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View Full Version : Cutting back on expenses?


MudslinginFX4
08-29-2004, 10:28 PM
OK everyone, lets hear it. What are some of the areas that you have been able to cut back on and save some money? I'm getting to the point that it's not about having the best looking truck, or the best trailer, it's about having the most money in my personal checking account so I can enjoy the things in life in which I work for. I have done several things to cut back and save money. Not giving out as many t-shirts to employees, routing the yards each day so that I am in one area (not giving the customer a choice on which day I will be there), buying the things I use the most in mass amounts (blades, mower parts, string, etc..) buying things off of the internet that I can save money on such as shovels, rakes, etc. What are some of the things you do to save?

bobbygedd
08-29-2004, 10:38 PM
i've always thought it was rediculous to have a 30-40k truck, and 30k worth of equipment to go out and mow lawns for $25-$30( that's the rates here anyhow). seems like a constant tailchase to me. i make my money by keeping overhead down to pennies

Trevors Lawn Care
08-29-2004, 10:44 PM
dont eat out as much.

dont smoke cigs.-$2000 a year alone

purchased a beater of a car-We'll see how this one works.. I paid after plates and everything $1000, but i get 35 miles per gallon compared to 10-11 with the truck. It is my transportation to and from college which is 100miles away.

just a few

trevor

MudslinginFX4
08-29-2004, 10:47 PM
Trevor, what are some of the things you do to cut back on the business expenses though? I don't mind spending money on my personal things such as a nice car to drive, and going out to nice resturants, but I don't want to keep throwing money down the drain on things for my employess to enjoy or just added expenses that I don't need in the business.

dkeisala
08-29-2004, 10:57 PM
1) Tight routes & customized budgeted man hours per account

2) '04 F350 w/ 6yd dump body to increase hauling capacity/decrease trips to the dump

3) Add Walker MT in fall '03

4) All accounts serviced in 3 days to minimize mileage and maximize fuel savings

5) Developed monthly financial budgets and revenue tracking

6) Switched chemical suppliers and only buy what we need when we need it (limits and controls financial outlay throughout the year)

7) Implemented use of pre-emergents in beds and lawn to minimize man hours spent spraying for weed control

8) Purchased a dethatcher to maximize revenue, increase flexibility and decrease rental cost

9) Implemented preventative maintenance and cleaning schedule

10) Purchased digital camera and a process for someone other than me to do estimates

printer88
08-29-2004, 11:25 PM
I don't have all the nice things that most of you guys have.I drive a 1990 f-150,with a 6x12 open trailer.And I mow with a JD HD45
48'' cut wb.My 2 cycle stuff is Husky.This equipment gets the job done.I make a good living and try to stick some money back in case I get into a bind.My best cost cutting method is the luxury to have someone who helps me part-time when they are off from their day job.So I schedule my big stuff that I can't do alone for those days.The other times I am a simple one man crew.I love this business because once you get established and have a good dependable client base you can work when you want to work not all the time because you have stuff to make payments on.

dkeisala
08-29-2004, 11:28 PM
Originally posted by printer88
I don't have all the nice things that most of you guys have.I drive a 1990 f-150,with a 6x12 open trailer.And I mow with a JD HD45
48'' cut wb.My 2 cycle stuff is Husky.This equipment gets the job done.I make a good living and try to stick some money back in case I get into a bind.My best cost cutting method is the luxury to have someone who helps me part-time when they are off from their day job.So I schedule my big stuff that I can't do alone for those days.The other times I am a simple one man crew.I love this business because once you get established and have a good dependable client base you can work when you want to work not all the time because you have stuff to make payments on. And THATS what it's all about. Success is about sacrifice. For most of us, you can't have one without the other.

qualitylandscaping
08-29-2004, 11:32 PM
cut back on expenses??!! I don't think I could do that if I got paid to cut back.. My neighbor just bought matching Polaris snowmobiles.. I will be buying one before the winter now also..

I like to keep up with or above the neighbor's and the other LCO's in town.

MudslinginFX4
08-29-2004, 11:41 PM
Originally posted by qualitylandscaping
cut back on expenses??!! I don't think I could do that if I got paid to cut back.. My neighbor just bought matching Polaris snowmobiles.. I will be buying one before the winter now also..

I like to keep up with or above the neighbor's and the other LCO's in town.

It must suck to have to live your life to a comparison and to impress others. While most things I buy are very nice (nicer then a lot of my neighbors) I buy stuff because I want it, not because Bill next door has it. However, I canít say Iíve always been like this, I used to be very unhappy with what I had doing it your way! :dizzy:

qualitylandscaping
08-29-2004, 11:50 PM
It's not really to impress them..

I just like toys.. I always want new toys.. When someone else gets something I want, I feel like I just justified buying my new toy lol

Andyinchville2
08-29-2004, 11:51 PM
I cut back on yellow page ad....saved alot there....most of my customers come from referrals or seeing the signs on the trucks....it is good I think to have a yellow page ad though since I have gotten a few accounts from it but overall not enoyugh to justify a large ad....For me the #1 way to get masses of customers is via flyers....

impactlandscaping
08-29-2004, 11:52 PM
I haven't really cut back at all..I periodically look for better insurance rates, though. It takes money to make money, and I like to have lots of toys.:D

MudslinginFX4
08-29-2004, 11:56 PM
Originally posted by qualitylandscaping
It's not really to impress them..

I just like toys.. I always want new toys.. When someone else gets something I want, I feel like I just justified buying my new toy lol

OK, well that makes it sound a little better! I can't say that I don't like my toys. This week I just bought a remote start/alarm for my car and also a hard wired radar deflector/detector, and a new stereo for my Jeep. It sounded like you were buying stuff just because your neighbors had them.

pjslawncare/landscap
08-30-2004, 12:10 AM
Swiching to diesel trucks made a big difference here. Having two 350 gal fuel tanks makes gas station stops a no more thing (big time waster).

HOOLIE
08-30-2004, 12:11 AM
I always try to justify each purchase before I make it, except for the basics like gas, oil, bags, etc. I just think, should I really spend the money on this at this time? How much use will I get out of it? The was a thread yesterday about the best walk-behind edger (for doing tough edge jobs). That's one, in my eyes, where it makes your life a little easier, but why spend $400 for something you might use only a few times a year.

Sometimes I'm guilty of being too frugal, but I guess I'm just the cautious type.

CJ GreenScapes
08-30-2004, 12:29 AM
I love my toys too, but I have found a way to cut back on what I buy - I just ask myself one simple question, "how many yards do I have to cut to pay for this". It works...

another watch? 10 yards
big screen tv? 133 yards
new 4-wheeler? 400 yards OUCH!
'04 Chevy 2500 4x4? 2,666 yards WHAT?!

Remember, you have to use what you NET, not gross.

MiracleMan
08-30-2004, 01:03 AM
3 years ago I had 9 guys and 80 clients during the summer while I did office work and generated business. Today I have two guys plus myself serving 30 clients and the municipality I live in. We also mow vacant lots and structures for the city health dept. My wife works the office. Saved money by being personally involved in the mowing, driving and supervising. Cutting out the salaries, lunches and HUGE maintenance and machinery repairs really helped. I have less gross today of course, but bring home more money and have less expenses. Sounds unreal but it's true. We still have 5 Nextels (Dad, wife, myself, 2 workers) but reduced our yellow page ad and limited it to two books. NO more advertising needed. However, the biggie were the repair bills. UNREAL how much money 8-9 guys can make you spend on maintenance from the lack thereof. Also, oils, gloves, safety glasses, trimmer line, etc is issued out very carefully, not given out freely as before. I learned some lessons the hard way. However, I have also realized that my body has taken a few beatings at 43. I'm not the same man I was when I started this business at the age of 32. I stock up on Ibuprofrun, Benadryll and Allegra. Sometimes you have to give a little to make more. Woof ! ! !

Eric 1
08-30-2004, 10:18 PM
Originally posted by qualitylandscaping
cut back on expenses??!! I don't think I could do that if I got paid to cut back.. My neighbor just bought matching Polaris snowmobiles.. I will be buying one before the winter now also..

I like to keep up with or above the neighbor's and the other LCO's in town.

It must be nice to spend money like water!

i have a small rig and its all paid for acept the mower, thats how i make money. Not a huge over head, only buy what i need, when i buy i research to get the best deal for the dollar.

dkeisala
08-30-2004, 11:01 PM
Originally posted by MiracleMan
3 years ago I had 9 guys and 80 clients during the summer while I did office work and generated business. Today I have two guys plus myself serving 30 clients and the municipality I live in. We also mow vacant lots and structures for the city health dept. My wife works the office. Saved money by being personally involved in the mowing, driving and supervising. Cutting out the salaries, lunches and HUGE maintenance and machinery repairs really helped. I have less gross today of course, but bring home more money and have less expenses. Sounds unreal but it's true. We still have 5 Nextels (Dad, wife, myself, 2 workers) but reduced our yellow page ad and limited it to two books. NO more advertising needed. However, the biggie were the repair bills. UNREAL how much money 8-9 guys can make you spend on maintenance from the lack thereof. Also, oils, gloves, safety glasses, trimmer line, etc is issued out very carefully, not given out freely as before. I learned some lessons the hard way. However, I have also realized that my body has taken a few beatings at 43. I'm not the same man I was when I started this business at the age of 32. I stock up on Ibuprofrun, Benadryll and Allegra. Sometimes you have to give a little to make more. Woof ! ! ! Posts like these from guys like you are what I like to read. This is such an horrendously expensive business to be in that getting bigger doesn't really mean you are going to be making more money. Costs go up but you can only really charge so much.

There was a guy around here, bought his partner out of a small yet profitable landscape maintenance business, got a loan and overnight he was one of the dominate forces in our county. His plan was to get big then sell it for a hefty sum, which he did in the matter of about 3 years. An outfit from outside the Seattle area bought him out, expending into our area. Problem is, he never really came out that great. By the time he paid everything off that he owed he ended up with a pitance of would he could have made had he grown at a slow, steady and controlled pace.

Sometimes you need to know when to say when and realize that bigger isn't always better.

IndyPropertyCare
08-30-2004, 11:15 PM
Cutting back on expenses.....Humm, let me think :confused:

Always trying to find a faster way to get the job done ?
Shopping for the best price and quality on everything we buy ?
NO overtime ( so says the government ) OH...wait !!!! we dont make enough $$$ for that one LOL :p
Conserve fuel ( keep maintenence on all equipment done )
McDonalds value menu?
DRink water ( no more soda pop )
and the list goes on & on & on.............

all degree
08-30-2004, 11:17 PM
I have said this before many times but I will say it again. Lots of guys get caught up in the "race" to buy all nice big stuff. Not to pick on the young guys but they do it even more.

I make my equipment last and buy the best that I need...not the best. I have a 36 inch Toro WB. Anything else would be more than I need even though I would really love something bigger and better. Its nicer having more in my checking account and less in my garage...

Albemarle Lawn
08-30-2004, 11:48 PM
oops... I have a $53,000 mower, and a $60,000 truck.

Oh oh.

turfmaster90
08-30-2004, 11:50 PM
(Both my employees were being paid $10.00 per hour.) Employee #1 got a wild hair and quit. Employee # 2 quit after two more weeks because he's just lazy, wanted to ride only- no weedeating or blowing. So I rearranged my schedule. I'm working about 50 hours a week now. Long hours but the season will slow down next month.

The pay I was paying them now goes into my pocket at the end of the month. Nice bonus!!!!

By the Way--- Employee # 1 called a couple of days ago and wanted his job back. Said he did'nt realize how good he had it. I said " Most people don't. Your position has been eliminated. I don't have anything for you!!"

With the new Toro 557 I have been able to cut my cutting time down from anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes at my job sites.

Bought an ice machine a couple of years ago. No more paying for 2 to 4 bags of ice anymore.

I try to do all repair and maintenance on my machines.

65hoss
08-30-2004, 11:57 PM
Originally posted by MiracleMan
3 years ago I had 9 guys and 80 clients during the summer while I did office work and generated business. Today I have two guys plus myself serving 30 clients and the municipality I live in. We also mow vacant lots and structures for the city health dept. My wife works the office. Saved money by being personally involved in the mowing, driving and supervising. Cutting out the salaries, lunches and HUGE maintenance and machinery repairs really helped. I have less gross today of course, but bring home more money and have less expenses. Sounds unreal but it's true. We still have 5 Nextels (Dad, wife, myself, 2 workers) but reduced our yellow page ad and limited it to two books. NO more advertising needed. However, the biggie were the repair bills. UNREAL how much money 8-9 guys can make you spend on maintenance from the lack thereof. Also, oils, gloves, safety glasses, trimmer line, etc is issued out very carefully, not given out freely as before. I learned some lessons the hard way. However, I have also realized that my body has taken a few beatings at 43. I'm not the same man I was when I started this business at the age of 32. I stock up on Ibuprofrun, Benadryll and Allegra. Sometimes you have to give a little to make more. Woof ! ! !


One of the better posts on here in a while. I agree. Less revenue, headaches, expenses and more profitability.

To people trying to be big shots and showing more of their lack of experience and age...quit trying to be something you are not. I for one am getting tired of the BS flying. A good for it attitude is great, trying to hard to be a big shot isn't.

shepoutside
08-31-2004, 12:29 AM
Most of my equipment is purchased at auctions. The city's and region's use it only for one year, then sell them. Low hours, and good deals. I don't have to pay the deprecation on stuff. I do buy quality, and make sure I can get service and parts in town. By doing this, I can aford to buy extra, or spares. I do most of my own maintinance, and have take small engine night courses at the local school, plus bussiness corses too. Not to much I need to contract/job out, that saves alot too. I even build my own trailers, after a fun welding course.

Kelly's Landscaping
08-31-2004, 12:37 AM
Areas we are trying to get control over are Insurance thatís around 7 k a year. The phone book thatís 5 k a year the phones 2 k a year. Payroll service is 2 k a year and accountant is 2 k a year credit card fees are also up there and then thereís over time.

Basically you want to stream line your costs and see whatís costing you too much like advertising thatís not working. Or accounts that take half and hour to get to these cost more then they are worth to have. As for trucks or equipment I think you pay more by not going new as the life expectancy is less to begin with and the repair costs over time eliminate any savings plus lose work time. This does not mean a hummer H1 2005 is a better choice then say a 1992 3500 gmc. But it means a new 3500 truck would be more reliable then an old run down model of the same type.

stevo22
08-31-2004, 12:39 AM
Originally posted by CJ GreenScapes
I love my toys too, but I have found a way to cut back on what I buy - I just ask myself one simple question, "how many yards do I have to cut to pay for this". It works...

another watch? 10 yards
big screen tv? 133 yards
new 4-wheeler? 400 yards OUCH!
'04 Chevy 2500 4x4? 2,666 yards WHAT?!

Remember, you have to use what you NET, not gross.
what is your average yard bringing???if a new 2500 4x4 cost say $37000 then according to your numbers you would be cutting for about $13 a yard?

Supertiger
08-31-2004, 12:58 AM
Instead of buying new mowers to replace my old ones i just started replacing the worn out parts on them. I never buy a new pull vehicle like a Super duty Ford etc, they don't make the money its the mowers and weed eaters and thats were the most money needs to be invested, IN MY opinion. I have installed new seats, and just recently a new 25hp@ 1500.00 engine on my 5 year old Lazer, it runs strong as ever now and thats only equivalent to about 5 month worth of payments on a new 8000.00 Lazer. But im still paying for my sins, I have big payments on a Back Hoe and a Bush Hog tracters that maby i should have purchased used instead of new.

LAWNS AND MOWER
08-31-2004, 01:52 AM
GO SOLO!!!!!! Did it 8 years ago and never once have regretted it. Making much more now, and don't have to babysit!!!!