Massive widespread drought - impact on you

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by DA Quality Lawn & YS, Jul 10, 2012.

  1. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 7,961

    There will be some extra work later trying to restore the lawns.

    Even irrigated lawns looked bad last year. It showed serious weakness irrigation designs.

    Changed some of my spring and fall programs to make sure I can get the lawns healthy and pre-stressed.
  2. Jimslawncareservice

    Jimslawncareservice LawnSite Platinum Member
    from mn
    Posts: 4,137

    Glad I'm not the only seeing leaves. I mowed a yard that was full yesterday. It reminded me of mid September with 90 temp.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  3. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 7,961

    We have wide spread dead trees fromlast year. Many are hanging on still but likely will not make it. Do not let those roots dry out too much.
  4. rreyn1812

    rreyn1812 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 444

    In my county in Arkansas, we are experiencing "exceptional" drought (as bad as it gets). We did get about 1/4 inch of rain last week, but that was the first since the end of March. Only mowing those properties that have sprinklers installed which puts the income down about 65%. Have come up with some additonal work like clearing underbrush & tree work & some landscaping or it would be really bad. We're getting some very spotty afternoon showers, but none where my properties are located. The long term drought monitor shows no improvement anytime soon. On my best property that is about 1/3 irrigated, it looked like it was October there were so many leaves on the ground. On one hillside I drive by, there wasn't a green tree on the slope. There will be lots of tree work in the future from all the dead trees.
  5. coolluv

    coolluv LawnSite Gold Member
    from Atlanta
    Posts: 3,763

    I'm curious how companies can survive running a lawn maintenance business with no contract in place to keep revenue the same in situations like this. I'm not calling you out, just curious as to what you are going to do.

    Questions I have are... How do you keep employees when you don't have the work to keep them working?

    Will they stay with you when they are starving?

    What happens to your business if this trend continues through the end of the year?

    What if next year is a repeat, will your company survive?

    I know most companies around do not have contracts on residential accounts and therefore are able to grow quickly as compared to someone who insists on contracts or agreements or whatever you want to call them.

    I see new startups all the time go from one man to crews in short time frames and it always amazes me. I could have doubled my business this year if I had not insisted on 12 month agreements. Because most won't sign an agreement. But I chose to stick to my guns and I do OK.

    We started getting pretty dry here for a while but in the last few weeks we have been getting some good rain showers. Most lawns are still showing drought stress but they are starting to recover. But as all of this was going on I kept thinking that I was lucky not to have a route full of bi weekly or non contract customers for the reasons you have stated in your post.

    So my question is not only for you but for those that have bigger operations, How do you do it? Do you hire new guys after the ones you have now quit due to lack of work? Do you scale down and then scale back up again when the rain starts falling?

    I beat myself up all the time because I feel like I'm not growing as fast as I should based on the people around me. I work my butt off by myself because I can't hire anyone until I have the work to justify it. I guess when I see so many companies growing like weeds and new startups growing like weeds it makes me jealous.

    Ive done the take on all customers with no contracts and It was a nightmare with the ups and downs. Pick up 6 and lose 6. Not my fault, either they don't pay or quit because of someone $5 cheaper, and on and on. I see so many come and go also and I believe its because of the reasons stated.

    Just curious.

  6. unit28

    unit28 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,557

    looks to me like overseeding season is here

    potential for rain and moderate heat means I'll be able
    to drop the mower back down to 3 1/2" from 4"
    only had one client go to bi-weekly because
    they insisted mowing shorter:rolleyes:

    during seasonal snow work- we call a snow coverd end of driveway an EOD
    today however, it's End of Drought {EOD} with the rain we're getting again. Hope the rain spreads out far and wide.

    perfect in Minnesota north metro...LET IT RAIN

  7. Grassmaster9

    Grassmaster9 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 30

    Central Illinois here. Lawns are burned up. Losing a ton of money every day by not being able to mow. It's terrible. Forecast shows that it will get much worse before it gets better. 2nd year in a row and had no snow to speak of over the Winter.
  8. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,899

    Unit28, is that 108 degree temp I see for next Tuesday in the Twin Cities??
    Must be a typo, the actual temp won't get that hot. Heat index might.
  9. unit28

    unit28 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,557

    I use that site for actual ground temps where I work in direct sunlight.

    You do know where they actually stick the thermometer for official measurements right?...
    in the shade about 2 meters high

    I also look at ET data, because most of my lawns {85%} are in direct sunlight.

    right now it's raining again and temps at 66*F

    Does it actually get that hot in MN.?..youbetcha
    Updraft Category Archive: Heat
    Last gasp for serious heat; cool front arrives this weekend
    Posted at 3:25 PM on July 6, 2012 by Craig Edwards (2 Comments)
    Filed under: Forecast models, Heat, Rainfall, Severe weather

    I have a thermometer outside the west metro weather lab that is 4 feet off the ground, over grass, in direct sunshine. It read 131 degrees (not the heat index) at 3:30 p.m. Meanwhile, many thermometers in the metro area, properly shaded, were pushing the mercury to 100 degrees or more.
  10. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,353

    coolluv that post made for an interesting read. I guess I'll start with contracts all my accounts are under contract in fact here you have to renew them each season because the seasons are so spread out you tend to lose the connection. But contracts here are À la carte you pay for what service you use and this has extremes but it's more from our location and our winters and the length of the season. The seasons starts mid March and goes into Dec so the money comes in very light in the beginning of the season. To better explain that say we take in 240k this season and that's a good guess we will get the first 120k up till around August 20th or 30th the remaining half of the income will come in in just the last 4 months which then you need to save and plan because winter last a long time.

    The contracts that pay yearly in 12 payments are so foreign to people here I doubt I could sign any. You do see something like that with snow where some pay a set amount each month for the winter. The smart contractors seem to do a mix À la carte and set price so if it snows like crazy they protect themselves and if its light the protect themselves the other way.

    As for the employees they expect to get laid off here in the winter so a slow down mid season doesn't have the effect that it would on someone that demands a check 52 weeks a year. As far as starving I pay well but one thing I see it doesn't matter what I pay them certain mind sets will blow the entire check every week and then some and can not save a dime despite have 800-1200 dollar weeks in spring. It's pathetic but perhaps a relief as well at least you know they are never going to be your competition because they will never save up to go out on their own.

    As for what we will do grin and bare it I lost probably 750 dollars in cuts in the last 3 days. It's not catastrophic but you get 6-8 weeks of that and it can be. Doesn't take much before that number jumps to 2000 a week in lost cuts. It did just that in 2005 here that year is etched in my mind we had a terrible start the snow took forever to melt was April 9th when we got our first clean up in. So we lost like 20k that spring then we had over 40 days with no rain lost like 10k in cuts in August then Sept was nearly as bad. And then for spite it rained for 9 days in a row the 3rd week on Oct lost the entire week. Then we had early snow we would have to wait for it to melt then go out and get hit again this went on through Jan we finally gave up and did are last fall clean ups Feb 1st. So I think if I can survive that 60k F U from mother nature I can deal with this dry spell. Now if it doesn't change for 2 months that's real pain and then yes bye bye owner pay checks or at the least they will get slashed.

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