I am beginning to think...

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by roscioli, Mar 30, 2003.

  1. roscioli

    roscioli LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 749

    Yes, I know, the title could be made into many a joke on my part, but hear me out.
    I am beginning to think that sticking with 1 compact pickup, and a 21" mower, and plenty of hard labor would have been more profitable for me than going big, which is what I am on my way to doing. I am still balancing school and another job (both part time) and last season worked full time (for the first time) landscaping. I barely made enough to make it worth the extra headaches, because I bought so much. I spent a lot last year on equipment, and am spending A LOT this year on marketing. Marketing is not my point, because even with a 21 and a compact truck I would have had a lot of marketing. My point is equipment, it seems like every time you turn around in this business, you "need" to buy something new to compete, to stay efficient. My 60" mower is a prime example. It has boosted my productivity about 300% over using a 21 on large lawns, but cost me the same as buying 8 new 21's. I also need a trailer with the Z, but not with a 21, so theres another $1000 + registration fees each year. Labor is down with it, but the operating cost (per hour) is the same or more. Sorry for babbling, but I was just thinking that it would have been better for me to stay with 21's and labor, hiring kids to push 21's, less overhead, but more labor... who knows.. just throwing out thoughts, and a reminder to not get caught up in the "lawnsite groove" and be careful spending money. Now I have to figure out if I should keep expanding the equipment list with a tow behind aerator, tractor, dump truck, sander, blah blah blah, or go back to the basics... Comment please.
  2. GraZZmaZter

    GraZZmaZter LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 740

    I would continue on at the rate you are going. Last year your equipment totals were high, but I'm sure they have dropped off significantly this year.

    i am pretty confident that you are not spending the kind of money on marketing that you did last year on equipment. So keep moving forward, and think about next year.

    Next year you will still have fairly new equipment ( assuming you bought all new last year) and a clientele list to brag about ... with no more overhead!

    Start up costs can be expensive in the green industry. However, once you get the ball rolling, you should be in good shape.
  3. Navig8r

    Navig8r LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 477

    Wow.. after reading and thinking.. I'm sellin my mowers and gettin some scissors..lol:D

    As you said, you "...barely made enough to make it worth the extra headaches, because I bought so much. I spent a lot last year on equipment..."

    If you worked hard, and made money, and still could afford to spend a lot on equipment.. you probably didn't do so bad..... look at it this way... you won't be spending as much on equipment this year, probably, and will make more money than last year, hopefully.

    It'll get better when you get busier... At least that's what I'm tellin myself.:dizzy:
  4. Meier

    Meier LawnSite Senior Member
    from DFW
    Messages: 269

    I believe you've got to specialize. Even with limiting your palet to just mowing, you've still got to specialize.

    Do you want to mow small lawns or large lawns?

    The equipment requirements are different. I specialize in small lawns. Once the square footage starts getting up to the 9,000 square foot range, my prices get less and less competitive. But on 4,000 square foot lawns, I can compete very well.

    But the only way I could fix this, such that I could compete with both large and small, would be to get a larger trailer and haul around large machinery and small machinery. Then, I'd have to keep one or the other in the rear of the trailer and I'd have to unload everything on certain stops to get to my needed equipment, which would kill my efficiency.

    Perhaps, when I get larger, I could consider running two separate crews...one for small jobs, one for large jobs. But it would be pretty much the same start up story on the large lawns...I'd have to start with zero customers and grow...all the while paying a crew just to be available.

    This can be be a pretty tough business.

    All my opinion,
    DFW, TX
  5. ladibugg

    ladibugg LawnSite Member
    Messages: 79

    If you don't/won't use it for yourself or use it once a month, then don't buy it or sell the one you have. If you can rent it then do so. The maintenance on everything you own cost you money. Even an ax should be maintained.
  6. Ed Ryder

    Ed Ryder LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 541

    21" mowers wouldn't work for me. Something doesn't sound right with the scenario you descibe. You've got heavy duty production equipment and you want to go back to 21 inchers :confused:

    It sounds like you won't be in the business very long.
  7. TotalCareSolutions

    TotalCareSolutions LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 518

    You have a P/T Job....OK
    You go to School......OK
    You maintain some yards......OK

    The Tractor, Dumptruck and Sander part is where im gettin lost.

    What do you want to be doing in 5 years/ 10 years?
  8. roscioli

    roscioli LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 749

    I don't quite have it all yet... I don't have a tractor, don't have a dump, those are all things I planned on purchasing this year, and could certainly use if I continue on my path, but am not positive I want to continue on this path. At first I had the idea "if I can't buy it with cash, I can't buy it", but now credit is cheap, do I take advantage? Kubota has 2.99% for 60 months, thats cheaper than my new (personal) truck! My bank is offering a credit like at Prime + 0.0, thats damn cheap! I dont know, I guess I am just tossing ideas out, hopefully putting them into text will help me figure them out, I appreciate the input so far, thanks guys.
    Where I want to be in 5 years: you tell me... I don't have a clue anymore :) My family owns a restaurant, I go to school for restaurant management, I always wanted to do that, but I guess I can't realistically do both, can I?
  9. TotalCareSolutions

    TotalCareSolutions LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 518

    ...your getting warmer

    Im not trying to pretend to be a psychologist or a financial advisor, BUT...

    Hang with both without going crazy.....cool
    Focus on and excel at it......cool, you can hang onto the equipment and try the restaurant thing for a while, if you dont like it, the grass will be there when you return.

    Dont spend your cash right now, borrow.
  10. Lawn-N-Garden Guy

    Lawn-N-Garden Guy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 321

    I think I'll just buy a herd of goats and trailer them around town,This way I can charge for cutting,areation and fertilizing

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