Unlicensed Businesses!!

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by JDOG, May 8, 2003.

  1. JDOG

    JDOG LawnSite Member
    Posts: 25

    Has anyone tried to cantact their local government about all of the unlicensed LCO's in town bringing prices down and making the rest of us look bad. I was thinking about getting a list of all the licensed LCO's and whenever I see one I'll cross-reference them. Eventually I'll have quite a list I'm sure, then I'll send it to the city.

  2. grshppr

    grshppr LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 301

    I've been thinking about the same thing here. I dont't mind competition, but I don't like it when we are not all on a level playing field. I pay all my licences and dues, and so should others. I just don't have the time right now to make a list up.
  3. Hawkeye5

    Hawkeye5 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 295

    Jdog: Will you have any time left to mow?? And just what do you think the local authorities are going to do about the situation when you give them a list of unlicensed businesses??
    In my town you can't throw a rock without hitting a LCO and I have no idea how many are insured and have a business license. I have both, and my business is the only one where I have any control.
    With the low cost of entry for this business there are lots of folks that have no idea they need or should have a business license. They don't educate themselves on what needs to be accomplished, although I agree there are some that just game the system.
    A business license is small fish, what about taxes, application certification, commercial tags on the vehicles and a whole list of turf culture knowledge. These folks don't know and don't want to know what it actually takes to run a successful lawn business. They just want some quick $. They are in and out of business in a season or less if another steady job comes along, or until the temp. is in the 90 degree plus range.
    Heck, anyone can just cut the grass, right? The solution is to educate the consumer, and even then there are homeowners that will always go with the low price and not worry about it. Spend your time selling and being productive. I think that spending time cross checking business licenses will be wasted time. Control what you can by educating your customers and potential customers.
  4. AL Inc

    AL Inc LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,218

    Our Landscape Gardeners Association has really made an effort to speak out on this problem, and for the most part, it has fallen on deaf ears. What has happened is that license fees have doubled in the last year or so, and there has been very little enforcement. I have said it here before, I don't think I have ever seen a Consumer Affairs inspector in almost 10 years of business.

    I feel the best thing to do is just get everyone, "scrubs" and all, involved in the association. Show them how low prices are hurting us, and how to fix it. Everyone wants to make more money, so hopefully everyone will eventually move in the right direction. I may be wrong, this is JMO.

    I think Hawkeye made a great point by pointing out how important it is to educate the consumer. Let them know what will happen if an unlicensed, uninsured landscaper is hurt on their property. There will always be people who don't care and just want a low price, but there isn't much we can do about that.
  5. greenman

    greenman LawnSite Addict
    Posts: 1,405

    There were some guys from the Plant Board and some where else( cant remember, had to do with license and rules) around here a couple of months back pulling over every LCO around. They were chcking for everything, alot of people got fined. I didn't.:)
  6. Gravely_Man

    Gravely_Man LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,076

    I personally just worry about my own business and talk to my clients and potential clients on the need to go with a professional. I define a professional as someone who is licensed, insured, knowledgeable, reliable and able to perform all of their lawn care needs.

  7. HarryD

    HarryD LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,069

    I could care less what the next guys doing. im only worried about keeping myself and my customers happy.
  8. awm

    awm LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,354

    this part of the country, people are laid off everywhere. lawn mowing is the quick catch all. then u got all the kids doing it.
    id hate to see a law passed that required a license to mow a few yds.
    but id probably get all the buisiness i could handle. i just dont like everything so regulated. its a personal peeve for me.
  9. redbull

    redbull LawnSite Member
    Posts: 182

    Think this would be hard to prove that they are mowing for profit. Who's to say they places they are mowing are not relation owned or they are working off a debit. Good idea, but hard to get any thing done
  10. Green Pastures

    Green Pastures LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,457

    I've thought alot about this over the past three years in business. The trouble is IF we invite the government to place a higher priority on restricting unlicensed business within our industry, are we willing to put up with the consequences the extra scrutiny will surely bring.

    What consequences you ask?

    Well think about some of the latest restrictions in Virginia. I'm told have not confirmed yet but told that there is some question on weather or not you can even put lime down on a property without a license any longer. There are already tons of restrictions on all forms of herbicide and pesticide usage. I'm all for making sure those who are putting down these potentially dangerous chemicals know what they are doing and are not poisoning the environment. But, why is it that Landscapers are restricted and have to be licensed to use the same exact chemicals that a homeowner can go purchase at Home Depot.

    Who is is that would be more likely to use to much of a product?The homeowner who buys a 50# bag of fert that covers 12K sq. ft and uses the whole bag on their 4K sq. ft. property, or the landscaper who buys 1 50# bag that covers 12K sq. ft. and uses it to fert 12K sq. ft.? The landscaper has cost's to evaluate and would be more likely to only apply what is needed, the homeowner does not want to store the bag in his garage so he put's it all down.

    Roundup, it's available at Home Depot, yet I have to be taxed.....(cough)....uh I mean licensed to use Roundup. The list goes on and on.

    YES, I get a little fed up from time to time with the non licensed and not tax paying landscapers. But, NO, I do not want any more scrutiny of our industry by the government.

    Just go out there and do the best possible job you can do at fair but profitable prices, do a little praying and go for it.

    This is still the U.S.A. and you can do anything you set your heart and mind on doing.

    Brickman Group is a perfect example. The U.S.A.'s largest grounds maintenance company, last year 2002 posted $630 MILLION in gross receipts. $630 MILLION, it can be done and done within the limits of the current laws and regulations. Imagine what the owners take is on $630 million..............

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