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Busier then ever and NOTHING to show?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Ethanslawn, Jun 29, 2014.

  1. easy-lift guy

    easy-lift guy LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,376

    In this industry the lag time before inflation catches up or people even understand the concept has come and gone. In all honesty the market place to mow a customers lawn ATM does not support $50.00 to $100.00 per cut. One can be as efficient as possible and cut cost at every corner and still show at best a break even return for the end of the business year. As long as government can continue to spend and print as much cash as it needs to keep up the appearance of things are getting better the opposite will occur.
    Sadly the market place and denial on the part of service providers continue to erode any and all gains that could be made. I suggest for all members to seriously look at your bottom line and start planning on raising your prices for the near future. When the current government monetary policies collapses the dollar serious decisions will have to be made for long term survival of any company especially if anyone will be able to afford nearly anything.
    easy-lift guy
  2. Shorelandscaper

    Shorelandscaper LawnSite Senior Member
    from MD
    Posts: 284

    Well said...and unfortunately very accurate
  3. Efficiency

    Efficiency LawnSite Bronze Member
    from zone 6
    Posts: 1,551

    The concept of working more with less to show really only applies to those with employees and are poor business people. If you are seeing that as a solo, you're f'ed.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  4. wbw

    wbw LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,473

    If you are solo and busy, you should have plenty of profit. My best guess with limited info is that you are working to cheap.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  5. easy-lift guy

    easy-lift guy LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,376

    Your guess may be correct, however even in Texas as in Florida inflation is starting to bite and shortly prices across the board will be going up for goods and services in a way not seen in this country for several generations.
    Just be prepared for some really big price jumps coming down the pike.
    Milk is a prime example. Currently here in SW Florida over $4.00 a gallon!
    More government in activity and thanks to more grain going towards ethanol
    production instead of live stock feed look to see these prices and everything else going higher!. Folks think its hot now hold on, it's going to get really hot shortly.
    easy-lift guy
  6. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,984

    Only getting 2.5 jobs out of 10 estimates seems to not indicate that your prices are too low.

    So I think you need to look at reducing costs. You need to examine all costs. When you are going to buy something you need to determine is it a need or a want.

    What large debts did you take on?

    I started with a 42" JD rider and a Sears 20" push. I wanted to get a commercial mower. I did not need one for my first three years. I needed to buy new mowers at the start of my fourth year.

    I wanted a 48" that I could sit on. I could get by with a JD 36" gear WB. So I got the 36". I'm losing weight and loving that. And because the 36" WB was all I could afford.
  7. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,984

    Yes it is.

    The companies that can stay debt free are the ones that will have the best chance of riding out bad times.

    Next thing to remember as when times go bad businesses need to control costs even more. When the work is not there the need to turn full time 40 hr employees to part time 30 hr employees is a must.
  8. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,984

    Working solo can also be a guy that is undercapitalized so he can not afford to buy the equipment that is needed to do the work in a timely manner.

    I just bought a HL135 hedge trimmer attachment for my Sthil FS90R. It cut the time needed to my last hedge/shrub job in half. $180 at 3 hrs. With my old equipment that job would of been a $180 at 6 hrs job.

    So being solo does not guarantee that doing 40 hrs a week of work means that you can bill 40 hrs a week.

    Same as when all one has is a 20" mower and takes 2 hours to do a 1/2 hr lawn because you do not have a 48/60" mower as your competitors would do that same job with. You can not charge 2 hrs labor because you do not have the right equipment.
  9. DuallyVette

    DuallyVette LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,160

    As for the need vs want post... Long ago we mowed most everything with a 52 Toro Hydro walkbehind with a velke. It broke, I dropped it off at the dealer, and he loaned me a 1st generation Great Dane Stander . Same 22 hp engine, same 52 inch cut. We cut the mowing time down 35% at each property. We have always used a timer in the trucks to log the time spent on each job. The point... Waiting until you can pay cash can cost you big time. I actually bought two of them at 0% apr for two years. I still have them 17 years later and they are my favorite mowers. I have three newer standup mowers but one I dislike and the other two a are great, but heavier on the turf when it's not growing vigorously

    You need to spend money to make money, or sit and wait for your ship to come in.................
  10. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 17,001

    Year in and year out as a solo operator my expenses run 33% of my gross.
    Its been an average Summer coming off a terrible Winter. personal expenses are killing me right now, refigurator 800$, farm tractor clutch 900$, car parts 700$, injector pump for backhoe 500$, and that's just the big ticket stuff.

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