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Focus on hardscaping?

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by Total Landscape Solutions, Sep 13, 2006.

  1. Total Landscape Solutions

    Total Landscape Solutions LawnSite Member
    Posts: 190

    I am thinking of changing directions a bit next season. I am thinking of putting my primary focus on hardscapes and only doing landscape work for the clients that sign for hardscaping work. I am sure I will have to fill the gaps in with some landscape work, but I want to try to maintain the focus on hardscapes.

    Anyone else focus primarily on hardscaping, or even exclusively on hardscaping?
    If so, how do you advertise and market as a hardscape contractor?

  2. richallseasons

    richallseasons LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 479

    hard scape work makes up about 75% of my business and it truly is what I like to do although landscaping,mowing and maintenance are an important part of my business also, I really don't advertise as I get most of my work through referrals.
  3. mrusk

    mrusk LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,260

    Atleast 90% of my business is hardscaping. Its not to hard to just do hardscaping, you just need to direct your advertising towards it. I am starting to get into plantings on the hardscapes i install so i am not leaving money on the table.

    Anyways, i think the customers willing to spend the big bucks on hardscaping want a specialist instead of a lawn monkey.

  4. landscapingpoolguy

    landscapingpoolguy LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 819

    If you base yur business soley on hardsaping I believe you will be missing out on a huge chunck of the market. Usually we will renovated an entire property. We do well on the hardscape stuff, but plantings, irrigtion, lighting, etc is very profitable and very easy quick funds. The hardscape market is so competitive that unless your a huge firm that constantly has the business or a small newbie barely covering yur insurance primiums the profitablity becomes small unless you can install it fast. The more you get into it the more expensive it becomes also. Bigger trucks, excavating equipment, cut off saws, compactors, trailers, and experienced crew members. Hardscapes are really only profitable if you can be efficient in your installation. We can install a standard 20 x 30, 6x9 paver patio, 6x6 soilder, with no raised beds or planters or steps in a day to a day and half depending on the excavtion. Thats being profitable. But we also come to the customers house with over 100 grand in equipment and 4- 6 men. These days its rare that we get these quickies but every now and again they come around.
  5. mbella

    mbella LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,284

    How big is your operation? Is it just you? Do you have employees? How large of an operation do you plan to operate in the future?
  6. mbella

    mbella LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,284

    I can't imagine ever showing up to a 600sq.ft. job, on day one, with 4-6 guys.

    You don't have to be incredibly efficient if you tap into a certain market. However, I've seen enough of your work on here to know that you haven't tapped into that market.
  7. landscapingpoolguy

    landscapingpoolguy LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 819

    Excuse me? Please dont critisize something you dont understand.I utilize a skid steer and two single axles plus enuff man power to have most basic patios finished in 2 days. Adda wall or seat walls or circle kits with three different sized pavers, now yur talking more time, but the base prep is still the same. I invite you to come along on an install with us. Were about 40 minutes from penn and i have one schedualed for saturday.
  8. mbella

    mbella LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,284

    If it works for you, great. I posted that "I" can't imagine operating that way.

    Thanks for the offer, but I'm not working Saturday. Maybe, you can walk us through your process and explain what each of the four to six workers would be doing on a typical 600 square foot install. I'm curious.
  9. cgland

    cgland LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,929

    HHHMMMMM, and still no response!:confused:
  10. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,417

    Seems this thread is veering off topic.

    First of all, one tidbit about myself is that I track EVERY waking minute and penny affiliated with each and every job we do. It's my actual finding, through experience - that crews with multiple members are NOT efficient. We have had 5 man crews, 4 man, 3 man. And this summer I had a guy on a 3 man crew that spent alotta time on his phone, and simply was becommin harder and harder to motivate. So after me gettin on his case - he quit. It was the best thing that happened. Cause I discovered that 2 men are way more productive and netting approx 10-15% more profit, per job, than projected.

    We have the "BIG TRUCK". Sure it comes in handy, but it's over kill. And if we had to, we could be just as efficient with a 3/4 ton pick up and a 12,000# dump trailer. Cause reality is, 60% of the time we do not use the big truck for anything other than driving to and from the job sites, as our materials are delivered by suppliers.

    Total Solutions - if you want to get into hardscping on a full fledged basis, with passion and drive you CAN do it. Hardscaping accounts for 82% of our sales. We also do installation, lighting, grading, and light excavating services. Our market has a strong demand for hardscape services. And with demand comes MORE contractors. There is even a home improvement company (basements, additions, garages, etc) that has a freakin "Hardscape Division".

    I went from 3 yrs ago calling people on the phone an saying "Mr / Ms Homeowner it'll cost you $16,766 to build your patio", and they would say "great whats the next step, when can you do it?" to "ok, thanks, we're waiting for 3 more prices to come in, we'll let you know in a couple weeks".

    So, what I'm leading up to is, do NOT rely on income solely from hardscaping. I am wishing more than ever that I had 1 or 2 maintenance crews. Hardscaping is in strong demand. But I am seeing homeowners getting these elaborate jobs done for $25,000 when they should be around or over $37,000. Its hurting our cash flow. Maintenance crews would supplement the cash flow. AND the maintenance accounts WOULD generate hardscape sales. We we used to mow, I sold patios left and right to our maintenance clients...and they did NOT shop around.

    Think of a new car dealership. A new car dealership could never survive without the income from the service department.

    New Car Sales = Hardscape Construction

    Service Dept supplements a dealerships Cash Flow which = a landscape Maintenance Division.

    So, make sure you have a plan in place for not *IF" you market becomes saturated with hardscape contractors - but for *WHEN* your market becomes saturated with hardscape contractors.

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