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keithslawnc
11-08-2012, 08:28 AM
I am considering marketing in a few retirement communities this spring. I have been avoiding working in them since i started the business 15 years ago. The prices are pretty low in these neighborhoods, they are in the range of $55-$65 per month (mowing,edge,line trim and blow) and have to be serviced 42 times per year. So about $ 17.00 per cut.The lawns are approximately 6000 sq ft.

Our community has a huge retiree population and I feel like I am passing up a lot of work by not servicing these communities. Just not sure if it is worth the headache. I plan on marketing in two communities that have around 5000 homes.

I was hoping that someone on this forum would be will to give me the in's and out's of retirement community work.

keithslawnc
11-08-2012, 09:40 AM
I would need to get at least 35 yards done inan 8 hour day, with a a two man crew to make it profitable. Is that possible? We do a HOA that has 98 houses and common area, which we complete in 5.5 hours with 5 guys. This community is different because we do all the houses and there is no wasted time. Just want to make sure I can turn a decent profit before I start spending money on marketing these areas.

Ric
11-08-2012, 09:47 AM
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A subject near and dear to my heart. For years I did nothing but up scale work on Water Front property and still do some. But the Tree huggers have chase me away from that type of work. Now I only target working class retirees in mid price range neighborhoods. I am a Pesticide guy so I only kill ants now. I charge less but keep more which the point here.

Terry is a guy in my town who is the King of MOW n GO. He will do 30 yard before noon and sit in the bar the rest of the day. He doesn't use a Weed Eater or a Blower. Roundup is his edger and his big ride on side discharge mower is his blower. He only does By The Cut and charges $ 15 when others are asking $ 25. Terry has been in business close to 30 years and lives good having season tickets for his whole family to all U of F home games. BTW that a 4 hour drive and a overnight in a motel every other week end.

You might not use roundup as a weed eater like Terry but the point is Production work can be geared to any Price range. IMHO working class markets can be very profitable.

In Edit Terry is a one man band.

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Sprinkler Buddy
11-08-2012, 09:57 AM
Your very close to me. It's possible but I think it would take a few years before it became profitable. Picking up 35 accounts in a retirement community quickly would be the tough part. We have been flooded with new guys around here, willing to work for very little to survive. I can't blame them, a good job is scarce in Ocala. Being that you work in the surrounding area already, I would just pick them up as they come by word of mouth. Profits will increase as you pick them up in the same neighborhood with side by side lawns hopefully.

keithslawnc
11-08-2012, 10:13 AM
Your very close to me. It's possible but I think it would take a few years before it became profitable. Picking up 35 accounts in a retirement community quickly would be the tough part. We have been flooded with new guys around here, willing to work for very little to survive. I can't blame them, a good job is scarce in Ocala. Being that you work in the surrounding area already, I would just pick them up as they come by word of mouth. Profits will increase as you pick them up in the same neighborhood with side by side lawns hopefully.

Sprinkler Buddy I know it would be tuff to gain customers quickly. If I can not gain at least a full days worth fairly quickly it would not be worth it for me. The neighborhood I had in mind has over 4500 hundred houses. If I did a direct mailing campaign consisting of 3 to 4 mailings to every house in the community, do you it is possible to pick up some customers. All the statistic I have read say expect around 1-3% respond on a direct mailing campaign. If i could land 1% of the households I would have 45 customers.

The problem is I already have a decent business with 5 employees at peak season and I don't want a low profit route affecting my business.

Sprinkler Buddy
11-08-2012, 10:21 AM
I would pass knowing your successful existing business. I would be surprised if the direct mailing campaign paid off. Just too many guys working for nothing. Just my opinion.

You ever run across Gator Mowing, he's a buddy that works in your area, he mostly does commercial work.

keithslawnc
11-08-2012, 11:14 AM
I would pass knowing your successful existing business. I would be surprised if the direct mailing campaign paid off. Just too many guys working for nothing. Just my opinion.

You ever run across Gator Mowing, he's a buddy that works in your area, he mostly does commercial work.

Not sure that I know Gator. What does his rig look like? I am sure I have seen him around.

Sprinkler Buddy
11-08-2012, 03:27 PM
His trucks are all black or a dark green one, he runs 3 crews. Open tandem trailers with Hustlers on them. He may just be there a few days a week, he works Gainesville too. Not sure how he runs his routes.

williams lcm
11-08-2012, 05:01 PM
Got to check out the Villages. This area is the king of lawn care. Largest retirement community. So many lawn care operators that it is crazy. I use to work for a company that worked in the villages. Mow, edge,trim blow and go as fast as possible. We did so many lawns that sometimes we accidently did the wrong lawn. The houses and lawns all look the same. The owner would unload his mower at 8am and drive it lawn to lawn and we would not see him again until 1pm. Then his wife would drive us to each area to finish up. They like to finish at 1pm due to the heat and afternoon rains. When we drove around we seen all sorts of lawn care operator going in and out all day.

Tri-City Outdoors
11-09-2012, 10:21 AM
If you were able to gain a full days work quickly it could be very profitable. but that most likely wont happen. We find on average it takes about a season to get 5+ house with in 3 blocks. 1st you get your foot in the community with 1 account. Then we start our ad campaign. We focus on name or product recognition. Add that with some face or truck time in the community. A dash of quality work and BAM a efficient route. but, the issue is, you have work and you don't have the time to focus on a unprofitable start of a new route.

Most focus on mowing but it is really about $. Ever considered just maintaining the hedges/weeds. Maybe bi-weekly or even monthly. This way you don't have to spend much time on a new route. keep it cheap but profitable.
You do don't need to devote your rig to it also. Send your guys out for the day once or twice a month.
A truck with hedge trimmer, rake, some bags and blower. That is all you really need. With all the mow & go's out and about. How many do detail work ??? You & the mow n' go can have the same account! Opps did I just give away a secret.

keithslawnc
11-09-2012, 12:24 PM
I think I will just stay out of those communities and try to keep pick up properties on my existing route. I am not willing to invest time and money in $ 55-65 a month accounts unless i could get a large group. Not to mention all the paper work and billing that would go in to a bunch of low dollar tickets. I had a large farm in the villages that we maintained for 5 years. We lost it in August of 2011 and I have work my tail off to recoup from that $60k hit. I have managed to regain that dollar amount by replacing it with 8-10 good paying jobs. I think I will continue on the same path I have been on and steer clear of the retirement circus.

cgaengineer
11-09-2012, 01:00 PM
Working for the people in an elderly community is the worst...they have all day to watch you, stop and talk to you and bother you about every little thing they can find. I had an elderly community last season and for 4 months and they drove us crazy. GONE! Out of 66 homes, about 8 were the worst complainers...they complained to the point where it was agreed that they go back to the previous company.