An analysis of your competition

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Willofalltrades, Feb 11, 2007.

  1. Willofalltrades

    Willofalltrades LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,000

    I am doing a analysis of my competition. It is a project for school and I feel it will help me in selling my services by listing my positives over the studied competition. I am trying to figure out how I want to go about this. To classify my competition by their individual practices is just rediculous because you can't possible list every single LCO in Northeast Ohio and analize their strengths and weeknesses. So should I group the local industry into 3 main groups: small, medium, and large? If so what level of income would you say the 3 should pertain to? Is there a better way to go about this? Input please.
  2. Woody82986

    Woody82986 LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 2,128

    This sounds like a rather interesting project. I would say grouping the industry by size would be a good way to do it. Are you thinking about grouping by size in relation to gross profit, amount of acreage serviced, number of employees, or what? If profit, I would say small = anything under $150,000 yearly gross... medium= $150,000 to $500,000... large $500,000 and up.
  3. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,899

    Sounds like a great project. Beats the ell out of the stupid projects I got when I was in school.

    I think you may be over thinking the assignment. If it is truly your competition you are to compare the group should not be so big. It is likely you are not competing with as many companies as you think.

    I know in my market I have less than a dozen companies I compete with. Yes there are many that do similar work but there are few that I consistently am bidding against.

    I would look at the niche you are in and if you are working part time I think other part timers would be your competition. You could separate between part timers that are otherwise employed (fire fighters and the like), those that are students and maybe solo operations that do similar $$ volume. The hard part is going to be getting others in your market to open up to you and give out information.

    You could shop them. Have someone call them to do a bid, have that person ask questions that you have given them. How do you bill, what is your policy on skipped cuts, what is your hourly rate for extras like planting Flowers I buy, what other services do you provide , etc.

    Would be interested in hearing your results.
  4. Willofalltrades

    Willofalltrades LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,000

    Not at all... You guys don't even know the size of this project, excuse me, research paper.
    Its going to be 30+ pages. I'm not talking 8th grade stuff... Its making me develope a more indepth business plan than half of lawnsite has. Take a look at the attached document and read my requirements. I'm doing this so I can can go and stay at the Columbus Hyatt and present it to judges.

    I'm just asking your input on what would be the easiest way to classify my competition (a small part of this paper).

    Attached Files:

  5. Willofalltrades

    Willofalltrades LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,000

    I am doing the Entrepreneurship Written Event.
  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Man, I don't know how much nerve you have, but likely the best way would be to conduct some in-person interviews. That is to say, I would just call more than a few Lco's and say you're doing a study for your school project, and would they mind answering some questions?

    You could do it over the phone, or set up appointments and go over, all up to you.

    Don't lie, do be upfront, but I think if you accidentally forget to mention that you do this also, that probably wouldn't hurt.
    Not sure if it would hurt if you did mention it, you might try both angles as one part of the study... ?

    Then I would ask them what they feel could be constructive about the competition, what do they think factors in the heaviest, what kind of competition is good, what kind they don't care for, stuff like that, as some examples...

    Be objective, do your best to separate yourself from the business, I think this would make their answers more candid or perhaps informative.
    On that note, if you can see it from their point of view, that's the goal here.

    Just my .002
  7. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,899

    As I said before your competition as a part time LCO is going to be very limited. The size of the research paper has nothing at all to do with who your competition is.

    Why are you asking us anyway? We don't even know what you do? You are clearly smarter than most of us, so most replies will be of no use to you and a waste of our time to reply.

    From what I read the assignment is fine to do on a theoretical business. I would suggest thats what you do, If you want to win the prize. If you want to learn more about your competition OK-fine do it on the LCO's but don't expect to win anything.

    I promise you a venture capitalist would not spend a moment of time reviewing a business plan from a start up LCO. Even a judge pretending to be a venture capitalist would not choose a LCO to fund for start up. So if you want to stay in the hotel on someone else's dime I suggest you move on to plan B.
  8. Willofalltrades

    Willofalltrades LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,000

    If I thought I was smarter I wouldn't have started a thread about it. I just want to know what you guys classify a small, medium, and large business. I get the point your making about my competition being small businesses. In fact most of them are so small they aren't listed anywhere so it makes them impossible to get a hold of (including me but I am trying to change that). Point is I compete with way to many small businesses. Can't list each one. The paper is based on a theoretical business but I choose to do it on my business because I have the first hand experience that others will not on their paper.
    Sorry I explained the details of the paper, just tell me in numbers what you think a small, medium, and large business is.
  9. Tim Wright

    Tim Wright LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,034

    The government classifies small business as a multi-million dollar operation, and a large business, well Microsoft, IBM, GM, etc are large businesses.

    As for your project, take the analysis from every angle possible and not just size.

    1. Retail or sales demo location or no?
    2. Size of location = sq ft.
    3. Number of employees
    4. Number of services offered
    5. Number of employees assigned to each different service
    6. Amount and types of equipment, purchase value and street value
    7. Type of advertising to generate sales
    8. Number of divisions in company = tied directly to #3
    9. Sales and revenue from each division or service per season
    10 Rate of Growth from startup until now
    11. Best year for sales - why
    12 worst year for sales - why
    13 Best year for growth - why
    14 Worst year for growth - why
    15 Is the sales area - seperate from equipment storage area or all the same
    16 Does the company go by the model of quality driven for revenue or quantity driven for revenue?
    17 What is their mix of any of the above questions - for success
    18 Do they do any free community work to get their name out there?
    19 How much does that cost?
    20 What kind of employee programs do the have to keep them the best?

    The list can go on and on.

    As for numbers of LCO, if you are grossing 150K your on the verge of cranking. If you go between 150k & 300k start writing home and if your business goes over that, then start looking at buying everyone out. I don't know. I tend to look at things a little differently. Like shooting for the business large enough to be able to hire and still make my living if I do nothing in the field.

    You might also want to do a little video also showing each one if they would let you. Charts and all will help out.

    But someone above me is right when they said a venture capitalist would not be interested in looking at this, at least until you become large enough to dominate the market and buy out everone else, and then you would not need them anyway.

  10. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 2,116

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