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View Full Version : Folks, its been nice, Im throwing the towel in.


QualityLawnCare4u
10-05-2004, 10:02 PM
I have done a lot of soul searching this week and Ive come to the conclusion that the lawn care biz aint gonna support my family here. I posted last January that if it was not any better by the fall I was calling it quits. I tried to do a lot of things different this year (thanks to lawnsite) advertising, doorhangers, paper, did not get one call from them. In the past month I have had more calls than in past 8 months and everyone was a BS yard that no other lco would touch or they wanted to pay you 25 bucks to do a 125 job. I guess I will have to get me a job at wally world of krogers making min. wage being I have no college and no one wants to hire you when you get older. I remember when I was in the office biz for 22 years how I use to envy the lco every time I passed one on the road. I give it my best and I failed miserably. I do have 4 accounts that Im going to keep for the weekend (about 600 a month) just for extra income. Im going to just keep my 717 and a few other pieces of equipment to do these with. I sure wished I had not bought the new edger (used one time) new bp blower (never used) last month. Things started looking promising this year but just did not happen. Felt like I hit a brick wall everytime I turned around, pick up one, lose 2,etc. I want to thank all the folks who gave advice, it was very welcome. I wish you all the best of luck!! It really made me feel good when I read the post about the 20 something year old that knocked down over 250k in the past year and in my area you are doing dam good to get in the 20,s. :waving:

PS: this is not meant to be a "sob" story. I tell it just like it is.

Danny
Quality Lawn Care

impactlandscaping
10-05-2004, 10:14 PM
Danny,

Sorry to hear about your leaving the green industry. I know markets are very, very different from one coast to the next, let alone one town to the next, so I feel for you in that regard. I wish you the best of luck in where ever you are led from this point forward. Hope to still talk to you around LS from time to time, and hopefully you can get a good paying job to support your family , and possibly plan for a comeback in a year or so. I wish you the best of luck.

P.S. If your equipment is paid for, try and hold on to the newer stuff if the thought of getting back in is in your mind at this time. Less overhead for a restart later....



Bill

Envy Lawn Service
10-05-2004, 10:15 PM
This southern economy sure is tough on the LCO... no doubt about it. Partially the current economy and partially the average working man's wage in general. It's a fight to get the money you need... that's for sure.

Do what you need to t put food on the table. Since you are keeping your equipment, better opportunities may present themselves in the future. Sometimes you have to stop, think, and re-invent the wheel to get things rolling the right way.

Now, go rent 'Joe Dirt' and watch it......

green with envy
10-05-2004, 10:23 PM
Good Luck to you Danny! It is tough out there and I'm sure that many more lcos will go under this year. Keep your head up. With your experiance you could make a fine maintenance/Grounds supervisor and do"side jobs until you can make a run of it again.

I wish you well,

Mike

QualityLawnCare4u
10-05-2004, 10:26 PM
Thanks fellows, I was really depressed/unhappy when I made this decision. I know another lco who just started last year, Is much higher than me and has all he can handle. I offered him my accounts and he did not have time for them. What di I do wrong? Believe it or not, three years ago when I had a JD 133 basic mower, homelite weedeater and ryobi blower and ragged home made trailor I made 4 grand more that 4th year than this year and I have nice equipment now and look much more professional. Go figure. Folks around here like the scrub look.

Danny

LA LAWNS
10-05-2004, 10:42 PM
what you got for sale?

Ursushorribilus
10-05-2004, 10:45 PM
I'm sorry to hear of your bad fortune. I hope the future brings you prosperity, and perhaps keeping some equipment, taking a time-out and a step back and reevaluating the circumstances will cast light on open doors that may have been missed. Best of luck...Tony

txlawnking
10-05-2004, 10:47 PM
Hey Danny, I feel your pain as I, too have chosen to move on to other things for now as well.. Only you can decide what's right for yourself, and I hope you are makin' the wise choice..Either way, GOD bless you, and your family, and may the Lord richly bless you no matter what you do..


Willy

Liberty Lawncare
10-05-2004, 10:51 PM
Sorry it did not work out for you. Best of luck in future ventures :waving:

Up North
10-05-2004, 11:01 PM
Danny, sorry it didn't go so well. From the posts you've made over the past few months it certainly wasn't for lack of effort. I wish you well and who know's...maybe your luck will turn and something go your way. Keep your chin up, try not to look at it as a negative, I'm sure you learned a ton of stuff that would not have happened if you hadn't tried. Good luck Danny.

Buck

chefdrp
10-05-2004, 11:06 PM
like someone said, Try working for another lco for awile and then maybe get back into it. might be better that Wally world. Whatever you do good luck.

Evergreenpros
10-05-2004, 11:36 PM
Sometimes when you step back for a while, then look at it again, certain things are clear that you didn't see before.

Small business owners fail all the time, it's part of being a business owner. You can work your butt off, do everything right, yet still fail. It's just the nature of the beast.


Best of luck to you.

Soupy
10-05-2004, 11:52 PM
Is all your equipment paid for? Do you use an accountant? Maybe the reason you made more money in the past is because you have not deducted your equipment upgrades correctly. I would think about finishing the year out and go see a good accountant (they are worth their wait in gold) before you throw in the towel.

Also before you quit, try raising prices across the board for all customers. If they don't go for it, fine. But if they do, it might be just the boost you need.

dvmcmrhp52
10-05-2004, 11:53 PM
Dan,
I sincerely wish you the best.
Take a break from lawn care for a while and refresh the brain pan, it may get you to thinking a bit differently.
Good luck...............

MJLsLawnCareNmoreLLC
10-06-2004, 12:05 AM
Sorry to hear your struggles with supporting your family in this business. I wish you luch in supporting your family. Maybe you will return some day.....

jajwrigh
10-06-2004, 12:18 AM
Good luck with your future endevours... :)

Fescue Farmer
10-06-2004, 12:30 AM
Danny,

"When times are good, be happy;
but when times are bad, consider:
God has made the one
as well as the other.
Therefore, a man cannot discover
anything about his future." Ecclesiastes 7:14

"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might....." Eclesiastes 9:10 (even if this means Wally World - there is nothing shameful about working minimum wage at a chain store)

God is sovereign and will provide for you and your family - trust in Him!

Fescue

QualityLawnCare4u
10-06-2004, 12:35 AM
Is all your equipment paid for? Do you use an accountant? Maybe the reason you made more money in the past is because you have not deducted your equipment upgrades correctly. I would think about finishing the year out and go see a good accountant (they are worth their wait in gold) before you throw in the towel.

Also before you quit, try raising prices across the board for all customers. If they don't go for it, fine. But if they do, it might be just the boost you need.

Soupy, yes I do have an accountant, He depriciates my equipment every year. In fact, the past 2 years alone I have gotten back over 5k every year in taxes. Has saved my butt each year to.

Danny

out4now
10-06-2004, 12:56 AM
That's a bummer. Know what ya mean about the lack of degree, that's why I'm stuck back in school again. Good luck to you, hope everything works out.

Richard Martin
10-06-2004, 03:33 AM
Danny, I am sorry to hear of your misfortune. It is sad to hear when one of our family calls it quits for this reason. When you combine such a low population (15,536 countywide, 2000) with low incomes ($14,230 per person, 1999) it isn't difficult to see why it would be hard to even make the payments on a push mower let alone a ZTR.

Unless things get really bad I would hold onto the equipment and do weekend work like you said.

I hope you aren't going to leave our family here.

Big Wes
10-06-2004, 06:35 AM
Sorry to hear about your struggle.

Maybe you can hire on with one of the other successful LCO's in your area as a crew chief, due to the fact you have experience. It's not like working for yourself, but I'm sure the money is better than Wally World. A good crew chief should make at least $10-$12 per hour i would think.

Good luck in whatever you do.

bobbygedd
10-06-2004, 06:47 AM
well, perhaps this is a bad time but......since we are on the subject....could you share with us what you think you did wrong, or what the biggest obsticles were for you, so that perhaps we don't make the same mistakes? in 9 years in the business, i've done everything in an unorthadox fashion, from banging on doors at 2am to collect an overdue payment, to not showing up for a cut for 3 weeks at a time, and really never considered packing it in.i'm really curious to know what went wrong. this season was my first full time, and this year i drank more beer, went fishing more, used the pool and barbeque more than any other year in my life, and i did just fine. i'd really like to know what happened, not to "rub salt into your wound", but as an educational piece of advice.

Mark McC
10-06-2004, 08:39 AM
At the very least, part of the problem is that you live in an area where the residents have little disposable income.

Have you considered moving to the metro Atlanta area?

Supertiger
10-06-2004, 09:08 AM
Ive been doing this 6 years now and have good times and even more bad times in this business, but one thing that ive noticed between me and the other LCOs in my area, the ones that have stayed in business the longest is that we all have one thing in common, "ARE Wives have good paying jobs and keep the family bills payed wile im haveing troubles in the lawn business". It seems like if i had to pay all the family bills on what I can make from the lawn care business i would go under for shure, there are times that i go without a pay check for 6 weeks just to keep all the lawn business expenses payed and gas in the equipment, and then there are the good times where im loaded with excess cash and then i think everything is all right again. And my conclussion to this is that we just dont charg enough money to justify the true expence it takes to operate in the lawn care business, and i know most customers wont pay what there lawn is truly worth to be serviced.

dkeisala
10-06-2004, 09:36 AM
there are times that i go without a pay check for 6 weeks just to keep all the lawn business expenses payed and gas in the equipment, and then there are the good times where im loaded with excess cash and then i think everything is all right again. .

Ask anyone who works for themselves and they will tell you they like being self employed a whole lot more when they are making money.

As for packing it in, this really must be a regional thing. I think just about everyperson on Lawnsite has a genuine interest in the business, has given it their best, worked hard but for some it just didn't pan out.

I think part of my success is the simple fact that I started the right business at the right time in a city/county that happened to being experiencing explosive growth. This is a business that depends on population density. You can say what you want about small lots and lawns but pack a whole bunch of people into an area, everybody works, nobody has any freetime anymore and people will do/pay just about anything to keep from having to do their own yardwork.

I'm sorry to see any business fold. Hopefully it was a great opportunity for you to learn and grow. Perhaps things will change. Maybe getting a "real" job and keeping those few side jobs for the extra dough will actually work out better for you - less stress, more dependable cash flow. Who knows, maybe you take your self-employment experience and transfer that knowledge to a different business. Whatever you do, the best of luck to you and let us know how things turn out for you.

MMLawn
10-06-2004, 09:40 AM
Danny,I am sorry to hear this as I know from your post you have tried your best. I won't say good luck because I don't believe in luck but instead trust in God as he will provide.

KathysLGC
10-06-2004, 10:09 AM
I had the same feeling two years ago and i quite also. The thought of getting back in stayed in my mind no matter what. I never quite my day job so i had something to fall back on. i was in the process of getting full custody of my 3 kids.

I sold all my back up equipement and kept my good/new stuff since they were paid for in full and i used them on my own lawn any ways. Now i have my 3 kids and i am remarried.

I am restarting and just got a truck W/plow and 2004 exmark TTHP. Everything is paid in full so I have no over head. Now I can restart with out the stress of worrying if things will pay for them selves and under bidding just to get the account. I am now going about this at a slow professional pace.

Maybe you took on more then you where ready to at the time? I would suggest keep the accounts you can do on saturday and get your self a full time job. Try and restart in a year. Maybe pick up some jobs from the full time job and do those on weekends also.

I hate to see people give up, but hey if your not making money then somethings gotta give. Your doing the right thing for your family. Hold your head up bro. We'll be here if and when you want to get back.

Edgar

lawnworker
10-06-2004, 10:20 AM
If Richard Martin statistics are correct, you are in a very tough market- sorta like going to the hills of Appalachia West Virginia mountain ville and hoping to build up a big business.Thats tough.

I would definitely keep some of your customers. Who knows, your town might experience a boom in economic growth over the next few years, leaving you ready to really pull in some cash.


Good luck- no matter what happens.

qualitylandscaping
10-06-2004, 12:37 PM
Best of luck to ya buddy :waving:

alpine692003
10-06-2004, 12:43 PM
Keep your head up and don't give your hopes up!

I know if I gave my hopes up, I wouldn't have been doing this still!

blair smock
10-06-2004, 01:04 PM
Danny, I have always enjoyed your posts, Hope you stick around, Hey you never know something may be waiting around the corner, I am sort of at a crossroads myself, Planning on fulltime nxt year but just had surgery on my shoulder (full use in 6-8 months) Met with my full time boss this morning and he asked if I had my resume up todate? :) Job market in Oh is sort of sad. Wish i could help you out. God bless and take care! Blair

proenterprises
10-06-2004, 01:18 PM
sorry to hear danny, i wish you the best of luck to you and your family in the future.

any chance you will re-enter in a few years?

Hawkeye5
10-06-2004, 02:23 PM
Look at it this way, your not out of the business, just converting to part-time. Best wishes and God bless.

QualityLawnCare4u
10-06-2004, 08:15 PM
well, perhaps this is a bad time but......since we are on the subject....could you share with us what you think you did wrong, or what the biggest obsticles were for you, so that perhaps we don't make the same mistakes? in 9 years in the business, i've done everything in an unorthadox fashion, from banging on doors at 2am to collect an overdue payment, to not showing up for a cut for 3 weeks at a time, and really never considered packing it in.i'm really curious to know what went wrong. this season was my first full time, and this year i drank more beer, went fishing more, used the pool and barbeque more than any other year in my life, and i did just fine. i'd really like to know what happened, not to "rub salt into your wound", but as an educational piece of advice.

Bobby, Richard Martin nailed the bullseye. Example, today I went to the high end area. Two houses down was a kid with a wizard push mower and rake. I stopped and talked to him, was doing the 1 acre yard mow and rake for 20 bucks! I would have charged at least 70 to mow/vacuum it. I finish my 45 buck, pita retired 75 year old ex-military who is a know it all whiner. When I leave go about 1/2 mile and another lco stop me and wants to know if I have any tools he can use to work on his crapsman with no hood. Cant get it fixed so I finish the job for him, about 10 minutes, He was unemployed and driving a old smoking ford ranger and was doing the yard for 25 bucks, one I would charge 65 for. Get the point of what Im up against. high unemployment, mowing yards for pocket change folks. Its not anything I done wrong, just my location. Im really having a hard time quitting because today, for example, I did a 1 hour $45 yard, a $35 30 minute yard, and a $85 2 hour commercial account. Thats 165 bucks for 4 hours work. How long would it take me making 5.15 a hour to make this. Yesterday was not so good, I done a $45 yard in 45 minutes and a 25 one in 20 minutes. Now on paper the amount of time I work divided by the amount looks great until my expenses come out. I could acctually do every yard I have in a day and half if I pushed myself. Its hard to go back to work when you know you can cut one 45 buck yard and make what you would make in a day working at around 6 per hour. In a nut shell I desperately need some more accounts, like at least 30 more badly then I would be ok.

Danny
Quality Lawn Care

QualityLawnCare4u
10-06-2004, 08:18 PM
At the very least, part of the problem is that you live in an area where the residents have little disposable income.

Have you considered moving to the metro Atlanta area?

Bingo again!

QualityLawnCare4u
10-06-2004, 08:19 PM
Ive been doing this 6 years now and have good times and even more bad times in this business, but one thing that ive noticed between me and the other LCOs in my area, the ones that have stayed in business the longest is that we all have one thing in common, "ARE Wives have good paying jobs and keep the family bills payed wile im haveing troubles in the lawn business". It seems like if i had to pay all the family bills on what I can make from the lawn care business i would go under for shure, there are times that i go without a pay check for 6 weeks just to keep all the lawn business expenses payed and gas in the equipment, and then there are the good times where im loaded with excess cash and then i think everything is all right again. And my conclussion to this is that we just dont charg enough money to justify the true expence it takes to operate in the lawn care business, and i know most customers wont pay what there lawn is truly worth to be serviced.

If my wife were not a 20 year educator we would be in deep crap fast! And she reminds me of it every day (thats another story in itself)

Danny

QualityLawnCare4u
10-06-2004, 08:20 PM
Danny, I am sorry to hear of your misfortune. It is sad to hear when one of our family calls it quits for this reason. When you combine such a low population (15,536 countywide, 2000) with low incomes ($14,230 per person, 1999) it isn't difficult to see why it would be hard to even make the payments on a push mower let alone a ZTR.

Unless things get really bad I would hold onto the equipment and do weekend work like you said.

I hope you aren't going to leave our family here.

Bingo!! You are exactly 100% correct!

Danny

QualityLawnCare4u
10-06-2004, 08:22 PM
Danny, I have always enjoyed your posts, Hope you stick around, Hey you never know something may be waiting around the corner, I am sort of at a crossroads myself, Planning on fulltime nxt year but just had surgery on my shoulder (full use in 6-8 months) Met with my full time boss this morning and he asked if I had my resume up todate? :) Job market in Oh is sort of sad. Wish i could help you out. God bless and take care! Blair

Thank you Blair, glad I could be entertaining :D

Danny

olderthandirt
10-06-2004, 08:27 PM
Danny how far of a commute would it be to go to a more populous area? I have to travel a min. of 35 miles to even begin to work, and 50 mile 1 way is nothing to travel for work. Its my choice to live away from the crowds and it has many advantages and as you know many disadvantages.

Mac

QualityLawnCare4u
10-06-2004, 08:43 PM
Danny how far of a commute would it be to go to a more populous area? I have to travel a min. of 35 miles to even begin to work, and 50 mile 1 way is nothing to travel for work. Its my choice to live away from the crowds and it has many advantages and as you know many disadvantages.

Mac

Mac, the closest populated area is about 65 miles away. We have several lco already going there everyday. Dont know how much work is there being I have not tried the area.

Danny

Travis Followell
10-06-2004, 09:31 PM
Sorry to hear about you having to give up full time mowing. I to had to give up full time and go to part time mowing because I kept loosing accounts and coukdn't replace them. It wasn't my fault though. I only have 3 accounts now and will start next year with 2 but hope to get a couple more.

bobbygedd
10-06-2004, 09:53 PM
why don't you just move here. it will be fun. we'll drink beer, grow our own...ummm, vegetables, the customers are a dime a dozen, and the money flows

SCAG POWER
10-06-2004, 09:57 PM
Danny:

Check your e-mail............................................. :cool:

Envy Lawn Service
10-06-2004, 10:28 PM
Danny,

Look man... Honestly I could almost swear you are describing my area. How have I managed to survive? Only GOD knows... It's harder on the good ol' country boys because, well, we just don't live and work in areas where it is easy to suceed... But the point is, it can be done.

Moving on...
I could acctually do every yard I have in a day and half if I pushed myself. Its hard to go back to work when you know you can cut one 45 buck yard and make what you would make in a day working at around 6 per hour. In a nut shell I desperately need some more accounts, like at least 30 more badly then I would be ok.
So push yourself. Do them in a day and a half or two days and get a job working for the man to make ends meet until you can score the 30 more accounts you need between now and spring.

There's no shame in that and nobody said this game was easy. That being the case, you have to do what you have to do to make ends meet. Plus you have to push yourself and make the sacrifices to get where you want to be in this business. If that means working two jobs for a while, then two jobs it is... that is if you want this badly enough......

boatdude
10-07-2004, 05:51 PM
Danny,
I think you are getting some good advice from these guys. If you really want to make it in this business it seems like one answer may be to commit yourself to a 1-1 /4 hour drive in the morning and evening. Sure you won't be able to say all of your accounts are within 10 miles of your shop but that morning drive may get you to where the money is. You could arrange your schedule however you want but even if you only worked six hours once you got to $-town (that would make an 8 1/2 hour day with your commute) you would likely be able to make much more than if you worked for the man in your home-town. Bust *** on your local schedule and get it done in 1 1/2 days then go flyer $-town the other 3 days (make sure you have a phone # that is a local call for residents of $-town) Schedule all of your accounts in $-town on the same day until that day is full then go to the next day. Best of luck to you, you seem like a good guy.
bd