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Long and Winding road

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Az Gardener, Oct 9, 2005.

  1. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,899

    In 1980 the economy was soo bad fortunately I was too dumb to realize it I was 18 and just assumed it was always like that. I saw an ad for a mowing position in Indianapolis so I showed up at 6:00 with my lunch and informed them I was the new mow guy. They said no it doesn't work like that you got ti fill out an application Bla,Bla,Bla. so I did then stayed their until about 10:00 the next day same thing There at 6:00 with my lunch ready to work. Finally on the third day they gave in and let me work on the third day. they gave me about a week to get in the groove and then the drill Sargent (I mean foreman) began screaming me down, evidently you are supposed to run with the 21 inchers, this was pre self propelled. So that was it, he pissed me off and I ran with the mower and he got off my back. Welcome to the green Industry. This is why I have such a complete disbelief in the the work habits of today not even picking in the young turks because I have had 45 yr old dudes flake on me too. Evidently I am going to have to wright this like a book and just keep posting as I have time to write My drill Sargent (I mean wife) says I need to get off the computer and do something productive.
  2. Howard Roark

    Howard Roark LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 806

    keep em' comin', you've caught my interest.
  3. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,899

    Go west Young man. so I did. Arrived in AZ in fall 1981 the only job I could find was rent a cop at a condo complex. Worked 10:00PM-6:00AM at 5:30 the landscapers show up, nothing else to do so I talk with them and after a couple of weeks land a job with them. Install work for a company that eventually was bought by Ground Control (my old boss is the president now) Digging ditches and holes with white trash, a Puerto Rican gay criminal, and a 55 year old illegal alien that stole a pick every day, and a Indian named Dave. What a crew. My foreman Steve ended up being a foreman because he broke his arm in a pick up football game and couldn't do manual labor anymore. So he would take the blueprints to the Irrigation supply house and they would tell him how to do things and what parts he needed. This was really the wild wild west. At first it was all commercial work then we started doing some custom homes. The homeowners were always asking "who can take care of this now that its done?" Nobody wanted to do maintenance. Finally I told Steve you know I used to do this stuff in Indiana we could make a few bucks doing maintenance on the weekends. So it began, doing maintenance because nobody else would working out of a 1976 Pontiac Bonneville and a one bedroom apartment that was upstairs (Steve's apartment). We looked pretty stupid carrying a 21" sensation mower up and down the stairs. My wife would not let me keep any equipment in the our apt. and Steve was single. Of course the business grew we were installing 4-5 custom homes per month for the man and picking up 2-3 for maintenance for us, we quickly outgrew the Bonneville and balcony yard. Steve got his contractor's license and started a company doing installs and I did the maintenance. Looking back I should have been a partner. We didn't grow as fast as before and after about 18 months of not getting any new maintenance accounts, and not loosing any, I was bored to tears. The construction boom of the mid 80s was getting going and I had been doing L/S work for about 4 years and was making 9.50 per hour and the carpenters on a job site offered me 10.00 with no experience. So Steve and I parted ways. Now I am a carpenter! I have to be up in six hours so thats all for now.
  4. Maitland Man

    Maitland Man LawnSite Member
    Posts: 175

    ..............that was really depressing at the end.:dizzy: :cry: :alien:

  5. Howard Roark

    Howard Roark LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 806

    Yeah really! I was waiting for the "Now I have this hugely successful LCO...."
  6. nephilim0167

    nephilim0167 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 144

    he's not done.
  7. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,899

    After the AZ building boom went bust I went wester to So Cal. Started in Rancho Santa Margarita before it was a town worked my way north to the bay area Got my journeyman's card there $26.00 per hour (unions were great) then inland to Sacramento and finally back to AZ, it was cheaper to be unemployed in AZ than Cal. Finally got a job back home in PHX. for 8.50 per hr. It's 1988 now. Then my new crew members dropped a wall on me. So now my ankle is broke and I am reflecting, I realize I am lucky that was the worst thing that happened to me. This is a sign and I should get out while the getting is good. So I go and see my old friend Steve. Boy is he glad to see me, his Install division is taking off, he is tied in with some custom builders and they just use him, no other bids, the clients don't really have much of a choice. Problem is many people having a home built in this area, rent in this area and may end up with Steve's Maint co. taking care of the rental. If they screw up on the Maint. it makes it hard for Steve to sell them landscaping. So Steve was in need of someone to take over his "Maintenance division" such as it was, 3 guys and 2,000.00 a month in volume. He was paying me $1,800 to run it, that gives you an idea of the problems he was having, He was desperate. His guys were idiots and criminals and needless to say we didn't get along I flushed them and hired a apprentice carpenter (one of the guys that dropped the wall on me) Dave. Dave had been a grass cutter before the carpenter gig. So he came to work for me we pulled a couple of hombres from the landscape division and I came up with a plan to streamline the bidding process and grow the business. We gave our recently completed landscape customers 2 months of complementary service. This got us through the warranty period and the cost was built into the landscape bid. It also gave us an idea of how long it would take to keep the particular clients happy. I was able to run the whole show. All Steve asked was to not get anybody mad at him. It was a great learning experience I was able to try a lot of different things and it didn't cost me a dime, some worked others didn't. After 4 years we had a base of about 35,000 per month and typically sold about 10,000 in extras. Life was good so I thought.
  8. AlpineNaturescapes

    AlpineNaturescapes LawnSite Member
    Posts: 149

    Well, then what? C'mon drop the bomb!
  9. Husky05

    Husky05 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 303

    What happened to the story???
  10. chopsticks33

    chopsticks33 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 183

    its been over 2 months...he probly wont add anymore, though it was a good story

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