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Old 07-01-2012, 11:24 AM
Florida's Suncoast Lawn Care's Avatar
Florida's Suncoast Lawn Care Florida's Suncoast Lawn Care is offline
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Location: Port Charlotte, Florida
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I see like 10 different lawn services a day driving around...

I see like 10 different lawn services a day driving around...sometimes 3 on one street. I have all my equipment paid for. No house payments. 24 accounts and one commercial account. And I don't see how people are making it. I know I don't have enough accounts but I advertise all over the internet and the news paper. I have large vinyl signs on my trailer 6' wide x 2' tall. I make sure I wack every weed and mow on a weekly basis. I haven't received any flack or bad reviews yet.

My question is... how the heck is everyone making it? I'm not getting any calls for new accounts in the last month. I just started about 6 months ago in the business. I really don't see how people are making it. I'm charging about $65 a month for a straight lot and $75 for a corner. Or $30 a cut; mow, trim, edge, and blow. I see guys with lawn signs in their yard saying they cut for $15. LOL. I really don't get it. Any ideas? I've also been doing side work. Tree pruning, clean up jobs, and I have another one today at 1pm for 3 small palmettos to be taken out.. But with no house payments, car payments, or lawn equipment payments I can't hardly keep $300 in the bank. My wife and I don't drink or smoke. She works two part time jobs. We eat out maybe once every 2-3 weeks for $40. And we just don't get it. We are in Port Charlotte. How the heck are people making it? Let alone a lawn service starting up. I did have a PTO blow out on the LT2000 Dixie Chopper last week. But I found one in Bradenton for $215 new. I have almost new echo hedge trimmers, two echo weed trimmers, echo stick edger, a McCullough 3hp edger, two blowers echo and hitachi and an enclosed trailer. I really don't see how new start ups are making it. I got most of my equipment in trade for my Vulcan 1500 motorcycle. Other than the van and trailer and two cheap $130 and $40 walk behind mowers I bought used.

Last edited by Florida's Suncoast Lawn Care; 07-01-2012 at 11:31 AM.
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Old 07-01-2012, 11:34 AM
C Jovingo Landscaping C Jovingo Landscaping is offline
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Don't start ur mower for less than $20-$25. If your $65 a month is 4 cuts, that is only $16.25 a cut. Even if someone has postage stamp lawn I tell them $20 a cut & they respond with it only takes 5 minutes. I tell them with my operating costs i cannot start my mower for less then $20.
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Old 07-01-2012, 11:36 AM
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Florida's Suncoast Lawn Care Florida's Suncoast Lawn Care is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C Jovingo Landscaping View Post
Don't start ur mower for less than $20-$25. If your $65 a month is 4 cuts, that is only $16.25 a cut. Even if someone has postage stamp lawn I tell them $20 a cut & they respond with it only takes 5 minutes. I tell them with my operating costs i cannot start my mower for less then $20.
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It's so different down here than Ohio. They pay monthly year round rates. $65 is supposed to be year round. In the winter you mow maybe once a month. The problem is with that I haven't been getting contracts of fear of not getting the jobs. I need all the work I can get. So I bend over backwards to get them. The only contract I have is the commercial account for $150 a month year round and it's a huge parking lot to blow and pick up trash in the grass. But only takes maybe 45 minutes to mow and trim. But takes another 15 to blow. I see guys zipping around with 2 guys all day wondering how they make enough money to live on especially paying two people. I'm clearing maybe $900 a month. Mowing, trimming, cleaning up, sharpening my own blades, changing oil, fixing everything that breaks. I can't even afford tires for my van diving around on 2nd rubber on the front tires now. It's unreal.

Last edited by Florida's Suncoast Lawn Care; 07-01-2012 at 11:42 AM.
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Old 07-01-2012, 11:45 AM
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fl-landscapes fl-landscapes is offline
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Originally Posted by MegaViper View Post
It's so different down here than Ohio. They pay monthly year round rates. $65 is supposed to be year round. In the winter you mow maybe once a month. The problem is with that I haven't been getting contracts of fear of not getting the jobs. I need all the work I can get. So I bend over backwards to get them. The only contract I have is the commercial account for $150 a month year round and it's a huge parking lot to blow and pick up trash in the grass. But only takes maybe 45 minutes to mow and trim. But takes another 15 to blow. I see guys zipping around with 2 guys all day wondering how they make enough money to live on especially paying two people. I'm clearing maybe $900 a month. Mowing, trimming, cleaning up, sharpening my own blades, changing oil, fixing everything that breaks. I can't even afford tires for my van diving around on 2nd rubber on the front tires now. It's unreal.
$65/mo is way lower than I can justify, but your in a different position. These are the prices that make me not even want to talk to residential calls most of the time. Is what it is.......the economy sucks.
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Old 07-01-2012, 11:42 AM
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fl-landscapes fl-landscapes is offline
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You started a business in the depths of a historic recession, a business in which every unemployed person in the state has started. This is an easy business to get into and when the economy goes bad everyone jumps in, pushing the prices down. Port Charlotte is a fairly low income area and has been hit harder than areas just south or north of us. I've been in business in this area almost ten years now, six years ago my phone rang off the hook and I picked and chose work I wanted to do, had more employees. My phone rings nearly as in frequently as your now. I barely even go after residential work anymore in most areas because the newbies have pushed the price down. The economy has most potential clients looking less at experience and quality and more at how cheap can they get it. I'm hoping the economy turns around and these guys can make a better living doing what they were doing before the economy hit the skids. I have long teem commercial contracts and I am very happy they are all very loyal to me. Treat your customers like your life depends on it because sometimes it does.
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Old 07-01-2012, 11:49 AM
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Florida's Suncoast Lawn Care Florida's Suncoast Lawn Care is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fl-landscapes View Post
You started a business in the depths of a historic recession, a business in which every unemployed person in the state has started. This is an easy business to get into and when the economy goes bad everyone jumps in, pushing the prices down. Port Charlotte is a fairly low income area and has been hit harder than areas just south or north of us. I've been in business in this area almost ten years now, six years ago my phone rang off the hook and I picked and chose work I wanted to do, had more employees. My phone rings nearly as in frequently as your now. I barely even go after residential work anymore in most areas because the newbies have pushed the price down. The economy has most potential clients looking less at experience and quality and more at how cheap can they get it. I'm hoping the economy turns around and these guys can make a better living doing what they were doing before the economy hit the skids. I have long teem commercial contracts and I am very happy they are all very loyal to me. Treat your customers like your life depends on it because sometimes it does.
Ya we were here 2003-05 and I had a service out of Englewood (the old Zmaster photo) but most of my accounts where in North Port as they are now. It seemed so much easier back then. And we were renting then. I had $10k in the bank all of the time. And I was charging $10 less per lawn a month than I do now. I can't jack up the prices everyone around me it's so cheap here. I figured since we didn't have house payments now (sold our house up north and bought a house here with cash) we would be fine. We are struggling. My son even pays the electric bill and we still ran down to 12 cents before my checks starting rolling in on the 1st. I prorated everyone out to the 1st of the month to keep it simple.
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Old 07-01-2012, 11:52 AM
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fl-landscapes fl-landscapes is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MegaViper View Post
Ya we were here 2003-05 and I had a service out of Englewood (the old Zmaster photo) but most of my accounts where in North Port as they are now. It seemed so much easier back then. And we were renting then. I had $10k in the bank all of the time. And I was charging $10 less per lawn a month than I do now. I can't jack up the prices everyone around me it's so cheap here. I figured since we didn't have house payments now (sold our house up north and bought a house here with cash) we would be fine. We are struggling. My son even pays the electric bill and we still ran down to 12 cents before my checks starting rolling in on the 1st. I prorated everyone out to the 1st of the month to keep it simple.
Like I said the economy sucks.....it's a shame so many people are in your shoes.
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Old 07-01-2012, 12:08 PM
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Ric Ric is offline
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Yard Boys Vs Green Industry Professionals

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Your answer is THEY ARE NOT MAKING IT. A true businessman or Professional will survive.

Each spring we see a new crop of lawn boys hit the street. But long about August there is a big decrease in Yard Boys. Between heat and broken Equipment they just disappear until a new crop next spring.

Next wash out comes in late Oct to November. The problem is the Un-irrigated Bahia yards. By the end of Oct they won't need cut but maybe twice until the start of next years rainy season starting in June. The Quality of accounts is more important than the number. By the Cut service is a No No here in Florida if you want to make it. Only year round contact accounts are worth going after. We have a year round growing season but it is WET & DRY SEASONS NOT SUMMER, WINTER.

I believe this is your first year here in Florida. The longer you are in business the better Your client list becomes. There is a nice living to be made here but it will take a couple of year to get established and CULL the bad customer in favor of the good ones.

BTW IMHO $ 65.00 a month is 1990s pricing. Listen to Fl-landscape his advice is good.
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Old 07-01-2012, 12:15 PM
Florida's Suncoast Lawn Care's Avatar
Florida's Suncoast Lawn Care Florida's Suncoast Lawn Care is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ric View Post
.

Your answer is THEY ARE NOT MAKING IT. A true businessman or Professional will survive.

Each spring we see a new crop of lawn boys hit the street. But long about August there is a big decrease in Yard Boys. Between heat and broken Equipment they just disappear until a new crop next spring.

Next wash out comes in late Oct to November. The problem is the Un-irrigated Bahia yards. By the end of Oct they won't need cut but maybe twice until the start of next years rainy season starting in June. The Quality of accounts is more important than the number. By the Cut service is a No No here in Florida if you want to make it. Only year round contact accounts are worth going after. We have a year round growing season but it is WET & DRY SEASONS NOT SUMMER, WINTER.

I believe this is your first year here in Florida. The longer you are in business the better Your client list becomes. There is a nice living to be made here but it will take a couple of year to get established and CULL the bad customer in favor of the good ones.

BTW IMHO $ 65.00 a month is 1990s pricing. Listen to Fl-landscape his advice is good.
.
Ya I'm getting to the point I've starting going higher. I have a couple at $75 a month for straight lots. I just talked a guy into trimming his shrubs and spraying for weeds for another $35 a month. He doesn't have much to trim. But I have one at $90 a month that wants it trimmed almost weekly. I don't haul it. Just trim with the echo hedge trimmers and pick it up. But it takes longer to do that than it does to mow. I just need like 10 more accounts to start weeding out about 3 bad ones that I would like to drop.
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Old 07-01-2012, 12:32 PM
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OakNut OakNut is online now
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I didn't realize this was in the "Florida" subforum until just now, but I'll post anyway.

I'm just outside of Pittsburgh PA. I went to do an estimate in the spring and the front "lawn" consisted of a very steep hill about 25' up from the street. To get your mower up there you had to lift it up about 3' because there's a short wall at the bottom.
The hill was also dotted with shrubs and trees making a difficult cut that much more difficult. The back yard was irrelevant to me, because at this point I had already decided I didn't want to deal with it. Not worth risk of injury, or damage to equipment.

I spoke to the homeowner (renter actually) and explained that for the above reasons I was not interested, but would do it as a "one time" cut if she needed me to. (for a somewhat high price)

She said I was the only person out of the six she called to actually show up for an estimate, and two others told her by phone they weren't interested.
"We moved here from Florida and down there people are fighting each other to cut your grass!"

I guess it's different everywhere you go. There's a ton of lawn care guys here - both legit and illegal. There's also a pretty large population here, so there doesn't seem to be a shortage of work out there. I started a year and a half ago and I learned last year to stop working for less than I wanted to (realistically) make. Someone else can do the crap jobs. There are others out there who will pay more.
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