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View Full Version : Id love more OVERHEAD!!


MacLawnCo
10-24-2003, 02:22 AM
How many of you agree that it would be a good thing for our equipment to cost much more. Im talking a $15k wb, $25k ztr.

Before you respond that im crazy, think of this. If you are a good businessman(woman), then you will realize that all your costs are directly passed on to your clients. If there was such a justification for these higher priced machines, then all business owners would purchase them and therefore each businesses prices will be inline. With these high initial costs, we would not have the problem with weekend warriors, part timers, or just layed off workers. The thinking is that they would soil their shorts over the initial purchase cost. It would also weedout the crummy business owners. With overhead costs so high, the businessman would have to know his numbers to the dot, and those who dont would quickly go under.

I realize that for LCOs to purchase machinery at these high costs, there must be economicy justification. I dont have the answers, but i can honestly say that if there comes along a machine that will make such an investment worthwile, i would jump on in a hearbeat. I think the product for this niche ought to be able to drive and program itself, and last for at least 12000 hours, consume low amounts of fuel, and ......

Phishook
10-24-2003, 02:45 AM
and.... have laser beams to cut the grass?

just wait, you'll be able to spend your $25k.

Movinfr8
10-24-2003, 02:49 AM
methinks a LOT of folks who I cut now would have a nice riding tractor and say sayonara, Norm! What would my $35, half hour accounts be then, about $150? And the scrubs would be using tractors too, Heck, if a w/b was 15 grand, I'd be a scrub.
Norm

mtdman
10-24-2003, 02:55 AM
I think if equipment cost that much, you'd have a lot more scrubs running around with $300 push mowers seriously underbidding everyone and getting all the accounts. Mowers are pretty similar in price now, you are looking at at least $3000 for a wb and at least $5000 for a rider. It may vary from there, but most of us who have big machines have paid those prices, and rates still vary widely. $3000 is a lot to drop on a machine, but you still have lots of 'weekend warriors' and small timers getting in and out of the biz. Higher equipment rates won't mean higher or equalized lawn cutting rates.

Rustic Goat
10-24-2003, 03:29 AM
While I can follow your line of thinking, I believe it leads to a dead end.
Overhead goes to astronomical levels, few will be legitimately in the business, way fewer will even consider hiring an LCO, so even those in the business would have no use for their high dollar equipment and have to sell it off for pennies, leading back to the ones that were driven out of business earlier.
Or if the homeowners have stopped laughing from the $150 a week quote to cut their grass, would have bought their own machines.
Believe your idea is built on a sand foundation, and the tide is coming in.;)

MacLawnCo
10-24-2003, 09:05 AM
Let me rephrase a portion of my question.... How much would a machine that eliminates your direct labor be worth to you? See where im going on this??? 15, 20, 25K per year?

David Haggerty
10-24-2003, 10:16 AM
Everything you say is true. The market already exists.
It's the wide area mowing market. I've been doing wide area mowing since '87 Before that I was just running 6' mowers.

The LCO in Hillsboro just bought a Toro 580-D too.

If you get one too we'll just divide up Southern Ohio between the 3 of us.:D

Dave

mtdman
10-24-2003, 10:26 AM
Originally posted by MacLawnCo
Let me rephrase a portion of my question.... How much would a machine that eliminates your direct labor be worth to you? See where im going on this??? 15, 20, 25K per year?

If you can make a machine that weed trims, edges and blows off the sidewalks, I might consider it. Actually, no I wouldn't. Mowers now are very powerful, very fast, and mowing isn't really the most time consuming part of the service. It's all the other stuff that takes a while and extends a service visit.

KerryB
10-24-2003, 10:28 AM
I am not sure if I follow. For your proposal to work, we would need for the manf. and retailers to discontinue all homeowner machines. We know that wont happen.
And secondly you would need some sort of spell to cast over homeowners and business owners to want grass and not just pave over everything or make only natural areas.

cantoo
10-24-2003, 10:33 AM
Mac, there will always be a market for these machines used at pennies on the dollar. These people will then undercut you.

NC Big Daddy
10-24-2003, 10:43 AM
I donít think overhead is the term you want to use. I think Capital Expenditure is what you're referring to. Lots of you guys are missing the larger point...This is an unlicensed trade...anyone can go to Home Depot, Loweís or Wal-Mart buy a mower, trimmer and a shovel and say "I are a Landscaper now" and POOF they are a landscaper. If you want to make a real difference push for licensing of this trade in your state. Here in North Carolina a bill is bogged down that would require the Landscaper to be licensed for any install or yearly maintenance job of over 5k. And the installs will be inspected like every other trade. Any of you guys ever bid County City or State jobs? Ever wonder why they donít require a bid bond like EVERY other trade? We all know why, because there is always a dumbazz that will take a 2k per-cut job down to a $375 per-cut (no I'm not kidding I'm looking at it now).
Anyway just my thoughts on the matter.

olderthandirt
10-24-2003, 11:26 AM
HOOORAAAAY way to tell it NC big Lets everyone that takes the time to type a few words on this bourd type out a letter to there state rep and require lisc. bonding. Get rid of the nobodys and we can go back to making money. Our prices are going backwards after you adjust for inflation. We need to stick together and get state regs. to help protect us. And before everyone says the scrubs and lowballers will be out of the biz. becouse of there low prices, your wrong! Thats the same thinking they had before the unions were formed 75yrs ago. Those that forget history are bound to repeat it or some thing like that. I'm not whining becouse I only have a few more yrs. of this before I'm done, But you younger guys better start complaining LOUDLY or your gonna be in a diff profession if you want to make enough $$$ to have decent lifestly and any kind of retirement!

Sauls1686
10-24-2003, 01:39 PM
I am thinking that since you don't like competition, you are for the "taxing the rich" gig? A liberal in other words? I wonder if most lawn guys are liberals or conservatives...mb a poll is in order.

summergrove
10-24-2003, 03:23 PM
I am a conservative who cares about the envo. I know there isn't supposed to be someone like that but here I am. It all comes down to someone is always going to be hungrier than you. You would still have to charge an hourly rate for your labor. Say you feel like you should make 40 a hour but happy with 35. In a perfect world every one would do what i wanted them too.Word to the wise don't play leapfrog with unicorns.

Pecker
10-24-2003, 03:28 PM
"If you are a good businessman(woman), then you will realize that all your costs are directly passed on to your clients."

. . . I don't think my clients would be willing to absorb the higher costs. Also, being able to hire a lawn service is just a luxury to many people.

I am Me
10-24-2003, 06:34 PM
You'd create conglomerates like corporate farming.

No thanks.

turfman59
10-24-2003, 08:38 PM
I really think you are wet behind the ears. I am a weekend warrior and price wasnt the issue on a ZTR, it was return on investment. And if your getting a ROI then so will everyone else, or we will all go back to using a crapsman

paponte
10-24-2003, 09:25 PM
Alot of points brought up here. As far as licensing, N.Y. requires a license if you are cutting over 20 lawns a week and any type of installations. Still there are TONS of illegals running around.

If your overhead was directly passed on to your customers, you would also have to be a wise businessman and think "if my overhead is outrageous, will I still be able to maintain competitive prices?" Just how unlicensed kill the market, high pricing kills it too. You will see more and more homeowners doing their own yard work in fear of outrageous rates.

As far as a machine that does it all... I doubt there will ever be one. There will always be instances where it would not be able to be utilized. :cool:

Mikes Lawn Landscape
10-24-2003, 09:26 PM
MacLawn I would suggest some business courses and a couple of economics courses while your at school.

The liscensing is the only way to eliminate SOME of the competition.

By the way a Bobcat costs about $25,000 and the going rate around here is $50 - $60 per hour so HIGH capital expenditures does not equate to higher income

Randy Scott
10-24-2003, 10:41 PM
Originally posted by MacLawnCo
Re: Id love more OVERHEAD!!

No problem, let me send you some of my payment books!!!!!!! :)

MacLawnCo
10-25-2003, 12:33 AM
Originally posted by Mikes Lawn Landscape
MacLawn I would suggest some business courses and a couple of economics courses while your at school.
Yeah, thanks for the tip, like i'm here for Biology :rolleyes: :D

Originally posted by Mikes Lawn Landscape
By the way a Bobcat costs about $25,000 and the going rate around here is $50 - $60 per hour so HIGH capital expenditures does not equate to higher income

You fail to take into account the life expectancy of your example. What do they have, 2...3 times the life span of our mowers? Do i need to go further?

Whoever accused me of being liberal...this has nothing to do with political views. It has to do with establishing a barier to entry. Its rediculous that someone can just jump into our industry on a moments worth of planning. Liscensing will help, but who is going to enforce them...if the beuracracy checks the liscenses, then liscensing fees would be ludacris in order to pay the salaries of the "liscense patrol."

Take the bobcat skid steer example. Yes, it costs 25,000+, but look at its life expactancy. That is what im refering to. Manufacturers need to start making our equipment last for similar time frames. THen it would justify our initial expenditures and leave our pricing structure close to intact. At the same time, manufacturers would build a much steeper barier to entry which would hopefully eradicate the unwanted.

Get it?

Mikes Lawn Landscape
10-25-2003, 03:16 AM
MacLawn I assumed you were getting a Horticulture Degree I meant no disrespect.

Let's imagine for a minute what you say would actually be valid

1. All mowers now cost $25,000 and last 10 years
2. LCO are not allowed to mow with homeowner mowers
3. Competition is eliminated by 50%
4. LCO's start raising prices because there is less competition
5. 50% of homeowners now mow their own lawn because their $30 lawn now costs $60
6. LCO's start losing clients
7. Manufacturers start losing sales so they introduce the ecomomy model mower that costs $7500
8. New LCO pop up because hey they can buy a $7500 mower
9. Instead of $60.00 a lawn these new guy charge $50.00
10. More LCO's get out of the business due to reduced market share
11. Some other NEW LCO's buy the used $7500 mower for $3000
and decide to charge $40.00 a lawn hey I can make good money at $40 a pop
12. Some of the other LCO's decide to get out hey I'm not gonna work for $80.00 an hour with a $25,000 mower
13. All that is left standing are scrubs charging $30 a lawn

Get It!:rolleyes:

Southpaw
10-25-2003, 04:44 AM
Do i need to go further?

Yes. Absolutely. You need to go further to class or maybe past the library on your campus. I thought your name calling Pinko remarks were stupid. I even thought your idea of providing names and addresses of all your customers without their permission was the dumbest thing I have ever heard, but this idea has to be the # 1 most ridiculous thing I have ever heard.

When you find your campus library, find any book written by or referenced to John Meynard Keynes. Leave the Karl Marx articles behind since they will only confuse you, young man!

According to your brilliant theories, we would have to throw out any conception of "free market society" and our world would turn into a Mongolian Attila the Hun mentality. Why don't we just have car makers charge $100,000 for a new Yugo. That would certainly cut down on rush hour traffic according to your theory. Perhaps candy bar makers should charge $200 for a Snickers. That would cut down on tooth decay, right? We have a form of this idea in place already and it is called an HMO or PPO. When was the last time you ever heard anybody say "Well gee, my HMO was really looking out for me on that surgery I had last week?

I am normally a laid back person. I could have read this, laughed at it and moved on without comment, except for the fact that I noticed that not only do you resort to name calling, you get quite cocky and sarcastic with those that disagree with you. So let me have it, lay into me really good, I don't care. But I think you should stop skipping class or at least audit some Economics classes before you smartmouth somebody else with a differing opinion. It is better to be thought of as a fool, than to open your mouth and prove it!

mtdman
10-25-2003, 12:20 PM
Originally posted by Mikes Lawn Landscape
MacLawn I assumed you were getting a Horticulture Degree I meant no disrespect.

Let's imagine for a minute what you say would actually be valid

1. All mowers now cost $25,000 and last 10 years
2. LCO are not allowed to mow with homeowner mowers
3. Competition is eliminated by 50%
4. LCO's start raising prices because there is less competition
5. 50% of homeowners now mow their own lawn because their $30 lawn now costs $60
6. LCO's start losing clients
7. Manufacturers start losing sales so they introduce the ecomomy model mower that costs $7500
8. New LCO pop up because hey they can buy a $7500 mower
9. Instead of $60.00 a lawn these new guy charge $50.00
10. More LCO's get out of the business due to reduced market share
11. Some other NEW LCO's buy the used $7500 mower for $3000
and decide to charge $40.00 a lawn hey I can make good money at $40 a pop
12. Some of the other LCO's decide to get out hey I'm not gonna work for $80.00 an hour with a $25,000 mower
13. All that is left standing are scrubs charging $30 a lawn

Get It!:rolleyes:

Bingo. Raising prices for equipment won't help the industry. What happens when I buy a $25,000 mower that is supposed to last 10 years, and a day after the warranty expires, the engine blows up? That kinda stuff happens, ya know. Look at the Space Shuttle. That wasn't supposed to blow up, either. Then I gotta drop another $25,000 to get a new mower? Only people who could afford that kinda work aren't going to be interested in doing it anyway.

The bottom line here is the Lawn Mowing industry IS a business that anyone can get into. It doesn't take a genious to push a mower and weed trim. That sucks, but it is the nature of the beast. Other aspects of the business do require some knowledge and expertise, and those who are motivated and strong enough to gain that knowledge and expertise are going to excell. Those that don't will go outta business, and that happens rather frequently in this biz.

I am a big believer in a free market and capitalism. Competition does not bother me, it only makes me have to be a better businessman if I want to survive. If you are good enough and people value your sevices, you'll stay in buisness just fine.

MacLawnCo
10-25-2003, 05:32 PM
Southpaw, im not even gona bother with you. Please put me on your ignore list, i have done likewise.

MacLawnCo
10-25-2003, 05:34 PM
Originally posted by Mikes Lawn Landscape
MacLawn I assumed you were getting a Horticulture Degree I meant no disrespect.

Mike, i know, i was just being my usual sarcastic self. I think accounting will work well, dont you?

Mikes Lawn Landscape
10-26-2003, 05:34 AM
Originally posted by MacLawnCo
Mike, i know, i was just being my usual sarcastic self. I think accounting will work well, dont you?

Well that depends if you really don't want any advise STOP READING NOW.

1. If you are getting an accounting degree to be an accountant then thats great
2. If you are wanting a degree that will help you in your Lawn Service business an accounting degree would not be the most appropriate.
3. An acounting degree is a professional degree similar to a law degree it is intense and very demanding. When you finish you will know how to do accounting thats it.
4. For a more well rounded degree that will help you in your business (After reading some of your post I get the impression lawn care is your chosen field) I would get a business degree with a minor in MARKETING.
5. Or a Turf Management Degree
6. But hey I'm old and new to lawn care so my advise is probably not worth the bandwidth its taking up.

David Haggerty
10-26-2003, 06:38 AM
Originally posted by MacLawnCo
It has to do with establishing a barier to entry.


This is an old thread, but since it's back to the top anyway I'll add my 2 cents worth.

MacLawn;
I discovered I had a similar attitude/opinion 15 years ago.
You can either try to change the world, or you can change yourself.
If you're frustrated the market at the entry level, simply enter a more exclusive market. I went to wide area mowing.
Unless you have some delusions about leading a movement into socialized lawn care like this guy.
http://jefflindsay.com/NLCN.shtml

Southpaw; If you're not laughing by the time you finish reading National Lawn Care, you're taking life way too seriously.

Mikes Lawn Landscape;
That sounds like good advice. You just need to quit calling yourself old at <40.;) I'm 57 and only conceding to "middle age":rolleyes:

Dave

Doc Pete
10-26-2003, 08:01 AM
Originally posted by MacLawnCo
Let me rephrase a portion of my question.... How much would a machine that eliminates your direct labor be worth to you? See where im going on this??? 15, 20, 25K per year?

I see where you're coming from and that's "being young".
Use your head and realize itís the smarter guy and not his wallet that will give success. Or, look at the airlines and realize you have scrubs no matter how much the investment. Give youself a few years... you'll be fine;)
Pete

charlies
05-04-2004, 01:23 PM
Originally posted by MacLawnCo
Let me rephrase a portion of my question.... How much would a machine that eliminates your direct labor be worth to you? See where im going on this??? 15, 20, 25K per year?

they already make such a machine. it's called 'employees'.

Birddog Lawncare
05-04-2004, 04:58 PM
If you're going to Miami of Ohio, just think how well rounded you'll be with the "Miami Plan" - LOL