tell me about the "old days" please

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by bobbygedd, Apr 15, 2006.

  1. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    a guy i know been in business 23 years. he always laughed at me, because i demanded signed contracts, pre payments, and took nay payers to court. he used to say, "if you can't float your customers, you don't deserve them! and, contract, what the hell is that? that's the dumbest thing i ever heard. and, due date? that's rediculous, hey, i like when they don't pay, i know i'll get it eventually, it's like money in the bank to me. ." well well well, guess who came knocking on my door today...or i should say, crawling up the front steps. he looked so pathetic, he really did. "bob, i need your help.....it aint like it used to be. can u help me make a contract. what should it say? how do u do it? how do you get your money in advance, instead of chasing it? i need help." i said, "sit down george...no, not there, that's my seat, sit over there, towards the back. ok, you got any cash? (he coughed up 2 twenties) great, that'll do for now." and i proceeded to tell him about how he should do things. the man was defeated, whooped, beat down to a mere boyscout. he went on to tell me, how i had the advantage, because, i started up (11 yrs ago) when the industry was changing, and i got wise to the crap. he said that, "in the old days, within a 30 mile radius, there were maybe 5 lawn companies, and we all named our price. business was done on a handshake, and we all did well. boy, has that changed, i'm afraid this business has changed, and i have not adapted very well." i looked at my watch, asked him if he had anymore cash on him, he said no, so i threw him down the stairs. so tell me, has anyone been in the lawn business 20+ years, and how was it, in the old days?
     
  2. just think, he used to set in the front of the bus.
     
  3. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Posts: 4,900

    Yep and there was a lot less competition 20 yrs ago. Prices were about the same when you figure in cost of living. But I still used a contract, not as elaborate as the 1 today but It still covered my azz and said what and when I got paid.
     
  4. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 14,700

    It hasn't been quite 20 years for me but it's still the same. Business on a handshake. I can hardly remember the last customer who tried to stiff me and the books on 2005 were closed out before December 31. It's attitude and the power of credit reporting. What is they say in those TV commercials for used cars? Bad Credit, No Problem. My policy is Bad Credit, Call Bobby.
     
  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    wow what a lesson in that read
     
  6. CutInEdge Lawn Care

    CutInEdge Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 677

    I only have aprox 2 yrs in Florida (Res, Comm). I have over 20 yrs in agriculture. Mainly Farming in KS. and doing 5 acre+ commercial accounts.
    Back in the day, you named your prices. All before haggling and computers.
    Heck I even had an old 6 volt truck that I had to park on the top of the hill next to the chicken coop and let coast down the hill to start on the really COLD nights then got smart and bought a electric water heater. (51 Ford).

    Doing Sm Res is totally diff. Still Learning, The only time stiffed here in FL is from a so called friend. So the one thing that hasnt changed is dont work for friends. My .o2 stupids
     
  7. geogunn

    geogunn LawnSite Gold Member
    from TN
    Posts: 3,010

    entertaining, at least.

    GEO
     
  8. 6'7 330

    6'7 330 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,822

    23 years, from day one signed contracts.It might just be Chicago,but doing business on a handshake around here ain't worth the mangled paw,the client gets back, then or now.It aint so much about getting stiffed, as keeping the company's ass covered,and making business crystal clear with clients.
     
  9. HighGrass

    HighGrass LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Z5 MA
    Posts: 1,237

    Not too much different here, course it's not NJ.

    I don't have any contracts though I do give them a policy sheet. I believe if you ask me to do something, unless I don't do it right, I should be paid. If they don't pay on time, and there have been a few, I call, and call again. If they avoid my calls, I'll visit them, Saturday morning before the eggs they had for breakfast have had a chance to digest. Never had to take it any farther than that. If I did, I would go to their workplace. No piece of paper needed. Just consistent, persistent prodding.:hammerhead:
     

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