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Getting out of the yard business! Ive had enough

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by QualityLawnCare4u, Mar 15, 2004.

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  1. jajwrigh

    jajwrigh LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from Martinsville, IN
    Posts: 1,405

    I am glad I read your more recent post first.....
     
  2. ThreeWide

    ThreeWide LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,116

    I'm in your state, but North GA is much different from Waycross. That said, if there are any upscale neighborhoods in Waycross I'd concentrate on that.

    People in upscale neighborhoods WILL pay good money for services if your quality is top shelf. Don't go cheap. Stand by your pricing and and back it up with great service. You could also do fall and winter overseeding for bermuda lawns which enhances appearance and also gives you reason to mow during the winter months. Offer them the whole season package.

    I suppose there is always a need to clean up pinestraw and liveoak leaves in your area.
     
  3. QualityLawnCare4u

    QualityLawnCare4u LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,758

    Hey Turfunlimited, how are things up in north Ga? Believe it or not, my upscale neighborhoods are the stingest tightwads in my area, they want you to do a 50 dollar yard for 10. and thats 9 out of 10 Ive dealt with. My best customers are the ones in middle class neighborhoods. And yes there is plenty of straw and oak leaves, the cyclone rake does great on both if you dont knock everything in yard over with it. BTW has anyone else had a rate invrease due to fuel prices, I raised mine to 5 on small yards and 10 on big ones. One customer told me 10 was not enough and gave me 15 . dont you love these kind! I hated to do it but have not gone up ever in 5 years and gas is killing me.

    Danny
     
  4. ThreeWide

    ThreeWide LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,116

    I wish I was really giving you an expert opinion. FYI, I am currently in startup mode with my LCO. What you read in my last post is clearly my assessment based on what I've gathered thus far.

    In this area there is plenty of business to go around. If you look at subdivisions which there are tons of, most of the yards are between 5,000 and 10,000 sq ft. From what I've seen, $50 per cut is a typical rate for typical rotary mowing. My services will be much different from that and will have a higher price point. Not everyone will be a potential customer for me, so I'm being very selective with my targets. Golf course neighborhoods are great because homeowners like the idea of keeping their lawn in a similar condition of the course. I think you see where I'm headed with that.

    I have already considered the high cost of fuel in my expense model, so I won't have to shock existing customers with a surcharge. Since I plan to target customers within certain neighborhoods, the goal is to minimize transporation costs as much as possible. You probably don't enjoy the same type of population density there in Waycross.

    When the rubber meets the road and it comes to pricing negotiations, I plan to stand very firm or just turn away the business. If I cannot make a profit there are other avenues to pursue.

    I will find out soon if it sinks or swims.

    I personally think this is a great industry going forward due to the increasing amount of baby boomer population who will become less interested or capable of doing their own lawn maintenance as years progress. And in the North GA area, the home construction has not slowed down which creates new potential customers every day.

    I think the most important thing anyone in this business should understand is where the threshold of pain is in a price. There are such things as loss leaders, but customers in this area seem to think rates are fixed forever. If you give one guy a good deal, his neighbor will expect the same. For that reason, I'd be hard pressed to do any deal where I made less than 30% gross margin after all expenses and labor costs.
     
  5. SLS

    SLS LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Mars
    Posts: 1,540

    Maybe you just need to re-think your business strategy.


    1) NEVER tell a potential customer your hourly rate. NEVER. People who have never seen $40 an hour FREAK when they think about someone making that 'playing' in their yard. Price quote by the job. Period.

    2) Two week lawns have KILLED many a good lawnman. In my area, people who want 2 week service are penny-pinchers of the worst sort. When I first started out I took on some 2-weekers. NEVER AGAIN. Couldn't sell them ANY extras...and during the rainy season their lawns were a wet, mile-high mess to service. Spent two to three times the amount of time that I should have making them look nice....and if the don't look nice when you are finished....people will notice...and NOT call you.

    I dumped ALL of my 2-weeker's after that first season (except for 2, creeping red fescue in plenty of shade...SLOW growth!).....and only have about 7 10-dayer's left. I'm dumping them too at the end of this season. When people call me now the first thing I ask is "how often do you want your lawn mowed?" If I don't hear "every week" (and cannot convince then to go weekly).......I tell them "Thanks for calling....and have a nice day".


    This will be my 5th season in the business and the only reason I survived this long is because I stuck to my plan and said "NO" to the tightwads. It takes patience....but believe me, it pays off in the long run. Easier work, time for more clients (and doing extras).....and more $$$ per week.



    Weekly lawn clients tend to spring for the extras....and don't mind paying for it either. Mulch, bush trimming, overseeding....you name it. Helps get you humping it earlier in the season too.


    Good luck hardworking-poorman.
     
  6. QualityLawnCare4u

    QualityLawnCare4u LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,758

    Hello SLS, not trying to be a smartalec but I chalenge you to come to my town with your plan and see if you get any once a weekers. NOT Im lucky to have 2 weekers and some 3 weekers. Our biggest LCO also does almost all 2 weekers. I would love to have ones like you got but not gonna happen here. I need to come to Tenn I guess. 2nd this is my old thread see new thread :I have had a change of attitude about lawn care: 3rd I NEVER tell a customer my hourly rate except this one old hag. When she opened the front door and I looked at the hate in those red eyes I KNEW I would not been doing business with this one for a 100 per hour. Once again when I read replys like this It sorta raises my blood pressure because I know where I live at sux and I envy people like SSL who has this kind of customers and I know it want happen here. Is there room in Tenn for one more LOL

    Danny
     
  7. QualityLawnCare4u

    QualityLawnCare4u LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,758

    Hey SSL sorry did not mean to sound so rough. Its just when youve busted yr butt for 5 years and all you have left is 8 yards and 7 of those are penny pinching, bottom feeders, deadbeats that I have to kiss their a$$ just to keep them its real discouraging. I am going to loose 2 of these next week when I go up 5 bucks and I know it before I ever tell them. Im glad things are so good up north though!

    Danny
    PS It really is that bad here though, 2 scrubs for every one yard.
     
  8. SLS

    SLS LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Mars
    Posts: 1,540

    No offence taken. Just trying to help. I just know that if I was depending on 2-weeker's only...I'd look for another line of work. Nothing but 2-weekers (with the rate of spring growth and rain we get her) would be suicide. I wish I could hand off all the 2-weekers I've already turned down this season to you (5). I know it's got to be real hard in a smaller area. Good luck to you. I hope you do well. :D
     
  9. Toehill

    Toehill LawnSite Member
    from georgia
    Posts: 23

    Hey man go get some business cards made that say HARDWORKING LANDSCAPER
    MOW EDGE AND BLOW
    YOUR ESTIMATE: BI-WEEKLY $40-45
    WEEKLY $30
    put your name and phone number on it map out your area that you want to work in and start hanging them on mailboxes....You'll have more work than you know what to do with in no time. Be hardworking go out every day for 3 hrs and put out cards when they call go right then to talk to them!!!!!!!!!!!!IT WORKS!!!!!!!Ive got 90 accts and thats how i did it.......Sell them on how much better the yard looks if you come evry week.....Sell them flowers,pinestraw, clean gutters, pull weeds whatever you have to do....................DO YOU REALLY WANT TO WORK FOR SOMEONE ELSE?-------------------W O R K H A R D !!!!!!!!!!!!
     
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