did the 07 drought change your business

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by jeffex, Dec 16, 2007.

  1. jeffex

    jeffex LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,933

    did the drought change your business model or not ? how many are considering contracts for 08 ? I am diversified with lawn and powerwashing services. My wife and I just switched gears and did more powerwashing . Having survived other droughts over 16 years through diversification I just wonder how the mowing only model works for some. I have seen some guys get regular jobs in drought years. I like to keep the equipment paid for and save money for replacement equipment and repairs. In drought years I just put ahold on purchases and repair the stuff I got.
     
  2. Mike Blevins

    Mike Blevins LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,362

    We were near 20 inches behind on rainfall this year here. It has rained nearly 3 1/2 inches in the last week. The drought definately had an effect on my business. I usually mow my accounts 30-35 times a year. This year the most I mowed an account was 24 with alot of others less than that. I would love to get set up on a contract basis but around here they are few and far between. As far as equipment I will be purchasing a new turf Tiger and some type of walk-behind this spring. I will be pushing fertilizing,aerating,overseeding,bed edging,mulching,small tree removal,and maybe even pressure washing to help if there is another drought. The main thing for me is adding more clients. I guess I will take on all that I can possibly do by myself and then add a few more in case the weather doesn't cooperate. Definately going to be interesting but I am loving the time off right now and just loafing and demoing different mowers and equipment and spending time with the little one and wife. We all know how much time we get with them in the summer!
     
  3. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    Droughts are something that is an absolute.
    It's going to happen... sometimes even for several years in a row...

    Your business plan should account for it and you should stick to the plan.

    I just went throught probably the worst drought in my history... "feet" short in rainfall.
    It had little effect on anything other than how much time I spent not having to work cutting grass.
     
  4. mowing grass 1111

    mowing grass 1111 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 433

    all this talk about a drought last summer ...i never missed a beat
     
  5. corbster

    corbster LawnSite Fanatic
    from OHIO
    Posts: 29,511

    Someone that is just one step ahead of the law you must of just moved:hammerhead: did you think that going to add some value to the thead starter?
     
  6. mowing grass 1111

    mowing grass 1111 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 433

    no i thought someone as simple as you would be amused by it.. and it added about as much value to the thread as your post did ....so whats your point???????
     
  7. jeffex

    jeffex LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,933

    predictability is tough in this "city farming " business. Planning for the expected dry spell is one thing but this year I had periods of once in 5 week cuts. Too many customers can bite you in the butt when it rains for days on end too. Its a tough blend but planning and diversifying have kept me profitalbe. What changed for you in 07 and how will you modify in 08
     
  8. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Droughts and dry spells are the final reason I need for a complete re-evaluation of the cost incurred to run my business, that is to say it is time for some cost reductions because these are beneficial in the long term as well.

    Cost reductions first get me through, then they save me money later which means I'm even better prepared for the next one.

    Keep in mind I've already done all the minor stuff, most everything I could think of that cost less than $100 is way past done, most of my cost reductions today either take some doing or a lot of money, they take longer to incur a pay off as well, but in the end nothing beats these.

    What happened:
    Reduced toilet tank flush consumption by 40% by adjusting existing system to become a 2-stage flush handle.
    Push and release and only half the water dumps, push and hold and it flushes completely (such as for heavy loads lol).
    Savings: About 1/2 gallon per flush for light material flushes.
    Regular usage is about 1.7gpf as it already was a water saver system.

    Doubled attic insulation, no further explanation, this RULES.

    New minimum $100 in work before I start the truck.
    Doesn't mean A customer has to spend $100, it does mean there has to be at least that much work out there total for the day before I move.
    Less than that I wait another day or re-schedule something to meet the minimum.

    Beyond that I came up with more cost reductions but most of these will take MONEY so it has to wait until good times, but they are:
    Ncrforms pre-printed (my address and phone) receipts, 10,000 of these, $500 and it's over, 5 cents each.
    > That's it, I'm set, no more running to staples, probably last me 10 years.
    Another attic upgrade from current R-19 to R-49, cost 500-1000 (oh and DIY).
    > Pay off expectancy about 3-4 maybe 5-6 years.
    Aluminum trailer: -1000 pounds weight, cost $3000.
    > Pay-off in +mpg about 6-8 years.
    Average life expectancy of trailer: 10-12 years.
    MIGHT be able to use a lighter grade tire as well, but this $25 or so in savings is minimal, 50-100 extra bucks in that time frame, maybe.

    If I make oodles OR I find these at a good deal I just might:
    Fiberglass hood for truck, -70 pounds, $300 normal price
    > Would LOVE to find a carbon fiber hood for that, -90 pounds, but they're at least 500 bucks.
    Racing seats, -70 to -100 pounds, $500 normal price

    I do need to remove the back seat, that one is free other than time, probably save 50-100 pounds there.

    etc...
     
  9. lawnspecialties

    lawnspecialties LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,513

    This was by far my best year ever. I'm solo and a full-time firefighter. I had to hire two p/t guys this summer (they're gone now) just to get through.

    During September/October reseeding time, I picked up 5 brand new customers and had several "hit or miss" customers call me up for reseeding and are wanting a more consistent fertilizer program.

    I'm looking at maybe a 40% revenue increase over 2006. I'm sort of worried about how I'm going to get everything done for 2008. :)
     
  10. lifetree

    lifetree LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,369

    Congratulations, not many people can say that !!
     

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