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Elm and Stone your not...

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Toroguy, Apr 20, 2003.

  1. Toroguy

    Toroguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,075

    I remember when Dixie Choppers ruled this board. Why? Because the man who we most admired used one. Eric Elm

    One man said that profitablity could be had with a lesser and more affordable walk behind. Lawrence Stone.

    Since this time of Lawnsite glory has faded and been replaced with a more diversified group of so called business people, I have found this site less intiguing.

    Who the blazes are you to judge us Toroguy?

    This is a business of pure competition. For those of you not familiar with the term "pure competition" get back on your tricycle, grab your Scooby Doo lunch pail, and re-evaluate your High School education, and immediately reconsider some formal business school training.

    Start up costs for this industry are very minimal. As an entrepreneur you should have realized this. If you maintain your home lawn, you can achieve this same result, on a professional level, with the same equipment you already have. A business is started. A few forms, stamps, notarizations, and phone calls later you are ready.

    Toroguy you are crazy to say this jibberish!

    Most of us started in this same manner. Those of you who took the high road...in other words, the road of credit and finance, are yacking about how scrubs have taken some of your business. Why? Because of financial incompetence.

    Lawnsite majority likes to brainwash you into the belief that by spending you can earn. Why would "they" say that? "They" fear competition. "They" want you to buy a $8000 mower, not to raise the industry, but because they have invested this money. The funny thing about the mower is that "it" actually will return on the investment.

    The other things are the big money down the drain formula nobody wishes to discuss scenario. Lifestyle and consumeristic greed. The vehicle required for towing a lawn trailer can be a Chevy Citation or a Hummer SUV. Those that have chosen a "pride" vehicle for business and pleasure have raised the bar...for them, not the industry. Along with the token amusement vehicle comes the payment and insurance. Are we running a business based on profit? Or a personal self prostitution ring?

    Lawn Boy Pro mentioned today that "if your a professional get professional equipment" regarding hedge trimmers. My response to him and others is get a calculator, get an accountant, get your head out of your fourth point of contact, get a clue...this is business, treat it as such, or fail.

    Good luck.
  2. BobR

    BobR LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 714

    Toroguy - Boy did I see myself in many of the points you were making but the one that really stood out was 'consumeristic greed', I hate to admit it but the wife says I have that trait so it must be so. A while ago there was a thread concerning 'what do you have invested in your business' (or something like that) WOW the folks here certainly are not afraid to spend, I spend a lot but then I do not owe a lot (truck payment), work hard and enjoy every minute of it (except for having to use a ra**).
    IMHO Good Post.
  3. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,028

    I'm with you on some of your points. It seems that anyone can buy a mower and start a business. It takes more than that to keep running a profit making business.
    Yes I started before this board was ever thought of and continue to have a business that makes a good profit. I see lots of guys for a few months or years then they are done. I agree there.

    I make a profit to spend on my wants and needs.

    After all of my business costs are met, I have something left for me to spend or save. Thats my profit. If I buy a big truck, thats what I want to do. It will be from profit, not from the vehicle replacement account for the business. I am not being argumentative, I may not totally understand your post on consumerism.
    I agree that just spending to keep up with some percieved notion is not always the most frugal thing to do. But some people like to do that. I have made some purchases to make me happy in some way and I guess that having the ability to do that makes me happy too.
    I have to say that there are +10,000 different opinions here that enjoy doing a common thing. The way they do it can be as different as you and I. Thats what makes America so great.
    Thanks for an insightful post.
  4. jeffex

    jeffex LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,933

    This week I was mowing a street of 1/4 acre homes and saw a friend who I helped get lawns over the years. I am part time he is full. I can carry 50 customers and i'm booked so I gave him some more referrals. The first thing he asked me was "when you gonna" get a lazer?". I told him the tough answer that as much as I want one of those toys my lawns don't justify using one. I have 1 [ 1.3] acre property and the rest are 1/4 to 1/3 props. I have the money saved but as a businessman I can't make that purchase. Walk behinds with velkeys suit our niche. At the end of the day I still look at profit as the driving factor in my business. I use gear drive toros and can fix anything on them. With a full time job as well I can't afford down time so the simpler the better for me.
    My friend told me I should look for some bigger lawns for a lazer. Do the math [as Darrell Waltrip would say]. Spend $7500 to move up to cutting lawns in a market where every lco wants to be and competition is fierce, or stay in my niche and cut lawns for about the same price where I can pick and choose the ones I want. What will I do . Tune in next week for the suspenseful conclusion of this reality based show !
  5. nelbuts

    nelbuts LawnSite Bronze Member
    from SW, FL
    Messages: 1,053

    I have to agree with Toroguy to some extent. I have had all the glitz and it is good. It feels good to see four trucks and trailers, two pruning crews, and yourself hit the gas station at the same time every morning, blocking every single pump in the complex. The pictures look good. The $300K worth of equipment looks good. And, the $1.5 mil in maintenance contracts looks good.

    But that is where it ends for me. I literally gave it all away and started over again from scratch. Started once again with a 36"WB then bought a Z when it was needed not wanted. Ran a used trailer for 6 years. Everything I purchase now is because of need not want. That is very important. The first of this month I decided to get a smaller Z as a "back up" to my five year old Turf Tiger. Did I need it for everyday use? No. However, two days after I made this purchase the water pump went out on my TT. A week later the gear box bracket broke loose from the deck. These resulted in about five days of down time I would not have been able to deal with. I purchased a new trailer lawn trailer a few months ago. Why? Because I needed something to haul my yard waste. You see I took the old trailer and built 4' sides on it and now place all my shrub prunings in it. When it is full I take it to the recycling center. Net result $30.00 per week savings. I researched the trailer purchased for three months and saved $350. by driving 125 miles one way.

    I purchased a new pick up in 1996. It now has 215,000 miles on it. Go Chevy! Everything is based on need and the ability to get the job done at a profit. Yes I have one payment now, a mower. So from my earnings I pay $234. per month. Not to bad I'd say.

    I did buy something I have wanted for quite some time, a new welder. I have a need for it but like most not an everyday need. Mostly a need of trying to get something broken fixed right away.

    To individuals getting in this business I also say buy the best equipment you can afford. Not the biggest, or the biggest name but the best quality equipment you can afford. To me if you buy three cheap weedeaters fine, I want the better quality so as not to have the problems down the road.

    Finally, my problem has never been with the ease someone can get into this business but the quality of people. Our industry is filled with crooks, drunks, and other quality low life's that reflect poorly on the hard working individuals who care about the industry. They are the "lawn dogs", the "scrubs" that do not care.
    That is what bothers me about our industry.
  6. Sean Adams

    Sean Adams LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,597

    Of course there is going to be a significantly more diverse group of people when there are over 10,100 members as opposed to 800....

    Who is the LawnSite majority????

    Brainwashing.... I don't understand. People suggesting professional grade equipment to do particular jobs is wrong, dragging the industry down, and "brainwashing"?

    Driving a new truck versus an old truck....point taken - but that's every service industry, not just this one....

    There are thousands of guys out there in the lawn & landscape industry who have never heard of LawnSite.com and don't own a computer who still make the same mistake of getting in over their heads at times.... don't balme this site or the people here.

    Instead of posting claiming everyone in this business is infantile, foolish, and without business sense - why not post in an informative helpful manner and teach everyone here how you have seemingly solved all the problems to running a successful business in this industry....
  7. thartz

    thartz LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 486

    Whatever happened to the "You control your own destiny" theory.If I tried to keep up with the big boys I wouldn't have time for anything other than lawn care.Build at a pace that is comfortable for your budjet.I feel good that all my equipment is paid for and if something ever happens that I want to fold up I don't have the burden of being handcuffed to financial company debts.I went that route once and felt I could never take a day off because I had loans to pay off;people with families to support,etc.Now It's me and a couple of employees and I am much more comfortable and stress free.
  8. DLS1

    DLS1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,619

    Interesting post for someone who is 35.6 years old. Are you having a bad day and need to vent.

    Some LCO people are happy with nice houses while others like better LCO equipment. If you ask the wife I bet she will always say nicer house since that is her priority.

    Everyone wants to be happy doing the work they do. I am part time and I went to college knowing I wanted to do indoor office work but not sure what. I needed to do something that would constantly challenge me mentally and I ending up being a programmer.

    If your a full time LCO then I can see the best equipment you can get would may make you happy. I guess if your happy with the best equipment and it is making you a profit and the wife and kids are happy with the house you live in and the car you drive then everyone is happy then you got a good life.

    Everyone does not fit in one mold and that is what is great about the USA, we have the freedom to do what we want as long as we follow the laws of the land.
  9. SunSwept

    SunSwept LawnSite Member
    Messages: 93

    An interesting post, I must say. For the most part, I agree with it.

    I have been lurking for some time. I registered a few days ago and now this is my first post. I am a computer consultant fulltime and mow parttime mostly because I like it. I don't feel that I can convince anyone of anything via my mowing experience so, I would like to change the subject just a wee bit.

    In my other work, I do not use the latest, the greatest technology available. For the most part, it is expensive and breaks down a little too much for my liking. See, I don't have time to do the job over so I try to make sure that it is done right. Therefore, I use that which I know will work.

    First thing that someone will think to say to me about that is that I probably don't get too many jobs. WRONG. I am the guy that usually gets called to fix something that the big guys have fouled up. I can't tell you the number of times that I have been contracted so that some of the Big accounting and consulting firms can be terminated. And, of course, the money that I receive from the job stays in my pocket rather going to pay off debt for some piece of electronics that is not much more, in reality, than fancy "bragging rights".

    I have not forgotten these lessons in my parttime adventure: Lawn Maintenance. I use that which works and works nearly all the time. And I have backups. My 12-year old Murray 21 inch push (I don't walk behind it ... I PUSH that piece of equipment) is a back up and has served me well. Customers wouldn't care if I used sheep so long as the grounds look the way they are supposed to look, when they are suppose to look that way and at the price that they agreed to pay.

    My business is growing. Evenutally, I hope to do lawns fulltime and give up on the computers (they are cheap, readily available and too many stupid people own one which makes my life a nightmare). I am taking things slow, paying as I go and continuing to learn from experience ... and from folks like you. But I have one comforting thought. If I decide that this isn't working, I have only to take care of the customers (to do the right thing) and I can walk away.

    Not going into debt also has one added benefit ... I get the best price possible since I don't have to pay interest! That ALSO means more money in my pocket.

    Finally, before anyone tags me with a name, I ask for and receive what I think that I am worth. That means that I base everything on a minimum of $30 per hour. Sometimes more because I also have an equipment charge that I work in. That is what I am worth and I will get it. See, there are big guys in this line of work out there who foul things up. I will get the calls to fix what they can't handle, just like I get the calls for computers.
  10. I see it as the people who get the equipment they need, and the folks who think they can get by with less.


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