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Prophecy to the new

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Cut, Apr 24, 2005.

  1. Cut

    Cut LawnSite Member
    Posts: 133

    Im gonna quote what I read elsewhere!!

    "Im not a betting man but im gonna go out on limb and make a few predictions.My predictions will be based on the fact that you have 0 contacts and virtually 0 experience running a business and 0 experience in the lawn care business.Not to mention 0 capital after you purchase a truck trailer and a couple mowers and 2 cycle peices.

    Your first year youll get started early,,, but by april youll only have 9- $30 accounts and you probally wont like any of those. By the end of april you will have lost 3 of those and only replace 2 of them.

    During May you will obtain 1 more account and get victimized by a late bloomer residential mulch job that has been getting bids since March. And finally your sucker ass came along and need a job bad enough to do the job for chump change. But,,,, you dont care cause you finally came up w/ enough money to pay some bills.Plus,, you got your feet wet on some mulch. So its really not all that bad of a thing. So now your a big shot.

    During June (just when your on a roll) cutomers start calling and asking you to cut bi-weekly cause its dry and grass aint growing.So you hound up some more late mulch and take a few brush jobs. Your catching on.

    During July you notice that 2 of your accounts are past due by 2 months ,the grass still isnt growing, and your truck payment is due again. But the phone hasnt rang in 3 weeks.

    Get used to it cause August aint much better.

    During September you get lucky. Its cools down and fall is showing signs. At this point the best thing that could happen to you is every leaf in town fall at once. But they ont,, they just turn a little yellow on the edges and hang there.But the grass picked up and some retired couple let you spend a day on a early fall clean up.You paid your bills and took your family out to dinner.

    During October things get alot better for you. A few leaves are down and you bought a nice rake. You get a few fall clean ups and even think to sell a return visit in 2 weeks to at least 1/2 those jobs. Plus your still mowin. You paid your bills ,took your family to dinner ,and got 1 good drunk night out on the town w/ your buddies.

    During November it gets even better. All kinds of fall clean ups. LCOs everywhere w/ box trucks and blowers. Plus you still got 3 cuts in. To top it off about 10 people have blown smoke up your ass about letting you cut theyre grass next year and mulch. So your excited. Plus you paid all your bills ,took your family to dinner, 1 drunk night out on the town, and bought yourself one of those really nice $500 Echo back pack blowers. Its your baby!!!Plus ,,, it finally dawned on you that a applicators lisence would do you a world of good. You get really down on yourself for not thinking of this in the first place. You can thank me later.

    During December it gets cold. The grass shuts off and the phone quits ringing again.You get about 7 clean ups all month but you under bid 1/2 those cause you needed the work. You only got 1 cut this month and the rest of the time you sit around looking at your new back pack wondering how much youd get from it on ebay cause your truck payment is due. Plus,, xmas is coming. OH FK!!!!!!!!!! Good time to get started on that applicators lisence huh? But shiit,, you aint got the money for that. So you and your wife decide to take out a 2nd mortgage on the house to get you through winter.

    During January you study for your applicators exam and plot out a advertising campaign. Just this shiit just aint cuttin it. It seemed like it was just ready to POP a few times but just never did? So you drive your self crazy all month trying to figure it out. But its to copmplicated and your thoughts just race and you get nowhere w/ it. So you just decide on a nice paper ad to go out March 1. Thats your best shot as far as you know. Plus youve been hangin out on here all month and heard everyone talkin shiit about flyers so your gonna try those to.

    During february it snows like hell. But you aint got a plow. Some of your customers call and talk you into shoveling theyre drive ways. SUCKA!!!!!!!! But,,, you are the proud new owner of a Custom Applicators Lisence! Your future is bright.

    Finally March 1 rolls around. Long winter huh? You still have 5k from the 2nd mortgage and more if you really have to. But your paper ad went out and the phone is ringing good. By the end of March you have 20 accounts and have done 5 mulch jobs. Hell,, this month alone you done grossed 1/2 of what you did all last year!

    April rolls around and you have to pay your taxes since nobody suggested you submit quarterlys last year. So you discover you barely made a *** dime last year. But its ok,, that was last year,, this years looking much better. During April you aquire 10 application sites and pick up another 20 cuts. Not to mention your up to your ass in mulch and you need a helper plus another 48.

    Get the picture?

    My best advice for you is stay on the board here. Read everthing. Advertise. perform quality service at top market value,,, and dont sleep for 3 years. Your 5th year youll MAKE 80k and mowing will be a pain in your ass.

    How long do you think it will take you to regret leaving to corp.?

    How long will it take you to discover you really dont want a million dollar company?

    How long do you think it will take you to realize YOU DID IT?"

    New guys, take heed.
  2. TPnTX

    TPnTX LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,776

    Good read. Sounds like you lived yourself and have seen it elsewhere.
  3. fairways

    fairways LawnSite Member
    Posts: 51

    Absolutely uncalled for, looks like you have too much time on your hands, actually new to the business and it is exactly the opposite of what your saying, kinda funny, but I had what you call a business plan, paid cash for everything, I guess that degree did come in handy when planning this out, jerks like you give this site a bad feeling for new guys, what are you afraid they might take some of your business...........
  4. aclassic

    aclassic LawnSite Member
    Posts: 181

    hey there carmel indiana,
    take it easy, were not all as loaded as you carmel folk
  5. pagefault

    pagefault LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 492

    I think the same prediction can be made about any new business. What's the big deal?

    I'd take that over a corporate life prediction like:

    For the first 90 days, you are the new guy. The folks that hired you, think you can do no wrong, as do those above them. Beware, however, because everyone else already resents you. Rest assured that every good idea you have has been presented by a veteran of the company and shot down, so while you think you are scoring big points by pushing these ideas through, the only ones who are impressed are the ones directly above you and that will change soon enough.

    Month four - time for your initial evaluation. Everyone's been so impressed with you; maybe you can score a quick raise or even a promotion! No luck. The review comes back with a few areas that need work. Strange that none of this was mentioned before, but that is ok. The items are easy to correct and you get your annual review in 9 months. Now that you know what they are looking for, that raise is in the bag. Remember these last few months, because it will never be this good again.

    Month five - Your boss tells you that you have a big new project due in six weeks. It is easily 12 weeks worth of work and it involves resources that won't be available for two weeks. You remind your boss of the meeting two months ago, where you commented that the biggest challenge at this company was getting everyone to spend enough time in the planning stage. Remember, we were going to get the team together and make sure the objectives were clear and then scope the project? We were going to make sure all of the resources were available? Remember how you agreed and commented that requirements documentation, QA and training would each take a minimum of two weeks for most projects and that we needed to make sure people understood that so that we did not end up with development projects with timelines that don't even allow for these things? "I know" he says, "but the customer is really screaming about this one." The honeymoon is over.

    Month six - Another emergency development project needs to be done in a month. What? We're in the middle of an emergency project! We're not even halfway through it! There's no way! "That project is on hold" the boss tells you. It never comes off hold, but you don't know that yet. A month of 15 hour days, six days a week, for nothing. That will slowly sink in over the next 6 months.

    Month seven - Emergency two is completed, albeit in a half-assed fashion. You try to warn everyone that it is not ready and it is going to make an already unhappy customer REALLY pissed. You are given a reasonably friendly talk about being more positive.

    Month eight - The "fix" for emergency 2 completely blows up and creates a new, even bigger emergency. Needs to be fixed ASAP! Everyone needs to be here at least 7-7, Monday through Saturday and we need people here in shifts on Sunday! Apparently, nobody at the top realizes that this has been the schedule for 2 months already. You question whether the same rush! rush! rush! style that created this problem is the proper way to fix it. Another talk about positive attitude.

    Month nine - Angry execs come down on your department about problems that were brought up a year ago and still have not been fixed. It turns out that the problem actually surfaced 14 months ago and was put on hold in mid-fix about 11 months ago. You never knew about it, because it all happened before you got here. Nobody remembers it that way. You MUST have heard about this! You're in deep sh** for the third time in three months.

    Month ten - There has been an ongoing feud between a couple of new executives and the founders of the company. You find yourself dragged into the whole mess, because your department is responsible for all of the products the company sells. You meet with the new execs and go over the usual problems with project timelines and costs being assigned without any planning or even a cursory review by those who are going to actually do the work. They thank you and ask you to bring these issues to their attention. Whew! Things are getting better!

    Month eleven - The feud continues and finally the new execs leave. One is run out of town by the CEO (founder) and Chairman of the Board (founder's father). The other exec gets while the getting is good. The founders and their team begin to really crack down and undo any changes that the newly departed execs had made. No more smoking anywhere on the property. No microwave popcorn. No arriving at work a minute after 8 or leaving a minute before 5. Planning? No. If the CEO wants something done, he will go directly to the developer he thinks can do it, and he will have it done. "Things have gotten way too casual around here lately". The CEO comments in a meeting that the departed execs had come from big companies and they did not understand how responsive that we needed to be and that they had been misled by some of our people about how long certain things should take. Your stomach turns over, because you are one of those people and apparently he knows it.

    Month twelve - Review time. Bad marks all around, with enough positive comments to keep you from hanging yourself. No raise, that's for sure. It turns out that very few people got raises and in the coming months a salary freeze will be announced and it will last for more than 4 years.

    Year two - The year starts out with a bang, when your boss gets so fed up with the direction the founders are taking the company, that he quits, along with 3 other director and VP level employees. In the chaos, that a**hole from operations that your department has feuded with for the last year (or more) takes over as your new boss!

    This continues day in and day out until one day you find yourself noticing the guys who maintain the property. They always seem happy. How nice would it be to be outside all day, working with your hands, not worrying about who is trying to get who fired? So, you start saving your money, cutting down on spending and putting together a business plan.

    Trust me, you only know the first circle of hell.
  6. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,587

    im sorry things where so hard for you, they seem to be much easier for me..... :waving:
  7. tjgray

    tjgray LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 294

    Pagefault that has to be the best description of corporate life I have ever seen in print.

    I would take Cuts description of small business ownership over corporate ANYTIME. It is one of the reasons I don't ever want to achieve corporate status with The Other Side. I would so much rather be/stay small and struggle a little bit financially then go back to corporate marketing and all the bs that goes with a corporate position.

    Life is much better as a solo in charge of your own destiny :D
  8. TPnTX

    TPnTX LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,776

    To me it seemed realistic for a typical business plan especially in parts of the country where winter sets in and stays.

    I'm much more optimistic around here.

    PageFault with a few minor changes, I could sign my name to that. It closely resembles my situation.
  9. pagefault

    pagefault LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 492

    I once read that Scott Adams came up with his ideas by using real situations and adding ridiculous twists and exaggerations. At the company I came from, he could have saved himself the trouble of embellishing. I hear they're all the same. That's why I'm never going back.
  10. TPnTX

    TPnTX LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,776

    Yep, timing is everything. We (wife and me) are trying to get finances in order so I can "be relieved" of duty. I can't stand it, it's making me crazy to the point I am no fun anymore. ;)

    Saturday night I went to party with some old buds on mine. It reassured me that I gotta get out. I used to be a fun guy. Now I've coded myself into someone else.

    The thing is, when you look at the take home. It's not that much money. So at least for startup purposes, there's no reason to think you can't easily match that.

    PageFault email me. TPnTX@yahoo.com

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