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What are some of the ways, maybe unusual ways that you guys have found to cut costs and raise profits? I have found that being organized adds huge advantages, such as getting gas when needed, and planning lawns by location.
 

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Cut cost is mostly a matter of picking good
equipment and maintaining it the very best
you can.That way you buy one time cut repair
cost to minumum.Raise profit by keeping
good cost records on everything spent in
your work.This way you know exactly what
to charge and know exactly what your net is.
 

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One time saver is planning the most efficent route. I usually go to the farthest lawn and work my way back. I also get ready the night before.
 

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I also get ready the night before, buy fuel for equipt. and truck at the same time and plan the fastest routes possible.
Also I send a letter in the late winter for customers to pick all the different services they wish, then schedule everything for that season in my CLIP and route it.I try to buy all the supplies I need at one time such as fertilizers , oils , trimmer line etc. Usually things go smooth .
 

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A few weeks ago I was at my local Lesco service center perusing through a pallet of clearence items. I bought a few quarts of Nalcotrol at that time. There was a used hand blower (echo) and I asked the price and the manager said it was a $100. I told the manager to give me a call when the price reached $20.

Well I just recv'd a call from that manager today stating he has sending be that blower via ups for $20 and shipping was included.

Since I have 3 other echo hand blowers in my fleet it is well worth $20 for spare parts.

He said the blower runs but not that good. After I clean the carbon build up from the exhuast port and muffler and throw away the spark arrester screen away it will be as good as new.
 

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I try to do everything efficiently and right the first time. There is nothing worse than having to repeat the same job or part because of laziness or cutting corners.
As far as equipment, I have bought 2 echo trimmers and 30" hedge trimmers reconditioned by Echo from Home Cheapo. they were 1/2 price with full warranty. This saved me a couple of bucks, and I always check the clearance section when I'm there.

jeffyr
 

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I keep a log of each account along with lot layout, amount of shrubs, trees, etc... I keep track of times and supplies used, what services, how busy the property is, weather-sometimes, time of day mowed, etc.

Works best for guys starting out, they can see how profitable each account is and where things need to be adjusted. After having a few years worth of such logs, it is easy to price new jobs based on the experience and by searching back into the logs for like properties.

Programs like Clip etc..(which I do not use any) might be able to setup schedules on a time basis, which is good. But, which yards drain better, which accounts have fewer customers on site at which times, which mower worked best on a certian hill in a specific weather condition, etc... makes a big difference as well.
 

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I do not really use enough of anything to buy bulk, except maybe fertilizer and mulch. A case of air filters might save a few dollars, but for more than I would use, my luck would be a mouse would make a nice home out of the entire box before I would use a few, end up costing me more the few.

Usually buying bulk also requires tying up your money into items that might be sitting around for a while. Would also have to be included into inventory at years end.

I know a few guys do this now - buying a load of mulch between a few companies to get that bulk rate. Maybe it would be worth contacting a few owner operators in your area and start a little co-op for buying bulk items.
 

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Check with your local parts supplier. Mine gives about a 20-25% discount on parts (blades, filters, trimmer line etc) in Feb. Sure you spend a little up front but you're going to spend it anyway,and it saves the time and hassle of getting it in peak season.
I used to have the best mail order supplier around until JD bought them out. Now they sell to my dealer ... not me. That was a real money saver for those 8 years.
 

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I think the buying in bulk is good for any business. I get enough (more than enough) oil, filters, belts, blades, spare parts I know I'll need. I also make sure my dealer is going to carry a good supply of parts. You will save a little money, and minimize downtime. Use a computer to "crunch" your numbers, not just exchange email. If you fertilize or seed, get accurate measurements of property areas, and buy all at once. If clients cancel, you could have a lot of inventory sitting around not making you money. Be careful.

I don't think we have much influence over costs. They are pretty low as things are now. What we need to do a better job of is managing time, especially equipment and weather related down time. If we take care of those little things, we can do OK. Just my 2 cents.
 

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After 18 years in the biz I still ocaisionally come up with small tweaks to improve efficiency. The best one in the last 4 years was using a comfort strap with my string trimmer. Even though I use a very lite-weight trimmer, the strap allows me to work faster & longer. This year I started just letting my trailer's tailgate/ramp drop from waist level instead of holding it until it reaches the pavement.
 

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Samurai,

Don't drop the gate. I did this and wasn't paying attention. It almost broke my foot. The embarrassing part was telling my wife why I was limping. :) Get a gate assist. Best money I spent this season.
 

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buying in bulk is only cost efficient if u have a place to store everything, in my case the only thing that i buy in bulk is salt with isnt really effected by the elements. buy fert in bulk can be risky, if there is to much humidilt it cuases the bags to sweat and sometimes eat through the bag. as far as mulch goes i would rather buy it for each job that way u know u are getting frash material, if u let bulk mulch sit for to long u will eventually run into decomposing problems on the bottom of the pile if u keep it indoors, and if u kep in out doors u are going to run into pre-mature sunfading. As fall as buying bulk supplies for equipment maintanace i think its the way to go, filters, oil,blades,and lubes. Also it is good to keep some spare equipment parts such as belts, plugs, wheels, pull ropes, and other items that quite often go bad and this will save u from having to run to the shop.
 
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