Sorry I didn't respond sooner guys.
First of all, I don't want to bash @coolluv - the more I have read through everything I think I get his overall point. No disrespect meant from me towards him.
He is right when he says that a lot of people hop into this industry on a whim. You can't fault them all, as learning from the ground up is often the best way to learn. But that's the key point here....as long as they learn. There are plenty of people that hinder this industry because they figure out a few things and think it is clear sailing from there.
I can't fault a solo operator who uses old equipment, his own personal truck, stores things in his garage and avoids every possible expense that he can. This is America afterall, and as long as he is falling within the confines of the law, who am I to beat him down or ridicule him?
When it comes to this industry as a whole, yes, many changes need made. There is no barrier to entry. You can wake up, dust off your own lawnmower, print out some business cards, buy a gas can and within days (sometimes hours), bang, you're in business.
Can an electrician or plumber do that? Not really.
Does our industry need to do something about this? Yes, probably. Will the industry ever change in this regard? Not as long as consumers themselves have the choice of who to hire.
Now could we insist that testing and licensing become a part of this game? I guess so, but where to begin?
I have been thinking for some time now that creating some sort of online education for this industry makes sense - education that teaches people who are TRULY serious how to start, operate, grow and manage a respectable, professional, profitable business.
From what I have encountered there are so many guys in this industry who are truly craftsmen - EXCELLENT at working "in" their business. They know how to do the work very, very well. The problem is, this is probably only 25% of the challenge.
We've all seen it before, and our industry is no exception. A guy is really good at making pizza. He likes cooking. He doesn't want to work for someone else making $9 an hour, so he opens his own pizza shop. How many pizza shops are for sale right now on Craigslist? Plenty.
Because they know how to make pizza, but they have know idea how to run a business.
I admire everyone in this industry for the most part, because it is a lot of hard work and usually goes unappreciated. I genuinely respect guys like @tricitylawncarellc who start with nothing, take necessary steps to educate themselves, and keep pushing forward knowing they don't know it all, but they are hungry to learn and keep moving forward knowing that in time, the hard work and sacrifice will pay off.
I think every business owner here would be genuinely surprised if they sat down and figured out all of the waste that goes on in their business - from money spent that does not need to be spent, to inefficiencies out in the field, to bidding too low and the list goes on. Those who are continually working to improve, organize and make their business a well-oiled machine are the ones who can come in "lower" than most, still produce a quality service and make that often-elusive coin at the end.....profit.