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  #61  
Old 04-07-2012, 08:33 PM
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lawnpropm lawnpropm is offline
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Location: Spartanburg,SC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mow4cash View Post
No we can't, just checked. I want it for running around doing little jobs. There so cheap too. I could put a velocity deck on it and get rid of my truck,trailer, and turf tiger haha. Only in the US would they not let us have fuel efficient trucks.
Of course they don't want us fuel efficient lol that's why gas is $4you per gallon. Now if it goes back to $1 a gallon ill buy a fleet full of diesel trucks just for the heck of it lmao
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  #62  
Old 04-07-2012, 11:52 PM
ConnerM ConnerM is offline
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Great info

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gr8WhiteNorth View Post
mini trucks- they have their place. we put more miles on them compared to any other vehicles. They normally don't go out on the highway for two reason 1-they don't have to 2- they aren't made to

growth- i grew the business slowly at first using what i had. (rusted out toyota truck, wheel barrow, lawn mower, shovels) i learned how to do the techical things from the previous owner who was a journeyman landscaper. i took necessary courses and training in landscaping from 3 colleges by correspondence. took a business degree from my local university.
The first major purchase was a 72" zero turn exmark. This landed me a major mowing contract. The contract paid the mower off and my way through school for a couple years.

The next major purchase was a 463 bobcat. I thought that thing was unstoppable back in the day. These two items helped gain efficiency in the jobs I would do. The work was split 50-50 lawn maintenance and landscape construction at that point. Landscape construction jobs were basically small yard renos with plantings and sod.

The two machines were bought with bank debt. The mower was paid for right away, but i took the skidsteer over 3 years.

I soon caught on to doing hardscaping and started with basic installations of walkways and patios. Soon we started building a client list and getting referrals. Three years later I got proper training on the subject and have become a leader in our market since.

Our market size is quite small and there were a couple of major players so things didnt happen over night. I did continual marketing efforts from day one that advertised specific products and services we perform. I look back 10 years later and think I really did things right when I printed up our first brochures from my printer at home. Writing up specific services and then figuring out how to do them more efficiently than our competitors was my goal then and still is marketing and operations.

The next major purchase was buying out assets from a competitor. He was a guy that built up a solid client list for maintenance services that was looking to retire. Along with his lawn equipment, I got some wisdom and the list of customers.

I have always used debt to finance our growth. Dont get me wrong, I would purchase the smaller items with cash. Debt is scary, but its also motivational. I secured a large volume of maintenance contracts for both summer and winter that financed all major expenditures for the construction side since it was more asset-based work.

The snow business allowed me to work full time and obtain more customers that would generate additional revenues once I earned their trust. I remember how brutal it was @ -50*celsius doing 40-50 properties with a shovel, then how unreal it was to do them with a skidsteer with no cab heat. It took 1 winter of that until I got heat installed for $2,800. I thought it was a hugely unecessary expense at the time. lol.

Next major purchase was newer skidsteer. I bought a bobcat s300 that was 3 years old. It had 2 speed transmission and made gave us large production gains. At this point we were up to 5 full time staff and a part time book keeper.

Now that I had my feet wet in snow, I wanted more. I saw painfully small sales in the winter months and knew I had to increase sales over the winter. I bought out another competitor. This company had been for sale for a few years and nobody wanted it. The sales were about $45,000 per year , the assets were a skidsteer, loader, dump truck, and some attachments. They had a pretty good commercial client base for hourly snow work.

I bought it for fair market value of the assets and got the clients for free after some serious negotiating. There were some red faces, but I argued they didn't make enough money to justify paying for the clients. They barely had enough cash at the end of the year to pay themselves. In one year I increased the commercial snow sales by 5x. That business had some very simple problems. They were stuck in a rut following the status quo. Their clients followed a regimine of 4 inch and greater snow clearing. The first thing I changed was to get customers to sign contracts for 1 or 2" service. Some loved it, I lost others. This change alone more than doubled sales for the same customer base.

Well, thats all the time I have for now. Family showed up early for supper. I'll continue asap when Im not so distracted.
Wow this is alot of really great info even though your not in my area this helps alot. I have one question. im thinking of starting a lawncare buisness but do i have a landscaping side of the buisness as well because i done have any landscaping experience and im wondering if i should wait until i get some first before starting my own buisness
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  #63  
Old 04-08-2012, 01:25 AM
Gr8WhiteNorth Gr8WhiteNorth is online now
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If you can work for someone else in the industry that is doing it right, you will be much further ahead. Much can be gained by technical experience, but learning how everything is all tied together on the business end is just as valuable. Work orders, p.o. Systems, scheduling, routing, training, etc are important in building a company if that is your intention.
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  #64  
Old 04-08-2012, 11:30 AM
ConnerM ConnerM is offline
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Location: Rosemount,mn
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Training

Did you learn most of your stuff from experience or from school?
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  #65  
Old 04-08-2012, 12:56 PM
Gr8WhiteNorth Gr8WhiteNorth is online now
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Both. I took schooling for horticulture right out of highschool. The courses in my area were very limited at the time so I had to take from 4 colleges across the country via distance Ed.

After that I took a degree in business from our local university. Major in finance, minor in economics.

I worked under a journeyman landscaper for 5 years then bought his business name when he threw in the towel for $1500. Came with a wheel barrow and 2 shovels.

Since, I have become a certified Allan block wall installer, bark an factory trained technician, and icpi certified. Along with every foreman in the company.

I taught landscape design at a local college for 2 years as well, but didn't renew the contract this year. With the amount of time I was prepping and doing other tasks outside of class, it was interfering with work. The wage worked out to about $15/hr so I considered it a donation.
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  #66  
Old 04-16-2012, 07:03 PM
Gr8WhiteNorth Gr8WhiteNorth is online now
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Trade Show Easter Long Weekend

We just finished a trade show event that really seems to kick of the start of the new season. The hybernation of winter is over and its always amazing to see our guys throw something like this up in 2 days.
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  #67  
Old 04-16-2012, 07:05 PM
Gr8WhiteNorth Gr8WhiteNorth is online now
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We just finished a trade show event that really seems to kick of the start of the new season. The hybernation of winter is over and its always amazing to see our guys throw something like this up in 2 days.

It helps when I attach the pics
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  #68  
Old 04-16-2012, 07:17 PM
Gr8WhiteNorth Gr8WhiteNorth is online now
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More pics- The setup is 2 days of chaos and panic no matter how much planning goes on. Some years we get an extra 1/2 day to full day to setup, but this year it didn't work out because of another event at the location. Our competitors usually get an extra 1.5 days because the location. Their exhibit room is cleaned up first from the previous event...we're last.

I'm always leary about water features. I've seen two other landscape co's scramble because of leaks the first morning of the show. We kept it simple, but I think it made a pretty good impression on what we do.

This year we are trying to create awarness of low maintenance water features.
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  #69  
Old 04-16-2012, 08:54 PM
southgalawns southgalawns is offline
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Just amazing, all I can say is I hope I am just half the size of your operation.
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  #70  
Old 11-29-2012, 04:34 PM
Gr8WhiteNorth Gr8WhiteNorth is online now
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Snow time

Here are some pics of a new purchase. Boss BX12 box plow for one of our loaders. All I want for Christmas is snow...lots of snow.

Last season was terrible.....
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