The Economy - POLL

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by JimLewis, Mar 18, 2008.

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Is the sky really falling? The economy going to wreck business for us this year?

Poll closed Mar 22, 2008.
  1. No. Things are looking up here.

    12 vote(s)
    14.0%
  2. Perhaps. But I don't think I'll be affected too much personally.

    24 vote(s)
    27.9%
  3. I think we'll see a downturn in sales, yes.

    36 vote(s)
    41.9%
  4. I'm preparing for the worst. It's gonna get ugly!

    14 vote(s)
    16.3%
  1. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,842

    What the heck is up with the economy? I've always said I was immune to recessions and economic downturns. Since 1996, my company has always grown by 25% or more every single year, regardless of economic downturns or recessions. So I haven't ever really worried about it. And so far, I don't see that business is really off this year. Even despite that fact that I raised prices for landscape construction and irrigation installs, we keep landing jobs. But now I am starting to wonder....

    As far as I can tell, business is still good. But you wouldn't know it by talking to people, though. Today, one of my new managers approached me wondering if his job was secure. I was like, "Of course, why are you asking?" He was all worked up about the economy and thinking people might not need landscapers this year and so forth. Then I was giving my third bid this afternoon and the lady mentioned that she was interested in doing her landscaping project but now she's starting to have second thoughts because of the economy. I think we'll get that job anyway. But she was definitely having second thoughts. Then, one of my customers who owns a big wholesale car company (BIG!) says his business is down 50% so far this year from this time in 2007. He is good with his money. So it hasn't hurt him personally. In fact, he said, it helped because he had some extra money to invest and was able to buy some real estate for much cheaper than he would have a year or two ago. But his business was definitely experiencing a major downturn. Finally, we finished a big clean-up and enhancement job today for a long-time client of mine who is - well, used to be - a mortgage brokerage manager. His firm went totally under late last year and he's apparently out of work and selling his house because of it. He had enough money to hire us to spiffy up his place. But I don't think he'll be adding a water feature this year.....

    I just never had so many people approach me in one day about their concerns about the economy. Who's out there making everyone freak out so much? I am just out there every day kicking ass and takin' names. Maybe I've been too busy to watch the news lately. But it kinda seems like like a lot of hysteria to me. I haven't seen a drop in sales yet. But we'll see.

    Is this Chicken Little or is the sky actually falling?
     
  2. racer56

    racer56 LawnSite Senior Member
    from Kansas
    Posts: 285

    Jim
    Here is my thinking on it. Bad news sells. I think the folks on the tube just kept talking about how bad it is and how bad it is going to get that folks are starting to think it as well. All it takes is everyone to think we have a problem to really have one. My wife is doing her part to keep the dang economy going. Shopping more than ever :laugh:. We are seeing price land at where we bid 10 years ago for the same customers. Having said that on a brighter note our printing business is having a record year. We are lucky to have more than one source of income in business as I think we are headed for a down year. Maybe the industry as a whole needs it though. Might put alot of part time guys and scrubs out of the game.
     
  3. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,899

    I spend the majority of my day listening to talk radio while I work. I listen to a station that is dedicated to financial news and another that is predominately political. Now and again I will listen to the sports station too if its playoff time etc. This is what I heard today from a guy I have listened to on and off for years. He has never struck me as a Kook and definitely not a doomsayer by any means. Just your typical run of the mill conservative stock guy, he is a momentum player. This is what he had to say today.

    Every major prediction that was forecasted in the First Edition has come to pass. Now the focus is on wealth protection first and growth second. The biggest social, political and financial train wreck in history are very strong words. But after 5 years of confirming research and 2 years of tracking trends since 2005, there is no doubt that the Big Rollover is real and cannot be stopped from manifesting into a 15 year cycle or correction and unwinding.

    He goes on to talk about how a 55 year super bull trend is coming to an end. Here is a link to his website. http://www.russtrading.com/

    I have also heard other annalists talking about the beginning of dark days and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

    With all that said my market is upscale residential so I am not expecting much blow back. But I feel for the Just Mow It types, I would expect them to lose a significant market share.
     
  4. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,749

    Jim,

    The reason that you have been imune to recessions is that there has not been one since you have been in business (1996). The last one was 1990. The "worst economy in 50 years" that was being talked about in the last election cycle was a lie to influence the election. This time there is actually a major slow down in construction due to mortgage interest rates and prices that out grew reality.

    Overall interest rates are lower right now, but mortgage interests have not dropped as much. They are still at about 6.25 last time I checked. Unless your mortgage is going variable from a short term fixed, you ain't going to refinance.

    People also were fueling the home improvement economy by taking equity out of their houses to do them. Prices have dropped and not only can you not take equity out, but a lot of people now owe more on their house than it is worth because the prices dropped.

    This one is for real. Hopefully, it won't last long. But who sees house prices climbing in the near future?
     
  5. LawnsRUsInc.

    LawnsRUsInc. LawnSite Senior Member
    from midwest
    Posts: 916

    I think i will see a down turn in sales for the lawn season the only thing that helped bring up my year from last is plowing Feb 1st i had already exceeded sales from 1/1/07-4/1/07
     
  6. LB1234

    LB1234 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,210

    I'm up in the air about how this apperent 'recession' is going to affect our business. I went to a few seminars/conferences, etc. earlier this year. At the EP henry hardscape conference everyone was preaching to expand your services due to the poor economy. I also went to a Techo-bloc conference and they basically said they were igonoring the word 'recession' and proceeding as if there wasn't a recession. My service/equipment distributor was hit hard in drop of sales this winter (he also sells snow mobiles) but is that due to the recession and people holding back their money or becuase we basically had a few inches of snowfall for the entire year???

    As for our business personally...its been a rough winter...again due to lack of snow events and losing two big commercial accounts that we were significantly underbid. Again, recession? People looking at there bottom line? I dunno. Yet we've recieved a really good hit after our first round of flyers went out with lots of good leads. I'm confident we are going to bring in a few more maintenance accounts as well as land two to three paver/landscape design/installs. I just don't know what to think. We've lost some accounts but we also have gained better accounts...so for us things are looking up.

    I do know compared to last year I'm getting a lot more phone calls for a landscape maintenance company that can handle everything as opposed to simply a lawn mower or pesticide applicator. Why is that...again...I dunno???

    I know we are watching our expenses a lot more closely than we normally do. we are doing a few things different than last year in an attempt to cut some expenses...we'll see how it goes.
     
  7. Bustus

    Bustus LawnSite Member
    Posts: 181

    I guess I should consider myself very fortunate. I'm in Ontario, Canada and haven't seen any signs of the economy hurting sales. The season hasn't really started here yet, however things are looking up. Development is growing exponentially and people are flocking to my area. I hope things remain strong here and get better down south. Good Luck to you all!
     
  8. PORTER 05

    PORTER 05 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 642

    ive booked more lawns, clean-ups / mulching jobs , fertilizing ect than ever before, and already have a bunch of landscape jobs booked , just went shopping yesterday and spent alot of money on new stuff for this season and plan on having a great season like last year, not to mention we had our 2nd to best winter yet from plowing-
     
  9. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,919

    Booking is going well here too. The country may be in a recession but my family is not. I don't give a hoot about the media poo-pooing the economy - I will continue to act the same as always financially and be an asset to it. Lets go people!
     
  10. MJK

    MJK LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 356

    I think it will all depend on what part of the country your located. In SE Michigan I think it will get pretty bad this year.
     

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