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WoodBrothersLC
09-01-2004, 10:50 PM
One of my friends dads owns one of the largest lawn and landscape companies in the city. He is a very successful business man, but i don't know how he does it. All of his truck range from late 70's to mid 80's, he runs very old scag belts, homelite weedeaters and blowers. Does not own 1 ZTR. He has a full time car mechanic, and 2 part time mechanics. He refuses to use computers, so he stays at the office every night doing paperwork way into 11:30-12, and he does it all the paper work with his brother. He has over 50 employees. He does own one of the largest privately owned snow plow fleets in the city, with 30+ blades on his side every winter. He also does fert., pest control, heating/cooling, and subs out some small remodeling jobs. Again, i don't know how he does it all w/o using a computer, and using all of that old equipment. I put this on here for open discussion. Thanks.

Mark

fga
09-01-2004, 10:57 PM
as far as the cheaper equipment, like the homelites.... with that many employees, the equipment probably gets trashed. rather then constantly spending alot of money on exspensive stuff, he probably hits wal mart and cleans out there stock..
and if the trucks run good, it doesn't matter the age. i use an '84 dodge every single day.

Turf Medic
09-01-2004, 11:00 PM
Probably able to do it because he has been doing it the same way for years. Computers might make him more profitable but maybe he is happy with the money he is making, and wants to be able to "touch" every aspect of the business. Computers really haven't been in the small business all that many years. Wouldn't be a plan I would try to copy, growing a business years ago, you didn't have the luxury of computers, so you did what you had to do. Now changing his business to computer may just be too overwhelming for him to attempt.

WoodBrothersLC
09-01-2004, 11:01 PM
I understand about the weedeaters, I'd probably do the same thing, but throw in a few stihls or shindaiwas, like a 4 homelite to 1 stihl ratio, but the truck i have a comment. He has all mexican employees working for him, and 1 white crew leader. I know from talking to him that the white guy is the only one taking care of the truck, and he drives that crew. The other crews tear the hell out of the trucks, beat them up, break windows on accident. He even has like 20 spare back windshields because they break them so much. I would probably get a few responsible crew leaders and maybe buy a new truck every few years. The only new trucks he buys are his car every 5 years or so, his brother(the other owner's) car every 5 years or so, and his nephew (who runs the fert. department) every 5 years or so.

all ferris
09-01-2004, 11:03 PM
Where is prairie village? Is the name of the place Grass Roots?

WoodBrothersLC
09-01-2004, 11:06 PM
It is not Grass Roots I will tell you that, and just for the business' sake, even though they are a very established business I will not say their name.

WoodBrothersLC
09-01-2004, 11:07 PM
Prairie Village is a suburb of KC Kansas, and this company works in and out of the KC Kansas suburbs, and even goes to some further destinations to mow some yards.

all ferris
09-01-2004, 11:11 PM
Thats cool. The reason I asked is because Grass Roots started doing all UMB banks in the St. louis area. I know they are from Olathe. How can they send a crew out from kansas to do just 14 banks? Why don't they try to sub it out?

PMLAWN
09-02-2004, 03:19 AM
Score one for the low overhead side.
As far as the computer goes- At 42 years old I had to learn computers and I am still learning. My kids grew up with them and don't know anything else, but if you are 50 or older you worked a lot without them and the learning curve may not be worth it.
And when his pencil crashes he just sharpens it.

allstar
09-02-2004, 07:33 AM
Sounds like a hard-working guy who's built one helluva successful business to me.

Mdirrigation
09-02-2004, 08:31 AM
You should ask him , he may save you years of trial and error with a simple discussion

Up North
09-02-2004, 12:09 PM
Originally posted by Mdirrigation
You should ask him , he may save you years of trial and error with a simple discussion

Ditto! It's usually old guys like that can give some pretty good insight on how to be successful. Heck, just because he uses less expensive equipment & doesn't use a computer doesn't mean he does inferior work. I think you mentioned he has his own mechanics, that saves him from having to send stuff out and pay for repairs, not to mention they probably repair other peoples equipment for additional revenue.

It just boils down to him having a system that works for him, it may take him more hours a week to effectively run his business but he probably knows where every last penny goes.

Buck

Expert Lawns
09-02-2004, 03:00 PM
no computers, no outsourcing.............seems to work for him. if it ain't broke, dont' fix it

number1dad
09-02-2004, 03:53 PM
Its not what you drive, but what you cut with instead. I can have a new truck and trailer, but a mower that does not cut well and you loose customers, quick!!! Seen several LCO's that have went in debt over their heads and ended up loosing everything because they were worried about the truck appearance instead of the yard appearance.

SunSwept
09-02-2004, 09:36 PM
I have programmed computers since I was in high school. Earned my living from them for the last 22 years and can't wait to get totally out of the business. Why? Because I am finding that everything is computerized and people are fogetting how to do basic ANYTHING any more.

This guy is probably old enough to know how to run a business and keep the books and do a budget and run projections. He probably learned to do it without a computer and feels comfortable doing it the way he learned.

Computers can only do what we humans program them to do. Sure, they do it a little faster. But do they really do the tasks BETTER? Shoot, there is stuff in the Quicken software that I use that I have no idea what it is and how to use it ... because I am not an accountant. Already the computer is handicapped because I don't know what to key in.

Computers are not the answer ... just a tool. As this guy seems to have already found out.

WoodBrothersLC
09-02-2004, 09:44 PM
By no means am I bashing on this guy, I'm just curious to hear what everyone thinks. And, yes I've chatted with him a few times about his beginnings and how he does it.

Turf Medic
09-02-2004, 09:48 PM
Originally posted by WoodBrothersLC
By no means am I bashing on this guy, I'm just curious to hear what everyone thinks. And, yes I've chatted with him a few times about his beginnings and how he does it.


If you asked how he began and how he does it, why did you come here and ask us? Think he might not be telling you the truth. Or did you just want to check to make sure he is being honest with you :rolleyes:

WoodBrothersLC
09-02-2004, 10:06 PM
If you asked how he began and how he does it, why did you come here and ask us? Think he might not be telling you the truth. Or did you just want to check to make sure he is being honest with you


In response to that statement. I am just bringing it up as a topic of discussion. I just wanted to see what everyone's opinion was. By no means would I bash on one of my best friend's dad.

Mdirrigation
09-02-2004, 10:09 PM
Computers, weedeaters, mowers , hammers they are all tools and if you dont know how to use them they are useless. I know guys that are great carpenters , but lousy businesss men. I know great businessmen that cant run any equipment they own. He probably keeps his business very simple , communicates with his customers , does the job right , treats his employees well , and has a good head for business .

TurfGuyTX
12-30-2004, 12:50 AM
As stated earlier, OVERHEAD. Lack of it, anyway.

out4now
12-30-2004, 02:06 AM
sounds like my old Matco tool salesman. Guys had laptops and fancy air conditioners and lighting setups on their vans, not this guy. Didn't even have a calculator on the truck! Like already said low overhead. If you've never had the fancy business tools then how would you know what you're missing?

PaulJ
12-30-2004, 09:37 AM
With mechanics on staff and the simplicity of the older trucks and mowers, he can probably keep them both going in good condition. And at less cost than anything new would be. He probably makes up for any lost productivity from not using ZTRs with employees instead.
How does the equipment look and run? How are the workers? and how does thier work look? Those are the things that keep you going. Comffot and speed will only take you so far.

packerbacker
12-30-2004, 10:56 AM
Im curious to know who they are also. Ive been doing this for over 10 years and dont know how anyone could survive without a computer unless they are just have crazy orginizational skills.

But once i saw the heating and cooling and pest control i think i know who it is

battags
12-30-2004, 12:11 PM
Score one for the low overhead side.
As far as the computer goes- At 42 years old I had to learn computers and I am still learning. My kids grew up with them and don't know anything else, but if you are 50 or older you worked a lot without them and the learning curve may not be worth it.
And when his pencil crashes he just sharpens it.

Low overhead it right. There are all kinds of business stratagies that eventually work, but not having as many huge bills to pay is the best way to get ahead.

I would be interested to see this guys operation in detail. I'm sure he has just as many headaches as the rest of us.

Brian

KCLandscape
12-30-2004, 12:17 PM
Hey wood, I am in Fairway, probably about 2 miles from you.
Who are you talking about?
Grass Roots is a big outfit in Olathe, do great work!
Place I get mulch, the GR guys were in there wanting to set up a purchase of 8000 yds of hardwood for their 2005 season. Interesting they have a St Louis branch now?

packerbacker
12-30-2004, 12:53 PM
Hey wood, I am in Fairway, probably about 2 miles from you.
Who are you talking about?
Grass Roots is a big outfit in Olathe, do great work!
Place I get mulch, the GR guys were in there wanting to set up a purchase of 8000 yds of hardwood for their 2005 season. Interesting they have a St Louis branch now?





I was thinking Barnds Brothers. Its not Boresows, i spent 5 years with one of them and he has 3 computers in his office.

Smithers
12-30-2004, 01:36 PM
It;s not important how much you make......It's important how much you keep. :waving: :waving: