Joe (aintnofun) and I have similar stories and similar solutions.
We;re both the same age I believe as well. Both had similar size lawn operations, and both followed the same path. Almost scary...haha
We both got out of it.
I went into commercial parking lot maintenance.
He went into Hydroseeding and install work.
I chose large commercial customers to limit competition.
He chose government/GC customers as his niche.
For us it was to get out of the "rat race"
We both learned what we had to do to make the lawn business work.. We both could have done it. We had a choice to make.
I wanted a business where quality, references, ability, and such matter as more dominant factors instead of price.
I dont care how good you mow a lawn....Price will always be number 1. You can overcome price to an extent. But most customers will not care. They just want someone to do a job they can easily do themselves so they dont have to.
Your ZTRS, trailers and F-550s dont impress them. Their murray does the job just fine and so does the kid down the street.
In the lawn business your competition is everyone with functioning legs. Some are better than others, some have insurance, some have ZTRS, some have craftsman, but to the customer you are all pretty much equals.
I wanted out of that.
I modeled my new business to target customers who could only be serviced by a handful of companies.
If youre a property manager for a shopping center, you may take a chance on the cheap guy to get the grass cut. Worst thing that happens is you end up with tall grass and gotta call someone else.
If youre getting the shopping center sealcoated and going to spend $50,000. Youre worried about longevity, if the contractor can handle a job that size...Youre worried about traffic control. youre worried about your tenants having access to the stores...your butt is on the line.
In that case, the guy that seals driveways and thinks he can pull it off for $35,000 is not going to get the job. (usually)
In this case my only competition are a couple of other companies of similar size who can handle the job. Our pricing is generally pretty close. So my only job is to get them to choose me over a couple of other closely priced QUALIFIED contractors.
I can do that easier than I can convince Mrs. Jones that im worth $5 more a week to mow her house.
Thats where I went with my business.
Joe went a similar route with different services. The type of work he does for the customers he services.....is in a different class.
While price is always a factor, he has a resume and history that he can handle the work he does. When interstates and 100 subcontractors are involved all being coordinated with state and federal regulations.....Theyre not going to fool around with a part time lawn seeder.
There is money to be made in any business. Its all in how you do it.
Justmowit is very successful (i think) using the high volume mowing approach. But he has a system of controls set up to guarentee profit where as most of us dont or didnt.
He made it in the same business that I failed in. Providing the same service at the same price. He just had a better system.
But if you only know what you see from his website or his prices and try to copy him without knowing the inner details.....You wont make it.