What's a scrub? Am I? Are you?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Up North, May 12, 2004.

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  1. Up North

    Up North LawnSite Bronze Member
    from MN
    Posts: 1,063

    Since joining Lawnsite.com I come across something about scrubs everyday. So you tell me...

    This is my first year in the business, 38 years old, 2000 Chev. Silverado 1/2 ton 4x4, new 6.5x10 Big Tex trailer, new JD 48" rider, 21" Toro trim/push mower, new Stihl FS80 trimmer, new Stihl BR420 backpack blower, bagger system for JD, protective equipment, back up Craftsman trimmer, backup Homelite blower, business cards, flyers, statements, quote forms, 36x36 shop, 8x14 office in my shop, insurance, registered business name, and pay my taxes. I do spring/fall clean ups, mowing, trimming, blowing, edging, overseeding, aeration, de-thatching, pruning, residential & commercial.

    When I do a job, first I pick up any debris or toys, etc. that may be laying around, then I mow, trim & blow. Probably take too much time on each job, but at this point of my business I need to make sure everything is perfect. If the customer is on-site I ask before I leave if everything looks good to them. If they are not on-site, I will make a follow up call that evening to make sure it looks ok. (This I do every other visit or so) Around mid-season I will be sending out a "Thank you for your business" card with a referral coupon. End of season, just before xmas I will do the same with a Christmas type card, mentioning that we do snowplowing.

    At this point as far as I can tell, my customers consider me a professional. But since I can't afford an eXmark or Hustler at this time, and haven't acquired my licensing to apply fert., herb., or pesticides (of which I don't and won't do until I have my license). Have I undercut someone's price on a job? Probably, I don't know how much everyone is charging. Have I been undercut? Probably.

    So, am I a scrub in the eyes of all you professionals? If I am a scrub, why? Is it a certain number of years you have to be in this business before a guy is no longer considered a scrub? Or is it the money invested in equipment? I'm interested to know what the professionals think so I can change anything that needs to be changed because I want to be successful in this business.

    Shouldn't the most important thing be that my customers consider me a professional? Because without that, I wouldn't be building my business nor be able to upgrade my equipment over time. Thankfully people keep calling and adding jobs to my schedule, that must be a good sign.
  2. J&R

    J&R LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 835

    This is a scrub to me. If you have more customers than you can handle and can't afford to buy a new mower your are a scrub. That turns out that you don't charge a fair going rate. A kid pulling a mower behine his bike is not a scrub if he will charge a faie market rate.
  3. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,028

    I wouldn't call you a scrub by any definition.

    Its business ethics that seperate scrubs from legit business people. I know guys that have Exmarks and Walkers that lowball because they have an alternate way of paying for their hobby. I can do that too but I run my business as a stand alone business.

    Yes there are the scrubs that have the crapsman on a beat up trailer that don't pay taxes and work for cash but you certainly are not giving the impression that is what you do.

    Don't let all that scrub talk ruffle your feathers. I started with a homemade trailer, a Toro garden tractor and a bunch of homeowner tools. I did good work and got more jobs. More money and more investment into commercial equipment. Here is where you have an advantage over me. When I started, there was no Lawnsite so I did my best guess because as you can imagine, no lawn care guys would help me out.

    You are doing fine, keep it up and set some short and long term goals for you and the business. Good Luck.
  4. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 14,700

    It sounds like you're doing pretty good to me. In regards to the above statement, I would stop pestering the customers. I know that you are only trying to assure your quality control but to a lot of people this can be seen as "fishing" for a compliment. I do ask customers from time to time how everything looks but not with a 2 week frequency. More like once or twice a year.
  5. Tonyr

    Tonyr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,973

    you are running your business honestly and legit, that's not a scrub. scrubs are cheats, scrubs are deliberate poachers, scrubs work for ultra low prices and stuff the market expectations, scrubs aren't concerned with quality or representation etc.

    sounds like you are going great, step up to a rider or stander when you can, makes things so much easier and you 'should' earn a lot more.

    good luck.
  6. maple city

    maple city LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 305

    In my opinion, a scrub is a person or company that does not carry insurance or pay taxes. If their area requires permitsor licenses, they don't bother to get them. A scrub will mow a $30.00 lawn for $15.00 just to get the work. The scrub can do this because they don't follow the rules that the legitimate businesses do. A scrub ruins the market for the other companies in their area.
  7. fga

    fga LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,449

    i disagree with that statement, because your business bottomline might be very profitable, but constantly increasing living exspenses can take a chunk out of your profits. What i mean is, I don't low ball, I'm always in the ball park, my bottomline is decent. I still can't run out and buy a 2000 - 4000 dollar machine at will. I'm paying off school loans, ancient credit card bills, also paying off odds and ends on my credit report to clean it up. When this "stuff" gets paid, I'll probaby be able to save for a machine relatively quick as appossed to now, but I don't think I'm a scrub.
  8. A1 Grass

    A1 Grass LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 330

    A SCRUB is anyone who charges less than YOU, has cheaper equipment than YOU and conducts business different from YOU...

    (that was a joke... get it?):D
  9. dvmcmrhp52

    dvmcmrhp52 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Pa.
    Posts: 4,205

    A scrub??????
    Don't nurses wear scrubs?
  10. Mark McC

    Mark McC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,565

    My only comment is that I wish I had a shop that's 36 feet square. Man, that'd be sweet.
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