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How to fail in the lawn business by someone who did it.

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by PROCUT1, Feb 18, 2009.

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  1. humble1

    humble1 LawnSite Silver Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,519

  2. humble1

    humble1 LawnSite Silver Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,519

    Is this the exACT TRAP
    90K gross
    Net $.59
    not making 90k
  3. Grits

    Grits LawnSite Silver Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 2,994

    He did not say net or gross.
  4. willretire@40

    willretire@40 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from VA
    Messages: 1,389

    I really believe that companys just dont max out their trucks and have to much equipment on one truck.
  5. AI Inc

    AI Inc LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 26,622

    This guy ( procut) is speaking the truth. I had a customer I subbed from a few yrs ago. He only did upscale installs . Ran 12 crews , worked his azz off and lost 200k in 06.
    When he started to get behind on paying me I asked him if he was making any money. He answered " Im so busy working , I dont have time to make any money"
  6. Five points  On. Can

    Five points On. Can LawnSite Member
    Messages: 79

    About the rental thing, The last two years I rented a tractor to prep for sod work. At a cost of 5000 total, not including pick up and drop off time. I often thought I should just buy one. I didn't. The days I rented it I made good money after all was tallied. The last two years a did a pile of sod , this year probably will do very little if any. So now I don't have to worry about making a payment on what may be just sitting in the yard,which would be being paid for by my lawn route.

    I loved the comment about the mulch , deliver the next day but didn't have any. I have been there. This year my route is full, with some time left for odds and ends. I'm going to learn to say no and not be greedy. I love what I do ,One truck One helper, on site feeling the sun on my face. Thats why I got into this.
  7. Junior M

    Junior M LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,581

    Thats oh so true, that has actually hurt us this year, we didnt do a thing like that, we just payed our expenses and divided up what was left between the two of us and it hurt us in the end because we didnt have the money to expand, to buy a truck for me, or to buy a trailer out right, or to go buy a used piece of equipment..

    That is the way I want to run my business once I go full time..

    Dad had the same theory, try and stay as lean as possible, used trucks that arent costing you money when they are sitting, used attachments and equipment. And when he started running 2 crews (installing underground utilities) he would have one truck break down and yet he would still have to get those 2 jobs dug when he couldnt. Well that went on for a while, and finally the guy at the Power Company said "Ernie, dammit, I need you on 2 jobs, but you cant be there cause your running old junk trucks, if you are goin to keep goin like this I am goin to have to get rid of you." Really running older used trucks could hurt you in the beginning, but if you could pull it through to get a couple older reliable trucks, I am sure it would be good on your part. In fact, I know it would, one of Dads friends that started his company around the same time Dad did had the same theory as Dad and he is still in business today, where Dad isnt because he had to buy new equipment, new trucks and trailers to keep up with the demand, and in the end, it put him under because the work wasnt there...

    This is true in most cases, but for my business that needs that skid to grow, but doesnt have the work for it 5days a week, it is a whole lot easier to buy than rent. For example, I had over $5,000 go out in Rental this year, yet I still cant seem to justify the machine because I dont have the work. Yet, I've had to turn numerous jobs down because I cant charge $500 to dig 50ft of water service when the guy up the street is goin to charge $100, there are pros and cons to both, and that seems to be with everything..

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,981

    Whoa...I thought the 3 Keys to Success were...

    1- A business license
    2- Insurance
    3- NOT putting flyers on mailboxes

    Seriously...great thread PROCUT. Nobody can sum up how to do, or not do things right in just a few paragraphs. But you have everyone thinking at least. Whether people want to admit it or not, most of us are just guys who like to do lawn work. Beyond that, not many guys have real business experience, managerial experience, financial expertise, etc. Those are SKILLS that have to be learned, and hopefully not 'on the fly' to really grow and maintain a successful, profit-turning business.

    The thing that scares me is how many guys think your thread boils down to "stay small" That's not the message. Get out there and learn as much as you can on how to run a business.
  9. johnnybravo8802

    johnnybravo8802 LawnSite Silver Member
    from Ga.
    Messages: 2,313

    The truth is-I knew this 15 years ago and was preaching it back then. There are a lot of businesses out there that think they are doing well until tax time-I was one of them. It's all about the perks-you have a new truck, new trailer, new equipment and think you are hitting a lick and you try to convince everybody that you're doing something. You've got $300 in your pocket and don't think twice about blowing it in a split second on a new blower. That's where I was and where a lot of new people go until 2-3 yrs. down the road when they have worn out equipment, they're tired from working all of the time, and they have no money in the bank or any 401K. Again, I've been there and struggle every day to not go back there. I still say, and I've been saying it for over 15 years, is that the only people making any money is the guy selling the equipment to you-all those new suckers every year who think it looks easy and they are going to make some jack!!!!!
  10. JohnnyRoyale

    JohnnyRoyale LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 616

    I agree with you.:drinkup:
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