Have Lawn & Landscape Maintenance Sold - Now Ready To Get Landscaping Up To Par..

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by mcw615, Oct 27, 2009.

  1. mcw615

    mcw615 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 473

    I have been in business for 3 years primarily doing lawn and landscape maintenance contracts. That division is solid. I am ready to become a landscape/hardscape company. I have learned my lesson from trying to push the business to grow too much trying to take 10 leaps at a time vs. one step at a time. I have layed low this year and plan to gradually come out of hibernating next year and make 2011 a fireworks show explosion of "Where did this company come from?!?" and also holding off to still get the newer business start up struggles out of the way

    I am working on getting my contractors license, I am working on studying for my certified horticulturist, and I am going to study and further my education and knowledge of the hardscape/landscape/horticulture industry over this winter and throughout next year to prepare for 2011. Another reason I have laid low is because it is hard for me to get financing to cover mowers etc. I turn 20 years old next month, I have a great credit score and the whole 9 yards but get turned down because I don't have a lengthy credit history (because of my age) and also I have not had a solid 3 consecutive years in business and don't want to get going too much until I have the financial loan power as an asset. I don't want to push landscaping, hardscaping and everything else and not have a really good knowledge of each before moving on to the next. I also want to have the financial loan as a resource asset to be able to finance things along with company growth as now I just have to pay everything in cash which is a difficult struggle. The main thing is I want to have all licenses, certs, and become members of organizations and have a good knowledge of the hardscape industry and feel good with my skills and know what I'm doing (I know a lot I will learn in the field) but I have learned you only get one FIRST IMPRESSION and you really want to knock the socks off of that prospect with your knowledge, and passion for hardscaping. I want to work on projects, and not low jobs. Be a respectable company for doing great work. You don't want to look like an idiot trying to push your hardscape/landscape business and not know what your talking about then come back a year or two later, you have already used up your first impression with that person.

    Where I am getting to is I would like some advice from some Hardscape Company Operations of some of the things I should be working on right now to help make things run smoothly when I market all these services?

    With my lawn and landscape maintenance I have relied on word of mouth advertisement to get my business to where it is today. Do you get a lot of GOOD work to pretty much keep you going from W.O.M?

    What would you recommend for when I get ready to start trying to pick the hardscaping up to do such as marketing...PROFESSIONALLY??? To get the lawn side going I passed out thousands of cards to get full time, but that was before I was a professional in the overall landscape industry business

    And just any regular input/advice/recommendations?

    THANKS!! - Sorry this is a bit choppy and hard to make some sense on somethings, I just quickly threw this post together.
  2. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,580

    people are foolish for selling their maintenance and gettin into contracting.

    the maintenance generates cash flow. its a must have. the maintenance pays the company's bills and the contracting will pay the owner's salary. In a recession, it's tough for contracting to pay both.

  3. mcw615

    mcw615 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 473

    I meant to put solid - yes maintenance is the bread and butter and I see landscaping and hardscaping is the gambling...you can get tons of calls in a week and can only do but so much then you might be stretching out jobs just to give you employees 40 hours that week
  4. tthomass

    tthomass LawnSite Gold Member
    from N. VA
    Messages: 3,498

    You need to get maintenance on its feet to the point that you are not doing it. Have someone else drive the truck from A to B and throw him a helper. Its not the most complicated thing to do in this industry for sure, regarding mowing all day. I'd try up selling your current customers. Do the small little PITA jobs first to get a handle on things and they will grow with time and experience. Then you have a couple guys with you doing installs. This is also in a perfect world and to get to just that point will take a lot of hard work and risk. So long as you keep a level head on your shoulders, you can make it.

    X out of X businesses fail by X time frame. What they don't mention is X number of contractors are complete idiots.
  5. mcw615

    mcw615 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 473

    Here in my town, you have all the big landscaping company's maintenance teams servicing the big commercials, all the HOA's etc, and the thing is they just put in a order for 30-50 amigos each year and have one just do a verbal presentation on how to trim/edge etc. & it is the most rediculous work! They must tell them get on a Z and you just go one way, turn around and come back the same way or whatever they are doing. And these companies are getting bigger and bigger basically because they have trucks you see everywhere and people think they are really big in this business, been doing it for 20 years they must know what their doing and don't mind paying a higher premium for a crappy service it seems.

    I had 6 employees last year but I had to raise prices because they were all from when I was 15 starting this 40-50% underpriced and I finally got the funds to purchase a walk behind, then 2 diesel ztr's as 95% of everything was mowed with 21" mowers.

    Employees I have found are a PITA especially when you have not gotten your bugs, and bigger trial and errors worked out, and you have no other choice but to make rules as you go.. So this year as well as next I am laying low, focusing on getting things set and stone, build my knowledge, education, and presentational skills and really go after these businesses. I have been asked to present a bid to 1 or 2 large HOA's that paid $3k a month and a few members on the HOA board who I did their lawn and they knew we were the best service and did excellent work and didn't just have random amigos, but they said they just didn't feel comfortable putting something very big in our hands because then we had only been in business for about 2 years. I am aiming to become a certified horticulturist and build my knowledge so when I make a presentation to even just the maintenance prospects they will see I have a great knowledge of horticulture and a huge passion for this endeavor. Our quality of work has already tremendously set us apart from our competition - it's about details, being nit picky, and a perfectionist. The next thing is to get to their level with the certifications and a larger education to totally set us apart.
  6. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,889

    You shot yourself in the face by selling your maintenance operation, you no longer have a foundation to build upon. You say your quality of work set you apart from your competition. Well frankly you cannot say that anymore because you have nothing to show and you have no competition to set a standard with anymore. Whom ever you sold that to has that now.

    It is no longer about details and being nit picky anymore because you dont have anything to be nit picky and nothing in hand to be a perfectionists about. You also no longer have references so word of mouth about you just died. You need a maintenance side to care for your future installs you need show piece properties to demonstrate and illustrate your abilities. The bottom line is it would have been helpful to you if you maintained a operating maintenance side no matter the size of it, useing it as a pathway to your goal of being the goto guy for quality hardscape and installs. it is going to be harder now.
  7. mcw615

    mcw615 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 473

    Stillwater - I realized after someone posted on here that I put 'Sold' instead of 'Solid.' I corrected it in a 2nd post to the title, you can't edit the title. I Still have the lawn and landscape maintenance, but thanks for pointing that out..
  8. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,889

    OH crap!!! disreguard everything I posted then it does not apply.. email the mod and ask him to change sold to solid he will do it for you.

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