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  #1  
Old 03-08-2000, 11:11 PM
steveair steveair is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: morristown, nj
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Hello,<br>I've only been in this business for a short time but I've come to this conclusion. Landscaping is a lifestyle, not a job. <p>One of the biggest questions in here seems to be with pricing and whether or not we are really getting paid enough for what we do. One guy will say you should charge this much, the other will say he can do it for half of that, and then another will say he can do it for even less. Whos right? Beats me. I'll read everything here and then run to grab my pencil and paper to start pricing a job, and when I'm done, and checked to make sure I didn't forget something, I see the price and say, 'you know, something just doesn't seem right here'. <p>Well, it just hit me what it is. The fact is its 10:30 at night, I already worked all day, and here I am, Mr. Landscaper, who already worked 12 hours in the field, sweating, breathing dust, braking my bones, am putting a bid together. Why I ask? Because I'm a LANDSCAPER!!!!!<p>Here is a short story to explain what I mean.<br>I work full time as a ground superviser at a airport, and get paid by the hour (After work i go directly to doing side jobs) We were considering purchasing a new right of way mower for our tractor to maintain our field, so I was asked to do research on that particular piece of equipment. I started on the computer, and for 3 days, spent a hour each morning searching all the companies and making calls for brochures. (now, i want you to keep tract of the time I spent doing this --- so far, 3 HOURS) Next, I started making calls and set up times to meet with salesmen and what not to see examples and look at machines for inspection. On the phone, I would say I spent about (1 HOUR). Finally, I set up times to go look at the equipment. We had two visits to make, one close, one far away. The first trip, myself, our mechanic, and our chief operator went to look at one, and it took about (3 hours). For the next one, we had to drive 130 miles, so myself and the mechanic were giving the day, with company money for lunch and company car, to go look at it. We were paid for the day, which was (8 hrs). Finally, we decided on the machine and met with the salesman to spec the machine out (2 HRS), ordered it, and are expecting its delivery very shortly. <p>Now, I want you to add this up real quick. It comes to a grand total of 17 HRS, which is probably a under estimate. Now, those 17 hours were all on company time, and just as if I were out sweating my self to death doing a landscape installation, I got paid the same amount as I always do normally.<p>So whats my point. This: What are you doing right now? Your were probably just reading a post about a 36 inch mower, or maybe a post about how to price out a edging job, or maybe even trying to figure out what type of trailer to buy next. If this is the case, you were doing exactly what I was doing at work. <br>The BIG DIFFERENCE---Are you getting PAID?<p>This is a point that I think we all overlook. Why are we here at night talking about lawn mowers? Hell, most of my other friends who work 9-5, make 60,000 a year, and are managers for million dollar computer accounts, are either in bed or out at the bar still having a drink. Are we here because we have to be? Or are we here because we want to be?<p>My answer is the later, with the point we want to be here. Lets face it, we are what I call &quot;Landscape Jukies&quot;. We live for this stuff. How many people in other traits do you know that are as dedicated to their job as the landscaper is? I know very few quite honestly. Most people, &quot;normal&quot; as you would say, work 9 - 5, and the when the day is over , could care less about anything that happened that day at work. We, however, are drawn to it and can't get away. <p>For instance, How many times on a weekend trip have you been driving down the road and see some kind of cool looking mower or tractor somewhere and pull the car over, wife/girlfriend next to you in the car moaning and groaning, just to look at it? If so, isn't this work? And if so, are your getting paid?<p>Hell NO. You aren't making a dime. You do it because you love it, not because its work. And this is the point Im making.<p>Most, at least the really succesful ones, landscape/maintencne companies always seem be able to relate to this situation. We are in this industry because we love it, and in return for all the beuties and rewards it has <br>giving us, we have dedicated our lives to it. <br> <br>This is why pricing is so difficult. How do you put a price on something that you would do for free? Its extremely difficult, and sometimes, at least for me, I don't even care if i get paid (well, at least the bill collectors do though) After a perfect install, or maybe after mowing one of those lush lawns where the lines look like a professional baseball field when you finish, you step back and stare for a while, and just the view of it is pay enough. <br> <br>Now, i'm not saying we should work for free,every person should get paid for what they do, and we should not be doing free work for anyone. We should always get paid for what we are worth. What I am saying is that pricing will always be a challenge in this field. Everyone has there own way of doing things, and we all have a certain amounnt that we would like to see. This, to me, is fine. I just think that when you get down to it, we have to accept the fact that many of the things we do can not have a price put on them, and that if the enjoyment or pleasure of driving by a house you mow, or a building you designed and be able to say &quot;Thats my work, and its dam good&quot; isn't good enough, then maybe you are not in the right business.....<p>Thanks all for sticking with this, just had a lot on my mind today.<p>steveair<p><br>
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Old 03-09-2000, 06:20 AM
southside southside is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Brisbane Australia
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I agee completely.If you don't get a big rush<br>after doing a real nice job,then you should<br>have a good long look at yourself and why<br>you are in this industry.Only a fool would<br>go into business in a field he hates.<br>Sometimes though,I do get the shits with it all,but if thats happens I take a short break<br>and then I settle back into things.<br>Good post,Steve.<p><br>Karl
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  #3  
Old 03-09-2000, 07:39 AM
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Charles Charles is offline
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I have done that many times. Stopped on the sied of the road with my girlfriend in car. To look at a mower or tractor. SHe say oh crap. But love for the job or not. I have bills to pay and making good money while you are doing something you enjoy makes it that much more enjoyable for me. WE are men and women with expensive toys. That we have to pay for as well as pay ourselves. I don't know about you but I want more better toys to play with and I want to take care of the ones I have. I too am ambitious. I want to have a nice retirment. I want to be able to take good vacations. I want to be able to go out to nice restuarants and so on. People who are out there working for free are keeping me from some of my goals.
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Old 03-09-2000, 07:39 AM
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Charles Charles is offline
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I have done that many times. Stopped on the sied of the road with my girlfriend in car. To look at a mower or tractor. SHe say oh crap. But love for the job or not. I have bills to pay and making good money while you are doing something you enjoy makes it that much more enjoyable for me. WE are men and women with expensive toys. That we have to pay for as well as pay ourselves. I don't know about you but I want more better toys to play with and I want to take care of the ones I have. I too am ambitious. I want to have a nice retirment. I want to be able to take good vacations. I want to be able to go out to nice restuarants and so on. People who are out there working for free are keeping me from some of my goals.
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  #5  
Old 03-09-2000, 07:39 AM
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Charles Charles is offline
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Join Date: Dec 1999
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I have done that many times. Stopped on the sied of the road with my girlfriend in car. To look at a mower or tractor. SHe say oh crap. But love for the job or not. I have bills to pay and making good money while you are doing something you enjoy makes it that much more enjoyable for me. WE are men and women with expensive toys. That we have to pay for as well as pay ourselves. I don't know about you but I want more better toys to play with and I want to take care of the ones I have. I too am ambitious. I want to have a nice retirment. I want to be able to take good vacations. I want to be able to go out to nice restuarants and so on. People who are out there working for free are keeping me from some of my goals.
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  #6  
Old 03-09-2000, 08:33 AM
fdew fdew is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 147
I thought all real men stopped to look at nice equipment beside the road, (or odd equipment, or real old equipment) If I take my wife for a ride and don't make at least one stop it wasn't a good ride. and I'm not a Landscaper, just a incurable gear head.<p>PS; The only thing more interesting then a real nice piece of mowing equipment is a Zamboni<p>Frank<p>----------<br>&quot;Thinking like we always have is what got us where we are.<br>It is not going to get us where we are going.&quot; Albert Einstein
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  #7  
Old 03-09-2000, 09:29 AM
JasonPC JasonPC is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 79
Just wanted to a make a quick comment. I'm Jason's wife and I own half the business. Jason does all the &quot;physical&quot; stuff (except I go out and help him snowblow walkways) and I do all the advertising, computer work, accounting, taxes, payroll, phone calls,estimates, etc... Some of you commented on your &quot;Girlfriends&quot; getting annoyed when you pull over....that's very sexist! I, yes I, pull over as well. I love my career. I love power equipment. I feel very lucky to co-own a landscaping company. It's a wonderful lifestyle. A bit stressful at times, but it's great.<p>-Nicole
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  #8  
Old 03-09-2000, 09:33 AM
Scraper Scraper is offline
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Location: SE Pennsylvania
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Hooray to you Nicole!!! Jason is one lucky man!<p>Steveair: AMEN! Wellput!<br>
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  #9  
Old 03-09-2000, 02:30 PM
cjcland cjcland is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: winter haven, florida
Posts: 278
not just the equipment, when i go anywhere i look at the lawn and bushes my wife tells me if the sky ever falls i wont notice cause im always looking at the ground, then again im in florida and in the middle of summer i do ask myself why do i do this?? then the answer comes, i like it i do sometimes take the long way home just to drive by one of my properties to look at the job as someone else sees it, and i get that good feeling you were talking about<p>----------<br>CJC Landscape Management<br>Winter Haven, Florida
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  #10  
Old 03-09-2000, 04:47 PM
Bobby Bobby is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Central Florida
Posts: 258
Hey Charles, you posted my thoughts. Except my girlfriend is my wife. CJCLand, I say the same thing every summer. Is it getting crowded up there? Seems like a lot of folks from here are moving to central Fla?<p><br><p>----------<br>Bobby <br>Ft Lauderdale
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