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  #1361  
Old 01-10-2012, 10:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrmikka View Post
WOW..looks great...thanks for the info... im sure you dont bid that job by the sy do you? whos the big guys btw? great help thanks
Jrmikka...that job was definitely not your average job that you could simply price by the sq/ft or sq/yd. The big guys...there are a handful of them that seem to have all the big jobs that the rest of us want. You're gonna see that type of competition in just about any market/industry. There's always a few companies out there that seem to have their game plan together & make everything look easy. No one really knows what goes on within those companies when we just look on from the outside, so don't be fooled, the grass is always greener on the other side.

Not sure if that rambling answered your question or not...
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  #1362  
Old 01-10-2012, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by lawnpropm View Post
One question I know you mentioned overall cost being a factor but have you thought about the standers like the exmark vantage? Im not sure but they may be priced cheaper than a ztr but more productive than a walkbehind. Worth a look see maybe??
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LawnPro...we have definitely considered the Standers, but have yet to do much research on them. We have one Turf Tracer right now and we love it...that is why we are leaning towards them the most at the current time. I was checking out TriCity's thread today on the Exmark Vantage this morning...looks like a decent machine...might be something for us to consider?

Do the Standers come with 60" decks? The only ones I am familiar with are the 48 or 52" decks...
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  #1363  
Old 01-10-2012, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Swampy View Post
Another thing to think about if you keep a ZTR for fall cleanups, and not just a back up but when your crew starts to fall behind (weather, down time, etc) It would be a nice catch up mower.

Can you short chain a fisher vee like the old straight blade fisher/western if problems arise?
Swampy...yes after alot of going back & forth on keeping or selling the ZTRs we are planning on keeping at least one, maybe 2 of them for the reasons you have mentioned. We may get the Turf Tracers and totally regret it...so keeping 1 or 2 is probably the safe bet.

As far as the Xtreme V...I am 99% sure that you can short chain them...we have never had to do that yet (knock on wood)

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  #1364  
Old 01-10-2012, 10:46 AM
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like what i see.

saw you posted about the standers, ive looked into them too but did not see a true reason to fork over the extra 2k. exmark does not make 60 inch decks but toro does. same exact model i noticed when i was looking at them side by side.
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  #1365  
Old 01-10-2012, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by mowing4rlife View Post
I was looking at the exmark for my next ztr or walkbehind. Any advice on purchasing used or new equipment. What exmark turf tracer are you looking to buy? S-series or X-series turf tracer?
We buy quite a bit of our equipment used. It usually works out just fine for us, but we have also had some bad luck over the years. If you know where the equipment has come from & have a copy of the maintenance records then that is a BIG plus. You can tell alot about how a piece of equipment was treated just by looking around the shop/operation of the person selling the equipment. If the place is a mess, old broken equipment every where, very unorganized etc, then chances are they weren't too strict with oil changes, air filters & greasing. If the place is clean & tidy, the seller has maintenance records, and appears organized overall then chances are they also took the time to care for the equipment. It's always a risk that you take when buying used equipment, but that's the reason you are getting it for a cheaper price than brand new from the dealer.

We are hoping to purchase our Turf Tracers used...so we will see what we can find...

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  #1366  
Old 01-10-2012, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Kelly's Landscaping View Post
Are your employees cool with the switch from lazers to walk-behinds? I know my partner and I as well as most of our employees would quit in a second if that was forced on any of us. Make no mistake about it riding is significantly less fatiguing then standing behind a walk-behind on a wheel or 2. Also if your going to go that rout get the velke out of your mind its crap. Exmark makes their own and tapered roller bearings are the way to go plus it locks in place when up with no swing all the velkes iv ever seen hung by a chain.
Kelly's...our employees are not thrilled about the switch, some of them still don't believe that we're actually going to follow through with it. As long as they have a velke or something equivalent, then I expect them to be ok with it. I have talked with them about pros & cons of making the switch & they seem to understand why we are doing it. I'm sure there will be some moaning & groaning, but you're always going to get that with employees regardless of what type of equipment they are using.

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  #1367  
Old 01-10-2012, 11:15 AM
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Really like all the new websites you have now. Great idea spreading them out into different domain names too. Did you do them yourselves or hire a web designer?
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  #1368  
Old 01-10-2012, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by supercuts View Post
pro-turf...im curious what assets beyond the bussiness you have. a house? other properties? do you plan on doing anything beyond landscaping such as rental properties or other aspects of landscaping and or different services all together?

Also, have you notice a size of your business (in number of employees) that had the highest net profit? any time profit was noticeably lower?

I ask as a comparison, I went from reinvesting nearly all income back into the business to simply grow as fast as possible up until about the time I got married, to keeping the business about the same size each year since. i always wonder if I made the right choice or should have kept re-investing. Right now I have alot of equity in my house and have a 2nd property. things work good now, but wonder if they could have been great. I always look up houses on realtor.com and wonder about buying rentals.

any thoughts appreciated
Supercuts...very good question. I do have one rental property that I bought in 2009. It's a pretty straight forward deal, the tenants are good, covers the mortgage & has been a pretty headache free endeavor so far. However, I am not the one to give advice on real estate investments. I do not know the ins & outs of that industry at all. I've always heard that real estate/rental properties are a great place to invest in. In 2009 I decided to invest in a rental property & so far it has been a pleasant experience overall. I'm hoping that the property builds equity over the years & creates some opportunities that I would not have had if i hadn't purchased it. I do not have any plans for the immediate future to buy any additional real estate.

I have been investing most of my money into my Roth IRA, SEP fund, life insurance, stocks & mutual funds. I have been putting money away since I was 20. If I could go back 10 years (I'm 30 now) I would have put ALOT more money into these investments & not purchased so much landscape equipment. If any of you younger guys out there are reading this...take my advice...save some of your money!!! You do not need to be the next BIG company overnight...take it slow...save some money for the future. The power of compounding interest is awesome. The younger you are when you start saving money for your future the better off you will be. Even if you are saving $50 a week, or even a month...ANYTHING IS BETTER THAN NOTHING!!! Let me make it very clear, I am NOT a professional on where & how you should invest your money. My only strong opinion is that you really should save some money for your future.

As far as getting into anything different, I do not have any immediate plans for that. My Dad always gave me some simple advice saying "Find out what you're good at doing, and do ALOT of it!" There is no need to be the jack of all trades, master of none. Find out what makes you the most money & you enjoy doing & capitalize on it. Over the years we have offered many different services that we no longer offer. We tried them out, realized they did not fit our company's profile & we moved on. For now we are just going to focus on all of our main services, maybe add a crew or two, and overall focus on becoming more efficient across the board.

As far as business size compared to profit. It's always a financial strain when you grow to the next level (whatever level that may be). You typically need to invest in advertising, additional equipment, additional employees, training, trucks, office support, insurance etc. If you do not have a full workload to support that additional crew it becomes even more of a strain until you get things up to speed. Our profits have always been best when we run our leanest. When we have an adequate workload able to support our employees without the need to find "busy work" for them. I don't really have a solid answer such as "we had the highest net profit with 9 employees, but it went down considerably with 11 employees" etc. I just reccommend running lean & trying to be as efficient as possible to achieve your best profitability.

Good question Supercuts...
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  #1369  
Old 01-10-2012, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by jbell36 View Post
ProTurf, a few things...i've been through the walk-behind/stander/ztr thing within the last 3 years so i know exactly where you are coming from...and i think you are making a huge mistake!...i understand the big machine idea on a little property doesn't make sense especially when it can scare off customers...walk-behinds are a thing of the past, the stander made them obsolete, especially the vantage/grandstand because you can use them in walk-behind mode even though they suck as a walk-behind...we have two grandstands, two laser z's, two john deere walk-behinds and a toro 36" walk-behind...from my experience the standers for mowing is by far the way to go, they are quick and in between the weight of a ztr and walk-behind...bagging sucks with them due to low bagging capacity, same as the walk-behind...we bought a business this year that came with the two ztr's so since we had them we used them, and for bagging they are far superior than anything i have tried in the past, i was going to buy a leaf vac for the back of a truck but now i doubt it...the ultra-vac is a great bagging system...i feel you on the repairs, but that comes with any machine...if i were you i would either upgrade to all new laser z's or keep a few and get standers for the main part of the mowing season...you will miss your bagging capability when it's gone

also, i did a lot of research on sulkies and pro slides about 5 years ago and would definitely go with a pro slide if i had to make the decision...they retract once you step off therefore no jack-knifing and they also lay a nice stripe, they are right inside the wheels so you have a stripe from wheel to wheel...that's if you DO decide to go with walk-behinds
Jbell...thank you for your input...I find it very valuable hearing both sides of this topic. The one thing everyone seems to agree on is the Pro-Slide. I was very unfamiliar with the ProSlides until we started talking about them a few weeks ago here.
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  #1370  
Old 01-10-2012, 11:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jplawnmaint View Post
If you are gonna go with walkbehinds why not go with Ferris? I think they will hold up to operator abuse more than a tt. I don't know what the price difference is but Granz was selling them for $5400 with a velke this past season. As far as the proslide go I would not bye one. You can not use them on pavement and the guys will be lazy and not get off them. Is the back of the salt bin built in to the side of the hill? If so you are probably gonna get water flowing in to the salt. Send me a pm I would be interested in 1 or 2 of the lazers.
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JP...I have not looked into the Ferris units at all. I've been an Exmark guy for quite a few years, so that's why I"m leaning towards the TT.

Can you adjust/fabricate the Pro-Slide to ride above the pavement?

Yes the salt bin is built into the hill. So far we have not had any water issues, probably because we haven't had any rain or snow...uggh!! We'll be keeping an eye on the water as time goes on.
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