Why do so many LCO's fail?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by kebrowns, Oct 15, 2012.

  1. kebrowns

    kebrowns LawnSite Member
    Posts: 203

    I often buy lawn stuff from criagslist and its scary to see there is always some guy or guys selling all their equipment trying to get out. Why is that?
     
  2. alldayrj

    alldayrj LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,749

    They think since they can mow grass or dig a hole that they are qualified to own a lawn business. Not just work in one
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  3. 94gt331

    94gt331 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male
    Posts: 1,692

    Alot of guys start this type of buisiness because anyone can cut grass. But they start and soon enough realize, they can't afford to run a legitimate buisiness. It takes so much work to make a good living at this and they probaly don't have the actual drive to go find work to keep them busy enough. Plus the winter time makes it even harder to stay in buisiness if you don't save, save, save. Alot of these guys probaly are happy to go back to work for someone after a few months.
     
  4. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,033

    Because they don't commit to doing what it takes to service their customers come hell or high water. You need to have the postal carrier mentality....Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these LCOs from the swift completion of their appointed rounds. That and they tend to try to compete by having low prices. And most importantly, they don't have a contingency plan and/or cash reserves for when something breaks or when their income stream dries up when the drought dries everything else up. You might be able to run a household paycheck to paycheck if you have a steady job, but you can't run a business that way, because income and expenses are not fixed...they vary.

    What would you do if you blew the engine in your Bobcat tomorrow? What if someone T-boned your truck. Would your lawns still get mowed? What if you messed up on your mix and killed 3 lawns and had to wholly replace them all? Or if you fell off a step ladder doing a shrub job and separated your shoulder? It's that type of thing that can put a small operator out of business in a heartbeat.
     
  5. 123hotdog

    123hotdog LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 481

    I went to a lawn care seminar put on by a guy out of Ohio named Wayne Volts. There were over 50 companies in the room. He asked " if you have been in business more than five years raise your hand " . To my amazement only two out of fifty had been in business more than five years. The first year the business will not support itself, much less the owner, or worse his family. Each spring I sell the oldest mower I have during income tax time. You would not believe it but every year some fool comes to the house with his wife's income tax check and is gonna be the next big lawn care sensation. Sometimes they even come back in August when its over 100 degrees and try to sell the mower back for whatever I'll give them. I worked a clock job and did lawn care on the side for three years to build my customer base. Then for the next three years I worked a part time job in the winter. Now finally this will be the first winter I am not doing the part time thing.
     
  6. jrs.landscaping

    jrs.landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    from Maine
    Posts: 2,715

    I agree with all of the above, bad management and lack of drive to succeed. I like these guys that say "oh look at that company with all the new equipment." Like it fell out of the sky, it takes A LOT of work to build a business. My wife still yells at me when I leave at 5:30 and get home around 9 some nights. I always tell her it's the price you pay to play the game. Some guys just don't get that.
     
  7. inzane

    inzane LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,348

    why do so many go into the business? alot of people i've known have gone in thinking they were gonna make it rich. i'd rather make less money doing something i love to do everyday, than make more money doing something i hate and live above my means like so many do these days. my point is that i think some have un-realistic expectations and just want to work for themselves and mabee do not realise that it is just as hard as working for "the man".
     
  8. RSK Property Maintenance

    RSK Property Maintenance LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,485

    i've been doing this since 2004, i was in high school with little bills to pay, actually none except car insurance when i turned 16 and had a truck, then gas for that, and gas for the mower and trimmer and blower, and i did all that and had some fun money with the few lawns i did. then i went to school in from 06-07 then in 08 i said efff school in the spring time and went back to landscaping part time and worked with another landscaper, then in spring of 2010 i didn't go back to work for that company and i only did my lawns for that whole season, wasn't legit didn't advertise, it was tight but i payed all my bills on time, put gas in everything and had some money left over for fun, then in 2011 i registered became legit, got insurance, and started advertising and doubled if not tripled the work i had, and everything was fine, plenty of money to pay my bills, no issues going out like a normal 22 year every weekend, winter was fine too because we had that october storm so i bought a chipper in november and that made me a ton of money, enough to where i took my first vacation in probably 14 or 15 years. and this year i have grown an a lot over 5x the amount of business from last year, more advertising and more networking, a lot more chipping and wood removal jobs still thanks to the oct. 31 storm, new mower in june paid in full, new bagger oct. 1st paid in full, new leaf plow, and all new tires on the truck, the trailer, everything is coming along nicely. next year if i can double again i will be estatic, and probably hopefully buying a house and paying it off within 5 years or so if things go halfway as planned. also my revenue from snow plowing is expected to increase 100-150% this year, and i turned down a lot commercial work already this year. so that is how you don't fail, you make sure its going to work before you jump in head first! that is a start of how you make in the business.
     
  9. THEGOLDPRO

    THEGOLDPRO LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,223

    Because they are dumb.
     
  10. phillie

    phillie LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 861

    or ignorant, or both
     

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