how busy are you in florida?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by C&S Services, Aug 11, 2004.

  1. C&S Services

    C&S Services LawnSite Member
    Posts: 58

    My wife would like to relocate to central Florida (Lakeland area) I would like to know who you are and how well you are doing down there?Up here in NH it is a bit differant. I was down there last week on vacation and several LCO's gave me a little advise on pricing and how they were making a go at it. If any of you have any suggestions good or bad that would be great, like equipment that you use, how you deal with the small to large developments, and the snow birds that are gone all summer. Any info would be great. Thanks Clay
     
  2. sprout

    sprout LawnSite Member
    Posts: 94

    It's tuff here :mad: I've been at for almost 25 years, rates have gone up $10 in that time. True it's cheaper to live here but to make big bucks you need to do about 80-100 accounts a week. My wife and I make about $40,000 with 30 accounts-- thats not much. People are the same everywhere, good-bad-ugly, its all about management. Equipment? Its what works for you. We try to do mow-blow-go, any extras are paid extra. It keeps people happy. Average yard here $25.
     
  3. GeeVee

    GeeVee LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 421

    Lakeland I think will do about 32-38 cuts/yr.

    For sure- You can be as busy as you want to be.
     
  4. DennisF

    DennisF LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 1,381

    There is plenty of work all over Florida. The problem is the money. Most of the people that want lawn care are retired and will not pay much. You have to carry 50 or more accounts to make any money to speak of. I have 63 and the prices run from $22-$35 depending on lot size and extras.
     
  5. BW4486

    BW4486 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 244

    I completely agree w/ dennis
     
  6. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,946

    Yep each spring we get our new crop of hopefuls. Each winter we can buy newer used equipment cheap. Prices are low and cost of living is going up faster than prices. If I had it to do over again I would have gone a different route but still in the green industry. Hind site is 20/20 they say.

    Yes you can make a living in the lawn mowing business. But don't look to get rich unless you add other services and they require licenses. So my advise would be to work for pest control or irrigation company long enough to take the test (about 3 years each) and learn the lay of the land or market. Then go in business for yourself. both these business require more training but less capital to get started in. both of these business are higher profit margin and less work. BTW a spray or irrigation tech can make around $ 30,000 to $ 35,000 a year while learning the trade. yes you can live on that kind of money if you watch your pennies.
     
  7. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,403

    I live in S. Florida and I absolutely despise it where I am. I am moving back to Atlanta after a year. But Florida varies greatly from area to area.

    Be sure you don't mind humidity, bugs, and weeds that grow more in a week than they did in 2 months back home. You return to jobsites and it looks like you didn't even spray a week later.
    Be sure you are working in an area with finished lawns with St. Augustine grass, not crummy Bahia and the sand that goes along with those lawns that dulls your blades in minutes. St. Aug grows fast, but it is pretty easy to handle most of the time.
    Realize that because of the longer growing season your per-cut price is probably not going to be as high. Markets seem to self-regulate on price to a level where you make the same here in 12 months of work as up north in 9 or so.
    central florida varies from place to place of course, but overall it isn't known as a high income place. Research the prospective customer base for the area.

    Keeping in mind that I'm in Palm Beach County, haven for 2/3 of NYC's old people, mostly, I hate the transient nature of it here, not much sense of permanency, everybody is from "somewhere else" and not that interested in getting to know you, the unfriendly, aggressive, sometimes downright nasty people, and the strange mix of backwards rednecks and snotty rich people. Not a big middle class. And if you're a white guy from New England be prepared for a ethnic culture shock.

    I think Florida is a great place to visit, but to live there you had better be rich enough to live on the coast, where the HAPPY people are. I have never run into such a bunch of scowling miserable people in my life here. But a few people seem to love living here.
     
  8. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,946


    Hello Bruce

    Seems your singing a different tune this year. Last year when you first came to Florida you basically called me an Idiot and told us how you were going to set Florida on Fire. Looks like that fire is taking you back north.

    Yep, each day there are 3 people moving out of Florida for every 10 moving into Florida. A lot of Northern Losers come here to live with Grandpa and push his Crapman mower out of the garage and become full fledged Lands-crapers. They are the reason for slow pricing on cuts.

    By the same token many come here and make it. Working smart is the key to making it in any business. If you are a loser where you live now, you will be a loser here in Florida. People are people no matter where they live.
     
  9. C&S Services

    C&S Services LawnSite Member
    Posts: 58

    When I was down in Florida last week I looked thru the yellow pages and was shocked to see only 4 landscaping companies in there, up here in NH we must have 8 pages or more. I'm looking to do some lawn care down there part time I do not think I could compete with the full time guys. Saw their set ups and most had the riders (ztrs ect...). My company is a handyman buisiness so it covers large spectrum of different work (pressure washing, organizing garages, lawn care and landscaping, and things most do not want to do). I have some nice equipment 52" Toro wb, echo bp blower, echo weed wacker and all the other tools I need to get te job done so I would love to keep going with what I'm doing up here. Thanks for the input if you have any other helpfull insights on how to deal with the area that would be great.
     
  10. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,403

    Point taken. To a degree. But again MY AREA of Florida is not ALL OF FLORIDA. And MY SITUATION is not all situations. It sucks for me personally because I want to do mow/blow/go and leave the hedges and weeding and grunt work to youngsters and guys with employees. I could get better accounts and make somewhat more if I wanted to do all that stuff, but I don't, and really just can't, it's too wearing on the bod. There are 100,000 people within a 30 minute drive of me who don't have Bahia lawns, don't mind paying a decent price, etc, but they also have postage stamp lawns with ornate hedges and quite formally kept landscapes and need a "gardner" more than a "lawn service". I'd be sitting on a mower 10% of the time instead of 70% which is what I need to do at age 41. I don't want to be on my hands and knees or wearing myself out with hedge clippers all day. The business is here for the asking, I was able to cancel my ads after just 5 weeks, the quality of it is what I didn't like. I was averaging about $46/hour on-site, which is about 10% less than I made in Atlanta. But most of all the people just rub me the wrong way. Nothing fatal in of itself, just a death of a thousand cuts. So, it's not great, and not my cup o' tea, but certainly not the $15/cut situation I was hearing described when people asked about conditions in the state.

    I can make just as much working here annually. The problem is, I have to work 42 weeks a year here to make what I did back in Atlanta in maybe 36, my wife and I both don't like the place that much, and it costs $450,000 for a home that would be $250,000 back home. Gas costs more, insurance costs a lot more, even groceries. I paid $7 the other day for a KFC chicken dinner that is advertised on TV for $4 and change. My wife and I had a late dinner at Denny's tonight after a business meeting. $26.88 for two breakfasts!

    I made a killing on the house I bought, thanks to the ridiculous price inflation here ( up 25% since last June) so I'll be leaving with a smile on my face.
     

Share This Page