What is this industry lacking?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Sean Adams, Dec 7, 2002.

  1. Sean Adams

    Sean Adams LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,597

    I know everyone who frequents this site has seen or joined in discussions about "raising the bar" in this industry. The discussions usually revolve around the lack of professionalism, education, knowledge, lack of training, and even the dreaded term of "scrub".

    The question I pose is this...

    What is this industry lacking? What would make it better?

    This is in regard to information, training, and education that currently exists. This is in regard to web sites, magazines, associations, consultants, etc....

    Is there not enough of one thing? Is there too much of another? Are there some things seemingly valuable and worthwhile, but too costly?

    Is there something that should exist, that does not - an association for beginners, a start-up training guide for beginners, etc....?

    Everyone here knows about mowers, and hand held equipment and trucks and trailers. That is definitley part of the mastery of this business. But is there enough out there about insurance, taxes, hiring an attorney, interviewing employees, marketing, routing, scheduling, finances, advertising, etc...?

    If you were the "man (or woman)" that had the podium, and you could make any changes or additions to this industry,what would they be?
  2. crazygator

    crazygator LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,048

    Making the entry level higher up, instead of just getting a mower, trimmer and blower, throw them in your trunk and your in business. If you either had to show proof of some training, or proof of registered business, other license's, all insurance that applies, and all taxes being covered would be a great start. Possibly even an audit to make sure the books are right.

    Now I know that might seem high to some, but at least every customer would get to compare apples to apples.

    Now I also know all the above cannot help a person or person's have skill in this business, but at least they would have to put out a little more in time and money to acheive a legitimate start.

    I think we all get beat up by these people that take all the short cuts. Make things where they couldnt, or make it very hard for them to take the easy way.
  3. DLS1

    DLS1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,619

    I started this year part-time because I was out of work as a contract programmer for 2 months and was just waiting for my next assignment. First time time I was out of work between assigments. I kept up the lawn mowing after going back to work.

    I got all my learning from this site or I would have made a few mistakes. Magazines, associations would be good but who really needs it since you can get all or near all of your questions answered by using the search on this site.

    Not to get anyone mad, but this is a low cost entry profession that anyone can start with a few bucks. You could work for a existing LCO for maybe a week and get all your basic skills down easily if all you are doing is mowing,trimming. So with such a low cost to enter the field, low training entry, anyone can do it and get all your answers at lawnsite. I really don't see how you will raise the bar.
  4. jeffex

    jeffex LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,933

    The reason I like this business is that it is truly a free market system. Once you let the gov. regulate it to death you'll have a bunch of bureaucrats riding around in AC cars stopping your crews for inspections. Too much BS up front and you'll drive even more lcos underground. They will be doing the same work, they just won't be paying taxes. Surely having insurance and a safe work practice is important. It is my job to prove to my customers my worth over some lowballer.
    Supply and demand drive this business and it is different in each area as we have read here on lawnsite. I try to look and act professional. People love a brand name. Try and develope your own name in the business. Chem Lawn is a good example of brand identity. People call them because they know the name. They don't check lisc. or credentials of the guy who shows up to spray. We all have seen the handy work they do but they still are #1. In my area there were more "scrubs" than ever this year but most are gone after the drought. Now there is more work than ever. I talked to several big lcos in the area and they all got swamped after the rain came again.
    I protect my business by culling out non profitable customers and trying to give personal service for a price. An industry can be self-regulated but once you let the gov. regulate it they only want to grow to create more jobs for fat cats. I can see a 1000 page regulation manual being typed up now. Your equipment prices will go up to meet stricter standards and many people will go back to letting the undependable kid next door cut the grass because they can't afford you. Supply and demand. Be careful what you wish for!
  5. Strings

    Strings LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    This industry like most was better off when the people in it were too busy and had too little time to think up new ways to"improve" things now that it has progressed to the point where there's enough money to pay someone to sit around and dream up stuff look out.
  6. WatkinsLawn

    WatkinsLawn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 40

    Well said Jeffex!

    LAWNS AND MOWER LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,129

    RAIN!!!! Seriously, I feel there needs to be better regulating at the local and state level in terms of being licensed.
  8. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,501

    IMHO, our industry lacks consistency and quality control due to the fact there is little or no government controls or standards.

    There are no real "benchmarks" or "guidelines" to follow as there are in other industries. This industry is also very fragmented. 12 year old kids "participate" in it to grown men who have dozens of employees.

    Lastly, there is no average type or "this is a normal" LCO. It runs the gamut of going from a 12 year old having their mom or dad throwing a 21" push mower into the back of the family station wagon (SUV these days) to someone showing up with $100,000 worth of equipment to manicure someone's property.

    just my 2 cents.
  9. Strawbridge Lawn

    Strawbridge Lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 660

    I think equipment manufacturerers need to focus
    more on one stop shopping. Mowers that have more capabilities than just cutting grass. For example: Mini compact loaders: These machines dove into an existing marketplace and offer 30+ attachments. Now John Deere/Kubota mini compacts are coming on strong..
    Our industry EM' needs to make our machines more multi-tasking with easy attach/de-tach systems for baggers, aerators, power rakes, seeders, (combo units) spreaders, and so on. There are a host of companies that realize this and they are filling a gap for the moment. The ZTR has come alonmg way in recent years and I think there are many more creative applications for these machines that will not sacrifice cut quality.
  10. The Yard Man

    The Yard Man LawnSite Member
    from FL
    Posts: 4

    One of the benefits of this entry is the ease of entry, but this is also a detriment when you get established. Me and my partner just started this past year and we learned as we went.

    We had to do all the leg-work in obtaining insurance, licenses, etc. This information was not readily available in one place. We didn't have any guidlelines to follow either, we just used our common sense.

    But we have learned as we are now to the point of hiring workers that sometimes common sense and basic knowledge isn't enough. Our workers do some stupid things that just don't make sense.

    From what I have seen in our area training and education for this industry is non-existant. Their just aren't any programs available for this. I see "scrubs" everyday and I see many "professional" companies also they are a dime a dozen, but they are all making a living as new companies pop-up everyday.

    Simple guidelines would be great, but do we really want the government involved in our industry? Would it really eliminate "scrubs"? I don't think so.

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