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Old 03-09-2010, 10:04 AM
TJLANDS's Avatar
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Location: JACKSON,NJ
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Originally Posted by peahlybros. View Post
Here's my 2 cents:

Work within your means. Never take loans out for equipment, buy used and take care of them... a cheap mower will make you money in the long run. I get a kick out of the guys I see who start out with tons of debt thinking that the brand new mowers and enclosed trailer will make more money.

The lower your costs the more money you make, simple economics. I like to take a little bit of my profit every year, and upgrade something in my fleet. I dont understand why companies see it to be neccessary to have the nicest equipment on the market.

Lets be honest, its all just for bragging rights in my opinion.

Satisfied customers will make you more money than a pretty trailer full of shiny mowers in the long run.
Let me guess, Solo operation?
I think running a solo op is way more risky than taking a loan out to buy a new truck or a mower. A solo operator to me is just a job not a business. Not to pick on them just my opinion.
To not take advantage of the warranties and finance rates right now is a bad business decision.
Old 03-09-2010, 10:19 AM
gardiner gardiner is offline
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Posts: 170
i know how to say my schedule is full . if i get a opening i let you know
The wife always remindes me not to bite off more then i can chew .
That the 1 or 2 clients i get to sign is no gaurantee there be around for the 10 year loan on equipment .
If you have a payment on equipment you have no profit
Old 03-09-2010, 12:33 PM
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alternative alternative is offline
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Location: St Clair Shores
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The old adage is so true, It takes money to make money. I agree most of the solo or part timers are usually in this for some quick, temporary money..or as the young guys say "Easy money" (sure if you dont pay taxes/overhead)
Old 03-09-2010, 12:38 PM
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zz4guy zz4guy is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Corporate Hell, IA
Posts: 901
So all you guys with 100 acounts started with a brand new $35,000 truck and a $500 payment every month?
"I want to make government cool again."
-Barack Obama, September 11, 2008

1992 Chevy K2500 - 350ci & 4L80E
12' V-Nose enclosed trailer
52" Scag Hydro WB
36" Quick 36 with Bagger
Stihl Kombi System
Part time LCO.
Old 03-09-2010, 01:26 PM
lawnjocky lawnjocky is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Jacksonville, IL.
Posts: 184
Originally Posted by TJLANDS View Post
Let me guess, Solo operation?
I think running a solo op is way more risky than taking a loan out to buy a new truck or a mower. A solo operator to me is just a job not a business. Not to pick on them just my opinion.
To not take advantage of the warranties and finance rates right now is a bad business decision.
I would say most solos are not even in the job category, just want extra money. But I do disagree that being solo is not running a business. I would be willing to bet their are many solo guys that do a better job of managing their books, equipment and account's than some "businesses" with multiple crews.
Old 03-09-2010, 01:42 PM
Yater Yater is offline
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Location: Tyler, Tx
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Originally Posted by zz4guy View Post
So all you guys with 100 acounts started with a brand new $35,000 truck and a $500 payment every month?
I've done books for friends who think they are "making $100k/year". It's a sad day when they find out they netted closer to $30k. ALL of them drive newish 4x4 z71s or f250s. It sucks to tell them they're broke.
Old 03-09-2010, 09:22 PM
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PROCUT1 PROCUT1 is offline
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Location: TN
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Originally Posted by Southern Elegance View Post
ive been there done that too. at one time we had to do 40k per month to break even and was doing it. competitors and most people thought we were making a fortune, but could hardly afford to pay my bills, been down sizing for 3 years now. finally starting to b profitable again, but it has been a real battle,. next time im that big it will b debt free. its all about knowing ur numbers, customer service, and operating debt free.
pay yourself the truck, eq payments each month, then when something needs to b replaced u have the cash on hand. NO LOANS, NO BANKERS.

BINGO!!! The "credit crunch" did some serious damage but taught me how to live without credit.

The same guys that were laughing at me for running my older trucks are waking up in the morning finding theirs gone from their driveway.

I've dealt with a repo man. You wanna talk about the most humiliating horrible experience. And getting your truck back with all your stuff stolen, and no recourse, and everyone along the line treating you like youre a piece of crap, really makes your day.

Originally Posted by DoetschOutdoor View Post
There are quite a few co.'s around here that mow about 100-150 a week with the owner and one helper every week. Their average is about $40-45 a pop and dont take on yards under $35. Very tight route each week. Very good money there, little overhead.
Great example of a profitable operation

Originally Posted by HANDYHELPERS View Post
Great thread procuts. Here's what most don't understand, have a business plan, and know your costs. First of all does anyone know there costs? Second if you do, are you sure you can run your business on your costs? Has anyone told you what those costs need to be to make a profit, or are you able to figure that out on your own? For example I run 4 trucks, now I can' all of them so I need employees. What percentage of my business can I afford to pay my employees? Now don't foget to add taxes, unemoyment, and health care into that equasion. This is where I see why most companys fail they don't understand what the costs need to be. For my company to succeed it can only pay 20 percent to wages, 25 percent for materials, 15 percent for overhead, and 10 percent for advertising. That leaves 30 percent. Yes I make a lot of money with my business but that is because I know what I can spend. That is truly what everyone reading this post needs to understand. I am not trying to say I am better just trying to help. Also remember this is a service industry just like prostution, so the better you slob the knob the less chances your customer will notice that other company let alone their lower prices. Stay postive and good luck with your adventures. Sorry for the long post thats my.02.
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Thats exactly how I run now. But a few years ago, a $500 a month payment seemed like nothing compared to my sales. A new ztr was only another 200 a month. A shop, only $1500 a month. That was "nothing" compared to my sales.

Nobody could have told me back then I wasnt the "high roller" I thought I was.

Originally Posted by GreenT View Post

This thread should be a sticky. Thanks Procut for saying what many wouldn't dare to say.

When I joined this site it didn't take me long to figure out the failure rate had to be high in this industry. We have no standards, no baseline to identify problems, very few - if any - educational/licensing requirements, and any able body can get set up to do 'business'.

Knowing that many here - and I mean many, if not most - don't know the difference between a P&L and a balance sheet, gross earnings versus net, let alone the implications of their cash flow on their operation, is not encouraging.

It's sad, really.

If I didnt have the experience I did. I wouldnt either.

Originally Posted by mowerman11 View Post
I hear all the talk about yards being the same price now as they were in the eighties. But what about all the advances in equipment that helps us get yards done in a fraction of the time as it use to? Any insight about this from the oldies on here?
A mower back then was a grand. A ztr today is 12-13.
If you made 100% profit and had no other bills or expenses, think of how many lawns you need to pay for that now...

Originally Posted by lawnkingforever View Post
Quick story. Went to look at a used mower off of Craigs List last month. I walked in the guys garage and there was enough equipment to outfit 2 or 3 crews. He had a newer Toro ZT, 2 WBs, 4 pushmowers and an assortment of handhelds. I knew he was an LCO and was thinking how many accounts this cat has. It turns out he has been in business about 2 years and has just 20 accounts. He said his now ex-partner bought most of this stuff, with the hope of landing some commercial work. Needless to say, that plan did not work and this guy is trying to sell off most of this stuff and do lawns part-time now.
Been there, done that.

Originally Posted by zz4guy View Post
*****, complain, whine, moan. The reason Procut failed was his ATTITUDE. Writing a one page diatribe about how to fail. Is that how he talked with customers?? Who'd want to do business with somebody like that?
Did you read the thread? Not once did I attribute any of my problems to a lack of available business.

Originally Posted by alternative View Post
The old adage is so true, It takes money to make money. I agree most of the solo or part timers are usually in this for some quick, temporary money..or as the young guys say "Easy money" (sure if you dont pay taxes/overhead)
And most will make some quick easy money. Its a great business for that.

Hell, If I had a "regular job" Id have 30 cash lawns on the side myself.

But that way of thinking is where we go wrong.

So many guys on here would be in for a heck of a wakeup call if they lost the security blanket of their full time job, or their wives benefits, and didnt have a regular paycheck to supplement everything.

That $50 a week you contribute from your paycheck to your health insurance is no big deal. Wait till you have to get it on your own and you realize its $800 a month.

When "extra money" becomes "the only money" many will see what Im talking about.
Old 06-21-2010, 03:12 PM
DSG3696 DSG3696 is offline
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Location: Menifee, CA.
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Great post man,

I had the same exact thing happen to me but in the construction side of the landscape business. I have set myself up with some very high end maintenance residential accounts and 2 commercial accounts. I to have gone through many changes over the last few years and have decided to try and focus on the maintenance side of things. I am down to me and 2 employees and am very happy with the way things are going. However I am finding myself a little short financially each month and I am having to take on more construction jobs. I feel that if I can land a few more commercial accounts or possibly a smaller ($5,ooo to $10,000) HOA or apartment complex I would be set financially and be able to relax a bit more and enjoy life. I was wondering if you had any advice on getting on bid lists or any suggestions on how to proceed in my business?

Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


Old 06-21-2010, 10:23 PM
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Puddle of Oil Puddle of Oil is online now
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Location: Akron/Canton Ohio
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....just subscribing, sorry nothing intelligent to say!
Originally Posted by Drew Gemma View Post
I get paid to keep the property looking good. It is not hard what we do like anything else in life, added will power, desire and the ability to look for solutions not excuses then you will succeed.
Stay focused and leave distractions for those who will fail in their ventures
Old 06-22-2010, 08:50 AM
head_start head_start is offline
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Location: Illinois
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this whole post is so enlightening, im glad to have read it becuase being a new guy always sucks. when you can find information like this.........great.
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