HPSInc Equipment Photos

Discussion in 'Original Pictures Forum' started by HPSInc, Dec 7, 2010.

  1. PLLandscape

    PLLandscape LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,650

    This is some good stuff right here. I’ve only read and heard about it from people like yourself but it seems that “middle” ground of the landscape business is an absolute nightmare. Tons of expenses (labor and equipment) just to keep afloat whereas another step or 2 up and your start see progress again or returning to the previous stage to regain control. Glad this was something you were willing to share.
    hort101 and S-205 like this.
  2. S-205

    S-205 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 1,486

    I never know what to think about the bigger companies around here, I would say they are well past the “middle ground,” they go out and have all new trucks, plows, lease these massive excavators, long reaches, roll off trucks, tons of skidsteers and they hire this huge work force. Their overhead is incredibly high. I’d be curious to see what they actually profit from this, after all the lease payments and overhead from labor. To me it doesn’t seem like they can be too far ahead of these middle ground companies.

    Ultimately the bigger we get, the same amount we take home. Seems like a fine balance, and the stress level of that these big companies carry is a completely different topic.
    hort101 likes this.
  3. PLLandscape

    PLLandscape LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,650

    I think the ultimate quest with larger growth is to have a “machine” that can operate without you. Not saying you’re living on some tropical island while your business motors along but more of you working on systems, profit generation, customer interaction, and not being the guy “driving the truck” or using the best mower, etc....

    But I think HPSinc is onto another avenue with getting selective and choosing more profitable work. I mean hell, I’ll take a 6 figure income.

    The hardest part is likely finding quality workers. Another landscaper near me was telling me his foreman, or basically his go to guy, makes $50-$60,000 a year. If you’re paying someone $15/hr to lead it’s probably going to end badly. The stress to get guys to perform and be in charge for $30k/year won’t be worth it to most. Especially while needing to also perform in all weather conditions, weekends, and extended shifts due to missed days.

    I mean if you’re a guy who puts in some time in a machine for a landscaper and a job opportunity comes up with National Fuel for an operator position that starts at $26.90/hr for training and then goes to something like $29/hr after and keeps rising along with plenty of OT, health insurance, and other benefits can you blame them? I know a few guys who barely have a high school diploma making damn near $100,000 with NF with OT. Trust me, I applied a couple years ago.

    I know landscaping isn’t there for that kind of money and what do I know as I only have some part time help. But this is the part (employees) that “scares” me the most as you cannot move forward without help.
    S-205 likes this.
  4. HPSInc

    HPSInc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 773

    Inverted blower would be great but in my area I don’t think they will work. In dry fluffy snow sure, but if it’s real wet I’d be leary. A local guy put a new one on a new kubota last winter, I kept my eye on it, he pulled that machine out after a few snowfalls and went to a bobcat with blower. Through the grapevine I heard the community didn’t like it, and neither did they. I know the goal is to not push snow up against a garage door, hence the inverted. They do make blowers that blow forward and have a blade that comes downward to drag back (Provonost) and probably some others out there but they are big blowers from what I’ve seen. Mine are 60-72” those start around 96” I believe and go on big tractors. You could probably fab something small yourself but if you have the blower set up correctly, which we modify ours in several ways, they are pretty good at not pushing snow. My tractor has a blower up front and an ebling back blade for that very reason. If snow is wet we drag it out rather than blow in. But with a well set up blower you can still do really good. Just gotta get past the wet stuff. The 7 ft storm we had our little blowers clearing all the driveways, you’d be dead in the water with an inverted in that scenario. Plus in heavy wet snow your dragging that crap into a plowed road and it probably won’t clear out of the blower and your making a new mess. Can’t really blow piles back with them either. These machines just work really good but you have to thoroughly set them up. Friend of mine has around 20-25 machines I would guess and he turned me on to them.
    Last year I started with 2 crews. Ended the year with 1 crew. I usually start out with 7 employees plus myself. Guys fall off and I re-hire. Once I get to mid July - beginning of August I usually lose a couple more and try and continue with a skeleton crew. The guys who make it that long typically finish out the year. I tend to get through each week, so even though I want to add another guy or two I keep holding off and before you know it the year is over.
    This year same thing, two crew to start, end with 1. I went to one crew beginning of June though. I did some solo stuff when they went out then I jumped back in July sometime with myself and 5 guys and finished the year out that way. My payroll went down a lot this year. I mean A LOT. Employee attendance was pitiful plus losing the foreman and mechanic. But I got all my costs down everywhere. It opened my eyes to saving money being as important as making it.
    If I really wanted to make a big jump, not take it slow and linger in “the middle”, I’d need more equipment, insurance would go up and it’s already a fortune... and if I kept going from there...it would be years before I’d get a return and I’d have so much more to deal with. The problem is most all employees, really don’t give a sh*t about anything. I’m talking average laborers. Main guys care until they get a stick up their you know what....then they can be the biggest cancer in your company. They can be an even bigger problem than the guys low on the totem pole and that’s what sucks about expanding. Payroll would probably be off the chains sending out 4 or 5 crews. God only knows the damage they would cause to equipment and properties. Doesn’t sound fun for me.
    My money making season is April to November and I do maintenance at private communities and some office buildings. I do only a handful of residential landscapes per year. Mostly mowing, trimming, and mulch which is funny because previously I did only landscape installs and hardscapes for 8 years before going on my own.
    PLL, a local big company told me their employee payroll is $1,500 per hour. They have scaled back quite a bit from where they used to be, but I’d still consider them a big company. They have several crews, mechanic, a general manager, designer, a couple salesman, a nursery, a nursery manager, and a boatload of equipment. I have only 4 trucks, two dumps and two pickups but one pickup is my personal truck. Three trucks roll out beginning of year and once we catch up, slow down, and lose employees I don’t feel like replacing, I pretty much just use the two dumps and pull trailers behind them. The white ram in my winter plow truck so I don’t reslly like guys sh*tting that thing up on me. Dump trucks are dump trucks so I like to use those for daily abuse.
    PLLandscape and hort101 like this.
  5. HPSInc

    HPSInc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 773

    Also, to maintain a crew of on average 6 guys, I hire around 25 people per season. The ones who don’t make it I would say half get fired cause they either don’t show up enough or they are just terrible at working and I can’t give them anymore chances to pick it up, and the other half quit for other work or simply to not work at all.
    PLLandscape and hort101 like this.
  6. PLLandscape

    PLLandscape LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,650

    $12,000-$15,000 per day in payroll. That’s amazing. That’s around $3 - $3,750,000 per year if you’re doing work year round, just to pay people. There’s only a handful around here I could see doing that. That’s intense.
  7. HPSInc

    HPSInc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 773

    They roll deep from April til November, in winter they probably only have 6 or 7 guys doing snow now. Maybe 10 years ago they had a lot more snow work, maybe 25 guys doing snow. Back when I used to work there they had probably 12-15 crews out every day with 4 guys per crew and maybe 10 people working in the nursery. I believe they run smaller crews and several less than they used to. My friend brings out 30 some people per snow event. I bought a plow off the owner of Hausrath, he also owns bison turf, he told me he brings out like 130 guys for snow events. He does college campuses and big lots as far as I know. Puts things in perspective when you think your doing a lot and this guy has over 100 people out every time it snows lol
    PLLandscape and hort101 like this.
  8. PLLandscape

    PLLandscape LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,650

    I think Hausrath's did the college campus I used to work at with the snow and mowing. Maybe they still do. Crazy to have 130 people out at one time and managing all of that.

    I like watching the larger companies grow and then change direction to become ultra focused on what they do. The big nursery out my way started out doing everything from lawn mowing, landscaping, to selling the nursery stock. They have been long away form mowing as it wasn't profitable for them when the $20 cut guys took over and are basically landscaping all of the southtowns while constantly expanding their nursery. When I last spoke with the owner he wants to get out of some of the landscaping end and just be more of the supplier so as to remove some of the headaches. They've definitely got the corner on the market in our area and don't seem to be losing any steam.

    The more I think about it I realize that I, and anyone for that matter, really need to carve out a niche if you want to be successful. Even the companies that "do it all" still only provide that to a select clientele whether residential or commercial. Early on it was just take any lawn I could get whereas now if you want your lawn mowed you need to do, at a minimum, spring cleanup/mulching with me. That way I can generate more from select people and give them the care they want without being stretched too thin, hopefully, needing to run dawn til dusk just to complete things. It's tough turning down the 20-30 contacts each season for just lawns but in the end I know I'll hate doing them when I need to get other and possibly more profitable work completed. The ONLY exception I may make is if its a place basically next door to another. It seems you found your niche with the HOA type places.

    I'm still small peanuts over here and trying to find my way with this. I see the profits in construction, which is where I want to go, but will still hang on to maintenance until it is no longer needed or changes direction.
  9. HPSInc

    HPSInc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 773

    B009B0F4-2313-4532-B4BC-02B1BA2896B6.jpeg 97AF78FE-98E1-4B1D-9B45-FB4616F4C1E1.jpeg 8E0BC808-5609-48BB-9688-B1767DC9DDC3.jpeg 4B1C83D7-871C-4917-9277-D52B10EB46C1.jpeg 1D4311C3-3C60-4354-A07A-E2A1D43328AE.jpeg 95F295CF-ABB8-47A8-89F9-989E770A96D8.jpeg Picked up this big ass enclosed trailer for mowing route. Need to get it all set up now. Went from a 12ft trailer to an 18ft to this 26ft enclosed. Since I don’t do residential I have places to park it and it’s big enough to hold 3 zero turns and 4 push mowers plus all the handhelds which is usually 6 whips 2 stick edgers 4 backpack blowers and few hand held blowers. I’ve been spending too much time loading and unloading everyday, plus forgetting stuff and watching extra handhelds roll around the back of a dump truck...I was just over the whole mess. Now it’ll stay loaded and skip all the morning loading nonsense that seems to take forever some times and is pretty much just a royal pain that just costs me time and money.

    Next thing I’m going to try and get done is get my own fuel tanks at my shop. Like a 500 gal gas and a 500 gal diesel so I can be done with gas stations and get fuel delivered instead.

    Lastly I dropped 6 commercial accounts this year. I had a year left on 4 of them and 2 years left on 2 of them. Dropped, dropped, dropped, dropped, dropped, anddddd dropped.

    I’ve never dropped an account in 8 years since I started and I just wiped out 6 in one day.

    Small-medium sized accounts. They were a mix of underpriced, too much landscape labor (this goes back to underpriced I suppose but also a ball buster come spring and fall cleanups), too poor and can’t afford a price increase or can’t afford to mulch beds so weeds are always a constant problem. Why pay for mulch when they can make us weed dirt all year? Yea, no thanks...one was a big business with too many people, too many cars, and too many annoying island beds...plus mulch had to be included in the bid, so they pay it off all season. After I spread 80 yards of mulch I wanna get paid. Some were just further away than I need to be driving. Sure I had to start somewhere but now time to move on and stay local, no more highways for these work trucks. I am replacing these accounts with 1 larger account that’s local, much less cleanup labor and is pretty standard to what we do. Drove through the place today, already looks clean, I had to laugh..cause the accounts I’m dropping look horrific from driving through them this week...winter destroys these places..I’m pretty much not interested in cleaning up places that look like a bomb went off over winter and blew up every tree on the property covering every square inch of lawn in sticks and leaves oh and let’s not forget about garbage too...been there, done that, over it!

    2019 is the year of organization, efficiency, and cleaner properties that have $$$$ to spend and want to spend it! I feel good about this year, got a lot of junk off my plate.
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2019 at 6:09 PM
    PLLandscape likes this.

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