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Florida's Suncoast Lawn Care
07-01-2012, 11:24 AM
I see like 10 different lawn services a day driving around...sometimes 3 on one street. I have all my equipment paid for. No house payments. 24 accounts and one commercial account. And I don't see how people are making it. I know I don't have enough accounts but I advertise all over the internet and the news paper. I have large vinyl signs on my trailer 6' wide x 2' tall. I make sure I wack every weed and mow on a weekly basis. I haven't received any flack or bad reviews yet.

My question is... how the heck is everyone making it? I'm not getting any calls for new accounts in the last month. I just started about 6 months ago in the business. I really don't see how people are making it. I'm charging about $65 a month for a straight lot and $75 for a corner. Or $30 a cut; mow, trim, edge, and blow. I see guys with lawn signs in their yard saying they cut for $15. LOL. I really don't get it. Any ideas? I've also been doing side work. Tree pruning, clean up jobs, and I have another one today at 1pm for 3 small palmettos to be taken out.. But with no house payments, car payments, or lawn equipment payments I can't hardly keep $300 in the bank. My wife and I don't drink or smoke. She works two part time jobs. We eat out maybe once every 2-3 weeks for $40. And we just don't get it. We are in Port Charlotte. How the heck are people making it? Let alone a lawn service starting up. I did have a PTO blow out on the LT2000 Dixie Chopper last week. But I found one in Bradenton for $215 new. I have almost new echo hedge trimmers, two echo weed trimmers, echo stick edger, a McCullough 3hp edger, two blowers echo and hitachi and an enclosed trailer. I really don't see how new start ups are making it. I got most of my equipment in trade for my Vulcan 1500 motorcycle. Other than the van and trailer and two cheap $130 and $40 walk behind mowers I bought used.

C Jovingo Landscaping
07-01-2012, 11:34 AM
Don't start ur mower for less than $20-$25. If your $65 a month is 4 cuts, that is only $16.25 a cut. Even if someone has postage stamp lawn I tell them $20 a cut & they respond with it only takes 5 minutes. I tell them with my operating costs i cannot start my mower for less then $20.
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Florida's Suncoast Lawn Care
07-01-2012, 11:36 AM
Don't start ur mower for less than $20-$25. If your $65 a month is 4 cuts, that is only $16.25 a cut. Even if someone has postage stamp lawn I tell them $20 a cut & they respond with it only takes 5 minutes. I tell them with my operating costs i cannot start my mower for less then $20.
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It's so different down here than Ohio. They pay monthly year round rates. $65 is supposed to be year round. In the winter you mow maybe once a month. The problem is with that I haven't been getting contracts of fear of not getting the jobs. I need all the work I can get. So I bend over backwards to get them. The only contract I have is the commercial account for $150 a month year round and it's a huge parking lot to blow and pick up trash in the grass. But only takes maybe 45 minutes to mow and trim. But takes another 15 to blow. I see guys zipping around with 2 guys all day wondering how they make enough money to live on especially paying two people. I'm clearing maybe $900 a month. Mowing, trimming, cleaning up, sharpening my own blades, changing oil, fixing everything that breaks. I can't even afford tires for my van diving around on 2nd rubber on the front tires now. It's unreal.

fl-landscapes
07-01-2012, 11:42 AM
You started a business in the depths of a historic recession, a business in which every unemployed person in the state has started. This is an easy business to get into and when the economy goes bad everyone jumps in, pushing the prices down. Port Charlotte is a fairly low income area and has been hit harder than areas just south or north of us. I've been in business in this area almost ten years now, six years ago my phone rang off the hook and I picked and chose work I wanted to do, had more employees. My phone rings nearly as in frequently as your now. I barely even go after residential work anymore in most areas because the newbies have pushed the price down. The economy has most potential clients looking less at experience and quality and more at how cheap can they get it. I'm hoping the economy turns around and these guys can make a better living doing what they were doing before the economy hit the skids. I have long teem commercial contracts and I am very happy they are all very loyal to me. Treat your customers like your life depends on it because sometimes it does.

fl-landscapes
07-01-2012, 11:45 AM
It's so different down here than Ohio. They pay monthly year round rates. $65 is supposed to be year round. In the winter you mow maybe once a month. The problem is with that I haven't been getting contracts of fear of not getting the jobs. I need all the work I can get. So I bend over backwards to get them. The only contract I have is the commercial account for $150 a month year round and it's a huge parking lot to blow and pick up trash in the grass. But only takes maybe 45 minutes to mow and trim. But takes another 15 to blow. I see guys zipping around with 2 guys all day wondering how they make enough money to live on especially paying two people. I'm clearing maybe $900 a month. Mowing, trimming, cleaning up, sharpening my own blades, changing oil, fixing everything that breaks. I can't even afford tires for my van diving around on 2nd rubber on the front tires now. It's unreal.

$65/mo is way lower than I can justify, but your in a different position. These are the prices that make me not even want to talk to residential calls most of the time. Is what it is.......the economy sucks.

C Jovingo Landscaping
07-01-2012, 11:46 AM
Ohh, i don't have any commercial & i don't do contracts with my residential. I give clients a price per cut & take payment that suits there situation. Some pay weekly, some pay biweekly (to fall on their payday) & bill monthly for mowing only. Extras like trimming, mulching, etc are paid when job is complete not billed at end of month. Large jobs i get 50% upfront.
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Florida's Suncoast Lawn Care
07-01-2012, 11:49 AM
You started a business in the depths of a historic recession, a business in which every unemployed person in the state has started. This is an easy business to get into and when the economy goes bad everyone jumps in, pushing the prices down. Port Charlotte is a fairly low income area and has been hit harder than areas just south or north of us. I've been in business in this area almost ten years now, six years ago my phone rang off the hook and I picked and chose work I wanted to do, had more employees. My phone rings nearly as in frequently as your now. I barely even go after residential work anymore in most areas because the newbies have pushed the price down. The economy has most potential clients looking less at experience and quality and more at how cheap can they get it. I'm hoping the economy turns around and these guys can make a better living doing what they were doing before the economy hit the skids. I have long teem commercial contracts and I am very happy they are all very loyal to me. Treat your customers like your life depends on it because sometimes it does.

Ya we were here 2003-05 and I had a service out of Englewood (the old Zmaster photo) but most of my accounts where in North Port as they are now. It seemed so much easier back then. And we were renting then. I had $10k in the bank all of the time. And I was charging $10 less per lawn a month than I do now. I can't jack up the prices everyone around me it's so cheap here. I figured since we didn't have house payments now (sold our house up north and bought a house here with cash) we would be fine. We are struggling. My son even pays the electric bill and we still ran down to 12 cents before my checks starting rolling in on the 1st. I prorated everyone out to the 1st of the month to keep it simple.

fl-landscapes
07-01-2012, 11:52 AM
Ya we were here 2003-05 and I had a service out of Englewood (the old Zmaster photo) but most of my accounts where in North Port as they are now. It seemed so much easier back then. And we were renting then. I had $10k in the bank all of the time. And I was charging $10 less per lawn a month than I do now. I can't jack up the prices everyone around me it's so cheap here. I figured since we didn't have house payments now (sold our house up north and bought a house here with cash) we would be fine. We are struggling. My son even pays the electric bill and we still ran down to 12 cents before my checks starting rolling in on the 1st. I prorated everyone out to the 1st of the month to keep it simple.

Like I said the economy sucks.....it's a shame so many people are in your shoes.

Ric
07-01-2012, 12:08 PM
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Your answer is THEY ARE NOT MAKING IT. A true businessman or Professional will survive.

Each spring we see a new crop of lawn boys hit the street. But long about August there is a big decrease in Yard Boys. Between heat and broken Equipment they just disappear until a new crop next spring.

Next wash out comes in late Oct to November. The problem is the Un-irrigated Bahia yards. By the end of Oct they won't need cut but maybe twice until the start of next years rainy season starting in June. The Quality of accounts is more important than the number. By the Cut service is a No No here in Florida if you want to make it. Only year round contact accounts are worth going after. We have a year round growing season but it is WET & DRY SEASONS NOT SUMMER, WINTER.

I believe this is your first year here in Florida. The longer you are in business the better Your client list becomes. There is a nice living to be made here but it will take a couple of year to get established and CULL the bad customer in favor of the good ones.

BTW IMHO $ 65.00 a month is 1990s pricing. Listen to Fl-landscape his advice is good.
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Keith
07-01-2012, 12:12 PM
Just 10 different lawn services? :D I think I saw ten new ones Friday alone. Seriously, ten guys I had never seen before. If I only see ten total, it's either Sunday, a holiday or it's a day I'm not working :D
I saw two separate trailers on Friday with brand new, red tractor-style mowers. You used to see that quite frequently. Either the HD or Lowes credit card came in and they are now in business! :D

I don't know what to tell you. You are in a tough market with a relatively low cost of living. I can say it's better to do 25 for $2000 a month than to cut your price and do 50 for $3000 a month. Yes, it sucks not having that extra $1000. But it sucks working twice as hard to get it. You may be stuck waiting for them to come. But I have to say, 24 in six months is hardly worth complaining about.

Duekster
07-01-2012, 12:14 PM
It has been exceptionally slow this year picking up new accounts around here too. No major losses either.

Florida's Suncoast Lawn Care
07-01-2012, 12:15 PM
.

Your answer is THEY ARE NOT MAKING IT. A true businessman or Professional will survive.

Each spring we see a new crop of lawn boys hit the street. But long about August there is a big decrease in Yard Boys. Between heat and broken Equipment they just disappear until a new crop next spring.

Next wash out comes in late Oct to November. The problem is the Un-irrigated Bahia yards. By the end of Oct they won't need cut but maybe twice until the start of next years rainy season starting in June. The Quality of accounts is more important than the number. By the Cut service is a No No here in Florida if you want to make it. Only year round contact accounts are worth going after. We have a year round growing season but it is WET & DRY SEASONS NOT SUMMER, WINTER.

I believe this is your first year here in Florida. The longer you are in business the better Your client list becomes. There is a nice living to be made here but it will take a couple of year to get established and CULL the bad customer in favor of the good ones.

BTW IMHO $ 65.00 a month is 1990s pricing. Listen to Fl-landscape his advice is good.
.

Ya I'm getting to the point I've starting going higher. I have a couple at $75 a month for straight lots. I just talked a guy into trimming his shrubs and spraying for weeds for another $35 a month. He doesn't have much to trim. But I have one at $90 a month that wants it trimmed almost weekly. I don't haul it. Just trim with the echo hedge trimmers and pick it up. But it takes longer to do that than it does to mow. I just need like 10 more accounts to start weeding out about 3 bad ones that I would like to drop.

OakNut
07-01-2012, 12:32 PM
I didn't realize this was in the "Florida" subforum until just now, but I'll post anyway.

I'm just outside of Pittsburgh PA. I went to do an estimate in the spring and the front "lawn" consisted of a very steep hill about 25' up from the street. To get your mower up there you had to lift it up about 3' because there's a short wall at the bottom.
The hill was also dotted with shrubs and trees making a difficult cut that much more difficult. The back yard was irrelevant to me, because at this point I had already decided I didn't want to deal with it. Not worth risk of injury, or damage to equipment.

I spoke to the homeowner (renter actually) and explained that for the above reasons I was not interested, but would do it as a "one time" cut if she needed me to. (for a somewhat high price)

She said I was the only person out of the six she called to actually show up for an estimate, and two others told her by phone they weren't interested.
"We moved here from Florida and down there people are fighting each other to cut your grass!"

I guess it's different everywhere you go. There's a ton of lawn care guys here - both legit and illegal. There's also a pretty large population here, so there doesn't seem to be a shortage of work out there. I started a year and a half ago and I learned last year to stop working for less than I wanted to (realistically) make. Someone else can do the crap jobs. There are others out there who will pay more.

Florida's Suncoast Lawn Care
07-01-2012, 12:39 PM
Ya I wish there was some sort of lawn exchange. :laugh: Trade off accounts so we aren't all driving over the top of each other. Like have an area or district. It's seems so wasteful everyone driving around all over the place crossing over each other next door to each other even.

Plus it would help with the low prices and help make the prices go up some for the certain area. Too bad there isn't something like that. :laugh:

Ric
07-01-2012, 12:41 PM
I didn't realize this was in the "Florida" subforum until just now, but I'll post anyway.

I'm just outside of Pittsburgh PA. I went to do an estimate in the spring and the front "lawn" consisted of a very steep hill about 25' up from the street. To get your mower up there you had to lift it up about 3' because there's a short wall at the bottom.
The hill was also dotted with shrubs and trees making a difficult cut that much more difficult. The back yard was irrelevant to me, because at this point I had already decided I didn't want to deal with it. Not worth risk of injury, or damage to equipment.

I spoke to the homeowner (renter actually) and explained that for the above reasons I was not interested, but would do it as a "one time" cut if she needed me to. (for a somewhat high price)

She said I was the only person out of the six she called to actually show up for an estimate, and two others told her by phone they weren't interested.
"We moved here from Florida and down there people are fighting each other to cut your grass!"

I guess it's different everywhere you go. There's a ton of lawn care guys here - both legit and illegal. There's also a pretty large population here, so there doesn't seem to be a shortage of work out there. I started a year and a half ago and I learned last year to stop working for less than I wanted to (realistically) make. Someone else can do the crap jobs. There are others out there who will pay more..


The established WORD OF MOUTH guys are actually turning down work here in Florida. Sure the economy is bad, but quality always has a demand.


.

mjlcare2
07-01-2012, 04:14 PM
You ask how people work for $15 a cut. etc.. well for those of us that are established YOU are the lowballer who will do it for $65 a month.. keep that in mind.. how the hell do you do it??

your work should speak for itself.. that's how you get new customers.. get out there and talk to people.. talk to other LCO's, not here on the internet.
I understand your begging for work.. we have all had our lows but don't be the lowballer.. your clients may use you for a couple of months but guaranteed they will be calling someone else 6 months from now.. Pick a pricing method, stick to it.

Our pricing starts at $65 for biweekly service and $100 for full service..

Florida's Suncoast Lawn Care
07-01-2012, 04:16 PM
You ask how people work for $15 a cut. etc.. well for those of us that are established YOU are the lowballer who will do it for $65 a month.. keep that in mind.. how the hell do you do it??

your work should speak for itself.. that's how you get new customers.. get out there and talk to people.. talk to other LCO's, not here on the internet.
I understand your begging for work.. we have all had our lows but don't be the lowballer.. your clients may use you for a couple of months but guaranteed they will be calling someone else 6 months from now.. Pick a pricing method, stick to it.

Our pricing starts at $65 for biweekly service and $100 for full service..

You would never get that here. Port Charlotte is depressed. No jobs. Everyone is amazed when my wife tells them she has two part time jobs. They say she is lucky to have a job at all here. I just quoted a job that took 4 pieces of equipment to mow it. They threw a fit about $75 a month and decided to take care of it themselves. They were my neighbors and just bought the new house moving into it next week. I had to get a 22" Walk behind out to mow behind the fence down to the water line. It was steep and has 8 trees behind the fence and about another 8 trees just in the back yard. Plus chain link trimming in and out. It took me over an hour to clean it up. I told them $60 to trim a big queen palm off the power lines and it has huge seed pods, trim 3 palmettos and cut 4 small palmettos out to the bottom and those 4 where on the slope on the water line. They said it was too much and his wife threw a fit and told him he has to do it. LOL. Just to give you an idea how it is here. And I went out and mowed it being nice on Sunday because he knocked on my door want wanted it done today at the new house. So I went over and did it.

mjlcare2
07-01-2012, 04:25 PM
Why did you move there then?

- Port Charlotte, Fl--The median income for a household in the CDP was $33,193, and the median income for a family was $38,406.

-Orlando, Fl-- The median income for a household in the city was $35,732, and the median income for a family was $40,648.


These are 2010 numbers.. People pay it here, why not there?

You have to set yourself apart from the rest of the guys you see out there.. Find your niche. and hit it hard

Florida's Suncoast Lawn Care
07-01-2012, 04:29 PM
Why did you move there then?

- Port Charlotte, Fl--The median income for a household in the CDP was $33,193, and the median income for a family was $38,406.

-Orlando, Fl-- The median income for a household in the city was $35,732, and the median income for a family was $40,648.


These are 2010 numbers.. People pay it here, why not there?

You have to set yourself apart from the rest of the guys you see out there.. Find your niche. and hit it hard


Here it is. You can look it up on Google earth if you like. They just bought it for $99k.
1476 Hayworth Port Charlotte

You can't see how steep it is behind that fence line on Google earth but you can see the fence line if you imagine a split between the two lines of trees in back. It's so steep the 22" walk behind wants to flip over into the water on the last two passes. Plus it's Floratam grass. Nice and thick. And they wanted the canal line weed trimmed.

Florida's Suncoast Lawn Care
07-01-2012, 04:41 PM
I even had a guy stiff me for $65 for a month of service after I cleaned up his mess of a yard. It's unreal here. He told me he would pay me at the end of the month. He had like a $60k RV and he was like 65-70 years old. I can scan it and paste it on here. He sent the invoice back to me and said he can't afford my service. I called and told him he still owes for the month I mowed. He doesn't answer and I leave messages. He never returns the call.

Florida's Suncoast Lawn Care
07-01-2012, 04:49 PM
Why did you move there then?

- Port Charlotte, Fl--The median income for a household in the CDP was $33,193, and the median income for a family was $38,406.

-Orlando, Fl-- The median income for a household in the city was $35,732, and the median income for a family was $40,648.


These are 2010 numbers.. People pay it here, why not there?

You have to set yourself apart from the rest of the guys you see out there.. Find your niche. and hit it hard

I grew up down here in Port Charlotte & Englewood area on and off living with my older brother as a kid and was back here as a teen for 2 years mowing with my older brother. I went to school here. It's nice here and cheap housing. $41k for a 4 bedroom 4 bath we bought on a corner lot. No more house payments. I got away from my wife's crappy crazy pill head leeching family by moving back to Florida. :laugh:

Patriot Services
07-01-2012, 04:51 PM
Now you learned another lesson. First month is due upon completion of first cut. Not going to be home? Leave a check or pay by paypal.
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Florida Gardener
07-01-2012, 04:58 PM
"Go where the money is." If you live in an area that doesn't have much money, it's going to be hard to build a solid business. I'm not knocking you for moving to where you did, just saying it will be very hard to build a biz off of people that complain about paying $70/mo. for lawncare.

Everywhere in Florida is different. Fl-landscapes says he stays away from resi and that commercial is better for him. Here, it's the complete opposite. Commercial and HOA work is done for peanuts. Resi will pay good.

I won't take on an account that is weekly for less than $300/mo, or bi-weekly for $200/mo. These aren't accounts that have a lot of grass either. That's just the area I live in.

I plan and want to move to San Diego within the next 5 years. I have visited there and there is a lot of money there. It will be an easy area to build a landscape and gardening biz. Point being, I will go where the money is. I wouldn't try to start a biz where people can't even afford the service in the first place. This is a luxury biz imo. Most people don't want to do what we do, but they can. I don't work for people who nickle and dime, who want everything for nothing, or who want cheap work.....

Again, I mean to offense to you, I hope that everything works out for you as you seem like a hard worker and dedicated to this. Best of luck.

Florida's Suncoast Lawn Care
07-01-2012, 04:59 PM
Now you learned another lesson. First month is due upon completion of first cut. Not going to be home? Leave a check or pay by paypal.
Posted via Mobile Device

Ya I had a lady send me a payment paypal for a new job I picked up two weeks ago; she is up north and she prepaid another guy 6 months and he quit on her. I put the paypal on my website just for her that day. I also waited an entire 10 days for a check from up north to mow another that the guy is in the hospital. I didn't think they were going to send it. I told them I can't cut it until it arrived. I told them about paypal and they didn't want to pay the extra $5 surcharge I put on it. LOL. I've learned. It's just so hard to get people to pay. I hate knocking on the door. It's BS, they shouldn't make it that difficult. They know they are billed out to the 1st of the month. I send email invoices out with Quickbooks about a week before the 1st. And I still have to knock and ask for payment.

greendoctor
07-01-2012, 05:15 PM
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The established WORD OF MOUTH guys are actually turning down work here in Florida. Sure the economy is bad, but quality always has a demand.


.

True. 7 days a week, I will see up to 20 different guys and the 4 big companies driving around. Not worried. I am doing something totally different and foreign. A resurrection of the old Chemlawn before they were a marketing company. Back when they would high volume spray a lawn.

Keith
07-01-2012, 05:19 PM
There is a place up in northern Sumter, Lake and Marion county called "the Villages." I have known people who have worked there over the years. I hear it is a very difficult place to make a living cutting grass. You have to do huge volumes because the rates are so low. It sounds like where you live is worse.

mjlcare2
07-01-2012, 05:26 PM
I even had a guy stiff me for $65 for a month of service after I cleaned up his mess of a yard. It's unreal here. He told me he would pay me at the end of the month. He had like a $60k RV and he was like 65-70 years old. I can scan it and paste it on here. He sent the invoice back to me and said he can't afford my service. I called and told him he still owes for the month I mowed. He doesn't answer and I leave messages. He never returns the call.

send it back with a note saying that is fine for the future but he already agreed to this amount for the first month and the service has been completed and you will be pursuing this payment to the full extent of the law

Florida's Suncoast Lawn Care
07-01-2012, 05:26 PM
There is a place up in northern Sumter, Lake and Marion county called "the Villages." I have known people who have worked there over the years. I hear it is a very difficult place to make a living cutting grass. You have to do huge volumes because the rates are so low. It sounds like where you live is worse.

Ya I've been selling cars and such for 20 years on the side. I should have stuck to that here. But we spent all our capital buying this house plus investing in the lawn business. So tempting to sell it off and get back into making $500-$1500 a crack on cars. I always work on them for something usually. Sometimes I don't have to do a thing to make $500 other than wipe a car out. If I put half of the effort into car sales that I do in lawns and maintaining equipment I could make more than I ever have. :laugh:

That's why i say "i don't see how people are making it..." How can they run a business, all this overhead, gas, mowers, trimmers, vehicle, hard dirty work, get hit all day with debris, work on equipment, buy parts, sharpen blades and oil changes. And even come near making $40k a year. I would be happy with $20k a year at this point. I just don't see it.

Ric
07-01-2012, 05:43 PM
Ya I've been selling cars and such for 20 years on the side. I should have stuck to that here. But we spent all our capital buying this house plus investing in the lawn business. So tempting to sell it off and get back into making $500-$1500 a crack on cars. I always work on them for something usually. Sometimes I don't have to do a thing to make $500 other than wipe a car out. If I put half of the effort into car sales that I do in lawns and maintaining equipment I could make more than I ever have. :laugh:

That's why i say "i don't see how people are making it..." How can they run a business, all this overhead, gas, mowers, trimmers, vehicle, hard dirty work, get hit all day with debris, work on equipment, buy parts, sharpen blades and oil changes. And even come near making $40k a year. I would be happy with $20k a year at this point. I just don't see it.

Do you know who Gene Gorman is??? 10 years ago he had one very small Used car lot south of Punta Gorda. Look what he has today. Might be time to beat the Crowd and throw in the towel. Mowing might not be your cup of tea.

.

Florida's Suncoast Lawn Care
07-01-2012, 05:45 PM
Do you know who Gene Gorman is??? 10 years ago he had one very small Used car lot south of Punta Gorda. Look what he has today. Might be time to beat the Crowd and throw in the towel. Mowing might not be your cup of tea.

.

I would if I could. I like taking care of things. I like working. I just don't like the pay and lack of financial security it seems to lack here. We shall see.

Yes I've seen his car lot in PG.... :-) I have 5 accounts in PG. It seems like there would be more accounts in PG than North Port but I get most of my calls from NP.

Patriot Services
07-01-2012, 05:58 PM
There is a place up in northern Sumter, Lake and Marion county called "the Villages." I have known people who have worked there over the years. I hear it is a very difficult place to make a living cutting grass. You have to do huge volumes because the rates are so low. It sounds like where you live is worse.

The villages is filled with retirees that still think everything should cost a nickel and come with all the trimmings because "that's how our generation did it".
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Ric
07-01-2012, 06:00 PM
I would if I could. I like taking care of things. I like working. I just don't like the pay and lack of financial security it seems to lack here. We shall see.

Yes I've seen his car lot in PG.... :-) I have 5 accounts in PG. It seems like there would be more accounts in PG than North Port but I get most of my calls from NP.

Which Car lot in PG?? He has 3 there and 2 in PC. Plus he has a Auto Repair shops in both PG & PC.


.

Florida's Suncoast Lawn Care
07-01-2012, 06:05 PM
Which Car lot in PG?? He has 3 there and 2 in PC. Plus he has a Auto Repair shops in both PG & PC.


.

Not sure. I have one on Monaco Dr. and one on Almar Dr. And I think it's right there somewhere next to the Goodyear tire shop.

Keith
07-01-2012, 06:13 PM
The villages is filled with retirees that still think everything should cost a nickel and come with all the trimmings because "that's how our generation did it".


They're playing everyone for suckers. I'm mowing for a lot of people who at least as old or older than most of the Village People and understand perfectly that the cost of living is not cheap. I feel the Villagers' attitude is "I got mine...and I'm keeping it! Bring on the slave labor!" :)

greendoctor
07-01-2012, 06:35 PM
Then they deserve to have their lawns scalped and weed control to be done with RoundUp. You get what you pay for.

fl-landscapes
07-01-2012, 08:02 PM
Ya I've been selling cars and such for 20 years on the side. I should have stuck to that here. But we spent all our capital buying this house plus investing in the lawn business. So tempting to sell it off and get back into making $500-$1500 a crack on cars. I always work on them for something usually. Sometimes I don't have to do a thing to make $500 other than wipe a car out. If I put half of the effort into car sales that I do in lawns and maintaining equipment I could make more than I ever have. :laugh:

That's why i say "i don't see how people are making it..." How can they run a business, all this overhead, gas, mowers, trimmers, vehicle, hard dirty work, get hit all day with debris, work on equipment, buy parts, sharpen blades and oil changes. And even come near making $40k a year. I would be happy with $20k a year at this point. I just don't see it.

99% of the people who are "making it" were positioned prior to the economic downturn. I would rather enter and win a dog crap eating contest than try and start a new business in this industry, in this area, in this economy. Diamond, hoa are absolute nightmares. I like doctors offices and medical complexes. They want quality work and I bend over backwards to make them happy. One thing I do is lots of weekend work so as not to inconvenience elderly patients with loud smelly machines (and workers :)) lots of people won't sacrifice weekends but for secure accounts who pay well I have to admit besides vacations, during the growing season I have worked every weekend for the past nine year or so.

Florida's Suncoast Lawn Care
07-01-2012, 08:22 PM
99% of the people who are "making it" were positioned prior to the economic downturn. I would rather enter and win a dog crap eating contest than try and start a new business in this industry, in this area, in this economy. Diamond, hoa are absolute nightmares. I like doctors offices and medical complexes. They want quality work and I bend over backwards to make them happy. One thing I do is lots of weekend work so as not to inconvenience elderly patients with loud smelly machines (and workers :)) lots of people won't sacrifice weekends but for secure accounts who pay well I have to admit besides vacations, during the growing season I have worked every weekend for the past nine year or so.

That's the one commercial account I have. It's a doctors office complex. I do it dirt cheap a basically the price of two regular lawns. But at least i have a year contract with them.

Florida Gardener
07-01-2012, 08:27 PM
99% of the people who are "making it" were positioned prior to the economic downturn. I would rather enter and win a dog crap eating contest than try and start a new business in this industry, in this area, in this economy. Diamond, hoa are absolute nightmares. I like doctors offices and medical complexes. They want quality work and I bend over backwards to make them happy. One thing I do is lots of weekend work so as not to inconvenience elderly patients with loud smelly machines (and workers :)) lots of people won't sacrifice weekends but for secure accounts who pay well I have to admit besides vacations, during the growing season I have worked every weekend for the past nine year or so.
Ok, so that seems like the norm around Florida regarding HOA. I mean, it seems like guys lose money on them. There are some high end hoas here that I'm sure pay good, but 98% pay dirt. Saturday is a workday in my book, especially during summer. I actually don't mind working sat and like you said when it's for a great customer, I'm happy to.
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Ric
07-01-2012, 08:38 PM
Not sure. I have one on Monaco Dr. and one on Almar Dr. And I think it's right there somewhere next to the Goodyear tire shop.

Drive the road behind Goodyear. Gorman has a body/mechanic shop behind Goodyear. His first car lot is in front facing 41. He has an other car Lot near the PG Police station and one more south of PG.

North of the River in PC he has the old Good Year tire store and Mechanic shop with a Car lot in front. about a block aways is an other Car Lot.

Back when Gorman only had one car lot, My son was on the High School Wrestling team with Chad Gorman who is now a Doctor. I tried to buy a car for my son from Gorman and was offered the special screw job for wrestling team mates. I passed on that deal.

BTW I don't cut grass. I am strictly a Fert & Squirt and inside Pest Control guy now. Juan's landscaping is my old company. Juan was my superintended and bought me out after Hurricane Charlie Blew away my Nursery. (Now Jones Nursery on 17 in Cleveland). I was also sued over my company name by the Lawn Doctor Franchise out of New Jerky. Therefore Juan had to change names.

Back to the main point. From What I am hearing, You don't belong in Yard work. I am not trying to be cruel, just factual. Life is too short to not enjoy what you are doing and it sounds like you are very disappointed in what you are doing now.


.

fl-landscapes
07-01-2012, 08:40 PM
Ok, so that seems like the norm around Florida regarding HOA. I mean, it seems like guys lose money on them. There are some high end hoas here that I'm sure pay good, but 98% pay dirt. Saturday is a workday in my book, especially during summer. I actually don't mind working sat and like you said when it's for a great customer, I'm happy to.
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Had a nice hoa I took care of for years. New manager came in and I was out for his buddies company from Sanford (three hours away). Homeowners were complaining about the new company even said they traded steaks for hamburgers when they got rid of us. Manager got fired and they asked me to come back, even added about a hundred home lots...........if I would drop my price 1000 a month! Told them cheap doesn't get steaks and call another hamburger maker.

Florida's Suncoast Lawn Care
07-01-2012, 08:49 PM
Drive the road behind Goodyear. Gorman has a body/mechanic shop behind Goodyear. His first car lot is in front facing 41. He has an other car Lot near the PG Police station and one more south of PG.

North of the River in PC he has the old Good Year tire store and Mechanic shop with a Car lot in front. about a block aways is an other Car Lot.

Back when Gorman only had one car lot, My son was on the High School Wrestling team with Chad Gorman who is now a Doctor. I tried to buy a car for my son from Gorman and was offered the special screw job for wrestling team mates. I passed on that deal.

BTW I don't cut grass. I am strictly a Fert & Squirt and inside Pest Control guy now. Juan's landscaping is my old company. Juan was my superintended and bought me out after Hurricane Charlie Blew away my Nursery. (Now Jones Nursery on 17 in Cleveland). I was also sued over my company name by the Lawn Doctor Franchise out of New Jerky. Therefore Juan had to change names.

Back to the main point. From What I am hearing, You don't belong in Yard work. I am not trying to be cruel, just factual. Life is too short to not enjoy what you are doing and it sounds like you are very disappointed in what you are doing now.


.

Oh I really like getting out working. It's really a pleasure to run around town and mow and such. I just don't like people avoiding paying, not paying, or too cheap and don't pay enough. It just sucks. I love mowing. I love working. If I can make money and not stress if my mower blows up that I can even fix it or buy tires for my van. I really don't see how people are making it. And I don't have house payments, mower payments, car payments, and no credit cards. no vices either. We don't drink or smoke or drugs of course. Heck I don't even care for coffee. Nothing. But still can't make enough to pay bills or buy a new set of tires. It's ridiculous.

Patriot Services
07-01-2012, 08:54 PM
Maybe a part time option would be good for you. The security of a steady paycheck and still have time to grow your business. Maybe something that will help like learning to be a spray tech.
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billslawn89
07-01-2012, 09:01 PM
megaviper, maybe you are not cut out to be a business owner. I moved here about 5 years ago from ohio doing the same thing for 17 years there and I am doing pretty good here. I was out working today doing some snowbirds yards, shrubs and lawn and picked up two more accounts cuz they see the kind of work I do. I take my time and make sure its done right. I'm not one of these guys that mow and go in 15 minutes. I take pride in my work and had many of my clients tell me that. I dont mind working weekends at all, cuz I do alot of disney trips with the family, or sometimes myself during the winter monthswhen there is nothing to do! Good luck to ya man!

Florida's Suncoast Lawn Care
07-01-2012, 09:09 PM
megaviper, maybe you are not cut out to be a business owner. I moved here about 5 years ago from ohio doing the same thing for 17 years there and I am doing pretty good here. I was out working today doing some snowbirds yards, shrubs and lawn and picked up two more accounts cuz they see the kind of work I do. I take my time and make sure its done right. I'm not one of these guys that mow and go in 15 minutes. I take pride in my work and had many of my clients tell me that. I dont mind working weekends at all, cuz I do alot of disney trips with the family, or sometimes myself during the winter monthswhen there is nothing to do! Good luck to ya man!

I worked today. I even got two emails stating how much they like how well I take care of things. I'm just not picking up anything new or better paying. I've been pretty low ball on prices making sure i build first. I mowed today and yesterday. Not because I have enough to do that. But because the doctors office closed at noon Saturday. So it's easier to mow. So I mowed 5 yesterday. And then today I got a NEW old account. A neighbor moved into a new place but it's a nightmare to mow and trim even. Here is the email I got yesterday to show you I get good feedback.

MY EMAIL: "I’m sure you do. So $110 or $140. That’s your yard taken care of mowing, trimming, edging, weed control, trees trimmed, bushes trimmed. I haul it $140, or you let me set it out front for trash $110." He has two small palms about 8 feet tall. And about 8 smallish bushes.

For a lawn I already have at $75 a month he paid already for July. So this is his email.

HIS EMAIL: after his parent visited and saw how nice it looks. I also email him photos once a month. He said thank you in the letter with his check about how nice it looked.

"Well I can tell you that good service is hard to come by. We appreciate your prompt service. But we have become aware that one of the palm trees are in need of leaf trim. I understand that you are busy and your time is valuable. But what would you think about adding an additional fee that I would send out this month to run the water spickets outside for an additional fee (maybe you could turn them on while you are trimming the bushes).So on top of the extra $35.00, would it be worth your while for an additional $15.00 ( so for the month of July we would send $50.00, if you are interested). I understand if you decline, we just would like our water to circulate more than it is. Its ok if you are too busy, my parents do make it over there too. Thanks

Dave"

Del9175
07-01-2012, 09:10 PM
I guess it is tough out there. Heck there is even someone posting on this thread that can't even pay his property taxes. Supposedly even has a couple crews. Hang in there.
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Florida's Suncoast Lawn Care
07-01-2012, 09:26 PM
I guess it is tough out there. Heck there is even someone posting on this thread that can't even pay his property taxes. Supposedly even has a couple crews. Hang in there.
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Yes my wife even has two jobs but her waitress job isn't giving any hours. She has had 0 hours for 5 weeks straight now. Her other job she is getting 25-30 hours a week at minimum wage. They know she has the other job so the other waitresses are getting the hours. Plus she thinks the head waitress is doing it on purpose because after only working there for 2 months customers come in and ask for her. My wife is nice and very personable and has that cute look so it helps. She the type of person you couldn't imagine someone being so nice with a smile all of the time. You can see her in my photos.

Our taxes here will be like $750 next year so i think we can handle it. :rolleyes: It sucks that people are having such a rough time. I think it's going to get worse. Look at Europe. People are selling body parts because they can't find work anymore. People that made like $100k a year before.

Florida's Suncoast Lawn Care
07-01-2012, 09:32 PM
I dont mind working weekends at all, cuz I do alot of disney trips with the family, or sometimes myself during the winter monthswhen there is nothing to do! Good luck to ya man!

We used to go to Busch Gardens all of the time with season passes. I hope we can start that up again soon.

just cuts lawn care
07-01-2012, 10:55 PM
You are right about the people and for the most part it seems like you never see the same person twice on the same yard.

as for the lawns we have been in business for last 3 years and I can say this is the first year we have been constantly busy barely time to fix equipment but I started with 3-4 yards now we do roughly 60-100 a week and have to buy trucks and hire people it is hard to get started but if you can hold out it does pay off if you are in for long haul. Just Cuts LAwn Care Inc

Ric
07-02-2012, 09:30 AM
You are right about the people and for the most part it seems like you never see the same person twice on the same yard.

as for the lawns we have been in business for last 3 years and I can say this is the first year we have been constantly busy barely time to fix equipment but I started with 3-4 yards now we do roughly 60-100 a week and have to buy trucks and hire people it is hard to get started but if you can hold out it does pay off if you are in for long haul. Just Cuts LAwn Care Inc

You are not the only one seeing an up turn. This is an election year and the economy is getting pumped. Credit is lose and Houses and Cars are selling. If you can't make it now, you can't make it. While I am enjoying the influx of new business, I look for a sharp down turn after the election, No matter who wins. I down sized in late 07 and I am going to stay down sized and save my money for those rainy days to come.

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ben fritz
07-02-2012, 03:40 PM
I have been in business for a month last friday. i will not drop my gate for less then $25 and that's for a very small yard(mow, edge, weed,blow). i dont want 100 yards at $65 a month. My first goal right now is 35 yards at $30 a cut or 30 at $35 a cut. thats $1050 a week. or $4200 a month if there is 4 weeks. My first goal on my business plan.

Landscape Poet
07-02-2012, 10:14 PM
I have been in business for a month last friday. i will not drop my gate for less then $25 and that's for a very small yard(mow, edge, weed,blow). i dont want 100 yards at $65 a month. My first goal right now is 35 yards at $30 a cut or 30 at $35 a cut. thats $1050 a week. or $4200 a month if there is 4 weeks. My first goal on my business plan.

Ben I would advise you to not try the per cut route going forward. It is standard down here to figure out what you want for the property for the year for the number of cuts you plan on offering and get the customer to pay you monthly all year round. I know you are a little further north but I would think there would still be a demand for service all year round.

I tried the per cut route my first year in business to be disappointed overall with the loyalty and quality of those clients. It is normal to expect a year round monthly fee for lawn service down here especially on St. Augustine.

Bahia is a different breed as well as Zoysia, Bermuda but if potential customers have those type of lawns you need to explain to them that they need to pay the same year round amount because they would be taking your time during that period of year which could be used to care for a St. Augustine lawn which will require year round attention.

Last resort if they don't agree to that and you really want them....then your amount should be equivilent to what you would should make on a account in a year.

williams lcm
07-03-2012, 06:51 AM
Do not do it per cut like landscape poet says. I see all the newbies doing it per cut. Just charge a good flat rate (12 timer per year). It is much easier that way. The billing will alawys be the same each month and the customer will always know that each month will be the same. Thats how it works in this state!!!

Ric
07-03-2012, 09:55 AM
Do not do it per cut like landscape poet says. I see all the newbies doing it per cut. Just charge a good flat rate (12 timer per year). It is much easier that way. The billing will alawys be the same each month and the customer will always know that each month will be the same. Thats how it works in this state!!!

Rule of thumb for estimating a Monthly Price in Florida is to Multiply the PER CUT X 3 or 3.5 = the monthly price. We have a Dry & Wet season and cut 4 times a month in the wet and 2 times in the dry. Weather pending we cut 36 to 42 times a year. Lush irrigated lawns are X 3.5 while non Irrigated lawns are X 3.

I am out of touch with Hourly Labor prices, but 10 years ago $ 30.00 a man hour was my pricing factor. 3 men on a job was $ 90 an hour etc. At the time my labor burden was $ 15 an hour. So by the time I ran a truck and trailer load of equipment to a job, I wasn't making a huge profit. However to stay competitive at that time I could not raise my price.

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ben fritz
07-03-2012, 03:04 PM
Thanks for the advice, i am going to works towards the year contracts, see us new guys think we know it all but we really dont know sh*t, lol:hammerhead:

ben fritz
07-03-2012, 03:09 PM
so if its $35 a cut, you take $35 x 3.5 = $122.50 a month x 12=$1,470 for the year contract.

mjlcare2
07-03-2012, 07:37 PM
this is how we do it.. price per cut.. x43 cuts per year divided by 12= monthly price.. that is weekly service March-november, biweekly November-april.. depends on how your going to run your company and how many services your going to provide over the year and what kind of service.. bushes trimming etc included? only you can decided at what cost you can provide a service. the only thing I can say is ALWAYS MAKE A PROFIT on any job you do.. that means, pay the expense to do the job, pay yourself, and pay your company.

Landscape Poet
07-03-2012, 09:25 PM
this is how we do it.. price per cut.. x43 cuts per year divided by 12= monthly price..

That is how I figure mine essentially too. I know others do not plan on cutting weekly till April but that simply would of left most of the lawns looking like Crap with the EOW schedule in March.

Now the good thing is generally your winter visits are going to cost you less as your efforts will be less as everything is not going through spurts like they do during the active growing season, so if you have labor then your cost should go down significantly and in turn your profits should go up too as labor is generally every ones largest expenses.

justanotherlawnguy
07-04-2012, 01:56 AM
.


The established WORD OF MOUTH guys are actually turning down work here in Florida. Sure the economy is bad, but quality always has a demand.


.

Amen, I turn down people all the time and haven't advertised in 2 years. Luckily we've been around for 8 years now and have a solid base of customers.
I would hate to be a new lco right now, cause new accounts are in the toilet!!
We're running open to close six days a week as is!
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Ric
07-04-2012, 09:26 AM
Amen, I turn down people all the time and haven't advertised in 2 years. Luckily we've been around for 8 years now and have a solid base of customers.
I would hate to be a new lco right now, cause new accounts are in the toilet!!
We're running open to close six days a week as is!
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You been on Lawnsite long enough to remember JUST MOW out of Dallas Texas. The short story is I am going after the JUST FIRE ANTS business model now. My target customer is no longer the lush irrigated yard. The Tree Huggers have beat me with all the Rules & regulations on fertilizer. In a way, I am starting a new business targeting non irrigated yards. Sure I still have income from exsisting Fert & Squirt customers, but I am picking up Ant Customers at a fair rate. I am hoping to sell off all my L&O customers by fall. This last 6 months or so have been extremely good.

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Florida Gardener
07-04-2012, 09:31 AM
.


You been on Lawnsite long enough to remember JUST MOW out of Dallas Texas. The short story is I am going after the JUST FIRE ANTS business model now. My target customer is no longer the lush irrigated yard. The Tree Huggers have beat me with all the Rules & regulations on fertilizer. In a way, I am starting a new business targeting non irrigated yards. Sure I still have income from exsisting Fert & Squirt customers, but I am picking up Ant Customers at a fair rate. I am hoping to sell off all my L&O customers by fall. This last 6 months or so have been extremely good.

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Ric

Why would you get rid of good steady cash flow??

Patriot Services
07-04-2012, 09:45 AM
I would imagine with the N and P bans there isn't a lot you can apply at a decent profit for a price people are willing to pay.
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Ric
07-04-2012, 09:53 AM
Ric

Why would you get rid of good steady cash flow??.


I am not getting rid of good stead cash flow, only trading it for a better source. There is a big difference in the profit margins of L&O and PC. L&O figure 25 to 30% Chemical cost. PC is more like 3 to 5%. Also the inventory of chemicals doing only insects is minimal. PC is lower over head or cost and physically not as demanded. No spreaders to push etc.

PC has it's down falls also. Demand is not as great as L&O and competition is after PC because it has such a high profit margin. With PC the next door neighbor can't see how green your lawn is. CALL BACKS can kill your profit margin real quick. Imaginary insect are a problem with some people. Those type can drive you crazy.

BTW Spray Accounts sell for an average of 100% of a years contract. Selling off my L&O will fatten my bank account very nicely.

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Florida Gardener
07-04-2012, 09:57 AM
.


I am not getting rid of good stead cash flow, only trading it for a better source. There is a big difference in the profit margins of L&O and PC. L&O figure 25 to 30% Chemical cost. PC is more like 3 to 5%. Also the inventory of chemicals doing only insects is minimal. PC is lower over head or cost and physically not as demanded. No spreaders to push etc.

PC has it's down falls also. Demand is not as great as L&O and competition is after PC because it has such a high profit margin. With PC the next door neighbor can't see how green your lawn is. CALL BACKS can kill your profit margin real quick. Imaginary insect are a problem with some people. Those type can drive you crazy.

BTW Spray Accounts sell for an average of 100% of a years contract. Selling off my L&O will fatten my bank account very nicely.

.

I knew all of that regarding margins as told by others.....I figured though that it is a difficult market(PC) due to all the big companies that have low as dirt prices. Like you said, people can see a nice, green, weed-free lawn. They don't see the ants that you killed.....

Ric
07-04-2012, 12:07 PM
I knew all of that regarding margins as told by others.....I figured though that it is a difficult market(PC) due to all the big companies that have low as dirt prices. Like you said, people can see a nice, green, weed-free lawn. They don't see the ants that you killed.....

Good Question and one I have ask myself many times. I could hire a Helper and have that head ache. If I hire 2 or 3 I can have a real head ache.

But you have it right, PC can be a very difficult market. Most CPO with both will trade 2 L&O for 1 good PC account. After years of dealing with the public I think I might of learned a few things. First don't let your customer interview you. You interview the customer while selling yourself. This establishes a pecking order from the start. Second and most important, SELL YOUR WEAKNESS. I am still learning inside PC, So I sell my weakness that I might not control the bug the first time. ""Mrs Jones rather than make your house Glow in the dark, I am going to take a more Conservative approach. If that doesn't work we will use more aggressive methods until the problem is solved"" Of course I pound the house so I don't have to come back. Gas cost more than pesticide.

Where I never had to have very much if any advertisement, PC requires a lot more. My Google bill runs just under $ 200 a month. My Yellow page ad is more. I use the EDDM program from the Post office. But my phone is averaging a call a day. I am closing 95% because I low balling a little to build a route. But of those calls 50% are one time calls that won't spring for yearly service. They will call me back any where from 6 months to two years for an other one time shot.

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Florida Gardener
07-04-2012, 06:02 PM
Good Question and one I have ask myself many times. I could hire a Helper and have that head ache. If I hire 2 or 3 I can have a real head ache.

But you have it right, PC can be a very difficult market. Most CPO with both will trade 2 L&O for 1 good PC account. After years of dealing with the public I think I might of learned a few things. First don't let your customer interview you. You interview the customer while selling yourself. This establishes a pecking order from the start. Second and most important, SELL YOUR WEAKNESS. I am still learning inside PC, So I sell my weakness that I might not control the bug the first time. ""Mrs Jones rather than make your house Glow in the dark, I am going to take a more Conservative approach. If that doesn't work we will use more aggressive methods until the problem is solved"" Of course I pound the house so I don't have to come back. Gas cost more than pesticide.

Where I never had to have very much if any advertisement, PC requires a lot more. My Google bill runs just under $ 200 a month. My Yellow page ad is more. I use the EDDM program from the Post office. But my phone is averaging a call a day. I am closing 95% because I low balling a little to build a route. But of those calls 50% are one time calls that won't spring for yearly service. They will call me back any where from 6 months to two years for an other one time shot.

.

I hear ya on the headaches part. I'm trying to stay small myself until I move to San Diego. I just sold off 13 account back in April to a friend. Some paid good, but the overall money was low, some didn't pay enough but I knew wouldn't go for a price increase, some were scattered here and there. So instead of hiring another part time guy, I sold em off and am now making more money, with less accounts, and less grunt work. Maintaining 100-150 yards is not something I want to do. I want the high dollar, high margin, great accounts. I def. see why you want to do what your doing.