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A scrub in my market making big $$. Might want to take a look

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by TMlawncare, Mar 1, 2005.

  1. TMlawncare

    TMlawncare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,197

    There's lco is my market that I and many of you would consider a scrub. He's a hard working scrub by all accounts. We will call his company Larry's lawn mowing. His setup is as follow's - 1 early 80's ford f-150, 4 21" mowers (2 mulching/2 side discharge mtd, murry, etc.) in the back of his truck. He has 2 weedeater trimmers the little ones with a head the size of a dime. No blowers or anything else. Total overhead - truck $2000, mowers $850, trimmers $150. Thats all equipment - Total overhead $3000.

    Larry's business philosphy- Do as many yards as possible, period. It took me a few years to believe this but he does around 100 lawns a week. Most yards are small 3-8K. He averages 18-20 lawns a day, six days a week. The moment he steps on the lawn he's mowing. No picking up trash/sticks or anything. Puts the mower in the highest gear and he's off. If the mower is missing blades of grass, he does not care. Double mowing, he's never heard of such a crazy thing. If the grass is wet and the mower is clumping, it doesn't bother Larry. When the lawn is done, he grabs the featherweight trimmer and flys around the house and trees, no edging. Thats a waste of time. As far as blowing goes, he does' not do any. Usually the homeowner brooms it off after he has left.

    How does he get all of the lawns done? I usually get down to the shop at around 7a.m, he is already going on the lawns. He usually starts at 7 and gets done a 6:30 - 7p.m. His customers don't seem to mind, they are glad the yard is being tended too. This guy is fast, there has been a time or two that he has beat me done, when in the same neighborhood. I have over 100K invested.

    How much is he making? Well, 100 lawns a week @ $22 is 2200 per week. $8800 per month. Crap, he'd doing about as well as I am. Our season is short 25-26 weeks. So he grossing around 58k solo. And netting around $53K.

    Larry is netting more then I am, guys are we wrong in the way we look at this business? Is being "professional" costing us too much. Is are attention to detail killing our bottom line. Heck Larry does not have a problem with attracting new clients. What are we all missing?
  2. theturfsurfer

    theturfsurfer LawnSite Member
    from mtka,MN
    Posts: 102

    First off clearing 53k before taxes, assuming he pays, isn't that much. Second if you are charging the same price as him (would that make you a scrub?) and that is all the market will bear I would change markets. If he is legit, paying taxes, licensed, insured than I think he has found a niche in the market. The are some LCO here who do this and it is fine with me. I would rather service clients who want more than a quick mow.Just because someone has cheap equipment doesn't always mean they are a scrub.
  3. Jpocket

    Jpocket LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,278

    Your making a good point, It's scary that this is true

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,981

    I suppose if Larry is a licensed business and everything that goes along with it, not much you can do about it. Maybe he's found his niche, customers that don't really care much beyond the fact that they don't have to mow themselves.
  5. MarcSmith

    MarcSmith LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,157

    I started out as a Larry......87 s10 and 21" murray.... wooden 2x6's as a ramp.....On a good day I had a 50 gal spray tank in the back of the truck as well. I was a scrub, I was insured and licensed, but I was a scrub just the same...IMO....

    Even if he is not lic, or insured, are those the kind of customers you would want to have......or the hours you would want to work.....or the equipment you want to use.....

    Some people are into landscaping becasue they think its easy money(in some cases it can be), and others are in it for the love of landscaping and money will come on its own....I think most of us fall into the second category.....
  6. TMlawncare

    TMlawncare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,197

    I never said licensed, insured or taxes. I sure he claims "some" taxes. I doubt he is licensed or insured.
  7. Randy Scott

    Randy Scott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,915

    What makes the guy a scrub? Because he busts his a$$ all day long to make money? Because he doesn't have 100K invested like you? His equipment may be less than the average arrogant lawn boy who spends absurd sums of money with little return?

    He appears to be a better individual than half the jakoffs on here pissing and moaning about how they can't make any money because the truth of it is THEY are the reason and person behind their business failures. Themselves. (this is not directed toward you TMlawncare).

    I guess it's too easy to call them scrubs and ASSUME they don't pay taxes or carry insurance. Makes us all feel better about ourselves. I know you're just making conversation TM, but it gets old around here with the same discussion. Nothing personal.
  8. kipcom

    kipcom LawnSite Senior Member
    from indiana
    Posts: 352

    Sounds about right for "residential" prices..lawn cut only w/trim.

    I dont agree with the nasty leftovers....but if the customer is not bitching then they must just be lazy and have NO pride in their home landscape. SO..your "scrub" gets the job because he is "Cheap".....and lazy him/herself.

    What are you to do ?? well....sell yourself and your service....maybe they will come onboard with ? who knows...... People are price hungry these days and if it looks 1/2 azz good they will pay you for it.


    I make more in 1 property than he/she does in a week busting their azz on residentials competing against scrubs/lowballers. ( in most cases ).
  9. walker-talker

    walker-talker LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 4,771

    Maybe he has found a niche. People that don't want to pay a lot for a mowed lawn and don't really care about how the lawn looks afterwards.....as long as the grass is knocked down so that the city isn't on their ass. Most people know that you get what you pay for.....and don't want to pay much for lawn care. Everbody's idea of a scrub may be different. Personally mine is someone who puts down chemicals without a license and someone who pays no income tax....to me those are scrubs.
  10. MarcSmith

    MarcSmith LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,157

    The only problem, and it may not be a problem, depeneding on your job mix, is that if he loses one residential account and you lose one commerical account....I can stand to loose a $30 quick cut versus a $3000 full service.....I know the full service contract you have have a contract and what not but we all have seen it happen, the commercial client gets the bug up their a$$ to prcie shop or the corporate HQ wants to consolidate vendors....its very easy to loose(no fualt of yours) a good paying longstanding client.

    But on the flip side....I'd rather deal with one Prop Manager than 10 Home owners any day :)

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