How to fail in the lawn business by someone who did it.

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by PROCUT1, Feb 18, 2009.

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    TJLANDS LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,669

    Let me guess, Solo operation?
    I think running a solo op is way more risky than taking a loan out to buy a new truck or a mower. A solo operator to me is just a job not a business. Not to pick on them just my opinion.
    To not take advantage of the warranties and finance rates right now is a bad business decision.
  2. gardiner

    gardiner LawnSite Member
    Posts: 171

    i know how to say my schedule is full . if i get a opening i let you know
    The wife always remindes me not to bite off more then i can chew .
    That the 1 or 2 clients i get to sign is no gaurantee there be around for the 10 year loan on equipment .
    If you have a payment on equipment you have no profit
  3. alternative

    alternative LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 468

    The old adage is so true, It takes money to make money. I agree most of the solo or part timers are usually in this for some quick, temporary money..or as the young guys say "Easy money" (sure if you dont pay taxes/overhead)
  4. zz4guy

    zz4guy LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 901

    So all you guys with 100 acounts started with a brand new $35,000 truck and a $500 payment every month?
  5. lawnjocky

    lawnjocky LawnSite Member
    Posts: 184

    I would say most solos are not even in the job category, just want extra money. But I do disagree that being solo is not running a business. I would be willing to bet their are many solo guys that do a better job of managing their books, equipment and account's than some "businesses" with multiple crews.
  6. Yater

    Yater LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 687

    I've done books for friends who think they are "making $100k/year". It's a sad day when they find out they netted closer to $30k. ALL of them drive newish 4x4 z71s or f250s. It sucks to tell them they're broke.
  7. PROCUT1

    PROCUT1 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from TN
    Posts: 4,909

    BINGO!!! The "credit crunch" did some serious damage but taught me how to live without credit.

    The same guys that were laughing at me for running my older trucks are waking up in the morning finding theirs gone from their driveway.

    I've dealt with a repo man. You wanna talk about the most humiliating horrible experience. And getting your truck back with all your stuff stolen, and no recourse, and everyone along the line treating you like youre a piece of crap, really makes your day.

    Great example of a profitable operation

    Thats exactly how I run now. But a few years ago, a $500 a month payment seemed like nothing compared to my sales. A new ztr was only another 200 a month. A shop, only $1500 a month. That was "nothing" compared to my sales.

    Nobody could have told me back then I wasnt the "high roller" I thought I was.

    If I didnt have the experience I did. I wouldnt either.

    A mower back then was a grand. A ztr today is 12-13.
    If you made 100% profit and had no other bills or expenses, think of how many lawns you need to pay for that now...

    Been there, done that.

    Did you read the thread? Not once did I attribute any of my problems to a lack of available business.

    And most will make some quick easy money. Its a great business for that.

    Hell, If I had a "regular job" Id have 30 cash lawns on the side myself.

    But that way of thinking is where we go wrong.

    So many guys on here would be in for a heck of a wakeup call if they lost the security blanket of their full time job, or their wives benefits, and didnt have a regular paycheck to supplement everything.

    That $50 a week you contribute from your paycheck to your health insurance is no big deal. Wait till you have to get it on your own and you realize its $800 a month.

    When "extra money" becomes "the only money" many will see what Im talking about.
  8. DSG3696

    DSG3696 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 1

    Great post man,

    I had the same exact thing happen to me but in the construction side of the landscape business. I have set myself up with some very high end maintenance residential accounts and 2 commercial accounts. I to have gone through many changes over the last few years and have decided to try and focus on the maintenance side of things. I am down to me and 2 employees and am very happy with the way things are going. However I am finding myself a little short financially each month and I am having to take on more construction jobs. I feel that if I can land a few more commercial accounts or possibly a smaller ($5,ooo to $10,000) HOA or apartment complex I would be set financially and be able to relax a bit more and enjoy life. I was wondering if you had any advice on getting on bid lists or any suggestions on how to proceed in my business?

    Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


  9. Puddle of Oil

    Puddle of Oil LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,203

    ....just subscribing, sorry nothing intelligent to say!
  10. head_start

    head_start LawnSite Member
    Posts: 147

    this whole post is so enlightening, im glad to have read it becuase being a new guy always sucks. when you can find information like this.........great.
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