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Money saving tips for beginners.

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by PerfiCut L&L, Jul 25, 2008.

  1. PerfiCut L&L

    PerfiCut L&L LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 458

    We are looking for ways to save a few bucks when it comes doing a job. If you dont mind, list one thing you have done either recently or in past, to save money as business owner.

    For us (since we are a new company) the purchase of certain small tools has helped tremendously.

    - Backup chop saws (so when one breaks you dont have to run to get parts)
    - Purchase of a heavy duty plate compactor #5500 compaction force. (reduces the number of passes we need to make on our base material) also allows for slightly larger lift increments.

    * Future purchase of a F550, I know will save a lot in fuel and time by increasing our haul capacity and reducing the number of trips.

    Feel free to share some things you have experienced and learned from. Parhaps something you did but didnt get the result your were hoping for.
  2. rt20

    rt20 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 26

    We put one person in charge of prep time. It just seems like when everyone got their own stuff ready there was a lot of waste in labor. Everyone just goes over a check list to make sure they got everything and they are out the gate. If the person in charge of prep needs help, he, and only him delegates to get everyone out as quick as possible. We run three crews on most days.
  3. PatriotLandscape

    PatriotLandscape LawnSite Bronze Member
    from MA
    Posts: 1,209

    We skimp on excavation. it saves a ton in base material!! just kidding.

    We try to make sure everything for the job is on site and counted so we don't run out of pavers at 4:55 on Friday.
  4. tthomass

    tthomass LawnSite Gold Member
    from N. VA
    Posts: 3,497

    When it comes to a truck look beyond the "I've got a 550 ho ha ho" and do it the way you want it...not the way it sits on the lot. Want more capacity? You need more then a 550 if you want to haul decent loads. 2 cents

    Saw......keep extra pull starts on hand. Also good idea to just have an exra 5 gal of mix available. Say kept at the yard or whatever so if you need it you 've got it and don't have to fumble for finding oil etc. Also keep an extra diamond blade on hand and also a carbon blade. Do not buy the expensive diamond blades. I run $70 blades all the time and they last a long time. I also don't care if I hit rebar, I just go right through it. A 1500SF patio I'm about to build with a ton of cutting....one blade will last the whole job. Both of my TS400's are rebuilds too........saved a lot of $.
  5. PerfiCut L&L

    PerfiCut L&L LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 458

    Extra PULL CORDS! a MUST. Nothing worse than shutting down for two hours while you run to the store to get a $3 pull cord. We always keep 2 or 3 extras. Same with blades. When we get down to only one left, we re-order or go buy more stock.
  6. bobhat

    bobhat LawnSite Member
    Posts: 4

    You might know this already but.. If you have two or more crews segment each task that is to be done and send the labor to that task accordingly.

    for example,

    drawing up: efficient with 2 guys
    Laying brick: efficient with 4 guys

    so send your labor to whatever you think will be the most efficient.
  7. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,417

    This is a very good thread.

    We've been in business for 18 yrs. And have been a full fledged hardscape company for 12 years. Now, I ain't seen it all, but I've been around the block a time or two :)

    I wish I had 2 hrs to sit here and type, as I could go on and on and on with ways to save money.

    Let me first say something gabout this industry:

    This industry sells a LUXURY product. In most cases It's a luxury like Vars, boats, and RV's. That means this industry is ECONOMY driven. When the economy slumps - the first thing the residental markek will drop is their hopes of building their patio.

    Just because you get 5 calls a day for work in the spring, does not mean you're ontop of the world. THIS is when many contractors go out and splurge on trucks and machines.

    As time allows, i'll post how we buy equipment, my points of view, and how we rent a shop/yard.
  8. STL Ponds and Waterfalls

    STL Ponds and Waterfalls LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,177

    I'm waiting to get my enclosed trailer one day so I can have ALL my tools with me at all times. If you have an open trailer put a few tool box's on it to have your tools with you. Nothing pisses me off more than when I rush out in the morning and forget a special tool that you need for that certain job.

    Another thing to save you money is a good contract from hell and a detailed build sheet for your customer that wants you to do everything to his property but doesn't want to pay for the extra's. I use to do a lot of little extra type stuff just to be nice and hope for that extra referral, but not any more! DO NOT DO ANYTHING FOR FREE!
  9. BOEpavers

    BOEpavers LawnSite Member
    Posts: 93

    For us, it is basically take most of the previous posts and combine them. First the enclosed trailer -allows everything to be on site and you don't have to worry about "did I put x in the truck?". Also allows for storage of commonly used materials such as edge restraint, spikes, Mirafi, etc. Backups of critical tools - they break, get lost, get buried (happened to brickhammers and sunglasses). As for the starter rope issue -all our equipment is either Stihl or Honda powered. We keep complete recoil assemblies for both in the trailer. Whe one breaks on a job, 4 screws at most and a new on is on. Save re-roping for the vening in the shop. Having all the same 2 cycle equipment means one fuel mix. DItto previous posts on diamond and carbon blades. Keep a few in the truck. If your cutoff saw and paver saw have different size arbors, be sure you get blades with a bushing for the arbor hole. That way one blade fits both. The list goes on and on. You'll never get to the perfect place cause when you think you have something new comes out!
  10. ANC Stone Creations

    ANC Stone Creations LawnSite Member
    Posts: 160

    My advise is do not hire 100 guys, don't get lazy do some work.
    Learn how to bid the jobs, don't worry about saving money, these jobs are paid for by the customer per what they want.

    To all of you that think fancy trucks and trailers will help, that makes me laugh, does not matter.
    Learn how to stay organized, and most important figure out what you need before you get to the job ( you dont want to look like an idiot running back and forth ten thousand times from supply store ) if you have told your customer you know what you are doing and then this?

    The overhead you have goes back to your customers, keep it low.

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