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  #31  
Old 01-09-2014, 09:23 PM
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unkownfl unkownfl is offline
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Originally Posted by noble1 View Post
FlGardener- Some parts of SD are nice, but you are correct on COL. HUGE! A small middle class house will start at 300-400k on the low end. I lived in LA for about a decade, and had buddies with 1500-2000sqft ranchers on 6000sqft lots, and were spending $750k for them. And these were not new construction, we are talking 1960-1970's construction! Those prices have come down due to the bubble burst, but we are still talking 500k or so. Growing up in CO, I could never bring myself to spend that much on anything less than a mini-mansion.

A HUGE problem with landscaping in CA is illegal labor. There are guys mowing for $15-25/cut out there. Many are illegals who live several generations or families to a single house or apartment, allowing them to survive making those types of wages. I can't imagine competing against that and making a good living out there. How do you afford a $500k home on 15/cut. Install work is the same. TONS of illegal labor. Actually, as far as I can recall, I have never seen a white middle-class landscaper in CA, other than maybe a foreman for a large commercial maint rig or install crew.

As for cost of living comparison, CO-FL, they are pretty similar actually. Gas and home prices are very similar, and needed wages for a specific level of living are within a few thousand/year.
LMAO you only think California has an illegal labor problem........ We have that and a legal labor issues. You will run into competition all day that pays by the day 80 bucks and these are reputable companies and it doesn't matter if you're legal or not only difference is who drives the truck
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  #32  
Old 01-09-2014, 09:36 PM
noble1 noble1 is offline
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Oh, I know how to fish, just not at peak efficiency in FL.

Two years ago, I quit a 85k base pay/year career, not in landscaping, and started my own operation with no input or help from anyone, other than attending a single two-day Green Expo. Two years into my new venture, I am making a good living and have more work than I can handle. And this is now based on referral only business. I have done zero advertising in the last 12 months. Two years ago I had never stepped within 50ft of a commercial mower and had never even owned an irrigation system. Now I do a couple days per week of 15-20 lawns, and the rest of the week I am swamped designing, and installing tons of rock, sod, mulch, and full irrigation systems.
I started by hacking yards with a 21" and trimmer, and now I know more about irrigation than the guy who taught me. Because I first read and ask, then apply it to the real world.

Definitely fishing and learning on the job.

Do you use the same rod, reel, and bait for Tarpon and Rainbow Trout?

To all of you willing to educate me, it is much appreciated.
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  #33  
Old 01-09-2014, 09:52 PM
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unkownfl unkownfl is offline
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Originally Posted by noble1 View Post
Oh, I know how to fish, just not at peak efficiency in FL.

Two years ago, I quit a 85k base pay/year career, not in landscaping, and started my own operation with no input or help from anyone, other than attending a single two-day Green Expo. Two years into my new venture, I am making a good living and have more work than I can handle. And this is now based on referral only business. I have done zero advertising in the last 12 months. Two years ago I had never stepped within 50ft of a commercial mower and had never even owned an irrigation system. Now I do a couple days per week of 15-20 lawns, and the rest of the week I am swamped designing, and installing tons of rock, sod, mulch, and full irrigation systems.
I started by hacking yards with a 21" and trimmer, and now I know more about irrigation than the guy who taught me. Because I first read and ask, then apply it to the real world.

Definitely fishing and learning on the job.

Do you use the same rod, reel, and bait for Tarpon and Rainbow Trout?

To all of you willing to educate me, it is much appreciated.
You can probably cross that irrigation business off the list coming to FL and the Sod is pretty hard to make a living off of too. I think you will do good in FL if it came that easy to you as I have seen plenty of hacks make a decent living here. Any trade that pays well here requires some sort of licensing and getting it usually means pay a bunch of money to use someones or work 4 years for them. I think it will take a few season to get up to 85k a year just saying starting from scratch. Maybe it would be best to sell your company and buy one here???
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  #34  
Old 01-09-2014, 10:14 PM
noble1 noble1 is offline
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UnkownFl- I am not clearing 85/yr in landscaping, that was my previous career. I make a decent middle class living landscaping here in CO, but not 85k. If I could do it 12mos/year, I would probably clear that, but we are down for nearly 5-6mos due to winter. Income slows to nearly nothing.

I am not so keen on selling and buying of operations. It seems a lot of businesses for sale are not worth the price. You get some gear and some customer base, but it will be some time before you make that back. I would rather make my own thing happen.

How is the Orlando area? I was stationed there 18yrs ago, but from what I read it sounds like it has changed tremendously. Good business on the north end?

You illustrate a good point to me asking regional specific questions. Irrigation and sod are huge in the landscape industry in CO. We basically are a high elevation desert, and many have winter kill of their turf, due to not watering for 6mos straight. They do irrigation blow-outs in Oct, and don't turn them back on until mid-May. That creates a lot of sod work each Spring. And irrigation is essential to maintain any turf. Different story with FL.

To illustrate a move in the opposite direction, anyone who asks no questions and brings their 52-60" ztr to CO to mow residential, will be disappointed. Anything over a 36" won't work on 90% of properties here. And therefore you would have wasted time and money transporting 10-20k worth of useless gear.

I ask a lot of questions, that anyone operating in FL would think are common sense, but not so if coming from out of state.

Thanks for the help.
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  #35  
Old 01-09-2014, 10:24 PM
noble1 noble1 is offline
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UnkownFl- In regards to irrigation, are they just non-existent, due to natural precipitation and humidity? I know things just grow, if you want them to or not down there.

For licensing, what is required? I did a little quick research, and can't find anything other than basic business licenses and specific licensing for landscape architect. Is there a specific license needed for landscaping? To do an install, do I need a general contractor's license or a permit?
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  #36  
Old 01-09-2014, 10:30 PM
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Florida Gardener Florida Gardener is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noble1 View Post
UnkownFl- In regards to irrigation, are they just non-existent, due to natural precipitation and humidity? I know things just grow, if you want them to or not down there.

For licensing, what is required? I did a little quick research, and can't find anything other than basic business licenses and specific licensing for landscape architect. Is there a specific license needed for landscaping? To do an install, do I need a general contractor's license or a permit?
in palm beach county you do Not need a license to install a landscape. each county in Fl is different
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  #37  
Old 01-09-2014, 10:32 PM
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Florida Gardener Florida Gardener is online now
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noble im a firm believer that if you work hard, do a great job, and are honest, you will succeed.
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  #38  
Old 01-09-2014, 10:41 PM
noble1 noble1 is offline
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FLGardener- Okay same here. The only real regulation pertaining to landscape installs for us is that a licensed plumber must install backflow preventers, since it ties into the potable water system. After the backflow is installed, there is no license for the remaining install.

Thanks
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  #39  
Old 01-10-2014, 08:53 AM
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fl-landscapes fl-landscapes is offline
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Originally Posted by noble1 View Post
UnkownFl- In regards to irrigation, are they just non-existent, due to natural precipitation and humidity? I know things just grow, if you want them to or not down there.

For licensing, what is required? I did a little quick research, and can't find anything other than basic business licenses and specific licensing for landscape architect. Is there a specific license needed for landscaping? To do an install, do I need a general contractor's license or a permit?
Plenty of irrigation around, our dry season would have most NICE lawns looking like crapola without it. You also have to be a state lis. Irrigation contractor to repair or install irrigation. You have to sit for a state exam and must qualify for that exam, which may entail working for an irrigation company IN THIS STATE for a certain amount of time.
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  #40  
Old 01-10-2014, 09:25 AM
noble1 noble1 is offline
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FlLandscapes- Thanks for the heads up on licensing. From what I could find with a q
quick look, it does not have a stipulation as to what state the experience was in. And it looks like I can provide affidavits from customers verifying years of experience, since I am self employed.
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