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The truth about Partnerships.

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Mr.Mow-It-All, Apr 13, 2007.

  1. Mr.Mow-It-All

    Mr.Mow-It-All LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 506

    I am just curious, I read a thread recently about merging two companies and such. I know that the majority on here say don't do that or have a partnership. But what has my curiosity is about the bigger companies. In every turf magazine they do a spot light on a company and more times than not they have partnership and sometimes have multiple partners. They usually appear to be doing very well.

    Since the majority here say no to it, What are the circumstances (very rare evidently) that a merger of 2 similar minded lco's could make it into a partnership and grow the biz. Idilizing the strengths and weaknesses of both.

    That other thread just got me thinking about it and thought surely there is a way and can work, and not just work but be better????

    Anyone else have some thoughts on this?
  2. Fantasy Lawns

    Fantasy Lawns LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,913

    It's not that it won't work .... because it does .... scales of economy is like running a "tight route"

    Biggest issue is .... CONTROL ... who has it n whom "gets it" ... most LCO's on here are "small" when compared to say .... an average business whom may consider this option ....ie less than $3M in Gross sales

    The easiest merger I can see in our type of field is ...say ... a Lawn care ONLY operation get "together" with a Landscape Install ONLY operation ...or with a lighting business or hard-scape ....

    But 2 bears in the same woods ....may have some "issues" .... I had a partner fore years ....n I can truly say I WOULD NOT CHANGE A THING ... if I could do it all over again ...

    Those whom have "opinions" & have NOT gone thru the situation are just spinning their wheels

    Don't get me wrong ... I did buy out my partner after 6 years n we are still very good friends
  3. LawnInOrder

    LawnInOrder LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 398

    i had a partnership with a kid my age that did nuthing. So the partnership sucked. Now I have anther partner that works and knows his stuff. We have beenw orkign for about 2 weeks straight and nevera had an arguement yet. Just make sure they bring just as much as you are to the table. My partner is bringing alot to the tables as opposed to my other partner. We share power. We look at the problem ahead and "brainstorm" to get the best answer. In a partnership you have to "let go" of some of the power. If you are power hungry it won;t work. IMO. Good luck with what evera you pick. LawnInOrdrer
  4. Mr.Mow-It-All

    Mr.Mow-It-All LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 506

    Any other thoughts?
  5. ncls

    ncls LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 441

    Usually, the larger partnerships are a maintenance only guy merges with a landscape construction, interior plant-scapes, or even a fert only company. they share expenses, and both grow off one another.
  6. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,839

    I think NCLS is right. The most successful partnerships are where the individual partners don't provide the same things. For instance, one runs the maintenance side and the other runs the install side and maybe a third runs the irrigation side. Or another viable partnership is where one partner is the financial backer but doesn't do any of the operational stuff and the other partner focuses on day to day operations; doing the work, giving bids, and running crews. In those cases, sometimes partnerships can work out.

    Still, don't kid yourself. While you may see a few in your trade journals that are doing okay, the majority of large landscaping companies are not partnerships. In my area, for instance, the largest landscape companies area ProGrass, Teufel, Seven Dees, and Landscape East / West. The first 3 of those companies are in the top 50 companies in the entire U.S. But all 4 of those companies are owned by individuals, not partnerships.

    There are a few successful partnerships I know of in my area. The Highridge corporation (also one of the largest landscaping firms in the U.S.) was a partnership. And I heard something tragic happened and one of the partners and now it's back to being owned by one guy.

    There are a few decent sized companies in my area that are fairly successful and are partnerships. But I don't think it's the norm. It seems to be the exception.
  7. 18lmslcsr

    18lmslcsr LawnSite Member
    Posts: 111

    Have hade many thoughts about this same topic and some soulful introspection and conversations with another Lco which sub contracting is done for. Still have thoughts of it, but with the type of dominant, driver, high energy, focused service 18LMS is, I dont believe it would go to smoothly.

  8. Mr.Mow-It-All

    Mr.Mow-It-All LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 506

    Yeh Jim that makes a lot of sense. That is what I was looking for, knowing that few partnerships make it in our biz, curious as to what the circumstances are that would allow a partnership make it.

    I am curious of the large companies around here, if any of them are partnerships. I know one company that has 60+ employees is not, but there are a couple that have 100+ and one that has 400+ employees that I don't know if they are partnerships or not. I may try and pick there brains.

    Thanks for the replies, Just one of those things I was wondering about that I didn't know much about.
  9. terrapro

    terrapro LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,234

    exactly. you have two very different but in a related industry well defined well established companies join then basically feeding off of each other
  10. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,839

    A lot of this stuff takes time to learn the answers to. I am only just beginning to see the bigger picture of our industry as I read more and attend more industry meetings and trips. One of the best ways to learn the real stories about these bigger companies is to get to know these guys at trade shows, trips, etc. Just on the few Rainbird Select Contractor and Rainbird Rewards trips I've taken in the last year and a few other industry related training classes and events I've attended, I've learned quite a bit about how my competitors work. They don't obviously tell you everything they know if they work in the same are that you do. But you get little pieces of the puzzle. You'd be surprised. They'll tell you more than you think over a beer after some fun event. And what's better is their employees will tell you all sorts of stuff! But I think I've learned the most from contractors who I've met who are from outside my area. They will usually tell me anything because I am not their competitor. I've learned quite a bit about the bigger side of this business and about how my competition does things over the last year or two by going to these functions and just chatting with people.

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