Landscaping or Lawn Maintenance?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by AGG Lawn Maintenance, Jun 17, 2000.

  1. AGG Lawn Maintenance

    AGG Lawn Maintenance LawnSite Senior Member
    from Elberon
    Posts: 422

    I did landscaping in the past and tons of it.<br>I used to run 3 three man crews. We laid stone and mulch mostly bringing in $2400 a day.<br>Dont get me wrong the money was good but we had our hot and cold times. You make more per job but I prefer Lawn Maintenance now.<br>The money is more consistent to me. Lets pick brains Landscaping or Lawn Maintenance.<br>What are the pros and cons for you?<br>Travis AG&G Lawn Maintenance
     
  2. Guido

    Guido LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,085

    Lets see......everybody will probobly have their own opinion on this one...but heres my $.02:<p>Lawn Maintenance: Regular income (monthly,weekly, etc.)<br>Landscaping: Paid by the Job....you have to have them lined up.<p>Lawn Maintenance: High overhead, especially if you our fulltime and have the &quot;right&quot; equipment.<p>Landscaping : You can rent most of any equipment untill you think you'll use it enough to buy one. (skid steers, trenchers, edgers, sod cutter, etc.) I know people will argue about that one but think of this.....yes it costs $ to rent them, but How much does it cost you on maintenance for equipment.....$0. You can't even imagine the money you can make with just a small 1 ton or so dump truck and your basic hand tools (and a rental shop): Snow removal/sanding, hauling mulch,stone,firewood,topsoil, garbage to the dumb, etc., General landscaping, paving stones, interlocking walls, small concrete jobs, ponds, waterfalls, watregardens, fence and gate installation/repairs, underground dog fences, tree and brush clearing/removal, gutter cleaning and repair, asphalt sealing, parking lot striping, hedge and shrub pruning, landscape lighting, man I can go on forever so I'll just stop. Hopefully you get the point!<p>I'm not FOR one or the other, I like to offer both. I'd like to have enough Lawn Maintenance contracts to keep me a float and then leave time for the stuff I listed above to put me over the top (hopefully way over!) Something anyone with experience in any service industry will tell you is this: Your customer wants lets say 20 different services (trades) a year, Just think how easy for him/her it would be to call you for everything. Say you could handle 15 out of the 20, sub-contract the other 5 out!! Your gold in their eyes. It also keeps competition away, and the carpenter you just subbed for that job, (hopefully) will remember you when one of his customers mentiones she/he was looking for some landscaping work, etc. It keeps the competition away in this sense, If you maintain a lawn but can't offer fertilizing/pesticide, Mr. or Mrs. customer will have to call a company that does, and chance are they mow lawns too. Now all of our customers are not as loyal as we want to believe, so eventually there is a chance that this guy brought in to fertilize will pitch his mowing price and might take that account next spring, or whatever.<p>I guess the poin to all this rambling is to diversify ( I DinK Dats Da Ward!!) The more bases you can cover, the more income and customer satisfaction you'll see! Hope this stirs up some good discussions around here!!<p>----------<br>&quot;guido&quot;<br>David M. Famiglietti
     
  3. bill phagan

    bill phagan Guest
    Posts: 0

    Very well said David..and I agree. Profits in maintenance are NOT what they used to be due to competition and general lack of business knowledge in our industry. Maintenance does provide &quot;cash flow&quot; and hopefully year round depending on your climate. Problems are limited growth based on having to have employees and related costs. Need to look at how much revenue you can produce with minimum efforts, labor and expense. My son, as an example has lots of knowledge in our industry, a 26 year old PCO in Florida......recently sold a landscape job where his total costs were $400. He charged the customer $1,315 to do the job. Made $915 NET for the day. The lady loved the work so much he added 3 palms to the mix at $275 each. Grand total NET PROFIT exceeded $1,300 for a days work. We all have &quot;moneytrees&quot; with our maintenance customers and we tend to overlook them. Those dead plants, irrigation monitoring and so many things you can do. If I was a small operator, I'd have a base of resi's or small commercial for cash flow and for adding of money trees. Maintenance would consume about 3.5-4 days of my 5 day work week, allowing me selling time for additional and more profitable business and getting the extras. Friday work would be much higher priced as many people want service on Friday. Also allows me time to always evaluate my profits on every maintenance job and increase pricing as appropriate or replace them. If I wasn't licensed, I'd sub out PC/fert, etc and add a markup for my efforts making more money. If I was forced back into the green industry service profession, I'd pick PC/fert, landscaping and irrigation repairs. ONE person in PC/fert can produce $150K or more, per year and net serious money. I can get temp help from a Renta-Wino place for landscaping, rent equipment vs purchase and incresing OH and still have time for R&R, family and community efforts. Just let your minds wander......a 60 billion dollar industry. All you need is a small piece of it.<p>Guido, how were the books. E-mail me with your comments.<p>Bill Phagan<br>Green Ind Consulting, Inc.
     
  4. Guido

    Guido LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,085

    Bill, haven't got them yet, I'll let you know when I do, thanks for asking!<p>----------<br>&lt;a href=&quot;http://communities.msn.com/guidosequipmentpics/&quot;&gt;&quot;Guido&quot;&lt;/a&gt;<br>David M. Famiglietti
     
  5. kutnkev

    kutnkev LawnSite Member
    Posts: 44

    to the issue of rent a wino. i used to drive for a temp labor place in arlington va. many of the solo guys use them they also have persons on work release from the local prison who have to go back to prison at 6pm,shelter residents and folks down on their luck. they cost $11.75 hr. w/4hr.min. that includes all the w/c and other regulatory crap you just pay the bill.and there are plenty of guys ready for work. just a somthin for yous to chew on.<p>kevin<br><p><font size="1">Edited by: kutnkev
     
  6. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,969

    Travis- <br>Choose the one or the mix that you want to pursue. I chose maintenance 20 years ago, because the grass and shrubs don't read the Wall Street Journal. They grow and need attention whatever the economy does. Landscaping tends to cycle with the economy.<br>The norm years ago was that maintenance returned 10% on your investment, while landscaping was a 20% return. (Haven't seen any reports on this recently.) So choose based on the stability of maintenance and the profit of landscaping. For someone starting out, maintenance would generally predominate, with landscaping picking up in later years. A large percentage of landscaping could cause hardship for a fledgling business in a severe economic downturn.<br><p>----------<br>Jim<br>North central Indiana
     
  7. thelawnguy

    thelawnguy LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,412

    &quot;ONE person in PC/fert can produce $150K or more, per year and net serious money&quot;<p>You best get that much and more, guaranteed after five years of PC full time you will spend that much a year on health care. I know of NO PC applicator who doesnt show some negative physical effects of constant exposure to herbicides/insecticides.<p>Bill
     
  8. HOMER

    HOMER LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,183

    I agree with everything read but have some issues. I think before you try and become so diverse you need to establish yourself ine ONE market first. If you key on lawn maintenance as I have and stay away from the other aspects you will generate enough money eventually to make a decent living and gain some perspective on what the customer needs are. I tried the partnership thing last year and the concept was good, the partner wasn't. Had that worked out well for me I would have a full year behind me in the irrigation and landcaping effort and be working on my second. As for &quot;subbing&quot; it might fly in the big areas but the smaller towns seem to know who everyone is, they want who they want and not this one or that one..........they've already used him and didn't like him. <p>I guess what I'm getting at is to spend a few years in one aspect then branch out only after the right people come along. There is no way a one man operation can do it all, he'll die trying. My advice to the new guys is to limit your services until you feel confident that you can take on more, you will lose your customers faster than you can keep them if you make a promise and not deliver.<p>My opinion, personal of course.<p>Homer
     
  9. AGG Lawn Maintenance

    AGG Lawn Maintenance LawnSite Senior Member
    from Elberon
    Posts: 422

    Thats great lots of input guys!!! After 13 years the maintenance thing works for me!!<br>I did the lawn maintenance and landscaping thing for years with two partners. As you can tell now I stand alone no more AG&G just the A for Abel. I still kept the name cause everyone knows us by it. I guess the whole thing is do what works for you. The full service thing sounds good but its not for me.<br>I like to specialize. Of course you can make more money and have a chance for more growth but is it really worth it. I guess maybe for some. Travis AG&G Lawn Maintenance :)
     
  10. yardsmith

    yardsmith LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Posts: 627

    I like to do both, but with all the rain we're still getting (thank you Lord) I'm able to keep up on mowing & that's about it!<br>I have a 4 day work week, leaving Sat. & 1 weekday for other projects, like landscaping or tree trimming, etc. But mowing is definitely my bread winner- more predictable & regular. I can be choosy with my side projects because of that, too, passing on the junk & keeping the good stuff.<p>----------<br>Smitty ô¿ô<br>
     

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