Working late into the season

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Stonehenge, Nov 19, 2001.

  1. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 1,277

    I was just reading Kris' post in the wet saw thread, and made me think about having good weather late into the season.

    When I sell work into the fall, it seems that around September people start wanting to schedule work for the following spring. So, when mid-November rolls around, work is usually wrapping up, whether the weather is or not.

    We've got work booked for next year already, but I'm wondering if some of you out there try to sell things differently than me to be able to cram more work in if the weather is good in fall?
  2. kutnkru

    kutnkru LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,662

    A guy that I have worked with in the past who subbed our company out for labor usually is booked up to 14 months.

    He tells clients that are signing on for services after October slots that he will be scheduling them for next season. He lets them know in the event the season permits and they are ahead of schedule that he will move the jobs ahead to this fall weather permitting. This allows him to complete tasks at hand if necessary when something gets behind schedule and also opens up the charts to allow for more work too.

    This is also kind of a weeding out process where he can be chosey about what sites he wants to undertake this late in the year because he will have a jist of how the weather patterns seem to be formulating which you cannot do mid summer. He says that he doesnt get caught with his pants down because he promised work after October and the weather has a site shut down.

  3. kris

    kris LawnSite Bronze Member
    from nowhere
    Posts: 1,579

    Usually the work now, is work that has been sold for spring...not so much that the customers want to wait untill spring but just the way it worked out.

    This is a perfect time to really improve the bottom line .... hopefully your Bill in the night has been met(some time ago) and you can make some real money this time of year.
    I feel ...hustle up anything you can this time of year... 100hr jobs or under are perfect for this time of year... You may also be able to talk customers into doing part of next years project now...get your partial payment.
  4. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 1,277

    That's great info.

  5. dan deutekom

    dan deutekom LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 424

    My dad always told me that anything you do before April 15th or after October 15th is pure profit. I always work until I can't get a shovel in the ground. I have to admit some days are just pure misery though! Helps to get more work done and billed.
  6. diginahole

    diginahole LawnSite Member
    Posts: 249

    I sold two jobs last night and looks like two more later this week, that will get me well into december. The part that is hard to remember sometimes is to empty the truck every night so you don't end up with stuff frozen to it in the morning. I budget for April 15 - nov 15 before and after is a nice bonus.
  7. paul

    paul Lawnsite Addict
    Posts: 1,625

    For us anything after Thanksgiving is a plus, we have worked thru Christmas one year but it gets hard to have suppliers who want to work that late. Softscapes here are about over most nurseries are closing at the end of the week or next week, sod is still going strong but subject to weather, hardscapes are ok untill the sand freezes in the am, no use waiting for it to thaw out, walls are ok but compaction can be a problem with the cold weather.

    Besides how would we spend any time in the nice weather down south if we worked all year?
  8. Rex Mann

    Rex Mann LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 621

    We always sell late Fall work with the possiblity of it being done in the Spring. We like the late jobs-all the overhead has been paid!

    We also budget from April 15-November 15.

    If the weather hits early we have some Spring jobs "in our pocket".

    We are booked through Christmas-weather permitting.


  9. steveair

    steveair LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,073

    Great post considering the weather today.

    Walked outside this morning in a sweatshirt and had to take it off. Its the end of NOV. and I'm wearing a T-shirt! Last year, I installed a walkway over thanksgiven and had frozen sand, below freezing temps, and a job I had to return in the spring to repair because of the frozen ground and poor compaction.

    I've sold a few jobs in Oct. that I am tempted to call up and tell them that we could go ahead now if they are ready. I had planned them for spring, but it looks tempting with this sort of weather.

    Not that I have a past to look at, but I think late season work is more or less take what you can. I've been busy for the past couple of weeks, and quite frankly had expected to close shop for the winter.

    The funny thing is I think warm spells like this bring work in, as homeowners seem to not be in winter mode yet and are still thinking about landscaping. Still getting calls and people think its great that you can start next week, or even in a couple of days.

    I like the idea of not booking jobs late into the season. That way, if it does get cold, you don't have to worry about bouncing anyone back. Also, if it stays warm, then you still have those people lined up for the spring and then hopefully can land a few 'last minute' jobs and go into the winter months with some nice little presents.

  10. steveair

    steveair LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,073

    Perhaps I need to explain a few things on why I personally love this late season warm spell.

    I run my own business, but also do a lot of sub-contracting. So far, this late season warm spell is incredible because it works perfectly with my business.

    For the last couple of months, I've been doing some of my own jobs along with selling my own jobs for next spring. On top of that, I am also doing a lot of sub work.

    It seems I am getting bombarded with work now. A lot of situations are leading to this. First of all, a lot of guys are trying to squeeze that extra job in and are worried that the weather may suddenly change and cause them problems. Therefore, they want to do the jobs as quickly as possible. What this means is that they are calling me up to help them speed things and hopefully complete the jobs before the weather changes.

    Second, a lot of guys are losing/laying off there part-timers now. Know that the weather could change tommorrow, they seem to be bringing me in to help out rather than keeping there crews on for any longer. The nice thing about this is that if the weather continues to stay mild all winter, they will continue to call me.

    Third, guys are still wrapped up in bigger projects that they were suppose to have done already, and now are close to there deadlines. This kind of carries on most of the year, but with winter approaching, they are willing to bring in extra help just to insure the jobs completion.

    Lastly, work is going up in the desing end also. As a freelance designer, guys are calling me trying to get a 'on the fly' design so that they can get a last minute job started. Lot of guys looking to just get a rough plan together so they can get such things a retaining walls in now, and then worry about the planting and what not in the spring.

    I guess I'm just trying to say I love this time of year so far. I can keep booking my own jobs for the spring and yet keep busy working for other contractors at the same time. The best of both worlds.


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