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Discussion in 'Network: North' started by jonesy5149, Feb 19, 2011.

  1. MSS Mow

    MSS Mow LawnSite Senior Member
    from Maine
    Posts: 448

    The steady rain through the first part of August has made for a very good summer. I am looking forward to snow (NOT leaves!). I hate leaves so I do very little of them.
  2. McFarland_Lawn_Care

    McFarland_Lawn_Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,392

    Yes, we are going to really focus on picking up more snow accounts this year. I'd rather just chill and go ice fishing most of the winter but the guys are pressuring me for more work in the off season so we'll see if we can pickup some more plowing. For some reason that side of the business is growing at a snails pace compare to our summer work......it's strange.

  3. McFarland_Lawn_Care

    McFarland_Lawn_Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,392

    I kinda like the leaf work - cool fresh air outside. It's a bit of a pain sometimes and kinda slow work but looks so good afterwards.
  4. McFarland_Lawn_Care

    McFarland_Lawn_Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,392

    how's everyone doing...we just scooped up a JD stander....very happy so far just takes a bit to get used to....got a bunch of chipping and tree work the next month or so, filling the schedule with as much as possible before the end of the season......
  5. PlantscapeSolutions

    PlantscapeSolutions LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,979

    I haven't lived in Maine since 1990 when I left to join the Army fresh out of Cony. I'm in Texas now where I've had a landscape business since 2000. I was wondering how the hell you guys find any decent labor up there. My friend Steve Varney's family has mobile home parks in the Randolf area and they gave up trying to depend on the labor pool a long time ago. They try to do everything themselves.

    With the season running from only May thru October I would think keeping good help would be difficult. I'm sure the few larger companies that may be in southern Maine would have to be using work visas. I would think Lucas would have to be using some visa workers. The plow business up there has become so sporadic up there you really can't count on the work.

    The holiday lighting business is big down here but up there trying to find people willing to spend a grand plus on lights and hundreds to have them installed and removed is probably not easy. I see Lucas has a Christmas Decor franchise which costs about $7500 to buy. They probably do mostly commercial work. Do any of you guys do holiday lighting design (C7/C9 commercial stuff), installation, removal, and storage?

    If I had to rely on people who speak English for labor I would have gone out of business a long time ago. Down here most of the English speaking labor is on parole, probation, or they are so flaky they can't hold down a job for more then a week or two. Even here finding labor is not easy but we do still have immigrants with uncorrupted work values.

    Anybody on here from the Augusta area?
  6. McFarland_Lawn_Care

    McFarland_Lawn_Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,392

    Augusta is about 2 hrs from me. Yes, we are looking into the lighting but you are right about hard to convince people to spend the money it costs. Either this year or next, I'll educate the guys a little more on it all and then advertise.

    It's very tough in this area. Good workers are near impossible to find. I've been fortunate this season, but only after weeding through several "bad apples". I thinks the guys I have now will stick around for quite awhile, but they come at a cost!!! Good labor is not going to be had for $10. They are anywhere from $13.50-15.00. But a good worker at $15 will save you money in the long run and land additional work.

    Snow business is tough, cut throat. TONS of people have plows and do it for cash money, no insurance, no taxes, etc. Hard to compete.
  7. PlantscapeSolutions

    PlantscapeSolutions LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,979

    I see your coastal more in the rain belt then the snow belt. It looks like in your area being a full service person and catering to the high end homes on the water is where the money is. There are some pretty expensive homes on the water. There are a few for sale in the 1-3.75 million range in your area.

    For Maine those are mind boggling numbers for homes values. I have a lot of customer here with million dollar homes homes and it's not a big deal. I think the most I have seen a client here list their home for was 3.5 million.

    Here it's the homes on Lake Austin that cost a fortune. Just a once acre lot on the lake with no home will set you back over a million. Here is a link http://www.realtyaustin.com/lake-austin.php that shows some of the crazy home values.
  8. wat5150

    wat5150 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 19

    I find that to be the same for lawn care as well. Cutthroat and a ton of lowballers out there that muck it up for the rest of us.
  9. PlantscapeSolutions

    PlantscapeSolutions LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,979

    My two crew members get $11 an hour but lots of OT. One guy made 28K last year. He probably made over 10K in OT since we work only about 32 hours a week from November thru February. March thru October can be 50 hours a week or more. My foremen gets 13 an hour but I'm looking to upgrade and pay more for the right person.

    My niche market is to offer a level of knowledge others can't compete with and target the high end. Even high end clients can be cheap and go with the low baller guy so nothing is ever a given.
  10. TML

    TML LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 835

    There are many 1 mil + houses in my area. Almost all the coastal houses in York County are over a million. From 1997 through 2002 I worked FT for one of the larger established LCO. I remember a few 25-30 hour weeks in a slow mild winter but not too many. A snow event is 3+ days work. We did light tree work, brush removal, some lot clearing and even hard scraping on the immediate coast.there was also allot of shop improvements, building and equipment maintenance done in house, some times by trial and error to keep us busy. I was at $15/ he when I left.

    Service area was and is Kennebunkport, Kennebunk, Wells, York
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