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  #41  
Old 07-04-2013, 02:22 PM
whiffyspark whiffyspark is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PLS-Tx View Post
This is what I'm doing, except it's me and two guys.

I have done it with me and three guys but I prefer me and two guys.

If we only have small lawns to do in the afternoon I will let one of them go home early. Keeps them happy and payroll down.

A while back our payroll was $1700 for one week. I don't plan to ever let that happen again nor to ever plan on being solo again.
I worked for a company that paid out almost 200k every two weeks. Just in payroll. Not including everything else
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  #42  
Old 07-04-2013, 02:32 PM
seabee24 seabee24 is offline
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Originally Posted by exmarkking View Post
So by the very small percentage of companies that make it big time, would it be safe to say, if you want to earn a descent living, stay solo, whereas if you dream of running some huge big profit landscape company, maybe think of other industries that aren't seasonal, weather related?
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I'm wouldn't 100% agree with that statement

I would agree that staying small has advantages that most people here would make more money at first rather than growing.

If your intent is to grow you have to do it very smartly in every aspect of your business to succeed an then throw in a lot of good luck
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  #43  
Old 07-04-2013, 05:33 PM
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wildstarblazer wildstarblazer is offline
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Originally Posted by seabee24 View Post
Heck even garbage men make more per hour, and by me they sit in the a/c truck and run a joy stick to pick up the cans. They are in a cab, and work 12 months per year.
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And they don't have to compete with people knocking on doors asking if they can take their garbage out for them. (for cheaper of course)
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  #44  
Old 07-04-2013, 06:30 PM
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ringahding ringahding is offline
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In my case, we had to grow. Now we live off mowing, clean ups & snow. My wife lost her job in 2008 and things for her have not been the same, contributing financially to the household. But since building our company website in 2010....business has booming to say the least.

This year (11th season) I added another employee (3 now) and I am running solo. I am doing well over $1000 per week myself, which of course is my earnings and the crew makes me more.

I am turning 43 this month, and sure I have lost a step, but will still work til dark everyday if need be. My guys can testify, and my oldest son (22) can too.

I love mowing lawns, I really do not know what it is, but just wake up and am ready to rock!

I guess my question or suggestion to you is: How much do you pay? Ever thought of salary?
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  #45  
Old 07-04-2013, 07:01 PM
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94gt331 94gt331 is offline
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Originally Posted by seabee24 View Post
I would agree with this statement 100%. If you have the expectation of finding good guys and keeping them, expecting they will have a good life and stay with your company long term you have to be able to pay them over $15 per hour. Be honest, most of us could not support a family on less than $15 per hour. Why would you think your workers could? So what choice do you leave them? They have to leave or start their own. Where the problem comes in, we simply can't raise prides high enough to support that type of wage. That's not the only thing this industry can't afford. When was the last time you hired a guy and were able to give him 2 weeks orientation training? Many other industries this is common practice.

I'm not saying you can't make it in this industry but your fighting a really tuff fight for multiple reasons.

Each of these is a bad enough problem by itself, but together is almost nuts. Weather seriously impacts productions and profits, employees, fuel, working 8 out of 12 months, heat, manual labor,

Heck even garbage men make more per hour, and by me they sit in the a/c truck and run a joy stick to pick up the cans. They are in a cab, and work 12 months per year.
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Very well said. All these factors when you got 2 crews, payroll of 2,000+ a week and every week your waiting on $20,000 or more in invoices for the last 10 days and you get to the mailbox and there's $300 in there the day before payroll lol. Makes me want to go back to solo every day.
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  #46  
Old 07-05-2013, 08:25 AM
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matt spinniken matt spinniken is offline
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I think the lawn care industry can be a great business, every industry has its negatives, positives, and it's own set of issues. If I was starting over I would go right back into the lawn care industry. I can see the appeal to running solo, it has a lot of benefits, but it is not for me. I enjoy the different aspects of running a business. IMO eventually everyone will tire of working out in the field and doing all of the work themselves.
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  #47  
Old 07-05-2013, 09:44 AM
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Chilehead Chilehead is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exmarkking View Post
So by the very small percentage of companies that make it big time, would it be safe to say, if you want to earn a descent living, stay solo, whereas if you dream of running some huge big profit landscape company, maybe think of other industries that aren't seasonal, weather related?
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I think the culture of the Under-30 Crowd is what creates all the "bad hires". Sure there are a scarce amount of gems out there, but most have this ideal that they are entitled to "direct the show" instead of "pay their dues".
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  #48  
Old 07-05-2013, 09:55 AM
coolluv coolluv is online now
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I through my two cents in. Lots of good points brought up so far. The thing that I think is the biggest factor is pricing. Pricing is getting worse in this industry instead of getting better.

I know companies that do only commercial and are bidding at $20 a man hour just to get work...and the quality of work shows it but the clients don't care. Down in Georgia the economy is still in rough shape. I see more houses going for sale now as I did a few years ago. People are taking advantage of rising prices and some just can't hold on anymore. I get more calls from renters than home owners. I have also lost more customers this year than I gained due to them selling their homes or they lost their jobs and cant afford it.

More people want bi-weekly service than ever before...and in higher end subdivisions. Its has been and still is a race to the bottom on the maintenance side. The problem with most businesses is they lower prices to get work...and they do get work. Problems start when they get too much to handle by themselves and are forced to hire.

One man...not a problem. Once you start to need two or three or more...that's when the problems arrive. More equipment....more gas....more insurance and on and on and on. Those things were not considered also. Those bi-weeklies and cheap lawns don't pay enough to cover expenses....or barely do. Then the owner starts to realize the money is not there. The numbers weren't looked at until the bank account starts looking bad.

Now its decision time. Scale down....raise prices? Try raising prices on those bi-weekly and cheap @$$ customers you built your business on. They will do the downsizing for you.

Good paying contract customers are 1 out of maybe 15 or 20 possible customers...the rest are foreigners or people that can't pay the freight. Then you have every Tom,Dick and Harry out mowing lawns. I set myself apart from those guys....but....they help to ruin the industry. The customers they get are not the ones I want anyway. But more and more good customers are becoming those customers.


I will keep it short. If most would run the numbers on this business they would realize how hard is is to make money by just mowing lawns. You have to have other avenues to generate cash....but that means more help...so its a very hard thin line you must walk in order to make money and survive.

This is no easy business and probably one of the hardest to make a decent living in. So many guys come and go in this business...I have often debated about moving on myself. But right now that's not an option for me. I comes down to this....If you can't bid work to make money then what's the point? You will see lots of guys with lots of trucks and lots of work...but what you don't know is how profitable they are. I have seen many larger companies that I thought were successful disappear never to be seen again.

Look up Pro Cuts thread on how to fail. Good read. But he made the same mistakes and in the long run realized that the meager profit for all the work and aggravation was just not worth it.

So you have to know your numbers and your break even per hour. If your not bidding above the break even your losing money. But if you bid to make a profit (in this business anyway) you are likely not to get the work.

One more thing. Every area of the country is going to be different. Even areas in the same state. Some of the more successful companies are in the right market with the right conditions and customers and can make a good living and pay good wages and charge enough to do so. Most places that is not the case.

PS. Don't listen to what others tell you they make...most of the time they are lying. Company gross has nothing to do with net profit. Good luck finding good help....and if this economy is getting better........I sure haven't seen it.

Dave...
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  #49  
Old 07-05-2013, 03:17 PM
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Groomer Groomer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coolluv View Post
I through my two cents in. Lots of good points brought up so far. The thing that I think is the biggest factor is pricing. Pricing is getting worse in this industry instead of getting better.

I know companies that do only commercial and are bidding at $20 a man hour just to get work...and the quality of work shows it but the clients don't care. Down in Georgia the economy is still in rough shape. I see more houses going for sale now as I did a few years ago. People are taking advantage of rising prices and some just can't hold on anymore. I get more calls from renters than home owners. I have also lost more customers this year than I gained due to them selling their homes or they lost their jobs and cant afford it.

More people want bi-weekly service than ever before...and in higher end subdivisions. Its has been and still is a race to the bottom on the maintenance side. The problem with most businesses is they lower prices to get work...and they do get work. Problems start when they get too much to handle by themselves and are forced to hire.

One man...not a problem. Once you start to need two or three or more...that's when the problems arrive. More equipment....more gas....more insurance and on and on and on. Those things were not considered also. Those bi-weeklies and cheap lawns don't pay enough to cover expenses....or barely do. Then the owner starts to realize the money is not there. The numbers weren't looked at until the bank account starts looking bad.

Now its decision time. Scale down....raise prices? Try raising prices on those bi-weekly and cheap @$$ customers you built your business on. They will do the downsizing for you.

Good paying contract customers are 1 out of maybe 15 or 20 possible customers...the rest are foreigners or people that can't pay the freight. Then you have every Tom,Dick and Harry out mowing lawns. I set myself apart from those guys....but....they help to ruin the industry. The customers they get are not the ones I want anyway. But more and more good customers are becoming those customers.


I will keep it short. If most would run the numbers on this business they would realize how hard is is to make money by just mowing lawns. You have to have other avenues to generate cash....but that means more help...so its a very hard thin line you must walk in order to make money and survive.

This is no easy business and probably one of the hardest to make a decent living in. So many guys come and go in this business...I have often debated about moving on myself. But right now that's not an option for me. I comes down to this....If you can't bid work to make money then what's the point? You will see lots of guys with lots of trucks and lots of work...but what you don't know is how profitable they are. I have seen many larger companies that I thought were successful disappear never to be seen again.

Look up Pro Cuts thread on how to fail. Good read. But he made the same mistakes and in the long run realized that the meager profit for all the work and aggravation was just not worth it.

So you have to know your numbers and your break even per hour. If your not bidding above the break even your losing money. But if you bid to make a profit (in this business anyway) you are likely not to get the work.

One more thing. Every area of the country is going to be different. Even areas in the same state. Some of the more successful companies are in the right market with the right conditions and customers and can make a good living and pay good wages and charge enough to do so. Most places that is not the case.

PS. Don't listen to what others tell you they make...most of the time they are lying. Company gross has nothing to do with net profit. Good luck finding good help....and if this economy is getting better........I sure haven't seen it.

Dave...
should be required reading by anyone remotely connected to lawncare.
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  #50  
Old 07-05-2013, 03:51 PM
Armsden&Son Armsden&Son is online now
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^^^^^^ Well, maybe..... definitely great to hear from someone in hotlanta but I must disagree with what you say about the economy.... As you said, things are not turning yet in Atlanta but shoot, I am in the middle of Appalachia and I can see it.... ETW can see it down in Pennsylvania...... Lots of guys on here are talking about it... Your point about every part of the country being different is very true, even regional.... We would need a lecture from a serious economist to decipher why different areas improve quicker than others. But it is coming my friend, you sound like a warrior who refuses to quit and this is a big social media slap on the back for ya....... WHAP!!!!! Keep that chin up friend, keep your head down, keep doing better work than the next guy, make a buck, and you will make it through just fine......
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