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Supper Grassy
10-04-2007, 05:04 PM
oh ok that is what i was wondering.

NNJLandman
10-04-2007, 06:14 PM
Is the Dodge still up for sale or is that gone?

deere615
10-04-2007, 09:00 PM
"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." :weightlifter:
The pictures look really nice, theres alot of work up there!

tthomass
10-04-2007, 09:12 PM
I'm still waiting to pull along side a power joke............another 8k miles and I get my programmer. Me likey some DMax.

SwihartServices
10-08-2007, 02:15 AM
Etwman,

I have been thumbing through this thread for a while now. I have been paying attention mostly to your business practices. You obviously know what your doing now, and when you were coming into this business.

That being said, obviously most of us on here are trying to do accomplish the same goals as you have, and are in a similar situation to what you were seven years ago.

I'm not sure if anyone has asked you to do this before (As far as I know, no one has yet). But, I am wondering if you would be willing to share your initial business plan with us. The one your first took to the bank when you started Earth Turf and Wood. We all need direction, capital, and to make sure everything we are going to do is viable. You know better than anyone that a good business plan is where it all comes from.

Even if you don't like the idea of giving it out, I would understand. But, could we at least get a taste of your executive summary and an outline of your marketing strategy. Or maybe even your ideas on what a good business plan should contain.

I know you have laid out quite a bit of your business philosophies in this thread already. However, I think if your ideals were given the direction and the organization that I would imagine are in your business plan it could really help everyone who has read your story and has said, "Thats what I want, now what do I do?"

Thanks, and I hope you'll consider it!
-Jeremy

lawnkid
10-09-2007, 12:31 AM
Not to bust your bubble swihart and I don't wanna offend you but as a business major in my third year, what works for some doesn't always work for others. What Jarod has made of his company from what I know has not just been from an overnight dream. He's had several years in developing and perfecting his plan and although he might be willing to share it, why not develop your own plan instead of copying someone else's hard work??? I think he has given several good pointers throughout this thread that we can all learn from on running a successful business of his caliper. Jarod has done his homework and so should you. Don't just always look for the easy way out. Just my opinion.

fool32696
10-09-2007, 01:24 AM
I don't necessarily think Jeremy is looking for an easy way out. Also I don't feel that you being a 3rd yr business major has any bearing on the situation. I'm not sure what business school you're in, but at UF you do case studies on companies both successful and unsuccessful to learn about the good and the bad. I feel we could all learn a lot if Jarod provided us the things that Jeremy asked. I know personally that I would read every word and try to really learn from it. That said, if I was in Jarod's position, I'd never grant such a request. Competition is just too tough these days to let them in on what you had to learn through years in school and in the field.

lawnkid
10-09-2007, 02:12 AM
That said, if I was in Jarod's position, I'd never grant such a request. Competition is just too tough these days to let them in on what you had to learn through years in school and in the field.

fool,
So what exactly are you getting at there? You're saying he should provide us the information but he shouldn't.... :confused: And ok I agree that the junior year business degree staus has no bearing but I have done several papers on businesses and studied enough to back up what I said in that every business is different. There are different job and housing markets all over the country and too many variables to just take somebody's business plan, scan it on word, erase the company name and insert yours hoping it will all work out. In case you weren't aware, a lot of businesses in todays world failed time and time again until they were perfected. Over the whole thread you can see how Jarod's company went from a small single man mowing and landscape operation to a complete landscape and hardcape design and build company, meaning his business plan has probably been revised several times. I don't want my business to be like Earth Turf and Wood Inc., I want it to be even better, no offense buddy. Basically what I'm saying and I know others have said it as well, I'm sick of people coming on here just looking for the easy way out and answers to everything from people who already have discovered them instead of maybe learning on their own. But maybe I could be wrong and everyone just wants gimme gimme gimme right now.

SwihartServices
10-09-2007, 03:14 AM
Being a second year business student myself. The first thing I was taught when it comes to business planning was: Don't reinvent the wheel. Look at other people's plans, examine them and apply them to your own UNIQUE plan.

I am doing an enormous amount of homework right now, everyday. In doing so I am learning, over and over that the best way to do things is to plan and learn from the mistakes and successes of others.

Everyone copies the hard work of those who have gone before them everyday. Its how we move forward and learn from the past. It's what this site and this thread are all about.

Everyone knows every business is different, but a lot of the things that work for one company in this industry will work for another. For that matter, most of the things that work in this industry can work in most any industry. Being clean, respectful, on time ect... Let's face it no one here is doing anything that no one has ever done before.

And, Lawnkid if your not on here to learn from what others have discovered, what on Earth are you on here for? If you say to teach, I'm going to laugh.

Bottom Line: No one knows everything: Don't reinvent the wheel: And why not ask for big things? It's never hurt anyone on here to ask questions.

etwman
10-09-2007, 08:17 AM
It never ceases to amaze me the topics that come out of this thread. You both have valid points.

Our business plan has changed, once significantly. If you relook at your target market, which we did three years ago, you have to revamp your business plan. The original was about 12-15 pages long and took some time to construct, but that's what the bank required on the initial loan. Bank's just don't throw money to lawn mowing or landscaping companies. Its a huge risk to them. Why do you think Sheffield's interest rates are so high? Because a repoed mower isn't worth much, and there are a bunch of repos. I can't recall the stastic but I'll dig for it, the percentage of mowing companies that survive more than 3 years is rediculously low.

With this said you have to adapt you business plan to so many elements. Our last revision was quite lenghty. To publish it, or comment on it here, would help some but be irrelevant to most. It deals with our area, the changes we see here in the next 10 years, the market we want to go after, and how we want to achieve that goal. A business plan is not developed overnight I can assure you. Our business plan has elements that I'll comment on, but to do disclose the entire thing would be both irrelevant and partially foolish.

meets1
10-09-2007, 11:04 AM
ETW - Excellent point. Your market, your area your biz. Everyone else is out of your realm as well as mine. I work in a 60 mile radius - that is the market i watch, think and learn where things will be going in 3 - 5 - 10 years and adpat to any changes that I might need to make.

etwman
10-09-2007, 11:21 AM
Your business plan is exactly that, your business plan. You need to decide on your target market, what your companies limits really should be, and where you want the company to go. I mean, yeah its cool to meet at our shop Monday at 6:30, be at the local airport at 6:45 with coffee in hand, workboots on, and ready to go. Jump on a plane and by 8:00 are laying pavers at a resort 350 miles away, but you need to take other things into account as well. Do your employees, who have families really want to be away that long? How much do you want to penetrate that market? Etc.

I have a folder in my desk on places we could go with this business and things we could do that would make the hair on the back of most necks stand straight up. I've been asked by some of our vendors repeatively to consider these things because they are untapped markets with extreme potential. Are we capable of doing them? Absolutely. Does it fit our business plan? It could. Do I want it to? Not right now, maybe in another 3-4 years. This is why each business plan is different and it needs to be revisited about every 3-4 years as things change.

cgland
10-09-2007, 04:31 PM
Being that I'm in your area, I think YOUR business plan would benefit me greatly. Please forward it ASAP. Thanks in advance.

P.S. Could you also include your entire customer list w/ phone numbers,

Chris

mrusk
10-09-2007, 07:03 PM
Guys I do not think Jarads business plan would benifit us. Its not like you could just read it, copy his plan and have the same success. Different things work in different areas and no two companies are the same.

I think alot of people here are looking for tips to make is easier to build a successful business. I think what it comes down to is there is no easy way to build a good business. It comes down to hardwork and dedication.

I am in my third year of business and everything seems to be just falling into place. One increidble job after another seems to just fall into my lap. But are they really falling into my lap? NO. Its the 2.5 half years of hard work that is finally starting to pay off.

I think most companies do not do as well as ETW because they are not focused. To be success you need to be focused. You need to pick one type of job and go after just that. Focus on nothing else except that one type of job. Do not try to be everything to everyone.


Matt

tjsquickcuts
10-09-2007, 09:00 PM
For less then $300 bucks, you can have a professional write up a business plan for you. Business plans are not as simple as most think. They take time and effort. We are finishing up our BP for 08, and its a lot more extensive then the plan I had written in 2004. It should be around 18 to 20 pages, all with detail information collected from the last few years. Records from all the previous years really have played a huge roll in coming up with this BP. But invest a few hours and dollars and you to can have direction.

I agree about banks being skeptical on lending money to LCO, Landscapers, etc....its a huge risk they take, and most banks want to see at least 3 years of tax returns. So all of the no legit companies out there just dont realize how bad they are hurting themselves by not filing taxes. They will never be able to grow. Furthermore, you can go to school for anything, but if you dont have the god given talent and a eye for landscaping then you arent going to make it long term. Even mowing takes talent, and will be noticed if you are doing a great job. A old quote I have always remembered is, that "people dont plan to fail, they fail to plan. Without a plan, you have no direction. Thats where a BP comes in to play. We have added a few silent investors, and we are planning on getting a healthy loan, and I am sure we wont have any bumps in the road while doing so. Jarad didn't promote the idea for taking loans from the bank or using silent investors, but our companies are different, and we have different needs are for business. I am taking out the loan to give my wife and family peace of mind because we will be dealing with a lot of money. We plan to have the loan paid back within 4 years, and shouldnt have to borrow ever again. Silient investors all have deals that are giong to benefits everyone. My attorney wrote my BP just in case you all were wondering. She is awesome, and has done a great job on all the details. JMO......

mrusk
10-09-2007, 09:17 PM
I disagree with using private investors. If you know your overhead, and price jobs accordingly, there should be pleanty of money to grow your business without investors. Unless your going from 5 employees to 50.

ALarsh
10-09-2007, 09:22 PM
For less then $300 bucks, you can have a professional write up a business plan for you. Business plans are not as simple as most think. They take time and effort. We are finishing up our BP for 08, and its a lot more extensive then the plan I had written in 2004. It should be around 18 to 20 pages, all with detail information collected from the last few years. Records from all the previous years really have played a huge roll in coming up with this BP. But invest a few hours and dollars and you to can have direction.

I agree about banks being skeptical on lending money to LCO, Landscapers, etc....its a huge risk they take, and most banks want to see at least 3 years of tax returns. So all of the no legit companies out there just dont realize how bad they are hurting themselves by not filing taxes. They will never be able to grow. Furthermore, you can go to school for anything, but if you dont have the god given talent and a eye for landscaping then you arent going to make it long term. Even mowing takes talent, and will be noticed if you are doing a great job. A old quote I have always remembered is, that "people dont plan to fail, they fail to plan. Without a plan, you have no direction. Thats where a BP comes in to play. We have added a few silent investors, and we are planning on getting a healthy loan, and I am sure we wont have any bumps in the road while doing so. Jarad didn't promote the idea for taking loans from the bank or using silent investors, but our companies are different, and we have different needs are for business. I am taking out the loan to give my wife and family peace of mind because we will be dealing with a lot of money. We plan to have the loan paid back within 4 years, and shouldnt have to borrow ever again. Silient investors all have deals that are giong to benefits everyone. My attorney wrote my BP just in case you all were wondering. She is awesome, and has done a great job on all the details. JMO......

What kind of "healthy loan" is repayable in an extremely short 4 years?

LawnBoy89
10-09-2007, 10:08 PM
etwman i know you aren't a painter but that rhino type stuff that you used in your trailer...do you think it would be alright if used in a concrete garage...i just painted it light blue and theres always something going on in my garage it gets marked up quick

tjsquickcuts
10-09-2007, 10:13 PM
This is a Great example of how each business is different. Its all about how you plan to pay the money back. We are a full service Lawn care and Custom Design Landscape co. The loan is being used because of our emergence into the Custom Design and Build landscaping. We have done great up to this point without having to borrow a thing, but I am planning on taking my business to a different level. We are having a new building constructed, and will also be purchasing tons of equipment including 2 $70k trucks, a track loader, and a excavator. On top of all that, we need a few more mowers and hand helds for my mtce division. I know what kind of income my company has generated, and what kind of money we are projected to generate, so I feel more then comfortable that we will have it paid within 4 years. We are currently working on a seven figure project now, but its a 2 year contract. We have more then enough income project to cover all loans, and investors which brings me to my next point. The silent investors were recommended by both my accountant and attorney. The investment money is being used for the building, and to cover cost of all adminstrative componets needed to run the admin. side of my business. Next year I will have a total of 15 people on payroll, with 4 of those being specialist that didnt come cheap, and I do not want to touch any of my net income from this season which has by far exceeded our projections. But it all goes back to every company is different. I want to be able to put my hands on every piece of equipment needed, and not have to rent or scrammble around to find it when needed. Maybe I am creating more over head then I possible need, but it how I plan to grow my business, and so for it has worked. We could continue to operate on net capital, but I have a chance to expand and I am going to take advantage.

But just a side note......$250k with 3.4% interest rate can easily be paid off within a 4 year period. We have surpass the $450k mark already this year, with the most profitable part of the season coming around the corner with irrigation systems being winterized, fall planting, and leaf blowing on top of all the projects we have scheduled this fall and the projects we are working on which should gross another $150 to $200k. I Know what its going to take to run my business, I built it and have seen it grow from just a push mower hanging out the back of my explorer to a mid size business. Every aspect of the investors and the loan have been tabled and agreed upon by my attorney, accountant, and most importantly my wife. Its a risk, but where would Bill Gates be without taking risk??? Probably working for Apple....

etwman
10-09-2007, 10:13 PM
I wouldn't put it on concrete, I don't think its made to adhere to that. There are special paints that can be used for that purpose but the floor must be cleaned and shotblasted first.

ALarsh -A loan that helps a new person in business establish credit and prove to a lending institution that their business plan may be obtainable.

tthomass
10-09-2007, 10:25 PM
I wouldn't put it on concrete, I don't think its made to adhere to that. There are special paints that can be used for that purpose but the floor must be cleaned and shotblasted first.

ALarsh -A loan that helps a new person in business establish credit and prove to a lending institution that their business plan may be obtainable.

Don't forget to get the 'grit' or it will be slick as heck when wet.....like my sisters that will be redone, sometime, one day.

lawnkid
10-09-2007, 10:27 PM
Guys I do not think Jarads business plan would benifit us. Its not like you could just read it, copy his plan and have the same success. Different things work in different areas and no two companies are the same.

I think alot of people here are looking for tips to make is easier to build a successful business. I think what it comes down to is there is no easy way to build a good business. It comes down to hardwork and dedication.

I am in my third year of business and everything seems to be just falling into place. One increidble job after another seems to just fall into my lap. But are they really falling into my lap? NO. Its the 2.5 half years of hard work that is finally starting to pay off.

I think most companies do not do as well as ETW because they are not focused. To be success you need to be focused. You need to pick one type of job and go after just that. Focus on nothing else except that one type of job. Do not try to be everything to everyone.


Matt

Finally someone who agrees with me. Great post Matt. Btw, I think Matt is on his way to becoming very successful. Keep up the good work.

mrusk
10-09-2007, 10:28 PM
This is a Great example of how each business is different. Its all about how you plan to pay the money back. We are a full service Lawn care and Custom Design Landscape co. The loan is being used because of our emergence into the Custom Design and Build landscaping. We have done great up to this point without having to borrow a thing, but I am planning on taking my business to a different level. We are having a new building constructed, and will also be purchasing tons of equipment including 2 $70k trucks, a track loader, and a excavator. On top of all that, we need a few more mowers and hand helds for my mtce division. I know what kind of income my company has generated, and what kind of money we are projected to generate, so I feel more then comfortable that we will have it paid within 4 years. We are currently working on a seven figure project now, but its a 2 year contract. We have more then enough income project to cover all loans, and investors which brings me to my next point. The silent investors were recommended by both my accountant and attorney. The investment money is being used for the building, and to cover cost of all adminstrative componets needed to run the admin. side of my business. Next year I will have a total of 15 people on payroll, with 4 of those being specialist that didnt come cheap, and I do not want to touch any of my net income from this season which has by far exceeded our projections. But it all goes back to every company is different. I want to be able to put my hands on every piece of equipment needed, and not have to rent or scrammble around to find it when needed. Maybe I am creating more over head then I possible need, but it how I plan to grow my business, and so for it has worked. We could continue to operate on net capital, but I have a chance to expand and I am going to take advantage.

But just a side note......$250k with 3.4% interest rate can easily be paid off within a 4 year period. We have surpass the $450k mark already this year, with the most profitable part of the season coming around the corner with irrigation systems being winterized, fall planting, and leaf blowing on top of all the projects we have scheduled this fall and the projects we are working on which should gross another $150 to $200k. I Know what its going to take to run my business, I built it and have seen it grow from just a push mower hanging out the back of my explorer to a mid size business. Every aspect of the investors and the loan have been tabled and agreed upon by my attorney, accountant, and most importantly my wife. Its a risk, but where would Bill Gates be without taking risk??? Probably working for Apple....



You had me up to 3.4% interest. This makes no sense. The investors could of put the money into a basic CD at a bank and got a higher interest rate with no risk.

KS_Grasscutter
10-09-2007, 10:50 PM
This is a Great example of how each business is different. Its all about how you plan to pay the money back. We are a full service Lawn care and Custom Design Landscape co. The loan is being used because of our emergence into the Custom Design and Build landscaping. We have done great up to this point without having to borrow a thing, but I am planning on taking my business to a different level. We are having a new building constructed, and will also be purchasing tons of equipment including 2 $70k trucks, a track loader, and a excavator. On top of all that, we need a few more mowers and hand helds for my mtce division. I know what kind of income my company has generated, and what kind of money we are projected to generate, so I feel more then comfortable that we will have it paid within 4 years. We are currently working on a seven figure project now, but its a 2 year contract. We have more then enough income project to cover all loans, and investors which brings me to my next point. The silent investors were recommended by both my accountant and attorney. The investment money is being used for the building, and to cover cost of all adminstrative componets needed to run the admin. side of my business. Next year I will have a total of 15 people on payroll, with 4 of those being specialist that didnt come cheap, and I do not want to touch any of my net income from this season which has by far exceeded our projections. But it all goes back to every company is different. I want to be able to put my hands on every piece of equipment needed, and not have to rent or scrammble around to find it when needed. Maybe I am creating more over head then I possible need, but it how I plan to grow my business, and so for it has worked. We could continue to operate on net capital, but I have a chance to expand and I am going to take advantage.

But just a side note......$250k with 3.4% interest rate can easily be paid off within a 4 year period. We have surpass the $450k mark already this year, with the most profitable part of the season coming around the corner with irrigation systems being winterized, fall planting, and leaf blowing on top of all the projects we have scheduled this fall and the projects we are working on which should gross another $150 to $200k. I Know what its going to take to run my business, I built it and have seen it grow from just a push mower hanging out the back of my explorer to a mid size business. Every aspect of the investors and the loan have been tabled and agreed upon by my attorney, accountant, and most importantly my wife. Its a risk, but where would Bill Gates be without taking risk??? Probably working for Apple....

Ok, I am obviously young and very unexperienced, but...you post about your area being in a drought, and you are also posting about going way way far into debt buying new fancy stuff...I just dont see the sense in that at all. I am sure it will pay off real good, but I would also kinda worry about "growing too fast". Hope it works out for you.

tjsquickcuts
10-09-2007, 10:54 PM
First of all, CD's have lost a lot of value since sept 11th. We have plenty of money in CD's, some that pay every month, and some that we are waiting to mature. I remember when CDs were having a 9 to 10% return, but now you are lucky to get 5%. I need money I can touch now....I could have gotten all the capital from the investors, but why have all my peas in one pod. 3.4 isnt bad at all with the type of business I have. Landscape Companies are consider high risk, and not many Banks are willing to lend large amts of flow to us in this industry. I just needed peace of mind to grow this into what I have been planning and dreaming for many years....Investors are going to help off set the cost of a lot of things also...i.e. training classes and course for all my employees, which isnt cheap either......There are alot of ways to borrow money, I just took to route because it was simple and easy. But if I were just a design and build, there would have been no reason to borrow money.....But I think all and all we have a pretty good deal going on for the next few years, and I am happy with it. But again I say its a risk I am taking to grow my business, and I am confident I will succeed. I have studied this business long enough now and feel that I am ready for this next step. Time will tell....

ALarsh
10-09-2007, 10:54 PM
And how are you going to purchase a shop, land, a track loader and an excavator along with a couple more mowers on a mere $110k?

tthomass
10-09-2007, 10:54 PM
IF this is his situation, the 3.4% may very well not be the whole story. Perhaps that is just on the loan + % of whatever else? Depends on how it is setup.

tjsquickcuts
10-09-2007, 10:59 PM
Ok, I am obviously young and very unexperienced, but...you post about your area being in a drought, and you are also posting about going way way far into debt buying new fancy stuff...I just dont see the sense in that at all. I am sure it will pay off real good, but I would also kinda worry about "growing too fast". Hope it works out for you.

Its simple my friend....Design and build has nothing to do with the Drought....thats where the real money is.....as for the lawn mtce division...its call Bermuda grass. It only needs sip of rain to keep it growing and to keep it green. Yeah the drought has been bad, but it hasnt stop us hardly any this season. Just call me a risk taker, but I feel I have a good hand and I am all in....The Drought is really the least of my worries....even though we might not have drinking water for christmas if we dont get rain....But I think we are going to be okay.

BTW if all else fails, I have more then enough income to cover all losses, loans and investors....havent been working like a dawg for nothing.....

tjsquickcuts
10-09-2007, 11:07 PM
And how are you going to purchase a shop, land, a track loader and an excavator along with a couple more mowers on a mere $110k?

:confused: :confused: where did the 110k come from???? But building has a mortgage....thats how that will be paid....investors fronted all the up front cost....All equipment and trucks will be bought with the loan keep the investors away from my money makers.....The building can easily be replace if things were to go wrong, but to lose equipment would be a pita. I have really thought this out guys, and I think its in our best interest....but like i said, its a risk....just like getting into this business***boy are my fingers on fire lol***

tjsquickcuts
10-09-2007, 11:50 PM
Hey Jarad, I bet you didnt think 5 years later this thread would still be alive. It funny because there have been a 1000 topics discussed in this one thread. It just switches from one topic to another. Everyone has hijacked this thread for their own purposes at one point in time including myself. Will it make it another 5.....BTW....i turn 30 today....well actually tomorrow (10/10) and 5 years ago I was loving the corporate america life until I got laid off. Ironic how things happen. Jarad, Have you thought about Going Large Business Corp. oppose to small business with your company and really branching out into different states? I am curious, but need to do more research

tjsquickcuts
10-10-2007, 12:32 AM
Hey Mrusk, how's that lawn you were concerned about???? Did you guys feel the heat up there???

etwman
10-10-2007, 08:50 AM
Alright here's my two cents.

1. New businesses, whether you believe it or not, take 5 years to know whether or not they will succeed. Yes, you may make a couple bucks the first year, second, etc. and things may look good but it is often said that 5 years, and I honestly think it could be more, will tell the true tail. To say "this business is perfect, making money, etc." at the age of 2 years all while driving a pickup around is probably underestimating things a little. Not to say that your not working hard your high risk I wouldn't bank on anything.

2. I'm not a big fan of debt. Never had been. One of the biggest pitfalls in this type of businesses is barrowing too much and attempting to grow too fast. Alot of guys on this site pull the trigger on new equipment before I think its really needed. Not that barrowing is wrong, but barrow very wisely and grow at a healthy level. You see a strong surge or wave coming and the first reaction is to buy the world. We'll don't forget you have to manage those employees to run all that stuff and generate the sales. You want to deal with adding two crews in April and figure out how all that is going to work, be my guest.

3. Efficiency. I can't stress this enough. I haven't discussed sales numbers on this site but I will tell you this, there are alot of guys here that are underestiming the potential of one well educated and managed crew. I see guys posting "I do $600k a year and have 10 guys....so forth and so on." It doesn't make sense. One crew of 3-4, doing landscape, hardscape, irrigation, or lawn installs, should be able to produce a 7 digit number in sales in a year with that crew, and that's without subbing out. A maintenance crew, I'd say half of that a year. If you're not at that point I'm not sure I'd jump to another crew, I don't think its worth it. I'd take another look at how you run things. There in lies one of the biggest pitfalls in this industry. "I have 5 crews, 15 employees, look at all my equipment, I do A, B, C, D & E." Are you really making money? I've sat at round table meetings with other guys that run these top numbers, it is doable, and that is why they are successful.

Things to ponder.

Tony Clifton
10-10-2007, 09:48 AM
Jarod, if you are bringing in 7 digits per crew what is your labor to gross?
I really think it depends on the type of work you are doing, and the market. If you are selling a lot of expensive materials with your jobs then it is easier to bring in a higher revenue per crew. Also, you are in one of those areas of the country where you can charge more per man hour. The SE is a horrible market, there are solid companies charging 25/hour, whereas I hear these crazy high labor rates in the NE.

etwman
10-10-2007, 10:06 AM
Labor, equipment, and supplies are priced accordingly, I'll leave it at that. It has taken years of perfecting the formula but I feel we've finally figured it out in the last two. The key is falls in efficiency, quality, and select marketing.

There are other companies doing this, not alot, but a few and fortunately I have had the pleasure in meeting with some of them on occassion.

I don't see how in the world companies can make money at $25/hour. Especially if you have benefits, insurance, etc. all dumped into that. But hey if it works it works, more power to them.

Tony Clifton
10-10-2007, 08:57 PM
Not to stir the pot, but do you not want to share your labor/gross, not know it, or don't care what it is as long as you hit what you project.
I really enjoy following this thread and am really curious what it is since you can hit 7 digit #s per crew annually.

etwman
10-10-2007, 09:58 PM
We make it a point in not divulging our confidental numbers, either for our total project costs, or our labor/equipment rates. I almost can't even believe people on here would expect us to do that.

meets1
10-10-2007, 11:03 PM
Etw - excellent point about regarding numbers. Numbers a s whole as in I am in the $500 K range is one thing to say but to actually state that I made $599 K and net 28% of that is irrelvent to the situation.

As far as crews go. I find a 2 - 4man crew most efficient as well. Everyone has there job, alittle cross over and are able to work with 2, 3, or all the guys per job (s).

There are times when I bring in a little extra help but it all depends on the job, time of year and time frame in regards to weather.

mrusk
10-10-2007, 11:13 PM
ETW really does not need to give his acctuall #s. I think him telling us that 1 crew should do 1 mil gross will give others the confidence to flat out just charge more money.


Besides ETW being located in a good location, i still belive the #1 reason for his success is knowing his cost and production #s.

I know my cost of doing business, its the production #s that has caused me truble in the past. After you do a couple big jobs, signing them is not as difficult, its figuring out how long the job will acctually take you thats the hard part.

syzer
10-11-2007, 08:15 PM
We have had two of the industries top consultants down to our office over the past year. Both agree that an average to shoot for per person on a maintenance crew is 65k a year, and the average you need to be getting for a guy on a landscape crew is 100k per year.

If you do 130k in maintenance a year, you should have no more then two guys working. If you make 300k in landscape sales, should be 3 guys, etc.

Both of these consultants are very well known, know the numbers that work, and are always in magazines giving information. Of course they will be nay-sayers, but it is what it is.

tthomass
10-11-2007, 08:17 PM
According to them I can take next year off! I like these guys.

etwman
10-11-2007, 08:40 PM
Where we going on vacation Todd?

I'd be willing to bet those are the minimums. I would hope those are the minumums.

If those are the maxes I'd be asking those guys if they stayed at a Holiday Inn Express before they gave the information.

mrusk
10-11-2007, 09:29 PM
Those numbers are proably AVERAGE accross the nation. We are very fortunate to live in a area that we do.

tthomass
10-11-2007, 09:29 PM
Somewhere it doesn't snow for Jan-Feb!

I don't know about maint in those #'s because I don't do maint but for the installation stand point I can reference and agree they must be minimums. Large companies tend to go down in net/gross per employee as they get bigger and bigger but to make up for it they add more guys and make more money through volume.

I want to say one previous company I worked for had about 150 employees at peak in the season and did $10M a year. Do some nice installs etc but mostly a maint company that had their hands in irrigation, installs, snow, lighting, hardscapes etc.

Another company was a $20m but the # employees I am not sure on as it has about 4 branches. I would guess around 400 and the same scope of work as previously listed.

EagleLandscape
10-11-2007, 11:13 PM
Rusk, Todd, and etwman, are any of you all CLP? are you members of PLANET?

I just became a member, but there arent any local tests to become a CLP.

tthomass
10-12-2007, 12:01 AM
CLP no......I remember some of the foreman/managers ahead of me when employed going and taking it. Most failed haha.

I have thought about it but that is about it. To be honest I've never looked into it.

My 'extras' are ICPI, NCMA and a few random certificates from attending seminars.

lawnkid
10-12-2007, 01:05 AM
How do you join NCMA? Do they publish classes they are giving like ICPI does or are my best chances to go to MAHTS or Hardscape America and take the seminar?

etwman
10-12-2007, 08:16 AM
I would just go to a conference and take the NCMA course there. They do offer other courses randomly througout the year the the expos are really the best bet and offer many different time slots.

mrusk
10-12-2007, 08:37 AM
I passed ICPI and then became a member. Seems like my ICPI membership was a waste of $. All i get is a chessey magazine with ads for paver machines it it. I did not renew my ICPI membership this year.

When i took the ICPI course i already knew almost everything they taught us. I do not think i even mentioned ICPI to a customer yet this year. Heck, i barely do pavers anymore anyway. I'd perfer to do natural stone anyday.

I have not gotten around to take NCMA yet.


Honestly, at first i was planning on getting as many certs as possible and joining as many orgs as possible, then i realized that it really does not make a difference. Sure if you are just starting out it might ad crediablity. But once you are established, its not neccessary unless you need a write off.

etwman
10-12-2007, 09:04 AM
Alright....okay...this whole ICPI / NCMA / etc. certification stuff.

Matt I'm assuming based on your comment that you, having been in business for two years, know pretty much everything about wall and patio installation. Therefore I would consider you probably the most knowledgeable one on this site. I mean, seriously, what else is there for you to learn?

Are the certifications worth it? I believe they are. Is there information that is elementary in their certification programs? Yes. But in looking around this site at walls and patios that alot of inexperienced installers have put in, I would say you should get your buts to those courses. You, the ones that claim you know all, and this may be tough to hear, are the reason why this industry gets such a bad name at times. Walls without drainage, no overdigs, no grid, stonedust, and the list goes on and on. Then you get all offended when you get slammed. Well do it right then. If you don't know how to do it go to a course and learn or make some phone calls. We do reference these companies manuals on occassion and do make a phone call to them when needed for some of our more technical projects. In addition, both are coming out with a tier II class, which I'm curious to see what information it displays. Its not like we sit here everyday leafing through these manuals to build each project, but I don't think further education or certifications could hurt. Hardscaping and Landscaping is a constant learning experience. When you feel your done learning or don't need resources, that's when you fail.

So your options are:

1. Go to these seminars, educate yourself and your employees, be creditable to your customers, and attempt to keep the customer from being the result of an incompetant installation from lack of education.

2. Contact Mr. Rusk and consult with him as he unveals his limitless wealth of incredible knowledge.

McKeeLand
10-12-2007, 09:24 AM
Honestly, i had been laying pavers for 7-8 years when i took ICPI. sure a lot of it is elementary and that is why a lot of it is not on the exam. However i did learn a lot about compaction, soil conditions, densities, soil types, etc, in fact i have half of a legal pad i go back to now and again for feferance from the course and MAHTS every year. I think i learned the most from my two instructors who had 40-50 years combined of real world experience and advice to give us. the same cam be said for NCMA that i took last year.

etwman
10-12-2007, 09:27 AM
Well said....

Matt k
10-12-2007, 10:15 AM
Jarod,
Have a cup of coffe and calm down! Geesh, its too early in the morning for a lecture ;)

etwman
10-12-2007, 01:02 PM
Yes Father. . . I'm sorry. The flu has got me a little wriled up.

lawnkid
10-12-2007, 01:07 PM
Man oh man. Some people amaze me with the steel balls they carry on this site. McKee and ETWman both posted good points. I think some people should take off their kevlar vests and absorb some knowledge rather than blowing off those who actually know their stuff.

mrusk
10-12-2007, 01:19 PM
I never claimed to know it all. I am ICPI certified and scored a 96 on the exam. Just because i am not NCMA certified does not mean my walls are not build correctly. Alot of my walls have engineered plans and they are all built by the plan. If i ever have questions i call the engineer.

I agree that atleast 50% of all jobs out there are not done correctly. Many companies have no buiness doing hardscapes at all. Alot of the jobs out there i see are absolutly horrible.

If i am doing something i have a question on i will either call my product rep, LA, engineer, or one of the 50 other phone #s in my cell phone of people who have been doing this longer then me. I am constantly asking people who are more experienced then me for advice on things.

I took the one guys question the wrong way about certification. I think certifcation is great for the industry. The point i was trying to make is i really do not think it makes a different from a sales perspective.

I am constantly going to confrences, expos, seminars, etc to learn more. I proably make more of a effort then most people. Infact in 4 weeks i am flying to vegas for a 3 day course on pool design and then i am going to texas in january for a 1 week course on gunite construction. I spend alot of $ to furthur my knowledge. More than most people.


I think what it comes down to is you just do not think its possible for me to be able to do the jobs i do at my age after only being in business for 2 years. You know what thats fine. What i am doing now i never thought i could possibly do. I never thought i would beable to get the jobs i am getting now at my age. But i am. They are coming out great and the customers love me. I am building a good business wheather you want to belive it or not.

SwihartServices
10-12-2007, 01:31 PM
Someone give this guy a cookie or something.

tthomass
10-12-2007, 08:06 PM
I think a good thing about sending employees to classes is that they take it more seriously as to what is and what is not accepted. In most cases....sometimes you can get a moron instructor.

VS

Listening to the guy they work under and cutting corners because 'it should be okay' or 'what does he know' attitude.

old oak lawn
10-13-2007, 12:12 AM
RUSK-you know etw was going to let you have it sooner or later.it' the way you talk. ETW thank you for all you have posted.I have read this trend 2 times i like seeing how you have grown your business.good luck with all that you do.

tjsquickcuts
10-13-2007, 11:56 AM
I think a good thing about sending employees to classes is that they take it more seriously as to what is and what is not accepted. In most cases....sometimes you can get a moron instructor.

VS

Listening to the guy they work under and cutting corners because 'it should be okay' or 'what does he know' attitude.

Isnt this the truth. We have classes schedule all winter from landscape lighting to wall construction. Me and two of my guys will be going to Ohio this week for more allan block training. They are finally going to have some classes in my area in Dec and Jan. We are starting to do more walls and I need a more in-depth knowledge of compaction and back fill. On another note, everyone is different. RMUSK feels confident enough to do what he do, then let him do it. Its not fair to him to have everyone telling him how to tie his shoe. Yeah some people can be a little arrogant, but I think we all get caught up from time to time. Me personally, I am a firm believer of continuous learning. I feel I have a natural gift for landscaping and hardscaping, but that gift is worthless without knowledge. JMO....

How bout them Hoos 5-1

paponte
10-13-2007, 01:54 PM
Well said Jarod... period. I don't post as much as I should and honestly sometimes don't even care to... due to the whole F'ing "high horse" attitude on here. Honestly it's a bunch of baby horse sh!t and I have let some steam out in other threads, but the whole boy with a pickup that knows everything gets a little F'ing old. It just amazes me how majority just go along with the whole thing. I don't care who you are and how long you have been doing this, your never too old to learn new tricks or techniques and it's impossible to know everything about everything.

Taking on jobs the magnitude you are doing is great, but c'mon get your f'ing head out of the clouds your not rebuilding Rome. Were all in the same field here and are on jobs everyday, let's be realistic. :rolleyes:

syzer
10-13-2007, 02:12 PM
Well said Jarod... period. I don't post as much as I should and honestly sometimes don't even care to... due to the whole F'ing "high horse" attitude on here. Honestly it's a bunch of baby horse sh!t and I have let some steam out in other threads, but the whole boy with a pickup that knows everything gets a little F'ing old. It just amazes me how majority just go along with the whole thing. I don't care who you are and how long you have been doing this, your never too old to learn new tricks or techniques and it's impossible to know everything about everything.

Taking on jobs the magnitude you are doing is great, but c'mon get your f'ing head out of the clouds your not rebuilding Rome. Were all in the same field here and are on jobs everyday, let's be realistic. :rolleyes:

Amen to that!

P.Services
10-13-2007, 03:37 PM
Amen to that!

i will second that notion very well said.

JJS
10-16-2007, 10:10 PM
etwman..your not ready to get out of mowing and sell that trailer yet are you? if by any chance you are i'd love to purchase the trailer because i'm in the process of upgrading from my 16' enclosed right now and yours would be perfect because i want that exact setup

etwman
10-20-2007, 09:11 AM
This NY project is a challenge, but we love a good challenge. Its probably our most favorite project because its so unique and different. This is not for the introductory landscape or hardscape installer I will say that for sure. You are working in a very tight area, with alot of obstacles, and you are eliminating access with equipment as you build the course from the inside out. All the landscape provisions have to be made while you do the course and hardscape installs.

We're home for 48 hours then back up next week. The hope is that we will get all the hardscape done next week. Shipments were late this week which threw us a good curveball that we had no control over. When your 350 miles from home and your supplies don't arrive we they were supposed too, its not a good situation. You can't exactly go to another jobsite. This is a prime reason why you don't pay for all your supplies in full before they arrive, it give you backcharge leverage if needed.

The course itself is all installed and the paver walkways (which require alot of thinking and cutwork) are about 35% done. The borders, obstacles, and green carpet on the holes will be installed after all the landscaping is done.

etwman
10-20-2007, 09:17 AM
A few others....

The course itself was pre-engineered and each piece is a precast concrete with a styrofoam core. All the contours are preformed in each piece. It came on 3 tractor trailers with each hole wrapped on a pallet. Its a pretty slick system and well built....it should be for the price.

cleancutccl
10-21-2007, 01:13 AM
That last pic the sand looks soaked!! We had to deal with the same problems this week, already 2 days behind because of supplier and material mixups and then we get almost 4 inches in one day. Did you give it time to dry before compacting?

etwman
10-27-2007, 03:50 PM
Another productive week in NY. My hope is to return for one final week this fall to finish pond work, stage topsoil, and adhere a paver border around all the holes. As soon as the winter gives up in April up there we'll return to plant everything.

All the flatwork is down, with the exception of the (66) 6x6's we were short for border, guess you can't win them all.

This is hands down one of our more favorite projects. Though it's a project management challenge the end result should be breathtaking.

deere615
10-27-2007, 07:55 PM
Man those paths look great! I can't wait to see Pictures of everything planted!

Supper Grassy
10-27-2007, 08:13 PM
looks great

how many guys were up there for the install

etwman
10-27-2007, 09:47 PM
Each week we mainly had 5 guys up there. There were a few times when we were less than that but mostly we were around 5. I think we have around 800 hours in it so far and I would say we are around the half way point.

pj550v12
10-28-2007, 10:00 AM
Looks great, the weather sure has been holding up too lately huh? Especially for late October

lawnkid
10-29-2007, 01:13 PM
Work looks good just one question. Are the pavers supposed to follow the curves of the walks because in some pictures they flow with the curves and in others they are laid perpendicular to the walk? Just an odd observation

etwman
10-29-2007, 01:20 PM
Because of the style of the pavers used you can only turn them so tight. As a result most places we were able to bend the walkway to make the running bond work. In others we had no choice but to run them in perpedicular to the hole. It is what it is, for the most part it turned out really nice.

In addition, once it is all landscaped with tall material you'll never catch it.

etwman
10-29-2007, 10:01 PM
Oh, and the other thing, holes 1-3 & 13-18 and handicapped. This is basically the front of the course. The back side isn't handicapped accessible, thus the reason for the 24" sidewalk. The handicapped holes have the walkways go beside the holes and are 48" wide.

Adam's Lawn and Garden
11-04-2007, 09:56 AM
Jarod,

I have two questions:

#1- How were you guys able to make sure that the ends of the putt putt sections were level with the pavers, so that there wasn't a height difference?

#2- For the life of me i can't remember this question, so i will post it later.

Adam

etwman
11-11-2007, 01:43 PM
Last week was our final full week in NY for 2007. With a low of 18 on Friday morning it would have been a struggle to press on this fall. Heavy snow showers, gusty winds, and mountain top accumulation, indicated winters arrival on Tuesday. Add to that catching a 70 knot jetstream tailwind heading up there Tuesday morning usually only happens in the winter, but I'll take a 54 minute flight with a couple bumps anyday over a 6 hour drive.

We are at a point that we are comfortable leaving it until spring. We met our timeline goal perfectly. All the hardscape is complete, ponds / waterfalls are finished, and all the topsoil is placed and burmed for plantings. We anticipate having around 1,600 hours in this project before its totally completed.

I am working on three different renditions of drawings for the plantings which will incorporate trees, shrubs, perennials, benches, boulders, lighting, and sod. The nice thing is I have the winter to really finalize the plans. As soon as winter gives up the ghost, which can be as late as mid April, we'll return to complete the project by May 31st. Once the landscape is done the fence will be finished off, and the greens will be installed.

I have been assured by at least two vendors that this project will be magazine worthy upon completion.

Definitely one of our favorites....

cgland
11-11-2007, 05:34 PM
Looks good Jarod! The hole edging looks good. Was it a chore keeping the glue warm? I look forward to the plantings.

Chris

etwman
11-11-2007, 06:10 PM
Well....if three pictures are worth 1000 words these would be the three. As long as we kept the adhesive warm, almost hot, it worked like a charm. I've never put the stuff through these challenges, but in 24 hours every paver stuck great through wind, snow, temps as low as 18!

We ended up using three circle kits and three skids of 6x6's to make up all the borders. It worked pretty slick. We didn't have to make one cut.

EagleLandscape
11-11-2007, 06:56 PM
brrrrrrrrr..... looks cold

deere615
11-11-2007, 07:34 PM
Looking good. Does look cold with that turbo heater.

lifetree
11-11-2007, 07:46 PM
Very nice work ... however, I'm glad it's you and not me !! I wouldn't want to be out in that cold weather.

RedMax Man
11-11-2007, 07:59 PM
Very nice, You've made alot of progress and looks like your well on your way to be ready for next spring's shift. Pushing the limits there a little bit and facing the element in the last few pictures.

etwman
11-11-2007, 08:27 PM
That's a typical Adirondack fall. It was like that for about 2 hours, then the sun was out and temps climbed to around 40. Wait a half hour up there and the weather will change. We would not have headed north had we known the weather would have been consistantly like that for the whole week.

WildRidge
11-12-2007, 10:17 PM
Looks beautiful, can't wait to see what it will look like when you get the plants in. Any big plans for landscape lighting on this masterpiece?

etwman
11-13-2007, 08:47 AM
There's enough conduit in that ground to run to Albany and back. Yes there will be some neat lighting on the Birch in the center and hopefully some cool pathway lights.

93Chevy
11-13-2007, 11:39 AM
Looks beautiful. I never realized how much time and planning a large project like that can take.

ch973934
11-13-2007, 05:43 PM
That's one nice looking project! You guys do some nice work, especially with that snow and wind whipping in like that...

TXNSLighting
11-13-2007, 06:47 PM
you do some great work there man. great job.

etwman
11-15-2007, 03:41 PM
After several renditions, re-sketches, and meetings I feel pretty confident this will be the plan that will be used to landscape the golf course. It is difficult to distinguish what is what, but there are 937 pieces going in. The green areas will be sod. It will take a sold two weeks to install.

Adam's Lawn and Garden
11-15-2007, 05:35 PM
How are they going to mow the sod thats in between everything? Plus, would it be good to take a mower over the putt putt greens?

Adam

etwman
11-15-2007, 06:19 PM
Well .....I would say they are going to take a push mower, with a bagger, and walk down the same exact paver walkways that you use to get to each hole. There are walkways that go beside each green to push the push mower around.

lawnkid
11-15-2007, 08:45 PM
They could purchase some animals to mow the lawn and make it a petting zoo too. :p

mrusk
11-15-2007, 08:45 PM
How are they going to mow the sod thats in between everything? Plus, would it be good to take a mower over the putt putt greens?

Adam

If the cuswtomer can afford to drop big bucks on a project, chances are they can afford to pay someone to maintain it regardless of how difficult it will be.


Project i am doing right now will be a absloute nightmare to maintain, but since the client was able to afford to install it, i am sure they will be able to afford to maintain it.

Adam's Lawn and Garden
11-15-2007, 09:00 PM
How do the actual greens attach to the concrete boards? This project is amazing!!!! Its got so many different things going on at once!

Adam

etwman
11-15-2007, 09:40 PM
Carpet adhesive maybe?

They have a full time maintenance staff at the resort, maintaining it shouldn't be an issue.

etwman
11-24-2007, 03:46 PM
Needed a photo for '07 and got it in before the end of the year....barely. In '07 the 550 was added, along with the building and property. '08 will be another truck and several other pieces of equipment we are looking at purchasing.

TWUllc
11-24-2007, 05:57 PM
Great photos. Best of luck in 08.

deere615
11-24-2007, 09:38 PM
Very nice fleet pictures!

PlatinumLandCon
11-24-2007, 11:36 PM
Nice set up you got there!

Adam's Lawn and Garden
11-25-2007, 12:24 AM
What equipment do you want to get for next year besides a truck?

srl28
11-25-2007, 12:46 AM
Do you still have that dodge for sale? Fleet looks amazing! Great stuff.. And who or where did you get the boxes on the freightliners from??

Supper Grassy
11-25-2007, 11:34 AM
great fleet picture

etwman
11-25-2007, 01:26 PM
The dodge was sold about a month ago.

Not sure what you mean by "boxes." The alluminum storage box behind the cab we had custom made, one is out of steel, the other aluminum. The under body boxes we got from a company online. The bodies are part of the switch-n-go system.

paponte
11-25-2007, 02:44 PM
Nice project, would have loved to be on that one! Like the new shop too. Hopefully will get the opportunity to see you at mahts this year, as long as the snow holds out.

old oak lawn
11-25-2007, 11:42 PM
mr. etw will you be mowing in 08? i think you said in a post before you might be getting out of it. by the pictures of your work i know there must be a lot more money in stone work then mowing. all your work looks so verry good. thanks for showing us. good luck next year.

02DURAMAX
11-26-2007, 05:43 AM
I like your gmc alot!!!...all black look great!!!

lifetree
11-26-2007, 06:10 AM
ETWman -- That's an impressive setup you have there ... obviously, you've been soing something right for quite a while ... congratulations !!

J&R Landscaping
11-26-2007, 10:24 AM
Nice fleet Jarod! Best of luck in 2008!

Boycea
11-27-2007, 12:11 AM
Needed a photo for '07 and got it in before the end of the year....barely. In '07 the 550 was added, along with the building and property. '08 will be another truck and several other pieces of equipment we are looking at purchasing.

Who built the wall and did the plantings at your new shop??

etwman
11-27-2007, 07:44 AM
That would be us.

PlatinumLandCon
11-27-2007, 09:43 AM
That would be us.

That looks really classy. It suits the property really nicely and gives a beautiful preview of your work.

Fordsuvparts
11-27-2007, 09:46 AM
Who does all the work in the pictures that you post? Joking

Your work and your fleet look great as always they do, keep up the good work.

mrusk
11-27-2007, 10:22 AM
I just want to know when we are all coming down for lunch.

CandCLandscaping
11-27-2007, 02:42 PM
Jarod, do you still plow , or has it been almost completly phased out out like mowing has?

Pro-Turf, LLC
11-27-2007, 05:46 PM
beautiful equipment i love the all black fleet very professional! any pics of the shop interior or specs?

etwman
11-27-2007, 06:47 PM
We do plow two decent sized commercial sites, they are side by side but that's it. Personally I can't stand plowing but I do it for the guys so they can have a few hours when the weather turns bad. We have a pretty organized system for those two sites so it goes pretty smoothly, plus they are really good customers. We haven't added a plowing site in 5 years and turn away all the calls that come in, and trust me we get a bunch.

Plowing is a huge game and many contractors play it stupid. So many take on too many sites and you get burned by the "big ones." Take on less than you can handle and your equipment holds up, you make good money not great but good, customers are really happy, you end up in high demand keeping your reputation, and everything always turns out right. I've never figured people out with snow removal, especially the ones that brag about how many accounts they have...you can have 'em.

Pro-Turf, black is a beautiful thing, you just have to keep it clean, if you don't you might as well not even have it.

Pro-Turf, LLC
11-27-2007, 07:10 PM
yes but it looks like you keep them very clean! once again beautiful fleet and keep up the great work congrats on the the success

CandCLandscaping
11-27-2007, 07:15 PM
i think the only time we have seen the plows was when you shared pictures of the new shop and they were all away in a corner. I hate to ask for more pictures being that you have posted your fair share but by chance, do you have any shots of plows / salters on the trucks?

etwman
11-27-2007, 07:44 PM
Nope, as a matter of fact the Ford hasn't even been hooked up yet. I should do that in the next week or so. I have a 9' for the Ford which was on the Dodge, 8.5 V for the GMC, and a 8' hopper salter, all are Fisher.

Plows on trucks are pretty much plows on trucks. I'm sure there's a pic of a plow on a GMC and a Ford on Plowsite, but I don't think I'll get around to taking a pic.

New Heights
11-29-2007, 10:29 PM
Etwman are the tool boxes on the Freightliners custom or can you get them any where? thanks dan

Adam's Lawn and Garden
11-29-2007, 10:39 PM
Jarod,

Is the pin striping on your trucks vinyl or hand painted? Any preference as to why?

Also, what new equipment do you hope to get for next year?

Adam

etwman
11-30-2007, 10:35 AM
New Heights, see post #853.

Lettering is Vinyl, easier to take off.

Not sure on equipment, weighing some possibilities.

New Heights
11-30-2007, 04:59 PM
Thanks for the info...I have been looking for a box to place inside my dump to hold handtools.

P.Services
12-20-2007, 01:07 PM
nice pics of your trucks in the PRO magazine.!!!!!!!

SchultzLawnCare
12-20-2007, 05:37 PM
Pretty awesome set up :]

Mr.mowjangles
12-20-2007, 07:39 PM
Im new in this business and cant afford anything fancy, but hears my pos it may be beat up but it gets the job done (most of the time).

http://i245.photobucket.com/albums/gg68/scrapyardking/junk001.jpg

Sharp Services
12-20-2007, 08:08 PM
Im new in this business and cant afford anything fancy, but hears my pos it may be beat up but it gets the job done (most of the time).

http://i245.photobucket.com/albums/gg68/scrapyardking/junk001.jpg

We all had to start with something .... My first mower was a 21 purchased at Winn Dixie while my wife was buying grocerys.

Good luck!

deere615
12-20-2007, 08:21 PM
Im new in this business and cant afford anything fancy, but hears my pos it may be beat up but it gets the job done (most of the time.

Where are you in Pa?

etwman
12-20-2007, 08:31 PM
I didn't even know we had photos in Pro Magazine. Under what?

We've been so incredibly busy I didn't even have time to look. In all the years I've never ...not even once...experienced a December this busy. We ran two crews full tilt all this week and I have another project slated to go after this one. If we don't get through all this now it'll kill us in the spring. We're in the middle of a three tier, 1200 sf patio with 200 sf of walls, a pond with a waterfall, fencing, lighting, etc. Usually by this time of the year we're slowing up and I can think about heading north to put some miles on the Ski Doo before the holidays. I actually brought a college student (whos on break) this week that worked for us two years ago to help my fulltime guys that are still banking 52+ hour weeks. Go figure....I can't figure out why all this now, I would have never predicted this. If you had told me this two months ago I would have told you you're smoking your holiday bong a little early.

I'll try and throw up a pic of this project we are on now if I get some time, its' pretty neat.

P.Services
12-20-2007, 08:36 PM
its under the ads in the back of the mag. its a little square ad for switch and go systems. one pic is a guy scooping mulch into a wheel barow out of one of the containers. one pic is of your jcb loading a pallet of pavers into the back of the truck.

etwman
12-20-2007, 08:44 PM
Oh, okay, yeah Buck's Fabricating (Switch-n-go) has a bunch of pics. of our trucks. They use them in various marketing ads for their system, they are in a bunch of different magazines. That makes sense.

McKeeLand
12-20-2007, 09:44 PM
Gotta love that Jarod, i would kill to be that busy this time of year. maybe next year.

Mr.mowjangles
12-20-2007, 10:36 PM
Where are you in Pa?


In Ligonier, its about 75 miles east of Pittsburgh.

la. yard boy
12-20-2007, 11:06 PM
hey, i got a 48" and has the 18 hp kohlor and i have right at 2500 hrs and i use it as my back up.
my son when he comes he uses the new my new tiger cub and i get on the super z.
love it and as for as jerky, you cannot beat it

etwman
12-22-2007, 01:42 PM
Thought its not the biggest one for us its a good one for this time of year. By the time we install the rod iron fence around the upper tier patio (and yes the sleeves are in under the pavers), the pond/waterfall in the void in the patio against the wall, meandering walkway up the side of the house, the lighting, speakers, landscaping, seeding, etc. it'll be a decent one. Believe it or not there's 2+ tractor trailer loads of pavers/block between what's in the back yard and what will be included in the walkway.

We hope to finish here by the 1st with the hardscape, pond, lighting, and grading. We'll plant it in the spring.

Have a good Christmas everyone.

deere615
12-22-2007, 03:16 PM
Very nice work!

McKeeLand
12-23-2007, 12:44 PM
really nice project Jarod, love the design.

PlatinumLandCon
12-23-2007, 02:08 PM
Wow, thats a real nice job. What products are used?

PerfectEarth
12-23-2007, 02:16 PM
ETW- this is the first time I've ever looked at this thread. Congratualtions on the growth of your business. Well done. The photos of your recent projects are outstanding!! Love the minigolf course work. Everything is top-notch, from your equipment care to your thoughts on business. I'll refer to this thread and your words when I need to. Thanks!

LawnBoy89
12-23-2007, 02:21 PM
I want to learn how to do this type of work so bad I just don't know where to begin, it seems like you know so many aspects of construction not just laying pavers from what you talk about. I wish there was a school I could go to, even though I keep really busy in the summer doing simple landscaping and mowing lawns I could make time to learn other aspects I just don't know where. Did you just learn by working for someone else before you went out on your own?

TomberLawn
12-23-2007, 03:35 PM
etwman, I am impressed. I just recently looked at this section of the forum and found your thread. You have some awesome looking equipment and that shop is very nice. I'm sort of like LawnBoy89, how do you learn to do that kind of work? On your Freightliner FL's, do you have the billet aluminum grill or are they stock plastic? They shine really nice!

etwman
12-23-2007, 08:41 PM
Jason, thanks, you do some awesome work. Your portfolio was pretty impressive, keep it up, you've got a great business. Hopefully we'll reconnect in Atlantic City.

Musclecarboy - EPHenry Coventry Wall and Coventry Pavers.

Lawnboy89 & Tomberlawn. I would check at a local hardscape or landscape vendor that you deal with routinely. Ask them what hardscape courses the could direct you too. You can also check for a local ICPI course. Though it won't teach you everything it'll give you some basics. Basics will help you get started so that you don't have an absolute catastrophy with your first job. Monroe, NC....funny I'll be in Monroe on Friday for a wedding. Howdid I learn all this...25 years of working in the industry, college classes, and careful financial decisions.

The grills on the FL's are stainless steel.

LawnsRUsInc.
01-16-2008, 11:42 AM
I really dont take pics of equip. but here is 1 i took the other day

deere615
01-16-2008, 09:31 PM
Nice bobcats

old oak lawn
01-16-2008, 11:52 PM
Lawnsrusinc.

old oak lawn
01-16-2008, 11:57 PM
LAWNSRUS INC. sorry i mesedup first post. bobcats look good. you must do a lot of dirt work to need 3 . if you have any more pic's please show them. thanks. and your web site is verry nice. verry pro.

etwman
01-17-2008, 08:53 AM
These are a few updated pics from the last project. All the hardscape is done. There are a total of 36 landscape light that will be installed, half are already done. We still need to install a powder coated alluminum perimeter fence, plant everything (and the design is pretty cool), and sod. We'll finish the lighting and fence yet this winter, with the balance in the spring. Even though its small it turned out to be kind of a neat project.

kemmer
01-17-2008, 09:36 AM
do you just run wires for that lighting or do you run conduit? what happens if you need/want to upgrade the wiring or something happens to the wires?

Also what brand is it

etwman
01-17-2008, 09:43 AM
Most of the lights are Focus and the step lights are Intregal. Most of the wiring is run in coduit so if we would ever have to repull we could. Usually if there's an issue its in the light itself.

jreiff
01-17-2008, 11:02 AM
Job looks really good. Anchoring the fence, caps just glued and then fence is mounted by drilling through the cap and into the block???

etwman
01-17-2008, 02:52 PM
That would be correct and since it has several 90 degree angles in it that strenghens it more.

Drew Gemma
01-17-2008, 03:58 PM
that raised patio with the curved steps is exactly what I am trying to accomplish at my house after I finish my garage project. very nice again

TerraVenture
01-17-2008, 04:40 PM
I hope the designer you use included some nice privacy screening since thoses houses are on top of one another. I personally would want to spend that kind of money to sit there enjoying my new patio only to see my neighbor out ther in his Speedo!

tojay22
01-17-2008, 08:46 PM
nice set up etwman!!

etwman
01-18-2008, 11:28 AM
The neighbors with the pool are good friends of theirs. They are acutally going to put a gate there to get through to their yard. There will be some privacy pieces added though. The landscape design incorporates much of the back yard and its pretty impressive.

Adam's Lawn and Garden
01-18-2008, 04:44 PM
When are you going to add a new freightliner? I thought you said you guys were getting the one they just came out with.

Adam

etwman
01-18-2008, 06:40 PM
I guess you'll have to wait and see like everyone else.....

McKeeLand
01-18-2008, 07:03 PM
Looks good Jarod. I like the cheek wall on the stairs to create that BBQ grill area. it softens the radius of the stairs since you dont have to return it into the patio.

deereequipment
02-05-2008, 03:12 PM
Here is my stuffhttp://Turf Cover

what do you have hanging off the side of each deck?

Supper Grassy
02-25-2008, 05:43 PM
What jobs are planned for spring.

Do you plow snow?

nmez21
02-25-2008, 07:57 PM
Looks very good. I've never seen a water feature placed like that, but I really like it. Keep up the good work!

etwman
02-25-2008, 08:33 PM
We only plow one small site which we have done for 8 years, we don't entertain any other plowing possibilities.

We have three really neat projects that are slated to go this year, all of which will be catalog worthy when completed. This year 8 of our project photos were published in EPHenry's 2008 Idea catalog. As a result of these three large projects we will be hiring an additonal hardscape foreman offereing a full benefits and unmatched salary package. Additional equipment will follow shortly.

When I have a moment I'll try and take a few of the plans, scan them in and post them.

Its looking to be a pretty neat year.

cleancutccl
02-26-2008, 11:23 AM
Jarod, I have a couple questions. First on your website why do you list every possible city and zip code that you work in? Is it for google searches? If so does it work? Also your patios look great as always, however, I would have used a rounded rock for waterfall area, it gives it a more natural look instead of being man made. Just some opinions. Good luck this year.

etwman
02-26-2008, 02:29 PM
The towns/zips allow the customer to know which areas we service.

Regarding the round stone, that would have been my preference, but the customer chose this different kind of stone because of his liking. The ponds on the golf course in upstate NY were all round stone.

riverwalklandscaping
03-23-2008, 02:28 PM
ETW, it's been driving me crazy, but what is with the boom on the excavator you used for the lakeside retaining wall project, it looks like it can swivel or something? Thanks

02DURAMAX
03-23-2008, 02:47 PM
Also do you have your 2008 Season pic yet?

etwman
03-23-2008, 06:23 PM
On the John Deere 80C they offer an offset boom as an option. Its a knuckle in the boom which allows you to dig right alongside of where you are (while facing forward) instead of turning the excavator and looking to the side all the time. When digging long footer runs alongside of the machine its the cats meow.

A 2008 shot? We'll be lucky to get that by the end of the year.

riverwalklandscaping
03-23-2008, 11:44 PM
ohh, thats awesome, I've never run an excavator of that size, but I know what you mean even with a small one looking to the side can be a pita, if you have to dig right beside somthing and can't bridge the trench

kreft
03-24-2008, 04:06 PM
Got any new projects?

etwman
03-27-2008, 12:02 PM
Always new things. With every year that passes I find myself looking at some plans and saying "how are we going to top this?" Low and behold the next year our architects draw something that pushes the envelope in backyard creativity. There are two on the board that exhibit some unique creativity now, and one that will be our first well-known celebrity project. With that said, no we cannot divulge who or the location because of confidentiality regulations, but I can say that it will be pretty impressive when complete late this fall. Everyone here will be required to sign confidentiality statements before seeing the plans, location, or the known party. Whether we are ever able to post pictures of it is an unknown, but it will most likely top anything we've built.

It will be an interesting year. We continue to seek out and hire the best employees in the industry to aid in our growth. You must have key people in place to build the best.

Wishing the best for everyone this year.

kreft
03-27-2008, 08:51 PM
Good advice. So do you plan on buying any new toys this year?

P.Services
03-27-2008, 09:32 PM
etw are you still renting that ct332? are you going to buy one?

GraZZmaZter
03-28-2008, 12:39 PM
etwman - what page is your current fleet photo on?

Ive always enjoyed seeing the birds eye photos of your equipment and seeing it expand on a consistent basis.

Boycea
03-28-2008, 01:25 PM
etwman - what page is your current fleet photo on?
basis.


Page 66....

Boycea
03-28-2008, 01:40 PM
Also the following pages have some pretty good pictures:
49, 37, 29, 27, 21, 20, and 18

etwman
03-28-2008, 03:16 PM
Its not about what new toys one buys that makes any one company better than another. Its about how you utilize the equipment that you have better than your competitor. Making the most out of what you have and pricing it correctly is what's going to make you money. The guy rolling down the street by himself with 4 mowers on a trailer isn't making the most out of what he has, let alone making any money.

There's no prize for how many toys you have or what you buy next. You buy what you need, when you need it, and use it to its full potential. Yes we have some purchases line up for '08, but it only because we absolutely need them. When they are in place, if time permits, I'll take a quick pic.

To answer Picasso's question. Yes we are still using the 332 on rare occassion but are preparing to set up a 320 with a Loegering VTS track system. The VTS system on a skid loader will out perform any dedicated track machine and last five times as long. There was quite a bit of discussion about this in another thread called "Tracks vs tires" I believe.

LTDLawnCare
03-28-2008, 03:20 PM
ETWMan, how many employees do you currently have, and how many people work under each foreman.

Marek
03-28-2008, 05:37 PM
How long of a body can you do with the switch n go? If you were to build another what would you change or do differently? Thanks !

Adam's Lawn and Garden
03-28-2008, 11:53 PM
Jarod,

I was thinking, you have two trucks, and you said you either got or are considering a third freightliner. If your only running two crews why do you want three trucks? In case one breaks down?

Adam

etwman
03-29-2008, 08:54 AM
There will be 6 employees on the payroll this year. A crew typically consists of one foreman and two crew members.

The maximum length of a body I believe is 14 or 15'. We are changing the toolbox configuration some on the next truck along with a few other things. The SNG system and placement will stay the same.

You always need a non CDL 4WD truck in the fleet. The Freightliners run 95% of the time. In addition, when mobilizing to the next job site its always more efficient to move everything with two trucks (removing debris, moving equipment, etc). If the one crew is set up and working for the day they can use the Ford while the other crew can use the two Freightliners. Once you maximize two crews in this type of work its almost a given you need another small truck as a floater or spare. It doesn't need to be fancy, buy you need something in place.

Superior L & L
03-30-2008, 02:37 PM
Man that switch and go system is the whip i want some!!

Summit L & D
03-31-2008, 11:20 AM
Every landscaper needs to read this thread, start to finish. There is a wealth of information here.

-Josiah

etwman
03-31-2008, 11:50 AM
Its a fun thread, I don't think I've ever sat down and read the thing start to finish. Maybe sometime if I have three hours to spare in a recliner by the fire with my laptop it would be entertaining, but now is not the time. I think one of the more interesting pages was when I stirred up the pot on page 54 with companies that mow vs. landscape. Its interesting to hear different opinions on that issue.

I don't by any means have all the answers, every day is a learning experience. Sure there's some information I share, but alot that I keep to myself. If I can help a few guys along the way with a few things its all good. Yeah sure, over the years there's hardscape bodies that copied our ideas with wrap jobs (and I know of at least four), similar trucks, websites that try and mirror our layout, and enclosed trailers that are set up similar. I know for a fact that a bunch of the ideas came from this thread. All in all in kind of makes me laugh, but there's enough work out there for everyone as long as you do it right.

It is a good thread, hopefully enjoyable and informative to everyone.

kreft
03-31-2008, 05:12 PM
seriously, Any plans for a book?

oakhillslandscaping
03-31-2008, 06:50 PM
not to kiss @ss but i do admire etw's approach and setup, i agree with a lot with the way he runs his business when my company grows i entend on taking his same approach with my employees. i would take his advice on most aspects of landscaping it can only benefit

Tony Clifton
03-31-2008, 09:01 PM
Its a fun thread, I don't think I've ever sat down and read the thing start to finish. Maybe sometime if I have three hours to spare in a recliner by the fire with my laptop it would be entertaining, but now is not the time. I think one of the more interesting pages was when I stirred up the pot on page 54 with companies that mow vs. landscape. Its interesting to hear different opinions on that issue.

I don't by any means have all the answers, every day is a learning experience. Sure there's some information I share, but alot that I keep to myself. If I can help a few guys along the way with a few things its all good. Yeah sure, over the years there's hardscape bodies that copied our ideas with wrap jobs (and I know of at least four), similar trucks, websites that try and mirror our layout, and enclosed trailers that are set up similar. I know for a fact that a bunch of the ideas came from this thread. All in all in kind of makes me laugh, but there's enough work out there for everyone as long as you do it right.

It is a good thread, hopefully enjoyable and informative to everyone.


Let me first start out by saying that I respect your business and input into the forum.
However, isn't what you referred to in the last part of the thread what the forum is all about? I know copying is one thing, but taking the best of what you see from others in the industry is another. It's not all about the ego trip.

DVS Hardscaper
03-31-2008, 09:06 PM
.... I think one of the more interesting pages was when I stirred up the pot on page 54 with companies that mow vs. landscape. Its interesting to hear different opinions on that issue......



I just came across this thread, i never noticed it before.

LOL - not to re-open a can of worms, but sorry.....I can't resist!!!

Mowing was brought up on another forum, and woo-wee, you would have thought I just threw a baby over a bridge when I more or less stated that it does not take a rocket scientist to stripe a lawn!

We started out mowing too. yep - kicked the stripes a different direction each week! You have too, I mean If you can't keep straight lawn stripes....how on earth are you ever going to keep your paver joints straight??!!!




http://www.outdoorfinishes.com

Tony Clifton
03-31-2008, 09:43 PM
Hard A, that is quite the equipment list you have there. One question though; where are the steel toes. Safety first! Right?

etwman
03-31-2008, 10:12 PM
Hey look who came over to the dark side, greetings Mr. DVS! I knew I could count on you to chime in and stir things up again.

I'm not sure I follow your last post Tony....the one before the steel toes.

GroundScapesIncorporated
03-31-2008, 10:29 PM
There will be 6 employees on the payroll this year. A crew typically consists of one foreman and two crew members.

The maximum length of a body I believe is 14 or 15'. We are changing the toolbox configuration some on the next truck along with a few other things. The SNG system and placement will stay the same.

You always need a non CDL 4WD truck in the fleet. The Freightliners run 95% of the time. In addition, when mobilizing to the next job site its always more efficient to move everything with two trucks (removing debris, moving equipment, etc). If the one crew is set up and working for the day they can use the Ford while the other crew can use the two Freightliners. Once you maximize two crews in this type of work its almost a given you need another small truck as a floater or spare. It doesn't need to be fancy, buy you need something in place.

In December of 2002 you mentioned having 6 employees, Its seems incredible to me that you have grown the way you have and not added additional employees in three to four years.

Also in December of 02 you mentioned that 6 weeks out was "too long" I assume you feel different know?

I understand that you have a niche and specialize in high end installs. But why not add another crew or two and double your sales? I certainly believe that you could be successful with it, you are obviously a very intelligent businessman, Im just curious as to what your reasons are for not getting larger. I understand that you dont have to be a large company to do 7 digits in sales, but whats up beyond that? Please share.

GroundScapesIncorporated
03-31-2008, 11:04 PM
In December of 2002 you mentioned having 6 employees, Its seems incredible to me that you have grown the way you have and not added additional employees in three to four years.

Also in December of 02 you mentioned that 6 weeks out was "too long" I assume you feel different know?

I understand that you have a niche and specialize in high end installs. But why not add another crew or two and double your sales? I certainly believe that you could be successful with it, you are obviously a very intelligent businessman, Im just curious as to what your reasons are for not getting larger. I understand that you dont have to be a large company to do 7 digits in sales, but whats up beyond that? Please share.

PS,
Thanks for sharing everything you have shared over the years.

DVS Hardscaper
03-31-2008, 11:22 PM
Hard A, that is quite the equipment list you have there. One question though; where are the steel toes. Safety first! Right?

"Steel toes" is typically not necessary for driving around all day long running errands, and meeting with ever so lovely prospective clients :)

But I guess one can never be too safe!

old oak lawn
03-31-2008, 11:41 PM
"Steel toes" is typically not necessary for driving around all day long running errands, and meeting with ever so lovely prospective clients :)

But I guess one can never be too safe!

yes i think you need to add steel toe boots to your equipment list joke.

etwman
04-01-2008, 08:54 AM
Groundscapes -

In '02 we probably had 6 on payroll, some of which were part time I'm sure. Back then we had one crew dedicated to mowing but it was that year in which we began to pull away from that aspect. Plus neither crew was anywhere near its full potential. From there on out we hired guys that are much more specialized in what they do and what they can bring to the table. The most recent foreman hire has a four year college degree and good field experience.

12-16 weeks would be considered too long at this point, yes that has changed.

Your last statement I will try and elaborate on without divulging some things that I do not wish to go public with. When you re-evaulate your business plan, which we did in '02, the key is to grow the company at a steady growth rate. Keep in mind we do no advertising, but we've grown at a very healthy, steady rate. I've run numerous projections, with the type of work we specialize in now, too show how much we should be able to do off of each crew. I know where I want to be with the second crew before we go to three and won't pull that trigger until we are there. The key is to be in demand among clients, lead the industry, not be top heavy with employees, and turn a decent profit. Running out and adding crews just to add crews, then take on smaller stuff to keep that crew busy isn't the route I want to go, and doing 100 different things ....forget it! I think at three crews full time with our niche, and that may take a little to get there, is all the more I wish to be. I can be plenty profitable with that and run a stress free healthy company. Sure I could run out and plaster adds all over creation, shoot based on industry averages we should be spending 5-7% of our sales on adverstising, last year we did .03% and that most fell under gift certificates. However, I don't want 40 appointments a week of tire kickers. If I have 3-4 appointments a week that's alot, but they are serious. I'm comfortable growing at this rate, our charts on net income, gross, and net are at the growth rate I'm comfortable with.

kreft
04-06-2008, 10:04 AM
ETWman-

Do you think with todays economy the residential work will slow down, commercial work will proboly still be there, and people that want to try to sell there house in this market, will want a new patio, etc. but what do you think the economy do to your bisness?

POPO4995
04-13-2008, 10:17 PM
Etwman....just wondering if you could give us all a update on your business and some current pictures. Thanks Jarod.:usflag:

etwman
04-14-2008, 08:34 AM
We've been pretty busy tied up in two complex builds so I haven't had time to respond to much. Regarding Krefts comment I'd rather opt to not go down that road. The majority of the reason this economy is so volitale is because the press just blows it out of proportion. Sometimes the less is mentioned about it the better. I'll leave it at this, yes I think it will effect everyone in some way or another. We have positioned our selves differently with our clientele and probably aren't feeling the impact like other contractors that we know.

I attached a couple pics from the project we started last fall and completed this spring. It was pictured earlier in this thread. It is flooded with perennials that have yet to emerge. When the grass has come in and the plantings are all up I'll return for a completed shot. All in all, though small, it turned out pretty neat for a little back yard.

Once things level out a little I'll post a little more.

deere615
04-14-2008, 10:09 PM
That backyard turned out real nice

Mike - Tac 2
04-15-2008, 11:55 AM
Impressive!

Supper Grassy
05-09-2008, 04:10 PM
anything new ETW

bobcat52
05-09-2008, 11:12 PM
looking good

etwman
05-28-2008, 09:00 PM
We are in the midst of a very busy season, our busiest so far. I havenít had time to post many pictures but will attempt to do so in the next few weeks. Currently we have a large natural stone project going in Hershey. For those of you who like to see our ďnaturalĒ aspect youíll see it now. We have three tractor trailer loads of natural stone that will produce over 275 feet of walls, along with an extensive landscape and lighting. In addition to this neat project we have a 6,000 sf paver job at the clubhouse of a prestigious country club and a highly visible project slated to go in Reading next month. The NY golf course job is complete and we have sold through August at this point with several other projects still in the drawing stage that will go this fall.

We have added several pieces of equipment which have served us well and are looking to add two more employees soon.

Iíll put up some pictures when I have time.

Supper Grassy
05-28-2008, 09:53 PM
Very cool

what did you do for marketing/ advertising and still do you do "thank you's" to customers (coffee mugs)

deere615
05-28-2008, 10:49 PM
Cool, I can't wait to see pictures

PlatinumLandCon
05-28-2008, 11:10 PM
What did you add as far as the new equipment?

old oak lawn
05-29-2008, 12:01 AM
love this trend. looking forward to see pictures. thanks

kleankutslawn
05-29-2008, 12:10 AM
waiting 2 c pics

etwman
05-29-2008, 08:24 AM
Our select marketing is key to our growth. Our mugs are a minor part of that. Our advertising is very, very limited, less that 1% of our sales. I would say our adverstising may be a poster board advertisement at the parade of homes project we did this spring.....that kind of stuff.

Last week I spent two days in strategic planning meetings about where this company is going over the next 5 years. There are some neat things that are going to be implemented. If done correctly, which I think they will be, the company will double in the next five years. There are several other manufacturers of products out there that we would like to use which I believe will be a key player in some of this growth. They are eager to be a part of this journey.

On a different note three times in the past four weeks we have been approached by brokers to consider purchasing other landscape companies in the area. A sign of economic times and poor business decisions. While none appeal to us, I would urge you all to make wise decisions. I admire greatly, and live by, Dave Ramsey's theories on money management. If you can't buy it by writing a check, you don't buy it. If you are looking for some good listening you can download his pod casts from his website under his radio show or listen on XM talk radio every day from 3 p.m. - 7 p.m. Much of his personal advise also applies towards business.

deere615
05-29-2008, 10:43 PM
Our select marketing is key to our growth. Our mugs are a minor part of that. Our advertising is very, very limited, less that 1% of our sales. I would say our adverstising may be a poster board advertisement at the parade of homes project we did this spring.....that kind of stuff.

Last week I spent two days in strategic planning meetings about where this company is going over the next 5 years. There are some neat things that are going to be implemented. If done correctly, which I think they will be, the company will double in the next five years. There are several other manufacturers of products out there that we would like to use which I believe will be a key player in some of this growth. They are eager to be a part of this journey.

On a different note three times in the past four weeks we have been approached by brokers to consider purchasing other landscape companies in the area. A sign of economic times and poor business decisions. While none appeal to us, I would urge you all to make wise decisions. I admire greatly, and live by, Dave Ramsey's theories on money management. If you can't buy it by writing a check, you don't buy it. If you are looking for some good listening you can download his pod casts from his website under his radio show or listen on XM talk radio every day from 3 p.m. - 7 p.m. Much of his personal advise also applies towards business.

I had a class based on dave ramsey back in grade school, he seemed very knowledgeable

kreft
05-30-2008, 06:07 PM
so what new equipment did you purchase?

etwman
05-31-2008, 11:36 AM
This one is under construction now, will post construction pictures next week. For now its off to Dover to pull for the #88, he's due for a win.

syzer
06-02-2008, 11:32 AM
We have added several pieces of equipment which have served us well and are looking to add two more employees soon.

Iíll put up some pictures when I have time.

Great to hear someone performing so well.

Let me ask you for the sake of myself and others on hear, when you first got into this business, were you proficient at hardscaping?

At the point when you hired your first employee, did you hire someone more knowledgeable than yourself? Or someone who knew nothing that you motivated to go to school, get certs, etc.?

I assume you are out of the field now, so after you trained that first employee, how about your next, and the following? How did you keep your quality up and where did the training come from?

Getting into hardscaping only very slightly, I am on any job that takes place, however being extremely busy with installs and maintenance, this is very difficult for me to do. Obviously running the business is more important. How did you handle it?

etwman
06-02-2008, 05:41 PM
When anyone enters into hardscaping chances are they are not efficient. Efficiency comes with practice, precision, and education. While I feel we were somewhat efficient when we started, I can pull the hours on a job we did 6 years ago and know we can do it in half the time now. With custom equipment we have made, practice, and bringing the right employees to the company are efficiency and quality of work has increased dramatically.

The first couple employees I trained, basically they grew with us. One of the biggest decisions you'll make is hiring those key foreman or right employees and leaving the field and let your key guys train the others. You'll feel sick the first time you hire that first expensive key guy but you have to have them in place. No company will grow sucessfully over time with the owner being in the field full time. It'll plateau and stop growing and you'll burn out. Right now if I'm in the field 3 hours a week that's alot. My time is better spent with sales, meetings with architects, and scheduling. The next thing to go will be my field supervision. An operations/training manager isn't far off in the future for us. That person will have to know more than any of my field guys so he/she can train us to go further that we could imagine. You get to a point where you need to pay a premium for the best guys in the field to make sure the projects are completed correctly. I've often said if a company owner can't leave on a two week vacation without worrying about the company, you don't have the right personell in place. And I'm not talking about being on the phone 8 hours a day while your gone either.

The other thing is making sure your guys have the right equipment to make their job easier. I don't know how many hundreds of thousands of dollars in hardscape equipment we have, but if they need it, they'll have it. There isn't a tool I wouldn't get for them if they asked. I hear often from my guys that one of the reasons they enjoy working here so much is because of all the great equipment, this is something you rarely find in the industry and guys that come from other companies will tell you that. They feel like they are on vacation.

Nothing comes over night, but in order to grow you have to get out of the field and hire the right guys. I would say over half our jobs I never see the final product. I'll glance at photos on the flashcard, but I have complete confidence that it is done right.

etwman
06-02-2008, 08:20 PM
Chris two other things:

1. You are only going to be able to "shift gears" if your pricing is right on your projects. If you are charging too little you'll always be screaming in 1st gear and never be able to get out of the field. In my opinion you have to be charging enough to support at least 60-70% of that forman's salary, the rest you'll have to make up in sales.

2. When you shift to a leader in field, that first year be prepared to not make a whole lot. Going back over our P&L's in the past 10 years its evident where that transition was made when I left the field. Your job as the owner now is to make sure you have enough work for that lead guys (or what will become multiple crews). You'll be able to make more in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th gears but you have to take those risks and know when to take them. Remember you wouldn't be in business if you weren't a risk taker.

syzer
06-03-2008, 12:34 AM
Chris two other things:

1. You are only going to be able to "shift gears" if your pricing is right on your projects. If you are charging too little you'll always be screaming in 1st gear and never be able to get out of the field. In my opinion you have to be charging enough to support at least 60-70% of that forman's salary, the rest you'll have to make up in sales.

2. When you shift to a leader in field, that first year be prepared to not make a whole lot. Going back over our P&L's in the past 10 years its evident where that transition was made when I left the field. Your job as the owner now is to make sure you have enough work for that lead guys (or what will become multiple crews). You'll be able to make more in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th gears but you have to take those risks and know when to take them. Remember you wouldn't be in business if you weren't a risk taker.

Thanks for the incite, and I agree with you entirely. I have been through all of this with the maintenance side of things, and what a relief it is when you are able to pull away from the field, and not be involved in day to day operations. Its like everything in the business changes when you can actually concentrate on sales, estimates, meetings, etc.

I just hired someone who will play an instrumental part in our growth into the hardscaping division, as you said, key players are very important. I always try to hire ppl that are smarter than I am in what ever I am hiring them for (though from the interviews, they all are =)).

Well, good luck! Company is looking good man!

etwman
06-13-2008, 01:35 PM
Couple pics. 1 of Golf course complete, second new job box.

freshprince94
06-13-2008, 04:16 PM
Nice set-up ETW, so you're not mowing anymore?

Supper Grassy
06-13-2008, 04:20 PM
Golf Course looks great!!!

Is that the same stuff that was used on the New York Job?

How many Job boxes are you up to?

old oak lawn
06-13-2008, 11:06 PM
Nice set-up ETW, so you're not mowing anymore?

my question also??? looks like you don't have time for it anymore. into big $$ now.good luck.

fool32696
06-14-2008, 03:23 AM
You guys need to go back and read the thread. The answers are there and you may learn a thing or two.

deere615
06-14-2008, 11:15 AM
ya he doesn't mow any more, That golf course looks amazing!

old oak lawn
06-15-2008, 01:13 AM
You guys need to go back and read the thread. The answers are there and you may learn a thing or two.

sorry but question was not for u. i have read trend, and yes i did learn a few things about mr etw. and if i want to ask a question i will. who are you to tell me i might learn a thing or two.

fool32696
06-15-2008, 12:23 PM
Sorry, I wasn't aware that you already knew everything. My apologies, now back on topic let's see some more pics.

etwman
06-21-2008, 12:28 PM
View from my office this week.....I'll take it.

J&R Landscaping
06-25-2008, 11:38 PM
Beautiful view indeed! Did you ever get the new M2 yet, I'm waitin on pics of it.

02DURAMAX
06-26-2008, 05:08 AM
Nice View!!!......

PlatinumLandCon
06-28-2008, 09:46 AM
Hey everyone listen to this!!!!!

Off road diesel for those of you who don't know is non-road taxed diesel fuel. Same as heating oil. It has a dye in it that law authorities can check easily if you run it on the road. Big fines. But if you run it in mowers you can use it. Farmers use it all the time. Get this on road is about $1.50 gallon. Off road, $.89. Big difference. And perfectly Legal. Some truck stops have it as well. If they don't check with the heating oil supplier local to you to find out where to get it. As far as gasoline, there is no off road gas. However, on your yearly income tax for the business you can file a form to get that tax back that you ran in your mowers. Check with your accountant. You just have to track it closely. Whatever fuel goes into those transfer tanks on our truck goes to the mowers. That's how we track it. Some guys have separate credit cards for mowers. That's another idea. Guys you can save alot of $$ with off road fuels. KEep that in mind.

etwman.


LOL:laugh:!! I found this while reading through... $1.50/gal for DIESEL!!!

PlatinumLandCon
06-28-2008, 09:51 AM
Jarod, have you guys done anything to expand the shop recently? Any plans? Are the other couple acres left alone for now?

Another thing I want to know is how you financed the growth of your company. I am growing rapidly but find it difficult to keep moving because of lack of labor and lack of capital.

etwman
06-28-2008, 10:41 AM
For the shop there are plans in the works which will probably transpire within the year depending on how fast the municipalities wish to move on approvals. If it all goes through (which I think it will its just a matter of time) we will have a one of a kind design build office complex like no other out there. To do this we'll aquire additional property which would give us around 7 acres total.

Labor and capital are always two necessities to balance a company's growth correctly. Unfotunately it takes time and alot of wise planning. We started the company off with a small bank loan 10 years ago. Many years ago we agreed never to barrow again, which accountants could argue to your blue in the face. Being financially stable in a volitale economy is a huge stress reliever, remember a barrower is slave to the lendor. If you want a good book to read on building a financial stress free life, either personally or with a business, read Dave Ramsey's "The Total Money Makeover." I agree with alot of Dave Ramsey's priniciples, and though it will take time, it is well worth the journey. The country runs on debt, huge debt, and if your not careful it'll bite hard. The labor aspect...bottom line is you have to pay well, treat guys well, and don't overwork them. Labor will never be an easy thing.

PlatinumLandCon
06-28-2008, 11:47 AM
I can't wait to see the plans for the property :)

I have taken a small loan from my uncle to purchase my truck (I'm only 17 & I come from a family with almost nothing, hence no bank loan). I have 2 people that work with me now (1 full, 1 part time). The full time guy is the same age as me and has a similar passion for hard work and construction as I do, the part time guy is someone that works for my dad thats a great worker, not too skilled though. I think the reason I'm struggling is I goofed the estimates for the jobs I'm working on now and am making limited profit. I can't wait to move past these jobs (done by Wed hopefully.... rain today through Tues predicted). Once I move past these jobs, I'm planning on working for a well establshed company in my area. The owner is a good friend of a teacher of mine and he's been in business for over 20 years. I feel that working for him for a month will be worth the time, even though I know I won't make as much money.

I really admire the company you've built, its something I aspire to build. When I tell people I do landscaping, the first thing they think of is a guy driving a rusted truck with an old 21" mower in the back that cuts lawns for $15. I'm actually a perfectionist that creates beautiful outdoor experiences for people through the use of stone, water, wood, plants, etc. Even being only 17, I want to feel like I'm doing something useful, not just playing X-Box for 6 hours a day.

Summit L & D
06-28-2008, 02:41 PM
etwman,

What are you using to keep your equipment clean? Are you just power washing everything on a rack? Or is it all done by hand? If you are using a power washer and rack, could you expound on your set up (equipment, soaps and the like)?

Thanks,


-Josiah

etwman
07-02-2008, 08:01 PM
Soap, sponges and water every day or every other. You can get high school kids to wash in the evenings at a discount if need be. We'll degrease and hot water pressure wash the frames of the trucks once a month to keep them clean. We are in the process of installing a reverse osmosis system in the shop for rinsing the trucks so you no longer have to wipe them down. Its basically a spot free rinse system that works great. When your dealing with black trucks its a must have, the constant wiping down scratches black to easy.

Supper Grassy
07-02-2008, 08:03 PM
WOW
can you explain more about this system

PlatinumLandCon
07-02-2008, 10:54 PM
WOW
can you explain more about this system

Its just baiscally a full on water filter. Any food place (Starbucks, McD's, etc) has a system for the whole store for water purity. It removes all the crap that's in the water that is left on your paint after the water dries.

P.Services
07-02-2008, 11:23 PM
yeah but calling it a reverse osmosis system makes it sound so much more expensive and one of a kind then calling it a "big water filter"

etwman
07-04-2008, 08:24 AM
If you do research online you'll quickly discover that a "filtering system" and an "RO system" have distinct differences with a few similarities. A filtering system will allow 100% of the water to pass through and be used. An RO system will only use abot 15% of the water passed throught the system. In addition an RO system uses an electrostatic charge to remove impurities. I've tested both on my trucks and there is a decent difference in the RO systems.

pj550v12
07-04-2008, 12:21 PM
I think thats how I'll know when I made it. When I tell you guys I'm using reverse osmosis to wash my trucks . . . lol keep up the good work

Adam's Lawn and Garden
07-04-2008, 11:49 PM
Jarod,

I'm not surprised you guys are getting one, I figured it was only a matter of time. It would save a whole lot of time not needing to dry everything. They have it in a lot of car washes around here, the "spot-free rinse". I'm told it takes minerals or something out, sure yours will work a lot better than the car washes. I actually had it in our business plan to get one once we got big enough to speed up getting crews out each morning. Keep us posted, we know you always have cool stuff going on!

Adam

Supper Grassy
07-04-2008, 11:50 PM
Jarod,

Can you snap some pics of this

poolboy
07-05-2008, 01:39 PM
Jarod,

Can you snap some pics of this

You can buy them at most box stores.

P.Services
07-05-2008, 02:44 PM
You can buy them at most box stores.

:laugh::laugh::laugh: i find that funny

getthenet
07-05-2008, 10:47 PM
etwman, in one post you said you might take 3 hrs to read this whole thing one day. I have read the whole thing and it took almost all day to read it. Congratulations to you and your crew. I think all you've put on this forum, work and words, has been great for everyone of us in the buisiness. I appreciate the time you are taking to do this. Good luck with all. Donnie

Triple L
07-05-2008, 11:10 PM
Musclecar boy : "I really admire the company you've built, its something I aspire to build. When I tell people I do landscaping, the first thing they think of is a guy driving a rusted truck with an old 21" mower in the back that cuts lawns for $15. I'm actually a perfectionist that creates beautiful outdoor experiences for people through the use of stone, water, wood, plants, etc. Even being only 17, I want to feel like I'm doing something useful, not just playing X-Box for 6 hours a day."

Well said! I think your doing real good man, Me only being 19 am in the same boat as you are. But one thing I have been told time and time and time again is not to grow too fast, not like I know it all either but just keep that in mind bud. 2 guys working for ya at 17 is wicked awsome, maby a little too awsome. Hopefully ETWman will keep on sharing some of his secrets to help guide us down the right path and make us half as successful as he is!

PlatinumLandCon
07-06-2008, 01:14 AM
Well said! I think your doing real good man, Me only being 19 am in the same boat as you are. But one thing I have been told time and time and time again is not to grow too fast, not like I know it all either but just keep that in mind bud. 2 guys working for ya at 17 is wicked awsome, maby a little too awsome. Hopefully ETWman will keep on sharing some of his secrets to help guide us down the right path and make us half as successful as he is!

I hear ya man... from the business side of things, I'm always learning. I'm really trying to pull back on the reins because everything is moving so fast. I come from a family with nothing (dad's fault... long story) so when I taste success I push for more and more but sometimes that could hurt me instead of help. I'm trying to learn as much as I can this year and come away with a bit of cash to carry me through the winter and into next year.

etwman
07-14-2008, 04:00 PM
I was up in NY last week and took some better final pics of the mini golf project, and yes I did play it....

TomberLawn
07-14-2008, 08:04 PM
etwman, that looks great, and that's an understatement. Mind telling us your score? lol

Are there any fish in the ponds?

meets1
07-14-2008, 10:58 PM
Looks awesome man! What did a project like that run? Give or take a dollar or 2!?!

deere615
07-15-2008, 12:09 AM
Wow that looks amazing, you guys did a great job.

etwman
08-06-2008, 06:09 PM
So your customers want stamped concrete? I have about 6500 sf of it they can have. We're removing all of this at a local country club and replacing it with EPHenry Old Town Cobble. There are two types of stamped concrete. Concrete that has cracked and concrete that will crack.

In 10 years I don't ever recall someone taking pavers out to put stamped concrete in however at least 3 times a year we remove stamped concrete.

I'll post some more pics once we begin laying tomorrow.

JosephLawnCare
08-06-2008, 07:10 PM
Holy cow. that's a mess. What do you do with the old concrete? That club house is pretty though.