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Old 01-24-2014, 03:27 AM
Mow Mony Mow Mony is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: VA
Posts: 229
Originally Posted by JContracting View Post
Subscribing to your thread also.

Great story. I had a partnership entity I started with a now former best friend, worked great for a month and a half until we disagreed on how money was handled (no surprise, my parents even recommended not doing it but I still went against their advice) and we ended it. Did about 10k in sales during that time and he just wanted the business as a second income to his construction job. Our group of friends was all mutual and they all had taken his side of it and that was the end of that. I learned exactly who my true friends were out of the deal which I think was the most valuable part of it and I'm glad we ended when we did as there were no assets to split or any of that.

I also have to laugh at the people that say "commercial is the only way to make money". For a large company, that may work better with their systems however the margins are lower but it makes up in volume especially with maintenance.

In my opinion and what I've witnessed so far in my market, a residential client is much more likely to want landscape upgrades as opposed to a commercial property and it's higher margin work, ie. patios, retaining/freestanding walls as opposed to mulch/rock and plants in most cases but that's just what I've seen so far.
at least your partnership ended fairly early on so it wasn't too bad of a breakup. It is nice to know who your real friends are. I'm fortunate to have had a group of about eight close/trustworthy friends since high school, and we all still hang out on a regular basis (and a couple more who are in the group but have moved to different areas) Including my business partner and I, six of us eight own businesses, so we have grown our business and crossed many of the same hurdles along the way. Its nice to have friends that understand business, even though we each do different things. I read a statistic recently in entrepreneur that 11% of the population ventures into owning a business, so I consider it awesome to be close friends with so many like minded people. We motivate each other to keep growing and getting better.

As far as commercial work, we have bid many, and are always too high. I no longer actively pursue commercial work, but if something comes along I will put in a bid. We also are not setup equipment wise for bigger commercial properties so that's part of it. Not much loyalty in commercial market from what I've seen in a lot of places around here. We have been fortunate to keep the commercial jobs we do have, for over 5 years each...both we got because of a friend within the company. We have never won a commercial bid on a random solicited bid, and have been 30-50% higher than the winning low bidder on more than one occasion...

Originally Posted by Armsden&Son View Post
Well said J... It's also a lot easier to sell a home owner than whoever you are dealing with at the commercial property. Sure, everybody has a budget but trying to squeeze an extra x amount of dollars out of the manager of a commercial property for something....... yikes! You would think I asked him for his first born child!
haha one of our commercials cut the contracted hedge trimming from 4x per year to 1x per season at renewal to save money against our strong recommendation. Then the nicely manicured holly hedge we had looking perfect, became way overgrown, so they then asked for a price to remove it and replace it. The price we gave was of course too high, so they said lets get this one back in shape and paid extra to get it cut back....makes no sense to me, but they pay.

Mainly because the property manager wants to cut the contract price and tries to put it up for bid...but our friend is a majority owner in the building complex itself and over rides the property manager since we keep it looking nice and they do not want to go back to low bid low quality work, and he looks out for us...
Originally Posted by JContracting View Post
That's pretty much it! And if anyone gets the emails from Sean, called the lawn business report (not the lawn letter), he sent out an email about this thread and then it's c/p'd onto the article.
checked it out, guess our story might be an inspiration for someone starting out, that's pretty cool!

Originally Posted by Armsden&Son View Post
That is really coincidental... Well, really it's synchronicity (Yes, I believe in it)

Anyway, I just came here to post about Sean and boom! There is my man J with a post about Sean!

I wanted to let you know Mow Mony about a thread Sean posted in the General Green Industry Discussions titled "Become the Greatest Lawncare and Landscaping Business Owner of All Time."

In the article, Sean makes a great comparison between Lawncare/landscaping businesses and Sports teams. I immediately thought of you because of the recent popularity of your "New vs. Used Truck" thread...

Definitely worth checking out if you haven't yet...
yeah checked that thread out, thanks for the heads up. Its awesome that you take the time to formulate well thought out responses in many different threads, it makes for great discussion!

Originally Posted by STLTurfmanagement View Post
your post describes me exactly. Dropped out of college last year in fact and took a lot of grief from not only my parents but my entire family. However I don't have a partner I'm in this by myself. In 10 years time I'd love to be in your position. I love the industry, and wish you luck
thanks man, its been a fun journey and I wish you the best of luck. Its a mindset thing, my parents just saw not getting a degree as a huge risk, and starting a business as an even bigger risk. Try hard to keep those relationships with your family strong though, even if they don't support your choice, I'm sure they would like to see you succeed.
I have always been confident in my ability to make money with having a 9-5 so I never really doubted myself, so outside motivation and encouragement wasn't necessary. I run numbers, set goals that are lofty but obtainable, then try to beat them every time. Its a corny saying, but if you think you can, you can. If you go into it with the right mindset, drive and a good plan you will be fine. You will makes some mistakes, hopefully nothing major, learn from them and move on.

...just keep learning, keep grinding, keep looking for ways to be more efficient and profitable, honor your word (don't take on more than you can handle), do quality work, on time, and price it well enough to make money. Don't feel bad for charging too much, if you are just starting out, the price you think is high is probably too low, or what they were expecting anyways, don't be afraid to quote high on some bigger jobs and "swing for the fence" Also don't focus on one bad customer or the job you underbid, its part of the business, just learn from it and move on.

...and most importantly watch your bottom line as you grow. Only buy things you need that will make you more profitable, not simply things you want. Buy quality used equipment whenever possible. Learn how to fix stuff as much as you can, it will save you lots of time and money... and don't take on debt unless absolutely necessary. Pretty much sums up our approach...not sure where you are, some of this stuff is pretty simple/obvious but just some of the main things we focused on starting out and that got us here today.

I love this industry as well! My business partner, his girl, and my wife and I went on a nice cruise last week, and after a 5 day relaxing and fun vacation we came back refreshed and ready to start grindin. We have been putting in 10 hour days in january when lawn season is far away because we are determined to keep getting better, keep learning from others and looking for new ideas and ways to improve. I have learned some things in the past couple of weeks on here that I know will have a dramatic impact on our business this year. My wife thinks its crazy how much work I put in, but the challenge is what excites me, so it doesn't really feel like work. Hope you have a great 2014!
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