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Georgia still in a drought and lawns not growing.

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by coolluv, Oct 21, 2008.

  1. coolluv

    coolluv LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Atlanta
    Messages: 4,444

    I would like to know how you other Georgia LCO's are doing. We have had another year of drought. Lawns are going dormant already and have not been growing for weeks,because of the lack of rain and dropping temps. But yet I see guys out mowing. What the heck are you guys cutting.

    I have had many accounts tell me to stop showing up until next year. The ones that have not said anything did not have to because in 3 weeks they have not even grown. This is my third season and from my personal experience, you can't start mowing Bermuda until the second week of April,(if your lucky) and by the end of October your done. Everything in between is spotty at best. July and August have been extremely dry, accounts have gone 3 weeks without needing a service. You get maybe 7 months of spotty income.

    I can't get customers to sign a yearly contract. They don't want to even hear about it. I get the typical trim the bushes and pine straw installs but man its been really tough. Competition is fierce and prices are not getting higher. I'm lucky I don't have to rely on this as my main source of income. I just don't see this as being a business that can produce enough income to survive on. Fall cleanups are really not that necessary, because most subdivisions are newer and don't have many trees. I did manage to get a few here and there. But nothing worth the investment of dedicated leaf clean up equipment.

    Unless the weather gets back to normal (which it hasn't been in 10 years) I'm second guessing if it is something that I need to continue to pursue.

    Just venting I guess. Give me some hope guys. How are other guys doing?

  2. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Messages: 8,652

    Droughts are good for leaf season. Dry leaves, easier to mulch, blow and more can fit into your bagger. There, something positive:usflag:
    Same here in SC up, and down season with sporadic rainfall. No end in sight to the drought. But then again, they never know when droughts will end. The weather pattern will change sooner or later. Hope we live that long:cry:
  3. coolluv

    coolluv LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Atlanta
    Messages: 4,444

    Thanks Charles. I will give you another example. I purchased a walk behind Turfco aerator, Thinking I can get some extra income that way. Well, so many guys are giving it away for $40 to $50 dollars on a half acre lot its not even funny.

    Never mind the fact that trying to get your customers to understand the benefits of it are a challenge. Most don't understand and are not even interested. If they do happen to want it, they expect it for the same lowball prices that others are charging. I did a few, and as you know when done properly it is alot of work.

    I'm not working my a$$ off for an hour for $40. I would rather not do it. Maybe I just suck as a salesman.:laugh:

    Ive had a few drinks, so I'm feeling temporarily better.:drinkup:

  4. Vineyard_Inc

    Vineyard_Inc LawnSite Member
    Messages: 35

    well I dont run my own business yet but the guy I am helping keeps us busy with everything from digging drains to laying sod,cutting down dead trees,to just blowing leaves and trimming bushs. Theres work out there but it may not be mowing. It will be ok business will come around just keep your chin up and think outside the box. Pressure wash some houses or re-seal some driveways theres alot of very easy things you can do to add to services you provide. The aerator was a good ideal but to many people do it to cheap so that ruins it for others. Even if you have to work hard for an hour for 40.00 thats better than flipping burgers at BK
  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    There are some things there exist no shortcuts for, especially time and experience.

    I myself found progress in this specific area at least as frustrating as you are finding it, and there is a reward at the
    end of this long ass learning curve, the curve isn't too steep or too sharp at any point, it's just doggone l.o.n.g.

    This is probably one aspect where too many folks cave in or drop out long before they should,
    I think it takes more than a few years so hang in there, that machine will make you money one day,
    but with this business like with a lot of things, the bigger the reward at the end, the more is required
    of those willing to play it out.

    And this is one thing, lawn renovations don't come easy, not at all, all they want us for is the grunt work.
    Because one thing I did learn, a truly beautiful lawn really is no accident, it takes a LOT of work and doing
    to get it there one, and then a whole lot more to keep it there, and people who own or have a beautiful lawn
    are not too keen on just spending thousands of dollars a year either.
    So there's a lot more to it than just knowing about aeration but I do commend you for at least getting the
    right machine, that Walk-behind I am sure was not cheap but it's the real deal and it does the job it's supposed to do.

    Now I'll give you some good news but this won't happen anytime soon to anyone just starting out,
    it just can't be shortcutted and believe you me I tried and it doesn't work, I had the same experience you did.

    But, I will let you in on it...
    I just grossed something like 6 thousand dollars this season on core aeration, my record was
    $2,600 in 4 days all by myself (and yes I was a wee bit sore LOL)
    But don't try it!
    I mean don't force it, don't try to make that happen, because ...
    7 years of grunt work behind a 26-inch wide solid axle walk-behind aerator will build you up,
    that much I know, but I learned things in that time, things that I am beyond sharing because
    I found much like you just did, that most folks just don't appreciate it.
    Give away secrets and off they go running their panties all in a bunch, and f it all up,
    that's what happens from the other side :p

    Instead, the best way is to let it come to you, keep learning and just keep doing what you're doing,
    deal with the BS best you can and hopefully one day you'll get'r there.
    And best of luck.
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2008
  6. tinman

    tinman LawnSite Bronze Member
    from ga
    Messages: 1,346

    Dry this season but not anything like last year. We had good rains of 3 or 4 inches.... They just were kinda far apart here. I had very few skips really & I have no contracts. I just make it known when I start that skipping is up to me. If they want to skip they really don't want me. My weekly accounts do have that option but every two weeks I can't do it. I explain that when it rains a ton I have to double cut so it evens out when there is little to cut.
    Good luck. I know competition is tough but business is never easy. Everything you do can be copied by someone else. I think that being creative in service offerings & marketing & relationships with other service providers (ex. maid services) can boost one above the competition.
  7. ericmcj31

    ericmcj31 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 404

    Drought this year was NOTHING like last year; maintenance had an ok year-not just burning the woods down if ya know what i mean, but not starving either like last year. LIke said earlier-diversify. that way if the mowing is down-maybe you'r ebuilding a pond, or laying sod, or trimming, etc.--you get the picture. Sounds like your clientele base isn't that good if people are cut-throating your prices like that-better customers, too, will come in time-if you stick to your guns. Soon you will eb able to pick and choose your customers, not them pick and choose you-or a fellow low-baller! Keep your chin up-but tougher times are coming, I 'm afraid-if you can weather the next few months-you'll be OK-but with this economy in the shape it is in-I don't know--just get through Feb. and it's all down hill-'til this time next year!

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