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Discussion in 'Original Pictures Forum' started by etwman, Dec 20, 2002.
refering to earth turf and wood
What do you guys do if there is a tree root in the way of where you guys are installing something at?
Is this a serious question? I'll tell you what you do....if it is not a main feeder root then cut it, but the most logical is to educate the homeowner about potential tree losses during the consultation phase. Never try to go over a tree root...you will regret it.
etwman do you guys still mow of just installs
I know you don't go over it, but i saw on th HGTV channel a landscape company had them specially prunned back or something.
We are down to mowing three sites, that's about it, and one is a family member's business. This could be the last year of mowing. The three great customers that we service, mostly larger commercial, really want us to hold on because they really like our service. The margins just aren't there with grounds care compared to other things and its a shame because it is a neat aspect that I do enjoy. It was what our company was founded on but that's changed tremendously. As long as there are 1 guy / 1 mower operations that charge $25 a cut with no insurance (and think they are making money when they really aren't) the whole industry will never really have a chance to grow and charge what really needs to be charged. We don't really see this as our competition but its there. We see it, hear about it, and know about it. You can go buy a mower today and be a mowing company tomorrow. You're in a different game with landscape and hardscape. You mess up a mowing, give it three days and it'll fix itself. Mess up a hardscape and you'll lose your shirt. As long as that is the case with mowing I really would rather put my efforts somewhere else rather than fight this battle to grow that division. Do I think I could grow it? Sure, if I had the energy but the margins are still minimal.
I've been thinking about posting this for a while but I've been very hesitant. I'm going to probably pinch some nuts here, and get some criticism, when I say this but heed these words. I want to be sensitive to this because I have some friends on this site that might be offended but there is some truth to this. Landscape and Hardscape companies that are very serious about their occupations don't cut grass. And this could be vice versa here too folks. Now wait, does that mean you can do both and do them well? You can but its alot of effort. Does mowing get you in the door for other things? It might, but its not the clients we are looking for. Has mowing ever gotten us a high end build? Never. You know how many big installs we have done at residences when Joey's lawn service flies around the yard on his zero turn. Tons, customers don't think of the two companies as being interchangable. Sorry, they just don't. I'm a huge advocate of doing one thing and do it well, we don't offer a 100 different services. If it means getting rid of other services to focus on one or two then so what. This is our specialty, this is why people come to us for higher end landscape and hardscape installs. Once you get really good at something, set a presidence in the industry, your margins become good, and you become the "go to" company that customers want. Its too difficult to offer 50 services in a company with 10-12 employees. You cannot manage that right and become fully educated in all those services, I don't care what you say. I'm sure this is going to be a split audience on this topic. Take a look around your area. The landscape build companies that have been in business the longest, and are well known, probably aren't pulling a mowing trailer.
This is just my opinion on the industry. Is mowing wrong? No, not at all. Can you make money at it? Sure, you'll probably make more if you just mow, price it right, and focus on volume and efficiency.
Back to work, I'm sure there will be some replies on this one......I'll go put my Kevlar bullet proof jacket on and look back at my computer later.
Go back in the thread and all your questions are answered.
well put. i don't think there is anything to add.
Jarod, Jarod, Jarod! I have to disagree on this one. We have three divisions (Mowing, Maintenance and Install) all of which are run by an educated person in that field. You will never get your margins from Commercial mowing. It's a volume game, but residential is a different story. Granted, we don't just mow properties. They are all full service....mowing, property maintenance, fert, snow removal, etc. I find this portion of our business to be very profitable because residential homeowners (the ones we target) are willing to pay for a top quality service, so we get the money we need to turn a very good profit. It may be easier for me, because I have a partner that runs the mowing division and our operations manager runs the maintenance crews. 3 totally separate entities under one roof. I run the installs and have no idea, day to day, what the other crews are doing...untill the end of the day when i go over the route sheets. You have to be very selective when it comes to your customer base in order to be sucessful in the maintenace game. I think we have done that. As far as the installs go, I run that end and as far as I'm concerned, I'll go portfolio to portfolio w/ anyone. Nobody in Berks County or some of the surrounding counties has more certifications that I do. And my certifications don't come in the wake of peer pressure or industry trends. I have been certified for many years, before every manufacturer required them. Not that it means much to alot of people, but as far as my goal to better the industry perception.....it goes a long way. As long as you have the proper management team in place I feel you can be, not only the best but profitable as well. Anyway, that's just my .02
Well said Jarrod. That is the decision i had made last season. i gave up maintenance completely, sold all of my equipment over the winter so that i would not be tempted to start up in the spring. I definitely have to use more marketing to keep busy all year. it is well worth it not to be on a $25k+ hardscape/landscape job and get a call from a $25 lawn customer that my guys didn't blow off the porch. I have come to the realization that it is better to be a specialist at a few things and do them well ,than to be a jack of all trades and master of none. the way i look at it is home building. do you hire one contractor to do the entire project, general contractor aside? no, you hire an electrician, a plumber, a framer, a roofer, a mason, a hvac guy, alarm guy, a sider, a sheet rocker, an insulator, tile guy, a painter, a kitchen counter guy, a cabinet guy. Why do you hire all of these different trades? because they all do one thing day in and day out and they can give the best price and the best work because of that. so why is that people think that they need a one stop shop for their landscape. I like to say hire a lawn guy to cut your grass, hire a hardscaper to install your patio. thats my take on it.
I agree w/ you McKee, but If you are known in those sects as a professional and the one to hire then you must be doing something right. As far as your builder analogy......you are not comparing apples to apples. Landscaping or hardscaping is comprised of an impressive laundry list of tasks. Landscaping could include anything from light excavation and soil moving to planting a 1 gallon perennial. hardscaping could include natural stone (an art in itself), paver patios, retaining walls, steps, stamped concrete, etc. (all of which could be specialties in and of themselves.) A sheetrock guy won't hang your rock then do your roofing or a HVAC guy won't install your air conditioner then do your finish carpentry. My point is, We as landscapers/hardscapers need to have a broad range of skills to be both successful and efficient which equates to profitability. Some of us are able to manage those skills and excell, while others fall on their faces because they are not well rounded. If your company is well rounded, and you have the people that can perform the tasks, then you can offer 5,248 different services. (as long as you have the proper clientele and are not spreading yourself too thin.) Don't get me wrong, you can't have one crew that hardscapes 3 days a week, cuts grass one day a week, and does some irrigation on the fifth day. That won't work, but if you have divisions set up that specialize in just one thing then your company is more able to market itself to each individual client base more effectively and professionally.