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How Has Industry Changed?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by MikeInFlorida, Feb 18, 2003.

  1. MikeInFlorida

    MikeInFlorida LawnSite Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 1

    This is my first time back to Lawnsite.com in a few years. Quite a few changes. I sold my lawn care business a few years ago to pursue another endeavor and I now considering re-entering the industry. Here is my question: How much has the industry changed due to the recession? I would assume much more competetion due to higher unemployment and ease at which anyone (thinks) he/she can start a lawn care business. Has this been the case? Is there higher turnover in your accounts this year? What about late-pays and collections? Have you had to be more competetive in you pricing? Any good come from the recession (ie, labor)? I would appreciate any responses and thank you in advance for you time.

    Mike Reynolds
  2. crazygator

    crazygator LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,048


    First, welcome back to lawnsite.

    Second, I think the recession has helped in many ways. The best is more and more people have to work more hours and even 2 or more jobs. This gives them less time for downtime, which they do not want to be spending in the yard.

    Competition is higher, but then again if you are reliable and do quality work you should have no problems. I am finding out that around here there are too many that do bad work and dont seem to have good work ethics, so its easy to shine if you just try a little, much less work hard!
  3. J&R

    J&R LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 835

    I know in my part of this world 20 years in this. was a time you would not see more that one other LCO in a day . Now the avg. is 10-20 per day.
  4. Heavenly Green

    Heavenly Green LawnSite Member
    Messages: 171

    I Ive only been at it for the last five yrs so I cant really comment about how things have changed but like J&R said they see 10 to 20 lcos daily. Last season we decided to count how many we passed and in just a 10 mile rout we spotted 33 different lawn crews, but very few had as nice of a set up as ours. Image is a big deal to me. We keep our equipment cleaned and organized so potential client can see our clean organized set up and say wow that co. looks like they've got there act together I bet they do quality work lets call them. That how I set myself apart from the majority of my competitors. So my advice would be stand out from the crowd in a positive way be reliable take pride in your work and stay in close contact with your clients. You cant go wrong.
  5. 1MajorTom

    1MajorTom Former Moderator
    Messages: 6,073

    Welcome back.
    I remember you, GrassRoots Lawn Care. :)

    Yeah in our area it does seem like every year we keep seeing more and more people entering the biz. We are lucky to keep our customers by being dependable, and we get calls from people who are tired of having a lawn company they can't rely on.

    We have very very few late pays. Our customers for the most part treat us very well.

    As far as having to be more competitive in our pricing, we haven't succumbed. At this time we have enough customers to support ourselves, so any new ones we pick up, have to be willing to pay our price.
    Where we lack is our fert/pest applications. We have a hard time competing, so in this area we don't have as many customers as we would like.

    Welcome back. :)
  6. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,645

    10 years ago I was one of 3 in the yellow pages, now there is 30. there are probably 200 more than that out there not in the yellow pages. great help coninues to be difficult to find, and around here business is available if you do a good job. competition has done this much: 10 years ago I was running $3-4000 walkbehinds and making $35 per man hour. running $10000 riders with 1.5-3x production, we average $36 per hour. nearly everything has went up in the past 10 years, wages have went from 6 per hour start to 10 top for crew foreman to 8 per hour start to up to 15 per hour for crew foreman.

    Lots and lots of "scrubs" borrow 16 grand and use thier pickup and have a fully rigged trailer, and are happy making thier $500 monthly payments and taking home 1000 per week after paying thier help cash. I'd estimate that 90% of the lawn care is done by folks who pay little or no taxes and have no insurance or workman's comp. It really keeps market prices down. If true inflation were in force on the price end as there is on wages, that $35 yard should be paying $50-55 today. even though modern equipment lets you mow it twice as fast, the cost of that equipment and labor is double or more. It is incredibly frustrating, and seems to be getting worse, not better. You will need to try very very hard to build loyalty with residential if you wish to raise your prices against the competition. POA's and commercial/corporate tend to bid out yearly and have frequent management changes, so it is difficult to build loyalty and raise prices there.

    Good luck. you can make it, but it is very tight and difficult.

    Dave g
  7. nelbuts

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

    Hasn't changed much, same crap different day! Hahahaha!

    As far as recession, what recession? People down here are building 300 - 500 thousand dollar homes as fast as they can build them. Even a bunch of new condos going up every where.
    Good luck.

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