Has anyone started out landscaping and made the jump to lawncare?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Humble Earth Mover, Jul 30, 2007.

  1. Humble Earth Mover

    Humble Earth Mover LawnSite Member
    Posts: 167

    I know this is a silly notion to a lot of hardcore landscapers, but has anyone been in the landscaping/hardscaping field and decided they wanted to start cutting grass as well? I started years ago working for several companies over 6 years doing lawn care. I was a foreman at two companies and ran the show at another, so I know have the skills and knowledge to cut a professional looking lawn. A few years ago, I decided to start my own landscaping business and I was persuaded by someone in the field to stay away from lawn care and do strictly landscape design and installation as well as hardscaping and masonry. He told me that if I pursued lawn care as well, I would not be as respected and homeowners would be hesitant to hire someone who cuts grass to take on large scale design jobs. I was convinced of this when he told me to look around at the companies in my area that are doing the "big" high end jobs and I would see that none of them offered lawn care and that none of the lawn care companies in the area are doing any major landscaping and as I looked around, this seemed to be true, so I followed his advice.

    Now that I have a few years under my belt, I have built up a decent reputation as a solid designer and installer, but it's been a slow uphill road. I still do the bulk of the work myself and besides the physically exhausting labor, I feel a great deal of stress going from contract to contract. The spring and fall have been overwhelmingly busy, while July and August slow to a crawl. Every time I'm in a slow period, or I spend a day doing free estimates I always think, man it would be nice to have 20 lawn accounts right now. Or when I'm transplanting a huge tree by hand in rocky soil, I often think I could be making more money on the back of a Dixie Chopper.

    Anyway, what I'm getting at is that I'm seriously considering branching out into lawn care for next season, maybe getting a good guy to run a crew, I'm not sure yet. I see a lot of guys on here who started as lawn care guys and have gotten into doing landscaping and hardscaping, but has anyone ever gone the other direction and done it successfully? What are the pros and cons to tapping into the whole market as opposed to staying more specialized in one area or the other? Do you find you guys get a lot of landscaping/hardscaping work from your lawn customers? Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated.
     
  2. razor1

    razor1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,985

    I've noticed some of the larger (1 million+) Landscape companies getting into the lawn care business. Actually they seem to be into every facet of the "green" industry incl. ponds, fert & squirt, hardscaping, landscaping & lawn care, etc. These companies usually have all new trucks and equipment and are well staffed too. They don't do residential cutting, yet. So why not go for it, what's one more company in an already saturated service. At least you're not in my neck of the woods. payup
     
  3. carcrz

    carcrz LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,085

    I've noticed that as well Razor1. Chemlawn, Ryan, Aspen, etc... have all got into it here.
     
  4. GraZZmaZter

    GraZZmaZter LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 740

    The problem your going to run into is pricing ....

    35/hr compared to

    75/hr ...

    big difference
     
  5. mrusk

    mrusk LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,260

    Most likely i am going to ad a 'property maintenance divison next year. I started my business doing lawns 3 years ago. However, the lawn gig never got off the ground. I never got more then 10 lawns and went right in head first to hardscaping then design/build/gunite pools. However, each one of these customers i do a big install for could easily land me 15k a year in maintenance..easily.
     

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