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Old 08-28-2007, 08:46 PM
GreenT GreenT is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Floridaland
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Originally Posted by doitforjohnny View Post
Thanks GreenT

You're welcome, now think about this.

You know that nice little Italian restaurant with the great food and wine right in your town. The one you, and many, many others love to go to. You know the one, you always have to wait for a table, is always packed.

Do you think the owner is worried that McDonalds sell 99 cents burgers?
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Old 09-18-2007, 01:37 PM
Koma Koma is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
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You can't compete with the illegals that will work for next to nothing.
A dozen or so live in the same house so there's several working and splitting the rent.
You're not going to be able to compete with that unless you live like that.

In Oklahoma in the early to mid '80's I did new construction roofing on large condo projects.
It paid $11.50 per square of shingles which were loaded on the roof where they needed to be placed just right.
A helper and I both did 30 squares each per 8 hour day. He made $240 a day and I made around $400 after buying the fasteners.

In '89 I moved to north Texas. The good job I moved here for only lasted about 6 months.
In need of work I tried new construction roofing. It paid $7.00 per square, not great.
When I arrived at the jobsite the materials were dumped on the ground from a tilt bed truck.
Broken bundles and loose shingles are difficult and time consuming to carry up the ladder.
I completed the 40 Sq. job in 6 long, hot days. It cost $8 a day for gas getting there and back.
An average of about $38.50 a day after buying gas. I did very little new construction after that.

The illegals were getting $5.00 per square. 6-8 of them would all show up in an old beat up station wagon or van.
They would complete a 40 Sq. job in a day, $200.00 divided 6-8 ways and splitting the cost of gas.
That's an average of $25-$30 a day each and they wire half their pay across the border to their family each week.

The worst part of it was the illegals were low enough to steal my water jug I kept down below in the shade.
There wasn't any good drinking water within miles of the job and it was over 100 degrees then, much hotter on the roof.
I later noticed they stole my cheap clock radio I listened to. A real bunch of low-lifes.

I'm sure the same applies to lawn care if there's a lot of illegals in the area.
They bid low to get the job then steal what they can to make up for it.
They're scrupleless.
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Old 09-19-2007, 11:11 AM
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IHusky IHusky is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: San Antonio
Posts: 478
You say they do crappy work? Then don't let them be your competition. Go for the people who appreciate quality. Once you get a rep as being lowest price, you only get work from people who want crappy service at cheap prices. You say you know what you need to charge to stay in business then you should charge that. It may take a while to build a good clientele, but you will be glad you did. I will never lower my price to get a customer. A couple of low ballers, in my area, once asked me what I charge. When I replied that I don't even drop my gate for less than $30.00, one of them looked at me with a look of horror and asked , "What do you do if the customer says they'll only pay $20.00?" I said that I thank them for considering my company and walk away. He went into a panic and said, "How can you walk away from a customer like that? How do you survive?!!!" I told him I survive just fine. There are plenty of people out there who are sick of the low price, crappy work, "I'll show up when I feel like it." lco's. You just have to hunt them out and show them that your higher price is really a better value than theirs. Has worked for me for a few years. If your goal is to simply build a customer base of low payers, then you just go down to their price. If you want to build a company that will endure and support you and keep your customers happy for years to come, you have to do it slowly and with determination.
Most customers who are looking for lowest price, rarely keep the same lco for more than 2 years. How you going to build an enduring business with people like that? For every customer I get, I reject 3 so it isn't easy at first.
Thats good advice.

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Old 09-19-2007, 08:22 PM
JeffW0011 JeffW0011 is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Indy burbs
Posts: 178
Not even with an endless supply of mexicans

I don't care if you had 10 fresh Mexicans a day willing to work for $2 an hour....this is impossible!

The LCO formerly known as "ONE GUY AND A LAWNMOWER".
Exmark & Ferris Mowers and almost all Echo on the smaller stuff.
Looking for the following used equipment:
52"-60" WB
60" ZTR
A late model spray rig-at least 200 gallon.
A utility truck to haul said spray rig.
Also interested in adding an additional trailer. I am flexible here but needs to be open and dual axle.
Also would consider a used Perma Green if the price was right.
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Old 09-19-2007, 08:26 PM
topsites topsites is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Richmond Virginia
Posts: 21,659
Originally Posted by doitforjohnny View Post
Well I was on the phone with one guy acting like I was a homeowner looking for lawn service. I asked him "so how much for a mid size house"?
Oh so you're that funny guy's been calling asking about prices!
Yeah I run all around giving estimates and keep getting these jerks call me for nothing but waste my time and fuel.
That you?

Let me clue you in man: Lco's are not stupid.
Yes I knew the entire time you were either pretending or something is wrong, something very wrong with this dood.
And if I didn't know it then I at least smelt a rat!
But what can I do, you ask for the farking estimate...!

So I haven't a clue what's going on but I do know something is very wrong.
Because you trapped me and I know it, so I gotta figure something out and fast.

That's likely why those guys told you what they said.
Come to think of it that's a great idea, sure would've relieved my anger some at the time.

Now I'll tell you something so you don't say I'm just the bad guy here:
Next time just be upfront, you don't have to tell me the whole truth but don't play me.
And I might not tell you but you stand a far finer chance that one I won't wring your neck, and two I just might help you.

Last edited by topsites; 09-19-2007 at 08:35 PM.
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Old 09-21-2007, 12:33 PM
rakeck rakeck is offline
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: Durant, OK
Posts: 12
I understand the effect "illegals" have on trade prices but I have a hard time imagining an "illegal" coming up with the money necessary to get into this business half-way right. I think you can blame the AMERICAN "good-ole-boy" business owner's (lco's) who hire the illegals and probably do not have any type of workers comp and who probably stole (or purchased for pennies on the dollar from someone who did steal it) the equipment some or all of their crews are running. So, we can then begin to see how some feel they can get away with doing lawns for $20-$30 ... because they have no major overhead costs.

The illegals are here because they are in demand by those striving to increase the bottom line, pure and simple. Also they are practically here at the invitation of our local, state, and federal goverment. So, can you blame them?

Let's face it, the average home-owner thinks "yard labor" is minimum wage, at best, lets say $5.00 and it sould take no more than 2 man hours to do my "simple" yard and maybe $1.00 worth of mower/trimmer gas (again, this is a average un-informed, home-owner thinking. And this is where it stops .. $10 for labor and $1 for gas equals $11, at a $20 rate I'm getting raped.

I do not know what the answer is to those who feel they are in a market that is ruined by low-ballers. I feel for you but stick to your preferred rates, walk away from business when it's in order, and wait on the accounts to drift by who understand the cost of doing business here in the year 2007 and beyond.
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Old 09-21-2007, 05:10 PM
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Big Bad Bob Big Bad Bob is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: zone 5
Posts: 1,074
Originally Posted by doitforjohnny View Post
Are you mowing grass or smoking it?
What he's saying, I think, is that you telegraphed your real intent and the other LCO picked up on it. Do you think you're the first startup who called him, fishing for prices? I would say you blew it but because of inexperience, not incompetence. Better to approach the LCO and just talk honestly to him. Most will give you straight up answers because they don't want you out there lowballing. Believe it or not, there is plenty of work for experienced LCO's from people who appreciate quality and experience. They don't want to hang around to watch that you mow right, don't skip stuff, don't nick up one of the newly planted saplings with your ""weedwhacker" or to pay you each week. Doesn't take a lot of those to work out. Now, instead of spending 30 minutes on their lawn for $30.00 You're spending 1 hour for $85.00, doing a truly quality and manicured job. You will actually work less hours for more money.
Lawn and landscape maintenance is a luxury. Always aim for customers who feel the same way.
Price fairly but price to stay in business.

You can't charge extra because it takes you twice as long to do the job because you have crappy or outmoded equipment.

And, if they don't pay, put a shovel upside their head.
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