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  #51  
Old 02-09-2014, 11:28 AM
PenningsLandscaping PenningsLandscaping is offline
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Originally Posted by Charles View Post
Over 20 years in business and all I have done is broke out a couple of windows. I didn't get Insured until the 10th year in business when I got a auto sales lot account. My Insurance has been going up $50 per year for the past 3 years. I am seriously considering dropping it since none of my accounts care whether I have it or not. Now if I had employees then I would want Insurance because I wouldn't trust them to be as careful as I am. Anything less than $500 you don't want to make a claim on anyway since more than likely they will jack your rates up.
No matter what anyone says, you have to weigh whether it is worth it to have Insurance. Insurance is going up so fast that I don't think I can afford it as a solo operator in a LCO saturated market.
I really don't see why another LCO would care if another LCO has insurance. So much so that you would get upset about it Just don't cut a yard beside them and you won't risk getting hit by a rock

It's because it decreases their overhead. With their decrease in overhead, they have less expenses and take home more profit. Then, they often drive the market price down by mowing lawns for less than legitimate businesses can operate at.
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  #52  
Old 02-09-2014, 11:40 AM
PenningsLandscaping PenningsLandscaping is offline
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Originally Posted by JonesLawnCareWV View Post
Already have a 4x8 Harbor Freight trailer, though I'm trying to replace it. I don't like my trailer dancing down the road behind me. Looking at a Leonard's 5x8, 24" mesh sides, A frame tongue w/ swivel jack, 15" tires, ramp gate, 3500# axle for $1099.

With reference to the Ferris mower - my fathers boss actually has a very large property on which I did an INSANE mulch install last year (got skimped and paid $100 for mulching a 60ftx10ft flower bed on a hillside, haven't went back since). He has either a 48" or 52" Ferris belt drive that probably 10 years old that he's been trying to sell. He replaced the old belt drive with a brand new Ferris hydrostatic of the same size which he claims he despises. I asked him a week ago what he would want for the old belt drive model and his response was "Do some work for me this summer and you can have it. Or maybe even this stupid hydro POS that I can't stand using". So I may have a commercial WB lined up, considering he doesn't expect some ungodly amount of work to be done for it. Hopefully he understands how 'dickish' he treated me last summer by having me do that mulch job (albeit I was naive and had no idea how to price a mulch job and just asked him to pay me what he felt was right, which turned out to be $100 for two 9 hour days on a hillside in 98 degree July sun)

As far as the software goes, are you referring to routing softwares, landscape design softwares, or just an accounting software? My plan as of right now is to use QuickBooks to manage my finances this year and toss the old paper log I used last year. I would love to get a landscape design software so I could do some 3D modeling of a planned flower bed, but in all honesty, I don't know how many install jobs I will even net this year. Only managed 2 from existing maintenance customers last season.

.... He already almost owes you that belt drive mower. You need to set pricing structures and figure out your costs, you're just a leaf in the wind, don't go out this season so broke assed. Driving around with a harbor freight trailer (I love harbor freight, but these things shouldn't even be allowed on the road) and getting paid less than children in Bangladesh stitching hand bags.

Don't work for family ever, unless they've got money and they're going to pay you what your work is worth. I have a couple of my gf's family as accounts, they helped me get started, but they paid my prices. You can give close family discounts but the only people you should be cutting for free for are your parents. Your aunt and uncle don't like it? Tough, buy a mower then. It's unreasonable for people to expect you to work for free at this stage in the game.
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  #53  
Old 02-09-2014, 12:06 PM
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Charles Charles is offline
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Originally Posted by PenningsLandscaping View Post
It's because it decreases their overhead. With their decrease in overhead, they have less expenses and take home more profit. Then, they often drive the market price down by mowing lawns for less than legitimate businesses can operate at.
They can also charge less if they don't advertise, use unleaded fuel, less expensive equipment and so on. So you are saying they should get insurance, when they really don't need it, just so they will have to charge more? Having insurance doesn't make you a legitimate business. There is no law that says you have to be Insured. Now not having a business license, when you are legally bound to have one, makes you not legit. Not paying taxes could be argued that you are not legit. But whether you have Insurance or not is between you and the customer and not between you and the another LCO. In my opinion, there is not much damage you could do in residential that requires Insurance. If I can't see what is in the grass, cars and people around then I keep the guard down. If someone is spastic and accident prone ie likely to run into the Central air system then you need Insurance
The price is just getting too steep for what a solo nets seeing how lawn care prices are not going up compared to Inflation. Not here at least
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  #54  
Old 02-09-2014, 12:24 PM
PenningsLandscaping PenningsLandscaping is offline
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Originally Posted by Charles View Post
They can also charge less if they don't advertise, use unleaded fuel, less expensive equipment and so on. So you are saying they should get insurance, when they really don't need it, just so they will have to charge more? Having insurance doesn't make you a legitimate business. There is no law that says you have to be Insured. Now not having a business license, when you are legally bound to have one, makes you not legit. Not paying taxes could be argued that you are not legit. But whether you have Insurance or not is between you and the customer and not between you and the another LCO. In my opinion, there is not much damage you could do in residential that requires Insurance. If I can't see what is in the grass, cars and people around then I keep the guard down. If someone is spastic and accident prone ie likely to run into the Central air system then you need Insurance
The price is just getting too steep for what a solo nets seeing how lawn care prices are not going up compared to Inflation. Not here at least
I'm just saying that's why people on here get so pissed about other guys not having insurance. I couldn't care less what other people do.

they aren't going up anywhere. it's because people who don't maintain a legitimate status low balling, so price increases can't happen. Also, wages aren't increasing with inflation anywhere, killing the middle class' ability to afford lawn care.

It is expensive, and if you don't feel you need it, drop it.
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  #55  
Old 02-09-2014, 01:19 PM
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TPendagast TPendagast is online now
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Ill have insurance, pay taxes, have all my licenses and ill still low ball ya.

People who struggle and get mad someone else takes their work or "drives down the price" always think they are the masters, no one nows business as well as they do.

I was watching a bunch of you tube videos the other day with my wife. We were cracking up on how long it takes these guys to get ANYTHING done.
"Me mowing three customers lawns" or "My new roll of lift bed…I'm going to make so much money"

It's HYSTERICAL watching how much time these bozos waste (AND THEY ARE FILMING THEMSELVES)
Stop wasting time with go pro cameras and go make some money people..

There is no Wine in Blood,Sweat and Tears.

Ive said this before, and I'll say it again.
If the guy is beating your prices and he's healthy and staying in business…he's not the one doing things wrong, you are.
If the fly by nighters and the guys who rotate in and out every 1-3 years are low balling you… don't sweat it, either you'll get that account sooner or later, or it's the type of customer you don't want anyway.
Just because someone is looking for a lawn guy/landscaper DOESNT mean that's a good customer for you.
If there were no low ballers EVER, there would STILL be customers with unrealistic budgets.

Edit: AND to boot! THIS website is FULL of some of the CHEAPEST dead beat customers EVER. I'm talking about the members… READ some of these posts…"where do I get cheap software that will run my business like I want it but won't cost anything"…."give me free advice on how make tons of money" "where can I buy cheap of possibility get free equipment that will never break and doesn't need any maintenance"
This is just members here sounding exactly like the customers they complain about. Can you imagine trying to be a vendor for these guys? Oi Vey.
If YOU don't want to spend any money on your business, WHY would your customers want to?

Last edited by TPendagast; 02-09-2014 at 01:25 PM.
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  #56  
Old 02-09-2014, 11:53 PM
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JonesLawnCareWV JonesLawnCareWV is offline
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With reference to those who I got aggravated with for telling me maybe I'm not ready for the business, I apologize. I took the rest of yesterday and all of today and completely put my business out of my head. I got too wrapped up in concerns over money and insurance that I lost sight of why I'm here in the first place; to cut grass, because I love doing it. I realize that the guys telling me "doesn't seem like you're ready" are (partially) the ones that I wanted to hear from in the first place. I came here asking for info on insurance and received info that I didn't want to hear, and I got defensive about it. Now that I've took some time, I realize these guys are only giving me advice because they have been there and done that, which is what I was asking for in the first place.
So my sincerest apologies to those guys. I may very well put aside my plans to buy a new trailer and use that money towards insurance for this season and pick up a new trailer later in the season if my profit allows. Definitely going to write out how that mulch job should've been priced, however, and have a businessman-to-businessman talk with my fathers boss and hopefully come to a good meeting point on the remaining work required to pick up one of those walk behinds. While I like the idea of having a hydro, I definitely wouldn't be upset picking up a belt-drive for little to nothing (should make a HUGE difference in my cut times, going from a home owner 22 to a commercial 48.) If I have to deal with the harbor freight trailer for another year, so be it. I'm here to do what I enjoy, not be the most profitable and best looking LCO in the area.

Thanks to the guys who helped me realize this.
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  #57  
Old 02-10-2014, 01:05 AM
PenningsLandscaping PenningsLandscaping is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonesLawnCareWV View Post
With reference to those who I got aggravated with for telling me maybe I'm not ready for the business, I apologize. I took the rest of yesterday and all of today and completely put my business out of my head. I got too wrapped up in concerns over money and insurance that I lost sight of why I'm here in the first place; to cut grass, because I love doing it. I realize that the guys telling me "doesn't seem like you're ready" are (partially) the ones that I wanted to hear from in the first place. I came here asking for info on insurance and received info that I didn't want to hear, and I got defensive about it. Now that I've took some time, I realize these guys are only giving me advice because they have been there and done that, which is what I was asking for in the first place.
So my sincerest apologies to those guys. I may very well put aside my plans to buy a new trailer and use that money towards insurance for this season and pick up a new trailer later in the season if my profit allows. Definitely going to write out how that mulch job should've been priced, however, and have a businessman-to-businessman talk with my fathers boss and hopefully come to a good meeting point on the remaining work required to pick up one of those walk behinds. While I like the idea of having a hydro, I definitely wouldn't be upset picking up a belt-drive for little to nothing (should make a HUGE difference in my cut times, going from a home owner 22 to a commercial 48.) If I have to deal with the harbor freight trailer for another year, so be it. I'm here to do what I enjoy, not be the most profitable and best looking LCO in the area.

Thanks to the guys who helped me realize this.
Upgrading to a legitimate commercial mower is all the difference. What kind of push are you using? As in brand? Is it self propelled? Are you mulching or bagging?

Lots of guys use strictly 22s, some use exmark 30s, but if you're doing anything that's decent sized, you won't be able to build with a small one. I know I talked bad about the HF trailer, but definitely a bigger mower should be higher on your list.

Hydro is great, but belt drives are still a standard and absolutely great machines.

Don't try and shake down that customer for cash. Just set prices for this year. Set an amount of work for the mower, don't just wait for him to say you've done enough.

Just plan, be smart about what you do, and you'll be fine. Lawn care is an easy business to get into, but that just makes it that much harder to be a success. Charge what your market will bare, keep your expenses down, ect. Again, it's a business, your business, act like it.
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  #58  
Old 02-10-2014, 05:25 AM
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Charles Charles is offline
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Originally Posted by PenningsLandscaping View Post
I'm just saying that's why people on here get so pissed about other guys not having insurance. I couldn't care less what other people do.

they aren't going up anywhere. it's because people who don't maintain a legitimate status low balling, so price increases can't happen. Also, wages aren't increasing with inflation anywhere, killing the middle class' ability to afford lawn care.

It is expensive, and if you don't feel you need it, drop it.
I believe the main thing that keeps prices low is new start up companies advertising prices I charged 23 years ago. Happens every year. LCO trying to build their business with low ball prices. They plan to go up later, of course. But in the mean time they get business from those that have gone out of business. The ones that came in with low prices and went under after a few years. So you have this vicious cycle. I see their signs on street corners all over town: All lawns cut for $30!! You see them on Craigs list etc I hope this LCO doesn't make the same mistake. Expenses are just too high these days to lowball your way into the game. Some do make it though
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  #59  
Old 02-10-2014, 12:26 PM
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JonesLawnCareWV JonesLawnCareWV is offline
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Originally Posted by Charles View Post
I believe the main thing that keeps prices low is new start up companies advertising prices I charged 23 years ago. Happens every year. LCO trying to build their business with low ball prices. They plan to go up later, of course. But in the mean time they get business from those that have gone out of business. The ones that came in with low prices and went under after a few years. So you have this vicious cycle. I see their signs on street corners all over town: All lawns cut for $30!! You see them on Craigs list etc I hope this LCO doesn't make the same mistake. Expenses are just too high these days to lowball your way into the game. Some do make it though
I've already decided this year that 35 will be my base cutting price for most lawns. One of my grandmothers will be charged 25 because it's a postage stamp lot, probably less than 200 sq feet and literally takes me 15 minutes. Other than that. Anything that has a high amount of objects to trim and cut around will be higher. Hillside properties will be higher. I'd rather have a smaller client base than low ball everyone and be worked to death trying to cut them all.

On another note, already received some callbacks today regarding insurance. Had one agent tell me he's sure he can get me in the $300-$400 range for 1 mil coverage but has to send the forms to the main company or whatever. Said he might have a better deal for only 500k worth. Will see once I actually have a legit quote in hand.

And on another note, if rather be worrying about my business than struggling with these trigonometry identities! When will I need trig identities in electrical engineering? I say never. Oh well. Have to take the class either way. Yay college.
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  #60  
Old 02-11-2014, 01:33 AM
Tuttled Tuttled is offline
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Remember insurance is not for the rock thru a window, scratching a vehicle (but it helps). The insurance is if your mower or trimmer bumps a gas line, catches on fire and the house burns down. Ect ect. It is for peace of mind!!! My suggestion is a million at the very least! The cost is the price of doing business............ No one wants to be sued for the amount of the rest of your life's wages!
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