarod I know you had mentioned a while ago that you were starting to get more and more into Techo-Bloc. Are you still using them or are you diversifying a little more?

etwman
07-22-2012, 02:40 PM
Yes we are still using Techo-Bloc, but a vast amount of natural stone as well. It will be interesting to watch the world of concrete manufacturered products over the next 5 years or so. The entry level pavers will always have a place, but manufacturers are getting into this wetcast product line, which mind you pushes up into the $6-$8/sf mark. For that you can get really nice natural stone product. The price of cement, aggrigate, etc. continues to rise quickly. You can't convince me that the wet cast market is sustainable at this rate with material cost increase, I don't care how innovative you are. Natural flagstone is natural flagstone, timeless, and will forever be that way. And when wetcast, or high end pavers, reach the point that they are double what natural product costs, something will give.

I wouldn't put all my money on pavers in the long run. There a stress cracks in that industry, acquistions, and only so many ways you can slice the pie to sell product. A 6x6 or 6x9 paver is just that, how many people can make them?

RLS24
07-23-2012, 08:53 PM
Yes we are still using Techo-Bloc, but a vast amount of natural stone as well. It will be interesting to watch the world of concrete manufacturered products over the next 5 years or so. The entry level pavers will always have a place, but manufacturers are getting into this wetcast product line, which mind you pushes up into the $6-$8/sf mark. For that you can get really nice natural stone product. The price of cement, aggrigate, etc. continues to rise quickly. You can't convince me that the wet cast market is sustainable at this rate with material cost increase, I don't care how innovative you are. Natural flagstone is natural flagstone, timeless, and will forever be that way. And when wetcast, or high end pavers, reach the point that they are double what natural product costs, something will give.

I wouldn't put all my money on pavers in the long run. There a stress cracks in that industry, acquistions, and only so many ways you can slice the pie to sell product. A 6x6 or 6x9 paver is just that, how many people can make them?

Thats a very good point. I have often pondered that myself, as in how many different people can be making what is essentially the SAME thing, how many different ways? And what way does Company A make pavers that is better than Cmpany B to the point that there is a significant price difference between the 2? I like the natural products myself too, and I feel that (in my area at least) the market seems to be shifting naturally more that way. Whereas in the past I would get questions about doing a block wall or a paver patio/walkway, people now seem more interested in the "irregular" look of flagstone, We actually did 4 jobs this year that incorporated a flagstone path through a garden, and I have another for August that I just booked today. We have yet to touch a pallet of pavers this year....

WNYlandscapes
07-30-2012, 01:51 AM
I'm a new user to this site but have been reading the forums for a couple years, I must say that your company is outstanding, the attention to detail and your knowledge really stands out.

I have been skimming through your posts and I might have missed it but my big question is where do you find such talented employees in your area? Obviously your laborers are top notch and are professional. Do you ever head hunt for anyone? Where and how do you find such talented and dedicated people, there is no way that these are your run of the mill college kids.

etwman
08-03-2012, 01:58 PM
Successful companies in our industry, who don't run disorganized messes, and there aren't a ton of them, will attract and retain highly skilled employees. It's simple as that. I have a bunch of peers throughout the country who will mirror this statement.

Provide a neat climate to work in, good equipment, and not something that wears on them, and they will truly love what they do and who they work for. Everyone will respect everyone and together the company will grow.

When we have to fill a position it doesn't take us long, yes I hire slow and fire fast, but qualified people are out there.

Its not rocket science.

TJ Property
08-03-2012, 07:56 PM
Very inspirational thread i pray to grow to your level one day!

etwman
08-15-2012, 01:21 PM
Our new CAM Trailer loaded up along with the new layouts on our job boxes. We did both boxes, re-wrapping them both with new pics.

T Scapes
08-15-2012, 03:42 PM
the 2 deeres on the tag trailer look real nice together

alldayrj
08-15-2012, 03:53 PM
Immaculate setup. Any new jobs pics in the works?
Posted via Mobile Device

S-205
08-15-2012, 07:07 PM
I'd give away any one of my immediate family members to have that CAM trailer and those Deeres...

Junior M
08-15-2012, 07:23 PM
do you now own the machines or are they still on rental?

etwman
08-15-2012, 07:45 PM
It's about half and half. With the rental rates we get this is the perfect mix.
Posted via Mobile Device

PerfectEarth
08-15-2012, 08:44 PM
Beautiful wraps on the boxes. I've probably never said that before in regards to a wrap- most are terrible. Yours are classy and eye-catching.

Question- how many years were you in the daily trenches with your guys before you really split off and worked "on" the biz instead of "in" the biz?

muddywater
08-15-2012, 09:22 PM
It's about half and half. With the rental rates we get this is the perfect mix.
Posted via Mobile Device

Who cares about the equipment. I mean it is purty and all, but how much would a one on one session cost me to learn your marketing judo? I am located in deep south and will sign a confidentiality statement with a blood signature and pay in advance.

jeffslawnservice
08-15-2012, 09:27 PM
Who cares about the equipment. I mean it is purty and all, but how much would a one on one session cost me to learn your marketing judo? I am located in deep south and will sign a confidentiality statement with a blood signature and pay in advance.

Haha, Ditto. I learn more from some of your post about business than I do from my profesors at college. I know in the past you had mentioned the possibility of a webinar (or whatever they are called) with yourself and Marty Grundger, (sp) if you ever have such a thing please let me know.

etwman
08-16-2012, 08:47 AM
Beautiful wraps on the boxes. I've probably never said that before in regards to a wrap- most are terrible. Yours are classy and eye-catching.

Question- how many years were you in the daily trenches with your guys before you really split off and worked "on" the biz instead of "in" the biz?

About 5-6 years before I worked my way into the office, hired really sharp guys that know alot, and deligated / empowered like mad. That's the key, you have to give it up. If you don't you'll never grow.

There are differences between business owners and contractors. I could write a book on that. Not that one is worse off, there's just a difference.

eatonpcat
08-16-2012, 12:22 PM
Wow...Awesome!

GroundScapesIncorporated
08-21-2012, 05:25 PM
Jared,

Have you ever considered a van body to haul plants in for the switch n go system? Seems like it could be done fairly easily with...(maybe even one of the van bodies that originally came off of one of your trucks)?

Also, what cab to axle or wheel base would you suggest (with no box/storage behind the cab)?

Is there anyone you suggest speaking with at bucks fab?

Thanks in advance!
James

etwman
08-23-2012, 01:37 PM
We have hardscape bodies, but no van bodies for plant material. We use our light material bodies and have a 26 foot enclosed trailer that we used to use way back in the day for mowing. 90% of our plant material is shipped right to our jobsites, we rarely transport anything. The less you have to move plant material the better and most growers / distributors will only charge a small fee to deliver.

Our CA is 186". Take about 48" out for the box behind the cab and you are at 138-140".

Anyone at Bucks would talk you about a setup or give you a dealer phone number.

GroundScapesIncorporated
08-23-2012, 09:34 PM
We have hardscape bodies, but no van bodies for plant material. We use our light material bodies and have a 26 foot enclosed trailer that we used to use way back in the day for mowing. 90% of our plant material is shipped right to our jobsites, we rarely transport anything. The less you have to move plant material the better and most growers / distributors will only charge a small fee to deliver.

Our CA is 186". Take about 48" out for the box behind the cab and you are at 138-140".

Anyone at Bucks would talk you about a setup or give you a dealer phone number.

Thanks Man!!

alldayrj
08-24-2012, 05:14 PM
Hey ETWMAN, I've read the whole thread and found lots of great info and inspiration. If you can find the time I'm trying to build a similar business starting with a similar truck and could use some help!
here is the link to my thread if you have a minute to throw out some ideas.
http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?p=4508566#post4508566

Appreciate it
Rich

muddywater
09-03-2012, 10:51 PM
Do you finance your equipment or pay cash?

APLUS LAWN CARE
10-08-2012, 07:50 AM
I seen your equipment in the photo for the Switch-N-Go advertisment in this month's issue of TURF. Everything looks great!

SRT8
10-09-2012, 02:04 PM
Successful companies in our industry, who don't run disorganized messes, and there aren't a ton of them, will attract and retain highly skilled employees. It's simple as that. I have a bunch of peers throughout the country who will mirror this statement.

Provide a neat climate to work in, good equipment, and not something that wears on them, and they will truly love what they do and who they work for. Everyone will respect everyone and together the company will grow.

When we have to fill a position it doesn't take us long, yes I hire slow and fire fast, but qualified people are out there.

Its not rocket science.

We have a lot of things in common!
My guys have been with me for years and love working for me. They stay motivated because they know that their is room for growth at our company and that they can be promoted. Years ago an 18 year old kid started working for us, he was a machine when it came to hard labor and had a good head on his shoulders. He was willing to learn, got promoted to crew leader a couple years later. Now at 27 he is an account manager.
Treat your employees well and they will do the same in return.
Posted via Mobile Device

etwman
10-11-2012, 03:50 PM
It's almost hard to believe this thread it going to hit one million views, that's alot of people looking at this when you think about it.

Attached are a few others that rounded completion this year. We are headed into a very busy fall which will keep us busy well past the new year. I'm hoping for a mild or very late winter.

I'll be returning to the GIE this year after a year off to spend some time friends and learning what else is out there.

Trust everyone is having a good year.

willretire@40
10-11-2012, 04:35 PM
Looking good. i am looking forward to the gie myself.
Posted via Mobile Device

etwman
10-16-2012, 09:43 AM
For those of you who run CAT, and we own several, you'll be interested to know that our oldest 262B just topped 10,000 hours. Even the dealership is astonished. Original engine, we've done a litte work to it, wheel motor, and a few other things, but it still runs strong and is still pretty tight.

I'm not a die hard CAT guy, as we have a Kubota Mini-Ex, and rent some John Deere stuff. I will say i think the time has come for the oldest machine to have a "baby" this fall.

Maintenance is key, so next time you freak at buying a machine with 2000 hours on it, look at the big picture if its maintained.

MDLawn
10-16-2012, 10:11 AM
What an awesome project there. Everything just flows and goes together so well.

Skimastr105
11-13-2012, 10:37 PM
subscribed. read the whole thread. there's such a huge amount of great info here.

etwman
11-14-2012, 07:59 AM
Here's a topic I haven't touched on. Any seasonal company, especially in our industry will need to watch this. We all have ups and downs, it is what it is. We have our busy seasons and our slow seasons. You will have hills and valleys in cash flow and these swings tend to be bigger the further north you are since your season is shorter.

I've spent time with alot of landscape company owners over the years and it blows my mind at how few run weekly cash flow reports of their company. Those who have budgets are even less than that, but that's a story for another post. Not doing either is very dangerous and is the reason why most companies get themselves in a real mess. Here's what I do weekly:

Add: Cash, Accounts Receivables, Savings and come up with that total. If you are really a tracking machine you'll know to the dollar where you are at with each of your projects under construction with design/build. DON'T include in this client deposits on projects that you haven't started. Only include what you've done to date.

Delete: All payables, credit card balances, lines of credit, payroll for the week, etc. Long term liabilities (loans) do not need to be included in this. Just the next payment if its within 30 days out.

What is that number? Now run that number at least once a week. Record it on a spreadsheet. Begin to form a database of where you are at so you can go back and reference years past, where were you at this time last year? This should be part of your dashboard. If you don't know these numbers you are in serious trouble. I can tell you daily what that number is in less than 5 minutes for work ending the previous day.

There's your fall advice. And if your are constantly in the red you're lacking efficiency, spending too much, or not pricing things right, simple as that.

MDLawn
11-14-2012, 03:23 PM
Here's a topic I haven't touched on. Any seasonal company, especially in our industry will need to watch this. We all have ups and downs, it is what it is. We have our busy seasons and our slow seasons. You will have hills and valleys in cash flow and these swings tend to be bigger the further north you are since your season is shorter.

I've spent time with alot of landscape company owners over the years and it blows my mind at how few run weekly cash flow reports of their company. Those who have budgets are even less than that, but that's a story for another post. Not doing either is very dangerous and is the reason why most companies get themselves in a real mess. Here's what I do weekly:

Add: Cash, Accounts Receivables, Savings and come up with that total. If you are really a tracking machine you'll know to the dollar where you are at with each of your projects under construction with design/build. DON'T include in this client deposits on projects that you haven't started. Only include what you've done to date.

Delete: All payables, credit card balances, lines of credit, payroll for the week, etc. Long term liabilities (loans) do not need to be included in this. Just the next payment if its within 30 days out.

What is that number? Now run that number at least once a week. Record it on a spreadsheet. Begin to form a database of where you are at so you can go back and reference years past, where were you at this time last year? This should be part of your dashboard. If you don't know these numbers you are in serious trouble. I can tell you daily what that number is in less than 5 minutes for work ending the previous day.

There's your fall advice. And if your are constantly in the red you're lacking efficiency, spending too much, or not pricing things right, simple as that.

The best part about this is that it has nothing to do with horticulture or landscaping and all to do with running a business. Obviously you take landscaping serious and be as knowledgeable as you can about it, it shows in your work. But, being able to tell every plant species and not being able to balance the books will get you no where in business. This is the stuff I love to read and put in a notebook for later reading. Great stuff..

etwman
11-14-2012, 04:04 PM
Many people are surprised when I tell them that I don't even have a design program on my computer. I couldn't open the design software if I had it. I wrestled with that early on, and it would be neat to do that, but its not the best use of my time at the company. Sure I give suggestions and feedback based on my years experience, but I don't do the main design. That's our architects responsibility.

You can't build a business and do everything and you need to decide what you are best at and where you'll be needed most in 5 years. Work towards that.

Attached is a sign that hangs in our shop. It's located in 10 places around here. It's pretty powerful, simple, but makes everyone think what is best for the team. Enjoy.

Complete Ground Pros
11-14-2012, 04:20 PM
Jared,

I just picked up Marty's book. After several hours of reading through your thread, I decided that I needed to read that book. Your work, and most importantly, your business mind, is very inspirational. I am in the process of starting my company and I hope to look to guys like you and Marty for advice and inspiration.

Hope you are doing well,
Nick.

M RASCOE&SONS
11-14-2012, 08:24 PM
i think this is perfectMany people are surprised when I tell them that I don't even have a design program on my computer. I couldn't open the design software if I had it. I wrestled with that early on, and it would be neat to do that, but its not the best use of my time at the company. Sure I give suggestions and feedback based on my years experience, but I don't do the main design. That's our architects responsibility.

You can't build a business and do everything and you need to decide what you are best at and where you'll be needed most in 5 years. Work towards that.

Attached is a sign that hangs in our shop. It's located in 10 places around here. It's pretty powerful, simple, but makes everyone think what is best for the team. Enjoy.

i think this is awesome

etwman
11-14-2012, 08:27 PM
I would however suggest you not place the sign overtop the washer/dryer in your house for your spouse to see.
Posted via Mobile Device

yardguy28
11-14-2012, 08:53 PM
Many people are surprised when I tell them that I don't even have a design program on my computer. I couldn't open the design software if I had it. I wrestled with that early on, and it would be neat to do that, but its not the best use of my time at the company. Sure I give suggestions and feedback based on my years experience, but I don't do the main design. That's our architects responsibility.

You can't build a business and do everything and you need to decide what you are best at and where you'll be needed most in 5 years. Work towards that.

Attached is a sign that hangs in our shop. It's located in 10 places around here. It's pretty powerful, simple, but makes everyone think what is best for the team. Enjoy.

really? how do you explain solo business. they build a business with one guy doing everything.

etwman
11-14-2012, 09:08 PM
You can't build a sizable business and do everything.

You'll eventually run yourself ragged. I've seen so many do it then sell out after a couple years. Sure you can do it all for a little while but you're setting yourself up for burnout down the road.

alldayrj
11-14-2012, 09:17 PM
Hes also running a large install and hardscape company with a maintenance division that would crush any solo op. Not mowing 20 lawns a week
Posted via Mobile Device

yardguy28
11-15-2012, 03:35 PM
guess it depends on your idea of a sizable business.

20 yards a week???? seriously. that's like an after school job for the neighborhood kid.

etwman
11-15-2012, 06:26 PM
It's another solid fall for us and we will run strong with all our crews right through January if the weather holds on multiple projects. Here's another pool project under construction. Remember this is the best time of the year to start these things. Spring is almost too late.

yardguy28
11-15-2012, 06:49 PM
my whole house could fit inside that pool......

muddywater
11-15-2012, 07:13 PM
Are you subbing out the pool? or are you doing it in house?

RPM90
11-15-2012, 08:21 PM
Why is the fall the best time to start theses projects? Also do you do any work down in Chester County and the Main Line that is my service area but we are mostly maintenance and small hardscape projects.

alldayrj
11-15-2012, 08:57 PM
I've been trying to push the patios in fall too "walk out the first nice day of spring and the patio is already done and the grass is growing".

yardguy28
11-16-2012, 05:24 AM
PA must not get very much snow in the winter if now is the time to be starting pool projects.

here in IN pool guys are finishing up installing pools and closing already installed pools for the year. at least in the city I'm in.

wee alfie
11-16-2012, 01:51 PM
subscribed.

etwman
11-16-2012, 03:08 PM
PA is a gamble on snow, and truth be told I'm tired of waiting for it so we push on. With the scope of most of our projects, especially the ones that have a pool, if they aren't started in the fall people won't be enjoying them by Memorial Day Weekend. Simple as that.

We have several projects like this underway right now and if the weather holds we'll go solid right through the winter.

SRT8
11-17-2012, 12:32 AM
PA is a gamble on snow, and truth be told I'm tired of waiting for it so we push on. With the scope of most of our projects, especially the ones that have a pool, if they aren't started in the fall people won't be enjoying them by Memorial Day Weekend. Simple as that.

We have several projects like this underway right now and if the weather holds we'll go solid right through the winter.

That pool project is looking good! And yea that's a good that you are willing to work through the winter, most companies wont. We work year round unless its raining like crazy. we don't get snow in the San Francisco area just rain to worry about.

etwman
11-17-2012, 08:02 AM
Once the ground freezes we will stop. We won't push just to get it done and sacrifice quality.

We have spent about three months working on our new website. It is not live yet, but I will tell you it will be beyond incredible. It should go live in the next four weeks. About every three to four years we overhaul it. You get what you pay for with website design. Do a "hairy homeowner" one and it shows. Spend $4-7-even $10k on one and it really shows. Keep that in mind. We are in a day and age of Internet craze, don't cut a corner on this. I haven't opened a phone book to look at an ad in 5 years.

TriCityLawnCareLLC
11-17-2012, 12:13 PM
ETW,
I think this is my favorite, most education thread that i read on Lawn-site. I've read through the entire thing (once) and I may have missed it, when did you first start? Was it just mowing? Also, how much $$ did you have when you started?

etwman
11-17-2012, 03:28 PM
I started the company in the fall of 1999. We started out primarily maintenace with very small design build projects. We were never really strong in mowing, mainly commercial sites and a few residential. I knew early on that I did not want to aggressively pursue mowing and we redirected the company about 5 years ago to where we are today. We will stay in that direction. Read The Pumpkin Plan by Michael Michalowitz. Good book that talks about all this.

$0 to start it out. I went to a bank with my wife for a small loan for our first truck. The loan officer questioned my business plan simply because this industry has such high turnover and there's so much competition out there. I cautiously responded that doesn't bother me. From the start I did not want to ever borrow any funds from family or friends. I've very adimant about that. If it were to fail or succeed it was on me. I wanted to be able to sit accross from my good friends / family at a dinner table and know that there are no strings attached. You could argue this both ways, but that was a decision that I made from day one.

The irony in this? We still deal with that banking institution today, and the vice president will stop by often just to say hi, thank you, and remind me that "we have money if you ever need it, its companies like you we want, and trust me were not saying this to too many businesses right now."

Look no one is perfect with finances in this industry, its a beast to manage, but you have to be disciplined with it. You have to have budgets, know your expenses, and know when to take wise risks, or you're done. Its a simple as that.

MDLawn
11-17-2012, 04:06 PM
I started the company in the fall of 1999. We started out primarily maintenace with very small design build projects. We were never really strong in mowing, mainly commercial sites and a few residential..

What maintenance aspects were you stong in if not mowing? Was it pest and fert? Clean ups? Etc.....? Just curious what you mean by maintenance.

Will put that book on the "to read" list.
Posted via Mobile Device

etwman
11-17-2012, 04:15 PM
Landscape maintenance. We did mow a few commercial sites and did lawn apps, but that was it.

MDLawn
11-17-2012, 04:42 PM
So you're talking edging, trimming, mulching type jobs? Sorry not trying to be a PITA just want to be on the same page. If this was the case did you have trouble securing these types of jobs without mowing? Personally I'd like to acquire landscape maintenance (non mowing) jobs along with small scale installations and sod work. Some will say it's hard to acquire that type of work without mowing. Your thoughts or experiences??
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etwman
11-17-2012, 04:48 PM
Go after them and sub your mowing work to a reliable, small operation. Manage the whole thing. That's what I would do if I really wanted to focus on that.

MDLawn
11-17-2012, 04:53 PM
Interesting. Not a bad idea. Thanks.
Posted via Mobile Device

MDLawn
11-17-2012, 04:56 PM
I guess the only headache could be the small operation taking business away on the landscape side. Have to find the right company.
Posted via Mobile Device

Swampy
11-19-2012, 12:38 AM
Still a great thread, again and again. If you have time can you put together a booklist. I took my time and read through "....a catagory of of one" twice, awesome book, and always pick up something new everytime I pick it up.

Thanks again

southern79
12-05-2012, 01:24 PM
Add: Cash, Accounts Receivables, Savings and come up with that total. If you are really a tracking machine you'll know to the dollar where you are at with each of your projects under construction with design/build. DON'T include in this client deposits on projects that you haven't started. Only include what you've done to date.

Delete: All payables, credit card balances, lines of credit, payroll for the week, etc. Long term liabilities (loans) do not need to be included in this. Just the next payment if its within 30 days out.


For the Add column: Cash in bank or Cash in check register? For the Delete column: Is this for the current week using estimated numbers ie. payroll and payables or for the previous week using actual numbers? How do you figure your payables...money paid but not cashed during the period or payables that are due and not paid yet? I figure that once you pick the numbers that you use, if you stay consistent, you will be able to manage the variations. Thanks for clarifying.

etwman
12-05-2012, 02:07 PM
Cash in bank.

I do it for the previous week and estimated payroll for that week if it is not in yet.

Regardless of how you do it, its just consistancy. Do the same thing every week, same day if possible, though that is challenging. Even I may be off a day here and there, but I try and do it at least once a week, if not every Monday or Tuesday.

southern79
12-06-2012, 03:49 PM
Cash in bank.

I do it for the previous week and estimated payroll for that week if it is not in yet.

Regardless of how you do it, its just consistancy. Do the same thing every week, same day if possible, though that is challenging. Even I may be off a day here and there, but I try and do it at least once a week, if not every Monday or Tuesday.

Thanks, also I purchased Pumkin Plan from Amazon used. The author was in the store it came from while it was being shipped, wrote a thank you note, upgraded me to a new copy and sent a signed new copy of TPE. Wow! TPE is a great book. Next, Pumkin Plan.
Posted via Mobile Device

Dountman
12-06-2012, 08:47 PM
Jarod, do your LA's do design work for only ETW or do they design for other companies?

etwman
12-07-2012, 08:54 AM
Exclusively for us, and we copywrite everything.

T Scapes
12-07-2012, 08:04 PM
what buckets do you have for your U35?

etwman
12-07-2012, 08:25 PM
18" and 30". Both have a removable steel plate that covers the teeth which is very nice for grading.

T Scapes
12-07-2012, 11:10 PM
18" and 30". Both have a removable steel plate that covers the teeth which is very nice for grading.

can you get the 30 from kubota. i priced out one online and the biggest tooth bucket they had on there was a 24"

etwman
12-08-2012, 07:57 AM
It must be a 12 and 24 then. I got the guys what they wanted and can't remember exactly what it was.
Posted via Mobile Device

brandoncuts54
12-08-2012, 01:24 PM
Phenomenal work, Your company is amazing everything is clean and looking great!! I really admire everything and love the equipment! Best thread on lawnsite by far :cool2:

etwman
12-16-2012, 08:34 AM
Last week I had a very rare opportunity to travel up to Toronto Canada with two of my friends who own landscape companies here in the states. We spent two days up there touring an incredible high end landscape company and spending a day with their upper management discussing an array of things.

At the same time we were in the company of the President of Dynascapes. He is a great person who truly cares about improving a design and manage program.

The brainpower that was in that conference room was probably some of the most powerful I've ever experienced in my green industry career. We've established great relationships with a phenomenal company in Canada and formed friendships that will help us all grow. This company would rank in the top 40 in the U.S. in sales volume, needless to say they have their stuff together.

Never stop learning, and I've said it before, surround yourself with people who have like minded goals and dreams.

RLS24
12-16-2012, 11:10 AM
Jarod, I think this may have been asked somewhere among the pages here, but I feel like I could spend days trying to find it haha. At one point I did read this whole thread front to back, and I know you started off as a really small company and built things up from there. I was wondering at what point did you start taking a paycheck from the company? And how did you figure out what to pay yourself?

etwman
12-16-2012, 02:19 PM
My advice on this would be to hold off trying to pay yourself as long as you can. If you have a spouse that can support you financially in the first few years then do it. The more you can leave in the company as it starts up, the faster it will grow, and the more financially stable it will become. Buy wisely, when the time comes to pull a salary don't get greedy. This is not a get rich quick scheme, it's a marathon, not a race you will win in a year.

I think it was the beginning of year three before I pulled a paycheck. It's not that you can't do it earlier, you just have to be careful.

gallihergreen
12-16-2012, 04:20 PM
You've got a real impressive operation going on. Congrats.
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Fert33
12-16-2012, 07:00 PM
Jarod,

I just hopped on here after not being on in a while. I cannot believe that this thread is still going. I was working with you when those first pics were taken at Les and Brenda's. Amazing, that seems like so long ago. Saw the job you are doing on Rank Rd. quite an array of things going on there. Did they install a pool? I see the day's of no working on Saturday's has ended....It's looking good.

etwman
12-16-2012, 09:56 PM
The whole project is based off of our plan and construction management. The pool company got their shell in about two months ago. We started work there two weeks ago. I'm guessing there was a crew there Saturday but I'm not even sure. Middle of last week I opened this one Saturday up for work since it rained last Monday. I wanted my guys to be able to get overtime for the holidays if they wanted it. It was totally optional and I'm not even sure who took it.

RLS24
12-17-2012, 03:41 PM
My advice on this would be to hold off trying to pay yourself as long as you can. If you have a spouse that can support you financially in the first few years then do it. The more you can leave in the company as it starts up, the faster it will grow, and the more financially stable it will become. Buy wisely, when the time comes to pull a salary don't get greedy. This is not a get rich quick scheme, it's a marathon, not a race you will win in a year.

I think it was the beginning of year three before I pulled a paycheck. It's not that you can't do it earlier, you just have to be careful.

Thats kind of what I've been doing, I try to put most of my expenses back to the business as legitimately as possible. Obviously its hard to get my 600-channel HDTV cable bill as a business write off, but my truck, fuel, cell phone, etc I put all as a business expense. I basically just try to take enough away right now to help with the household bills and such, but at some point I would like to take more to start personally investing it for myself.

KerryWalker
12-17-2012, 04:36 PM
It's all about money...but, it's also about WORK and charging properly for it!

Wish not...DO!
__________________
TLS


True, but it's not all about the money. You have to do what you like to do. Truthfully it's really about:

1. Not having non-billable hours, they'll kill you everytime. If the guys have worked 45 hours that week, you should be billing 45. Are guys running out to lunch? Why? They should be on the job site. Every time I see a truck/trailer parked at a McD's at lunch there is no way they are only taking a 1/2 hour. By the time they get there, eat, and get back to the site you're paying them to eat.

2. Exceeding the customers every expectation and don't cut corners.

3. Having the right equipment most of the time. You'll never have all the equipment you need, but you can get pretty close. More importantly you have to charge for that equipment each day, whether it sits on a jobsite or gets used. Example, each of those Freightliners get charged $141.00 a day to be attached to a job. When we do a landscape/hardscape/grounds care job the computer brings up what equipment is needed and charges for it correctly either to compile an estimate or bill. If you don't charge for equipment you won't be able to replace it when its worn out. And you had better figure in fuel and insurance into that as well.

When everything comes together just right that's when you start making money. With new businesses I'd say it's 4-5 years before you really start reaping rewards. It's one thing to think your making money it's another to really be doing it. Ask yourself at the end of your season what's left over? Can you make it through the winter with adequate start up funds? Are you banking on snow removal to carry you? You shouldn't be! Tough questions but reality sets in quick. I'll be the first to tell you that this industry is not an easy one to make huge money in, it can be done, but you have to be prepared to turn away business. I can't even imagine how much "unneccessary work" we have turned away in the last five years. I bet our sales would be triple but our bottom line would be the same. One of the things we do to weed out the "unneccesaries" is our appointments are only from 8-4 M-F. If you want us to do your project you'll make a sacrifice from your job to be there during those hours. If not, you don't want us that bad. Do you know how much less running around I do? Huge! Do you know how much higher our job retention rate is? Enormous.

Just some things to ponder over.

Do you bill for equipment when you are only mowing a lawn? And if so, what is a good starting figure?

KerryWalker
12-17-2012, 05:10 PM
I started the company in the fall of 1999. We started out primarily maintenace with very small design build projects. We were never really strong in mowing, mainly commercial sites and a few residential. I knew early on that I did not want to aggressively pursue mowing and we redirected the company about 5 years ago to where we are today. We will stay in that direction. Read The Pumpkin Plan by Michael Michalowitz. Good book that talks about all this.

$0 to start it out. I went to a bank with my wife for a small loan for our first truck. The loan officer questioned my business plan simply because this industry has such high turnover and there's so much competition out there. I cautiously responded that doesn't bother me. From the start I did not want to ever borrow any funds from family or friends. I've very adimant about that. If it were to fail or succeed it was on me. I wanted to be able to sit accross from my good friends / family at a dinner table and know that there are no strings attached. You could argue this both ways, but that was a decision that I made from day one.

The irony in this? We still deal with that banking institution today, and the vice president will stop by often just to say hi, thank you, and remind me that "we have money if you ever need it, its companies like you we want, and trust me were not saying this to too many businesses right now."

Look no one is perfect with finances in this industry, its a beast to manage, but you have to be disciplined with it. You have to have budgets, know your expenses, and know when to take wise risks, or you're done. Its a simple as that.

The Pumpkin Plan by Michael Michalowitz. Another fellow lawn guy talked about this book in this post. What is it all about? Is it about the business of lawn care business? And where can I get it?

Thanks.

etwman
12-17-2012, 05:23 PM
We don't mow grass anymore, and haven't for years. So I could even begin to tell you what the rates should be. Truth be told it all depends on your company, you have to know what you need to charge to cover expenses. Rule #2 of business. Rule 1 is defining your target market.

The pumpkin plan is about being focused on what you do. It's not green industry related, but a lot of it is relative. You can get it on Amazon.

KerryWalker
12-17-2012, 05:51 PM
Do you bill for equipment when you are only mowing a lawn? And if so, what is a good starting figure?

I also quoted you and posted this information on my facebook page. I have a few friends that are working hard at their business and I know this information will be both good and informative. It was for me.

Thanks,
Kerry Walker

jg244888
12-17-2012, 07:38 PM
Last week I had a very rare opportunity to travel up to Toronto Canada with two of my friends who own landscape companies here in the states. We spent two days up there touring an incredible high end landscape company and spending a day with their upper management discussing an array of things.
.

what company is that? also there is lots of talk of books on this thread what do you feel are the best few you have gained knowledge from?

etwman
12-17-2012, 08:35 PM
I don't really get into publicly talking about who the companies are that I have personal invites to tour. I make a point in visiting several a year if I can and have formed some incredible relationships with some of the most respected business owners in our green industry. Toronto was no exeption, as I'm sure I'll return in the future and they are welcome at my place anytime.

Start with:

Joe Calloway: "Becoming a Category of One"

"The Pumpkin Plan"

SRT8
12-17-2012, 09:16 PM
I don't really get into publicly talking about who the companies are that I have personal invites to tour. I make a point in visiting several a year if I can and have formed some incredible relationships with some of the most respected business owners in our green industry. Toronto was no exeption, as I'm sure I'll return in the future and they are welcome at my place anytime.

Start with:

Joe Calloway: "Becoming a Category of One"

"The Pumpkin Plan"

Jarod-

If you ever make it out to San Francisco id be more than happy to take you on a tour of our business and how we run things around here.
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brandoncuts54
12-17-2012, 11:48 PM
Great Thread! top notch work!

SRT8
12-18-2012, 11:23 AM
Jarod-

Will you be attending GROW 2013?

etwman
12-18-2012, 11:26 AM
I don't know yet. My January is packed full of training events, conferences, and a few vacations. I will probably decide in a few weeks.

MDLawn
12-18-2012, 11:32 AM
Start with:

Joe Calloway: "Becoming a Category of One"

Great read! Now I just need to read it again!

SRT8
12-18-2012, 11:53 AM
I don't know yet. My January is packed full of training events, conferences, and a few vacations. I will probably decide in a few weeks.

Im trying to clear up my schedule so I can make it out there. I have never gone before, would you strongly recommend I go?
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KerryWalker
12-18-2012, 12:04 PM
We don't mow grass anymore, and haven't for years. So I could even begin to tell you what the rates should be. Truth be told it all depends on your company, you have to know what you need to charge to cover expenses. Rule #2 of business. Rule 1 is defining your target market.

The pumpkin plan is about being focused on what you do. It's not green industry related, but a lot of it is relative. You can get it on Amazon.

That makes sense. I am kinda all over the place. I mow lawns and do landscaping as well. However, I would much rather mow, blow and go. Life is a lot easier doing so. And I will order both this weekend and will let you know what I think after reading. One more thing, will it be fine to pick your brain from time to time? I started reading your posts yesterday and got confirmation on some of my business decision and gained a ton of helpful information.

etwman
12-18-2012, 12:44 PM
I would go to the grow conference if you can. It's one of the better ones out there.

After three long months our new sites live. A lot of time and money invested in it. One of my big pet peeves is "Harry homeowner" sites. Folks we are in a day and age where people google your site to get a phone number or address. The phone book is dead. You have one shot at a first impression. Don't skimp on this aspect.

Earthturfwood.com.

SRT8
12-18-2012, 01:30 PM
You have a very nice site!
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KerryWalker
12-18-2012, 01:38 PM
I would go to the grow conference if you can. It's one of the better ones out there.

After three long months our new sites live. A lot of time and money invested in it. One of my big pet peeves is "Harry homeowner" sites. Folks we are in a day and age where people google your site to get a phone number or address. The phone book is dead. You have one shot at a first impression. Don't skimp on this aspect.

Earthturfwood.com.

In Louisiana we get taxed for everything! I get taxed on the equipment that I paid taxes on when I made the purchase. I noticed that your company is Inc as apposed to being an LLC. What was your reasoning for going that route?

JContracting
12-19-2012, 01:00 AM
This is a lot of questions but, on an average week (if there is such a thing), how many hours a week do you spend working, whether it be in the office or handling sales, etc.?
When you were still in the field working, how many total hours did you work and how many years into being in business, did you finally get yourself out of the field day to day?

etwman
12-20-2012, 07:39 AM
Everyone here works between 40-50 hours a week. We don't work weekends. That's pretty consistant on the hours.

I pulled out of the field around year 5 or 6.

If you work 80 hours a week you're working harder, not smarter. If you say I can't get everything done, you don't deligate. If you say you can't afford to hire someone to do your job, you're not charging enough or you're spending too much. It's a balancing act,

etwman
01-07-2013, 10:23 AM
Here is something that is in the cab of all our our trucks. Why? Because everyday can be a Monday, no matter how hard you plan.

I cant get the image to attach but it says, "What is your Plan B?"

yardguy28
01-07-2013, 12:07 PM
Everyone here works between 40-50 hours a week. We don't work weekends. That's pretty consistant on the hours.

I pulled out of the field around year 5 or 6.

If you work 80 hours a week you're working harder, not smarter. If you say I can't get everything done, you don't deligate. If you say you can't afford to hire someone to do your job, you're not charging enough or you're spending too much. It's a balancing act,

I say I can't hire someone to do my job because I don't have my business set up that way because I don't want to hire someone to do my job.

I enjoy being solo and enjoy being in the field. if I were able to hire someone the first person I would hire is someone to sit at a desk, take phone calls, do invoicing and go out and do estimates. allowing me to remain in the field at all times and unbothered.

MDLawn
01-07-2013, 06:52 PM
I say I can't hire someone to do my job because I don't have my business set up that way because I don't want to hire someone to do my job.

I enjoy being solo and enjoy being in the field. if I were able to hire someone the first person I would hire is someone to sit at a desk, take phone calls, do invoicing and go out and do estimates. allowing me to remain in the field at all times and unbothered.

I think you're the 1% that will just disagree with what anyone finds successful on here because they're not a solo operator. Numerous threads you've done this and not sure why...... It's almost as if anyone has a positive about not be a solo operator you arrive to just say.....whatever.....something negative about it. Sheesh.
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SRT8
01-07-2013, 07:01 PM
I say I can't hire someone to do my job because I don't have my business set up that way because I don't want to hire someone to do my job.

I enjoy being solo and enjoy being in the field. if I were able to hire someone the first person I would hire is someone to sit at a desk, take phone calls, do invoicing and go out and do estimates. allowing me to remain in the field at all times and unbothered.

Then don't and stay grossing $250k max a year. ETW trying to guide people to gross in the $2mil range. I try to learn as much as I can from him even though my business is just as big. We do 90% commercial maintenance, but I want to balance that out and hire another 10 guys and do 50% Maintenance and 50% Landscape/Hardscape.

yardguy28
01-07-2013, 07:12 PM
Everyone here works between 40-50 hours a week. We don't work weekends. That's pretty consistant on the hours.

I pulled out of the field around year 5 or 6.

If you work 80 hours a week you're working harder, not smarter. If you say I can't get everything done, you don't deligate. If you say you can't afford to hire someone to do your job, you're not charging enough or you're spending too much. It's a balancing act,

I think you're the 1% that will just disagree with what anyone finds successful on here because they're not a solo operator. Numerous threads you've done this and not sure why...... It's almost as if anyone has a positive about not be a solo operator you arrive to just say.....whatever.....something negative about it. Sheesh.
Posted via Mobile Device

I highlighted in red what my comments were in regard to.

etws statement is NOT 100% correct for all of us. I have nothing against those that want to have employees. but I do see a lot who have employees who seem to have something against those that are solo.

I feel the need to defend the solo side because of comments like you have a job not own a business if you can't take time off and still make money. solo guys own a business every bit as much as those with crews/employees.

it's almost as if I say anything about anything and someone shows up to say.....whatever.....something negative about it. sheesh.

PerfectEarth
01-07-2013, 07:24 PM
LOVE the new website. That's as classy as it gets.

jg244888
01-07-2013, 09:56 PM
how do you like the Kage plow systems after a few years? How are they holding up? Would you buy something different today?
Thanks

etwman
01-08-2013, 06:22 PM
The Kage's are the most bulletproof snow removal device I have ever owned, or probably ever will own. I look at all these other pushers with 10 different hydraulic pistons, power wings, etc and say what a nightmare of maintenance. Everyone should own one of these things who does snow removal.

Book to read this winter: The E Myth Landscape Contractor by Michael Gerber and Tony Bass.

noahb195
01-08-2013, 06:54 PM
The Kage's are the most bulletproof snow removal device I have ever owned, or probably ever will own. I look at all these other pushers with 10 different hydraulic pistons, power wings, etc and say what a nightmare of maintenance. Everyone should own one of these things who does snow removal.

Book to read this winter: The E Myth Landscape Contractor by Michael Gerber and Tony Bass.

Tony Bass as in the Super Lawn Truck guy?

etwman
01-08-2013, 07:02 PM
Yes and it's a very good book.

meets1
01-08-2013, 07:26 PM
I like our kage system thus far. Its our skid. As far as working hours though I try to keep our guys within that 40-50 hour range. I hate OT but sometimes to get work done it is what it is. Me on the other hand - summer I would say easlily 80 hours a week, there are some weeks I push 100. But I am up early, first to job site, last to leave, maybe setting sprinklers different at nursery etc. Winter time - I sleep alittle more but I help my wife with kids breakfast, off to school etc.

Woodman1
01-08-2013, 07:57 PM
Jarod,

The Idea Gallery on the website is absolutely amazing! Thanks for continuing to contribute to the industry and to this thread the way that you do! I hope that you have a GREAT year.

PS - I hope the "Responsibility" sign was not copywrited. I am copying.

etwman
01-08-2013, 08:28 PM
Thanks you too.

That poor website went through so many revisions I lost count, but it came out first class.

Use the responsibility quote, it works.

This one works too.....

Wishing everyone a strong 2013. Off to the Mants show in Baltimore tomorrow.

gallihergreen
01-08-2013, 08:37 PM
That poor website went through so many revisions I lost count, but it came out first class.

ETW, your website is one of the best I've seen. Very informative, yet easy to navigate. Well done! Hope you guys have a blessed 2013!
Posted via Mobile Device

jg244888
01-08-2013, 08:55 PM
The Kage's are the most bulletproof snow removal device I have ever owned, or probably ever will own. I look at all these other pushers with 10 different hydraulic pistons, power wings, etc and say what a nightmare of maintenance. Everyone should own one of these things who does snow removal.

Book to read this winter: The E Myth Landscape Contractor by Michael Gerber and Tony Bass.

Thanks for the info on the Kage. Just finishing Category of One its great!! will order this one too. When more come your way please post them. Thanks

etwman
01-08-2013, 08:59 PM
I have a long list of ones to read. As I finish them, and if they are worthwhile, I'll post the names. Never stop learning.

JContracting
01-09-2013, 01:36 PM
Purchased the E Myth Landscape Contractor as well as Green Side Up yesterday, as a package with shipping on Amazon it came to just under $80. I had my wisdom teeth removed Monday and I have to lay low and relax (nearly impossible) so hopefully the books will arrive tomorrow and I can get to reading.

etwman
01-09-2013, 03:39 PM
I keep coming back to all these posts of these 60-80-100 hour work weeks that everyone posted about. It just doesn't make sense, you sacrifice time with friends, family, your health, and the list goes on and on. Sure people may say it doesn't bother me, but I will assure you it will in time. I have done those in my life.

Here's an exercise that you should try. Take out two pieces of paper and put them on your desk. On the one on the left I want you to write down all the things you do daily that someone else could do at your company. Or things you don't truly enjoy doing. On the other piece of the paper I want you to make a list of the things you feel you are most important that you do and that you like doing. Or where you can be utilized the best.

I recently did this as we prepare to add another position internally. What this does is form the foundation for the job description of what you'll be asking this other person to do. It's not the whole description, but you are well on your way. I was amazed that after just a short time I came up with 40 bullet points. Things that have to happen to make the company function, but maybe not necessarily things I need to be doing anymore. Example (and I'm not kidding): I like to cut the lawn at the office, deep down inside I'm a mowerhead. I grew up mowing grass and to this day still like the fresh air and smell. However, is it really the best use of an hour of my week? No.

Things like this will tell you when you need to add someone and what that person will look like, or eventually look like. If you make that list on the left, and you have 50 points, guess what? It's time to add someone to your company. Simple as that. You can't do everything, it just won't work.

There's the piece of advice for today.

deerewashed
01-09-2013, 04:49 PM
hows the turning radius on the fl70's compared to your cclb? we are looking at large cabovers, and am interested in looking at something different, and want to know how the turning radius would compare to my pickup. This is going to be primarily used for design/build which is all we do, making material runs/used as onsite dumpster and machine hualer.

CriderLawn09
01-09-2013, 08:13 PM
ETW, I have been reading your thread for 2 years and this is my first post. But, I just have to say thanks for taking the time out, to answer questions, post pictures and give free advice! I have had a business coach off and on for a year now and I tell my wife all the time, "I think i can save my money and get coaching for free from your thread lol", and for all the guys who are just starting out including me who can't fit a coach in there cash flow full time, this is a huge help. Your landscape knowledge is amazing, but your business practices is what keeps me reading. And so I dont sound to sobby, I love that F550 lol.

etwman
01-10-2013, 07:03 AM
hows the turning radius on the fl70's compared to your cclb? we are looking at large cabovers, and am interested in looking at something different, and want to know how the turning radius would compare to my pickup. This is going to be primarily used for design/build which is all we do, making material runs/used as onsite dumpster and machine hualer.

The tuning radius is better than the Ford CC Go 186 cab to axle or less with the fl70s and you'll be fine.

etwman
01-10-2013, 08:58 PM
I spent the last two days in Baltimore at the Mants Show. I met up with several of my good friends who own landscape companies from other parts of the country. These guys are who I would consider some of the most smartest, successful owners in the industry. The friendship and respect that I have for them goes deep and we have a long history together, there's little I wouldn't share with them. In was neat to just sit in the inner harbor and just chat. We have all been an integral part in helping each other grow. Thanks guys.

Triton2286
01-11-2013, 09:12 PM
I thought this thread was for equipment pics...

JContracting
01-11-2013, 09:16 PM
Discussing business operations is a bit more important than pictures of trucks & loaders for those that want an ever expanding business.

On a side note, my copies of the E Myth & Green Side Up arrived today! Aside from handling all the remaining accounting from 2012 (a lot), salting properties tonight, fine tuning my new website, and watching supercross tmrw night, that's what I'm doing this wknd...reading my books on business. I'm 21 and reading books on the weekend....ha
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Triton2286
01-11-2013, 09:17 PM
Well then discuss business in the business forum.

JContracting
01-11-2013, 09:20 PM
Double post.
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CriderLawn09
01-11-2013, 09:33 PM
There's not one single picture on this whole thread, strange how they all disappeared? :confused: Where did they go??:cry: All wait....there is some on the first page :hammerhead: Sorry had to say that lol

gallihergreen
01-11-2013, 09:39 PM
What are you talking about? I still see all his pictures fine.
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Disregard this. I get what Crider is talking about now. :-)

gallihergreen
01-11-2013, 09:40 PM
I thought this thread was for equipment pics...

It's ETW's thread. He can talk about whatever he wants.
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Triton2286
01-11-2013, 09:42 PM
It's ETW's thread. He can talk about whatever he wants.
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Yea I noticed that...

etwman
01-12-2013, 07:55 AM
Here's a quote out of Tony Bass's Emyth Book:

"I have worked with over 200 privately held landscaping companies. Fewer than 20% of these company owners could provide me with a copy of up-to-date financial statements and explain the story revealed within in those finanancial statements. I have met even fewer who can use their financial statements and compare their financial statistics to similiar-sized, sucessful companies in the landscape insdustry. In other words, my experience has demonstrated that only about 10% of the owners of landscape companies understand money inside their businesses."

This is not only true, but is probably one of the top 3 reasons why landscape companies have an enormous turnover rate. If you are in that 90% above I would strongly suggest you buy an hour or two of your accountants time to teach you what you need to know about the basics. This stuff is critical in moving forward.

etwman
01-12-2013, 08:26 AM
Still cranking in the field. I can't believe its mid January and we are still running full tilt. We've combined our crews down to two projects we have underway. Here's to a mild winter!

P.Services
01-12-2013, 04:13 PM
Looks like a nice one!!

That chimney looks great that tall, you guys do all the block work?


What is that i see sticking up just behind the rim of the pool? fabric im guessing?

etwman
01-12-2013, 04:20 PM
We do all our masonry work in house now. Huge plus.

Expansion joint that'll be caulked later. A must.

LandFakers
01-12-2013, 04:32 PM
Wow you do some really nice work! That stuff looks amazing

Triple L
02-07-2013, 05:05 PM
Any more updates / and or words of wisdom?

ryde307
02-07-2013, 06:39 PM
I have read most of this thread again. Again very impressed. You had a list of books to get so I did a few months ago. They have been sitting on a shelf. I flew to Phoenix and Las Vegas last week and took it as a chance to start the book "becoming a category of one". Wished I had earlier. I am only about 50 pages in but already gave me alot of insite and huge motivation moving forward into this season.

Thanks for the recommendations.

RLS24
02-07-2013, 07:08 PM
Here's a quote out of Tony Bass's Emyth Book:

"I have worked with over 200 privately held landscaping companies. Fewer than 20% of these company owners could provide me with a copy of up-to-date financial statements and explain the story revealed within in those finanancial statements. I have met even fewer who can use their financial statements and compare their financial statistics to similiar-sized, sucessful companies in the landscape insdustry. In other words, my experience has demonstrated that only about 10% of the owners of landscape companies understand money inside their businesses."

This is not only true, but is probably one of the top 3 reasons why landscape companies have an enormous turnover rate. If you are in that 90% above I would strongly suggest you buy an hour or two of your accountants time to teach you what you need to know about the basics. This stuff is critical in moving forward.

After reading this (the first time you started talking about it), I started running some simple reports in QuickBooks on last year and I found a few things that really surprised me and would have probably never come to my attention had I not looked. I really need to start reading some of these books you speak of, just don't have enough hours in the day to do it!

gallihergreen
02-07-2013, 10:43 PM
I really need to start reading some of these books you speak of, just don't have enough hours in the day to do it!

Audio books are your friend! Listen to them in the truck on your route.
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etwman
02-08-2013, 09:11 AM
Coming back to Tony's Book I wanted to reference something else that we are working on over this winter. Systems and Procedures. You almost can't have enough, and after re-reading Tony's Book it became even more clear on how important these aspects of business really are. Recently we've been taking an hour in our staff meeting to revisit how things are done in different areas of the company. We don't take hours, one is plenty, and it keeps peoples attention. Last week we did the "okay, the phone rings, what's next?" Right through the first appointment." We document all this and refine the system, making it accessible to all employees. Here's the deal, and I think Tony says it best in one of his quotes:

"What typically happens is that the landscape contractors, knowing they need help answering the phone, filing, and so on, go out and find people who can do these things. Once they delegate these duties, however, they rarely spend any time with the hoi polloi. Deep down, they feel it's not important how these things get done, it's only important that they get done. They fail to grasp the requirement for a system that makes people their greatest assest rather than their greatest liability.

Because without a system, with such a "recording" without a unique way of doing business that really works, all you're left with is people doing thier own thing. And that is almost always, a recipe for chaos. Rather than guaranteeing consistancy, it ecourages mistake after mistake after mistake."

Chew on that one for awhile.

TriCityLawnCareLLC
02-08-2013, 09:27 AM
Coming back to Tony's Book I wanted to reference something else that we are working on over this winter. Systems and Procedures. You almost can't have enough, and after re-reading Tony's Book it became even more clear on how important these aspects of business really are. Recently we've been taking an hour in our staff meeting to revisit how things are done in different areas of the company. We don't take hours, one is plenty, and it keeps peoples attention. Last week we did the "okay, the phone rings, what's next?" Right through the first appointment." We document all this and refine the system, making it accessible to all employees. Here's the deal, and I think Tony says it best in one of his quotes:

"What typically happens is that the landscape contractors, knowing they need help answering the phone, filing, and so on, go out and find people who can do these things. Once they delegate these duties, however, they rarely spend any time with the hoi polloi. Deep down, they feel it's not important how these things get done, it's only important that they get done. They fail to grasp the requirement for a system that makes people their greatest assest rather than their greatest liability.

Because without a system, with such a "recording" without a unique way of doing business that really works, all you're left with is people doing thier own thing. And that is almost always, a recipe for chaos. Rather than guaranteeing consistancy, it ecourages mistake after mistake after mistake."

Chew on that one for awhile.

Per your recommendation I bought Tony's book-great great read! I agree with you ETW. If there is a system for every aspect of your company you need to treat it like a regular cycle, check and balance or re-balance each system regularly (weekly, monthly, yearly, every 5 years etc).:usflag:

theguynextdoor
02-08-2013, 09:41 AM
Does your crew do the carpentry/roofing construction as well on these elaborate jobs or do you have another contractor on site? Does your company handle all the coordination of the other contractors on a job?

etwman
02-08-2013, 09:44 AM
Whatever we don't do ourselves we project manage. Its a full package deal all under us. We do about 80% of what is shown on our photos in house, which is where I like it to be.

etwman
02-08-2013, 11:12 AM
Here's one more. Our industry can have a degree of stress associated with it, I know shocking right? You need to make a point to unwind and get away. Its good for you, do it several times a year. You don't have to go crazy, but I would encourage you when you do, to put auto-replies on email, change your voicemail, and detach. Turn the phone OFF, trust me it'll be fine. Remember back in the day when you had the rotary phone in the kitchen and when no one was there it just rang there was no answering machine?

I don't get into alot of my personal life and what I do, but attached is a picture of where I was last week. On the other side of planet. It's good to get away, relax, and unwind in the off season. Take a book with you and detach, you'll feel alot more refreshed and focused when you return.

jg244888
02-10-2013, 05:26 PM
Still cranking in the field. I can't believe its mid January and we are still running full tilt. We've combined our crews down to two projects we have underway. Here's to a mild winter!

When you combined your crews what did you see happen with your productivity rates?

etwman
02-10-2013, 05:35 PM
We were fine, we watch that stuff very closely. One project manager is in charge and they make the call from day to day on how many people they can be most effective with on the jobsite. We don't do this very often, its usually in die hard season or when we have to finish something up at the end of the year.

DLONGLANDSCAPING
02-10-2013, 11:09 PM
in the last set of pictures you uploaded, are you doing all of the carpentry as well. Pretty damn impressive i must say. I have been really taking your advice from day to day operations, all the way to planning for the future and taking myself slowly out of the field to hire people to do the work i don't need to be doing. Your an inspiration to everyone on here and your work is nothing but the best. I would love to have the opportunity to meet you and pick your brain about some company restructuring ideas i have for my company.

etwman
02-14-2013, 05:00 PM
in less than two months we will drop the curtain on what will be a completely new outdoor kitchen line. This has been in the works for over two years with research and development.

For years outdoor kitchen exteriors had the options of stone and stucco. This is all about to change. This will be exclusive to us in the northeast. More details to come.....

Lead, follow, or get out of the way........

TriCityLawnCareLLC
02-14-2013, 05:33 PM
in less than two months we will drop the curtain on what will be a completely new outdoor kitchen line. This has been in the works for over two years with research and development.

For years outdoor kitchen exteriors had the options of stone and stucco. This is all about to change. This will be exclusive to us in the northeast. More details to come.....

Lead, follow, or get out of the way........

I happy for you!! I love this inspiration you bring to the site. Keep rockin it Jared!
lawnsite is should be about lawncare shouldn't it???

it's not just this picture thread it's alot of them.

alldayrj
02-15-2013, 12:03 AM
People actually want to look at pictures of mowers and stripes? You learn something new every day.

As for ETWMAN, i need to come out one day. I know your busy but a lawnsite meet up would be awesome. This kitchen line has my interest if its like anything else you guys do. Looking forward to it.
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etwman
02-15-2013, 06:35 AM
This thread was created almost 12 years ago, was one of the first threads in the photos section, and is the most viewed thread on the entire site. At the time this started there wasn't even a hardscape section and I had no idea this thread would go this long, or even that our company would be where it is today. The moderators have chosen to leave it where it is, I'm guessing because everyone knows where to find it. Should it go somewhere else? Maybe, maybe not.

Nevertheless, the business direction has changed over the years and the company has grown substantially. Others, beyond what I have posted, have been able to contribute alot to the industry. Last I checked no one was holding guns (though that may change with congress) to anyone's head to read this thread. You can easily search out whatever you want on this site and find useful information in between some of the junk threads.

Take it or leave it, its as simple as that.

noahb195
02-15-2013, 03:57 PM
This thread was created almost 12 years ago, was one of the first threads in the photos section, and is the most viewed thread on the entire site. At the time this started there wasn't even a hardscape section and I had no idea this thread would go this long, or even that our company would be where it is today. The moderators have chosen to leave it where it is, I'm guessing because everyone knows where to find it. Should it go somewhere else? Maybe, maybe not.

Nevertheless, the business direction has changed over the years and the company has grown substantially. Others, beyond what I have posted, have been able to contribute alot to the industry. Last I checked no one was holding guns (though that may change with congress) to anyone's head to read this thread. You can easily search out whatever you want on this site and find useful information in between some of the junk threads.

Take it or leave it, its as simple as that.

This guy is so professional and intelligent its amazing. Your a great mentor.

Bobcat'nSTL
02-16-2013, 03:09 AM
This thread was created almost 12 years ago, was one of the first threads in the photos section, and is the most viewed thread on the entire site. At the time this started there wasn't even a hardscape section and I had no idea this thread would go this long, or even that our company would be where it is today. The moderators have chosen to leave it where it is, I'm guessing because everyone knows where to find it. Should it go somewhere else? Maybe, maybe not.

Nevertheless, the business direction has changed over the years and the company has grown substantially. Others, beyond what I have posted, have been able to contribute alot to the industry. Last I checked no one was holding guns (though that may change with congress) to anyone's head to read this thread. You can easily search out whatever you want on this site and find useful information in between some of the junk threads.


Take it or leave it, its as simple as that.

Very well stated, I personally think this is the best thread in the picture section because it shows what hard work and determination can do and how proper marketing and a quality service can cause a few man show to grow to such a successful businesses and it is truly inspiring. I also believe that it has every right to be in the picture section, the forum is about landscaping and lawn care its not only about cutting grass and taking care of lawns its also about making a yard or property into a beautiful place that people enjoy spending time in weather that is through hardscaping, lawn maintenance, or construction. Most of the landscaping companies at lest around me don't just cut grass they do everything and I really think that hardscaping and so on it part of the lawn care businesses. Now don't get me wrong there are those companies that just do one or the other but on a whole most landscaping companies do both. But that is enough of that, like i said this is an amazing thread and I have really learned alot from it and have been inspired by theirs success.

PerfectEarth
02-16-2013, 12:03 PM
Latest project looks incredible! Those will be some happy homeowners. Need to get on the reading thing more...

Great post on the accounting. Have run a tight ship so far, but meeting with a new accountant on Monday to really streamline the process. Looking forward to it.

Groomer
02-16-2013, 04:12 PM
Kudos on the EPIC THREAD!!! Started in 2002? WOW! Phenomenal dedication and smart business sense and savvy coupled with A+ work and the ability to find your niche and grow it is impressive.

etwman
02-17-2013, 07:32 AM
Here's another one under construction. We're pushing on over the winter. With our spring backlog we have to make every day count in the field we can.

The pavilion with mahogany ceiling, real stone will go on the fireplace, and Techo inca on the flat.

etwman
02-17-2013, 07:34 AM
Interior shot.

ETPRO
02-17-2013, 09:29 AM
I have to say Jarod, I am still reading through your thread. (I am on page 210) Can only do a few pages a sitting. But have truly developed an phenomenal company. It is truly inspiring to me in my new company. I mowed yards in high school, closed the business while I was in college 4 hours away but just now started back my company after working for 2.5 years (after graduation) for a local healthcare system as their regional grounds supervisor. Best move my wife and I have ever made. Loved by job, but love working for myself even more.

We had a great first year and are already looking like this year will be even better. Love the freightliners! I like that a lot better than 15 different trailers. Excited to read the rest of the thread. The installs you guys do are amazing. I hope to work myself up to jobs that size some day. It was encouraging on one of your pages of your thread, you said our average low voltage system is several 1200 watt transformers as opposed to 1- 300 watt transformers and 6-10 fixtures. We are doing are at the 300 watt systems right now. It was good to know that with experience and dedication the big jobs will come. I just have to be patient and learn a lot along the way. You & your team keep up the great work. Keep us posted!

ETPRO
02-17-2013, 09:44 AM
Must say I am a big fan of Dave Ramsey's fpu. Like that advice. Was glad to hear you used a start-up loan. We had to as well, but we are "snowballing" our personal debt and are doing good with it. Next stop is the business loan before the house. Again thanks for sharing.
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etwman
02-17-2013, 11:00 AM
keep in mind some of the information in this 12 year thread has become obsolete. Prime example is the use of these 1200 watt transformers for lighting. That was the old school halogen lighting systems. Now most of the market is turning to LED, which is all that we use now. Halogen will become the CD of the music industry soon.

I use my own personal property as a testing ground for things. I have a 300 watt transformer now that has a 400 foot run on it with probably 30 pathlight fixtures. They have all worked fine for over a year now with no drop in voltage. Each pathlight is 3 watts. Its just technology. Most people that do a fair amount of lighting already know this, but I thought I would point that out.

Have a good spring everyone, there's definitely a different vibe in the air this year with landing projects. Not only am I seeing this, but several of my peers in the northeast are seeing this as well. Now the big question is will hyperinflation hit. Time will tell.

Groomer
02-17-2013, 11:16 AM
I hear you on the economic side. Which made me curious as to the demographics of your work zone in central PA. What industry(s) drives the economy where you are that afford people such discretionary income for projects of the scale you install? Looks to be a nice part of the country. Keep up the beautiful work.

etwman
02-17-2013, 11:21 AM
While it is a valid question, I just don't want to answer it on an online forum. Once I begin to discuss demographics it'll lead to other questions and I just don't want to go there.

I am a firm believer that if you focus really strongly on one or two good things, do them very well, over time it will pay for itself. The book, The Pumpkin Plan, focuses on this indepth.

Groomer
02-17-2013, 11:44 AM
point taken and respected.

CashinH&P
02-17-2013, 11:47 AM
I'v read through this whole thread and must say you, and your company are truly an inspiration. I am 20, going into my second year and I love reading what you have to say.

Thank you for all of the indirect advice.

ETPRO
02-17-2013, 11:55 AM
Good point. I guess the 30 fixtures should of been my focus more so than the transformers. We are using all LED spot lights 1, 3, 5 & 9 watts depending on height of what we are lighting. I am having a hard time selling the led path lights since they are twice the price. I try to sell them on the fact that they won't need new bulbs like halogen or incandescent, and the reduced power consumption, but their response is that they won't ever be able to save that much cost difference on bulbs and power alone. Any sales pointers on that or am I using the wrong brand of light that the cost difference between halogen and led is too much to make that sale
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etwman
02-17-2013, 12:23 PM
Several suggestions that may help:

1. With LED tell the client they can easily add on at a later time. Go to the end of the last fixture, add wire and there you go. No more voltage drop criteria to contend with or hubs. I keep adding on mine at home, same transformer, and just add fixtures. Huge beauty of LED.

2. With LED you can use 14-2 or 16-2 wire. With halogen, depending on runs, your stuck with 10-2 or 12-2. The thinner wire is less expensive.

3. Check with your rep on long term savings on LED versus Halogen. Most have documentation that shows the cost difference long term. I know our FX rep did.

4. Warranty is big for our client. 15 years on the LED fixtures versus 2-3 on Halogen. Keep in mind too that with technology changing the way it is, you may not be able to find parts for a fixture that is 3-4 years old and out of warranty, then their replacing it at full cost out of their pocket. But if it has a 15 yr warranty its not your problem, its the manufacturer. I'd buy that 15 year warranty all day long if I were buying it personally. Imagine if you got a 15 year warranty on your computer?

These are a couple selling points on LED versus Halogen, hope this helps some.

I appreciate all the compliments that many post. I'm not ignoring them, but keep in mind too that I didn't learn everything from looking at trees either. I rely alot on friends, forums, books, and experience. Like I said before never stop learning.

ETPRO
02-17-2013, 01:42 PM
Thanks for the pointers. The warranty info will help tremendously.
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ETPRO
02-17-2013, 01:54 PM
We use FX as well. Do y'all not use kichler anymore?
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etwman
02-17-2013, 01:56 PM
no we just use FX

T Scapes
02-17-2013, 02:46 PM
Hey ETW any chance i could email you a couple question? i lost your email when i got a new one

SRT8
02-17-2013, 09:25 PM
Ok moving on.

So Jarod how many employees do you have right now?
Are all your crews still working together on that big project you recently posted pics of?
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etwman
02-17-2013, 09:31 PM
we will have 10-11 guys in the field this year. 4 in the offices. its a slow go now between two big project because the weather has been a menace. 14 tonight is going to halt us again, but this is the winter for you. Take it one week at a time.

SRT8
02-17-2013, 09:35 PM
Over here in Ca we are able to work year round just a couple bad weeks. Our work is mostly maintenance so its a little different. I read in recent post you were starting your GROW division to maintain current and past clients, did that end up working out for you?
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jg244888
02-17-2013, 09:46 PM
Everything looks great!!! Just finished Category of One its great starting Pumpkin Plan now thanks for the suggestions. Do you every find that you need a bigger truck? Would you containers fit on full size Roll-off rails if you ever upsized?

etwman
02-18-2013, 08:07 AM
In my honest opinion the best truck for landscape / hardscape construction is that vehicle between 26-33k GVW. with airbrakes. Beyond that you can have stuff trucked in. I've talked in length on this here in this thread. You can barely haul 5 yards of mulch in a 1 ton dump without being overloaded. It's not just unsafe, its illegal and your running the risk of seriously hurting someone on the road because you can't stop quick enough.

I just don't see the need for a bigger roll off truck. Its been interesting to watch those friends that have graduated to this size truck based off what what has been said here. I'd venture to say if you checked with anyone of them they'd never go back to the 350 or 450. My maintenace costs for these larger trucks is half, if not less, than my F-550. They are just built for the workload.

MDLawn
02-19-2013, 09:47 PM
Got my EMyth Landscape business book the other day. Started reading today and I'm currently 150 pages in. Such good information I hated to put it down. Completion tomorrow then read it again!
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JContracting
02-20-2013, 12:18 AM
I'll be doing the same ^
I'm at about pg 130 and will probably read it again before spring.

Swampy
02-20-2013, 11:14 AM
In my honest opinion the best truck for landscape / hardscape construction is that vehicle between 26-33k GVW. with airbrakes. Beyond that you can have stuff trucked in. I've talked in length on this here in this thread. You can barely haul 5 yards of mulch in a 1 ton dump without being overloaded. It's not just unsafe, its illegal and your running the risk of seriously hurting someone on the road because you can't stop quick enough.

I just don't see the need for a bigger roll off truck. Its been interesting to watch those friends that have graduated to this size truck based off what what has been said here. I'd venture to say if you checked with anyone of them they'd never go back to the 350 or 450. My maintenace costs for these larger trucks is half, if not less, than my F-550. They are just built for the workload.

Would you consider that the perfect size to what jobs you take on or just in general?

jrs.landscaping
02-20-2013, 02:07 PM
Just read most of the thread and I can't believe the high standard of the projects and also the professionalism of yourself and your company. Great thread and I can't wait to read more.

MDLawn
02-20-2013, 03:47 PM
Finished the EMyth Landscape Contractor today. This is a must read, not a should read, a must read. Now I need to read it again....and try to implement the concepts.

JContracting
02-20-2013, 04:19 PM
That's what I've been saying to everyone I know that is in this business. If you don't read it and implement its concepts, you're basically doing it wrong.
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alldayrj
02-20-2013, 06:16 PM
Is this not on ibooks? I found his other books
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MDLawn
02-20-2013, 06:26 PM
I wonder if it just comes from Tony Bass' website?
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APLUS LAWN CARE
02-20-2013, 07:40 PM
ETW,

I know that this has been touched on at least once before in this thread but it has been quite some time ago. What do you use for business software, if any? What do you use for billing and estimating?

Real Green
03-01-2013, 10:03 AM
ETWman,

I'm having some family members over and was wondering if you could recommend a good recipe? Thanks and stay green!

-Beltway Bandit

TriCityLawnCareLLC
03-01-2013, 10:49 AM
RealGreen- I hope you're joking,lol.
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forkicks
03-01-2013, 04:08 PM
Wow ETWMAN your a true American success story. I was only on here to check on some photo's than I came across yours and it kept me interested so I kept reading more of it. I'm glad that mom and dads money did not go to waste. Sad to see so many with that kind of start waste it. Keep up the good work.

alldayrj
03-12-2013, 01:54 AM
second time through the thread and spent another $30 on ibooks.

I love the business advice and always try to implement it but another great perspective would be from one of your foreman on staging, managing, techniques and methods. obviously the basics are covered at trade shows and in books but things like using the zip level or laying out patterns around big islands like at the country club you did. I think it would help some of us that are inbetween in terms of scale, still in the field and trying to up the class of work, become a better leader and businessman etc.

etwman
03-12-2013, 07:22 AM
I apologize on being detached here for awhile. Its been a challenging four weeks with the sudden passing of a very good friend at age 38, coupled with the business of spring. Live every day to the fullest.

To answer the questions, yes I believe the 26-33k truck is the ideal one for landscaping. You will find that most bigger, well established companies run this size truck.

Software we use Quickbooks, Dynascapes and Manage 360.

We are headed into a record setting spring on projects sold. Lots of neat projects and out of the box ideas. i will post some pics as construction gets furher underway. Here's one we are finishing up now.

Junior M
03-12-2013, 07:56 AM
We were already in the business of pool construction and we branched into doing the deck ourselves(we weren't happy with anyone's quality but our own)

My question for you etwman is what do y'all do around the skimmer lids?
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etwman
03-12-2013, 09:08 PM
Funny you should mention that. Pool contractors only like to use round skimmer boxes, though there are square ones available and would be a lot easier for paver installers. I've never won this battle.

We use hand grinders and take about an hour on each to make them look really good. You can, and we have, rented a 12" core drill bit at a local rental store. They aren't cheap to rent, and even more expensive to buy, but it does give a real clean efficient look.

Bottom line is there is no silver bullet on this. It's patience, and hand grinders, cut off saws, and skill.

Junior M
03-12-2013, 09:26 PM
I didn't know if y'all had developed a trick yet.. Depending on the type of deck I'll go to the pool supply house and I'll buy the square lid. then cut a lip on to the pavers so the lid sets down flush with the top of the pavers.. Best way I've found because I am never happy with the way the round hole comes out.

Oh yeah, check and see if there is an SCP near you, you can buy a square lid and riser for the skimmer. I've done that on pools we've built.
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etwman
03-25-2013, 11:10 AM
Here's another one, really proud of our masonry crew in house. These guys rock. This will be a catalog worthy fireplace when its done. A really neat pavilion will surround it.

Now winter needs to give up so we can push on.....

P.Services
03-25-2013, 12:05 PM
Is that sitting on a massive concrete footing or compacted aggregate?

etwman
03-25-2013, 12:09 PM
Massive concrete footing.