Would you move to FL?

Discussion in 'Florida Lawn Care Forum' started by noble1, Jan 8, 2014.

  1. noble1

    noble1 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 22

    cynscapes- I know! FL is looking pretty good right now, huh? And back me up when I am willing to take sweating to death over the pain of freezing fingers and toes.
     
  2. easy-lift guy

    easy-lift guy LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,376

    I believe if you are seriously concerned about the weather here spend a whole month like July. If you can handle that month you may still survive. Otherwise your still over thinking the whole move, but than again only you can make a final informed decision.
    easy-lift guy
     
  3. noble1

    noble1 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 22

    easy lift- I am not concerned about the weather. I lived in Orlando for 6mos and GA for several years, and it was never a problem for me. My concerns pertain to state of the industry, differences in gear and practices, areas of the state with the proper demographics, and state regulation.
    I have seen on several prior posts on this forum where Florida guys are saying the industry in FL is a whole different animal than the rest of the US, so I am interested and would like to educate myself on how so.
    Asking questions and educating yourself speeds up your learning curve and allows you to progress faster and beyond others. I like to cover all my bases and formulate a plan. I don't want to be the guy with the mower winging it. If I stick around in this industry, I want to have a company. One I can walk away from for a week here and there and still have it operate.
    At the same time, I know you are saying don't overthink it and just jump in. I have done that several times in my life on a very large scale, and am far from afraid to do so. I know I can pack up my rig, drive down there, and make money, right this minute. That's not what I am trying to do. I want to be smart about it.
    It just comes down to, no matter how much I read regulations and magazine articles, I will not truly have an understanding of the real world situation down there, without input from experienced LCO's already on the ground. And that's why I ask.
     
  4. The different animal thing is that we work year-round, every year. We bill monthly, for 12 months of service. We have a lot of tiny lots so when guys here $80/mo to cut a lawn, it is a tiny lot that will see 1-2 visits max in the winter.

    Like I said before, don't come down here to just cut grass. You know design, which is a huge asset and an area where the real good money is. Cost of living should be way lower than CO. I want to move to San Diego at some point. The COL out there is nuts. Do I believe I can have a successful operation out there? You bet. But making a big jump like that is a bit intimidating.
     
  5. unkownfl

    unkownfl LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,838

    You would need the usdot to cross state lines. Once you get here you're consider Commercial after 10k so you would need different insurance at least State Farm doesn't cover after 10k here don't know about other carriers. You would still need to pull into any weigh stations over 10k or commercial at all really. If you're combined over 26k (f350 with 14k trailer) you will need intrastate dot numbers and if you stay within FL plus Class A CDL. I was eating earlier I can see the confusion with previous post. DOT can stop anyone and here DOT is combined with HWY patrol for at least the last year now they're one not all troppers bother with CMV but will stop and hold you for one to come. It is defiantly more lenient than what CO sounds like. I don't know how your hardscape business would transfer as you need to pull permit around here for a lot of things. You need to have special licensing to spread anything besides straight Fert and even Fert and round up you need to be certified. I can't say its always enforced but coastal communities will be enforced heavily if not this year really soon with the algae blooms we are having in our waterways. Like I said earlier if you're younger I wouldn't move any further south than Sarasota on the West Coast as it really turns into boring town. Ft Myers Cape Coral area is full of crime for the size of the population it's high compared elsewhere. There really isn't a place like SWFL that I've come across besides maybe western west palm area or Deland that has huge areas of homes but no subdivisions. Lots of canals to trim poor draining and just really crappy fill soil lawns. Yes housing is cheap down there but the jobs are not there and the area is has lots of poverty for the size. Yes there is very very very nice areas there too but for 250k you're not going to be near them yet alone within the same school district if you have kids. I'm not trying to knock SWFL but it was probably one of the worst decisions I've made to move from Orlando to there. If you've spent time in Orlando and enjoyed it you won't find another city that compares. I've lived out of hotels all over Florida working for a large FL utility company and have seen a lot of it and spend many months in different cities if not years. The only other area I would even recommend moving to besides CFL would be the lower treasure coast upper gold coast. PSL south to Boca Raton. The industry in those areas are the strongest because of the population alone and there is industry to support the lawn care industry.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2014
  6. noble1

    noble1 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 22

    FlGardner- Thanks for the input. So basically you are looking to get 20/cut in the summer, and 40/cut or visit in the winter, but a straight monthly rate of $80 year round? How many sqft are we talking for these lawns?

    Also, here in CO there are very few lawns to run a zero-turn on, due to gates to back yards. Max we can do here is 36"wb, but many gates won't allow more than a 32". It seems I see a lot of rigs with ztr's in FL. No gates?

    And I would agree, from what I am hearing, it sounds like my main focus should be design/install, and just back it up with a minimal amt of mowing.
     
  7. Yea, but don't think of it per cut, think of it per month. every week for 6 months, eow for the other 6. well, there are plenty of places here that a smaller mower should be run ,but guys use the big ones and rut the heck outta the lawn. That's why prices are lower, amongst other things. I would do full property maintenance and design/install. You def. need to learn the plants as there is no other state that grows most of what we grow. If you move to south florida there are tons of tropicals to learn. C and N florida not so much. You also have tons of palms and our natives. IMO, move to an area that is affluent but where you can find a decent house that is not expensive. That is one great thing about Fl, or at least where I live is there is a lot of money, but you can find very affordable neighborhoods. In San Diego, everything is expensive.
     
  8. unkownfl

    unkownfl LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,838

    If you want to be serious in the mowing side you have to go for speed here as you mentioned the price per lawn isn't great. We have 4 months of hardship if you're not annually you won't make much off of mowing during those months. You will have a VERY VERY hard time finding good workers that will allow you to walk away especially in the summer months. Think about how easy it is to get into mowing with minimal investment any helper could become competition next week with a good income tax check. Equipment wise if you got a nice truck 14ft trailer 32 walk 42 stander and a 60ztr you could knock out some lawns competitively. I don't know how much install work you would be able to get as the permit issue will arise and maybe you could rent a license from a GC or whatever but they're going to want a big cut.
     
  9. easy-lift guy

    easy-lift guy LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,376

    I did not say jump it in regards to making your decision and relocating to the Sunshine State. Many have tried and succeed with and without as much thought and questions going into making such a decision.
    Really depends what your looking for. Sooner or later you will decide to stop cutting bait or go fish, only you will know when and if that time will come. Most members on this site stopped cutting bait and have been fishing for some time. Not so much because they asked enough or not enough questions. Mainly because they wanted a better life for them selfs and their families. They did their time and learned while on the job.
    You will find your mark in life where ever you decide to relocate mainly because no one can pimp them selfs better than the real deal, or in most cases them selfs.
    easy-lift guy
     
  10. noble1

    noble1 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 22

    FlGardener- Some parts of SD are nice, but you are correct on COL. HUGE! A small middle class house will start at 300-400k on the low end. I lived in LA for about a decade, and had buddies with 1500-2000sqft ranchers on 6000sqft lots, and were spending $750k for them. And these were not new construction, we are talking 1960-1970's construction! Those prices have come down due to the bubble burst, but we are still talking 500k or so. Growing up in CO, I could never bring myself to spend that much on anything less than a mini-mansion.

    A HUGE problem with landscaping in CA is illegal labor. There are guys mowing for $15-25/cut out there. Many are illegals who live several generations or families to a single house or apartment, allowing them to survive making those types of wages. I can't imagine competing against that and making a good living out there. How do you afford a $500k home on 15/cut. Install work is the same. TONS of illegal labor. Actually, as far as I can recall, I have never seen a white middle-class landscaper in CA, other than maybe a foreman for a large commercial maint rig or install crew.

    As for cost of living comparison, CO-FL, they are pretty similar actually. Gas and home prices are very similar, and needed wages for a specific level of living are within a few thousand/year.
     

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