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Old 02-19-2009, 01:43 PM
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PROCUT1 PROCUT1 is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: TN
Posts: 4,868
Just a little backround how this went down.

I do make it sound like my "crash" was worse than it was. It was bad. But I am still here today.

3 years ago is when money started getting tight. What I did was send a supervisor out to follow each crew through their route and time every job.

Once that was done we had time data on how long it took to do each job and the drive time.

That is when I realized that the average profit off of a $30 lawn was about $3 if everything went right.

That was gross profit. Meaning profit after just the direct costs to do the job, not including overhead.

So obviously if you looked at that, you can see once I figured in my enormous overhead, I was dead.

It was hard because my houses were so close. i had the perfect route.

Once I calculated the numbers, I would have almost had to double prices in order to cover the expenses, and have a reasonable profit.

We know in this business, that wouldnt be possible.

So the decision was made to sell the lawn routes. I sold most of them that year. Unlike what most people say on here, I got very good money for them, a fair price, and there were no contracts.

That left me with one route left that was about 200 homes that were all in one subdivison. This particular route was profitable. One 2 person crew could spend the whole week in there and it made some nice money at the end of the week. A tank of gas for the truck lasted a month practically, thats how close these houses were.

So now I had sold most of the routes but still had the overhead that I had, and most of it I was stuck with including debt payments. So I wouldnt be able to make it on one route alone.

At the same time as mowing I had a few years ago added sealcoating to my list of services and that had done well. More and more I started expanding into commercial work and started realizing that was the direction I wanted to go.

I like commercial customers better, I like the limited competition, I like that other things are looked at besides price. I also like that the margins are better.

So I focused all of my effort on that business and got it really going. I started going full steam after large commercial work and got real busy.

At the end of the next season 2 years ago I sold off the last mowing route, and Im still collecting a check monthly for that.

Now Im totally out of mowing and full time into the other work.

I never got as bad as having trucks repossessed or buildings foreclosed. But it did get bad enough that collections calls outnumbered customer calls.

Overall, as sick as it is to say, I think its the best thing that ever happened to me. Im in this newer business now with the knowledge fresh of the dangers that are hidden below the surface.
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