Drought ever wipe anyone out?

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

  1. procut

    procut LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,853

    We are officially in a drought now, with the driest July in 40 years, and the long range forcast only calls for a chance of a few scattered thunderstorms. I'm secure enough to make it through times like this, but I am wondering about some of the fly by night operations. I read a post a while back where someone said when there was a drought in his area, a bunch of the guys had to hang it up and get a real job or just got so discouraged that they through in the towel.

    Since most the operations in this area are part time, I don't think it is going to matter too much becasue its basically just extra cash and they have their real job to fall back on. The full time out fits are established and the owners usually know how to mange cash flow, plus they usually do some landscape work as well.

    So basically what I'm asking is has anyone really gone under because of a bad drought?
     
  2. 1MajorTom

    1MajorTom Senior Moderator
    Posts: 6,074

    I would say part timers would be more likely to say screw it, not worth the aggravation and sell their equipment to recoup some of their money.
    Anyone that is actually doing this for a living is going to find a way to make it work. How can anyone have an established business, and not have had the forethought to plan for drought situations?
     
  3. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,501

    A new startup that extends themselves too far with a shiny new truck, big enclosed trailer packed full with brand new equipment is most vulnerable IMO. Single guys with a WB in the back of a pickup won't care a helluva lot other than that will cut into his beer fund for the month. He's only working a few nights maybe and/or part of the weekend. Established businesses diversify themselves enough to cover fixed expenses.
     
  4. Frue

    Frue LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,472

    Back in 01 and 02 we had a guy who threw in the towel we had back to back drought and his truck blew a engine that was it for him he had to take a mill job and he could no longer get to all his lawns. Thats how I ended up getting established.
    The key to this is keep your debt low. Another is to overbook in the fall this way you have more of a customer base to pull from when it dries out. I know it sucks in the spring working alot but when you have an extra 10 people to call and ask for landscaping upgrades it really helps out.
    It has been a tough year with the grass but to be honest it has made me adapt into other areas. This is where the rubber meets the road. Know what you need to make a month to stay afloat, get on the phone knock on doors, and get thru to the next month and hope it rains!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I have to admit I wined for about a week before I got my head on straight and said we will get thru this. After that I have been a selling machine!
     
  5. TNT LawnCare Inc.

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

    Been doing this for 4 years the 1st three i worked partime to get enough accounts that at the 4th year i had to go for it. So This is are 1st year going full time,who ever thought there would be a drought in are 1st year at full time :cry: .April thru July were great months. Since we've had no real significant rain in July ,August mowing is going to be horrible. So Ive been up selling anything i can to all my customers. Ive been picking up other accounts for mowing cause i am guessing the partimers cant handle the heat and the drought.I'd suggest to try to keep your overhead low. Most of our Equipment was purchased while i had the other job and all but the Z is paid for. There are going to be years like this so save some of your cash. This is another reason i'd suggest knew star-ups to purchase good used Equipment like your mowers. You dont need a 40,000 dollar truck to cut grass,once you get well establised and have big cash flow you need,you can live it-up! like JOHN GAMBA in the Caribbeans :laugh: :laugh: :waving:
     
  6. David Hartzog

    David Hartzog Banned
    Posts: 532

    i never have forethought :rolleyes:

    i just never give up.
     
  7. Tim Wright

    Tim Wright LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,034

    Well, I partially qualify here.

    I have been doing this part time, (I had a video production company until this year) and just went full time this year. Being its my first full time year with nice accounts, (accept for the political power struggle of it, and the drought, which might cause them to cancel) I had guarnteed income for the year.

    But between this drought, and the sagging housing market, I am way down in mulla from what I should be. Which is why I am pushing on to another phase in building the business.

    Prayerfully and hopefully we will survive. It seems like every time I get something good going, something huge and out of my control comes up to hammer me back down to nothing.

    But I am going to keep on going, I know I can do decently if I can get through the market and the weather.

    Tim
     
  8. Fantasy Lawns

    Fantasy Lawns LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,913

    One can only hope ;-)
     
  9. naughty62

    naughty62 LawnSite Senior Member
    from iowa
    Posts: 368

    Had two solo mowing outfits throw in the towel this dry summer.both been around 10 years or more. The long term survivers either do irrigation or landscaping .Another solo survivor does roofing ,painting and sells gardening and tool sheds
     
  10. John Gamba

    John Gamba LawnSite Fanatic
    from ct
    Posts: 10,812


    So true:waving:

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