Big Companies In Your Area.

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by DSLND, Aug 2, 2007.

  1. DSLND

    DSLND LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,205

    Well, it seems the more i talk to people, the more i come to find out that they are unsatisfied with the bigger companies in my area (Central IL.). Now this doesnt just apply for landscaping/lawn maintenance, though that has been a major one. I was just talking to my neighbor who had a company pour concrete/blacktop and they said "they would cheat him out" being, "not putting their words into action". I have talked to several of my customers, friends, and family about this and they hate using the bigger companies because either A: They are outrageously priced, B: They cheat people, and or do very poor work, or both A and B.

    As of right now, i am a solo operator (14 years old) doing around twenty yards per week, and hoping to expand greatly once i get my truck and license (Feb. 09). There are about three good sized landscaping companies around me that i have notice their work.

    Company A: Does maintenance next to one of my properties, they scalp, rush, and leave a mess in the street.

    Company B: Same results of company A, no image. They always have no shirt on, and are always wearing unsafe foot wear. Image is everything in my company, jeans/shorts, company t-shirt/hoodie, hat, sunglasses, hearing protection, boots, etc.

    Company C: Only landscaping installs. They do great work, and i would like to work for them during the summers of my high school career. Every person i talk to, says their outrageously expensive, but do quality work.

    Now in the future, once i'm out of college, i plan on expanding into more serious landscaping, but i want to stay with one crew, where i am the boss. I have had bad luck with employees, so i plan to stay solo, until i'm out of high school. But the main thing is, is that in the future, ten or so years down the road, i'd love to expand more, if demands meet, but i don't want to have crews out there, doing crappy work, and i want to be able to control everything. I want to be able to the boss of everything, and not have guys out there, making my company look bad. So if this means staying one crew for a while, i'm ready.

    Question is: Do the bigger companies around you deliver the same results as the one's i'm near?
  2. DSTC

    DSTC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 130

    There is a lot of that going on in America today. not only in our business, but in most every business.

    I always keep this saying in mind that my Father beat into my head.

    "It's always better to under-promise and over-deliver, than to over-promise and under-deliver."

    Seems to me that there are a lot of business owners out there today that do quite a bit of under-delivering.

    You can still be a big company and live by a code of ethics and quality. Just remember that NO employee will EVER do a job as good as you will. It's not their company.
  3. KS_Grasscutter

    KS_Grasscutter LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,332

    There is a LOT of variation in my area. There are probably 20 different operations that come to mind right off the bat, so I am not gonna take the time to go into detail about each one. Am going to say that as a general rule, a couple of the solo guys and one large 100% family ran business are the ones to beat on quality. One of the largest operations in town with 2 mowing crews basically does good work all the time, but are hard as hell on equipment from what I hear. Most of the other LCO's do anywhere from good to average to "i dont know how in the hell the keep their customers".

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,981

    Most companies around here seem to do a decent job. And there are a lot of larger LCO's that do residentials, multiple crews and all. I'll occasionally see a pretty lousy cut here or there but by and large, it's decent. You have to remember the average customer is not scrutinizing every blade of grass like we would. Most of them hire someone for the convenience, not because they think we can do a better job than them.

    Image is great, but a lot of the customers aren't even home to see you work...
  5. DuraCutter

    DuraCutter LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 806

    You hit the nail on the head. As long as you cut it and don't leave a lot of uncut areas, they'll praise you for the work. Being too fussy most times benefits only your ego. ie... things like striping, a 20k mower, a super fast job with a low price are all mostly lost on the customer.

    Well said Hoolie!

  6. DSLND

    DSLND LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,205

    You guys are giving great information! A lot of the companies around here abuse the heck out of the equipment! Most of the big companies run Grasshopper front mounts, or Toro/eXmark Z's. Rarely do you see a WB bigger than a 21". A lot of people around here aren't too picky, but i try to give each one of my properties a jaw dropping appearence. One thing that sets me apart from the crowd, is that i edge every account, every week. Its included in the inital price, and def. has gotten me a lot of business. Image is everything in my business, i keep all of my equipment maintenanced, and some-what clean (wash stuff once a month), always wear a t-shirt, and boots along with other things. I saw a guy last week working for one of the stated companies, running a Grasshopper Front Mount, no shirt, SMOKING a cigarette, i just thought how stupid he must be! -Mitch-

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,981

    Thanks Dura! The thing to remember also is, if you can keep in mind WHY people hire you, it's so much easier and effective to market to them payup I look back on my original flier...not very good in retrospect, I was emphasizing things like "licensed and insured" and "Quality" and those things are all well and good, but not what drives people to hire an LCO. They are part of your 'supporting cast' at best.

    So always think like a customer. It may not be as much fun, but it's more profitable. :laugh:
  8. SpartanBill

    SpartanBill LawnSite Member
    Posts: 91

    DreamCut: In my opion you got the right approach, quality work pays off in refferals and word of mouth.

    As far as Image, I'm not as concerned with my customer seeing me in company shirts,(they already know my quality and workmanship). I want other people to see nice clean shirts, trucks, equip. and take notice. A home owner isn't gonna walk up to some clown smokin' a cig. w no shirt on and say "hey can you give me a quote" when there is another company across the street that has a nice neat appearance, unless they want the lowest price and not quality work, in which case you prolly don't want them as an account anyway.

    Just my opinion

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,981

    Well, it depends really, a lot of people see a crew in uniform and equate that with being a 'big company' and a lot of them don't want to go with a big company. It just depends on the person. I don't think image is bad, per se, but it doesn't have the same effect on everyone, and in fact has the opposite effect of how it is intended on some people.
  10. SpartanBill

    SpartanBill LawnSite Member
    Posts: 91

    Hoolie, I agree that you can take it too far, you should ckeck out the "Found something that works like Gold" thread. You guys are both kinda on the same page. I'm solo with My Dad helping a couple a day a week and I know that the small co feel has gotten me most of my gigs. But I can't sit a red light and not see 3 other "small guys" roll thru the intersection. Gotta set your self apart and look professional. I'm not sayin' you need a inclosed trailer emblazened with 6' lettering, but DREAMCUT is on the right track, professional look and work.

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