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Starting over/rebuilding

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Mike Fronczak, Sep 9, 2012.

  1. Mike Fronczak

    Mike Fronczak LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 301

    I have been in this business since 1995. I now find myself in a different situation than I'm used to. I started out like most doing residential maintenance we then progressed to larger sites, at first I was able to develop relationships similiar to those with residential clients but that changed as HOA boards change often, property managers leave, etc. I always felt we were able to provide our clients with a good value, we were not necessarily the lowest price or best always but over all we did a decent job, & my client feedback & referals confirmed it. Then the economy got worse & price became more important
    than anything else. I went from 5 guys on in the summer to just me.
    All the while our snow work which was originally an add on service had taken on a life of it's own, growing very well, developing it's own set of clients as well. Now the trickle down from the economy, etc. Seems to be beginning to affect this in the same manner, pricing on bids I see is dropping. We are heavily invested in large sites (with a fleet of heavy equipment to back it up) as well.
    . My thinking is to get back to my roots, go back to the residential work, keep things routes tight. I have invested in a tractor/inverted snowblower, & followed Paul Vanderzon's lines of thinking, by doing this it will sliwly allow me stablize things on the snow side. Then as an off shoot take on full service clients on the landscape side, profit in just lawn cutting has been driven out. I can also bundle the snow with driveway sealing for a "driveway maintenance" only package, I have a good sealcoating sub.
    Any feedback/ideas, etc.
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  2. jrs.landscaping

    jrs.landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    from Maine
    Posts: 2,715

    I would never consider plowing as a primary source of revenue. You are on to something with full service residential, I would focus more on full service, tighten routes and develop your business to be more cost effecient to deal with the economic changes.
     
  3. Mike Fronczak

    Mike Fronczak LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 301

    I have heard that soooo many times, BUT the reality is snow work here is every bit (actually more) as stable as lawns here durring the drought I wached my summer revenue nearly completly dry up. You have to understand plowing here, we average about 100
    inches, at this point snow is about 85% of our business, and once a transition back to more residential it will be all
    guaranteed money. At this point next year my long term
    inverstments (heavy equipment with a 20+ year life span on a
    5 year note) will be paid for. I could do nothing but snow, as I'm currently setup maybe an occasional excavating job that comes as a referral for a friend that exclusively installs. I have about 20 pieces of equipment, by doing this it will slowly allow me stablize things out during a snow event, all either part time or subcontractors. My goal is to provide year long opportunities, to allow me to develop a staff of guys that are with me year round, I also have 4 kids the oldest is 11, but in the future if they want to come on board my hope is this would provide that ability.
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2012
  4. Mike Fronczak

    Mike Fronczak LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 301

    I also should add. When my wife & I had kids we agreed no daycare so they are either with me, her or grandma. She is a corporate RN has generally unlimited opportunities for overtime, her standard hourly pay per hour is more than I'm bidding jobs at (hourly rate) , then add overtime rates +incentives. I'm losing or not getting the work at my current rate. So from a family standpoint it doesn't ,make sence to try to get my pricing lower, after 15+ years doing this I already know just about every trick/corner to cut to get expences down. Im definitly not looking for a easy way out, going to work is WAAAY easier than staying home with the kids.
     

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