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'it Is What It Is"

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by jeffex, Nov 4, 2007.

  1. jeffex

    jeffex LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,933

    This is the WORST lawn season since 1992 when I started but it is what it is. I am diversified so it didn't change my year , just shuffled the deck! I concentrated on my other services. Lawn moming is realy just "CITY FARMING" we are dependent on the weather. The best thing about realizing the season is a bust is that the leaves are still there and where as in the pst I have cut my customers a break at the end of a good cutting season that is out the window. i figure they have EXTRA money so what the "F" , pay it or oh well is't a bust season any way!
  2. wrtenterprises

    wrtenterprises LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 312

    My in-law's live in Burtonsville, and they told me the their lawn service only cut the grass 18 times this year! They have in the past required 30+ cuts per season. We had a dry time of here in State College, but nothing like that. Diversity is the name of the game now. Good luck next season......
  3. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Posts: 7,879

    I got a new commercial account this year or it would have been a disaster. Instead it was a little better than last year. That is not saying much because last year sucked too. Bigtime drought last year with a late spring freeze and a early freeze. Late spring(didn't help) this year and warmer at the end of the year helped. Just way too dry. Too many LCO's!!!
  4. jeffex

    jeffex LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,933

    Yeah, I'm off 40- 50% from a normal year in lawn mowing. To top it off here in Md our Gov. [I voted for the other guy] is planning on raising every tax we have now and extending the sales tax to services. My guess that will include lawn mowing! What a pain in the a$$ that will be. I have become active in calling my reps and letting them know thats not good for small business. Its hard enough to collect what they owe US let alone collecting taxes for our tax and spend GOV. If your in maryland and want to do something about it go here http://wbal.com/shows/c4/guide.asp get active before you become a tax agent of the communist state of Maryland . Typically in a year when the economy gets tight you see a new crop of lawn guys in the spring. I wonder how many just gave up with the drought? Will they come back next year? Us Md guys should all pull our trailers to Annapolis and stage a "CUT IN" and let these morons know we don't want the sales tax extended to our services.Thursdays are good for me!!!
  5. landscaper22

    landscaper22 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 829

    For everyone that has been off this year is it because the properties have no sprinkler systems, or because they have them, but they can't water? I know some areas, like Atlanta, have such a water shortage, that you can't do any outside watering.

    I ask that question because I made the decision last year that most any new customers I pick up need to have irrigation system or I will shy away from maintaining the property. I am trying everything possible to maximize my profits now that I have built up a decent business.
    Form experience it all goes together....

    No irrigation system in yard = low profit account = every other week customer (like we just talked about in another thread) = No mowing during drought = my body and equipment covered in sand and dust = Once it rains and the weeds are knee high we get no extra money for double cutting.

    You get my drift.

    Now my year has been off a little as far a maintenance, but I have done more installs (like Jeffex said just shifting around) and picked up a couple of nice maintenance accounts. So I am having a record year...:drinkup:

    My heart does go out to all the LCO's that are in areas where customers can't water the lawn due to water shortage.
  6. stidrvr

    stidrvr LawnSite Member
    Posts: 32

    Isnt that sort of like a personel trainer showing up to your house with a bag of cheese burgers for you before your work out? Granted, I understand the concept, but forcing people to do something just to maximize profits.
  7. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    I see it as it's just a bust year, I hear you man, every time I think I got some work it's that same old story all over again, I get out there and take care of 3 yards a day for a week and blam it's all done LOL.

    Like wow, I almost had something to do :laugh:
    My first year was like this, 2002, so don't feel sorry for me, I've had my training.

    But I do agree, it's the upper most echelon keeps me alive, yup, irrigation systems, full service accounts.
    Even if they hire someone else to maintain the chem portion, still it helps.
    Wasn't like that for many years thou.

    No, it's just extreme cherry picking, I myself am getting to the point, doesn't have to have an irrigation system but it does have to be a minimum class b or C++ grade LAWN. I can't explain it to customers because we never see eye to eye, I say B quality and they think since D is not failed that it's good enough so lets just say a wild stretch above the County's average (translation: the top 10% maybe 20% of ALL the lots in this area are good enough for me). I am tired of these weed infested thinned out lots that consist of as much dirt as grass, rocks and garbage and ruts deep enough to sink the Z's rear tire into, the stuff hardly grows and I stop by as many times as it needs it than it doesn't...

    At least half these lots require maybe 7-10 cuts the entire season, I'm talking these 2-300 dollar / year accounts who some might pay for the leaf cleanup but beyond the basics they're not spending a dime above and beyond... The lawn (if you can call it that) shows it, and I'm tired of not just eating dust and ruining bearings and engines, but to maintain the paperwork and the machines for these low budget lots, I just got super picky like that over the years myself.

    But it does take time, I couldn't have done it 4 or 5 years ago, I couldn't have jumped from having 90% of my base consisting of lots just like described to where things are headed in no month or three, not even 1-2 years... It is a process, rush it and suffer, or do what you have to do, but this to me is all a part of upgrading.
  8. Mowingman

    Mowingman LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 4,664

    There is a bright side to a bad year of mowing. It weeds out the weak players, especially those guys who toss a Sears mower and a electric weedeater in their trunk and call themselves a lawn service. Most of them will not be back next year, as their dream of making quick bucks mowing lawns on the cheap, has not developed. Even a lot of "more Professional" lawn service companies who make a living lowballing on mowing jobs, will be gone.
    You guys who are true lawn service professionals and offer good services at a fair price, will come out ahead if you can just hold on. This winter will be a great time to pick up lawn equipment at "drought sale" prices.
    We see a lot of these bad years here in Texas, but things always get better in a year or two.
  9. tinman

    tinman LawnSite Bronze Member
    from ga
    Posts: 1,348

    The weeding out is true, but there are always new upstarts to replace others. It is just a super easy biz to start... everyone has used a mower as a kid. If everyone built decks every week in teh summer as a kid, carpenters would be a dime a dozen.
  10. dwlah

    dwlah LawnSite Senior Member
    from Argo Al
    Posts: 558

    Ive picked up a hand full of good acounts this year because "the kid just quit showing up"

    I know I charge more than what they were paying but like I told them Im not doing this for snack /beer money so I will be there when I say I will

    now just to figure out how to make it til spring
    Ramen noodles and cheese doodles for supper I guess still better than working where I used to:)

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