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  #51  
Old 05-02-2003, 11:55 PM
Threeponys Threeponys is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Texas
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Another LCO in the DFW area

Hello to my fellow LCO in the DFW area. Working out of the N.R.H. area (Longjohn - back off!!!!). Started a couple years ago and became "official" last year. Have grown to the point of purchasing a trailer, and better equipment this year. Now looking into hiring. What a scary road to venture. Had equipment stolen off trailer yesterday. Stopped into Foreman's (Hurst area) and they said several LCO's had reported losses. So be on the lookout. Hope to learn from all of you. No low-ball bidding here either. I see it as they take my price or find a high school kid to do it when he has time.
Longjohn, I cruised by your area and see you have an enclosed trailer. Nice. What about signage?
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  #52  
Old 05-03-2003, 09:19 AM
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outrunjason outrunjason is offline
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Speaking of equipment getting stolen... I could do my lawns much faster if I didn't have to keep an eye on my equipment. Some weeks I work alone and I will have to take all my equipment to the back yard just so I can watch it. Even if I am only going to be back there 15 min. I don't want to loose any stuff.

Sorry about your stuff getting stolen Threeponys hope you find the guys who did it but we both know that is unlikely.

Take care, Jason
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  #53  
Old 05-03-2003, 10:12 PM
Threeponys Threeponys is offline
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It's very unlikely that I'll ever see or catch the punk thief but I believe in Karma. Hope it's strong on this incident! I was also leary last year as I was your typical "SCRUB" working out of his pickup truck. This year we have a trailer, 36" Scag WB and all Stihl accessories along with the Toro push mower. As much as it pained me to write the check, I did and bought a new Stihl BR420 Magnum BP blower. After using this blower for 5 minutes the thought crossed my mind that the loss of the Echo 410 was a blessing. The 420 feels lighter, very comfortable to wear, and has more power.
I still watch over my shoulder when in the backyard but with a trailer and everything locked up there is somewhat of a comfort zone.

To longjohn - just kidding with you on the back-off comment. Heck there's more than enough of that grass out there for all of us. Besides, I do this part-time ( 8a.m. - noon) and with 18 accounts, 4 of which are year round. I stay busy enough. Next year shooting for 30 accounts.

Happy cutting to all of you in the DFW area.
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  #54  
Old 05-06-2003, 05:09 PM
Meier Meier is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: DFW
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Today, I had to Cowboy Up and face my WORST nightmare. I started coming down with a fever Friday and I laid in bed drinking Gatorade from 7:00pm Friday til this morning. 3-1/2 days of relaxing, sleeping and drinking lots of fluids and I'm still running a friggin' fever.

On Tuesday I have 10 residentials to mow and on Wednesdays I have 5.

Still had a fever this morning and I nearly passed out when I got out of the shower.

When I started in this business someone told me "Just show up when you say you're going to and you'll do fine."

I believed the guy. But I felt there was no way I could mow 10 lawns today.

I went to the labor camp and hired the first two guys I found. BIG MISTAKE. These guys spoke ZERO english. I figured I'd put the (seemigly) more intelligent of the two on line trimmer/blade edger/blower duty and put the other guy on lawn mower duty.

One guy took the 21" and couldn't figure out how to get it through the gate by himself. The other guy kept running the blade edger 1-1/2" from the edge of the concrete curb/sidewalk. Looked like ****. The first guy comes to get me...he's patting the ground. He had been mowing this 500 sq ft back lawn for about 5 to 10 minutes without engaging the blade. I showed him how to do it and I go back to check on the other idiot. He's using the line trimmer now and he just kept going down the fence line into the neighbors lawn and when I finally caught this fool, he was in the neighbors back yard. It was a total circus. The other guy couldn't figure out how to disengage the self propel feature on the Honda 21".

A routine 35 minute stop for me by myself took over an hour with those two idiots and I did most of the work myself. The communication barrier was just too great. I figured if I tried to train them to do the work properly and efficiently, they couldn't learn the job by sundown. So I swung by Wells Fargo, got some cash and took them back to the labor camp. We had agreed on $7/hr. I paid them each $11 for the hour and half I had them.

Just as I was pulling off, another guy comes up and asks if I want experienced help. (Hell yes I do. I've wasted nearly 2 hours to get a 35 minute lawn mowed on the hottest Tuesday of the year and I'm running a fever? HELL YES!) Anyway, I told him if he could get the line trimmer off my trailer, start it and demonstrate it's use, I'd take him. He did exactly that. I took him at $8/hr and he was an outstanding hand. He ran the line trimmer, 21", blade edger & back pack blower with zero training and zero standing around waiting for my instruction.

He literally cut my work time in half. Best hand I could dream of. On my more lucrative accounts I was grossing well over $100/hr while paying him $8/hr...Mowing lawns.

Anyway, I'm going back tomorrow to pick him up in the morning again. I still feel like total **** and I pray this guy shows. He could be a friggin' crew leader tomorrow if I just had enough work to justify it.

My question for the DFW board is: How hard is it to find a good hand with experience at these labor camps? How long does it take to train one of these ZERO english guys like I was dealing with this morning? (Surely they'd get it after a day or so, wouldn't they?)

Later,
DFW, TX
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  #55  
Old 05-07-2003, 07:26 PM
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outrunjason outrunjason is offline
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Man I know how you feel. I have bronchitis and have not been feeling well since Sunday. I have a guy that I have been useing from Labor camp and Tuesday night he calls me and tells me that he can't work. But that his cousin could work with me.

It worked out ok but this guy spoke no English and at times I started to get frustrated. Like trying to ask him if the dog was still in the back yard and did he shut the gate. That took forever. But he still Knew what he was doing.

I now have used 2 different ppl from Labor Camp and I have to say they both knew what they were doing and I didn't have to tell them anything. They even know how to change the line in the trimmer without me doing anything.


How hard is it to find a good hand with experience at these labor camps? I use the labor camp in Plano and when I first went there I told her I wanted someone who Knew how to mow and who could speak some English. She went right to a guy out of about 200 ppl. So I would ask the lady or whoever runs the place.

Don't even bother trying to train a guy that knows nothing about it. There are tons of guys at the camps that know how to do it.

My Question what is the name of the guy you are useing now and what camp did you pick him up at?

Jason
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  #56  
Old 05-07-2003, 11:33 PM
Meier Meier is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: DFW
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++++My Question: what is the name of the guy you are useing now and what camp did you pick him up at?++++

The camp by Huffines Dodge in Lewisville. The guy's name is Jose.

I never thought anyone was ever actually in charge of these labor camps. Just looks like a bunch of people standing around loitering to me.

Later,
DFW, TX
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  #57  
Old 05-14-2003, 07:18 PM
landcruiser landcruiser is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Tx
Posts: 134
One man show needing advice in DFW area

I live in the Rockwall area, I'm a mechanical engineer out of work and need some advice on starting a mowing service. I have zero (0) accounts now but I have a good Toro Groundsmaster 325D w/72" deck and a Ford 1710 4wd tractor with a 5' rotary cutter. I want to hire no help - just me supervising me. My idea is to steer clear of the residences but just pursue "commercial" accounts in the form of vacant lots, etc. I say this because I feel it would be easier to do since I want no employees. Since I have the 2 VERY good pieces of equipment I wouldn't turn down acreage no matter how big it got. I am trying to avoid competing with you residential lawn care guys. Any of you know how best to pursue such accounts? I feel with the tractor I can do rougher "bush-hog" type work and also take on large area to be more finely groomed with the Toro 325D. These 2 pieces of equipment are mine and paid for, in great shape and I need to put them to work. You think driving around and calling real estate agents with their signs in vacant lots is the best route to go or what? Or will this work in your opinion at all? Please help, I am good with equipment, keep it running myself, etc. but have no idea how to get the type accounts I described or what to charge. Thanks.
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  #58  
Old 05-14-2003, 07:47 PM
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outrunjason outrunjason is offline
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My Parents live In Rockwall County. In my opinion based on what I have seen out there I would just try getting a few nice signs made. Then place them on certain roads and see what kind of calls you get. I have great luck using sings in the city.

Jason
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  #59  
Old 05-14-2003, 10:43 PM
landcruiser landcruiser is offline
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Thanks Jason

Thanks for the sign idea here locally but I am thinking I can do Rockwall and the DFW area since what I will be trying to obtain is larger lots virtually any size. I mean I won't be chasing the weekly residential yard. In reality, I might only get to mow the type places I am aiming for 2-3 times a growing season. Say, for instance, an investment firm that owns lots of vacant land that are for sale around the DFW area. They will want it mowed to be presentable for sale and besides, city ordinances will mandate it be maintained to a certain height or less so they will be forced to have it mowed somewhat regularly. This is the kind of properties I want. Even if some are so large it takes me more than a day to mow them I can bid them by the acre. Say, so much $ per acre with a 1 acre minimum. Do you think I'm all wet or is this possible to keep me and my 2 mowers working? If you think it's reasonable, what is a "fair" price to charge per acre. Maybe $75 for 1st acre then $60 after that with a 1 acre minimum? Thanks for your help. I just need some pointers and maybe a reality check.
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  #60  
Old 05-15-2003, 10:13 PM
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TurfGuyTX TurfGuyTX is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: DFW
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You might want to pursue homebuilders. They usually have lots that have to maintained until the building begins. Go to those construction trailers and introduce yourself. The bigger builders have larger sub-divisions. Good luck.
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