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Be careful whose advice you take...

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by JimLewis, May 7, 2003.

  1. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,840

    I just wanted to make a point I learned a long time ago in another business; Only take advice from those who have a business like you would like to have one day.

    This is important because around lawnsite there are always a ton of different viewpoints, opinions, attitudes, and methods of doing business. And it's easy to get caught up in the "attitude" that a lot of guys have around here without actually considering if it's a good idea for your business or if the person giving the advice is even worth listening to. I mean, if you want to one day have a successful lawn care business with several employees, hundreds of regular clients, etc. are you taking advice from people who've done that? Or are you picking up the attitudes from those who really haven't accomplished any of those things.

    Conversely, if you're goal is to always be a Solo Operator and just have a handful of good quality accounts that you can maintain with the least amount of effort and most profit, are you listening to guys who have that kind of business?

    I'm not trying to toot my own horn here or anyone else's. And I am not trying to say that there aren't valuable tips from those who are just starting out or aren't yet where they want to be. To be sure, we can all learn tips from one another. I am just saying that take advice from these people with a grain of salt. And maybe pay a little more attention to those who are where you'd like to be one day.

    I think this is important because I read threads all the time where some new guy asks a question regarding maybe a customer service issue and then gets several responses basically saying, "Screw customers like that! I don't cater to anyone except perfect customers." And I don't think these kind of attitudes are healthy for everyone to have. Some guys who are well established can afford to get away with that kind of attitude. But if you're trying to expand, get more clients, get a better reputation, then this kind of attitude will not help. But it's easy to get caught up into it and start believing it. So just be careful who you're listening to and why. 'Nuff said.
  2. fblandscape

    fblandscape Banned
    Posts: 776

    I am just going to add that, "free advice really isn't worth much"
  3. Soupy

    Soupy LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,125

    I agree. I would also add that you should take into consideration the equipment that person uses. It's kinda hard to compare a business using 21" mowers and another using expensive ZTR's and bigger walk behinds. The overhead and productivity is going to be totally different. A guy using push mowers might actual make more money on smaller lawns. Or the guy using bigger equipment might make more on larger lawns.

    I have found that I make more money mowing 1/4 -1/2 acre properties with a 60" ZTR. I can price these good and get in and out fast. I have tried to bid larger properties but have found I would have to get $120 an acre to make the same money. Now another guy using push mowers might do even better mowing the postage stamp lawns. Because he can charge a lot less but maybe make more per hour. Maybe he can charge equal pricing and still out do everyone else because of low overhead and the fact he will get the lawn done just as quick because he can maneuver around these small lawns faster. And the guy using really large mowers can do good at mowing 20+ acres.

    It also matters on the area you work in too.

    So when asking questions make sure you are getting apples to apples answers. That is why I stay out of the discussions of larger properties because I don't know squat about that end of the business.
  4. chuckwk

    chuckwk Founder
    from KC, MO
    Posts: 634

    What?! Are you serious?

    How much did your parents charge you for your up bringing?

    Now, I have heard the quote.. "the best things in life are free" ... ie., love, advice, etc., etc.
  5. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,840

    I couldn't agree more. This is probably the biggest problem here on lawnsite - the fact that we all use different stuff or have different environments, turf types, weather, soil, etc. And then we try to pose questions and answers to others whose conditions really don't apply to our own. I am very guilty of this as well. So many variables from area to area.
  6. Andrew S

    Andrew S LawnSite Member
    Posts: 150

    Good points Jim

    it is important to do as much research as possible (without going to extremes)

    All my knowledge has not only been attained thru experience but also watching and talking to other contractors.

    I try always to keep an open mind


  7. AltaLawnCare

    AltaLawnCare LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 962

    A good reason for dscrciptive signatures, and specific locations filled out.
  8. GraZZmaZter

    GraZZmaZter LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 740

    Through trial and error i have found out who the people are that i want to listen to. I know who is running a business similar to where i want my company to go.

    I know who uses junk, working after their "40 hr" job to make beer money.

    Ill listen to anyone. You can learn from anyone. Many times though the advice is not getting very far with me. Other times, i may print a thread out for future reference.

    I would have to say the person i pay paticular attention to is John Allen. (im sure he wouldnt mind me giving him credit where its due) He is right where i would like to be at his age.
  9. crazygator

    crazygator LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,048

    All of us here at lawnsite can fit into this mix somehow.

    But what gets me (and this all adds to what you others have said above), is how people come here with no knowledge, look around for 6 months, try to get a high post count, then run around giving advice like they have run a business for years and years, and then expect others like us that really have done this to allow them this "I am a big business man" space.

    Please! There are only certain things you can and do learn from being in business for some time. We all learn something new each day or week, but those of us having been around busniess can feel things out much better than shooting from the hip.

    I am in no way trying to knock anyone around here, but it does grow old when a 14-15 year old tells others all this supposedly great business advice, then when questioned about it they say "Well that is what I have read others have done." Experience is the key! And you only get that with time!
  10. Gravely_Man

    Gravely_Man LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,076

    A very good point indeed Jim. One must always weigh if the advice they are receiving really fits into how they want to run their business. I think the diversity here on Lawnsite is great but by the same token I read many posts that should be titled how not to run your business.


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