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View Full Version : how busy are you in florida?


C&S Services
08-11-2004, 04:06 PM
My wife would like to relocate to central Florida (Lakeland area) I would like to know who you are and how well you are doing down there?Up here in NH it is a bit differant. I was down there last week on vacation and several LCO's gave me a little advise on pricing and how they were making a go at it. If any of you have any suggestions good or bad that would be great, like equipment that you use, how you deal with the small to large developments, and the snow birds that are gone all summer. Any info would be great. Thanks Clay

sprout
08-11-2004, 05:09 PM
It's tuff here :mad: I've been at for almost 25 years, rates have gone up $10 in that time. True it's cheaper to live here but to make big bucks you need to do about 80-100 accounts a week. My wife and I make about $40,000 with 30 accounts-- thats not much. People are the same everywhere, good-bad-ugly, its all about management. Equipment? Its what works for you. We try to do mow-blow-go, any extras are paid extra. It keeps people happy. Average yard here $25.

GeeVee
08-11-2004, 05:47 PM
Lakeland I think will do about 32-38 cuts/yr.

For sure- You can be as busy as you want to be.

DennisF
08-11-2004, 08:52 PM
There is plenty of work all over Florida. The problem is the money. Most of the people that want lawn care are retired and will not pay much. You have to carry 50 or more accounts to make any money to speak of. I have 63 and the prices run from $22-$35 depending on lot size and extras.

BW4486
08-11-2004, 09:13 PM
I completely agree w/ dennis

Ric
08-11-2004, 09:40 PM
Yep each spring we get our new crop of hopefuls. Each winter we can buy newer used equipment cheap. Prices are low and cost of living is going up faster than prices. If I had it to do over again I would have gone a different route but still in the green industry. Hind site is 20/20 they say.

Yes you can make a living in the lawn mowing business. But don't look to get rich unless you add other services and they require licenses. So my advise would be to work for pest control or irrigation company long enough to take the test (about 3 years each) and learn the lay of the land or market. Then go in business for yourself. both these business require more training but less capital to get started in. both of these business are higher profit margin and less work. BTW a spray or irrigation tech can make around $ 30,000 to $ 35,000 a year while learning the trade. yes you can live on that kind of money if you watch your pennies.

brucec32
08-12-2004, 02:06 AM
I live in S. Florida and I absolutely despise it where I am. I am moving back to Atlanta after a year. But Florida varies greatly from area to area.

Be sure you don't mind humidity, bugs, and weeds that grow more in a week than they did in 2 months back home. You return to jobsites and it looks like you didn't even spray a week later.
Be sure you are working in an area with finished lawns with St. Augustine grass, not crummy Bahia and the sand that goes along with those lawns that dulls your blades in minutes. St. Aug grows fast, but it is pretty easy to handle most of the time.
Realize that because of the longer growing season your per-cut price is probably not going to be as high. Markets seem to self-regulate on price to a level where you make the same here in 12 months of work as up north in 9 or so.
central florida varies from place to place of course, but overall it isn't known as a high income place. Research the prospective customer base for the area.

Keeping in mind that I'm in Palm Beach County, haven for 2/3 of NYC's old people, mostly, I hate the transient nature of it here, not much sense of permanency, everybody is from "somewhere else" and not that interested in getting to know you, the unfriendly, aggressive, sometimes downright nasty people, and the strange mix of backwards rednecks and snotty rich people. Not a big middle class. And if you're a white guy from New England be prepared for a ethnic culture shock.

I think Florida is a great place to visit, but to live there you had better be rich enough to live on the coast, where the HAPPY people are. I have never run into such a bunch of scowling miserable people in my life here. But a few people seem to love living here.

Ric
08-12-2004, 09:15 AM
Originally posted by brucec32
I live in S. Florida and I absolutely despise it where I am. I am moving back to Atlanta after a year. But Florida varies greatly from area to area.

Be sure you don't mind humidity, bugs, and weeds that grow more in a week than they did in 2 months back home. You return to jobsites and it looks like you didn't even spray a week later.
Be sure you are working in an area with finished lawns with St. Augustine grass, not crummy Bahia and the sand that goes along with those lawns that dulls your blades in minutes. St. Aug grows fast, but it is pretty easy to handle most of the time.
Realize that because of the longer growing season your per-cut price is probably not going to be as high. Markets seem to self-regulate on price to a level where you make the same here in 12 months of work as up north in 9 or so.
central florida varies from place to place of course, but overall it isn't known as a high income place. Research the prospective customer base for the area.

Keeping in mind that I'm in Palm Beach County, haven for 2/3 of NYC's old people, mostly, I hate the transient nature of it here, not much sense of permanency, everybody is from "somewhere else" and not that interested in getting to know you, the unfriendly, aggressive, sometimes downright nasty people, and the strange mix of backwards rednecks and snotty rich people. Not a big middle class. And if you're a white guy from New England be prepared for a ethnic culture shock.

I think Florida is a great place to visit, but to live there you had better be rich enough to live on the coast, where the HAPPY people are. I have never run into such a bunch of scowling miserable people in my life here. But a few people seem to love living here.


Hello Bruce

Seems your singing a different tune this year. Last year when you first came to Florida you basically called me an Idiot and told us how you were going to set Florida on Fire. Looks like that fire is taking you back north.

Yep, each day there are 3 people moving out of Florida for every 10 moving into Florida. A lot of Northern Losers come here to live with Grandpa and push his Crapman mower out of the garage and become full fledged Lands-crapers. They are the reason for slow pricing on cuts.

By the same token many come here and make it. Working smart is the key to making it in any business. If you are a loser where you live now, you will be a loser here in Florida. People are people no matter where they live.

C&S Services
08-12-2004, 12:57 PM
When I was down in Florida last week I looked thru the yellow pages and was shocked to see only 4 landscaping companies in there, up here in NH we must have 8 pages or more. I'm looking to do some lawn care down there part time I do not think I could compete with the full time guys. Saw their set ups and most had the riders (ztrs ect...). My company is a handyman buisiness so it covers large spectrum of different work (pressure washing, organizing garages, lawn care and landscaping, and things most do not want to do). I have some nice equipment 52" Toro wb, echo bp blower, echo weed wacker and all the other tools I need to get te job done so I would love to keep going with what I'm doing up here. Thanks for the input if you have any other helpfull insights on how to deal with the area that would be great.

brucec32
08-17-2004, 06:07 AM
Originally posted by Ric
Hello Bruce

Seems your singing a different tune this year. Last year when you first came to Florida you basically called me an Idiot and told us how you were going to set Florida on Fire. Looks like that fire is taking you back north.

Yep, each day there are 3 people moving out of Florida for every 10 moving into Florida. A lot of Northern Losers come here to live with Grandpa and push his Crapman mower out of the garage and become full fledged Lands-crapers. They are the reason for slow pricing on cuts.

By the same token many come here and make it. Working smart is the key to making it in any business. If you are a loser where you live now, you will be a loser here in Florida. People are people no matter where they live.

Point taken. To a degree. But again MY AREA of Florida is not ALL OF FLORIDA. And MY SITUATION is not all situations. It sucks for me personally because I want to do mow/blow/go and leave the hedges and weeding and grunt work to youngsters and guys with employees. I could get better accounts and make somewhat more if I wanted to do all that stuff, but I don't, and really just can't, it's too wearing on the bod. There are 100,000 people within a 30 minute drive of me who don't have Bahia lawns, don't mind paying a decent price, etc, but they also have postage stamp lawns with ornate hedges and quite formally kept landscapes and need a "gardner" more than a "lawn service". I'd be sitting on a mower 10% of the time instead of 70% which is what I need to do at age 41. I don't want to be on my hands and knees or wearing myself out with hedge clippers all day. The business is here for the asking, I was able to cancel my ads after just 5 weeks, the quality of it is what I didn't like. I was averaging about $46/hour on-site, which is about 10% less than I made in Atlanta. But most of all the people just rub me the wrong way. Nothing fatal in of itself, just a death of a thousand cuts. So, it's not great, and not my cup o' tea, but certainly not the $15/cut situation I was hearing described when people asked about conditions in the state.

I can make just as much working here annually. The problem is, I have to work 42 weeks a year here to make what I did back in Atlanta in maybe 36, my wife and I both don't like the place that much, and it costs $450,000 for a home that would be $250,000 back home. Gas costs more, insurance costs a lot more, even groceries. I paid $7 the other day for a KFC chicken dinner that is advertised on TV for $4 and change. My wife and I had a late dinner at Denny's tonight after a business meeting. $26.88 for two breakfasts!

I made a killing on the house I bought, thanks to the ridiculous price inflation here ( up 25% since last June) so I'll be leaving with a smile on my face.

rodfather
08-17-2004, 06:57 AM
Originally posted by Ric
Hello Bruce

A lot of Northern Losers come here to live with Grandpa and push his Crapman mower out of the garage and become full fledged Lands-crapers.

Northern losers??? What the hell does that mean Ric?

Precision
08-17-2004, 09:25 AM
I am a native who moved to NYC for 10 years. I came back and started a LCO. I have not found the $15 lawns to be much of a problem, but I don't advertise in cheapskate magnet rags either.

I have noticed that there is business for the taking. Most of my accounts are people that are sick and tired of scrub service. Unlike Bruce, I offer the full boat. People like having one guy they can praise or yell at. I can't blame them and I don't know of anyone who will come and only trim your shrubs. I average about $100 per yard Monthly. Some are tiny and bring down the average. I know it isn't great money per trip, but they add up. I make my big money on the extras, sodding, clean ups and the like.

Tider6972
08-17-2004, 09:31 AM
I am kinda concerned for Ric. He is in SW Florida, is he a Charlie victim? Hope he's OK. May be without power and/or internet access.

If I had to guess what he means by his comment, I'd say he's seeing what we often call "scrubs" move there and drive prices low, so that it becomes difficult for an LCO to earn a good profit.

I lived in Cocoa Beach for ~10 years, and I can tell you that, as Bruce indicated re no middle class, the immigrants are either filthy rich and jerks, or dirt poor drop-outs who are unqualified and unskilled. Minimum wage types who are without ambition and direction. They drift around a while and finally seem to disappear to who knows where.

As a small business owner, I saw them come and go. Few are willing to work for success.Hence the term, 'losers'.

I happen to love Florida; I would love it more without the imported, rude a-holes and the hapless unfortunates.

When business allows, I plan to move back.

Tider6972
08-17-2004, 09:44 AM
before someone points it out :o , that yes, I was/will be an import also....but an exception to the 'rule' , for I am certainly not rich, but also not quite dirt poor and unskilled:o

Mower63
08-17-2004, 09:58 AM
I believe Ric is in Punta Gorda. Since he has a growing business I'm sure he got hit pretty hard...it's a disaster over there right now.

As for Florida. I grew up here and you either like it or you don't. I know plenty of natives that have fled for NC, SC or GA. Personally I enjoy the diversity. People come and go but as Ric says...most people come down for the season expecting to make a quick buck, give sub-par service and then blow out of town when they piss off enough customers to make it miserable. This goes for almost all service business....and the construction industry is probably the worse.

As for the backwards rednecks, well hell fire, I guess I'll just git bak 2 the po'ch an suck dwn a bud.

I spent 6 years living 'up north'....guess I missed all the great 'friendly' people. I've also traveled all over the US doing work in different places for extended periods. Any place is what you make of it...if you have a bad attitude...that's what comes back to you. Just my .02

As for Ric, he has an opinion just like everyone here. He also has a lot of experience and helped me get started in a positive direction when I first started looking for a business to buy, so I have a lot of respect for the guy.

cracker boy
08-22-2004, 02:42 AM
Sir, please stay where you are. I'm a fifth gen. native of the fine state of Florida and belive me their are to many of you YANKEES down here now. I'm sure your a nice guy and everything, but enough is enough. This invasion has got to end. Please tell your people, they can still come here, spend their money and enjoy are fine state, but please, what ever they do DON'T MOVE HERE!!

" FREE FLORIDA"

Rhett
08-22-2004, 09:42 AM
In Northwest Florida (panhandle) there is an abundance of work. As stated the prices we can command are much lower than many of our northern operaters are commanding. I average out at just about 40 an hour solo with a 52 and 36 walk behind. That is an extremely tight route that usually puts me in the truck for just a minute or two inbetween accounts. Actually I am too busy as it is 0730 Sunday and I am getting ready to go to work. As far as quality of life issues our schools are decent, no state tax, boat ramp is two blocks away, people over all are very friendly. Down side is that in my area housing has gone thru the roof. If you work in Destin you probably cannot afford to live in Destin. Besides my wife told me if I decide to move again I will be two things, Broke and Lonely. Good luck with your decision.

Oldtimer
08-23-2004, 11:38 PM
This is Rhett's home, Destin Florida.

Takes about a minute to load.

http://www.mindlace.com/strangelove/


Oldtimer
Pensacola, Florida

Tharrell
08-24-2004, 09:53 AM
It's a shame a quaint little fishing village, 30 minutes to blue water has to look like that now. I was at Eglin in the 70's and it was growing back then. P'cola beach has undergone the same transformation since '85. I lived right on Via DeLuna on P'cola beach for a while. Been thinking about moving back lately. If there's a Bob-Cat dealer around there I probably will be seeing you guys soon.

Oldtimer
08-24-2004, 11:43 AM
A lot on the sound is approaching a million dollars.

For tourists only.

Oldtimer

brucec32
09-02-2004, 05:17 AM
Anyone who thinks we don't have too damn many people here now should be shown this photo. Oh, we have room. But the quality of life, not to mention affordability of land in beautiful places (now only for the rich) is on the decline.

But hey, import another million and a half human beings a year so you pay ten cents less for a tomato. You'll be dead before America resembles India, so who cares, right?

Ric
09-02-2004, 09:23 AM
Punta Gorda doesn't have a lot of landscape left to take care of right now. Home owner Insurance does not cover landscape trash removal let alone replacement. The rich are more worried about there roofs and windows right now and the poor are just happy to have food. After Saturday we will have more work state wide however Florida wages are still very low compared to the North East.

Yes My Nursery was wiped out completely and no crop insurance. Shade house and irrigation gone. I plan to bull doze it and start over. However my Equipment and home did fine.