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  #41  
Old 10-05-2012, 10:41 AM
MDLawn MDLawn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger View Post
He with the most toys wins!!! Right? NOT...
Adult response....thanks. I'm trying to say he could not afford those on his state salary alone with his wife not working and having 2 kids. All those things add up big time and $20 extra grand isn't buying those things.
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  #42  
Old 10-05-2012, 10:44 AM
MDLawn MDLawn is offline
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Originally Posted by 32vld View Post
I did landscaping when I was young.

In 07 the economy took a dump and so did my job. Lucky I had a 42" and 20" mowers and a small 4'x8' trailer. Pulled by a 05 jeep wrangler unlimited. That's the one with the lengthen rear body section and longer wheel base. During mowing season I take out the carpets and keep all the side curtains off so the rear is used as a pick up bed.

Wish I had a pick up truck but other things are needed of more importance.

I consider myself happy now and wish I started this back when I could of went to a local college and gotten a AAS degree in Horticulture/Landscaping 30+ years ago.

At this point I no longer want to work for any one else but myself.

As Coolluv said many people walk around with their chests all puffed out because of their success. But hide the fact their success has nothing to do with themselves but due to family connections and wealth.

Though those with out connections can make it as well in this country though it will take longer.

As to what Coolluv says about the guys not realizing costs working to cheap hurts not just them but the whole industry depressing prices.

This is why I can't understand why people post here saying they sub out to the nationals. Their being low ballers. They will be the first one's to complain about the Mexican's low balling and ruining the industry. Then as soon as they stop complaining about the Mexican's their off out low balling just like the Mexican's.

The thing is when starting out we only get stuck with the problem customers.
The reason is the Good customers are being taken care of and have no need to change. Who knows how many low balling LCO's they had to go through before they found a good one. So they want to keep him.

New LCO's get the cheap ass that is always price shopping.
Or Mr Cheap ass's LCO from last year is out of business from selling their services to cheap.
Or the Mr Free Bee that always say's while you're here can you do this.
Or Mrs Bee Itch that is simply pure pain to deal with.

You see once a LCO gets his schedule filled he starts to drop Mrs Ball Buster, Mr Pain In Ass, Mrs Later Payer, etc.

My schedule is not full so I will take Mr Pain In Ass, Mrs Bee Itch, and Mrs Ball Buster as customers.

I refuse to be a low baller. If I don't get my price I walk away from Mr Cheap Ass.

I will take on Mr Free Bee but I won't do extra work for free. So he will probably drop me. That's ok I got my rate while it lasted.

Mrs Later Payer will be dropped. To many LCO's, I will not be one of the many LCO's that post here that what are they to do their two weeks away from one of their customers being 90 past due. I guess because they are to desperate grow their customer list are afraid to drop customers.

Great response, thanks... I agree with many points and the comical customer stereotype made me chuckle a bit.
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  #43  
Old 10-05-2012, 10:55 AM
Chilehead Chilehead is offline
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Originally Posted by coolluv View Post

Its possible to start out as Joe Blow and make the big time....but its going to be a lot harder and take a longer time.

Finding good paying and loyal customers is hard....and it takes a long time to build a business on those customers...but it is possible.


Dave...
You have an interesting post, Dave. It was quite long, so I would like to comment on two key points that you quoted above. Both of them go hand-in-hand, and are how I got started in this business ten years ago. Coincidentally, you and I both service the same market. I have found that being a one-man show has more perks than pits, but one has to develop systems to enable a business to run itself.....well, almost. I have spent much of my downtime marketing my business, and surprisingly it cost me very little financially. Today, online marketing is the way to go. I have a $200.00 web-building program and about $50.00 in signage on my truck. Whenever I mow, I usually leave a couple door hangers on the neighbor's front door. I get calls from 10% of these, and close on about half of them. I print the door hangers myself on card stock from a free online template I downloaded. I treat my customers like gold, and run monthly promos that go in with their monthly invoice. This generates plenty of extra revenue. I also don't lowball bid.
All of these practices equate to a marketing system, a.k.a. my revenue building machine.
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  #44  
Old 10-05-2012, 11:00 AM
MDLawn MDLawn is offline
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Originally Posted by Chilehead View Post
You have an interesting post, Dave. It was quite long, so I would like to comment on two key points that you quoted above. Both of them go hand-in-hand, and are how I got started in this business ten years ago. Coincidentally, you and I both service the same market. I have found that being a one-man show has more perks than pits, but one has to develop systems to enable a business to run itself.....well, almost. I have spent much of my downtime marketing my business, and surprisingly it cost me very little financially. Today, online marketing is the way to go. I have a $200.00 web-building program and about $50.00 in signage on my truck. Whenever I mow, I usually leave a couple door hangers on the neighbor's front door. I get calls from 10% of these, and close on about half of them. I print the door hangers myself on card stock from a free online template I downloaded. I treat my customers like gold, and run monthly promos that go in with their monthly invoice. This generates plenty of extra revenue. I also don't lowball bid.
All of these practices equate to a marketing system, a.k.a. my revenue building machine.
Is your ultimate plan to stay solo? If so I'm just curious on a couple things. Can you keep this up in your 50-60's? Do you have a retirement plan in place? These are things that would be on my mind being solo.
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  #45  
Old 10-05-2012, 11:08 AM
MDLawn MDLawn is offline
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I think the hardest things to give up are the guaranteed paychecks with annual raise (unless I for some reason get let go), the VERY cheap full cadillac of plans family coverage health care package with a $1200 debit card to cover all the copays, and the retirement plan which is I give 3+% of my income and they put in 8% extra. Yes you read that right, I put in 3% of my salary and they "match" it with 8% of my salary.... I mean thats like free gambling money for me in the market with my average rate of return being 9.6% so far. Free money to make money. This is what keeps my planted at this career not to mention I'll have EVERY holiday off and very light summers, hence the part time landscaping. I guess maybe I've answered this for myself and will most likely stick to part time and maybe even part time with summer employees. Make extra side money and delegate all the back breaking work to summer help..
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  #46  
Old 10-05-2012, 11:51 AM
Chilehead Chilehead is offline
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Originally Posted by MDLawn View Post
Is your ultimate plan to stay solo? If so I'm just curious on a couple things. Can you keep this up in your 50-60's? Do you have a retirement plan in place? These are things that would be on my mind being solo.
I will always be open to hiring people (just see my Employment link on my website), but am willing to wait indefinitely for the right candidate. The Roth IRA is maxed out annually. I have been a competitive cyclist for 15 years, so my stamina is pretty much conditioned for the future.
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  #47  
Old 10-05-2012, 12:21 PM
MDLawn MDLawn is offline
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Originally Posted by Chilehead View Post
I will always be open to hiring people (just see my Employment link on my website), but am willing to wait indefinitely for the right candidate. The Roth IRA is maxed out annually. I have been a competitive cyclist for 15 years, so my stamina is pretty much conditioned for the future.
Sounds good!
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  #48  
Old 10-05-2012, 09:37 PM
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cpllawncare cpllawncare is offline
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Originally Posted by MDLawn View Post
I should have included this and mind you it is NOT directed at anyone, just a thought that came to my head. I'm more curious for those who are far over the "partying" age, not living in mommy and daddy's basement, have a family, mortgage, and true monthly bills like utilities, life insurance, grocery, etc.... Basically someone who has more obligations than to just themselves. If you're single or just in a relationship it's easy to jump ship at whatever you do as there are only consequences against yourself. Also really looking for career people who left their career, not a meat packing plant packer or general laborer. I know it sounds harsh but puts it into more perspective. Leaving fast food to cut lawns really isn't what I was asking....
Well I was downsized from a $70,000/year job as a electronics tech from the number one luxury automaker, does that count? I'm 47 single have my own place and pay my own way. After realizing I was never going to get back to that kind of salary working for the other guy I set out to do it on my own, it's slow and very challenging, but I enjoy it most everyday.
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  #49  
Old 10-05-2012, 09:46 PM
DEPENDABLE LANDSCAPING DEPENDABLE LANDSCAPING is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpllawncare View Post
Well I was downsized from a $70,000/year job as a electronics tech from the number one luxury automaker, does that count? I'm 47 single have my own place and pay my own way. After realizing I was never going to get back to that kind of salary working for the other guy I set out to do it on my own, it's slow and very challenging, but I enjoy it most everyday.
GOOD FOR YOU.
I LIKE THE ATTITUDE, and with that attitude you will make it just fine.
Good luck to all
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  #50  
Old 10-05-2012, 10:11 PM
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cpllawncare cpllawncare is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DEPENDABLE LANDSCAPING View Post
GOOD FOR YOU.
I LIKE THE ATTITUDE, and with that attitude you will make it just fine.
Good luck to all
Thx, I've always said Attitude will make you or break you, I learn everyday and that's really what keeps me going, I don't worry about what the other guy is doing I just do what I have to do to be the best I can everyday. Unfortunaly Corporate America could care less about how good you are, you're just a number and when that number comes up your gone, I figure as long as I get up and give my very best everyday I will have work, and make money, seems there is always someone needing a GOOD LANDSCAPER because heaven knows there are plenty of BAD ones out there, and that's what makes my job easy, I seem to get a lot of WOW when we're done with a job, I figure I must be doing something right.

Last edited by cpllawncare; 10-05-2012 at 10:18 PM.
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