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Old 02-09-2011, 07:12 PM
LawnSite Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Kansas City, MO
Posts: 376
I think more guys should look at the "doom and gloom" scenario.

Originally Posted by duffys View Post
It's not all gloom and doom. My father-in-law told me that if you love what you do, you will never work another day in your life and I can say he is right. This is my fourth year and we just bought a small engine repair shop and are getting ready to sell Hustlers. Would I do it all over again?? In a heartbeat !!!!
No offense, but I believe in everything being upfront and personal. What's more personal than your money? Not much. I have loved, loved, loved some of my businesses and jobs in the past, but if they didn't make money, hey...they gotta go. Guys, especially young guys, need to hear this. One of the secrets to my longevity and financial success is that I have income coming in from all angles. I've got ebay income, I've got craigslist income, my wife makes a ton in her business, my mowing accounts bring income, etc. When one is down or takes a hit like I just took with my city park cuts, the others keep churning that revenue out. The adage, and I've heard it plenty before, about loving what you do and you'll never work...that's fine and dandy in a roaring economy when all is bliss and everybody's at full employment. But we're in a bear of a recession, and I don't believe it's getting better no matter what Obama's minions spout to the press. I am living in reality and I hire based on that fact. So remember, when it comes to business and your future success...the more angles you explore, the greater possibility of success and making money. You're gonna fail at stuff, you're gonna take accounts that lose you money. Learn from it, don't make the same mistake. I lost 475 acres of city park mowing and that hurt me. But you know what...I'm not mowing grass for free! I bid what would make me money and provide scope of service to the city and if that isn't good be it. The city wants small business to lose money, to break even, or work less than minimum wage on their lawns. That's what they want. And there's always schmucks that will. I'll go out and add to my list of churches, small commercial, and residential cuts along with those "ghetto cuts" that I'm famous for. The lesson this veteran learned is that the fame and pride of calling oneself a "Top 3 City Park Cutter" isn't worth the cost. Take that to the bank!
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Old 02-11-2011, 10:32 PM
robtown robtown is offline
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Location: NJ
Posts: 222
Bruno..... That was positively brilliant.
Thats was the funniest thing i have read on this site.
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Old 02-12-2011, 03:56 PM
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lawnworker lawnworker is offline
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Location: VA zone 7
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Originally Posted by BrunoT View Post
The biggest misconception I'm seeing in some of the new startup guys recently is the scenario that goes like this:

1. You buy yourself a business by signing your name to pieces of paper called finance contracts. You don't have to have forgone consumption in the past to save first.

2. You get to have fun with things like shopping for mowers and other gear, which is of course paid for with pieces of paper promising part of your future revenues to a bank or finance company. You sacrifice nothing, still. Boy, this is cool. It's great to be the boss for a change.

3. More fun ensues with things like grandiose "marketing plans" and girlishly excited trips to pick out uniform colors and such, in which countless hours are spent pouring over crucial decisions such as whether or not to spring for the burgundy piping on the sleeves or not. You know, to look more "professional" than those idiots with the plainer shirts. Much more time is spent on picking out one's business card logo (see the movie "American Psycho") than learning basic accounting and how to estimate costs and do a basic cash flow statement. Needless to say, taking courses on how lawns grow and perhaps working a few part time shifts for a real lawn company to learn the ropes is out of the question, as that would be for losers who lack your entrepreneurial knack. Those are "minor details" in the "big picture".

4. Then the "real work" is expected to start. You head out in your new macho shiny fully financed pickup truck, attired in your natty Khakis and professional looking uniform shirt, to dazzle the populace with your sales presentation, planning on signing dozens of customers each day to long term contracts where they agree to pay you to not come when it rains and weekly even when you can't see the lawn or shrubs for all the snow. Because that's how pros do it. You're a pro, even though you have yet to even mow a lawn commercially in your life. It says so, right on your letterhead. You have, however, driven your new mower over your uncle's dormant lawn at least twice. And what idiot can't spread fertilizer, right? I mean it's right on the bag what to do! You should easily reach your goal of 500 accounts by the end of spring. Everyone needs lawn service, right? How hard could it be?

You put out 5,000 flyers knowing that at least half should be calling you shortly, I mean hey, who doesn't rush in and call the family around to look at a flyer when it arrives in the mail or on the door? Right? Who would chance missing the deal of a lifetime by tossing it out with the other stack of flyers that arrive daily?

You savor the thought that by winter you should be busy planning how to expand and franchise your operation as you sit by the fire opening checks from those on annual payment plans. You will then probably just turn the biz over to your employees and sit on the beach somewhere collecting royalties and cashing checks while your noble workers plug away by year three.

5. Holding your nose, you venture out on the first day of the growing season, to handle the first few accounts which you have managed to obtain. You don't yet have enough business to justify paying employees, so you bite the bullet and head out there yourself. You aren't too nervous about the work however as your initial customers are likely friends, relatives, and former co-workers. After your third lawn of the day, you retreat to your former favorite lunchtime haunt, Applebee's, for a long siesta, sore and tired, but relaxed in the assurance that soon you will be able to find plenty of cheap but highly motivated and experienced help at $7.60/hour as soon as your employment ad runs. You'd better, because you've made $85 so far today and you're really not in the mood to go out again, it's getting hot out. And this "edging" that they hire morons to do is harder than it looks. Your teeth are full of dirt. You've also got a very unprofessional looking sweat stain all over your stomach, back, and pits. And your smartphone needs charging. Someone might call.

6. Fast forward to September. Well, your last mower sold on ebay for 2/3 what you paid for it. It should have done better, since it barely had any hours on it! But since it's not a titled piece of machinery the bank is going to have to come after you personally for the deficiency and it was probably legal to sell it with a lien on it. Anyway, you were smart and did all this under a corporation, so maybe you aren't on the hook after all.

You can't get over how stupid consumers are. Why would they want a guy dumb enough to have been doing this for 10 years w/o getting huge when they could have had you and your perfect marketing plan? Do they realize they could have been having their lawn maintained by one of the biggest operations in the state 5 years from now? Who wouldn't want that? Everyone knows big companies give better service. And what's with those employees? Half of them never showed up! Ingrates, you'd think they had better things to do with their time. You can live like a king in a trailer park on what you paid them! It's not like they need health insurance, auto insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, or hey, even a smartphone like you! (those are for movers and shakers like us) Those customers expect you to get out there and mow their lawn AND do marketing all day?

You did the math based on what you learned here from lawnsite guys about prices and employee productivity! Hey, they don't drop the ramp for under $40, man! 2 employees equals 20 lawns a day at $40/lawn x 5 days a week x 52 weeks a year equals $208,000 of revenue per crew. You of course lay em off in the winter, pay cash, so payroll is just $36,000 year, and other expenses are $10,000. That's $162,000 in your pocket PER CREW PER YEAR!

What happened?

(the above is intended as satire and is not intended to leave anyone butt hurt or offended. It is understood that each example given can be individually defended as a legitimate business decision)
This should be stickied in the starting a lawn care business section of this forum-LOL.
So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late.
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Old 02-12-2011, 04:07 PM
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PLS-Tx PLS-Tx is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Texas
Posts: 2,385
Originally Posted by Texas Lawn View Post
Pros: More Money

Cons: More Problems
That's great, that pretty well sums it up. Well, except for the money part.
over 40 years old
20 years in business
full time

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Old 02-12-2011, 04:18 PM
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borwicks borwicks is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Council bluffs, IA
Posts: 615
flip side to every pro is the con....if you get this you get it.

being your own boss....really...the person paying is usually the boss...get it..


able to work your schedule around family


__________________ You cant control people and weather but you can be tolerant and respectful.
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Old 02-13-2011, 09:47 AM
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AI Inc AI Inc is online now
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Southern NH
Posts: 24,530
The biggest pro
you get to buy trucks , fuel ins , repairs, some clothes ect with pre tax money.
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Old 02-26-2011, 05:52 PM
tcdodge4000 tcdodge4000 is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: st. louis,mo
Posts: 29

So what your saying is that the lawn care market in kc and the whole country sucks because of cheap, bastard customers who wont pay. So is it futile for a person to get in this business since lowballing is standard practice in this industry. you can make a decent buck at landscaping. right
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Old 02-27-2011, 12:09 AM
DaytonBioLawns DaytonBioLawns is offline
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Centerville Ohio
Posts: 101
Originally Posted by tcdodge4000 View Post
So what your saying is that the lawn care market in kc and the whole country sucks because of cheap, bastard customers who wont pay. So is it futile for a person to get in this business since lowballing is standard practice in this industry. you can make a decent buck at landscaping. right
Lowballing isn't standard. People think it is. Competitors that are too stupid to sell themselves is the standard. "Lowballing" would imply that there was a motive or they showed intent to do so...... and not many lowball for real out there if you think about it.

There are very few lowballs in our industry for the "loss-leader" sale like people think.

Those cheap bastards are everywhere in life..... so it doesn't matter what you do they will be there to screw it up lol.

Lawn maintenance is not for the faint of heart. Just like any other business it takes 1% ingenuity and 99% sweat. The rest will follow suite.
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Old 02-27-2011, 12:57 AM
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maelawncare maelawncare is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Rolla, Missouri
Posts: 415
Originally Posted by Texas Lawn View Post
Pros: More Money

Cons: More Problems
I think it has been said before.

Pros: Mo Money

Cons: Mo Problems
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Old 02-27-2011, 01:28 AM
tlc1994 tlc1994 is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Southern California
Posts: 290
Con: You can't take off your apron, roll it into a ball, throw it on the ground, and then say "**** you" to your boss and storm away......... unless you are standing in front of a mirror.
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