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Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by lawman, Jan 10, 2000.

  1. lawman

    lawman LawnSite Member
    Posts: 199

  2. thelawnguy

    thelawnguy LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,412

    Well the big reason I have seen in the past 8 years Ive been doing this is, trying to grow too fast. Its fun to predict which guys arent going to make it thru a season when you see em out in April, brand new 40k truck, three ZTRs on a triaxle trailer and a dozen 1/4 acre lawns in their pocket&lt;G&gt;. You need to start off with what you can handle and grow with your business. You dont buy a toddler grown-ups shoes even though the kid will grow into them and expect the kid to walk, you need to get the equip that fits and move up as it requires.<p>Also see a lot of co's fall on their face by trying to do too much, a guy has a paving co., decides he's going to suddenly be the worlds largest landscaper too, now he has neither business. who was it, Mama Cass who choked on that big sandwich and died? Sometimes the best lessons are from others mistakes.<p>Bill
  3. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Posts: 7,879

    I think alot of people go in to this business thinking that they are going to make alot of money their first year. Or their second year. Talking to some guys in my area they don't even keep up with their outgo and spend it like it is a profit. When the get rich quick doesn't happen, they get frustrated. So many people think that this is easy work. They think just because that they can easily cut their own yard that 10 yards a day will be just as easy. They can't picture their equipment breaking down under such a work load. Or themselves. The employees not doing a good job or not showing up at all. The onery customers, some of whom don't think of you when it comes to paying their bills. I could go on but you get the idea. I have always been realistic about the potential of this business. I try to plan ahead and not get myself spread to thin. Customer wise and financially. This is my 9th year. I have made plenty of mistakes along the way too. Just not career ending ones(knock on wood).<br>Charles<br>
  4. Nilsson Associates

    Nilsson Associates LawnSite Member
    Posts: 243

    Main reasons for business failure in order of importance are:<p>1. Not having a business plan <p>2. Inadequate working capital<p>3. Not knowing the &quot;numbers&quot;<p>4. Taking customers for granted<p>5. Taking employees for granted<p>6. Losing perspective for priorities<p>7. Ego - not seeking outside help when needed<p>Nilsson Associates, Consultants
  5. jeffclc

    jeffclc Guest
    Posts: 0

    I think that Phil has some excellent points. Of course, it is often hard to tell when a competitor has failed, as sometimes they just fade away, and are not noticed.<p>I think that #7 Ego is a big one, but not in the way Phil said. I think and see that a lot of guys want to show off to others that they can have a brand new truck, mowers, trailers, ect. I know of one local competitor that has a brand new Dodge 4x4 dump, huge new enclosed trailer, a couple of hydro walk behinds, ect. His rig looks great, but I question the need for all that glaumor(fancy truck and trailer).He is usually working alone. I can accomplish the same work with my older truck, and properly sized trailer. So, his costs are much greater than mine, and therefore he has to a. make a lower profit, or b. work more to make a nice profit. <p>Another ego thing I see is that guys like to be able to say I do such and such job. They may low ball a job just to get it, and have the privelage of saying they do that particular job. Now, I will admit it, I did this when I first started. I had a line on a high traffic commercial job. I took it cheap thinking I would get a ton of business from that job. I didn't get a single job from doing that site. Everytime I went to that particular job, I regretted the low price I was working for. When the job re-bid next season, I was way higher than the prevoius year, and did not get the job. I have seen many others there over the years. <br>
  6. Lawnpro

    Lawnpro LawnSite Member
    Posts: 2

    Here in South Florida, it seems like anybody with a pickup and a Murray thinks ,Hey, I'll start cutting grass for a living. As mentioned above, rapid groth seems to be the objective. The majic answer to this problem is almost allways low-balling. Shortly after becoming busy your Murray expiers! So you go to commercial equiptment dealer and he's talking eight grand for a new mower. Now your thinking about that five or ten bucks per lawn that your not getting. It sure would come in handy now.It may even determine your survival in the green industry! Remember, bargains come and go. Quality never goes out of style. Be a professional,and allways get your price! Yesteryear L/S
  7. Nilsson Associates

    Nilsson Associates LawnSite Member
    Posts: 243

    The folks that seem to make it long term are those that (at first) may have to price low to get &quot;a start&quot; but then as quickly as possible, price right, drop low paying customer market and move onto bigger things.<p>Some customers aren't willing to give the new guy a chance to prove himself unless he has a low price. It's only a testing ground at first .. where you &quot;pay your dues&quot; but don't stay &quot;paying your dues&quot; forever. Graduate yourself up to the better markets, find where you belong. Let the next &quot;new guy&quot; have your old customers ... where he too gets his start. You need to produce at least $30 an hour to survive and make it to the next level. I'd rather see that hourly return at $35 to $40 (at least) per hour produced &quot;on the ground&quot;.<p>Nilsson.Assoc@Snet.Net
  8. jrblawncare

    jrblawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 445

    The last post,phil I think I'am new here,I beleave this to be true since I have moved and will be starting in a new market.good info.thanks<p>----------<br>John <br>
  9. Lawnpro

    Lawnpro LawnSite Member
    Posts: 2

    P.S. I just wanted to say also, what a <br>great resource this site is for all of <br>us mow guys. New or been around for a <br>while. Our work is allways evolving and <br>there is allwayse somthing new to learn. <br> Happy Mowing and good luck. <br> Yesteryear L/S
  10. mattingly

    mattingly LawnSite Member
    Posts: 136

    Phil, is that 30 an hour profit or is it 30 that includes labor, insurance, etc. Not sure what you were talking about and there is a big difference in the two.<br>

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