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Old 11-15-2003, 07:10 PM
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jkelton jkelton is offline
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Subbing Mulch Out to Blower Truck

Ok, I have a question that I have been dealing with for some time now and I thought this forum would be a good place to get some feedback. How many of you guys sub out your mulch jobs to a company who has a blower truck? If so, are there certain things the company does for you that you like/don't like? In other words, what do you like about the process and what do you think the company could do better?

The reason I am asking this question is because I own/operate a mulch blowing company and have asked this question to some of my customers and I do not think I am getting their true thoughts. I figured since you guys do not know me from anyone else, you will give me straight answers. Although I have not done any jobs for anyone on this forum (maybe two or three of you guys), the rest could give me some insight on what other companies in their region are doing right (and wrong). I really am trying to gather ideas on how I can better service my landscaper customers.

I have tried to take a look at my operation and find out my strengths and weaknesses (both my management and the inherent problems with the process), which can be difficult to really figure out on your own. I do think I offer a quality, cost effective service to customers who have difficult jobs to deal with. Difficult, hard to access jobs are no problem for us and we can generally do a job like this at a much lower cost than a landscaper can do it - thus, the landscaper can sub their hard-to-access jobs to us and make more money. I have tried to focus on marketing this concept and have had some moderate success, but not as much as I would like. What I have found is companies who keep good job cost records definitely understand this concept and want to sub all their mulch jobs to me, but unfortunately, most companies in my area (some relatively large) do not keep detailed records. What information could I give or send out that would help me get this point across?

You guys always give straight, to the point comments and this is the reason I posted this question. As always, any comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 11-15-2003, 08:54 PM
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mdb landscaping mdb landscaping is offline
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im just gonna give you some things to think about that i have noticed. i currently work for a landscaping company, and we have a mulch blower as well. one of the main aspects to owning one, is to keep it working everyday (which im sure youve figured out by now). like you say, your strengths are the hard to reach places and large scale jobs that helps you offer a better price. You may want to consider large scale advertising. to keep our mulch blower running, we do jobs great distances aways sometimes. since you say you tackle the jobs that are difficult, you need to expand your services. look for more difficult jobs, but just expand your horizons and get your name out in a large scale area. you hinted that you have been in contact with other local lco's about work.... try and send out pamphlets to these guys explaining exactly what you explained in your thread. tell them how they can make an easy dime just by subbing out to you. i think you also need to market more to the residential aspect of the business. our mulch blower truck does a lot of residential installs. we wont do any job under 10 yds though, as for it is at a money loss for the smaller jobs. your main objective needs to be to keep the truck moving. you dont necessarily need to get all the big jobs to make a dime, but to just fill up a days work.
i know you were more looking to hear from companies who dont have a mulch blower, but those are just a few of my thoughts as far as marketing your blower goes from experience. maybe somebody can add to what i said....
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Old 11-15-2003, 09:55 PM
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Little Guy Little Guy is offline
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I think you should let the Landscapers in your area know that you are available and take the time to explain your price structure so that they can decide to use your services or not.

Stop and talk to them as you see them on job sites.

I wish there were people around here that would offer services or at least return my calls.
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Old 11-15-2003, 10:05 PM
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mdb landscaping mdb landscaping is offline
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hey little guy.......if you got any jobs that require an extensive amount of mulch.....shoot me a pm. it would have to be quite a bit to make it worth while for us to head to RI, but its not uncommon for us to go out of state.
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Old 11-16-2003, 09:26 AM
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AztlanLC AztlanLC is offline
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Lot's of companies don't see the benefit of subing this type of work to someone else, they're afraid you're the only one making the money, I would suggest to contact as many landscape companies as you can, (even the little guys sometime in the future will have a need for this kind of service) and gather a meeting, where you'll explain to them the ins and outs and answer their questions, winter is such a good time for this.
Many companies would like for you to have their sign in every job you do for them, I know I do.
Many companies like to always find someone on the other line or at least someone calling back.

Every company at the end will look for nothing but price, if it cost me $40 per yard installed (materials, labor, overhead) and you can do it for the same price or less I'll give my business to you, but just like you said it some companies don't really keep records of how much it cost them to apply mulch they only look at the per yard price, so educate'em.

If you're looking to sub work out then try not to compete againts your customers.
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Old 11-16-2003, 09:29 AM
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ProMo ProMo is offline
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I use a mulch guy on my larger jobs I charge 70/yd to install the blower charges me 29/yd bag mulch costs me about the same as having them do it . They started out with one truck and now have 6 or 7 they also recently bought there own mill were they make there own mulch.
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Old 11-16-2003, 12:15 PM
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jkelton jkelton is offline
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Thanks for the replies so far.

AztlanLC,
What you mentioned is the same comments I hear from the companies in my area. Many of them are afraid I am going to steal their business, but I have assured them that this would not be the case - I do not want to operate like that if I expect anybody to us me as a sub. In fact, I have had some companies not tell their customer (such as an apartment complex) that they would be subbing this out to another company because they were afraid they would contact me directly for mulching. I tell them time and time again that I would never steal their business - it would make a difference if I offered other services besides spreading organic materials (i.e., mowing, landscape installs, etc.), but I do not.
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Old 11-16-2003, 07:19 PM
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Grassmechanic Grassmechanic is offline
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Make sure it is stated who is responsible for removing mulch from turf and from the bases of trees.
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Old 11-16-2003, 11:05 PM
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AztlanLC AztlanLC is offline
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Yeah I hear you, that why you have to educate your customers, this case landscapers, the guy that I know goes out of his way to prove he's no competing against us, if somebody calls him for this service other than contractors he refers the job to someone, in this type of cases he charges more, but hey if someone calls me out of the blue and says, "hey I have a big job coming up, you want to make the contract and make some $$$" he also has a truck with no signs at all, so you can give him yours and anybody who sees the truck at the job thiks is your company itself doing the work, I think that's a nice touch.
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