Lawn Care Forum banner
1 - 20 of 27 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How much thought have you all given this?

I started working for my current employer 2-1/2 - 3 years ago. I work hard, love my job, and often receive praise and compliments from customers and my employer. I say that, not to kiss my own ass, but to provide context.

Sometime down the road, say 2-3 years, I would like to become an owner / operator. But I gotta say, IM NERVOUS! Everyone and their brother has a lawncare company, this is not an exaggeration.

On the forum, I often see the trope "There's enough work for everyone" or "No shortage of grass that needs to be cut".... Do these statements hold true through times of economic downturn? I've no doubt in my mind that the country will be in dire straits rather soon (reminiscent of the 08' recession), and I'm curious if any of you were in business during this time, and what you did to survive.

Are there any "recession proof" services that a lawn-care/ home-services company can offer? Tree care, HVAC, Appliance repair, etc. ?

Any responses or educated discussion are more than welcome. Thanks for your time guys.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
834 Posts
My business has survived several recessions over the years. Keep in mind they are part of the normal business cycle. The 2020 recession caused by covid is just now ending. Based on my experience I think residential mowing is recession proof, at least in my area it is. I don't recall losing any clients in 2008 and last year I know we didn't, however a lot of landscape and hardscape jobs were put on hold. We don't do tree work but I would imagine that is also recession proof, especially dead tree removals and storm damage. If you have a devoted, strong client base you should be fine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,771 Posts
It's not recession proof (save the government areas like DC) and in a recession you may be mowing for free or at a loss. When the 08 recession happened our revenues were slashed to 1/5 of the previous year. We were at the time 90% install and 10% maintenance. We didn't work on a new construction for probably 2 years as there were none. For every factory that closed probably 50% of the laid off folks went into lawn mowing. Only thing that kept us going was fixing issues people had from homes constructed during the boom times. Drainage issues etc and HUGE line of credit. Was the worst thing I've ever been through I probably have PTSD or something.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,659 Posts
There's no such thing as a "recession/depression proof" business.

Federal unemployment ends this week in 27 states. Those who milked it out till now are screwed, as all the good jobs have been filled. I've seen a flood of new lawn guys in the last 2 weeks.
Gonna be a lot of "mowing setups" for sale on Facebook marketplace late summer and fall.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,659 Posts
may be sooner. no rain in this part of the state and even less irrigated lawns. things are turning brown quick. the pay as you go mow services will be having a rough time. such is NC
I'm in Charleston SC, I'm in a similar boat. I'm starting to call off some of my mows. Luckily I have a diverse clientele and a good amount are nice and either truly irrigated or sprinklers. If I was just getting started during this, and after blowing my unemployment on a "mowing rig" it would be tough. That's what happens though, easy free money, no thought into spending it properly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,523 Posts
Are there any "recession proof" services that a lawn-care/ home-services company can offer? Tree care, HVAC, Appliance repair, etc. ?
It's recession-proof CLIENTS in a recession-proof MARKET that count. When I was in landscape maintenance I had those clients: better restaurants (not fast food),; professional offices (real estate, doctors, dentists, attorneys). and regional banks. I worked in a smaller market (75,000) with a very diverse economy, big businesses, small businesses. All of our clients were not hurt by recession (for instance 2008) and all had money and wanted their properties to look the best. We were full service landscape; mowing was a minor part. It takes awhile to build a business like I had but that's what made us recession-proof.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,705 Posts
I lost a grand total of 2 customers over the last 14 months that elected to leave. Had one pass away. A few move out of area. Maybe a total of 5. And I got one back when their work situation was more stable. Out of right at 400ish customers. And we have brought in over 50 new ones in this horrible recession. Could've added more if we had the help. I went through 2007/8 as well. We boomed during those years. Did more side stuff, mulch, shrubs etc for existing customers than picking up new customers. Now all that said mowing prices are still about the same as they were 2007 and 2008. Stagnant.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,372 Posts
Depends on what you doing, lawn treatments are pretty recession proof, as is mowing (for the right clients as already started) landscaping IMPROVEMENTS may not be as much.

Companies doing 20-30k landscape renos definitely are going to get hit harder then mowing or application companies charging $250-2k a year for a good looking yard.

The grass will ALWAYS need to be mowed, and most people want to "keep up with the Jones" and not let people know they are in financial trouble by letting their lawn go. They may however not do that 5-20k landscape renovation.

Psychology at it's finest
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,372 Posts
Here's the thing though, many non recession proof jobs/companies have a higher profit margin, think mowing vs landscape renovations.
Trick is to find something recession proof, something that everyone NEEDS, or thinks they need, but also has high profits
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
735 Posts
Here's the thing though, many non recession proof jobs/companies have a higher profit margin, think mowing vs landscape renovations.
Trick is to find something recession proof, something that everyone NEEDS, or thinks they need, but also has high profits
My friend does septic system installs and pumping. Also pumps grease traps. He does really good. Being able to number 2 is kinda up there with a medical bill, even if you can't afford it you will find a way to get it done. Has the added benefit of high cost of entry and not really something people wake up and say yea, I want to get into that work.

I think we all should start a septic business
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,705 Posts
Two of the first hires I ever had were plumbers because they quit, they were new to plumbing, and were tired of being on the sheet route. Where new plumbers earn there "wings" or putty or whatever.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,085 Posts
My business has survived several recessions over the years. Keep in mind they are part of the normal business cycle. The 2020 recession caused by covid is just now ending. Based on my experience I think residential mowing is recession proof, at least in my area it is. I don't recall losing any clients in 2008 and last year I know we didn't, however a lot of landscape and hardscape jobs were put on hold. We don't do tree work but I would imagine that is also recession proof, especially dead tree removals and storm damage. If you have a devoted, strong client base you should be fine.
There was a covid recession?
We just have missed that
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,085 Posts
Labor is and will remain in super short supply
Especially high end , talented labor with skills and a work ethic
I wouldn’t suggest to anyone to get into
Lawn care at this time
You can easily earn as a salaried employee at a decent company more than you could average per year if you spent 6–10 years building your own.
Learn to negotiate salary and benefits package
Sell your self and make sure you negotiate copious pto and you’ll do better than you possibly could as a “new to business” entrepreneur.
Don’t be beholden to any company
Build your resume and go where they appreciate good help.

If you want to go into your own business
Choose a different profession.
If there’s a recession, you think there’s a lot of competition now?
Every dude driving a Prius will be pushing a mower!
 
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
Top