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Dollar signs In my eyes

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by muddstopper, Dec 20, 2005.

  1. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,341

    They say opportunity only knocks once, if you think about it to long before you open the door, you will miss it.

    I have been trying to convince myself for the last couple of years to get in the Lawn Maintenance business. I have posted this before so i know it sounds like a broken record. Last week I was asked to bid a hydro seeding job on a new development that is going up real close to my home. I talked to the developers and discussed the what, when's, and so-forths. I was informed that the acreage being developed was 359 acres. They are planning a gated community and $2 million dollar houses. A couple of years ago I would have thought hogwash, but with the developments and pricing I have seen lately, I dont know, might be possible. The group that owns the property spent big money buying it and are spending big money cleaning it up. I dont know if I got the seeding job yet, but the potential for even more money just seems to be slapping me in the face. If people have the money to build $2 mil houses, they have the money to pay a Lco to maintain it. I already have the turf and ornament license, even tho i dont sell the service. I already do lawn installs even tho I am more geared to the commercial seeding. I dont have the right equipment for chemical apps or commercial mowing but it ain't like I cant have it by next week if I wanted it.

    Now my questions.

    1. If you see this as a good opportunity to start a lawn service, what steps would you take to insure that you where ready when the houses are actually built and the owners have moved in. Note the actual building hasn't started yet, just underbrushing, clearing, and building roads.

    2. What other opportunities do you see that might be profitable to someone with the ambition and means to make it happen. I am just talking about maintenance and installations, not trying to build, buy or resell houses.

    3. Besides a mower, trimmer, and blower, what other equipment do you see as a "must have" to properly care for a development of this type.
    I already have trucks (3) and trailers (2-16 footers, 1-6x10 dump) and a Ventrac 4200 diesel with 60in mowing deck, as well as other attachments. The Ventrac is a good mower but probably not the best choice for this situation. (read as slow) Make a great backup machine tho.

    4. Any other questions I should be asking.

    5.I already carry Insurance and we are a Chapter S corp so yes, we do pay taxes, but would Lawn care require a different type of Liability Insurance, I can ask my agent this, but I figured I would get a faster answer here.
  2. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Messages: 4,899

    Exclusive contract with the builder for mutiple yrs for the maintenence work, if not the builder then the HOA of the gated community.
    + I'd want the install prior to taking on the maintenence
  3. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,341

    Thanks Mac, I havent gotten the first phase yet, but feel good about my chances. My competition isnt all that great. I keep getting new competitors but they dont seem to last long. the mowing might be another story. You know the "everybody with a pickup truck and a rider is a Lco" . The chemical side of the equation might give me an edge, aint but 4 licensed applicators in my county, My wife and I hold two of those. Of course those Pu truck/rider mower drivers are doing it without a license.

    I am not sure who the builder will be just yet, the owners are lawyers and doctors and such. I suspect that there will be individual builders for each home, with maybe one builder building several. You can bet when dirt is moved I am going to be Johnny on the spot. Heck, I can just about see it from my front porch.
  4. sildoc

    sildoc LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,925

    Builders are Builders. Either they 1. will do it all or 2. they will sub it out.
    If one builder does it all, Which they wont in a subdivision like that, get on them like a fly on you know what. Other wise the first in is usually the man to make money. Price your first at a small profit and then start tacking it on.
    As for the Maintenance the same first in is golden. do a good job and you will have the whole neighborhood.
    The Idea that the HOA will bid out the entire maintenance for the hood is ridiculous. People with that much money want different choices. Most will take the norm but others want the exquisite.
  5. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,112

    Well for one thing I would definately contact the contractor who is going to do the building and get your face in front of his,your card in his hand and let him know you would like to bid the installs,once the houses are built,also mention that you might be willing to do the clean-up after the construction as part of the deal is he provides the debri containers.
    Ask what his projected time frame is on the construction and when they will be breaking ground.
    Also show up on the site once in awhile and keep good contact without bugging him.
    Then I would do the same with the buyers of the property or the corp buying it and talk about what a sweet deal you can give them and how your fully staffed and equipped and insured ect,ect,to do what's required.
    Then you better know what your doing and follow through.
  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I don't solicit for work.

    They call me nowadays.

    It's just a lesson I learned, never solicit for work.
  7. John B Laidlaw

    John B Laidlaw LawnSite Member
    Messages: 95

    I'm having a hard time understanding a senior member asking a question that has been asked here umteen times in one form or another. I would think that you would have a good idea since you have been reading threads from 2002!

    Also, you seem to be very secreative of your "area" that you do business in. Maybe I'm being a bit paranoid but your question is very specific. How long have you been in business? Hmmmm
  8. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,501

    Personally, I would look at this opportunity from a completely different angle...that being of the future homeowners. My marketing strategy would first be to figure out what questions they will be asking of me...topics and concerns of theirs such as credentials, overall knowledge of the green industry, services to offer, years in the business, referrals, etc.

    I would also start working on (if you don't already have) some kick-azz literature, company brochure, website, etc. to set you apart from future competitors.

    That's how I would go about my plan of attack.
  9. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Messages: 4,899

    I still think the development of the sub-division is where most of the money will be made. You will have multiple entrances, club houses, swimming pools and common area that the developers will be responsible for. That can lead to a cple yrs of work depending on how fast and elaborate they want things. Compared to the maintenance I think you can net more in 2 yrs than you can in 10. JMO
    And if you catch the eye at the entrances, the home buyer can't help but notice your work every time they drive in. And thats 50% of the battle to getting the maintenance.
  10. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,341

    John, not trying to offend you but, after looking at your profile and seeing that you are not some doe doe just wanting to start a fuss, that is if you are who and what your profile suggest. I will try to answer you in as sincere a manner as possible.

    I am 3 months older than you and have been in some sort of business for about a year longer than you have. I live in Western NC. I started work helping my dad cut pulpwood when I couldn't even hold a chainsaw. I used to drive the trucks setting in his lap. I had my own pulpwood truck two years before I could even get a drivers license and I drove it to the wood yard without a license.. I have logged, pushed dirt, planted crops, raised cattle and pigs, built houses, bought and sold real estate, done electrical work, mechanic, race car driver, machining and fabricating, worked on the railroad for 29 years and currently own a hydroseeding company. Now with all the things I have done, nowhere did I mention that I ever ran a lawncare company. I dont think my question is unreasonable given the experience I have with doing lawncare. As for me being a member here since 2002, I have done a lot of reading and I have researched a lot of topics, I have probably spent more time reading about fertilizers, grass, soils, chemicals from other sources besides LS, than most of the people here that went to school to to become turf grass managers. Maybe my question is a little redundant, been asked and answered a thousand times, but sometimes when making a business decision, it just doesnt hurt to get other peoples take on the situation before jumping in with both feet. I hope I have answered all of your questions and I am not trying to be sarcastic with my long answer. Hopefully now you understand my position a little better. If not, oh well.

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