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etwman
04-24-2007, 07:30 PM
Back on page 48 there was a landscape plan that was posted. Below are several pics of this project. We are currently at three full tractor trailer loads of pavers and block on it and should be completing the hardscape phase tomorrow. Granite countertops will be installed in the kitchen area shortly. Hot tub will be installed next week along with 192 pieces of plant material that we'll be bringing in. Finally a pergola will go up. I believe there are about 35 landscape lights in it all together. Overall it was a fun project.

We have several others of this caliper waiting in the wings, but such is spring.

I will post the finals sometime next week once everything is planted, sod is in, and we're fully done.

Oh, and for those of you that are curious, there was a tremendous amount of cut work in this project. My foreman, who is superb, said one day both cutoff saws ran non-stop all day burning 3 gallons of mix. Do you know how much cutting you need to do in a day to burn three gallons of mix? Every cut on this job was done with a cutoff saw, no table saws were ever used.

etwman
04-24-2007, 07:40 PM
Ohh, and I know there will be questions about the triangle piece in the wall (that'll become a planter) so I'll avoid 30 PM's and post a close up pic.

BSDeality
04-24-2007, 08:10 PM
Looks amazing like usual Jarod. Keep the pictures coming.

nmez21
04-24-2007, 08:23 PM
Every project in the thread looks truly amazing. Awsome work!

McKeeLand
04-24-2007, 08:52 PM
Jarod how do you like your freightliners and what engine and trans do they have? i am looking for a good used fl 70 right now

etwman
04-24-2007, 09:26 PM
They both have CAT 3126's in them that produce 210 hp. Both also have 6 speed eaton manual transmissions in them. I haven't had problems with either one. I think one has 136,000 on it and the other has 155,000. I don't think we've put more than 20,000 miles on either one since we bought them 3 years ago. I don't have the numbers in front of me right now but I'd bet that I've spent more in repairs in our 3500 Dodge than both FL-70's combined. Sterling and International are good routes too.

I'm looking pretty closely at another one right now.

McKeeLand
04-24-2007, 09:42 PM
i can testify to that, i put $10k in my 450 one year. they are beautiful trucks, i saw the one at mahts this year. if you don't mind me asking how much you switch and go cost you. they are going to give me a quote tomorrow.

etwman
04-24-2007, 10:02 PM
Just the SNG system alone was somewhere around $10-$11, but keep in mind that was two years ago. I'm not sure where they are at now. Plus that gets you the hoist/winch system, now you have to get it installed and get bodies.

coolbreeze
04-25-2007, 08:03 AM
great pics! do the neighbors typically get quotes after seeing the finished products?

meets1
04-25-2007, 08:35 AM
Your works looks awesome! Also enjoy the pictures you post! Some of those jobs have run into some big numbers for you and the homeowner!

Adam's Lawn and Garden
04-25-2007, 10:55 AM
I looked into the SNG for a F-550 and it was around 15K i believe.

adam

etwman
04-25-2007, 03:03 PM
Answers to questions:

That seems pretty high for a F-550 unless they've doubled in price in the last three years. Installed with a can or two maybe at $15k.

Some neighbors will inquire about our work. This project was in the drawing stages for about 4 months before construction began. I can usually tell the curious ones from the serious ones pretty quick. Projects like this don't happen overnight. I bet we were into drawing/planning for about 8 weeks before I even through out a number on the thing. But yes, every now and then we do get a job off of one in construction. Moreso, its usually down the road from word of mouth.

Yes they get into high dollar. I've seen them go into 6 digits frequently, but then again that's our target market so it doesn't surprise me that much.

Adam's Lawn and Garden
04-25-2007, 08:37 PM
That was with the bin and the flatbed i think. I can't honestly remember.

adam

TWUllc
05-02-2007, 06:03 PM
Great work Jarod. :waving:

etwman
05-02-2007, 08:11 PM
Finished with this one and onto another of equal size just north of us. Hot tub here will arrive later this week, granite countertops and grill will be installed shortly. The pergola will go up on the four pillars by the hot tub landing.

I plan to return to it in 3 weeks to take some final pics.

Tony Clifton
05-02-2007, 08:51 PM
As always, incredible work. You may have already answered this question, but will your company build the pergola/install the grill?
I really wish we had an EP Henry dealer down here, I think that the marketing they do in your area really helps sell the jobs. We are on our own down here. There is 1-2 manufacturers that we could buy the wallstone from---I am willing to bet that there is not a single patio with the walls like your within 100-200 miles of our market.

etwman
05-02-2007, 08:58 PM
Well if its any consulation there may be. I have met three times with a gentleman who wants us to do some extensive work on his house that's under construction on Lake Norman. It looks like it may go late this year, and if this is the case EPHenry product will follow us there, same as it did upstate NY. Its a beautiful area and I've been on that lake several times.

Once again we may be traveling outside of our realm but if the guys want to do it I'll consider the voyage. As always I'll make it a point to have them home on the weekends.

Adam's Lawn and Garden
05-03-2007, 12:27 PM
How exactly do you target your market that is able to spend this amount of money on landscape. I have bided on a few strictly landscape jobs and people look at me like i kicked them in the gut. I have read several books and charge what i'm supposed too. But people still take it like it's too expensive.

thanks,
adam

etwman
05-05-2007, 07:14 AM
That my friend is what comes with experience, selling, and marketing strategy. Now I can't share all that with you or I'd be letting the cat out of the bag, but I'd have to say after 5 years we've kind of figured it out. This higher end built market is not an easy nitch to penetrate but any stretch, but it's there. There's about 40 things that have to mesh perfectly in order to carry a company into this target market. If you slip up on 3-4 you won't get anywhere.

You'll figure it out in time if you're determined enough.

Adam's Lawn and Garden
05-05-2007, 08:53 PM
When you were starting Earth, Turf, and Wood, did you ever get discouraged. Cause every day theres another guy out of the back of a pick up truck and how you'd compete with him. Cause i have now placed a pricing formula together and what i must charge and people give me funny looks when i give them a price.

thanks,

adam

meets1
05-05-2007, 09:24 PM
I agree with Adam. Everday around here is someone new with a truck and trailer and off to menards or home depot for the lastest sale and quick reatining wall or paver job. 1 in 5 guys I see actually do the job well as far as appearance, compaction etc but after figuring there cost, all the time to layout, get materials etc they have had to lost money, unless they figure $5 / hour clear is good.

tthomass
05-06-2007, 12:52 PM
-Hey Jarod

Looking at picture #2 of the project you just finished......why is it that the rise of the step is further out then the tread? I've never seen that, is it the product or a layout/design issue or what?

I know you don't sub out but what about things like plumbing, electrical and structures? In VA you'd have to have all kinds of separate licensing and testing. Is this also the case in PA?

etwman
05-06-2007, 04:25 PM
In pic #2 Todd they are going to put a hot tub on that lower landing. See if you follow this....the hot tub has access panels on the sides so they need to be able to get to them. The hot tub will be about 1 foot away from both of those steps. They are going to fabricate a trex decking landing there and use that exposed block lip as a ledge. They'll lift the decking out to enable them to access the fold out doors to the hot tub. It'll be pretty slick when its done. If the hot tub is full of water, and right up against those block steps, they'll never get the access they need. I know it looks a little awkward now but that'll be hidden with trex once the hot tub is in.

On that job we referred our electrical work to a friend of mine who has a small company. They worked with them indepently of us.

The structures and plumping he's taking care of because that's his profession.

We took care of all the conduit running, demolition, hardscape, landscape, and seeding on this one then pulled out.

McKeeLand
05-06-2007, 04:35 PM
i was wondering the same thing, but figured you had a good reason. that will look awnsome when its done. great idea, but know every one is going to use it on their designs now.:laugh:

tthomass
05-06-2007, 08:25 PM
Yeah that makes sense. I like.

BTW- the polished stainless is holding up great and has not faded at all

Metro Lawn
05-06-2007, 11:33 PM
I said I would add a pic of my new Super Z bumper, so here it is.

Nature's Edge
05-07-2007, 06:18 PM
Nice truck and trailer!

Plant Buyer 83
05-08-2007, 06:00 PM
ETW... That Job on page 51 and 52, looks amazing, very nice work. I also love your trucks.

02DURAMAX
05-08-2007, 08:07 PM
I said I would add a pic of my new Super Z bumper, so here it is.


That looks very cool!!!!.......ETW you do amazing work!!!!

kreft
05-09-2007, 05:01 PM
is the jd skid & track loader & the mini ex yours?
do u have a website

kreft
05-09-2007, 07:21 PM
is the jd skid & track loader & the mini ex yours?
do u have a website

refering to earth turf and wood

Adam's Lawn and Garden
05-09-2007, 07:26 PM
Jarod,

What do you guys do if there is a tree root in the way of where you guys are installing something at?

adam

cgland
05-09-2007, 08:27 PM
Jarod,

What do you guys do if there is a tree root in the way of where you guys are installing something at?

adam
Is this a serious question? I'll tell you what you do....if it is not a main feeder root then cut it, but the most logical is to educate the homeowner about potential tree losses during the consultation phase. Never try to go over a tree root...you will regret it.

Chris

Lynch Landscaping
05-09-2007, 09:45 PM
etwman do you guys still mow of just installs

Adam's Lawn and Garden
05-09-2007, 10:14 PM
cgland,

I know you don't go over it, but i saw on th HGTV channel a landscape company had them specially prunned back or something.

Adam

etwman
05-10-2007, 07:56 AM
Lynch -

We are down to mowing three sites, that's about it, and one is a family member's business. This could be the last year of mowing. The three great customers that we service, mostly larger commercial, really want us to hold on because they really like our service. The margins just aren't there with grounds care compared to other things and its a shame because it is a neat aspect that I do enjoy. It was what our company was founded on but that's changed tremendously. As long as there are 1 guy / 1 mower operations that charge $25 a cut with no insurance (and think they are making money when they really aren't) the whole industry will never really have a chance to grow and charge what really needs to be charged. We don't really see this as our competition but its there. We see it, hear about it, and know about it. You can go buy a mower today and be a mowing company tomorrow. You're in a different game with landscape and hardscape. You mess up a mowing, give it three days and it'll fix itself. Mess up a hardscape and you'll lose your shirt. As long as that is the case with mowing I really would rather put my efforts somewhere else rather than fight this battle to grow that division. Do I think I could grow it? Sure, if I had the energy but the margins are still minimal.

I've been thinking about posting this for a while but I've been very hesitant. I'm going to probably pinch some nuts here, and get some criticism, when I say this but heed these words. I want to be sensitive to this because I have some friends on this site that might be offended but there is some truth to this. Landscape and Hardscape companies that are very serious about their occupations don't cut grass. And this could be vice versa here too folks. Now wait, does that mean you can do both and do them well? You can but its alot of effort. Does mowing get you in the door for other things? It might, but its not the clients we are looking for. Has mowing ever gotten us a high end build? Never. You know how many big installs we have done at residences when Joey's lawn service flies around the yard on his zero turn. Tons, customers don't think of the two companies as being interchangable. Sorry, they just don't. I'm a huge advocate of doing one thing and do it well, we don't offer a 100 different services. If it means getting rid of other services to focus on one or two then so what. This is our specialty, this is why people come to us for higher end landscape and hardscape installs. Once you get really good at something, set a presidence in the industry, your margins become good, and you become the "go to" company that customers want. Its too difficult to offer 50 services in a company with 10-12 employees. You cannot manage that right and become fully educated in all those services, I don't care what you say. I'm sure this is going to be a split audience on this topic. Take a look around your area. The landscape build companies that have been in business the longest, and are well known, probably aren't pulling a mowing trailer.

This is just my opinion on the industry. Is mowing wrong? No, not at all. Can you make money at it? Sure, you'll probably make more if you just mow, price it right, and focus on volume and efficiency.

Back to work, I'm sure there will be some replies on this one......I'll go put my Kevlar bullet proof jacket on and look back at my computer later.

kreft -

Go back in the thread and all your questions are answered.

coolbreeze
05-10-2007, 08:50 AM
:clapping: well put. i don't think there is anything to add.

cgland
05-10-2007, 08:28 PM
Jarod, Jarod, Jarod! I have to disagree on this one. We have three divisions (Mowing, Maintenance and Install) all of which are run by an educated person in that field. You will never get your margins from Commercial mowing. It's a volume game, but residential is a different story. Granted, we don't just mow properties. They are all full service....mowing, property maintenance, fert, snow removal, etc. I find this portion of our business to be very profitable because residential homeowners (the ones we target) are willing to pay for a top quality service, so we get the money we need to turn a very good profit. It may be easier for me, because I have a partner that runs the mowing division and our operations manager runs the maintenance crews. 3 totally separate entities under one roof. I run the installs and have no idea, day to day, what the other crews are doing...untill the end of the day when i go over the route sheets. You have to be very selective when it comes to your customer base in order to be sucessful in the maintenace game. I think we have done that. As far as the installs go, I run that end and as far as I'm concerned, I'll go portfolio to portfolio w/ anyone. Nobody in Berks County or some of the surrounding counties has more certifications that I do. And my certifications don't come in the wake of peer pressure or industry trends. I have been certified for many years, before every manufacturer required them. Not that it means much to alot of people, but as far as my goal to better the industry perception.....it goes a long way. As long as you have the proper management team in place I feel you can be, not only the best but profitable as well. Anyway, that's just my .02

Chris

McKeeLand
05-10-2007, 08:29 PM
Well said Jarrod. That is the decision i had made last season. i gave up maintenance completely, sold all of my equipment over the winter so that i would not be tempted to start up in the spring. I definitely have to use more marketing to keep busy all year. it is well worth it not to be on a $25k+ hardscape/landscape job and get a call from a $25 lawn customer that my guys didn't blow off the porch. I have come to the realization that it is better to be a specialist at a few things and do them well ,than to be a jack of all trades and master of none. the way i look at it is home building. do you hire one contractor to do the entire project, general contractor aside? no, you hire an electrician, a plumber, a framer, a roofer, a mason, a hvac guy, alarm guy, a sider, a sheet rocker, an insulator, tile guy, a painter, a kitchen counter guy, a cabinet guy. Why do you hire all of these different trades? because they all do one thing day in and day out and they can give the best price and the best work because of that. so why is that people think that they need a one stop shop for their landscape. I like to say hire a lawn guy to cut your grass, hire a hardscaper to install your patio. thats my take on it.

cgland
05-10-2007, 09:08 PM
I agree w/ you McKee, but If you are known in those sects as a professional and the one to hire then you must be doing something right. As far as your builder analogy......you are not comparing apples to apples. Landscaping or hardscaping is comprised of an impressive laundry list of tasks. Landscaping could include anything from light excavation and soil moving to planting a 1 gallon perennial. hardscaping could include natural stone (an art in itself), paver patios, retaining walls, steps, stamped concrete, etc. (all of which could be specialties in and of themselves.) A sheetrock guy won't hang your rock then do your roofing or a HVAC guy won't install your air conditioner then do your finish carpentry. My point is, We as landscapers/hardscapers need to have a broad range of skills to be both successful and efficient which equates to profitability. Some of us are able to manage those skills and excell, while others fall on their faces because they are not well rounded. If your company is well rounded, and you have the people that can perform the tasks, then you can offer 5,248 different services. (as long as you have the proper clientele and are not spreading yourself too thin.) Don't get me wrong, you can't have one crew that hardscapes 3 days a week, cuts grass one day a week, and does some irrigation on the fifth day. That won't work, but if you have divisions set up that specialize in just one thing then your company is more able to market itself to each individual client base more effectively and professionally.

Chris

Tony Clifton
05-10-2007, 09:30 PM
I am with you CGLAND.
On the other hand I agree with what Jarod is saying as well.
I think it all depends on the people you have, your market, how well your business is set up, and how much time you are willing to put into your business.

mrusk
05-10-2007, 10:47 PM
I agree w/ you McKee, but If you are known in those sects as a professional and the one to hire then you must be doing something right. As far as your builder analogy......you are not comparing apples to apples. Landscaping or hardscaping is comprised of an impressive laundry list of tasks. Landscaping could include anything from light excavation and soil moving to planting a 1 gallon perennial. hardscaping could include natural stone (an art in itself), paver patios, retaining walls, steps, stamped concrete, etc. (all of which could be specialties in and of themselves.) A sheetrock guy won't hang your rock then do your roofing or a HVAC guy won't install your air conditioner then do your finish carpentry. My point is, We as landscapers/hardscapers need to have a broad range of skills to be both successful and efficient which equates to profitability. Some of us are able to manage those skills and excell, while others fall on their faces because they are not well rounded. If your company is well rounded, and you have the people that can perform the tasks, then you can offer 5,248 different services. (as long as you have the proper clientele and are not spreading yourself too thin.) Don't get me wrong, you can't have one crew that hardscapes 3 days a week, cuts grass one day a week, and does some irrigation on the fifth day. That won't work, but if you have divisions set up that specialize in just one thing then your company is more able to market itself to each individual client base more effectively and professionally.

Chris


As much as i agree with jarod, i also agree with you. You need to have dedicated crews for each task. You need to run each divison as its own company without employee cross over.

McKeeLand
05-11-2007, 07:38 AM
Your are right Chris and it can work that way if you are willing to run several different divisions, or small companies. i just can't see giving the same amount of myself to several companies as just one. some guys can handle that, or have partners, i just can't do that right now.

cgland
05-11-2007, 02:44 PM
I agree. If you are a one man show (ownership wise) and don't have the means or the need to hire top notch, field specific personnel, then it will never work. You can't do everything!

Chris

TWUllc
05-11-2007, 03:36 PM
I agree. If you are a one man show (ownership wise) and don't have the means or the need to hire top notch, field specific personnel, then it will never work. You can't do everything!

Chris

Bingo. .

etwman
05-11-2007, 09:27 PM
This is interesting. This could all be beneficial to all of us if we keep this under control. There's some good information here in these previous posts, and yes Chris I do see your validity. I think this type of chat could help alot of people.

Okay let's take a different angle on this and look at three different case companies in the order in which I feel is the least profitable to the most. And these are no particular companies just three different examples of what I have observed and studied in this industry. Once again this is totally my take, others I'm sure are going to express their thoughts so I'll keep my kevlar jacket on.

Company #1 - One owner, three crews, 9 employees. This owner pushes and advertises everything. Landscaping, hardscaping, mowing, decks, pergolas, pool maintenance, fertilization, and the list goes on and on. I can't for the life of me understand how a company like this can be profitable and know everything there is to know about everything they do. I really think they are setting themselves up for a huge mess. They have no operations guy, just foreman of crews and they float depending on where they are needed. They blanket the yellow pages advertising everything from A-Z. Let's call this the least profitable company and I think there are quite a few out there like this, often times they expand from mowing into this mess. Why? Lord only knows. These are the ones that build patios that haven't a clue what they are doing and cause an unholy mess.

Company #2 - Something with multiple divisions, division leaders, etc. Landscaping Division, Pool Maintenance Division, etc. Can this be profitable? YES I do believe it can, BUT, I think you had better have three crews under each division leader. Three crews that are busy full time, let's say three on each crew. If you don't have this you're going to be too top heavy, which means you're going to be paying that division coordinator too much money to manage something that could be done by a foreman. OR OR! you are going to be scrounching up smaller, non profitable work for those crews to attempt to keep the division leader justifiable. I saw this happen in several companies I looked at in college and they eventually either trimmed way back to save themselves fast or folded . You absolutely have to be smart and very efficient to move into this avenue. To make that move into a division coordinator you had better be cranking out some good numbers because that guy is going to come with a price tag around his neck. Add to that he had better know his stuff from sales to operations real good for what he is doing. It's almost like having three individual companies in one if you have three divisions.

Company #3 - Let call this the nitch company. They do one thing and do it right. They don't mow, the margins are too thin. They have figured out what in their industry is most profitable and go full force with that one idea. Like McKeeland said, "I have come to the realization that it is better to be a specialist at a few things and do them well ,than to be a jack of all trades and master of none." I honestly do believe this is the most profitable avenue in this industry. Have 3-4 crews just doing that one thing. If you do irrigation well, they do irrigation. If you are a master at hardscape, then do hardscape. At what point do you think about adding another division? You don't, you add a spin off company. You don't mess with a good thing.

Company #2 may do more in sales but may not be as profitable. And that's fine as long as they are happy because they are turning bigger numbers. With company #2 if you have a weak division a stronger one will have to carry it for a while diminishing your bottom line. Company #3 can correct that problem alot faster because they only have one focus. Will Company #3 have a better bottom line at the end of a year....probably.

I don't want this to turn into a pissing contest we can all act like grown ups here and share some good info.

mrusk
05-11-2007, 09:50 PM
ETW-

Lets add another company into the mix. My company. I took a 90 degree turn and am now just going after six figure jobs subbing out the things i do not know. Basically we just do the design and hardscape/plantings, and sub irrigation, fence, pools, masonry, lighting, etc, etc.

Bascailly, i came to the realization that on jobs this size, if the homeowner is the GC, its not a job i want to be on. Doing jobs this site is no different than building a house, yet so many home owners think they can manage it themselves.

Adam's Lawn and Garden
05-11-2007, 10:59 PM
mrusk-

When you look at it though, a sub pulls up to joe smiths yard and starts to install an irragation system. Who's company is it advertising yours or his? Who's company is benifiting? Plus that's a lot of subs to keep on top of ain't it?

I'm just confused

adam

etwman
05-12-2007, 07:36 AM
I'm not a big advocate of subs, that's why we don't sub anything out. If you are going to go that route you had better have some really good, top notch, "jump when you say jump" subs. If you don't there goes you entire reputation. I've seen some really bad outcomes with this and I'm not willing to take that risk. We don't even go the step in reccomending someone else for work that's too small for us for fear it'll come back to burn us.

Doing jobs like this you're headed back to minimal margins again because all your subs have to make good money, unless your doing a phase or two yourself. We've never lost a high end job because we failed to be GC on a larger aspect.

mrusk
05-12-2007, 07:45 AM
ETW- Right now I do 1 job at a time and am always on site. So sub quality is not a issue.

I would not of gotten this job i just signed if i was not handleing the entire job.

Honestly, i grew up in construction.

Designing, coordinating, and running jobs is what i want to do.

etwman
05-12-2007, 07:58 AM
And there is no problem with that if you are comfortable with it. With subs you can end up with 10 different leaders and opinions which can spell disaster if you don't have a strong grasp on it. Builders do it all this time, but there is some real shotty work out there because then dollar becomes the issue. Superior subs don't come cheap.

I just don't like using subs, but that's just me. When people look at our $3 million dollar portfolio of hardscape / landscape work, website, marketing workbooks, etc. every pic is something we touched and actually did. When customers realize that, it instantly establishes a sense of ease, and secures our project.

mrusk
05-12-2007, 01:03 PM
Honestly, i think we are going after two different markets.

The work i am going after, people higher me for my design and management skills. Its completly different selling what i am selling, vs selling a hardscape.

High end clients want to write and check and enjoy. They do not want to have to call 5 different companies to get their backyard done. They want to make 1 call.

Lets look at one job i have signed. 225k and growing backyard. I have the following subs: carpenter, gunite pool, fence, electrican, mason, irrigation, landscape lighting, home audio, excavation, and propane 10 subs. If the homeowner tried to cooridanate this themselves it would be a NIGHTMARE!! I would not of taking this job if i was just doing the hardscape.


When i go on estimates, I am completly open that i use subs. I explain why i need to handle the entire project; why i sub things out vs do it in house; and why it would be a mistake if the homeowner tried to run the job themselvs.

When i show my profolio and their is subbed out work in the photos, thats fine. It does not matter if i build the thing with my own hands, its still my job and my work!!!!

etwman
05-12-2007, 01:40 PM
Matt -

Your work sounds very interesting. For your type of client to write you a check for $225k you must have a pretty serious portfolio of completed work. Not too mention the fact that you must have been in business for quite a few years (20-30?), having gained a tremendous amount of experience. What is your educational background? How old are you now? This is very commendable.

What's your website I'd like to take a peek if I might?

I haven't come accross many pics of your work on this site. I may just not know where to look. Would you mind pointing me in the right direction. Maybe I could learn something from your scope of work.

Thanks.

mrusk
05-12-2007, 06:55 PM
You want the run down on me?

I am 21 years old today. This is my third year in business. No education past high school. Worked with GCs all during HS and learned how to run and manage jobs.

I havn't done any jobs of this caliber before. How did i sign it? Its really no big secert. I have the ablity to design exactly what the customer wants. It seems like alot of the other companies in my area that bid on this caliber work have already made their name, and now more concerned designing jobs that are easier to build to make more $$, rather then building something the customer wants.

Honestly, my greatest asset is my design ability. I come up with some incrediable designs. I brought in a LA to work with on all my jobs now. He takes my basic design and adds to it.


I do not run 20 estimates a week. Some weeks i run none. A busy week might be 3 estimates. Most weeks is around 1. I put a ton of time into those proposals/designs. Way more then my compeititors do. I might meet with a client 3 or 4 times before i give them a price. Some may say this is a waste of time, but i do it to build a better relationship. And it pays off.

During the presentation with the customer, i bring out several different subs to furthur explain what they are going to do. People are not hiring me, they are highering my team. Its like i have 5 salesman. And i make sure i only use subs that are as passionate and enthusatic as i am.

I can't spill all my secerts. But one of the top things that helps me is my enthusatism. This business is my life. When i talk to a client it really comes out.

Attached is a snap shot of what we are doing with the pool.

Alot of people may think i am FOS but i am the real deal.

etwman
05-12-2007, 07:12 PM
So if I have this straight, and let me see if I do, and correct me if I'm wrong here.

1. You don't have any website.
2. You don't really have any pics of your completed projects, other than some future designs.
3. You sell yourself on your enthusiasm, but have no formal education, some general contracting skills, and are 21.
4. You rely on the wisdom of your subs to educate your prospective customers.
5. You have less than three years in business.
6. You ask an aweful lot of, shall we say, entry level questions on this site for someone who claims to know so much.

I'm not the one telling you that your are "FOS", there's plenty of others on this site that are doing that quite well.

I....yeah...wow...we're going to let this one stop here. Oh and Happy Birthday.

cgland
05-12-2007, 08:23 PM
OUCH!

Chris

etwman
05-12-2007, 08:39 PM
Yeah...well....moving on. I had a non professional moment. How bout those Bears Chris?

cgland
05-12-2007, 10:54 PM
Yeah...well....moving on. I had a non professional moment. How bout those Bears Chris?

We all have them!:laugh: It's always been my philosiphy that if you never show pics of your work it means one of two things: 1) You don't own a camera!:dizzy: or 2) You really have nothing to show! Can you say Uniscaper?

Chris

Adam's Lawn and Garden
05-13-2007, 08:26 AM
Jarod,

Got a question real quick. You know you are a big mentor to me and i was wondering is it imparitive that i have to go to college?

Adam

mrusk
05-13-2007, 11:04 AM
We all have them!:laugh: It's always been my philosiphy that if you never show pics of your work it means one of two things: 1) You don't own a camera!:dizzy: or 2) You really have nothing to show! Can you say Uniscaper?

Chris

I just acctually bought my first digital camera last week! And i will be posting pictures now.

kreft
05-13-2007, 07:04 PM
lets see them then

etwman
05-13-2007, 09:10 PM
Mrusk, then I would advise you to start a new thread entitled "mrusk's project photos" I'm sure quite a few would be interested in seeing your work.

Adam, a college education defintely cannot hurt by any stretch of the means. Is it neccessary? That's a whole other thread there. There were some definite pluses to some of the classes that I took. I can't say Latin American Music and Culture class did much of anything but the business, investments, finances, and management classes did. You won't learn the "field specifics" in a college setting but the basics will definitely help. You have the rest of your life to play in the dirt. You have to learn to walk before you can run.

Tony Clifton
05-13-2007, 09:18 PM
Go to College!
Obviously the education is incredibly important, but there is so much more to it than the degree you will earn. I think that there is so much gained by going to college, the discipline, the friends, the culture, etc.

etwman
05-13-2007, 09:43 PM
I would definitely concur with Tony on that.

Adam's Lawn and Garden
05-13-2007, 09:47 PM
so while i was driving along i was thinking, much like i usually do. I was wondering if you are going after your first FULL landscape install, how do you insure the client that you know what you're doing since you wouldn't have a portfolio set up?

adam

etwman
05-14-2007, 07:13 AM
If you don't have any experience you can rely on good subs who know.....nevermind......

Start with small jobs and take pictures. If you go to college you'll have an educational background that will be worth something.

You should start a separate thread for Adam's Questions.

coolbreeze
05-14-2007, 07:21 AM
i almost hate ask this question, but if you just bought your first dig. camera, what were you using for your portfolio?

i don't want to hijack thread or down, but i'm just curious.

ALarsh
05-14-2007, 09:16 AM
Lets see the latest project ETW.

bonerigo.1
05-14-2007, 09:31 AM
I am working on my college education. Landscape Horticulture at Ohio State University. I don't think I have a single customer in either the landscape or maintenance end that has not asked about my graduation date. Everyone pays very close attention to my progess in school and business. My largest job to date ($22,000) was ensured partly due to the fact that I am almost finished with a degree. I made about $14,000 on that job. Therefore, if school costs about $8000 dollars a year then I would have paid for approx 1.5years of my education. Not bad for just over 10 days of hard work.

My education will pay and has paid for itself time and time again. I am a senior with about 8 classes to go and the money / recognition is already starting to multiply.

poolboy
05-14-2007, 04:57 PM
ETW- I always check out this thread when something else is added and I honestly take your business ideas to heart. Iím not in the landscaping or the hardscaping field. My company is mainly pool service, maintenance, and we do pool replastering, some deck work, tile and coping. We stay very busy with what work we do and I find the pool construction business overly saturated with complete morons. In Texas, pool builders are not licensed , nor regulated. Thatís why you see so many fly-by-night companies that leave shotty workÖ..itís one reason we stay so busy. At the same time, it usually leaves a bad taste with the customer as well and most likely their last pool they buy. However, there are a few companies that use nothing but subcontractors, but their client is buying nothing but the pool name, ie wise pool.com (someone that I used to work for). But I do agree with you in keeping everything in house, sometimes, in my case, it canít always be done.

mrusk
05-14-2007, 05:32 PM
so while i was driving along i was thinking, much like i usually do. I was wondering if you are going after your first FULL landscape install, how do you insure the client that you know what you're doing since you wouldn't have a portfolio set up?

adam


Maybe I have a charming personality.


I do have a profolio. Honestly, i haven't brought it out to a customers house in over a year. If someone is interest in hiring me, i either take them out to a previously completed job in their area or they come out to the job i am currently working on.

I've signed my share of jobs with showing no pictures and no job site visits.

What insures the customer that i know what i am doing? Well maybe the fact that every reference i give them tells them that i did exactly what i said i was going to do.


I still can't belive you guys are busting on me for relying on subs to educate the customer. How many people KNOW everything about lighting, irrigation, horticulture, gunite pools, etc etc etc.

poolboy
05-14-2007, 08:22 PM
[QUOTE=mrusk;

I still can't belive you guys are busting on me for relying on subs to educate the customer. How many people KNOW everything about lighting, irrigation, horticulture, gunite pools, etc etc etc.[/QUOTE]

My subs never talk to the customer, they talk to my head service tech, or me if I can be at the job site.

Tony Clifton
05-14-2007, 08:53 PM
I too like to do all of our work inhouse. Of the few times we have subbed something out I have not been happy. Whether it be professionalism, quality, timeliness or attitude it seems there has always been an issue.
However, I think that if MRUSK has built a network of subs that are good at what they do, then the model will work really well. I am not defending him, but maybe he is a good sales person. I do not have much of a portfolio (in terms of photos) Am I foolish for that, yes. However, I can still sell jobs based on the fact that people like me, and I make them feel comfortable, and confident in my company. I am also not selling 100k plus jobs everyday, but several are in the 10k up to 60k range. You will rarely see 40k plus jobs in my area, part of the reason being that jobs do not cost as much here to complete.

etwman
05-19-2007, 01:53 PM
I see so many times on the hardscape forum of guys asking how much would you charge per sq. ft. on this, or how much would you charge sq. ft on that. We are onto another project that has extremely limited access, not too mention we have to work from the upper patio out. Typically we'd work from the lowest elevation by the driveway in, not the case here. It's a little smaller than what we would normally take on but it was a word of mouth referral. It'll total about 250 sf of block and 800 sf of pavers when all is said and done. It'll have an outdoor fireplace, grill, meadering walkway down to the garage, etc. when all is said and done. Here's a pic of the project in progress. For those of you who ask how much per sf? Throw that right out the door. If you price that way you'll lose your shirt on jobs like these. Not too mention you'll push to get done, sacrifice quality, and tick the customer off too boot.

Word to the wise, figure out how much time you need on projects like this and DON'T EVER quote price per sf. Some of you guys I talk to regularly, and are in this for the haul, would concur 100% I'm sure.

Supper Grassy
05-23-2007, 10:41 PM
nice equpitment
can we see soem pic's of trucks, and shop when u get a chance to get it up to "par" and Do you have any plans on how the rest of the land near your shop will be occupied?

Supper Grassy
05-24-2007, 03:40 PM
All of your work is Magnificant. Keep up the good work and kepp adding to that large fleet

etwman
07-24-2007, 08:11 PM
Final pics of project that was back on page 52.

We are starting another project tomorrow that will hold us there for four weeks. It been in the planning stages for awhile now, EPHenry has custom run some neat colors for this one. I will post some pictures once it is underway. It's a pool deck, outdoor kitchen, firepit, pergola, and over 700 pieces of plant material. The first two tractor trailer loads arrived from EPHenry today.

TWUllc
07-24-2007, 08:50 PM
Very nice. Hope everything else is going well.

nobagger
07-24-2007, 08:51 PM
etw, looks great! How long and how many guys on that patio project?

waltero
07-25-2007, 10:44 PM
ETWMAN,

Great looking job!

I have a question for you - With the hot tub it looks like it is lower then the patio and then a wooden deck is built around it. I'm interested in how you did that and what you built it on. It looks like a good solution for when there is a pitch to a patio and the hot tub must remain level.


Thanks for the pictures.

etwman
07-26-2007, 07:45 AM
It was a lower tier with a drain in the middle of the landing for the hot tub. As with most hot tubs you need to be gain access inside via the side panels. Thus the reason for the trex decking border around the perimeter. The trex has a hidden lift handle, lift them out and access the hot tub for maintenance. If you had pushed the hot tub tight against the paver landing step you'd never be able to gain access. They didn't want an additional step down there that would cause a hazard so that's why we did it this way. Seemed to turn out okay.

Lawn Enforcer
07-26-2007, 09:41 AM
Nice work! Do you have any undated shop pics?

etwman
07-26-2007, 04:43 PM
Regarding the new shop:

1. The new doors are in.
2. The building has been painted our colors.
3. Signage is all up.
4. The landscape display areas should be constructed by the end of the year. See attached sketch below.

I will attempt to post of picture of the outside sometime in the near future.

TWUllc
07-29-2007, 07:06 PM
That should look excellent once completed. Keep us updated!

etwman
07-31-2007, 03:45 PM
We are about a week into a pool project. This project will involve a pergola, outdoor kitchen, fire ring and bench, and a hot tub. The neat thing with this is it is a custom run color from EPHenry. It's a pewter / charcoal / bluestone combination, each having three different sizes (6x6, 6x12, and 12x12). So calculate it out and your dealing with 9 different pavers totalling 3000 sf. Its not the easiest to lay in a random pattern but the final results are really cool. We'll probably go back and move a couple around to evenly distribute the color once everything is down.

The pictures below show it. Now it has some affloresence to it which will be acid washed off upon completion, as we do all our patios. But we did hose down an area to show what the colors look like when wet.

We'll be here for about another 2 1/2 weeks then off to another one.

P.Services
07-31-2007, 05:49 PM
i dont even know were to start it all looks great!!!! how do you like the 332 ctl ?

etwman
07-31-2007, 08:58 PM
The 332 is an 11,000 lb. beast. You need a big enough job to use it on which is most of ours. It's like a bulldozer, it'll go anywhere and push anything. I was curious on the lift capacity of it the other day and attempted to lift two cubes of block at once. Coventry Wall 6" weighs around 4200 lbs. a cube. This thing heaved two of them up about 3' without a problem and didn't tip. I figured that was enough. The only thing I wish it had was an anti-stall device like the CAT's when digging in a big pile. Every once in a while it'll stall, even though it has 80+ hp. Visibility is a little less than desireable too. Other than that its decent.

P.Services
07-31-2007, 09:08 PM
i agree i demoed one and it made the 287 look like a little girl. the sales man told me the 287 i demoed had the anti stall device but it stalled out about 20 times or so it would bog down and when it went to rev back up it blew black smoke and die o well i loved the 332 i would like to run one with pilot controls. i cant justify spending that much cash on one machine so im thinking about a 95xt for the lift cap.

kreft
08-01-2007, 01:02 PM
sounds like you are getting alot of buisness that you need a skid steer, so when are you going to buy one?

cant wait till you finish the shop,plans look awesome.......

P.Services
08-01-2007, 06:27 PM
[QUOTE=kreft;1915411]sounds like you are getting alot of buisness that you need a skid steer, so when are you going to buy one?

are you asking me?

Tony Clifton
08-01-2007, 06:38 PM
I really like the blues and greys in that blend but am unsure of the green. How does the green look in real life?

etwman
08-01-2007, 07:09 PM
The one picture of it was taken after it was sprayed with water, so that's a little bold. It really has a soft appeal when its all dry. Out of all the millions of dollars in patios we've put in this is probably my favorite color combination. It's different, no one else has it. Pictures really don't do it justice. I'll post some finished ones in about a week after its all cleaned. Most of the pavers are down now but aren't cut.

kreft
08-01-2007, 07:15 PM
[QUOTE=kreft;1915411]sounds like you are getting alot of buisness that you need a skid steer, so when are you going to buy one?

are you asking me?

ohhh no... sorry i was asking "etwman"

etwman
08-01-2007, 07:20 PM
When I find one we like, at the price I want to pay. For now, what we demo/rent one for is too good to be true. The agreement we have would may some puke in envy. It almost doesn't justify buying one, so needless to say we'll get one when the time is right. We do have the JCB 208 which works fine.

P.Services
08-03-2007, 11:37 PM
make me puke im curious to know what you pay for that demo/rent deere ? i think a normal rate would be about 1200 a week or 3500 a month your probably paying half of that. i hope the prices on the ct332 starts to come down soon

tthomass
08-05-2007, 05:20 PM
Look'n good Jarod.

TWUllc
08-09-2007, 03:10 PM
Jarod -

Have you ran into any problems with the Switch-N-Go Systems on your trucks to date? Looks great.

etwman
08-09-2007, 05:00 PM
Other than one winch motor, which truly was our fault because we didn't keep the brushes clean, no.....no problems at all. The oldest system in now three years old and works as good as it did day one, and trust me they get worked.

kemmer
08-09-2007, 07:14 PM
Thought I would throw up a couple more shots of smaller project we finished about two months ago. A couple of you guys have been sending private messages asking for some more pics. We're on our biggest project yet right now, and have been there for 5 weeks, once the pics come in I'll try and post them. But for now, here's a couple more. Once again there was nothing there before we started.

enjoy.

Page #22 Post #213

What brand lights are you using on the walls and under that upper step?

etwman
08-09-2007, 08:39 PM
Kichler Landscape Lights

kreft
08-10-2007, 11:35 PM
etwman, got any updated shop pics?

etwman
08-21-2007, 08:34 AM
I'll get some more pics of the shop exterior once the weather turns for the better.

We just purchased an F-550 Dump Truck. Diesel, 4x4, crew cab, mason body w/fold down sides, loaded. I'm not much of a Ford guy but it was a deal I couldn't pass up. It's a 19,500 GWW which will fit our need there real well. It was a real good find. One meticulous owner, low miles, still under warranty.

What this means is our Dodge is for sale. It's a 98, cummins, auto, 4x4, decent shape, stake body dump with an "L" pack tool box, brake controller, ready to tow and work. We'll be asking somewhere around $13-$14k. If you have an interest in it you can PM me, it won't last long. It'll be available end of Sept once the new truck is in service. The Ford needs painted black, rims, lettering, etc.

BMFD92
08-21-2007, 09:02 AM
nice truck, but if you have the two freightliners then why do need the f-550 didnt the freightliners cost less then what a f-550 would cost?

BobcatBoy06
08-21-2007, 09:06 AM
I was just curious to know some more about the dodge, what kind of miles are on the truck at this point in time. Does that have 12 valve or the 24 valve in it?

TWUllc
08-21-2007, 10:15 AM
How many miles on the Ford Jarod? Surprsied you didn't leap for another International. Looks good though. :clapping:

etwman
08-21-2007, 10:49 AM
The Dodge has 109,000 on it, 12 valve, but you see the way our trucks are maintained...enough said.

The Ford has 52,000 miles on it and its an '03. No matter how many FL-70's you have you need one 4x4 in your fleet. The 19,500 GVW is perfect, allows about 3+ ton of payload. Why'd I grab it? That's a $65,000 truck new, we got it for less than half of that. Trust me it was a deal. When all is said and done I should have no more than $15k out of pocket to get into a truck that's 3x the truck, even after we "bling" it. It's a no brainer.

We have an M2 coming.

BMFD92
08-21-2007, 02:36 PM
The new M2's are nice trucks im sure its going to look nice after you set it up

NNJLandman
08-21-2007, 02:43 PM
I would be interested in that Dodge, Keep in touch and let me know.

fool32696
08-21-2007, 04:05 PM
What's under the hood? Does it have the 7.3 or the 6.0?

RedMax Man
08-21-2007, 04:09 PM
That 550 is a rare find, you'll be able to fit a whole crew in it and pull a large load. looking forward to pics after its all cleaned painted and lettered.

etwman
08-21-2007, 04:29 PM
The 6.0 is under the hood. I know there have been some issues with that engine but its had all the updates and is still under warranty.

You don't have to tell me its a rare find. Finding any small dump truck in good shape with 50,000 miles is like looking for a needle in a haystack. I've been casually looking for 6 months. Finding a 550, diesel 4WD, in mint shape for less than $30k is like discovering gold. There were 5 buyers lined up behind me on this one.

6 guys in the cab! Stone in the dump. That things not just a house, its a house with a porch.

CandCLandscaping
08-21-2007, 05:20 PM
correct me if i am wrong but deos it also have a reverse camera?
I saw this on ebay and was thinking whoever ended up with this truck is one very lucky man. kinda cool that someone on here ended up with it!

i don't know about everyone else but cant wait to see set up like the rest of your trucks!

J&R Landscaping
08-22-2007, 09:16 AM
Truck looks nice Jarod! Can't wait to see it all lettered up. I'll be waiting to see the new M2 as well!!

tthomass
08-22-2007, 05:26 PM
Paint black wheels over simulators?

Wonder what you could sell that dump body to someone/shop with a cab and chasis and pay to have an aluminum body made to save weight and increase payload? I know a guy that does that sort of work if you're interested :)

etwman
08-22-2007, 07:57 PM
Now Todd, c'mon you know me better than that. The truck arrived back here today at 3 p.m., got plates, registration, simulators are on, and it'll be off to the paint shop sometime here in the next day or so.

I've been back and forth on that alluminum body. The kicker is I really don't want to dump alot into this truck because its not our primary. It's got fold down sides and a roll tarp so that's worth something there. I'm not sure the cost justifies the means in this situation. This truck will get used once or twice a week. I'm going to scale it tomorrow and see where it comes in at and go from there. Paint job and lettering was about all I was thinking of putting into it....and of course some tools.

tjsquickcuts
08-22-2007, 07:59 PM
I am bored...nothing to do so thought I would post a pic or two....etwman, you are my idiol.....as I am sure many others consider you their idiol as well. Maybe in 4 years or so I will be where you are.....

this is my lead set up....Everything to get the job done....adding new toys weekly now that all my nuts are stashed....my new HL100 is on the second tier of the rack....about the only thing getting use this week with this drought and record breaking temps daily.....But on this trailer is the 61in TT, 36 WB, FS110, Edger, HL100 HT, BR 6, and a BR 340 and a spare FS 80 in the truck bed, and misc tools....Spreader, 21in, and sand for the pipe from the AC units running now I am sure 60 days straight and making the pass way to the back lawn all mushy....the sand really helps....I will be adding more as the season finish up, can start to spend money now that I have my winter and being of the season payroll covered....Going to get a box and side gate to this trailer. Add another Push blower and I think I will be completely set up for next years crew. Just have to add another truck.....

tthomass
08-22-2007, 08:08 PM
I don't know but I would guess $3k being the value of that dump body. A new aluminum dump body coming in around $6k?

What does aluminum cut to? 1/2 the weight on this kind of application? Not sure.

btw....Do you have issue with people space with the FL70's? I'm thinking of going ext cab.

Glad all is well, have a good one!

etwman
08-22-2007, 08:41 PM
Thanks Todd for the alluminum input, open up another can of worms, great. Yeah, I'd lose 1/2 the weight. Rule of thumb is double the cost, 1/2 the weight. I'll scale it first and see how bad it is, then contimplate. Then of course it would be do we use regular alluminum or the "bling bling" alluminum that you used. See now you've just complicated everything.

Room wise. We're doing a project right now about 45 minutes away. All the supplies are up there. I have a four man crew on it, so instead of running both FL-70's up there for a day a small crew cab dump would be nice on occassion (thus the 550). Not sure I would want a longer truck than the FL-70's that I have now, you would probably agree with that. You could sacrifice the box for an extended cab, but I'm not sure that is the right answer. Like I said it's not our primary, but it'll be there when we need it. We'll see how this 550 fits.

McKeeLand
08-22-2007, 09:38 PM
Go with an composite. half the weight and not double the price.

tthomass
08-22-2007, 10:05 PM
Good call McKee........particular make?

The aluminum is nice. My doors he put polished stainless 'skins' held on with rivets.

Yeah I have driven longer and its not fun. I already do 2 point turns in a cul-de-sac now. I was thinking if I go ext cab I would put larger underbody boxes.....say 8' or even 10' long.

While we're talk'n about fabricating stuff, I've got another idea for our present trucks. Know the space forward of the underbody boxes but behind the big box? I've been wanting to have a fuel tank built there w/ pump for off road diesel. If you had a 20 gal capacity it would be perfect for filling/topping off equip. No need in the (4) 5 gal cans I carry around now or the need for putting a tank in the back of my Chevy. Chevy won't be on site 90% of the time and if its got the tank and I need fuel.....well that doesn't do me much good.

Second thought is to redo the tanks on the truck for the engine. Get a large aluminum for one side full of fuel for the truck. On the other side, fill it with off road diesel and put a pump on it. Hmmmmmm.........enjoy thinking Jarod! haha

McKeeLand
08-23-2007, 07:59 AM
The ABC or american body company's rugged landscaper.
http://www.abctruck.com/products/chassis/stake/RAL.asp?

J&R Landscaping
08-23-2007, 09:30 AM
I don't know but I would guess $3k being the value of that dump body. A new aluminum dump body coming in around $6k?

What does aluminum cut to? 1/2 the weight on this kind of application? Not sure.

btw....Do you have issue with people space with the FL70's? I'm thinking of going ext cab.

Glad all is well, have a good one!

If you were looking for a used Freighliner Ext cab dump truck, check on Ebay. I saw a truck (think it was an fl60) a few weeks ago. The seller listed it then re-listed it. The sellers story name is Dieselvanman or diesel dude or something along those lines. I think he was asking about $18-22k for it. I'll see if I can find a link.

J&R Landscaping
08-23-2007, 09:33 AM
As luck would have it, its listed on the first page or two...
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/2000-FREIGHTLINER-FL60-EXTENDED-CAB-DIESEL-DUMP-18K_W0QQitemZ180145929631QQihZ008QQcategoryZ63734QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

varybarry
08-23-2007, 10:47 AM
That's a nice Freightliner. I actually considered bidding on it recently. I've had trouble finding a decent used Extended Cab.

etwman
08-23-2007, 11:33 AM
That's not a bad truck for the price.

I'd check to see if it has air brakes, that would be a bonus. Quite a bit of rust on the body for that little mileage, but that's typical of upstate NY.

I'd get someone with a freightliner computer to verify the mileage. Those speedometers work one minute and don't the next. Hook a dealer computer up to it and it'll tell all.

Someone should grab that. Wouldn't work the best for us because we need something long enought that'll take our bodies.

J&R Landscaping
08-23-2007, 01:33 PM
That truck has airbrakes. Either that or an air assisted park brake like some of the older Ford 600's.

McKeeLand
08-23-2007, 04:57 PM
Thats funny, thats the guy that bought my old F450 from me on ebay this year. he finds nice trucks, like mine, and cleans them up and re sells them. that is a nice truck though, very rare set up and in black to boot! I'm done spending this year or i would seriously look into that truck. this is his website http://www.akautos.net/html/

tthomass
08-23-2007, 05:36 PM
I'm wanting to stick with International. I won't be serious on another purchase until this time next year. Then again, if I have a few months sold going into spring it may already be here this time next year. After that I'm sitting on those two trucks and holding tight right there for a while. Too big too fast = mess. Have to be able to keep up with it. Also need a foreman......anybody got one for sale? haha

Certainly go air brakes......my current is.

Espacesverts
08-23-2007, 07:06 PM
Hey etwman are you still doing maintenance? Do you have the same equipment that you had in 2002?

etwman
08-23-2007, 08:47 PM
Maintenance / Mowing is down to 6 hours one a week (usually Monday). Two commercial sites totalling 8 acres. Yes we still have the same equipment. We haven't added a grounds care customer in two years and really have to intention too.

etwman
08-24-2007, 07:17 AM
The dodge will be ready to go earlier than I originally thought. The 550 will be out of the paint booth next week and lettered on the 6th of September. Other than some tools it'll be ready to go. This means the Dodge will go out front for sale around the 10th of September. Here is a pic of it below. The inside looks as good as the outside. If you are interested you can PM me.

1998 Dodge 3500 Stake Body Dump
109,000 miles
4x4
Auto.
Cummins Diesel
L Pack tool box and wheelbarrow rack on top
New brakes and tires all the way around.
Trailer hitch and brake controller

Asking $14,000.00

etwman
08-24-2007, 06:36 PM
Waiting on pool house, hot tub, and fence guy to be done. For the most part we are done with our phases. I'll take some better completed pics in another week when its sunny from all corners of the property so all the plant material can be seen.

TWUllc
08-24-2007, 07:33 PM
Looks great. Keep it up. :clapping:

ALarsh
08-24-2007, 07:54 PM
Man, I don't even want to know what the price that work was to the customer... ok maybe. Care to share?

Drew Gemma
08-24-2007, 09:46 PM
I am curious on the build of that sitting wall any insight on how you did that

deere615
08-25-2007, 12:18 AM
Very nice work, I was just back a few pages your new F 550 is sweet!

lawnkid
08-25-2007, 12:40 AM
Nice addition to the fleet. Just hope the 6.0 hold up. I would have thought you'd outfit that truck with a stakebody though like the dodge. Holds more material. There is an black 03 F-550 identical to that one with for sale around here by a private owner but it's got a V10. Only 52,000 miles. Great shape if anyone is interested. I was considering buying it but I want a diesel. Not sure on price. I could find out.

etwman
08-25-2007, 07:49 AM
ALarsh - We are what we are with pricing. Most of our customers don't get a quote from the competition because they know the quality of service we bring to the table. This project, ironically, we were one of three quotes because it was done by an independant architect they found. At the end of the project, out of curiousity, I asked the customer where we stood on price. His reply, "you were the most expensive quote, but I made the right decision." With that said, our reputation is what gets us the work. The competitor, with a lower quote, doesn't neccessarily have the advantage. Now with that said we don't build every project we quote, don't think we do. But that just means they don't built due to budgetary purposes. We rarely see one of our plans built by a competitor.

Drew - We have done several of those firepits. It is an art to say the least and very time consuming, especially if you are doing a 3/6" combination block. There are voids that have to be foam filled, etc. You'll lost your shirt if you price it wrong. In addition, you need to take some precautions to make sure the block doesn't explode under excessive heat. The end results are great and customes love them. We have one coming up that's actually an "S" shape where the pit is on one side and the bar is on the other side of the serpentine. It should be pretty cool.

The 550, hoping the 6.0 holds up, should work well. It has a year left under warranty so its got a year to "show itself" with issues shall I say. Didn't want to go with a stake body because you'll overload it if you go to the top, unless its with leaves. That body was the one I wanted. We've got some pretty cool graphics planned for this one. We're going to try a different lettering guy that few know about, we'll see how he does.

Espacesverts
08-27-2007, 06:58 AM
Etwman- If you had a chance to change your mowers? Would you go again with gas ztr? Or maybe trying some diesel?
When you were doing a lot of mowing, how big were your biggest accounts?

etwman
08-27-2007, 07:40 AM
I'd probably go gas, diesels have their place, but with today's technology a gas engine on a ZTR should get you 2500 hours. By then the mower should be payed off for sure and other things will start to go wrong, so you'll want to replace it anyway. Not sure the diesel is worth the money. I think its out there mainly for the guys that have the testosterone problem. Hustler tried the CAT diesel and I just don't think the demand was there, especially since they can get the same performance out of an EFI gas engine.

I've run a Super Z on occassion and they are pretty decent. When we stop cutting, which will be soon, I'll probably dump the mowers I have and get a Super Z for my house. The thing will last me 5 generations.

We were cutting up to a 120 acre site at peak when we were mowing full out.

Espacesverts
08-27-2007, 02:12 PM
Thanks ETWman for the info. Were you cutting 120 acres with your 3 ztr? Woul dyou go with a 72" mower or you don't think that could cut your mowing time?

Supper Grassy
08-27-2007, 02:46 PM
Several of you have been emailing me regarding good questions. I am doing my best to respond as soon as I can, thanks for your patience. In the meantime I would reccommend you to look into the March issue of Turf Magazine when it comes out for more clarification on our company.

what is the title on the artical?

kreft
08-27-2007, 03:25 PM
etwman- got any pics of shop?

etwman
08-27-2007, 05:41 PM
No, and when I get them I will post them. We're a little busy right now and its not on the top of my priority list.

Supper Grassy
08-27-2007, 06:01 PM
Etw do you happen to know the title of the artical about you?

TXNSLighting
08-27-2007, 06:36 PM
645 post! dang! Man everything looks great!! love the new truck! Your are an idol to me now. i hope to get this big one day!

etwman
08-27-2007, 07:21 PM
I don't recall the article title, it wasn't a big article, just an insert.

Yeah I'm a Ford owner now, we'll see how this goes. I have a Dodge, GMC, Ford, Freightliner....I'm just everyone's friend now. I have no enimes.

Adam's Lawn and Garden
08-27-2007, 11:09 PM
It's not easy to have no enemies on this site!

TXNSLighting
08-28-2007, 08:55 AM
you'll love the ford. Their perfect work trucks.

Supper Grassy
08-29-2007, 11:39 AM
Etw,
Ever think about writing a book or a newsletter?

etwman
08-29-2007, 11:46 AM
In all my spare time?

I'm attempting to finish things up to get away this weekend for 6 days. I have a feeling my laptop will be joining me on vacation.

I'm finalizing plans to return to Mississippi Coast the end of September for 10 days with a crew of 12 to finish the house we've been working on for 2 years. My goal is to have the family back in by Thanksgiving.

I've got three major projects on the desk, all of which want to be done this fall, of which two only will be.

Would I like to write, yeah, but who knows when.

Supper Grassy
08-29-2007, 11:56 AM
What software do you use to design your projects?

etwman
08-29-2007, 12:00 PM
We don't. Everything is hand drawn by one of three architects we use. I'm not a big fan of CAD, although it does have its places. The hand drawn plans seem to appeal more to our clients.

Supper Grassy
08-29-2007, 12:02 PM
Oh, Cool, i guess that it gives the plans a personalized touch

etwman
09-07-2007, 06:04 PM
The Ford is done and will be on the road Monday. The only two things left to be done are the chrome grill and Westin step tubes on the sides which will go on sometime next week when the arrive. It will most likely leave for NY a week from Monday for another phase of that project up there. We predict 3 weeks up there this fall and and three more next spring.

This means the Dodge is available and will go out for sale next week.

etwman
09-07-2007, 06:11 PM
Here are a few of our shop that I quick snapped. It was painted to match our colors, black, cream, and brown. We haven't had the opportunity to landscape/hardscape it yet and I'm not sure when we will. The plans are done and are hanging on the board in the shop. Our schedule has not had any lapses in it this year. It may be winter before we begin any exterior renovations.

The offices inside will be gutted and done in notty pine with recessed lighting. There will be three offices and a lobby.

Dirt Digger2
09-07-2007, 06:36 PM
good looking stuff man...where in thr 717 area code you located?

TWUllc
09-07-2007, 07:30 PM
Looks great Jarod. Do you, or even can you for that matter, stuff the enclosed trailer in the shop too?

etwman
09-07-2007, 07:40 PM
We could get it in if we needed too, we'd have to pull a truck out, but it would easily fit. But the only reason it would ever be inside would be for maintenance on it. It's enclosed and locked for the primary reason that we can leave it outside.

We can get four trucks in there but its tight and you wouldn't be able to work on much. You can move around pretty easily with three trucks in there and have room to work on pretty much anything.

New Heights
09-07-2007, 07:50 PM
The pin striping looks nice on the 550.

GreenMonster
09-07-2007, 07:52 PM
Jarod,

Your shop and vehicles are as impressive as your work.

I've love for you to share some details on the shop type, construction (you and your crew build or subbed), rough cost, etc

We're looking to build a similar style shop in the near future. With any luck, over the winter.

Tyler7692
09-07-2007, 08:08 PM
Those Hustlers look ancient back then.

tjsquickcuts
09-07-2007, 08:33 PM
Very nice.....how well does the F550 Handle when loaded??? I am currently looking to purchase a F550 or something with a little more power, but just haven't had a chance to look at all my options.....My only concern is if I get something as small as a F550 that I will be putting limits on what jobs I can handle.....Currently doing installs for a builder, and have upsold a lot of the homeowner on retaining walls, patios, etc....But nevertheless, great thread, and Great Shop.....Around here, you would have to gate your shop if you plan on leaving your enclosed out....I've seen where guys have cut into the sides of the trailer and gutted the entire thing....Oh, and just curious, if you are willing to share, how much where the storage bin Boxes for the Frghtlnrs????....

etwman
09-07-2007, 08:50 PM
We have no idea how it will handle loaded, we've only had it for two weeks. It went right to the paint shop, then got lettered. That's why I said in the previous post it'll go out Monday. I would assume it'll handle what it rated to handle. I plan on scaling it tomorrow to find out its empty weight. I would assume it will do okay. I'd be happy if we could put 3 tons in it.

Your going to be limited with just a 550, that's why we have bigger trucks for the patio / retaining wall work. The 550 alone would never work for us.

I don't remember exactly what the bodies cost, anywere from $3k to $6k depending on which one.

Tyler the hustlers are old but they run and stripe great.

Greenmonster, so much depends on municipality, price of property, taxes, redtape, etc. This structure we bought when it was already up. It wasn't that old though. We are working through paperwork for an expansion since we have 3 acres.

tjsquickcuts
09-07-2007, 09:16 PM
Yeah, now that we have started doing our homework on medium duty trucks, the 550 would leave me in a bind on some jobs....we have really going back and forth over if we should buy new, or used....We are going to auction on Tuesday near Ala.....Went today and looked over the inventory and there are tons of trucks.....a lot of hail damaged vehicle from the midwest....Saw a F650 with about 18 miles on it that had its windows broken by hail...no longer consider new.....New those things run 50k plus.....hoping to see if we can bid out around 40k at max.....need to other 10k for a track loaded....I will snap some pics of all they have, plus more was coming in as I was leaving just in case any of you guys near Atl-Ala. are interested.....but lots of trucks track loaders, skids, and arborist equipment, but no lawn maintenance equipment.....I just purchased a used dump, but need something interchangable as well.....Thanks for the info....I assumed those bins would be more....

Lawn_Boy
09-07-2007, 09:48 PM
Very nice shop and equipment!

Looks like you've really worked hard for what you have...or either won the lottery :laugh:

mrusk
09-07-2007, 10:21 PM
Yeah, now that we have started doing our homework on medium duty trucks, the 550 would leave me in a bind on some jobs....we have really going back and forth over if we should buy new, or used....We are going to auction on Tuesday near Ala.....Went today and looked over the inventory and there are tons of trucks.....a lot of hail damaged vehicle from the midwest....Saw a F650 with about 18 miles on it that had its windows broken by hail...no longer consider new.....New those things run 50k plus.....hoping to see if we can bid out around 40k at max.....need to other 10k for a track loaded....I will snap some pics of all they have, plus more was coming in as I was leaving just in case any of you guys near Atl-Ala. are interested.....but lots of trucks track loaders, skids, and arborist equipment, but no lawn maintenance equipment.....I just purchased a used dump, but need something interchangable as well.....Thanks for the info....I assumed those bins would be more....


Seems like you are just getting into bigger jobs. My advice to you is network, network, network.... instead of buy, buy, buy. I do bigger jobs then most people on this site and operate with just a pickup truck. If i need material i pickup my cell phone and make a phone call and i can have whatever i need within 1 or 2 hours. Even if you have your own truck it will take you atleast a hour to go to the quarry round trip.

It will take some searching, but you will find people to truck stuff for you for ridicoulous low rates. You can do much better making friends with guys with trucks instead of using the quarry or supply yards to truck material.

Just something that ponders. What works for me and my business may not work for you though.

etwman
09-08-2007, 08:37 AM
It depends on what works for you. For us I can be to the quarry and back in 1/2 hour with 20 tons of stone. You usually need 24 hours to get stone trucked by the quarry. On the project up in NY you'll typically need 48 hours. It's a different world up there.

We just have more control of our projects by keeping things in house and trucking our own materials. Now we will get tractor trailer loads of pavers/block delivered and tri-axles of stone. If we are short 8 tons of stone, we have the abilitiy to truck in house versus paying minimial delivery surcharges from the quarry.

With the NY phase we'll be doing everything ourselves again. We gain more control that way up there. This phase will be almost, or more impressive than the first.

It works differently for everyone.

Tony Clifton
09-08-2007, 09:24 AM
The 550 looks sharp. Why did you make the logo so small on the sides, just like the look? Also, will the wheelbarrows fit on the cab protector if you turn them the other way?
Do you have 2 buildings or 1? It looks like the building in picture # 2 is different.
I would love to have 3 acres, you have to travel about 15-20 minutes out to find acreage and there is nothing that already has a warehouse on it that wouldn't be in the million plus range.
We are in the process of negotiating a lease on 3750 sqft building with 2 offices, plan room, and reception room, we will be moving up from 2500 sq/ft with 2 offices.

etwman
09-08-2007, 10:45 AM
We didn't want a big logo on the doors. Everyone has a big honkin' logo on their doors. That's old school, we want something different and most people really seem to like it. It's different for now, but someone else will try our idea, that seems to be the trend. It is what it is I suppose.

The wheelbarrows won't fit the other way unless we do some modifications, which I really didn't feel like doing. It would require more painting and the truck was just painted. So they'll stay that way....at least for now.

There's one building on the site, at least for the next year.

deere615
09-08-2007, 11:23 AM
Wow I really like that 550! Very nice shop, and I also love that GMC on the side of the shop!

J&R Landscaping
09-08-2007, 07:33 PM
Looks nice Jarod!! Whens the new M2 due in?

RedMax Man
09-08-2007, 09:08 PM
That 550 really looks sharp, can't have to much crome on a black truck.

I also prefer the small yet bold logos on the sides of truck cabs rather than super huge logos. blends in cleaner and doesn't look "slapped" on. Your shop is beautiful too. As always very impressive... keep it up.

kreft
09-09-2007, 08:10 PM
etwman,
Do you still make the mugs?

etwman
09-09-2007, 09:02 PM
Yes, but they are a little bigger. We changed the pic on the front of them to a patio we had constructed and altered the logo position. We have about three cases of them in the office. Customers still seem to like them. We reorder about once a year.

kreft
09-09-2007, 10:25 PM
Ok thanks,
so you got any new projects coming up, or new equipment purchases, you should really think about writing a book?

Thanks for posting pics of the shop.

Awesome f-550, you really decked that thing out, you got me jealous:)

Tyler


P.S. How did you get the earth, turf & wood license plate, if you dont mind me asking?

cgland
09-09-2007, 10:30 PM
Yes Jarod, how about a book?

Chris

kreft
09-09-2007, 10:43 PM
I was reading this thread again, and saw that every body was posting there,
"EQUIPMENT PHOTOS", so I thought I would post a link to my set-up, if you dont mind, ETW.

http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=188651

etwman
09-10-2007, 08:16 AM
That's enough Christopher, I'm going to write a book about you.

We will be northbound next Monday to built an 18 hole miniture golf course at the same resort where we did the wall/patio last fall. Its quite a task and I have the plans on the desk. 4800 sf of paver walkways, 1800 pieces of curbstone, some walls, 3 ponds with waterfalls, extensive landscaping, etc. We'll attempt to do half this fall and the other half in the spring. Should be another really neat project. It'll be neat to see the fall foiliage again in the Adirondacks, especially from the air. There's just something about sipping coffee while flying over the Adirondacks @ 7 a.m. with fog in the valleys and colors on the mountains.

License plates were done by our lettering guy. I'd like to do some different things with the M2 (still utilizing the SNG system) which probably won't hit the road until late fall/early winter.

kreft
09-10-2007, 07:01 PM
whats the m2

etwman
09-10-2007, 07:23 PM
In 2003 (I believe) Freightliner dicontinued the FL-70 line and introduced the M2 series. Quite a few improvements were made as a result.

kreft
09-10-2007, 08:19 PM
ok thanks:)

Lawn Enforcer
09-10-2007, 08:57 PM
Thanks for the pics of the shop. It looks awesome!

kreft
09-10-2007, 09:06 PM
Hey etwman I went to switch-n-go.com, and found out that you took 1st place in "best truck"!

congrats.

heres the link http://www.switchngo.com/switchngo.htm

westcoh
09-10-2007, 11:03 PM
That sounds like a neat project. It's always nice to do a project every once in a while thats a bit of a change from what you normally do. Make sure to post pics, I've always wanted to build a mini-golf course ever since we did a project in college where we had to design one.

tjsquickcuts
09-10-2007, 11:48 PM
Congrats.....Truck looks showroom ready.....I didnt realize that Volvo and Mercedes both make mid duty trucks....going to SC tomorrow to take a look at a few 08 Volvo Mid Duty trucks.....curious to to know more about them....

coolbreeze
09-11-2007, 08:18 AM
Hey etwman I went to switch-n-go.com, and found out that you took 1st place in "best truck"!

congrats.

heres the link http://www.switchngo.com/switchngo.htm

that's awesome. CONGRATULATIONS!!

lawnkid
09-11-2007, 09:01 PM
Too bad they called it an International when it's a Freightliner. Jarod, I'm sure you're sick of talking about the freightliners so much but I am curious how the cat engines are holding up. I've always been a international guy because the DT's are bulletproff, and I will be looking into one sometime next year similar to thomas's with the way things are lining up.I gotta ask because I have heard some horror stories of cat engines on ambulances and boxtrucks blowing engine rods and cracked blocks only after about 100k miles. I'm sure you take good care of them maintenance wise but afterall you guys do use them a lot and they do get a workout.

tthomass
09-11-2007, 09:16 PM
Hey etwman I went to switch-n-go.com, and found out that you took 1st place in "best truck"!

congrats.

heres the link http://www.switchngo.com/switchngo.htm

Nice 'International' Jarod!

etwman
09-12-2007, 06:45 AM
Yeah I did catch that the other month when I realized they posted that on their site. I didn't even realized they had put the thing on thier site until about 6 months after MAHTS.

The CAT's have been holding up fine with no issues at all. When we first started looking into bigger trucks I wanted a International 4700 Lo Pro with the 6+1 pretty bad, but finding one of those used in the length I wanted was like looking for a needle in a haystack. If you found one it had a roll back on it. So I finally gave up and went with the FL-70's. Haven't had any issues. Bottom line is really whether it be Freightliner, International, Sterling, Mack, etc. these bigger trucks are made to be worked. While we work our two, compared to what they typically go through w/200,000 a year from a lease customer, it's really not that bad. We haven't put more than 25,000 on either of them since we bought them.

Matt k
09-12-2007, 11:48 AM
I've always been a international guy because the DT's are bulletproff, and I will be looking into one sometime next year similar to thomas's with the way things are lining up..

I have an $11,000.00 receipt from last year for a rebuild on a DT466 with 200,000 to show there not bulletproof. Great engine, but not bulletproof.

mrusk
09-12-2007, 08:54 PM
I have an $11,000.00 receipt from last year for a rebuild on a DT466 with 200,000 to show there not bulletproof. Great engine, but not bulletproof.

Stories like that make me want to just spend the money and buy a new truck instead of shopping for used.

Adam's Lawn and Garden
09-12-2007, 09:13 PM
But when you compare how much you saved in the begininng by spending 20K instead of 75K+ it makes itself worth it. Plus it depends on what caused the problem. That's why i going to ask, what caused the problem?

adam

tthomass
09-12-2007, 11:59 PM
138k and still being abused.......solid, i have replaced the o-rings though. Damn thing was still running with only 2 gallons vs 8 gallons of oil!

J&R Landscaping
09-13-2007, 08:30 PM
Tuesday, while it was raining I went out and looked at a few trucks. I stopped at a dealer who had several medium duty trucks. He said the CAT enignes now have a time limit on the warranty. Also, the Mercedes Benz diesel engines are emmisson complient through 2009 WITHOUT needing all the new crap on them. Don't know if this is true or not but since it was being discussed a bit, I thought I'd share what I heard.

etwman
09-14-2007, 07:35 AM
That's even more of a reason to buy a used truck. It's tough to justify $50k for a new cab and chassis, then another $25k to fit it out. I have a friend that works for Freightliner and he's on me all the time to buy a new M2, just don't see it. The only new trucks I've ever owned are my '02 chevy and my '06 GMC pickups. All our dumps were bought used and we haven't had any major issues.

By the way the 550 scaled at 11,330, which allows for 3+ tons of material. Not bad, I was hoping for a little more, but it'll do. That'll allow 2 skids of block/pavers. The fuel mileage is worse than the freightliners, go figure.

mrusk
09-14-2007, 06:44 PM
That's even more of a reason to buy a used truck. It's tough to justify $50k for a new cab and chassis, then another $25k to fit it out. I have a friend that works for Freightliner and he's on me all the time to buy a new M2, just don't see it. The only new trucks I've ever owned are my '02 chevy and my '06 GMC pickups. All our dumps were bought used and we haven't had any major issues.

By the way the 550 scaled at 11,330, which allows for 3+ tons of material. Not bad, I was hoping for a little more, but it'll do. That'll allow 2 skids of block/pavers. The fuel mileage is worse than the freightliners, go figure.

Jared- If your doing large jobs 30+ miles from the shop, have you thought about just picking up a ford van or something and tossing a extra row of seats in it? Used vans seem to be very affordable. This seems to be the route i will be going. I have some jobs on the board with 12+ week timelines 50+ miles from home.

etwman
09-14-2007, 06:58 PM
Honestly, and I'm not just saying this, fuel expense really isn't a major expense factor for us. If it were I wouldn't be dumping 80 gallons of AVGAS in the plane Monday morning to be in NY in 1 hour and 10 minutes with the crew. Seriously, in 2006 we didn't spend over $10k in fuel for everything in the business. Once in a while we'll travel 30 miles to a project but its not a routine habit. NY is an exception. The 550 will seat 6 so there's the party truck if we need that many guys on a site. I mean it stinks paying $3.05 a gallon for diesel but life goes on, you factor it into the cost of the job.

But no I can see you pimpin in a 1982 Ford Econoline with spinners, that would work well. But I mean its a decent thought if fuel is a concern in a business, seriously.

mrusk
09-14-2007, 07:04 PM
Honestly, and I'm not just saying this, fuel expense really isn't a major expense factor for us. If it were I wouldn't be dumping 80 gallons of AVGAS in the plane Monday morning to be in NY in 1 hour and 10 minutes with the crew. Seriously, in 2006 we didn't spend over $10k in fuel for everything in the business. Once in a while we'll travel 30 miles to a project but its not a routine habit. NY is an exception. The 550 will seat 6 so there's the party truck if we need that many guys on a site. I mean it stinks paying $3.05 a gallon for diesel but life goes on, you factor it into the cost of the job.

But no I can see you pimpin in a 1982 Ford Econoline with spinners, that would work well. But I mean its a decent thought if fuel is a concern in a business, seriously.

Fuels not my main concern. Its sending 6 guys to a job site in a 10k van vs a 30k f550 that sparked my interest in this.

I am very impressed with your low fuel numbers. Somehow i am over 10k this year and run no where near as many trucks as you. I drove over 20k miles so far this year in my truck.

etwman
09-14-2007, 07:09 PM
Yeah I went back and checked for curiosity sake, it was $9,863.19 in 2006, and that actually included moving all those trucks to NY for the job up there. I don't think I drove my GMC more than 8,000 miles for business stuff this year to meet or see customers.

kreft
09-14-2007, 07:15 PM
etw, why didnt you ever get the GMC 4500 topkick?

etwman
09-14-2007, 07:18 PM
Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a good used GMC 4500 4x4 dump with a Duramax for around $30k? They've only had the 4x4 option for a few years and I finally just gave up. I mean don't get me wrong I'm a GM guy, but enough was enough, we needed a truck.

kreft
09-14-2007, 07:21 PM
chevy still has the 4X4.

P.Services
09-14-2007, 07:52 PM
if you want to see some awsome 4x4 chevys take a look at jumboauto.com and magnamtruck.com. one is a crew cab 4x4 and the other is a 4x4 with a L pack tool box. both 2005 sry dont know how to make a link.

mrusk
09-14-2007, 08:30 PM
Yeah I went back and checked for curiosity sake, it was $9,863.19 in 2006, and that actually included moving all those trucks to NY for the job up there. I don't think I drove my GMC more than 8,000 miles for business stuff this year to meet or see customers.


Thats good. I seem to spend to much time driving back and forth between job sites. I feel like i almost live in my truck. I also spend way to much time picking up odds and ends. That makes alot of sense, the brains of the whole operation being a gopher:hammerhead: :hammerhead: !

Whats your typical time from first meeting with a customer to putting that first shovel in the ground?

kreft
09-14-2007, 08:47 PM
etwman,
Can you shed some light on the toro groundsmaster that you guys have? Maybe a pic i'm having a hard time picturing it.

Also how many enclosed trailers have you gone threw?

Can you share some pics of some of the large-scale commercial sites you do?

Thanks, Tyler:)

etwman
09-14-2007, 08:47 PM
It's usually at least 12 weeks, that's if I can get them in the schedule. I've had it go 16 or more if we are busy but like to stay between 12-16 if possible. It depends on how much design work is done, usually there are changes, etc. Most customers are fine with all this once they read our workbook and understand how we do things. Its a work in progress.

From here on out I'm basically working on 08 stuff. There's '07 stuff that has logistical issues, but new projects will be '08 now. With this saga upstate NY and three others here the pot is full. I met early afternoon today with a customer we've been working with for about 4 months. The design is finalized and contract signed. Its a backyard project that calls for 1120 sf of wall and 3200 sf of pavers. They asked me if I could "slide it in this fall" Yeah....I'll just slide that right in there....

etwman
09-14-2007, 08:53 PM
Kreft.

The groundsmaster was sold three years ago. We have one enclosed trailer and its 5 years old. We do two 5 acre commercial sites, one is our accountant and the other insures us. That's it, no more, and we are not adding anymore. Grounds care is on its way out. We don't publicize it on any of our trucks, trailers, website, etc. No more mowing! Period. If you read the whole thread you see we are doing away with it gradually.

I can't believe this thread is going to hit 200,000 views....what does everyone do all day?

mrusk
09-14-2007, 09:00 PM
It's usually at least 12 weeks, that's if I can get them in the schedule. I've had it go 16 or more if we are busy but like to stay between 12-16 if possible. It depends on how much design work is done, usually there are changes, etc. Most customers are fine with all this once they read our workbook and understand how we do things. Its a work in progress.

From here on out I'm basically working on 08 stuff. There's '07 stuff that has logistical issues, but new projects will be '08 now. With this saga upstate NY and three others here the pot is full. I met early afternoon today with a customer we've been working with for about 4 months. The design is finalized and contract signed. Its a backyard project that calls for 1120 sf of wall and 3200 sf of pavers. They asked me if I could "slide it in this fall" Yeah....I'll just slide that right in there....


I am working on 08' also. 08 looks very very promosing. In most cases it takes 12 weeks for me to get a job off the ground. We are starting a job in 2 weeks that we orginally met with the person 4 weeks ago. Clients already had a plan done, we just had to make some changes to it, so it would acctually be buildable. 4 weeks ago, we were only 6 weeks out, and i was getting nervous, then this came in. As soon as i signed the retainer agreement with this client 2 big referals came in. Next year will be very busy. Do not ask me why i still advertise though. I got a homeshow in 2 weeks that i am not looking foward too.

I think the ideal back log to have is right around 12 weeks. It works out great to run a backlog that takes the same amount of time of the design phase. Any more time then that, the clients start to get restless.


Good luck trying to squeze in 3k sq feet of pavers!

kreft
09-14-2007, 09:05 PM
yea I read this thread........twice.....actually, three times trying to soak in all the infomation I can that you are posting in this thread, and all the others you posted on....like the "large scale commercial thread", that you posted on, and in one of those threads you said that you cut a 123 acre(or something like that)site with the toro and thats why I brought it up.....and wanted to see a picture of that site, because it sounded pretty extensive.

someday I wish I can build a buisness and accuire the knowledge, like you.

Tyler

etwman
09-15-2007, 07:19 AM
Grounds care back in the day was big for us and the 100+ acre site was a decent money maker. But competition just got rediculous. People out there just don't realize they are cutting their arm off to get grounds care deals. I just do get it and didn't have the desire to try and figure it out.

Life is a constant learning experience Tyler, one day at a time.

SLC, LLC
09-15-2007, 08:11 PM
Kreft.

The groundsmaster was sold three years ago. We have one enclosed trailer and its 5 years old. We do two 5 acre commercial sites, one is our accountant and the other insures us. That's it, no more, and we are not adding anymore. Grounds care is on its way out. We don't publicize it on any of our trucks, trailers, website, etc. No more mowing! Period. If you read the whole thread you see we are doing away with it gradually.

I can't believe this thread is going to hit 200,000 views....what does everyone do all day?



Work all day trying to get to the point where you are at. Stay up late at night reading this thread learning from great people who have had success and are willing to share their information. I personally am very intrigued at what you have accomplished, and am trying to pick up on all the little tid-bits that everyone shares on this thread.

Thanks to all of you, and especially to etwman!

RedMax Man
09-15-2007, 08:19 PM
Congrats ETWman your thread exceeded 200,000 VIEWS today.:)

tjsquickcuts
09-16-2007, 12:35 AM
I agree that maintenance if a really cut throat game, but I just cant seem to find a way out and we are charging a lot more then most LCO in my area. For instance, today got a call from a guy who got my card from his sale agent.....He is the first to move in, and this is another High Dollar neighborhood. I know that the housing market is taking a beating, but not here, well besides all the foreclosures on all the pita homes, but thats not my target market so doesn;t affect me. But I am more the certain I will end up with 50% (111 home neighborhood) of the homes in the neighborhood, and I am charging a min. of $245 per month. On top of providing mtce, we are guaranteed to do some sort of landscaping for most of our accounts, and will pick up jobs from other neighbors because they like the work. Our theme for next year is Hardscape in 08.....I will be pushing some sort of hardscape work on every proposal we do from this point on. I have two nice size jobs signed, city approved and ready to go for april of 08 already, just could not find time to fit them in this year without rushing. One of the jobs will be my first 6 figure landscape install. Finally graduated from all those small patio and retaining wall jobs.

But, We have had a record year in mtce, but I do realize that it could all come crashing down so I can understand your separating yourself from the rest by specializing in large scale landscaping. I think I am going to hang on to our mtce schedule for the next few years because it has been a great foot in the door for all of my jobs not mention we have a lot of lawyer, doctors, pro sports people, entertainers, etc....so our customer based is deep and can pay for high dollar landscaping, and most are very loyal, but you know how that is...lol....But it doesnt take long to realize that the dollar per hour on Landscape versus mtce is not even close.

Oh, btw I have solved my mtce problem.....Promoted my #2 man Last week, and have all but turned over all the daily operation duties to him so that I can be more flexible.....He has brought in two new guys for training, and is on top of things almost like I was when I first started solo......

But I really do admire what you have achieved and have learned from your success as well as logged your advice given to others....

I will say I feel your pain on trying to find a truck, but we have decided to buy new since we gotten the approval from the bank for what ever we need(purpose of staying of top of my credit) so now its a matter of finding something I like and that will get the job done....Just dont have enough time in the day to thoroughly look used trucks.

This thread will last for as long as this site is still up....its always inspirational to see someone go from A to Z, showing that it can be done.....There are a few guys on the site that have really grown from their first post to now.....But dang, this was YEEEEAAAARRZZZZ ago....I am just surprised that Etwman doesnt have 10k post.....

etwman
09-16-2007, 07:22 AM
Hey maintenance can work, you just have to push volume more. With volume comes more equipment, more equipment means more employees, more employees can be hard to find. To find the best employees you have to pay them more, you have to charge more, and in a world with everyone grabbing a mower and weedwacker its a tough puzzle to make work at times. More power to the guys who have figured it out.

I wouldn't say we are pushing large scale landscaping but rather a higher end aspect. It looks like we'll have about 18 customers total this year. I haven't figured out the average build price but I know its up there pretty high. Almost all has been residential, and only 1 has been new construction this year which should tell you something.

If you are going to add hardscaping to your business you can't have that person mow or do maintenance. For what you'll have to pay that specialized foreman you'll lose your shirt putting him on maintenance. Or vice versa have horrible results in hardscaping because you got a decent caliper maintenance guy that doesn't know the first thing about hardscaping. They are two different worlds for the right kind of guys.

I don't buy new trucks because I don't deal with banks unless absolutely necessary. I may have said this before but I'm not sure, but I don't have time to search back 75 pages and look, but its probably worth resaying. About 20 years ago in NJ a wise friend said something to me that was forever engraved in my mind when I had that mowing company. He said, "Jarod, a man who runs his business on a cash basis is a player in the poker game, if you are running it on credit you are merely bystander behind the table." Now with this said it doesn't mean you can't have some debt, but no more than absolutely necessary, have a cash reserve, and pay all those bills on time. Things can change in the blink of an eye, the companies that will survive are the ones that aren't leveraged to the hilt. The ones that are strictly cash flowing their companies need to be concerned.

There's my Sunday morning words of wisdom, I'm off to church to ask for forgiveness in pinching some nerves.

BrandonV
09-16-2007, 08:08 AM
hey man, I'm most likely going to be buying a truck next month and putting a switch n go on it (if the dealer here in NC will call me back) but anyways I noticed they have both electric and hyd. winch setup would you reccomend one of the other? somthing like an lcf ford unless i can find somthing good that doesn't leak on ebay used.

tjsquickcuts
09-16-2007, 10:58 AM
I can't say that I have figured it out, but I will say I have been blessed by the system.....I just always seem to end up in the right place at the right time.....I do realize that mixing employees is a set up for disaster, thats why I have turned over just about all the Mtce duties to my New Director of Operations, and the other duties my wife will do. I need to focus directly on all landscape projects, as well as the landscape installation for this neighborhood we just contracted to finish. I have a intern from Ga. Tech Civil and Environmental engineering, and will look to acquire another one. I am also currently searching for another reliable hardscape guy. Its been a tough think explaining to my current guys that I need them to focus solely on the mtce, but they dont understand why they cant do both.....I am going to try my best to have totally separate divisions......I am looking to book @ least 12 jobs for 08 for hardscaping.....That should keep my landscape division busy for the year. I think currently, we have enough equipment to get us through 08, but depending on growth, might have to add another Z just to be on the safe side. The ACE Hardware store here went out of business when the BIG ORANGE moved acrossed the street, and had all their Stihl equipment 50% off.....I racked up......So I really have more equipment then I know what to do with, but could pass up buying a few 110's for 200 bucks.....

As for buying a new truck, I really would like to spend whats on hand, but just would like to have the peace of mind of not having to worry about repairs, etc and I don't think spending 80k of my own cash will be a good idea.....This will be the first and the last thing bank purchased......We just need a good dump, and I want to customize it how I want to and not have to worry about a budget. I am sure we can pay it off in less then 2 years, but depending on exactly how much we spend, might be more or less.....

My only worry is stretching myself too much and burning out at this point.....I have so many sleepless night worrying about things working out.....Things have been so GREAT, almost to good to be true.....A lot of it is anxiety....Growth is great, but trying to get things off and running can be a bit stressfull.....Just curious Jarod, when you decided to focus on hardscape, was it a smooth transition and do you have silent investors????

Adam's Lawn and Garden
09-16-2007, 11:09 AM
Here is the thing. It is EXTREMELY hard to do both maintenance and installations. The big jobs, such as the ones Jarod is installing, takes weeks of preparation to get off the ground. If you are trying to do this with maintenance on the side, you just don't have the time to take to make sure these run smothly. If for some reason your crew gets one day behind due to your fault, that cost ultimetly thousands to your company. That's why it makes sense to either do just maintenace, set up for maximum performance, get your guys in and out, and then push volume, while keeping quality. Or just do landscape and focus your time on making sure your jobs work and have quality behind it. There can be money in both, just find your niche, and decide how much you want to make.

tjsquickcuts
09-16-2007, 11:24 AM
Here is the thing. It is EXTREMELY hard to do both maintenance and installations. The big jobs, such as the ones Jarod is installing, takes weeks of preparation to get off the ground. If you are trying to do this with maintenance on the side, you just don't have the time to take to make sure these run smothly. If for some reason your crew gets one day behind due to your fault, that cost ultimetly thousands to your company. That's why it makes sense to either do just maintenace, set up for maximum performance, get your guys in and out, and then push volume, while keeping quality. Or just do landscape and focus your time on making sure your jobs work and have quality behind it. There can be money in both, just find your niche, and decide how much you want to make.

I see your point, but in my business plan that was done in 2003 right before I started my business, I planned to start a separate Landscape Division, but Wasn;t suppose to happen until 2010.....We have been very aggressive in both markets and I feel that the time is now to capitalize on this opportunity. When I first started, I had no idea that my biz would grow the way it has, but I feel I have advanced 2 years ahead of my business plan.....and thats evident in the numbers.....But I feel that taking myself away from Mtce, will allow me to grow my Landscape Design division the same way I have grown my mtce. I will review data week on my mtce, but feel that my guy can handle it. He has been well compensated, and I am sending him to some classes this winter to better his skills at business management. I think its worth it.....this guy has been around and has stuck with me through some rough times.....I think by allowing him to handle all the mtce will really allow me to have a free and clear mind to focus on my goal.....All my accounts have been notified of the change, and most were happy for me because they see a young man really growing a business, and not just mowing lawns for a hustle.....Its a Gamble, but getting into the mtce biz was a gamble....

Adam's Lawn and Garden
09-16-2007, 11:40 AM
I forgot to say that unless you seperate into two divisions that it won't work. Where you can have someone focusing just on installs and not maintenance. Although then you have to hire someone to be in charge of the maintenance division. Which comes with a price tag...

mrusk
09-16-2007, 11:40 AM
It has been said once, and i will say it again. The most discriminating affluential homeowners do not higher maintenance companies for their design/build projects. The only way to successfully do both is to only do maintenance on the houses you do a major install on. Maintaining "your creations" is the only way you can trully get top dollor for your servies.

Most of the time, when homeowners are thinking of doing a big project, they do not ask their lawn company for a quote. I just met with a customer the other day. They are looking to spend around 200k total. Their lawn company does installs also, they are not even being considered for the project. I encounter this often.

Anyone can achive Jarods success. I think the key to his success is know what it cost him to do business every day, and bidding work correctly so that he always brings in his neccessary hourly rate. Thats my main proablem. I keep on selling work that i have never done before. Its hard to guess man hours when you are venturing into a new area. But now there is really almost nothing i have not done, so bidding is getting much easier. I have been keeping alot of data on production rates and that is helping me alot. You need to do that.

This really is a good business to make alot of money in if you build the right business going after the right market. Just do not try to be everything to everyone.

etwman
09-16-2007, 01:09 PM
tjsquickcuts - to answer an earlier question when we ventured into hardscape there was a learning curve but we made sure as we did this that the customer was never put in jeopardy. It was a fairly smooth transition because I relied on some expert resources for advise and following their marks carefully. Soon there after we brought in guys that were experienced in the field and educated our own staff. Throughout this whole process we have never had one recall on a failing hardscape project, other than the one paver here or there that needs realignment but that too is rare.

Silent investors, no. When we started this company I made a bold move to make it a point in not barrowing any funds from family or friends. Could we have, sure, in the blink of an eye. What we needed to barrow we barrowed from a bank in the beginning. I wanted to be able sit with my relatives or friends, discuss business, enjoy holidays, and know that there are no financial ties. If this business succeeds it will succeed because of the bank at first, if it fails I will still have my friends and family with no financial attachment. People will think what they want to think about how this company came to be and you will never change that opinion, by my wife and I know that this business grew out of sweat, determination, prayer, hardwork, and by the initial loan note of a local bank. That's what formed this company.

Adding to Matt's comment. Knowing when to turn away work that will make you no money. Knowing what jobs will be profitable, and knowing what jobs you'll get stuck on. We keep records of work we turn down. I'd rather not share that but it is significant and this is all due to different reasons. There's just a feeling you get over time of whether or not "its gonna work" and when I don't have that feeling I walk away. That feeling has saved me more times than not, that feeling will come with experience. Business is risk taking, but its also being smart and taking the right risks.

In addition, you have to keep those non-billable hours to a minimum. They will kill you. Your season is limited to begin with. To optimize this you must keep all of your employees annual payroll hours above 90+% billable. Running from mowing site to mowing site is going to be difficult. Being on a 10 week landscape project will be easier. Hitting that mark is very hard but achievable.

I have a busy few weeks coming up but will check back on occassion. I am in the air for NY early tomorrow and would like to spend some time with the family today. I return with the crew at the end of the week from NY and am back in the air on the 23rd to the Mississippi coast for a week. Life is crazy at times.

Adam's Lawn and Garden
09-16-2007, 06:22 PM
i don't know if i would say "anyone" can achieve what jarod has. But those who do, it matters how they did, what they did to get there, and being able to play the game so that you don't lose it all. That's what makes a real businessman.

Supper Grassy
09-24-2007, 03:31 PM
Jarod
how did/ is the NY job going?

PORTER 05
09-24-2007, 05:41 PM
you have a plane - you make us all look bad

Supper Grassy
09-24-2007, 06:06 PM
As far as i know

No, He does not own a plane, he charters a plane.

tthomass
09-24-2007, 08:48 PM
G4, black and with pin stripes........two of them.

ALarsh
09-24-2007, 08:52 PM
Charters TWO of them??

http://files.turbosquid.com/Preview/Content_on_10_25_2005_22_39_34/G4-006_thm.jpgef7bbce4-a170-4ff0-85ea-366eb9a30a35Large.jpg

tthomass
09-24-2007, 09:21 PM
Owns.....one is like a harrier, fly directly to the jobsite. Ready to work before finishing the first cup of coffee.

etwman
09-24-2007, 09:23 PM
You all have a unique imagination. I check this for 2 minutes from Mississippi and am amuzed.

mrusk
09-24-2007, 09:24 PM
Whats it called? Earth Turf ONE?

Supper Grassy
09-24-2007, 09:25 PM
Whats it called? Earth Turf ONE?

Now that unique

Hows the job comming down there?

tthomass
09-24-2007, 10:07 PM
sorry, couldn't resist haha........I think Brickman is one of the few that would have a G4 and I bet they would still do a two tone brown!

ALarsh
09-24-2007, 11:10 PM
with pin stripes, of course.

etwman
09-29-2007, 04:27 PM
Bay St. Louis, Mississippi is slowly coming around following Katrina’s wrath two years ago. This was my 7th trip south and construction is evident, though not as much right along the coast. I’ve said it before it will be 10 years before the scars of Katrina are fully gone. I had the pleasure of installing hardwood floors, doors, trim, and cabinetry for a week with some great friends for a family who lost everything. Seeing this family so close to moving their new home now is a great feeling. I could write a novel on the awesome experiences down there over the past two years.

We will return to NY Monday for several more days of work, then we’ll take a few weeks off from that project until the precast course arrives from Florida at the end of October. Once that is delivered we’ll return (weather permitting) for the installation of the course, pavers, and landscaping. What we can’t finish this fall we’ll do in the spring.

There is no "ETW corporate plane" yet. I have several friends with planes who help us on occasion when I can’t fly it myself. It was always my dream to get my own pilot’s license. General aviation is the only way to go, gulf coast to home last night in 4 1/2 hours, leave when you want, it's the only way!

Supper Grassy
09-29-2007, 05:04 PM
etw
whats the flordia job entail.

Can you snap some NY pics while your up there

etwman
09-29-2007, 05:06 PM
The 18 hole course for the NY job is being shipped up from Florida where it is custom built to our specific area.

I'll post some pics at some point, as of right now there's just alot of prep work done and a few ponds in.

Supper Grassy
09-29-2007, 05:07 PM
so you need the materails for the course?

etwman
09-29-2007, 05:21 PM
Its technical but in a nutshell each hole of the course is delivered in 6 or 7 precast pieces that are assembled and bolted together. Once this is done you install the edgestone, grass, etc. Its not a cut and dry situation, but it is a first class course. The raw course in itself is in the 6 digits, then you have everything else.

I'm not going to go into specifics on the install process because it'll take me 5 pages to explain everything.

Supper Grassy
09-29-2007, 05:30 PM
that pretty neat. so it comes on a semi and you basiclay bolt it togeter.

etwman
10-03-2007, 08:13 AM
Here are a few pics of the NY project so far. Most are demolition of the old course, tree removal, and prep work. So far we've installed over 350 tons of modified and 14 tri-axles of topsoil, not to mention the river stone for the three ponds that will go in. Its a fairly large area covering almost 40,000 sf. Most of the equipment up there thus far has come from that area. Once we get into the course install and the hardscape/landscape we'll bring more of our equipment up. We're working less than 150 feet from last years project so we get to enjoy the same great scenery.

With all our trips there has to be a fun element. One night I took the guys parasailing over the lake. You can see a long way from the end of a 300 foot rope.

etwman
10-03-2007, 08:18 AM
The guys are headed home today once the flight restriction is lifted in this area. Bush is in town and that's a big no no on flying, unless of course you enjoy the company of a couple Black Hawks on your wings.

We'll return end of October to continue the project.

This is going to be a real neat project, definitely one for the portfolio when all is said and done. Our vendors have expressed a strong interest in photographing this one upon completion.

Supper Grassy
10-03-2007, 02:52 PM
Very nice job

lawncare18
10-03-2007, 05:46 PM
Sorry guys im a little bit behind.. is he building a putt putt course there?? anyways looks great as always.

DUSTYCEDAR
10-03-2007, 08:33 PM
some wild stuff guess u have to go where the work is
cant wait to see it finished

lawnkid
10-03-2007, 10:25 PM
So it's a miniature golf course? Very nice. I see the Ford has the new style grille on it. How's the truck compared to the dodge? Which one do you prefer? Also do you have any pics of that pooldeck you guys just finished up or are the other subs still touching it up? Keep the inspirational pictures coming.

Drew Gemma
10-03-2007, 10:52 PM
Is this artificial turf on a rubber puzzle so to speak I had the pleasure of dealing with this stuff 7 years ago at an indoor golf facility / bar grill. It came from a local college and a waterless type grass was stretched over it. It never really caught on so they shut down the 3 original places and that was that. By the way your jobs your equip and your crew all display the same image I am dam good at what I do. Always a pleasure to watch your projects from start to finish. Thanks

etwman
10-04-2007, 07:50 AM
Yes it is a pretty elaborate mini golf course. Ford pulls/drives a little better but the dodge had a tighter turning radius. I've run all the "big 3" at this point and I can honestly say, and my guys with reaffirm this, nothing pulls like a Duramax.

I'll post some pics of the pool deck sometime in the future. I didn't return up there to take finals because EPHenry was coming out to take pics of that job, along with 7 others, for their '08 Idea Catalog. Once all thier pics are taken they'll send me a copy. There's about 6-7 neat jobs we did this year that I didn't even get around to posting.

Drew, no it's not that type of course. It's a precast/fibreglass course with articfical turf on top. I don't think they'll have any problem keeping this course busy with the amount of people that come through this place.

dustycedar - you don't always go to where the work is. You go to serve customers that want you to do their projects. Always "going to where the work is" can get you in trouble at times. When you travel distances you need to make sure your bottom line is met.

Supper Grassy
10-04-2007, 02:55 PM
Jarod,
is the equip up there staying there?

etwman
10-04-2007, 03:23 PM
Not sure what you mean. All of our equipment we own is home here with us now. The Ford was only up there a week, three weeks ago. When we get into the hardscape and landscape phases we'll bring some of our bigger stuff up.

The excavators and skidloader was up there when we arrived.