destroying an entire industry?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Lawntime Mowers, Aug 7, 2007.

  1. Lawntime Mowers

    Lawntime Mowers LawnSite Member
    from KC MO
    Posts: 219

    I’m posting this ramble here because this in one of the industries I’m involved in and would like to hear other business owner’s thoughts.

    At what point is the Internet and it’s vast amount of readily available information hurting or destroying an entire industry?

    For a number of reasons most people are willing to give as much information as needed to help a beginner down the path to guide his/her every move and decision. Or a beginner has only to read previous post about a topic that they need more information about.

    I doubt there is any industry that is unaffected by this trend that we have all contributed too in one-way or another.

    For years there has always been an order to follow. Starting with a beginner then intermediate and finally pro. Now we have enough information to be a pro at our fingertips.

    One of many problems with taking short cuts is you can’t learn most experiences by reading it. You just have to learn by your own hands on experience.

    Here in lies the real problem.
    Say you have two reputable companies in a given area. Now ten more companies pop up over-night that claim to offer the same service for less. When in fact they don’t offer the same level of service just a similar service for less.
    The majority of the ten pop up Co.’s will die in a few short months and ten more will be there to take their place. All of them die due to a lack of experience. Experience will help you make better than average business choices that you just can’t learn on the net.
    So in the time that it takes people to understand they are not receiving the same service for less, the two companies that provide a quality service are gone.

    I’ve personally had two separate businesses go from thriving and lucrative to none existing due primarily to the Internet information hiway.
    Both industries that I was involved in have fallen apart and now become substandard with absolutely no way they will ever recover.
    Mostly due to posting pages.

    I actually chose to go into lawn care a few years back because It requires real work and a real business head. Most people are too lazy or have no business skills to stay in this business very long. Breaking your back and running a real business is mandatory.

    So is it just me, or are we all taking money off of our own table?

  2. Brianslawn

    Brianslawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,004

    i think we are taking money off our own table. not cause of the net and ls helping newbies. most of them are to ignorant to even think of looking on the net for this kind of info. maybe if the newbies had more help on pricing wed all make more. everyone on here is always yappin about a buck a minute. apparently their math is off when they tell the customer $10-$30/hr. the customers are willing to pay $60/hr and have for the past 20 years. its just when they have an option to pay less, the $60/hr sounds like an overcharge. now days they have such a broad range of pricing to choose from $5-$75/hr around here for landscaping rates. i can walk into 10 different law offices and the hourly rate is the same on 7 of them and other 3 are within 5%. why is there such a difference on prices in the lawn biz? are lawnboys uneducated? maybe we should tell that $10/hr newbie that their new customer has been paying other guy $60/hr for the past 10 years and is only taking advantage of his ignorance and desperatness.

    whats sad is around here, some of the new guys are charging more than the ones whose been in biz for several years. maybe the reason why those 2 reputable bizs in the situation above disappear is not cause of the inexperience of the new guys, but because they quit trying after they got to where theyre at and when the new guys pop up, the big co panics and cuts prices to maintain market share until they bankrupt themselves.
  3. Brianslawn

    Brianslawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,004

    furthermore... auto shops have charts with standardized charges for different repairs. maybe the lawnboy industry needs standardize charges as well. then we're only competing with each other on service.
  4. lawnman_scott

    lawnman_scott LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,547

    No they dont, they have a book telling how many hours a job bills for. They then bill the job at their hourly rate, which varies shop to shop.
  5. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,834

    Yes we are takeing money off the table and fostering competion. But Not me just a quick look at my posting history you will see that my company is not identified on this site and none of my postings can be used as blue prints to a instant thriving business, I only offer basic cursory information and only occasionally become detailed with info that took 30 years to learn, and I never discuss my geographic area, pay scales or billing policy not with any extreme detail. you make a great point.
  6. Lawntime Mowers

    Lawntime Mowers LawnSite Member
    from KC MO
    Posts: 219

    Interesting points from Brianslawn. Since you bring up “Auto Shops” this is another perfect example where the net has cut into someone else’s pocket.
    If your car breaks down I’ll bet you can find the reason why as well as the proper repair if you look on the net long enough. Over the years I’ve done several repairs myself the same way. Home, auto, power tools etc.
    I remodeled my bathroom, rebuilt a carburetor, overhauled my power washer and so on and so on etc.

    Unfortunately educating the newbee about price is only the tip of the iceberg.
    We are unknowingly educating and training an entire class of fast growing and fast learning newbee’s. Again, I’ve had two completely different businesses destroyed and I’m growing a bit concerned over yet another. My lawn care business is growing steady every year without fail. But again so did my other two.

    Would love to hear more thoughts and opinions.
  7. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,834

  8. Lawntime Mowers

    Lawntime Mowers LawnSite Member
    from KC MO
    Posts: 219

    I think that ("Fostering competition") should have been the real title for this thread

    Like you I spent 25+ years learning and developing in another industry only to have it fall apart a little at a time. I know more about my former livelihood than anybody I've ever met.....Oh ya, look what that's worth now.
  9. Lawntime Mowers

    Lawntime Mowers LawnSite Member
    from KC MO
    Posts: 219

    My lawn care business doubled this year the same as the last. Personally I think it's like shooting fish in a barrel at this point. But again I had a killer growth/income in the former business's also.

    And No, don't ask how I'm getting new customers. I wont tell the world the cheapest and fastest way to double your business.

    The failure is unfortunately not due to "something else".
  10. MarcSmith

    MarcSmith LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,157

    There have been and always will be do-it-yourselfers (DIY's) I have been one my entire life, as has my father and my grandfather. I've remodeled my house and done all of the interior work myself, plumbing, and electrical as well. I had the skills and the tools. I could have hung my own windows, or put my my own siding (not rocket science by any means) but I left it to the pro's since I did not want to be on scaffold two stories up screwing around with it...I've don't 90% of my own equipment repair and automotive work....included engine and tyranny swaps in cars...Why spend 2-3 grand if you don't have to. Yeah I'm taking money out of some else's pocket, but I'm also keeping the money in my pocket, which also helps the economy as well, since it will still be spent, just on other things.

    I currently sell my knowledge and my experience to Georgetown. They are my only client. Maybe thats why I'm more apt to divulge my information, and how I did things. It won't affect me. but then again, I owned my own business when fuel was a few ticks over $1 a gallon. So my hourly rates don't mean squat, but the basics of the business are still the same.

    If I'm going to compete with someone, Id rather compete on them with a level field, so Id rather educate the newbie so they see the big picture. None of us (who are legit) can compete against the flyby nighters or the lowballers, except on the level of service. And no amount of internet searching will change the way someone treats a customer. You have it or your don't...

    Its nice to sit behind the computer and have your anonymity, but even on the net, its nice to be a real person as well...

    Besides, even if you posted an gave away all your pertinent info...if someone takes a client from you as a result or your business fails, then you were probably gonna loose the client or fail anyhow....

    Mc donalds, walmart, target, BK, HD, Lowes....their business strategy has been public knowledge for years....hasn't hurt them any....

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