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Do you regret going legit?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by coolluv, Mar 2, 2007.

  1. coolluv

    coolluv LawnSite Gold Member
    from Atlanta
    Posts: 3,756

    I saw this question on another site and I thought it was interesting. Basically are you tired of competing against the illegal Mexicans and the guys who do this business without a license and insurance and are not paying taxes.

    I just started late last year and I considered doing it to start without being licensed and insured. But I have too much to lose. If something was to happen, so I got the license and the insurance and I'm working on getting my pesticide license. Doing it all by the book.

    I have gone on quite a few bids for lawn service and have been told that the last guy was only charging $25 to cut my lawn. I just think that it is hard to compete with the guys that don't pay taxes and don't have insurance.

    Anyway some of the people with alot of experience had some pretty negative things to say that where very discouraging to say the least. Some of them said they thought they would start this business in hopes of being in business for them selves but that they now feel stupid and wish they could go back and start all over again.

    From what I have seen last year there are alot of people in this industry and there are alot that are not doing it on the up and up. I have alot of hopes for this season and I hope things go well. But I quess I just want someone to reassure me that Iam not wasting my time and energy on trying to build a business with so much illegal competition.

    What do guys that have been in this for awhile have to say about this. Is it as bad as those people made it out to be. Or can you really make a living at this? Is running a legitimate business worth it? Can you make $60,000 $70,000 or more at this and I mean take home pay after all expenses.

    Is is possible to compete with all the Illegal competition? I guess I want to know how is everyone really doing? Are you happy? Do you wish you started another kind of business? Are you really making decent money not just getting by? Are you regretting doing things legally?

    Just currious. Dave...
  2. pjslawncare/landscap

    pjslawncare/landscap LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,410

    Ive been legit since day one & I dont regret it, I can sleep good at night knowing the IRS cant catch up to me and suprise me with some enormouse back tax thing w/penalties and I have always had insurance so I wont wind up losing my but. I does piss me off when I hear someone talking about how they dont claim their earnings or bother with the exspence of insurance and then they are mowing next door to one of my customers homes. Someday they may have to pay the price and maybe double. Ive already paid mine, but I hate being underbidded by them and having to take home less. I love working outdoors and would not have it any other way. I spent 16 years in a factory and when I went full time lawncare, Ive never looked back. I do make enough to put back some savings for my nest egg. I plan to retire someday with a little $$$.
  3. TNT LawnCare Inc.

    TNT LawnCare Inc. LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,157

    Dave cheer up:waving: Hard work will pay off for you in the long run.This is going to be my 4th season.The 1st couple of years were tuff,We were doing it part time till this year,we are going full time finally!! Yes you can make good money Solo. But to make 60-70 Thousand in your personal Pocket i think we'll require some help,the rite type of accounts.Idont regret this at all.As far as the legal aspect. Most of the immigrants work for Brickman or TrueGreen.
  4. bigjeeping

    bigjeeping LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 903

    If you're doing good, making money, and successfully growing... how can you not be legit? It's only a matter of time until you start raising red-flags somewhere.
  5. Mowman16

    Mowman16 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 282

    I do it by the book too, taxes, insurance, etc. but try convincing a customer to pay $30+ for their lawn to a kid (15 last season):dizzy: . Someday they will get caught, and Id'e love to see it :D :D :D :D
  6. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,200

    Dave welcome to the real world, not the one without competition. And don't keep thinking that companies that charge $25 are not paying taxes and don't have insurance. The biggest company I am aware of on this site that mows residential does them for $26.99.....on his handout in our area yesterday. Yes you can cherry pick around and find customers who will pay more, at least for awhile. Lawn business is not the only business that operates in the real world with competition that does a lot of questionable stuff.
  7. pclawncare

    pclawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 991

    Yes it is possible to make 60,000 to 70,000 a year take home i would say even as a solo operator. Be ready to bust your @ss have some long days 12 hours + and you have to have good accounts. Tight routes help and you have to really want it. My goal was and still is to make 80,000 take home by the time i graduate college i mean per year. So i can walk off grad stange in college and into a great job making plenty unless someone else offers me more to work for them and then i still might not take it. Needless to say i have about 40 hours of college under my belt and im over half way to my yearly goal
  8. ACA L&L

    ACA L&L LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,108

    Insurance alone will save your azz!!!!! One window (think big) could end up costing you more than what your equipment is worth if you had to sell it all to pay the bill. Last year I guy stepped off the median here and was killed while working for company x, family sued INSURANCE is the only reaso they are still in buisness. As far as taxes go if you dont pay now you will at some point!! The Gov. always gets there cut, digrunteled_________ (fill in the blank) will always pick up the phone and set the doggs free.LEGIT<LEGIT<LEGIT its the only way to grow your biz and your reputation to get the right accounts
  9. ACA L&L

    ACA L&L LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,108

    Oh yeah when I started up we would take that customer that was paying 25 bucks a cut and open there eyes to what a legitimate company could do for them. We would then gradually raise there price over the next season or two to reach our min. price for lawn mowing.

    the first customer I ever got still only pays 24.00 a week, never raised there price, kinda like a constant rminder to how it once was....................long days for crap pay!lol

    We now bid new customers at a 32.00 minumum per mow and 185.0 per month on our yearly contracts, so far we havent had any problems growing our biz.

    you gotta crawl b4 u walk...
  10. SouthernYankee

    SouthernYankee LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 789

    Most of you guys that posted arent in areas with HIGH concentrations of illegals, my market is 97% illegals who dont pay taxes, insurance. Its tough, but possible to stay legit here although I would guess that 90% of the landscapers here are small companies that are off the books, almost no one has insurance. My min. charge is $28.00, but I am constantly competing against $15-$20 bids.I am about to get out of the buisness because I am being run out, atleast when it comes to lawns.

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