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spat
03-05-2003, 11:08 PM
I did a bid this morning for a tiny yard 60x120 I thought it would be a quickie 10 min. So I told her 50 a month. She wanted me to mow right then...As soon as I fired up the mower I was swarmed by residents 9 in all same bid and mowed them all with 10 more to bid in the morning . Sounds good right! Well the yards are too small, I was using a 36 w/b and it kicked my butt 22 to 30 min ( whole lotta trimming) just bad angles with the trees and fences. Looks like I will be doing the whole subdivision, 100 plus. Now the Question.... I need prouductivity!!!!

I took some measurements, and I cant go any bigger than a 36 and a w/b is to long, What are my options? I was thinking a 36" wright stander. Any Ideas? I will post photos tommorow night.

molivares
03-05-2003, 11:25 PM
Well this seems like good news for you I can't answer your question but there does seem to be business in florida. This is good for my research let my know how much better you make out and good luck.

Ric
03-05-2003, 11:44 PM
spat


You won't believe now. But you are way to cheap on your price. That why everyone wants you to bid there lawns. Ask your self this Question. Who was cutting there lawn before you showed up. Will they dump you in the fall.

coonman
03-06-2003, 12:03 AM
The stander might work. We have several small yards like that. Believe it or not we can do them faster with the 21 inch Toro than the larger mower because of the fences,trees and bad angles.

good luck

bastalker
03-06-2003, 12:07 AM
If you went from 10 mins to 30 mins. you bid to low. Sounds like there isn't much more you can do for productivity, seeing that you cant get a bigger mower...... $25.00 is usually minimum per cut. I dont drop my gate for less than $30.00 no matter how small it is. As it is your working for less than $30.00 an hour...GL to ya!:drinkup:

spat
03-06-2003, 12:18 AM
I shoot for 50 to 60 per hour! and I have them set up on a annual contract for 42 cuts a year. $14.28 per cut, I can do 8 without moving the truck. So I low balled it to get the whole street.

But I am the first one in here...it all brand new! I thought it would be 10 min! I have lots twice the size I do in 12- 14 min!
It was the first day out there...I should get faster

molivares
03-06-2003, 12:19 AM
I did some more research is this the norm in your area?

I looked up the Yellow pages on the interenet and found 104 Lawn care business in my county only Osceola Fl.

I looked up the county after this 203 Lawn care business in Polk FL.

I looked at some of the ad's and they went something like this lawn cuttings starting at $15.

Is this the norm is this area mowing for $15?

is the Orlando area over populated with lawn care businesses that they have to start this low?

spat
03-06-2003, 12:23 AM
Well depends where you are...I have some at 50 a month and I have one at 550 and most in the 90 to 130 range.

Jason Rose
03-06-2003, 12:25 AM
I know I may get bashed for this mower recomendation but here it is: Troybuilt 33" wide cut, I have one and have for 4 years now, I love that machine for those small 10 minute yards. It will fit almost anywhere and is light enough that it won't drag you into the fences and siding. The price is right too, Lowes $1,399 I believe. Oh well, just my $.02.

molivares
03-06-2003, 12:28 AM
I found this on the web:

Complaints.com received the following e-message on August 14, 2001:

From: Suzi [slpierce@jps.net]

RE: Troybuilt lawnmowers

Thank you for your service. Troybuilt may make a decent tiller but they make a lousy mower. We've had ours in the shop and the fabulous 7 year warranty that sold us the machine doesn't stand up.

The senior service technician we spoke with at Troybuilt was arrogant and refused service to our dealer. We paid about $1000 for this mower and we are ready to dump it.

spat
03-06-2003, 12:31 AM
I was thinking along those lines too. There is one between 2 accounts I got today and I did not talk to them yet. On that lot I will have a scalping issue due to little pointless ridges 2' high all along the back yard . Prob for drainage

Awilkinson
03-06-2003, 12:31 AM
What about the new Greatdane with the flip up? I hear it is a 52" that flips to 36". and there is always the flex-deck! LOL:angel:

spat
03-06-2003, 12:43 AM
Might be a option but there are little peninsulas of turf 3 to 4 feet wide and 8 to 10 foot deep going into the beds. so a little ztr I think is the key, This gear t bar does not like going backwards.

PaulJ
03-06-2003, 01:14 AM
First is your 36" a hydro? That would speed things up. Next get a sulky. If length is a consider the velkie x2 would probably be best because it can be tied up out of the way easily and swings under neath the arm when backing up.

Next you might try a 48" hydro, unless your dealing with gates on all of them. I say this because the size of yard you mentioned is about normal here. A few smaller ones a few larger. I use to do 2500 sq ft yard with grapevines and trees and landscaping with a 48" hydro ok. I took a bit of creative handling but it fit. It is amazing the tight spots you can do with a hydro that a belt drive just can't get to productively.

You could also consider a 26" walkbind like the kees or johson or encore. you give up some size but you might gain maneuverability.

Well that's just a couple ideas, but i agree you did under bid a bit. That size of yard takes me about 30 to 35 minutes with my 36" with trimming and blowing, and sometimes bagging.

Well that's just a couple idea FWIW

Envy Lawn Service
03-06-2003, 02:22 AM
Originally posted by spat
the yards are too small, I was using a 36 w/b and it kicked my butt 22 to 30 min ( whole lotta trimming) just bad angles with the trees and fences. Looks like I will be doing the whole subdivision, 100 plus. Now the Question.... I need prouductivity!!!!

I took some measurements, and I cant go any bigger than a 36 and a w/b is to long, What are my options? I was thinking a 36" wright stander. Any Ideas? I will post photos tommorow night.

Belt WB? Husqvarna 36" fixed w/ETS = 66" long
Hydro WB? Great Dane Scamper 36" = 63"
Stander? Great Dane Super Surfer 36" = 55"
(don't know Wright Stander deminsions)

Lenght has been one of my considerations. These are the shortest I know of. I'd get a Stander or a Hydro WB & caster sulky or Pro-Slide.

It's a shame you can't get atleast a 48" in the lawns. The Husqvarna 48" fixed hydro w/ETS is shorter at 64". The Scamper stays at 63" and the Super Surfer just increases to 59" long.

Also remember Wright has a 42" Stander if you can squeeze that one in.

I hope that info helps!

65hoss
03-06-2003, 06:42 AM
Originally posted by spat
I did a bid this morning for a tiny yard 60x120 I thought it would be a quickie 10 min. So I told her 50 a month. She wanted me to mow right then...As soon as I fired up the mower I was swarmed by residents 9 in all same bid and mowed them all with 10 more to bid in the morning . Sounds good right! Well the yards are too small, I was using a 36 w/b and it kicked my butt 22 to 30 min ( whole lotta trimming) just bad angles with the trees and fences. Looks like I will be doing the whole subdivision, 100 plus. Now the Question.... I need prouductivity!!!!

I took some measurements, and I cant go any bigger than a 36 and a w/b is to long, What are my options? I was thinking a 36" wright stander. Any Ideas? I will post photos tommorow night.

UUUGGGGHHHH!!!
60x120=7200sf
You just bid 7200 sf property for $12.50 per cut. You now will have 20 customers for only $1000 per month. At 30 minutes each you will spend 10 hours per week there. That is 40 hours per month for $1000. Not to mention, but your having to drive to the neighborhood 4 times also. This stuff adds up. Your not making enough off them to pay for another mower. Hell, your hardly making enough to bother with cutting them. Florida heat, gas prices up, mower prices up, insurance up, parts up, etc, you are killing yourself for nothing. Oh, did I mention taxes too.

Don't give me the "my market" stuff. If you actually believe that is the market in your area, you need to sell the equipment and do something else. Why work for free?

Envy Lawn Service
03-06-2003, 01:16 PM
I did a bid this morning for a tiny yard 60x120 I thought it would be a quickie 10 min. So I told her 50 a month. She wanted me to mow right then...As soon as I fired up the mower I was swarmed by residents 9 in all same bid and mowed them all with 10 more to bid in the morning . Sounds good right! Well the yards are too small, I was using a 36 w/b and it kicked my butt 22 to 30 min ( whole lotta trimming) just bad angles with the trees and fences. Looks like I will be doing the whole subdivision, 100 plus. Now the Question.... I need prouductivity!!!!

65hoss,

I agree the price is too low for 1/2 hrs work. I don't think anyone would argue that. But as you can see, he "thought" he could knock them out in 10 minutes each. Plus he feels he has a very good chance to get the entire subdivision at that price. No travel except to and from the area for 100 cuts.

100x$50=$5,000 divided by 67-70 hrs a month = $70-$74 an hour based on the time he "thought" it would take per lawn. Now of course he could have made these small lawns a lot more profitable. But that's not bad!

But, he's not asking for a criticism on his pricing. He realizes he's getting his butt kicked here and admits it. However he is asking for suggestions on how to go about speeding things up so he can make money here.

Since most of us "mortals" have made a pricing mistake or mis-judged a property at some point in our business lives, I suggest this to you, how about saying something constructive to help him out of this bind?

Your post was rude and uncalled for!

I was using a 36 w/b and it kicked my butt 22 to 30 min ( whole lotta trimming) just bad angles with the trees and fences.

Taking this into account, you might want to invest in one of those short hydro walks, castor sulky/Proslide and a Flex-Deck, seriously! Where you at Brad? Usually you are all over posts like this!!! You are slipping on us when you are needed most!

:D

David Gretzmier
03-06-2003, 01:39 PM
It sounds like a stander or super surfer in the 36"range would help, mulch the grass only, and get a good weed trimmer guy. truth be told, we have alot of accounts at $90 per month, but then up here we only mow 26-34 times per year.

If I was just starting out, and mow 15 a day by myself, with a good 36"setup, and you go 5 days a week, you could still only do 75 houses. at 45 grand per year, You'd probably cover the over head of the equipment and gas and truck, given that you could use the truck for personal use, One neighborhood, and you get off for 12 weks, you could eke out a living at 25-30 grand per year. probably more than you'd make at mcDonalds, no a/c outside, but then you get off for 12 weeks to. Not alot of future in it, but not bankrupcy either.

dave g

65hoss
03-06-2003, 05:27 PM
Originally posted by Envy Lawn Service
65hoss,

I agree the price is too low for 1/2 hrs work. I don't think anyone would argue that. But as you can see, he "thought" he could knock them out in 10 minutes each. Plus he feels he has a very good chance to get the entire subdivision at that price. No travel except to and from the area for 100 cuts.

100x$50=$5,000 divided by 67-70 hrs a month = $70-$74 an hour based on the time he "thought" it would take per lawn. Now of course he could have made these small lawns a lot more profitable. But that's not bad!

But, he's not asking for a criticism on his pricing. He realizes he's getting his butt kicked here and admits it. However he is asking for suggestions on how to go about speeding things up so he can make money here.

Since most of us "mortals" have made a pricing mistake or mis-judged a property at some point in our business lives, I suggest this to you, how about saying something constructive to help him out of this bind?

Your post was rude and uncalled for!

:D

Envy, this is called a learning experience. Everyone else considering these "maybe more accounts" tactics will learn from this. Don't suggest anything to me. Until you have helped even 1/2 the people I have on here you can shut the hell up. My post was NOT RUDE. It was very factual. Reread it!!! I broke it out into detail. Its called reality.

Something else that is needed to be considered is opportunity cost. You could do 1/2 the number of lawns for twice the price had this been done correctly. 100 7k lawns per week is rediculous for $5000 per month. That is a phenominal amount of work for only $5000. That is 100 break your neck jobs per week for $1250. I can tell you, ITS NOT WORTH IT. The cost involved in that many 7000sf lawns is more than you think. The number of lawns a person does is irrelavant. Its profit. Some people base off of numbers of lawns, but that will get you out of biz faster than anything else.

My suggestion now is that everyone else that you deal with raise the price. Don't get suckered into "well your doing her's for $50 a month." Price it right. If they walk, let them. If you don't you will wish you had. Do it right and survive. Also, don't think you will raise them next year. Most will leave you. Someone else will come in and say I'll do them cheaper to get my foot in the door. You will work all year for them to leave next season. If you decide to get 100 of them you will be spending at least 50 hrs per week there. You will need a stander. But remember you need to pay for that machine. They are not cheap. With 100 7k lawns per week you will put lots of hours on it. You are not going to make enough not only to recover the cost of the machine then, but you will need to allocate money to buy another one later because of the extreme wear on 1 mower doing 100 lawns each week. Work smarter not harder.

Randy Scott
03-06-2003, 05:50 PM
Originally posted by spat
So I low balled it to get the whole street.

Great strategy there. Lowballing 10 properties is just as bad as lowballing one property. Oh wait, it's worse, now you have 10 properties you are losing money on, or barely making money on. Not good planning there. I guess chalk it up as a learning experience. I would say a small Stander would be good, if not, it's looking like 21 inch pushers. Have fun.

LANDGUARD
03-06-2003, 06:08 PM
Spat

I think you are on the right track with a Stander. If I'm not mistaken you stated that this place is brand new, so that tells me that the sod is still very rough. As the year goes on the sod will level out and the mowing will get easier. Try to sell the residents some sand to level the areas now instead of letting it settle. The pricing is what it is for now but can be adjusted for the rest of the accounts you quote. If there are a lot of funky angles maybe you can get some customers to extend some beds together to get them to flowwwww.

Best of Luck

Fantasy Lawns
03-06-2003, 06:28 PM
http://fantasylawns.com/26.jpg

We serviced 127 today (30 Man Hours we were humping to get tommarrow off with next week my foremen's Vacation time before Summer) all this with (2) 42" Mulch Deck Walkers (mow time was 13 hours that bout 5 min per yard).... fronts & sides .... backs are extra (we do 70 of the backs .... most are open about 20 with gates) .....that comes to about 14 minutes per yard

We really average about 35 Hours 6 months of the year .... 4 of the hot summer months take bout 50-55 Hours ... other 2 are bout 40-45 .... BUT when we first started ... the first time was all most 70 hours .... so Yes a learning curve does come in

Ssoooo in other words if it takes 20-30 NOW .... it's gonna be alot more come June

The price per yard would kill most here .... lowball NO ... but to get the whole HOA the price had to be "competive" .... with Common Grounds n Extras it's a fat account .... but we have the proper equip

An operation with 36" WB could NOT compete with my price .... unless they just wanted to mow for Free .... if your serious about volume mowing down here you need a Walker for the tight bed ridden yards that are everywhere down here ....n a fat 60" for the larger yards & common areas or retention ponds

I can't say for the Stander ... as I do see em around .yet have not run one ... I just am spoiled on a sit down our front deck mower to reduce trimming

Flex-Deck
03-06-2003, 06:52 PM
Yes, there is the Flex-Deck - You do not have to go between stuff to mow between stuff - It makes a 36" WB into a 54" WB that will mow between 24" stuffhttp://36X

nelbuts
03-06-2003, 07:57 PM
If all you are going to do is mow, trim, and blow then yes you may be a little cheap but you should be able to put a ZTR on that many yards and knock them out. Look at it this way, four people cand do that place in 4-5 hours. If you have a 100 and they are paying you $5000 a month then you would be making $78 per hour. Labor in your area with all related cost involved would be about $15 per hour. Then equip. cost and such and you could make a good little profit. Just make sure that you organize to make the most of your labor.

ToG
03-06-2003, 09:34 PM
hey, any of you florida guys work in any of the follwing??

falcons trace

heathrow

victoria park

st. johns

james island

just wondering, i helped irrigate, sod, and landscape tons of those homes.

spat
03-06-2003, 09:44 PM
OK...today I did 8 more today. With an average time of 18 min. With a belt walk-behind. I also jot a chance to demo a 44 toro z on site. Did that one in 17 min, it was just a bit to wide for the small lawn. So I think with the wright stander 36 I would be in the 12 to 13 min range. That would be $600.00 per year, per yard! I bid at 14.28 per cut (42 times a year). With the 13 min time I can do 30 in a day (little over 8 hours).

In conclusion
30 cuts a day for 5 days 150 total
Now I bid 50 bucks a month! for 42 cuts!
so I will have a light winter. and 7500 a month comming in every month! thats 90k a year!

I know I am new at this. 2nd week!
but it looks like when I get the hang of this These$50 jobs will be making 60-65 an hour!

spat
03-06-2003, 09:55 PM
Oh and to a few of you...I would like to thank you for helping me with my mistake! I dont think I made a mistake, I feel I bid properly, I just can mow worth **** and I have about 6 hours of trimming time under my belt (LIFETIME EXPERIENCE). So when I get as good as you! I will be making 65-70 an hour on those UNDER BID jobs. Lighten up..I just wanted help...not a bashing.

And with 2 weeks into this I have 19 annual contracts with 15 pending. And 60 or 70 of those $50 houses if I want them!

Bluesteel
03-06-2003, 10:24 PM
"Need some epert advice" ???

How can you say you only have about 6 hours of running a trimmer and think you bid on these properties correctly? You got some straight advice from professionals and turned your nose up at it. So why even ask?

Iím holding back what I want to say (and what I bet many others want to say). Think about it, whatís the most logical reason you got that many accounts in two days when you're so new? I hope you get what you deserve. Sure sounds like it.

TaussigLawnCare
03-06-2003, 10:42 PM
okay EVERYONE low balled it their first year or two it happens once you get your customer list up and you eat your losses and build on it and next year raise them up some and drop your lowest paying once and build on it. It takes time to become a strong business and in the begining everyone makes mistakes. those are some small yards I bet if you got them all in a row you could pull some fast work. I like my 36 in toro and it does my small jobs great and the price was right.

brucec32
03-06-2003, 10:53 PM
I would suspect that if you got that much business that fast (flocking out of homes to flag you down!) you may not be charging the market rate.

Maybe you can figure a way to make it pay good, some of the number crunching gets difficult unless one has seen the properties in person, but if I really did make a big mistake on pricing I would just call or write everyone and frankly let them know I was inexperienced in pricing and that I just underbid. I don't recall if you said you had contracts signed, but if not, you DID mow their lawns for the price you said you would the first time. Less than $15 to have your lawn mowed is really cheap, no matter how small. But if you're honest with them, many should keep you on. I can't imagine someone balking if you asked another $3 or so per cut, but then I hear they have some really tight retirees in Florida.

I do some cluster home back yards only with lawns about the size of my bedroom, and have had no problems getting my minimum, $22, and they don't have the obstacles and tight spots you mentioned(gates, but no obstacles). I can unload, mow, trim, edge, blow and reload and be gone in 12 minutes if mulching. I live in a big metro area and drive time matters more, and doing several at a time saves time, of course, but load/unload time for me isn't more than about a minute a lawn, so if I mow in 12 minutes, and average 5 minutes drive time, I made $22 in 17 minutes.

Keep in mind that you need rest, and a great way to get it as a solo operator is drive time. Of course doing 4 or 5 of these tiny lawns at a time is easy, but once it's 2-3 hours at a time on site, you really need to factor in rest time into the bid.

Let me add this too: block pricing is a double edged sword. Easy come, easy go. Make someone mad, get a jerk customer with influence and a big mouth, or just get underbid and you can loose em all real quick too. Our market is more spread out and doesn't have as many small lawns and people are not into buying services as a block here, so it may not be the same situation, but my policy has been to give only modest discounts, if any, for neighbors, because if some drop out, the rest will not put up with you charging them more. If a lawn costs out at $35, and I do the neighbor's too...I price it at $35 unless I get the feeling they will call someone else up and want a price for both lawns. Then I might do both for $30 each (halving what I charge for drive time between the two customers) This way doing multiple lawns makes ME more money and benefits me, not saves them money and benefits THEM. Not a hard and fast rule, but I try to not leave money on the table.

JimLewis
03-06-2003, 11:05 PM
I am with Ric and Bluesteel and the others.

First, you bid these WAY too low. It seems like good money to you now. But that's because you are still too new to realize how much it REALLY costs to run a good, legitimate, operation. I'd charge a minimum of $105 per month for each of these places. Maybe down to $90 once I got like 30 or 40 in a row. But $50 is WAY WAY WAY too low for almost any property.

Second, we do a lot of properties like this - with postage stamp sized lawns. In fact, most of our lawns are like this. Between 1000 - 3000 sq. ft. total. 21" Commercial Hondas work great for smaller lawns like this. We can mow and edge most of our properties in 15 minutes or so. And our base price is $115 per month. $105 if they're REALLY small and I have a lot in that neighborhood.

I'd say you're onto something good but you may find that you've blocked out several days of your schedule with a bunch of $50 a month accounts when you could have waited a little, done some more research, and ended up filling those same days with just as many $100 or $130 a month accounts.

There is a downside to getting a ton of people right next door too. Once you screw up (e.g. have some equipment problems, vehicle problems, employee problems, etc. that results in a delay or decrease in quality in their service) then EVERYONE will be talking about you. And as soon as one or two of them fire you, the rest will start dropping too. You gotta REALLY watch your toes when you do a bunch of people all on the same block who are close together. Just don't screw up.

TotalCareSolutions
03-06-2003, 11:10 PM
spat, id just like to wish you success.

remember, always try to keep your words tender and tasteful...
for tomarrow you may have to eat them.

JimLewis
03-06-2003, 11:36 PM
Listen, Spat. I know you think these $50 a month accounts are just gold right now. And reading more of this thread, I see you are pretty arrogant about it too. No problem. You'll learn. But consider this;

How many of these $50 a month accounts do you think you can do in one day? 25? Maybe $30? Let's suppose you're REALLY good and did 35 in a day. That's a net of $1750 per month for that day. I got you beat by over $1000 PER DAY! On thursday, for instance, my 1st crew does 22 homes, in 8-10 hours, at an average of $125.45 per home, for a total of $2670 per month.

So you'll be working your *** off doing 35 places a day and STILL MAKING $1000 less than a company like ours.

And here's the kicker - That money is YEAR ROUND. We charge a flat, year round rate, even though we only come once or twice in winter months. So that $2670 will still be coming in in the middle of December or January while you're trying to find work.

You'd have to mow 55 lawns per day to equal up to what we make in a day. And THAT'S why I am saying you've underbid. You could be getting so much more. And one day, you'll find out that you HAVE to charge a lot more, just to keep up with all of the business and life expenses there are.

Well, you asked for expert advice. You've been given a lot of it. If you decide to continue to ignore it, I guess that's your problem.

brucec32
03-06-2003, 11:42 PM
Steve,

Is that St. Augustine? Being relatively coarse bladed and mowed tall, seems like it would mulch well. Some of the grass I mow here is dense as a door mat, more than a 1/2" to take off and you're in trouble. But those small lots add up, I'd hate to have to dispose of clippings on all those lawns. You mentioned walkers....you use the GTS on these lawns? What other types of grass do they use there and what would you say is the most common? I'm just amazed how everything is so much greener there.

The overall landscapes in that part of Florida look so good. Nice n' neat. Here there's all sorts of stuff dropping on them all the time, and it's just not as lush looking. I'm starting to hate the lawns here in Atlanta. The Fescue looks crummy during summer, doesn't fill in bare spots, and the Bermuda looks crummy the other times and is a pain to mow on top of that. You have to fight to grow good lawns in this red clay. The year round mowing schedule there also sounds nice.
Hard to imagine mowing in Jan/Feb. But I did rent a house there last year in January and I was swimming in the pool.

spat
03-07-2003, 12:50 AM
Ok... let me climb onto my soap box.

Bluesteel,jimlewis,ric and "the others"

1) There is no "crew" just myself and a partner. Deduct your Workman's comp, employee abuse of YOUR equipment, salary and many more expenses. That extra 1000 is gone. Do the math

2) My goal is to be "exclusive" to this subdivision and work out a HOA deal. " please don't comment" this is a thread of its own.

3)Arrogant. Yes, next!

4) The advice I was seeking was a productivity issue. Not " you bid too low" your "stupid" or "your new and will make mistakes"

Now to elaborate on my initial post!

1) I would like to know of an efficient way to trim along a block house while maintaining minimal contact with the painted surface without the aid of round-up. (Due to a new Florida law)

2) A type of mower that will increase productivity on a newly sodded and irrigated St. Augustine lawn. These lawns have many small pine trees in rows along the back yard 38" to 40" from the rear of the property to a fence that runs the width of all lots.
There are no gates or fences between the lots. With a 36 belt w/b the geometry of the operator and the machine is not in his favor, due to the small maneuvering space. These lots have a 60" to 80" wide strip between houses, in witch has an a/c unit (approx 3x3 concrete pad)
The rear has an average of 15' deep x 45' wide
The front has 5 feet to side-walk and 3 feet between side-walk and curb.

If you feel you need to bash me....Please get up from your computer and go beat your wife, grab a beer and go watch some nascar.

Please Educated responses only, In a professorial manner.

I have been able to weed thru the bashing and get a little info,
brucec32 ,nelbuts, TaussigLawnCare, TotalCareSolutions thank you. Sorry I if missed a few.

Fantasy Lawns
I think you understand my overall intentions...and thank you

JimLewis
03-07-2003, 12:57 AM
Please Educated responses only, In a professorial manner. Um. That's what you got. It's sorry you don't realize it. Next time instead of saying, "Need some expert advice", just title your thread, "Need some advice only from those who agree with me."

mowngrow
03-07-2003, 01:01 AM
yazoo-kees claims that their w/b is 18" shorter than their comp.
that might be something to think about

spat
03-07-2003, 01:18 AM
and just to get back to jimlewis

Lawn service to be on a weekly basis for the months of April, May, June, July, August, September and October and on a bi-weekly basis or as needed for the months of November, December, January, February and March. I use only annual contracts with payment in advance. I take Visa, Mastercard and AE and debit from my truck! and auto check draft is in the process. SO $50 per month per lot, potential of 100's this season and a total of 6000 homes planned by 2006.
So 6000x$50=300,000 per month. 3.6 mil a year not including common areas. An hoa deal early on is the plan.Now if you want to bash me while straying off topic fine. If you would like to see my 220 page business plan and 2 years of research on the "green industry" and this planned community fine. The lowball is to keep people like you out so I may reap the rewards of the quantity. All I was looking for was simple advice on basics. The elementary learning curve of the field work is the only issue. The info I am seeking is to ensure that my goals on "time" may be met. My expenses in relation of the above mentioned "goals" should bring in excess of 500k a year to me. Oh...Have you ever thought to lowball your bid and make your profit on the extras? It has works fine for me in the 8 years I have been estimating commercial electrical projects. My involvement with this community at this stage is "market research" And I am doing other communities in order to gain more "field knowledge". If you would like to stand toe to toe in a corporate environment, I would own you! My verbage and intention of my initial post was to get info from "lawn guys" about the industry practices in the field. Not the way I do business, Please let my Lawyer, Accountant, Investors and analyst handle it. Now back to the "topic"

Envy Lawn Service
03-07-2003, 01:40 AM
Originally posted by mowngrow
yazoo-kees claims that their w/b is 18" shorter than their comp.
that might be something to think about

I got info VERY EARLY about this machine, the new floating deck kutter hydro. I was all excited about the new design and the claimed deminsions.

Truth is after getting the literature, the dang thing is 70" long!!! :angry:

18" SHORTER THAN WHAT????:angry:

What MFG makes an 88" long walkbehind? That's just plain false advertising! Plus it's only avaiable in 48" and 52" which wouldn't help him any. Like I said earlier, Yazoo's fixed deck mowers are shorter.

Fantasy Lawns
03-07-2003, 02:04 AM
http://fantasylawns.com/7.jpg

Spat:

Please don't read between the lines ... what I DO n what others or your own self do is TWO different things ... first off ... I come in with a team focused on ONE task ..... 1,2 or 3 weed eat ...1 or 2 edge .... 1 or 2 mow ..... as a group we gain scales of economy n perform a job mmmuuch quicker than a solo or 2 .... I have read Many of the post .... n fore the most they have good advice (Jim L is RIGHT on target) ... each market is different but unless we Rreally know our own COST it is Impossible to apply a realistic Rate ..... so Know your cost n go from there

We come in perform the work ... like an army team ..... this takes years of experience ..... DO NOT for 1 minute believe that 1 can just 'jump in' and do the same thing ..... Ennnjjjoyy your learning YEARS .... Undersstand that Others MAY have SOME sort of advice

Spat .... go fore what you believe ...... if it becomes REAL than great ... killer ....IF NOT ... than Learn .... what could I have do different.... HOW should I have responded to such a Deal .... believe me HOA's are NOT fore everone .... they are vvverrryyy cost cutting ..... YET if worked with ....they CAN come your way .... But this takes Years of them being FOOLED by the FOOLS n you proving Else ways from good quallity work .....just remember

"The Sour

Taste of Poor Quality Last much Longer

than the Sweetness of a Cheap Price"

What this means is the 127 I have are "under contract" ..... I may work for each 127 in a way by themselves .... BUT the PM pays the bills .... so I keep the most of them happy n they ALL Pay .... do NOT get into a multi-contract deal with out a PM ..... otherwise there are just TOO many bosses ..... than issues come up n the phone will become a Night Mare ..... Good Luck in 2003

spat
03-07-2003, 02:34 AM
I do believe your right. Something I overlooked, So you would rather deal with the billing headaches of many in order to "keep your baskets separate". Point taken....Thank you this will valuable.

spat
03-07-2003, 02:45 AM
Also any ideas for efficiency?

JimLewis
03-07-2003, 02:55 AM
Whoa! One minute you're telling us all that it's okay to charge $50 a month because you don't have the kind of expenses that we do. All of the "Workman's comp, employee abuse of YOUR equipment, salary and many more expenses" (your exact words).

Then the next minute you're talking about doing $3.6 Mil. / year?

That's my whole point! What seems like good money NOW (when it's just you and your partner) isn't NEARLY good when you add in all the costs of doing business. So either 1) You're going to have to encounter these expenses (and then realize that $50 a month isn't profitable) or 2) you and your miracle partner are somehow going to do $3.6 Mil / year on your own. You can't have it both ways, man.

I am glad you mentioned your amazing success in your previous field. And how you're such a wonder in the corporate field that if you stood toe to toe with guys like me you'd, how'd did you say it? You'd.... "own me?" Hmmm. Very impressive. I wonder, though, if you're such a wonder, and it was going SOOO well in your previous electrical job, then why are you starting careers all over again??? It would seem that someone so impressive would be worth millions to corporate America. I guess they just didn't appreciate your true value, is that it?

LOL. I don't think I've ever seen someone so full of themselves and ignorant at the same time. You've sure made a great first impression here at this site. LOL!

65hoss
03-07-2003, 06:48 AM
Originally posted by spat
and just to get back to jimlewis

Lawn service to be on a weekly basis for the months of April, May, June, July, August, September and October and on a bi-weekly basis or as needed for the months of November, December, January, February and March. I use only annual contracts with payment in advance. I take Visa, Mastercard and AE and debit from my truck! and auto check draft is in the process. SO $50 per month per lot, potential of 100's this season and a total of 6000 homes planned by 2006.
So 6000x$50=300,000 per month. 3.6 mil a year not including common areas. An hoa deal early on is the plan.Now if you want to bash me while straying off topic fine. If you would like to see my 220 page business plan and 2 years of research on the "green industry" and this planned community fine. The lowball is to keep people like you out so I may reap the rewards of the quantity. All I was looking for was simple advice on basics. The elementary learning curve of the field work is the only issue. The info I am seeking is to ensure that my goals on "time" may be met. My expenses in relation of the above mentioned "goals" should bring in excess of 500k a year to me. Oh...Have you ever thought to lowball your bid and make your profit on the extras? It has works fine for me in the 8 years I have been estimating commercial electrical projects. My involvement with this community at this stage is "market research" And I am doing other communities in order to gain more "field knowledge".
This has awakened me more this morning than my coffee. :D
Every off season someone like you comes here with monster plans to own the market. No experience, but some number crunching. Funny thing is, they never seem to be back with a success story. I don't know which one fed the line of ****, you or your partner, but this business just isn't as easy as you think to jump to 3 mil.



If you would like to stand toe to toe in a corporate environment, I would own you! My verbage and intention of my initial post was to get info from "lawn guys" about the industry practices in the field. Not the way I do business, Please let my Lawyer, Accountant, Investors and analyst handle it. Now back to the "topic" I believe you need to get to the accountants office real quick. Based on the above numbers and your theory of almost no cost already says your screwed. But you should have already known that since you would own me in the corporate environment. Your right, how would I know what kind of costs you would have? I don't know, maybe it would be the accounting degree I have and the green industry experience combined?????Humm...

Your arrogance here will only transfer into your business venture. I hope your partner is the one doing the selling and talking with customers.

Oh, by the way, you think you will have a monopoly on this HOA, but let me tell you exactly what will happen. Regardless of how many customers you have, a new person will move in. That person will already have someone doing her lawn. She will have had a long-term business relationship with him. Once he starts doing her lawn, then it will be another neighbor, then another. One of them will be the head of the HOA. Then your in a bidding war over the HOA. Oh well, what the heck do I know. Your 2 years of research...

Ric
03-07-2003, 08:21 AM
Please Educated responses only, In a professorial manner.


Spat

My education.
Degrees in Criminal Justice and Horticulture, Turf Grass Management. Certified Pest Control Operator. Certified Florida Landscape Tech, Certified Florida Landscape Designer, Certified Arborist, Registered Irrigation contractor, and Registered Commercial landscape contractor.

My Educated response in a very professional manner.

























You sir are a scrub

Hawkeye5
03-07-2003, 08:29 AM
Spat: I don't have a dog in this fight. I will point out that both Jim and Hoss are very good at this business and are only trying to help keep you in business for next year. Don't blow them off. The point is that you can't make up money on volume when each unit produces a loss. If you can improve productivity on each unit to generate a profit, then you are going to make it to fight another day. I will ask you to consider your bid success ratio. If it is over 30% the market is telling you you're too cheap.
While I don't have any personal experience with standers, a 36" one may be the way to go.

Bluesteel
03-07-2003, 11:14 AM
Ditto JimLewis and 65Hoss. And thanks Ric, you said what I didnít. But SCRUB is the word. This guyís simpleton calculations show exactly where heís headed. It could work for him though. He just needs to be waiting at the docks, getting his labor fresh off the boat. Iím not going to waste any more time talking to him, he already knows it all. Man, all that expertise with just 6 hours experience running trimmer!!! You go girl, LOL

Miller
03-07-2003, 11:38 AM
This is a great thread! Spat, say something else! Quick! You are now the comedy relief for the lawnsite. I am having a blast reading your inane responses. Please, post some more. The others need more cannon fodder! ROTFLMAO. "You, Sir, are a SCRUB!" That's the funniest thing I've read on here for a long time. And Jim, "It's sorry you don't realize it." - That probably passed right by most people. That was funny as heck! Keep it up. SAVE THIS THREAD! LOL.

bruces
03-07-2003, 12:42 PM
Reminds me of the two simple country boys who were buying hay and hauling it to the next town and selling it.

First one says "Can't figure it out, I'm busy as can be, buying hay for a $11 per bale, selling for $10 per bale, delivering it and I'm not making any money. What's wrong?"

Second one scratches his head, thinks for a while and says " Don't know, probably should buy a bigger truck."

The bigger the job, the bigger the potential to lose.

I wish I would have been this knowledgeable about the business before I started. I'm starting my second year and still a ways from 3.6 million. Probably won't get there for a while either.

If you can do it, great.

TaussigLawnCare
03-07-2003, 12:58 PM
wow your numbers were big but if you figure in expenses.
1. if you have 6000 lawns you have to have emplyees and at 15 bucks a lawn half or a fourth of that goes to them
2. gas I figure you know 3-4 bucks in gas per lawn plus oil and all that
3. no matter who runs your equipment it will break or wear out sometime.
4. insurance on employees and trucks and equipment you need that cause I cut off my fingers last year and if I wouldn' of got that I would have had to pay 50grand in med stuff
5. with 6000 lawns you are going to have to have alot more equpiment for all your employees so you are going to have to take a loan so that means intrest you will have to pay.

so after all that you would be lucky to pull a dollar a lawn.

so if you even make any profit it will have to go to your loan.
sorry if you don't want to accept it but I learned the hard way and everyone wants to help you
sounds like you have a good thing going but ease up a bit keep the customers you have try to get a few more bucks out of them tell them something like with rising gas prices and equpment cost you need to rasie your prices slightly. I have to do that almost every year because you can't always tell how much work a yard will be till you mow it a few times. But once you get emplyees and needing new equipment they won't pay enough. If you were running it with craftsman push mowers out of your parents van it could pay for your college maybe but at those prices you get employees and start lossing money fast.

Shuter
03-07-2003, 05:05 PM
Spat,

I am from the Northeast so I can not comment of FL. But I have the same idea as you, only on a smaller scale. I gained 5 accounts in one neighborhood of about 40 higher end homes ($500,000 - 800,000). These lots are not real big and only take about 20 minutes to mow. I could have set up a lower rate schedule but I stayed with what the landscaper had that I took the customers from - $25.00 per mow. As I started working, more neighbors stared asking me to their lawns. I then had 15 after 2 years and I have a deal with the developer to be the recommended landscaper for the 20 new homes that are going to be built. Right now as the snow is on the ground, I have picked up 6 more accounts for the spring - total 21. I have raised my price for all, but the first 5. I am not taking advantage of the wealth these people have, but I am offering a good service that keeps them happy with the results and they are willing to pay for it. On the landscaping side once I re-did one yard (plantings and beds) it started all the other people thinking about their yards, so I now have a list of things to plant or take care of all the time for just these 21 accounts.

You should check (like networking) with other landscapers in your area about pricing. In my area many landscapers get together to share ideas and talk about business. There is more than enough work out there that you should not be worried about talking to your competition. It is a good business idea that all companies stay in the same area in pricing.

You mentioned that the area is going to have 6000 homes. Do you honestly think that you will get all 6000 lots for service and that you and your partner could handle 6000 homes. You also mentioned to throw out all the things like Workman's comp...., do not have insurance and if not you may not pay taxes and do the things that a good businessman should do. For a good company to grow and do well for the long run you need to be relatively legitimate.

gogetter
03-07-2003, 10:14 PM
Let me see if I have this straight. You did TWO years of research, but you didn't know how long it was going to take you to complete a lawn?
And yet you somehow plan to grow to 6,000 lawns!!!???

Now that's just silly.

65hoss
03-08-2003, 12:09 AM
Originally posted by gogetter
Let me see if I have this straight. You did TWO years of research, but you didn't know how long it was going to take you to complete a lawn?
And yet you somehow plan to grow to 6,000 lawns!!!???



That just about sums it up.:dizzy:

Bluesteel
03-08-2003, 11:50 AM
gogetter, if I didn't know better, I'd think you're accusing that boy of lying! LOL

cuttinfirefighter
03-09-2003, 10:45 PM
:dizzy: you did bid way too low...... i make it a point that its not worth me droppin the gate on my trailer unless i am getting $25...... but like one of the guys said chalk it up as a learning experience...... and sell the accounts to someone who is just getting started (after you get some other accounts that you bid correctly on) .......... as for the stander.... i used to like wright standers... until i tried a GREAT DANE its a better made machine especially when it comes to the deck..... you might pay just a few dollars more....just a few but it is worth it............:D :D :D

brucec32
03-10-2003, 12:15 AM
All these high dollar grosses flying around...seems to me like there are more lucrative ways to make money with a "big" company. I just do it cuz I like working outdoors and not having to deal with the typical BS of corporate jobs.

NYRookie
03-10-2003, 07:26 PM
I would say that you should look into a Toro 32" w/b. They are not too much more than a 33" Troy-Bilt, which I personally own and hate. I have not used it since the first year I bought it. Go with the t-bar, alot easier on the hands than the Troy-Bilt.

TaussigLawnCare
03-11-2003, 01:08 AM
I think if you are going to put the money in 32 in is to small but thats just me

Paradise Landscapes
05-31-2003, 11:34 AM
Everyone learns a mistake. I have to say I have done so once or twice.
But a third time? I don't think so.

All I can say is listen to all the wise ones if Lawnsite. If it wasn't for them, I would definately be lost in this business.
These members been there. They and we know what we speak about.

(Anyone a star wars fan? I think of these wise ones as JEDI KNIGHTS of the Landscape and Lawn Care industry. May the force be with you!) :D :D

Thanks for all the help fellow pros.

Coral Isle Gardens
06-01-2003, 11:18 AM
Spat

I was just curious what machine you found to solve your quandry

... and ...

how many of the hundred(+) homes you were targeting you landed contracts with?

65hoss
06-02-2003, 02:36 AM
Originally posted by 65hoss
Every off season someone like you comes here with monster plans to own the market. No experience, but some number crunching. Funny thing is, they never seem to be back with a success story. I don't know which one fed the line of ****, you or your partner, but this business just isn't as easy as you think to jump to 3 mil.


It usually takes longer than this for the person to learn. Its amazing he hasn't been back with a success story yet. :rolleyes:

Number crunching and real life are 2 different things. This business MUST be grounded in reality.

spat
10-05-2003, 10:50 PM
Sorry for not responding in a while, been real busy!
250k gross 2 trucks running, looks like I can add 50k worth between the two routes . Should be the middle of march and I get to leave the field and do only sales/admin/quality control.
Now have
120+ cust, adding 5-10 a week
1-61"bunton,
1-48" w/b Bunton
2-36"w/b toro's
1-36" wright stander
3 shinny t-230's
2 fc-75
2 shinny blowers
1 br 340
1 br420
1 fs 80
1 6.5x16 open
1 6.5x12 open
1 5x10 open
And a bunch of other stuff, tired of thinking about it.
One more thing.....Hoss, bite me!

spat
10-05-2003, 10:50 PM
Sorry for not responding in a while, been real busy!
250k gross 2 trucks running, looks like I can add 50k worth between the two routes . Should be the middle of march and I get to leave the field and do only sales/admin/quality control.
Now have
120+ cust, adding 5-10 a week
1-61"bunton,
1-48" w/b Bunton
2-36"w/b toro's
1-36" wright stander
3 shinny t-230's
2 fc-75
2 shinny blowers
1 br 340
1 br420
1 fs 80
1 6.5x16 open
1 6.5x12 open
1 5x10 open
And a bunch of other stuff, tired of thinking about it.
One more thing.....Hoss, bite me!

spat
10-05-2003, 11:10 PM
One more thing my "postage stamps"
take 8-10min each now that I have a stander for them.

It took about a week to figure out how to do this simple minded mowing thing.
And my "SCRUB BIDDING" is around $72 an hour.

65hoss
10-07-2003, 07:00 PM
Originally posted by spat
Sorry for not responding in a while, been real busy!
250k gross 2 trucks running, looks like I can add 50k worth between the two routes . Should be the middle of march and I get to leave the field and do only sales/admin/quality control.
Now have
120+ cust, adding 5-10 a week
1-61"bunton,
1-48" w/b Bunton
2-36"w/b toro's
1-36" wright stander
3 shinny t-230's
2 fc-75
2 shinny blowers
1 br 340
1 br420
1 fs 80
1 6.5x16 open
1 6.5x12 open
1 5x10 open
And a bunch of other stuff, tired of thinking about it.
One more thing.....Hoss, bite me!

Let me say, if you can prove me wrong I'm all for it. I help for others to make it. BUT, we've had several good liars lately. Some real tall tales. Since March until now many of us will find it real hard to believe you found that much work that quick. Also, as you pick up new customers they are not a full season yet. How can you possibly think we can believe the revenue you are saying? Like I said, if I'm wrong--great. But I'm right more times than I'm wrong. Been around long enough to know that things just are not that simple. I also have a degree in accounting, I know the costs and financial hazards of numbers.

65hoss
10-07-2003, 07:00 PM
Originally posted by spat
Sorry for not responding in a while, been real busy!
250k gross 2 trucks running, looks like I can add 50k worth between the two routes . Should be the middle of march and I get to leave the field and do only sales/admin/quality control.
Now have
120+ cust, adding 5-10 a week
1-61"bunton,
1-48" w/b Bunton
2-36"w/b toro's
1-36" wright stander
3 shinny t-230's
2 fc-75
2 shinny blowers
1 br 340
1 br420
1 fs 80
1 6.5x16 open
1 6.5x12 open
1 5x10 open
And a bunch of other stuff, tired of thinking about it.
One more thing.....Hoss, bite me!

Let me say, if you can prove me wrong I'm all for it. I help for others to make it. BUT, we've had several good liars lately. Some real tall tales. Since March until now many of us will find it real hard to believe you found that much work that quick. Also, as you pick up new customers they are not a full season yet. How can you possibly think we can believe the revenue you are saying? Like I said, if I'm wrong--great. But I'm right more times than I'm wrong. Been around long enough to know that things just are not that simple. I also have a degree in accounting, I know the costs and financial hazards of numbers.

65hoss
10-07-2003, 07:01 PM
Let me say, if you can prove me wrong I'm all for it. I help for others to make it. BUT, we've had several good liars lately. Some real tall tales. Since March until now many of us will find it real hard to believe you found that much work that quick. Also, as you pick up new customers they are not a full season yet. How can you possibly think we can believe the revenue you are saying? Like I said, if I'm wrong--great. But I'm right more times than I'm wrong. Been around long enough to know that things just are not that simple. I also have a degree in accounting, I know the costs and financial hazards of numbers

gogetter
10-07-2003, 07:19 PM
Originally posted by spat
And my "SCRUB BIDDING" is around $72 an hour.


Is that per man hour or as a whole?

Ric
10-07-2003, 08:01 PM
Hoss

You and I were both born at night. But not last night.

Tbarchaser
10-08-2003, 09:08 AM
Its easy to grow like that in florida if you work hard, and have a good amount of cash on hand.

65hoss
10-08-2003, 10:51 AM
Originally posted by Ric
Hoss

You and I were both born at night. But not last night. :D :D :D

tiedeman
10-08-2003, 11:33 AM
Originally posted by Ric
Hoss

You and I were both born at night. But not last night.

I like that quote, I am going to have to remember that one:D

Ric
10-08-2003, 11:59 AM
Originally posted by Tbarchaser
Its easy to grow like that in florida if you work hard, and have a good amount of cash on hand.


Yep you might be right, But let us add Can you make a profit and manage that business. Every businessman I know is crying for good help. Why would Sprat be any different. Look at True Care (TG/CL mowing division) They have the cash and low balled every one. They are now loosing Accounts in my area left and right. Fast growth is not always a good thing. To Quote and now defunct Fortune 500 company "It is not what you make. It is what you keep"

Sprat

Winter is a coming. Season is over. Cheap low ball customer love to stop service in winter and cut every 6 to 8 weeks because they don't run their sprinklers. Let see if you are still bragging in the Spring.

hustler1
10-18-2003, 10:59 PM
I only have one quick thing to say about this....running a lawnmower like a factory in the big three gives you the same thing....poor quality from employees that are pushed too hard. You will pay for that poor quality....customers love to be coddled and have all their needs taken care of ....plus throwing in a few freebies like occasional vegitation killer on bad cracks in their driveway if it only takes you two minutes....if they feel they're being treated "like a number" they will find someone else to tell them what they want to hear about what YOU did wrong.....and someone else WILL be replacing you next season. Hire enough low wage schumcks that don't speak english and hack up a customer's lawn...and you'll be changing your name for next season. I take pride in how my customer's lawns look...as most of us do. Once you turn in into a numbers game with the aforementioned problems you're trying to come up from behind just like at a card table...good luck with your ace sir!!!!!

PoliLand
03-10-2007, 12:39 PM
I have this landscaping that I started 2 years ago, and it's going great. I just want some advice on what I should do to get more customers.