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View Full Version : why do they pack it in?


bobbygedd
07-22-2004, 04:42 PM
in the last few weeks, i've heard from 3 different lawnguys who have been in business a long time, that they are done. WHAT THE HELL ARE THEY DOING WRONG? first guy=out of business after 12 years. cut lawns, landscape, and pavers/retaining walls. main reason he quit, in his own words, "i'm tired of not getting paid, and having to chase my money all the time." second guy=quit mowing, but will do only landscaping, pavers, retaining walls. reason=" no money in mowing." third guy= got a fine by the d.e.p, for not renewing his license, is now being pressured by dept of employment for paying his guys in cash. said if it goes any further, "he's packing it in." as to say, giving up the business. this guy been in business 15 yrs. i don't get it . there is no way in hell i'd just pack it in. i mean, even if you are doing something wrong, and doing it knowingly, don't you plan on the price of the consequence? unreal

Tharrell
07-22-2004, 04:57 PM
All of those guys had their reasons and there are as many more reasons as there are of us out here. There seems to be some common reasons though. Not getting paid, tired of the hassles, divorce and settlements, some seem to be just plain old tired. I think the solo operations are more likely to fold because of these reasons than a bigger operation.

CT18fireman
07-22-2004, 09:07 PM
I personally think the easiest money is in mowing. Ride around on a ztr or velke all day is a lot easier then building walls and walks. Plus mowing is steady.

dvmcmrhp52
07-22-2004, 09:11 PM
Bob, I'd say it isn't just lco's in jersey.................Jersey has become a difficult place for any business.

AL Inc
07-22-2004, 09:41 PM
This is an "easy entry" business. Some basic equipment, and they are in. These guys might be great at what they do, but if they don't have any business skills, game over.

Turfcutters Plus
07-22-2004, 09:45 PM
All i do is mow.It's fun going home early watching city and construction guys still at work!It's a no brainer,i'm on auto pilot,on ztr with peltors of course!AHHHHHHH,doing what i love,gotta love it.It's great having rain be your best friend.Rain used to be depressing before this job.

DFW Area Landscaper
07-22-2004, 09:57 PM
++++These guys might be great at what they do, but if they don't have any business skills, game over++++

I wouldn't be so quick to say that. Two of the guys had 10+ years of experience. You don't pay your cost of living for over a decade being self employed without business skills.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

HOOLIE
07-23-2004, 12:08 AM
Yeah, I'm always getting stopped by other LCOs, asking if I want to buy their business. Its a lot of effort to keep any kind of business going year after year. And I think dealing with the unpredictability of the weather, as well as the seasonal aspect of the job makes it even tougher.

GrassBustersLawn
07-23-2004, 12:31 AM
Yes, I've been approached by two LCO's this week to see if I wanted to buy their business or part of it. I think they have finally discovered they can't drive over to the eastside of town to mow when they live on the west side. ALSO, their pricing structure is WAY TO THIN. LIVE by price, DIE by price!

Mike

txlawnking
07-23-2004, 12:57 AM
I've been struggling lately, trying to start up my business. As I have very little financial education at this point, this has been an extemely difficult task. I also had zero sales and marketing experience as well. It's funny, this has been the most joyful, and the most difficult thing I have ever taken on. My father, who is really supportative, but has no real business experience as well, has been suggesting that I lower my prices to be competitive.. Funny thing is, my prices are pretty average. The problem, I was telling him, wasn't my prices, it is my lack of reputation, and my affore mentioned shortcomings.. You can do the most beautiful, proffesional work in the world, But if you can't sell yourself, manage the stress, or your heart isn't in it, you probably won't get very far. As I say this, I pray God gives me the Knowledge and wisdom to succeed at this endeavor, And I believe He will..

Lawn Sharks
07-23-2004, 11:41 AM
TxlawnKing,
Try offering your current clients a $20 discount off their next monthly bill for a referral that signs up. If you do good work let you clients do your marketing for you. I don't advertise, no yellow page ads. I just ask people to refer friends and family to me. Many do it for free.

txlawnking
07-23-2004, 11:49 AM
Thanks, Keith, I may try that...

Mickhippy
07-23-2004, 12:17 PM
Originally posted by txlawnking
As I say this, I pray God gives me the Knowledge and wisdom to succeed at this endeavor, And I believe He will..

With all the millions of people starving, getting shot, standing on land mines etc in the world, do you really think GOD is going to help you in your business?
Dont depend on anyone but yourself! Then you wont be disappointed!

SERRICO
07-23-2004, 01:47 PM
one thing that I'm learning is that any business takes money to make money.
Proper equipment and marketing will cost you upfront but I think in long run it will pay. Don't forget the education either. In business world, only sharp and educated people survive.

venecular
07-23-2004, 02:24 PM
txlawnking, very impressive post and TxlawnKing makes a great point.

Disregard what Mickhippy stated. God cares about all of our needs and should not be sold short. I believe if you put your faith in God he will never let you down. I know this from first hand experience.

With a positive attitude txlawnking, you will go far!

wrtenterprises
07-23-2004, 03:02 PM
CT18, I fully agree. The easiest in terms of physical work is mowing. I have found that a happy medium must be found to achieve fulfillment personally and financially. Relying on just one is too may of my eggs in one basket....

MMLawn
07-23-2004, 03:07 PM
Originally posted by bobbygedd
in the last few weeks, i've heard from 3 different lawnguys who have been in business a long time, that they are done. WHAT THE HELL ARE THEY DOING WRONG? <br>third guy= got a fine by the d.e.p, for not renewing his license, is now being pressured by dept of employment for paying his guys in cash. said if it goes any further, "he's packing it in." as to say, giving up the business. this guy been in business 15 yrs. i don't get it . </br>

Actually it sounds to me like the 3rd guy has been in "illegal business" doesn't pay his license fees, doesn't pay taxes, FICA/SS and Workers Comp on his employees. They SHOULD go after him for not paying his license and paying under the counter as it is against the law and a slime ball way to run a "business"!

WeatherMan
07-23-2004, 03:24 PM
Bobby: Last Season I sold the maintance side of my biz. Which was a full time job on it self I had 12 employees 7 trucks an a whole inventory of equipment The reason being I was working 7 days a week 12-16 hours per day, I hardly ever left the office and I was burnt out. Now I have 4 Employees 3 Trucks and Equipment. I only do new installs and life has never been better.

At the end of this season I selling out to my forman and moving to The Beach In Isle of Palms SC. to retire

Gravely_Man
07-23-2004, 03:33 PM
This job can be very challenging if you don't have business skills, sales skill or your heart in it. I to believe it is a lot easier to make money if you have money.


Gravely_Man

brucec32
07-24-2004, 12:04 AM
Originally posted by Turfcutters Plus
All i do is mow.It's fun going home early watching city and construction guys still at work!It's a no brainer,i'm on auto pilot,on ztr with peltors of course!AHHHHHHH,doing what i love,gotta love it.It's great having rain be your best friend.Rain used to be depressing before this job.

I agree! I can mow medium sized lawns all day and not get destroyed by fatigue. Look at how a 10 hour workday breaks down:

In truck driving to/from jobs: 2.5 hours

Sitting on ZTR mowing, cruising along listening to the radio: 5 hours

On your feet, trimming/blowing, etc: 2.5 hours

Phone calls, complaints, sales calls to get new business, etc: negligible once you get established and weed out the bad customers.

So you're sitting on your rear end 7.5 out of 10 hours, not dealing with the complexities of more advanced work, and basically just cruising. You also get a 5-15 minute break every 45 minutes or whatever as you travel to the next job.

Not the most profitable, I'm sure, but it is an enjoyable, lower stress, sustainable way to make a living.

PMLAWN
07-24-2004, 11:22 AM
The kid down the street makes money by cutting grass. We should be making money by running a business. To be sucessful you have to know a lot more about selling-accounting-planing-and customer relations than cutting grass. Sure its easy to make 20-30K cutting grass but you can't live on that so you have to run a business in a way to make a living and have work. Pricing right but fair-knowing you costs and keeping them under control. That is why you need to be a business person first and a laborer last.

SouthernFried
07-24-2004, 06:02 PM
I almost quit this last year, after 20 yrs in the business...mostly cuz I was just plain tired. When your approaching 50...even riding a velke/sulky all day gets old.

This is something for younger folkz to consider. How long can you do your job physically and mentally without getting burned out...or just plain tired? It happens.

I have recently had a rejuvination and am as pumped out about my business as I've been in over a decade. But, for awhile there...it was a close call.

I've always known that, as I got older, I wouldnt want, or be able to keep up the pace physically as I used to. Tried planning for it...and had several attempts of having crew's with foreman running them, and me doing sales and other stuff. Always, for some reason...after a yr or three, I found myself back mowing.
I actually found there was less stress when I was mowing, then when I was worrying about crews in the field.

Anyway...at some point your realize you can't do it all forever. The only way I'm gonna be able to keep in this business...is to have people doing the physical work...and me doing the managing/selling. It's a trade-off...the less stressful, but physically challenging aspect of doing the work...as opposed to the highly stressful, but less physically challenging aspect of running crews.

As the physical side becomes increasingly harder to maintain for me...the stressful option becomes my only alternative. That, or becoming a full-time musician...talk about low pay! ;)

The good thing tho...is after 20 yrs, hopefully you learn enough to handle whatever comes your way. The mistakes I've made, and what I've learned about the business, should give me a leg up when I go the crew(s) route again.

We'll see...:)

Turfcutters Plus
07-24-2004, 07:08 PM
Amen to that bruce32!

brucec32
08-12-2004, 02:49 AM
Originally posted by SouthernFried
I almost quit this last year, after 20 yrs in the business...mostly cuz I was just plain tired. When your approaching 50...even riding a velke/sulky all day gets old.

This is something for younger folkz to consider. How long can you do your job physically and mentally without getting burned out...or just plain tired? It happens.

I have recently had a rejuvination and am as pumped out about my business as I've been in over a decade. But, for awhile there...it was a close call.

I've always known that, as I got older, I wouldnt want, or be able to keep up the pace physically as I used to. Tried planning for it...and had several attempts of having crew's with foreman running them, and me doing sales and other stuff. Always, for some reason...after a yr or three, I found myself back mowing.
I actually found there was less stress when I was mowing, then when I was worrying about crews in the field.

Anyway...at some point your realize you can't do it all forever. The only way I'm gonna be able to keep in this business...is to have people doing the physical work...and me doing the managing/selling. It's a trade-off...the less stressful, but physically challenging aspect of doing the work...as opposed to the highly stressful, but less physically challenging aspect of running crews.

As the physical side becomes increasingly harder to maintain for me...the stressful option becomes my only alternative. That, or becoming a full-time musician...talk about low pay! ;)

The good thing tho...is after 20 yrs, hopefully you learn enough to handle whatever comes your way. The mistakes I've made, and what I've learned about the business, should give me a leg up when I go the crew(s) route again.

We'll see...:)

I would strongly advise you to get off the velke and onto your rear end on a rider as much as possible. I did a few years ago after getting the same advice and it really is easier on my body. You forget how much more energy is expended balancing and bouncing on those things. It will extend your career.

PMLAWN
08-12-2004, 03:08 AM
Bruce32, A lot depends on the type of ground you ride on as hard, dry ground can punish you even riding in the seat. My longest seat time is about 4 hours and I have to stand up and get the hips back in place before I step off. Neck and back feel that ride more than the 3 plus hours cutting the hill on a Velke the next day. I think the movement and the getting on and off the Velke help keep things flexible. He!! getting old.