Spanish LCO- I was amazed

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by I am Me, Oct 2, 2003.

  1. I am Me

    I am Me LawnSite Member
    from D/FW
    Posts: 72

    I was at a buddies house last night about 7:00 pm, having a cold one and shooting the bull in the driveway. Up pulls a spanish LCO in a early '90's Cevy 3/4 ton beat to h*ll with 5 Proline mowers in the back, 3 trimmers, 1 hedge trimmer on an extended boom, pruning pole, 2 stihl backpack blowers, cooler, water jig, and various tools all thrown in the back of the truck. Stuff was hanging out everywhere.

    Out pops 3 Mexicans. 2 unload the mowers, and the 3rd guy pulls out the trimmer, starts it, then drops it on purpose catches it with his foot and sets it on the ground reving the engine with his toe, all the while pulling out a BP and getting it warmed up.

    Off they go, 2 mowing 1 edging and trimming, and they were all on a dead sprint. Trimmer guy finishes the front heads to the back finishes there comes back around front grabs the BP and starts the clean up. The other 2 have mowed the front and the back by now and are loading everything up.

    They finish , sit on the curb, have a drink and wait on te BP guy. He finishes, throws BP in the back and jumps in the truck. Off they go to the next stop.

    I was amazed. Start to finish- 12 minutes. 10,000 Sq ft of yard + a drink and a rest.

    I looked at my buddy and said, " I want those guys on my crew."

    I went over and check the quality of work- excellent. clean trim, nice edge, sharp blades - no tearing of grass, nothing in the street or the walks. They even delivered the paper to the front door.

    All this for 25 bucks. :eek:
  2. AL Inc

    AL Inc LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,218

    We are starting to see more and more of these companies around here. They are mostly mow and go operations right now, but I see some full service companies, too. Licensed and insured. It should be interesting to see what happens in the next 10 years.
  3. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Posts: 8,745

    I have seriously considered getting into the H2B program.
  4. TRex

    TRex LawnSite Senior Member
    from DFW ,TX
    Posts: 487

    there is a 3 man crew around here in 90's full size van with a 52" grasshopper, 44" toro w/b and a snapper 21" with stihl trimmers, edger, and blower with a lot of other tools. They seem to do a pretty good job, but on a lawn the same size as the ones I do in the neighborhood it takes them 20 min every time that is the same time it takes me with my 36 metro hp all by myself. The boss man sits on the grashopper for the front yard and the kid goes to the back with the 21" and the front is very small. the thord guy goes to trimming. They do get stuff in the steet. But I talk to the guy all the time he is a nice guy I just think they are unorganized.
  5. RobH

    RobH LawnSite Member
    Posts: 142

    I get worried when I see these guys around town up here in Westchster, County, New York. I see a lot of Mexican or Spanish crews working. A lot of them are totally legitimate too. They have all the toys and they do a good job too. However, they charge less than everyone else. A lot of them rent an apartment together or a house together. When they start splitting the bills 3 ways or more, it doesn't become all that expensive for them to live.

    They don't need as much income as some of us who have a house, mortgage, wife and/or kids.

    Down the street from me I know a lot of them bought a house that has approx. 6 bedrooms and also an apartment out back. House sold for approx. $450,000. There must be 12 or more living in this house. House is lit up like an xmas tree at night. Every room has a light on. The mortgage payment is probably $3,500 a month with taxes.

    It becomes hard to compete when they can do quality work at a much cheaper price. I know many guys here talk about doing a good quality job and let the job speak for itself. I'm all for that, but it is quite tough when these guys are cutting lawns for $10-$20 cheaper than you.
  6. EvandSeby

    EvandSeby LawnSite Member
    Posts: 147

    This is nothing new here in Phoenix. Some have their business cards and advertisements all in Spanish. I AM NOT IN COMPETITION WITH THESE COMPANIES. The majority of my customers do not want someone that they cannot communicate with. Can these people.....1)upsell extra services ? 2)diagnose and treat lawn problems ? 3) tell the customer what is eating their tomatoes ? 4) establish a business relationship that will result in numerous references?
  7. mtdman

    mtdman LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,137

    I just got a row of 4 customers for next year for mowing because the homeowners didn't like having the foreign labor on their properties. None of them spoke English, and any time there was an issue that needed to be discussed, they couldn't communicate with the homeowners. I was doing a leaf estimate for one of the homeowners and he asked for mowing for next year. I gave him the estimate, and he convinced his 3 neighbors to jump on. All were fed up with their old crew.

    So, there are negatives to that kind of labor, and I am not worried at all about it, nor would I employ labor that couldn't talk to the customers.

  8. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,494

    There is a guy right here that has about 15 of them through the H2B program. He has bought some (rather slummy) housing to put them in, and these guys work all day - everyday, regardless of conditions. They don't care - they just want to work. That is one of the issues that has been brought up - even on his accounts, is communication. He tries hiring bi-lingual crew leaders, but they can be rather hard to find. One thing, though, is that he is always available via phone, so he can quickly communicate with his guys via Nextel. There have been threads on this before, and one thing that we have come to the conclusion of, is that these guys have great work ethic, and are sort of "self policing". In other words, if someone isn't pulling their weught, the others are quick to get on him and "remedy" the situation.
  9. I am Me

    I am Me LawnSite Member
    from D/FW
    Posts: 72

    Here are my thoughts on the subject:

    In Texas, the spanish population is the fastest growing community here. We are rapidly becoming the minority. If you are only focused on today or next week, then you have the luxery of ignoring it and saying "I don't have to compete with these guys."

    Personally I am looking 10-20 years down the road. Their children will become citizens, americanized, and will hold higher paying jobs, and positions of power. Being bilingual will be normal, and spanish labor will be the industry standard. Some of this population will also become future clientsfor you and your children. Who better to serve this population than a spanish LCO?

    My brother in law is fond of saying, " He who controls the most mexicans holds the power." He is right. They WILL become the industry standard, and your clients will come to expect it. Just like the internet, cars, and mobile phones. It is the evolution of our times.

    I say, hire some mexicans, treat them right, learn their ways. Establish relationships in the spanish community and you will earn a rep. They will bring you the talent. you won;t have to go looking for them. That is how it is done here in the construction trade.

    You can run, but you can not hide, so you better adapt and use it to your advantage. Prepare for it, and find the positives. It will make you money in the long run. Diversity is the key to wealth and growth. You diversify your investments, your tools, your clients. Why not your labor pool?
  10. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,494

    Oh, come on! That's been said for the last hundred years. In the old west days, it was Chinese labor in Texas, after that, and ever since, it's been Mexican. It's not happening in the next 20 years, or even our lifetime. The only thing that's happening in OUR lifetime even remotely close to that is our industry, such as GM opening doors down there south of the border as they sell the U.S out. :rolleyes:

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