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View Full Version : A Disturbing Trend in the Green Industry


Smallaxe
11-29-2012, 09:06 AM
I've always considered that "Lawnsite", was a professional site in which professionals hang out and talk about excellence in the profession...

It would be the kind of site that the public at large could also dip into and get some insight as to what would be good or bad, to have happen in the lawn and gardens...

The trend that we see happening,,, instead of excellence in the industry, we are seeing the dis-honesty that can make you the most money in the industry...

Does anyone else have a problem with this trend or is it the way America does business now???

RussellB
11-29-2012, 09:11 AM
Not sure where your coming from. I haven't seen any dishonesty in my area. Most guys are doing a good job at a fair price.

Smallaxe
11-29-2012, 09:37 AM
I'm refering to Lawnsite conversations amongst the so-called professionals... not what is happening in your area...

There are examples...

Is it dis-honest to dump fert on frozen turf, just so you can charge for it??? How about mowing dormant grass in the drought??? How about fertilizing, during a drought???

Are these the actions of a 'professional' in the green industry??? :)

JB1
11-29-2012, 09:43 AM
I'm refering to Lawnsite conversations amongst the so-called professionals... not what is happening in your area...

There are examples...

Is it dis-honest to dump fert on frozen turf, just so you can charge for it??? How about mowing dormant grass in the drought??? How about fertilizing, during a drought???

Are these the actions of a 'professional' in the green industry??? :)


NOT DIS-honest, just people that aint got a clue.

fastlane
11-29-2012, 10:00 AM
There were, are, and all ways will be people that don't do the right thing. We are more informed now than years ago. ie-LawnSite

Richard Martin
11-29-2012, 11:20 AM
This has been going on forever here at Lawnsite. From people illegally placing flyers on mailboxes to a certain sponsor encouraging potential client lawn services to round up the estimates to make more money, there are those of us that have been fighting it the whole way.

Probably the thing that is abused most often would have to be employee hours and 1099ing employees.

GMLC
11-29-2012, 03:40 PM
Its nothing new and its in every profession. Some people really dont know better and some are really scum bags. My business was built on honesty and professionalism. It has paid off greatly over the years.
Posted via Mobile Device

CowboysLawnCareDelaware
11-29-2012, 03:52 PM
As stated their will always be those people who do it to make the extra money, as well their are those people who have contracts signed and they need to do that work so that they can comfortably put food on the table for their kids.

Is it illegal to put flyers on the side of a mailbox?(underneath the flag)
I was told that it was fine, it is only illegal to open someone else's mailbox.

I do feel that their are way to many arguments over different opinions when trying to answer someone else's questions.

-Michael

White Gardens
11-29-2012, 03:53 PM
Its nothing new and its in every profession. Some people really dont know better and some are really scum bags. My business was built on honesty and professionalism. It has paid off greatly over the years.
Posted via Mobile Device

Agreed.

I keep running across landscape installs from the so-called "higher end" companies in the area, and they either look like an 8th grader designed it or I've fixed certain aspects of the install due to poor placement or lack of material.

Funny thing is I used to defend these so-called higher end companies and their pricing until I started fixing the flaws.

We loose bids all the time being the highest bid. I don't care though as I tell those potential clients that we don't skimp on any part of the installation and the nickle and dime aspect of those details is what drives the price up. Anyone severely lower than me is usually cutting corners and not giving those potential clients a good valued end product.


..........


.....

Richard Martin
11-29-2012, 07:33 PM
Is it illegal to put flyers on the side of a mailbox?(underneath the flag)
I was told that it was fine, it is only illegal to open someone else's mailbox.


No where on the box, the post or the flag.

""No part of a mail receptacle may be used to deliver any matter not bearing postage, including items or matter placed upon, supported by, attached to, hung from, or inserted into a mail receptacle. "

http://faq.usps.com/eCustomer/iq/usps/request.do?create=kb:USPSFAQ&view()=c%5Bc_usps0916%5D&varset(source)=sourceType:embedded

CowboysLawnCareDelaware
11-29-2012, 07:36 PM
I don't do it anymore but when I first started that's how I did it, most of the smaller companies in Delaware still do it that way. Now I mail out postcards to my zipcode.

-Michael

Weekend cut easymoney
11-29-2012, 07:52 PM
No where on the box, the post or the flag.

""No part of a mail receptacle may be used to deliver any matter not bearing postage, including items or matter placed upon, supported by, attached to, hung from, or inserted into a mail receptacle. "

http://faq.usps.com/eCustomer/iq/usps/request.do?create=kb:USPSFAQ&view()=c%5Bc_usps0916%5D&varset(source)=sourceType:embedded

.....that was another example of a governmental rule that should have never hsd time spent on it....

Too many other important things to worry about...

Smallaxe
11-29-2012, 08:17 PM
So I guess that is the confirmation I expected... it IS what America has become...

I hear,,, justification,,, becuz we HAVE to do it,,, to keep FOOD on the table...

I don't buy it... I say it's a cheap shot and that we ,,, as Americans,,, build business on Truth in Service and Integrity, Over All...

Just my 2 cents... :)

Weekend cut easymoney
11-29-2012, 10:07 PM
So I guess that is the confirmation I expected... it IS what America has become...

I hear,,, justification,,, becuz we HAVE to do it,,, to keep FOOD on the table...

I don't buy it... I say it's a cheap shot and that we ,,, as Americans,,, build business on Truth in Service and Integrity, Over All...

Just my 2 cents... :)

So that makes someone a dirtbag? Putting a flyer on a mailbox?

Move along, nothing to see here!

Hardly the indicator of sociatal decline that i expected to see uncovered .

You prob. Jay walk several times a day....breakdown of society? Hardly...
Go after the scumbags cheating the little ol ladies!

trooper8870
11-29-2012, 10:48 PM
Here's some dishonesty for you. This was done by one of the upper crust lawn maintenance providers in my area. In his contract to a restaurant chain, he figured in 6 chemical treatments per year but only sprayed them twice. I imagine this is the type of dishonesty one would be talking about.

chuacro
11-29-2012, 11:17 PM
I support this site 100%. Yeah you get a few bad apples from time to time. All you have to do is asked the experts and they will give you honest help. I appreciate Richard Martin, Lifetree and many others over the past 5 years. I had David Henderson I think was in South Carolina spend alot of time on the computer and phone to help me with my walker mower. Just ignore the idiots and just look at comments from the experts.

Toro 455
11-30-2012, 05:21 AM
The trend that we see happening,,, instead of excellence in the industry, we are seeing the dis-honesty that can make you the most money in the industry...

Does anyone else have a problem with this trend or is it the way America does business now???

I think you're confusing professionalism (not being an amature) with
al∑tru∑ism
[al-troo-iz-uh m]

noun
1.
the principle or practice of unselfish concern for or devotion to the welfare of others ( opposed to egoism ).


I'd say the average LCO behaves in a respectable manner because his name is on the side of the truck. And a whole lot better than the examples we're getting from corporate America.

Pharmaceudical companies that kill people.
Peanutbutter companies and vegetable growers that poison people.
Banks that steal your money.
Phone companies that pad EVERYONE's bill.
Corporate raiders that stage hostile takeovers just to rip off fat pension funds.
And a government that gives them license to do it!

So no, I don't think that's the way America is doing business now. I think they've been at it for quite a while.

Personally I am proud to have some dirt under my fingernails. Honest work for honest pay kind of thing. I think the average LCO sets the standard for integrity in business.
I believe that's why there are so many small independent LCO's. That the lawncare business hasn't been swallowed up by corporate America like so many other industries.

I take pride in putting a little altruism in my professionalism. I think most of us do.

Smallaxe
11-30-2012, 08:11 AM
So that makes someone a dirtbag? Putting a flyer on a mailbox?

Move along, nothing to see here!

Hardly the indicator of sociatal decline that i expected to see uncovered .

You prob. Jay walk several times a day....breakdown of society? Hardly...
Go after the scumbags cheating the little ol ladies!

I don't know how your flyers even became an issue in the purpose of the original post , let alone the OBVIOUS 3 examples...

Smallaxe
11-30-2012, 08:44 AM
I agree, that contracting for 6 applications , then only spraying twice is a way of ripping people off...
I do not know if there is a valid reason in TN to contract for 6 apps and that is not within my field,,, but I can say that in WI, the very idea of contracting 4 or more fert apps IS a rip-off, and a polluter...
It is just as bad, and just as obvious as the charge of a new muffler bearing added to the invoice from your mechanic...

When I watched the "Pros" walking around spraying burnt up lawns, I figured the only thing they should have in those hoses was distilled water, but in fact it was a fungicide because the lawn didn't look healthy during the drought... :)

Smallaxe
11-30-2012, 09:13 AM
... I'd say the average LCO behaves in a respectable manner because his name is on the side of the truck. And a whole lot better than the examples we're getting from corporate America.

Pharmaceudical companies that kill people.
Peanutbutter companies and vegetable growers that poison people.
Banks that steal your money.
Phone companies that pad EVERYONE's bill.
Corporate raiders that stage hostile takeovers just to rip off fat pension funds.
And a government that gives them license to do it!

So no, I don't think that's the way America is doing business now. ...

The drugs advertised on TV,,, LIST all the side effects plainly and obviously... Stupid dope heads CHOOSE to consume them...

I'd like to see the local LCO be as obvious with their game... "WARNING: The granules on your Lawn, when the ground is frozen,,, will NOT be of any value to the Turf"
The side effects of this application MAY include,,, nitrates in the water supply... :)

Weekend cut easymoney
11-30-2012, 09:55 AM
I don't know how your flyers even became an issue in the purpose of the original post , let alone the OBVIOUS 3 examples...

I don't put flyers on mailboxes--

anyways, good to see a thread trying to hold guys more accountable-

CowboysLawnCareDelaware
11-30-2012, 10:05 AM
I don't know how your flyers even became an issue in the purpose of the original post , let alone the OBVIOUS 3 examples...

It was Richard Martin's original statement that I commented on, it may not be nearly important as putting down herbicide's during a drought or not putting down contracted fertilizer. It is a fairly large thing because almost every start up guy does his advertising this way.

I don't need everyone saying "I didn't do that" because there is no point to the argument.

-Michael

PremierT&L
11-30-2012, 11:39 AM
I am a firm believer that this stuff has a way of sorting itself out. Businesses that operate with honesty and integrity are more successful in the long run in my opinion, and businesses that engage in dishonest practices like charging for application not made eventually pay the price.

I always try to do the right thing, and I feel like it has paid off for me. I have taken over accounts where the clients fired the previous company because they suspected dishonest practices.

Marcos
12-04-2012, 11:43 AM
I'm refering to Lawnsite conversations amongst the so-called professionals... not what is happening in your area...

There are examples...

Is it dis-honest to dump fert on frozen turf, just so you can charge for it??? How about mowing dormant grass in the drought??? How about fertilizing, during a drought???

Are these the actions of a 'professional' in the green industry??? :)

This kind of crap has been going on around here for decades. Without a doubt a lot of people out there today learned these kinds of bad habits from managers they once worked for.
Back in the early 70's, lawn care companies starting with Chemlawn began to set daily / weekly individualized employee production quotas. Things went fairly smoothly during those early years. Then competition really began to heat up, driving down prices, and sometimes with that, quality of service. Soon new emerging lawn care companies began hiring half-rate managers that typically would say or do virtually anything to get the sale. This poor middle-management eventually led to increasingly poorer training and supervison of lawn care technicians. It was around this point - approximately early to mid 90's - that customer service in the lawn care industry hit absolute rock bottom. It has yet to see a spark of genuine recovery.


I've come to learn not to dispariage folks who mow unirrigated drought-striken turf or fertilize frozen ground. There are legitimate reasons why this sometimes happens. They're not sophisticated enough to understand that they need to expand their skill set into other areas (such as irrigation, stonework, pavers, lighting, ponds, younameit...)
Or...they have a STUPID manager! :laugh:

Fert33
12-04-2012, 07:24 PM
In my area I wouldn't really call it dishonesty. We have a lot of guys under cutting price, because they don't have a clue on how to price. They don't have certain licenses they need to do the work they are doing. On second thought.....they probably do know that they have no clue, but act as if they do. Business ethics is an issue that can and will be argued for years to come.

Smallaxe
12-05-2012, 08:15 AM
It is interesting to hear how people think about the way the business is going in their neighborhoods...
I agree that most novices are clueless and they onlyimitate the big boys to schedule their apps, maintenance and mowings in a monkey see monkey do manner... My hope there is that eventually they learn what is really happening in the life of the plants under their care...
I do not agree that there is ever a legitimate reason to mow dustbowls or fertilize frozen turf... Not only will I disparage their business practices to their clients I even call them reckless foolish and may need to be presented to the BBB... these people are a joke and make the industry look exactly as people suspectted all along,,, chronic unemployables who are mentally challenged... :)

trooper8870
12-09-2012, 10:38 PM
I agree, that contracting for 6 applications , then only spraying twice is a way of ripping people off...
I do not know if there is a valid reason in TN to contract for 6 apps and that is not within my field,,, but I can say that in WI, the very idea of contracting 4 or more fert apps IS a rip-off, and a polluter...
It is just as bad, and just as obvious as the charge of a new muffler bearing added to the invoice from your mechanic...

When I watched the "Pros" walking around spraying burnt up lawns, I figured the only thing they should have in those hoses was distilled water, but in fact it was a fungicide because the lawn didn't look healthy during the drought... :)

Check this out---- some of the lawn sprayers here apply up to 9 treatments per year. These cats are killing lawns by the dozens! It is a shame at the money they rake in for killing these peoples lawns by spraying and fertilizing lawns in July and August when there has been no rain for weeks and the temp is 100 degrees.

weeze
12-11-2012, 04:48 PM
i don't pay attention to what everyone else is doing. i just do my own thing. it works for me.

johnnybravo8802
12-19-2012, 05:32 AM
As stated their will always be those people who do it to make the extra money, as well their are those people who have contracts signed and they need to do that work so that they can comfortably put food on the table for their kids.

Is it illegal to put flyers on the side of a mailbox?(underneath the flag)
I was told that it was fine, it is only illegal to open someone else's mailbox.

I do feel that their are way to many arguments over different opinions when trying to answer someone else's questions.

-Michael
It's only illegal to put your flyer or business card inside a mailbox, not on the outside. If it were illegal to put on the outside, all kinds of people would be fined or locked up-we see it all the time.

jrs.landscaping
12-19-2012, 03:03 PM
As far as the business practices, we had one instance where another company handled fert and we handled the mowing. The property had no irrigation, right before the worst part of the drought for us the company lays down an app of fert!!? Good thing the property was a contract, if it was pay per mow we would have lost over 3k waiting for the grass to recover. On the other side if it was pay per mow what are we supposed to do with the cooked turf?
We have pay per mow accounts that if the grass is brown, and we leave it they will call the next day wondering why we weren't there to make tracks. Every situation is different, because one LCO mows in a drought because of inexperience doesn't mean we all fall into that catagory. Sometimes customers/situations dictate our actions, just my take on it.

yardguy28
12-19-2012, 03:45 PM
I've always considered that "Lawnsite", was a professional site in which professionals hang out and talk about excellence in the profession...

It would be the kind of site that the public at large could also dip into and get some insight as to what would be good or bad, to have happen in the lawn and gardens...

The trend that we see happening,,, instead of excellence in the industry, we are seeing the dis-honesty that can make you the most money in the industry...

Does anyone else have a problem with this trend or is it the way America does business now???

well if I understand you right the kind of dishonesty I think you are referring to is things like getting everyone (LCO's) together and raising the market price as high as you can. things like charging extremely high amounts just because you can. payment methods that involve clients paying x amount each year no matter how little work is done.

and yes I do have a problem with this way of doing business and that's why I don't do business that way.

when I set my prices I did 2 things. called a few friends in the business to see what they charge for the different sizes of properties and I made a budget to see what my cost of living was and decided just how much profit I needed for that cost of living. then I made my prices.

I don't charge this amount or that amount because that's what the market is baring. I charge what I charge because that's what I need to turn the profit I need for my budget.

for example my min is $25. that's what I need to turn a profit for my budget. my friends min is $40. could I raise my rate clearly I could. but I don't need to for my budget and there'd be a lot of smaller yards I'd loose because that's extremely high for those size of yards.

I also invoice at the end of the month for work actually performed. no contracts or payment plans where the client may end up paying for 34 mows and only receive 28 because of a drought.

jrs.landscaping
12-19-2012, 04:06 PM
@ Yardguy, I agree with some of your points. We shouldn't push our prices beyond what our area can handle, but we should get decent rates for our services. On contracts it depends on the customer, some just want to know things will be taken care of and they don't have to babysit their property. I also agree with some of the larger companies and the "quality" they say they provide on installs. Then when we take over the maintenance we are left with a mess.

yardguy28
12-19-2012, 05:54 PM
@ Yardguy, I agree with some of your points. We shouldn't push our prices beyond what our area can handle, but we should get decent rates for our services. On contracts it depends on the customer, some just want to know things will be taken care of and they don't have to babysit their property. I also agree with some of the larger companies and the "quality" they say they provide on installs. Then when we take over the maintenance we are left with a mess.

oh I agree we should get decent rates. but a lot of guys push and push and push beyond what there area can handle.

I do sort of see where guys using contracts are coming from its just for me. I prefer to do the work and invoice for what work I actually did. I'd have a hard time adding up all my services for a year and charging the client 12 monthly payments because a large part of that price is mowings. but in the long run if they were willing to do it I would agree.

Sean Adams
12-20-2012, 01:51 PM
I think it is a combination of several things....

1.) There will always be people operating dishonestly - in every business, in every industry.

2.) There are people that just don't know any better.

3.) There is not much barrier to entry into this industry.

4.) The focus on money versus a quality service at a fair price is in large part because consumers are different now than they were 5, 10, 15, 20 years ago. People are connected, they have access to more information, they are more price concious than ever before, and a struggling economy doesn't help either.

Certainly doesn't excuse people intentionally being dishonest.

As service providers in the industry, we have to take a different approach.