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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  1. willretire@40

    willretire@40 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from VA
    Posts: 1,387

    Another piece of advice is.


    If you just take the money out the business account when ever you want you will be wondering where your money went.
  2. PROCUT1

    PROCUT1 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from TN
    Posts: 4,909

    Sounds familiar

    You have all this work that youre obligated to do. No money to make the payroll that you already have.

    But at the same time the phone is ringing off the hook for other work.

    You get a landscape job that will bring in some quick high profit money.

    Pull the guys off the lawn work that youre losing your butt on so you can do the landscape job. The landscape job will cover your payroll thats due in 2 days.

    Now your guys are on the landscape job and the lawns are calling and complaining you didnt show up.

    Pull a couple guys off the landscape job to take care of the "pains in the asses" that are calling about their lawns.

    2 days later, lawns for the week arent finished. The landscape job isnt finished because you had to mix in lawns.

    Customer not paying for the landscape job because its not done.

    Payroll is due today.

    Gotta tell the guys that just worked 70 hours that week busting their butt for you that you have to pay them a couple days late because they didnt finish the work so you can get paid.

    Now you have ticked off customers, unfinished jobs, and really ticked off employees.

    And usually throw some oddball in there to ice the cake.

    The lawn crew damages something at a house....The supplier cuts you off as youre picking up the last little bit of material to finish the landscape job.

    Or the employees refuse to come back to work until you pay them.

    So now you have no material, no money, pizzed off customers, an unfinished job, and no employees to finish it.


    And everyone that knows you thinks youre rich. Including the employees.
  3. PROCUT1

    PROCUT1 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from TN
    Posts: 4,909


    Youre an employee. You get a paycheck.

    The business doesnt pay for dinner, it doesnt pay your mortgage. It doesnt pay your vacation.

    Your paycheck does.

    Put an iron wall between the two.

    youre the owner so you determine what your paycheck is and what you do with the profit from the business but you cannot mix the two.

    Your pay is not "whatever is leftover from the job"

    Your pay is what your paycheck is everyweek.
  4. PROCUT1

    PROCUT1 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from TN
    Posts: 4,909

    I put a deposit on a new bedroom set the other day.

    The business has plenty of money and more than enough to buy it.

    Joe however is pretty broke.

    Ill be picking it up on thursday. Thats when I get my paycheck.

    It takes a lot of self discipline to do that.

    I wouldnt be sleeping on springs tonite if I took the money a day early.

    Whats a day early?

    Its a step to the past. Seems like no big deal. But to me, its a personal thing.

    Take the money tonite, get my bed. Pay it back from my check tomorrow.

    Old habits creep up on you like that. Everything I did before I crashed made sense at the time. It always worked out when I "crunched the numbers"

    But its like taking 10 dogs and pulling their tails. You probably wont get bit. But keep doing the wrong thing and you;ll find one that takes your hand off.

    And odds are it will be the friendly happy looking one.
  5. LawnTamer

    LawnTamer LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,988

    Without reading all the posts after Procut's let me just say that I think he is right.

    There just isn't enough money in residential mowing. We see guys with 4-5 trucks and think they are doing great, but time and again, I learn that they are up to their eyeballs in debt.

    In my market, there is not a single maintenance company I know of that runs more than 2 trucks at a profit without using cheap, illegal labor.
  6. slamjamrockinman

    slamjamrockinman LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 715

    GREAT THREAD PROCUT!! Being 16, I have learned a lot from this thread!! That's great advice for the young guns on here, or anyone oh here.
  7. letsplay

    letsplay LawnSite Member
    Posts: 95

    Good Posts................a little off the subject but How do you guys professionally tell a customer or potential customer you just don't have time b/c you just are too booked at the time (you want to do the work, and need the work but if you do it their is going to be a domino affect like mentioned in posts above, not finishing the job at hand, pulling guys off projects that need to stay put, etc).

    Probably my biggest fault, not saying no b/c I am scared another project might fall through then we don't have work lined up.

  8. punt66

    punt66 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,538

    depends on your business plan. EVERYBODY NEEDS A BUSINESS PLAN TO SUCCEED.
  9. letsplay

    letsplay LawnSite Member
    Posts: 95

    yes a business plan is wonderful but if that is your answer to everything then maybe you should explain b/c my question was how do you professionally tell potential customers that you are too busy but not come across snotty etc and still try and keep their business for a later date?
  10. PROCUT1

    PROCUT1 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from TN
    Posts: 4,909

    Exactly like you just did.

    The honest approach almost always works and almost always gets you the results you want even when you think it wont.


    If youre too busy to do a job....Even if they have someone else do it...They are still a potential customer in the future...

    If you take the job...Screw it up...Or make it a bad experience for the customer...They are gone forever.

    Do the right thing now. Dont worry about the sale you may lose today. It will come back to you times 10.

    Case in point.

    Heres a screw up.

    I had a commercial customer needing some road signs replaced. The job was practically a freebie, and i kept putting it off cause we were busy.

    After them calling a couple times, I got to it. But the signs came in wrong, so i had to send them back and get the right ones. Now i tell the customer its going to be a couple more days.

    All is said and done, signs are changed. Customer is happy. Total bill $225.

    A month later i drive by and the entire lot is being sealcoated. This is a job worth close to 6 figures. IM FLIPPING OUT....THEY DIDNT EVEN ASK ME FOR A BID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I call the customer, and basically said "what gives?"

    Her response.

    I figured you were too busy to do this job since it took you so long to get to the signs.

    Lesson learned.

    I didnt want to give up the sign work and it cost me a six figure job.
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