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Construction Vs Maintenence

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by landscapingpoolguy, Mar 21, 2004.

  1. landscapingpoolguy

    landscapingpoolguy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 822

    I was wondering for you guys what makes you more money with less overhead? Grass or installs.

    In my case my overhead is not even half to do installs verses what it is to do grass and I prolly gross about 3x's as much doin installs rather then grass. How bout you guys?

  2. Avery

    Avery LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,389

    More over head in installs but also more profit.
  3. landscapingpoolguy

    landscapingpoolguy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 822

    how do you have more overhead in installs?
  4. Randy Scott

    Randy Scott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,915

    Bigger dump trucks, bigger trailers, skid-steers, augers, sod cutters, cut-off saws, compactors, and then some. Both require a lot of equipment purchases but doing any amount of large install and landscaping jobs will far outweigh the cost of mowing equipment. Our enclosed trailer and truck combo with all the equipment for mowing is probably around $75k combined. Our landscape set-up, two trucks, two trailers, skid-steer & attachments, hand tools, etc.., probably right around $175k, maybe more. Even taking away one truck and one trailer still puts it at $125k.

    If you're talking about EVERY aspect of installs, it's huge money for equipment. If you're talking the $2 or $3k jobs only, light plant installs, then no, you probably would have more money into mowing equipment. Small landscape plant install jobs require a pick-up truck and a shovel.
  5. landscapingpoolguy

    landscapingpoolguy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 822

    My install jobs range anywhere from 1,000 - 25,000$ ....All of that equipment can be rented.....and included in the price of the jobs untill you make enuff money to purchase items of your own...I do alot of planting and hardscapes.....yes the trucks are bigger but they spend less time on the road then a grass truck does, hence saving gas as a big overhead......basically grass has a limit to the amount that can be made from it every year.....meaning 1 truck and crew can only do so much ......i see construction being way more profitable because the jobs sizes really depend what the customers want to spend $1000 or $50,000.

  6. aries

    aries LawnSite Senior Member
    from nj
    Messages: 334

    I find the construction end to defiantly be more profitable and yes you can rent all that equipment but if your doing alot of bigger jobs it's worth to make the investment I don't like paying the rental places when I could be making the profit! or paying for my equipment. the only thing that sucks about it is if you don't have enough business for the equipment it ends up sitting around alot and that's a loss when I see that happen I try to rent it out to other lco I know.

    Joe :cool:
  7. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,776

    Semiskilled help can be a very limiting factor on install jobs if your labor market is tight. Of the few people that are out there that will work in landscaping in my area, there are a lot more that you can put behind a mower than there are that you can turn your back on and let them plant something. There is no one available to hire as a supervisor.

    If this is a bad economy, I don't want to see what is going to be around to hire in a good one. Everyone talks about the bad economy that they hear about on the news, but I can not find anyone that is actually affected by it around here.

    Anyone can walk onto this sand bar and start at $14/hr as a basic landscape laborer with no experience on the same day.
    Imagine how that would limit you as an owner. You can sell tons of jobs, but you have no one but the stars of the court report in the local newspaper to get it done. Hopefully someone will have a license that is not suspended. They will stop at Dunkin Donuts on their way to the job after they punch in. No one will bring lunch, so someone has to take an order, leave the job, come back and take lunch with everyone else (that happens at morning break as well). Yes, you can fire them. Then you can watch them work for your competition while you don't have enough help.

    The result here is hundreds of small 2-5 man companies. Everyone is a chief and there are no more indians.
  8. landscapingpoolguy

    landscapingpoolguy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 822

    My delima is not too much labor for installs ...rather labor for Maintenence....on installs im always on site....on grass i cant be at every lawn....its hard to find guys that actually care about what they are doing.....guys that will turn the ztr without scuffing the lawns...guys that trim all the edges of the beds and sidewalks...and guys that actaully follow a rouite that I effciently set up...and lets not forget about guys thgat actually have driverse liscences.......In order to get it done right I have to hire out at a higher price to get the quality there....PLants can be planted wrong and still survive, but one week of a property looking like hell from ztr scuffmarks and clippings that were never blown away.....will give me an upset customer that either no longer wants service or no longer wants that particular worker at there home.....and ontop of everything my prices have to go up more putting me out of the market be cause its costing me too much hourly to find good help......so is it really worth it?
  9. desertrat

    desertrat LawnSite Member
    Messages: 86

    Say what you want about the amigos from mexico, but my experience is that they are for the most part very hard workers, do a good job and are willing to work for less than $10. My problem is finding one good person to supervise. I am small, but am very busy, and am trying to find someone to supervise a crew so I can bid jobs and posibbly supervise another crew. No one wants to work. People around here don't mind laborers, but they want to see a white guy one the job. Sorry, but those is the facts. I have had friends that are great guys and work hard, but don't really have the desire. Some say they will do it "for a while", even after I show them how much I make and how much they could make. I don't get it. They all have this idea that landscaping is beneath them. I am college educated, have worked for large companies, but got sick of the bs, and am now making way more than I ever have. I see the potential to make really good money, but it I can't find a good forman, I will be stuck making just good money.
  10. Strawbridge Lawn

    Strawbridge Lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 660

    AGLA: Thanks for your thoughts. Former New Englander myself.
    Laborrates for unskilled are between 8-12$ an hour here.
    As my work load increases the challenge is escalating in the labor

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