New member here.
I have seen this for over 20 years. I have seen some very nice companies come and go. My business model was nothing to cheer about either when I started but I worked at it overtime and we became a good little company. I worked long and hard to unburied myself a few times. My company does more construction than mowing so we fared better over time than lawn guys but at one point we did have around 90 lawns and now we have 1/3 of that and are trying to re-grow that part of the business because of the economic downturn. But even with a good plan there are still pitfalls that show up unannounced. We were very viable last year until October. We own everything and owed the banks nothing. We have 13 pieces of heavy equipment and trucks along with a trailer full of lawn equipment. Our 2 big jobs went belly up in October as the banks pulled the financing from them. One day we were working, the next I'm sitting home playing switch and wondering how I am going to pay the men as I have to finish our maintenance contracts for the year. Needless to say, we are over 60K in the hole now. All within 1 month.
I personally know 16 guys that went out since last September. Some had good plans others didn't't.
This business is not what it used to be. I guess the moral of my story is to all of you, stay in control of your business. Stay small and profitable and you will do fine and don't grow too fast. Meaning, don't let the business control you and don't get illusions of grandeur and you will be fine. Because you never know what is going to happen down the road. Unless you have a large bank account that can handle the downturn, then most likely you will be out.
Take care to all and have a profitable year.