PDA

View Full Version : FORUM USERS IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD??


Guido
08-15-2000, 07:09 PM
Do we have any forum users that are working in the same neighborhood?

Would you find it more threatining to post your REAL opinions if there were??


Would you tell the friendly competition in your area about this site? Why and Why not?

I think this one will have some good responses, lets take some stands on these topics and see where it goes.


Just trying to stir up some new discussions guys, hope this helps!

greenlawncare
08-15-2000, 09:04 PM
Yeah David,

The reason why people are whinning so much about not making enough money is because of the lack of business sense in the industry. It may be you, it may be your competition, but either way, if one of you has bad business sense in this industry you're both screwed. The more educated my competition is, the more we both make.

This is not a typical industry where you can look at a bad competitor and say "great, you'll eventually get weeded out by capitalism!". Because as soon as you think he's gone, he's back again, only he's a couple years younger and wearing a different baseball cap. Simply, the barrier to entry is too low. What do we do? Whine? Sure... or we help to raise the barrier.

bob
08-15-2000, 09:32 PM
I've told my 4 closest lawn cutting friends about this forum. #1 has no computer,#2 has computer but no internet access, #3 & #4 have no intrest in the forum. Its their loss!

[Edited by bob on 08-16-2000 at 02:22 AM]

GroundKprs
08-15-2000, 11:02 PM
We have a great municipal compost facility, they let commercial operators dump for a fee, and I'm often meeting newer guys there. Fellow today had needed a tool to get his tailgate open to dump, and we talked. He's using a new 60" Dixie so I gave him this address and Eric's, so he could check on double blade setups. Have given lawnsite address to others, and got them to post it at local Lesco.
If you've been in this business for more than ten yrs, you shouldn't have to worry about any competition, or you're in the wrong business. Any accounts I have lost or given up in the last 15 yrs were replaced within a month.
When I wanted direction, I went to the maintenance manager of the largest company in the county, and he spent half a day with me, no charge, because he wants to see the industry upgraded. His help really got me on my way, and if anyone asks me for info, I'm not afraid to help them.
Sorry, Guido, can't think of anything real agitating.;)

Scraper
08-16-2000, 09:20 AM
LakeGatonla: FYI Mr. Stone is from NE PA. Pay attention and you start to learn where people hail from.

Sorry Stone!

lawrence stone
08-16-2000, 09:36 AM
All hail the "scrubmaster" lawrence stone!!!

Guido
08-16-2000, 11:24 AM
Hey guys stay cool!! I don't want this to turn into an arguement!!

I posted this after someone wouldn't post some marketing info because they were scared of someone in their area finding out "their secret". Which wasn't really a secret at all, sorry!!

I agree with GREENLAWNCARE in that if we educate each other, and learn together, it will benefit all of us.

Hope this heads in a better direction!

jeffyr
08-16-2000, 01:48 PM
Here is an idea,

"Lawnsite.com" bumperstickers for our trucks and trailers.

On a side note, I saw another guys truck a few towns away, and there was a sign on the front above the cab on the bed that said "Landscapers Keep America Beautiful" with an American Flag on it. Made me happy seeing someone with that attitude. It would also make a great sticker for our trucks and trailers. Showing some pride !

jeffyr

Administrator
08-16-2000, 03:23 PM
Good idea.! What do you guys think about that?

If any of you want some "business cards" that promote LawnSite.com let me know and I will send you a stack. I have a lot left over from the Expo.

Scraper
08-16-2000, 03:54 PM
Sounds like a great idea...except I don't know if I wanna put a sticker on my nice shiny bumper. Might put it on my mower though. :)

Chuck...I'll e-mail you my address for some cards.

jeffyr
08-16-2000, 04:14 PM
Sounds great....the sticker on the mower idea.

what do you guys think of the "Lanscapers Keep America Beautiful" sticker....with Lawnsite.combeneath it perhaps.

Chuck....I work with layout and photoshop programs all the time. Perhaps we could brainstorm and come up with something (in the SPARE time).

jeffyr

Richard Martin
08-16-2000, 04:16 PM
TSLawn (who recently started posting here) is 2 blocks away from me. 90% of what I've learned I've passed on to them in person. The other 10% is what I term "sensitive" secrets that I have spent time and money figuring out and I don't share with anybody. If fact TSLawn (a husband and wife team) and I get together on Friday night and drink a few all the time. I have no qualms about sharing most of what I know on this forum or in person.

vince
08-16-2000, 04:16 PM
Like Guido, I am originally from Ct. I moved to southern california in 1972 and lived there until I moved to new hampshire in 1992.

when I lived in california, everyone had lawn care, and in my area, orange county, near disneyland (original) the only way to hire a lawn care specialist was through the yellow pages or walk your area, check out what house you liked, waited until the crew was there and got in touch with them that way.

This may seem ok, but you never met the owner or the lawn care service, and although all the non english speaking mexican workers talked with each other nobody ever new the owner of the company, and the only time you had contact with him was when you got your monthly bill or anual bill or however you were set up.

As I read here, you guys are your own bosses and do a lot of your own work, so you do come in contact with one another as opposed to what I came out of. I had the same lawn service at that house from 1979 through 1992 and never met the owner of the service. So don't feel bad when your competition ignores you, think about some of the jerks like myself who still live out west and have had the same service for years and still haven't met or know the owner.

vince

Guido
08-16-2000, 04:55 PM
Originally posted by jeffyr
Sounds great....the sticker on the mower idea.

what do you guys think of the "Lanscapers Keep America Beautiful" sticker....with Lawnsite.combeneath it perhaps.

Chuck....I work with layout and photoshop programs all the time. Perhaps we could brainstorm and come up with something (in the SPARE time).

jeffyr



Jeff, thats a great idea, I've seen those stickers. I dought they would be all that expensive to print if we took a good size order from here at Lawnsite. I think thats a great idea, keep me updated on that idea!!


How bout the other 1300 of you members, do you spread the word about Lawnsite.com??

KirbysLawn
08-16-2000, 05:18 PM
Good idea but.....I really would prefer my customers not hear discussions about profit margins, pricing, and information I consider sensitive. Don't know how we could handle this unless the "PRO" area was a password site for businesses only. Go ahead Stone, I'm sure you will have a comment about that too. :)

Toroguy
08-16-2000, 05:34 PM
I agree with Kirby, the information should not be available to all. If Lawnsite did that it would be like an association. More benefits than other associations, more members...then Guido, as you suggested regional meetings and training could take place.

Administrator
08-16-2000, 05:38 PM
Good point!

I have made it a point to advertise LawnSite.com in a way to
keep people with no business or interest in the turf industry away from here.

I think the best way to do this is for me to send you guys who are willing a stack of business cards and you can put them on the counter of your local equipment dealers, etc.

Maybe a way to persuade them to do this and spread the word I will let dealers use the "used equipment forum" to sell their demos and trade-ins.

What do you think? This way the site does not get in the hands of the general public.

Lanelle
08-16-2000, 05:56 PM
I would like to have some business cards for Lawnsite. Could have used them at the field day recently. Our next seminar (Jan.)includes pesticide recertification so lots of people attend and I would be happy to have cards to set out.
Yes, I tell people about the site and encourage them to participate. Sometimes during the busiest part of the season people are resistant to trying anything new that takes any of their time. I expect that winter will bring another surge of new members.
Do I mind that others in this area use this forum--not in the least! There is plenty of business for all of us and none of us posts client lists that could be picked off. Keep sharing the good info!

chuckwk
08-16-2000, 06:21 PM
If you want these cards please forward your mailing address to me at support@lawnsite.com. Give me an idea of how many you want.

Setting them at dealers, and seminars is a very good idea. This will keep the traffic on this site directed towards company owners and will keep nonsense posts and people wanting to know about residential issues off these boards.

I think having local companies on here can be a benefit to your company. If you get to much of a work load you can find a company to give this work to or even trade work.

That lawn company directory I talked about is done. I just need to set it up to blend in with lawnsite.com. I also need to put the header back with links to Bill Phagans articles. The lawn company directory can be used to find companies in the directory. Just enter a zipcode and it will quiry all in the directory.

1MajorTom
08-16-2000, 07:21 PM
Hey Guido,

I think the forum user you were referring to when you said that they were SCARED that someone in their area would find out "their advertising secret" would have to be me.

In advertising, nothing is "secret". If you put your name out there whether it be radio, newspaper, tv or another media form, your competition is bound to catch wind of it. If they didn't, then it probably isn't a good advertising method. But I see absolutely no sense in broadcasting to local competitors how effective it works for you.

Take this off the wall scenerio:

I come on here and brag how once a year I do this fabulous advertisement on tv during Super Bowl Sunday. It costs near to nothing, and I am able to increase my company business 30%.
The next year I run my ad again during the SuperBowl, but much to my distress, I see 6 other local competitors running a similar ad. I notice that when the calls start coming in in February, they are down by 80%.
Well at least I can say I sure wasn't scared to share my idea with the local competition, but can I call myself
business smart?



Now, let's say you have one employee working with you. You and this employee named Joe, cuts Mrs. Smith's lawn every Thursday like clockwork. Joe knows Mrs. Smith likes her grass cut at 3 inches, the front bagged, but the back can be side-discharged. He also has overheard her one time complaining that she thought the price was a little steep.
Now comes the end of the month. Do you let your employee Joe send Mrs. Smith her invoice? If not, why? Are you scared for him to know how much you charge her? OR are you just being business smart? Some things in business should remain confidential or as you say, "secret".


I have no qualms about helping any one on this forum with the limited information that I have. My point of that post wasn't to talk about how well my advertising works for me in my limited area.
Instead, I thought it was important that someone mention to any newcomers to the lawn industry that different advertising methods work better in some areas than in others. If 20 people say, "The Yellow Pages are the way to go", and the population in your area is 2,500, then the Yellow Pages probably wouldn't be the most cost effective for your area.


Jodi

jeffyr
08-16-2000, 07:23 PM
Good thoughts on the sticker idea with the website.
We don't want "The Outsiders" looking in.
But I am a member of another website where there are password protected areas. Is this possible Chuck ?

jeffyr

Guido
08-16-2000, 08:25 PM
Okay, I can admit when I jump to conclusions, I guess now that you explained why I can understand where your coming from, but still like you said, I'm sure the other companies recieve the "bird that carries your ad" as well as your prospective customers, so if they haven't taken advanatge of the idea, thats their own fault. You do make a valid point though, and I hope no offense was taken.

Thanks for sharing through the e-mail with everybody though, I'm sure the info will be put to good use!

:)

Administrator
08-17-2000, 12:39 PM
back to the top.. ( cuz I can ) ;)

lawnMaster5000
08-17-2000, 04:32 PM
i have passed this websites url on to all the competition in my area. There is an understanding here among most uf us you do not compete w/ other companies. There is enough work out there that there is no need to lower your price to take competitors business. This forum educates ths scrubs in the business to respect eachother and we all benifit from such.

Now i do have to say that this "respect" for eachother results in price gouging and i do not believe i would like my customers to be reading what we are saying here.

It would in no way be of benifit to me or other users for customers to be reading about how we run the company. You think the automechanic tells you where that $70/hour goes? NO so why should we.

Runner
08-17-2000, 11:42 PM
Man, if we don't want the GENERAL public to know about Lawnsite.com, I wish I would have known this before. I just had the Lawnsite.com logo painted on the side of my trailer to go with my sponsors ads. (Exmark, Echo, Stihl, John Deere, Gravely, Pennzoil, Goodyear, Slick 50, Carlisle Turf Tires, and one of my newest-Verizon Wireless.) I guess the Lawnsite.com should come back off.

[Edited by Runner on 08-18-2000 at 02:45 AM]

Administrator
08-17-2000, 11:52 PM
No, please leave it.. can you take a picture and send it this way? I will make sure everyone sees it.

Chuck

Bobby
08-18-2000, 12:28 AM
I try to tell all the guys I talk with about Lawnsite.com. There are few standards in this work.When we share, we all gain.I have some lawn's I get 30.00 per cut on.I've had guys flyer them while I was mowing. Would you belive for 15.00 a shot? I've told some of these guys what I'm paid and they look at me like I'm bs'ing them. Education is badly needed in the green industry.
Thank you Chuck, Eric and others who make this site possible.And yes, please send me about twenty cards.

KirbysLawn
08-19-2000, 05:45 PM
Runner, maybe I didn't word my post right or something. I don't mind (like it matters) if the general public has access to this site, they already do. I see no reason to put http://www.lawnsite.com on my mower or trailer so people in my area can log on and see our discussions about how much or less we charge, how much profit we make, and other information I deem private to the normal public. For some here we have no idea who or where you are, but for others, we use our real names and our customers could easily figure it out.

I have no problem sharing information about this business to my peirs, I've sat down and made friend with people discussin these very things, I've sent multiple people here copies of my estimate forms and contracts, and plan on speaking to the group and our local CGMA meeting next month about Lawnsite.com.

I just don't think this info should be out to the public in a large scale, if a password area is needed for us fine with me. Small fee for membership, fine with me also.

Ray

Runner
08-20-2000, 09:32 PM
Ray,
I agree with you completely about the general public viewing this site. I was also only kidding about the site being posted on my trailer. Actually, I was kidding about ALL that stuff being posted on my trailer! I thought everyone would know I was kidding when I came up with names like "Goodyear" and "Verizon Wireless". Sorry about that Chuck! It looks like YOU took me serious too!

Administrator
08-20-2000, 10:07 PM
You never know.... for all I know you have big corporate contacts.

Actually, I think Eric used to have a picture of a guy that put LawnSite.com on the side of his truck.

Eric ELM
08-20-2000, 11:08 PM
Chuck, that was a URL to his website on Townserver.

rixtag
10-03-2001, 08:18 PM
I tell other lco's and my dealer about lawnsite for all the aforementioned reasons and I also think that if we were to advertise alongside our name, logo etc that there should be an area that is password protected for things that are of a "sensitive nature".

I work full time in a new car dealer and I do not hesitate to tell people that are in a business what my cost on things are strictly for this reason: they understand that it is OK to make a profit. For joe public it is off limits because they simply don't understand that! They only see one thing. They see that I have doubled my price on part# xxx( to maintain a 37% margin) and they are too freakin' cheap to pay for it because they think I am takin' them to the cleaners. Not because they can't afford it or any other reason than they just don't understand or care. They are too selfish to see the big picture. They don't have anything personal at stake.

I am officially off my soapbox now.

We need to protect our interests.

Rick

Tony
10-03-2001, 09:04 PM
I'm in the process of putting Lawnsite.com in our Favorite Links on our website for our landscapers. I hope this will not be a problem. I like coming to this site and I encourage my customers to log in and register to be members. Most homeowners that find this site are probably not interested enough to take the time to search through the posts, But all LCO's and anyone involved in the manufacture or sales of equipment are. Advertisers only advertise to find buyers so I'm sure the Advertisers which help fund Lawnsite love seeing the members grow.

Thanks Tony

cp
10-03-2001, 10:30 PM
I think that with common issues with generic pricing or methods it does not matter and depending on who you talking to the confidentiality level is different. One of my subs and I discuss a lot of general topics; i.e., people haggling over pricing, costs to run certain equipment/labor, and when we work a proposal together we cooperate in determining the mark up pricing and getting customer satisfaction.

This industry is made up of 20 yr veterans and 1 yr wonders(me) and like myself people are afraid to show their ignorance and are uneasy telling their tales or secrets as you were.

It would seem that to join in professional organizations, attend business seminars and have meetings with other LCOs could only benefit both the individual and the industry. As an example the Virginia Turfgrass Council will hold it's 42nd Annual Meeting at Va. Beach in November where I will attend. Some activities require membership and like this activity there will be break out classes that concern pest., turf, etc., and can only benefit me.

I have found that the more apparently successful contractors seem to have an outgoing, friendly, helpful attitude.

Whew, enough said...Chris..

gusbuster
10-03-2001, 11:36 PM
Originally posted by KirbysLawn
Good idea but.....I really would prefer my customers not hear discussions about profit margins, pricing, and information I consider sensitive

I feel the same way as Ray. If we could somehow demand proof that you're in the business such as in my case, state license contractor number or your D.B.A. certificate ect... then we could do a password protected site.

As to passing my trade secrets, Iím never afraid to help somebody out with a secret to do something easier, faster ect. I don't have to advertise too much because most of my work is from referrals. I wouldn't be giving any trade secrets away.


John

VnDrWLawnCare
10-04-2001, 12:14 AM
Go ahead and send me some of them Lawnsite business cards. I will put them at my local dealer. I also think that a lawnsite sticker for our mowers is a good idea. Keep working on that and let me know how that goes.
E-mail me for any information that you will need.
Eric:blob4:

Runner
10-04-2001, 03:24 AM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by VnDrWLawnCare
[B]Go ahead and send me some of them Lawnsite business cards. I will put them at my local dealer.

I also think that a lawnsite sticker for our mowers is a good idea.

Bad idea,.... and a bad idea.

First of all, if you "post " these at your local dealer, who do you think will be the majority of people picking these up? They will be ordinary people, (buying belts, blades, and spark plugs who will be getting more info with the potential to make some half-hearted attempt at going into the "grass cuttin' business" as a part time, on the side, kinda thang. "Alot of good ideas, and some kinda' successful soundin' guys on thar."
As far as the STICKERS are concerned, well, everyone on the ROAD will even see those! Yeah, we NEED more lurkers and people wanting to do this!:rolleyes: Let's leave Lawnsite for those who have done some digging and research and came across this site. As well as, perhaps heard from a FELLOW lco. If this site became as common as "home improvement.com" or some news site, or something, it would CERTainly lose it's value. as we would have to be digging through all the RUBbish to get to and deal with the actual relative and pertinent stuff. Is this what we really want?:confused:

HBFOXJr
10-04-2001, 08:22 AM
So do you want ole Joe to guess how much he has to undercut you to get Mrs Smiths work?

Typical, uninformed statement is I can do it for 1/2 that. You need to teach Joe that to walk like you and talk like you and earm money like you, he has to be educated like you and charge liek you when he wants to leave.

Now when he knows how much to charge and gives Mrs Smith a price $2 less than you she'll say it's not worth changing.

Basically many peole in this industry have big egos and NO Balls. They want to brag that they sell every estimate and how much work or how many customers they have but they don't have the guts to charge enough to really make a good living. They fear rejection. Sales people don't fear rejection.

AltaLawnCare
10-04-2001, 09:52 AM
I can see both sides of this, and both are good points. I was thinking of posting a decal on my truck to show I was a member, sort of a status, I guess. Every time I post, I imagine some of my friendly competition in reading on and taking notes, so I watch what I say. Two events made me think of the sticker idea: ..
One day I stopped at a store, and a couple of guys started looing at my trailer. We started talking about the Toro because he had one like it. We talked for maybe 30 minutes, after I left I though, I should have told him about LS. It was obvious he was legit, he said over the last few years he had cut back customers but increased his revenue. He also said he was thinking of buying a walker.
This is a real horror story, a guy I know decided he was going to get into "mowing yards" to supplement his new towing biz. He bought a couple of craftsman mowers, and a ford 8N w/ a 5' hog.
Earlier in the season he told me he had plenty of mowing work, didn't even have to advertise. Just the other day he called me and said he was getting out and gave me a price on his tractor and 'hog if I wanted it. I only know of one job he used it on, and he rented it out. He actually asked the customer how much they felt like was fair!! Around here a tractor and bush-hog go for about 200 plus a day - he didn't get anywhere near that.
The moral to this story is I believe that if anyone gets into this and underprices their work, they weed themselves out. Maybe some quicker than others.

sheppard
10-04-2001, 07:00 PM
I've mentioned this site to the primary and back up dealerships I use. Want them to be fully informedn on what many people are saying about their products. When ever I stumble into a manufactures rep or a Distributor's Rep I tell them of the site also. My reasons are to hear from them on a products good points then tell them what I read about it nationally form this site- one example was the Stealth mower from Surteck. The distributor was singing this things praises. Thew out alot of facts and informed opinions. Mentioned he might want to hit this site and do a search on it. "You might be surprized at what you read". He got that sinking feling look on his face. Don't know if he did the search or not. Oh well...

Cordially,
Sheppard

Dochere
10-04-2001, 07:06 PM
In the fall issue of ALCA on page 24 there was an article on being a successful mentor. In many cases, the veterans of the lawncare industry that support and contribute to this site are just that, successful mentors.

I personally know of three members on this site that are within 25 min. from me. I have had a very generous experience with one of those members and am thankful for his help and guidance, as I am to all who thoughtfully post to this site.

A member here that everyone knows very well, Eric Elm, had gone beyond the call of duty about three weeks ago, when he invited me to view his crew in action. There were many aspects of his operation that appealed to me such as his choice of equipment, efficiency of his daily routine, and how well his long term working partnership with his wife had weathered over the years. Many aspects of Eric's operation are similar to what I do and or plan to do in the future. The opportunity to see first hand what an efficient, effective crew is capable of achieving, is invaluable to me.

Allot of you might be thinking what a stupid thing to do or something along those lines, or might not ever attempt to help someone in this way for fear of backstabbing, informed competition, etc. But I must say that anyone who is as experienced as Eric is, and who consistently produces the quality of work as they do, will never have anything to fear.

I believe the coarse of time will weed out the weak, and provide a stronger foundation for those who have and live by a strong moral foundation. I also believe what goes around comes around. With that in mind I also believe that there is enough work out there for all just and fair contractors. To have someone, especially a local someone, gain from your experience or know how, or for you to gain the same from them, is what is going to make this field stronger and more unified.

To those of you who do your best to help those of us who try our hardest, I thank you.

Eric ELM
10-04-2001, 07:44 PM
Dochere, I am glad to hear you was able to learn something by watching and talking to us. ;)

If you want to see us in action on leaves, stop back down sometime and see how we do this part of the operation. We will have to go to a different resturant though, our favorite one that we ate at, the kitchen burned a couple of weeks ago. :(

The good news is, they are rebuilding it. MowEd liked that resturant too. We met up there and ate when he was down this way.

BTW, it was nice meeting you both.

Fine Lines Lawn
10-04-2001, 08:19 PM
Indy seems to be infested with LS members and all that I have met are very nice guys. In fact, Russ stopped by one of my lawns that I was working on today and we played on each other's Dixie Choppers for a minute. I have always been on friendly relations with the competition, and never been hurt by it. Occasionally you get some help from friendly competition when you need it.

Guido
10-04-2001, 09:41 PM
Where the hell did this come from!! Over a year ago is when I posted this during some slow times.

Its funny reading it now, it must have been edited some because on the first page I'm breaking up a fight thats not even there anymore! (I sound pretty stupid now)

Anyway, this is a good topic no matter what year it is so have fun!

ChadsLawn
10-15-2001, 01:49 PM
Heres my first shot at a dedicated Bumper Sticker..

http://web.tampabay.rr.com/usacsims/bumper.gif

Flex-Deck
10-16-2001, 12:24 AM
I have a sponsor forum and the threads from owners were lost in the server deal, but that is OK and this is the greatest place I have found to reach people that are in the mowing industry. I have had to scratch and dig for advertizing opportunities on a limited budget. I have what I think is a very good product and would invite you to look at all the sponsor forums. I am a small town busness man that has struggled to get a good product national on $2000 per year and I realize that I was a little or maybe major obnoxious about pushing my product after getting the sponsor forum. I have noticed that the views and posts on sponsor forums do not change so I would assume that not many visit such areas. I have been chastized, and appologize if I got carried away for the first week or two after I bought a sponsor forum about advertizing on the subject forums. I would like all of you to see the WB and the JD 455 with the flex-deck trimming attachment in action at the BBQ. There are also going to be a lot of products shown that may fit your operation better. Thanks, Brad