I don't think the lawn Bus. is worth it in the long run

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by Jpocket, May 15, 2006.

  1. Jpocket

    Jpocket LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,282

    For a young guy it's grreat for the short term, a chance to make good money and put some away. But with the current market conditons around here, I can't see the landscape maintenance business being a long haul deal. With all the new companies out there, and the low prices we work for, to me it's not worth it.

    The main thing is that there is no real big $$$ pay out in the end unless you expand in to other areas outside of just maint. The other day I was thinking to myself " I love this business I get a real kick out of it, but in the end it's just cute" What I mean is it's SOOOO entry level, b/c Im 20 yrs old, and I thought I was the only young buck with a 'sizeable operation', not true I found out that there are a couple outfits bigger than myself that are run by guys my age. SO im thinkin whats so special about me???? How can ANYBODY distinguish them selves???
    With 3 employess, and a nice share of the residential market in a 10-15 mile radius "whats left to do in maintenance. I plan to grow more, but the profit margin will most likely go down.

    I've also come to the conclusion that my lawn business WILL NOT pay for the type of Commercail prperty that I want 30,000 sq ft or so to selll mulch and top soil, park large trucks and what not.

    In this area the lawn bus. is 'cute for a young guy' and LOOKS GREAT, but is it worth for the long haul??????? my guess is no.
  2. Jpocket

    Jpocket LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,282

    It's different for the older guys who have been around for 20 yrs. They usualy have a nice niche market, and a well known name. They will make it, and have made the money in this bus. when there was stilll money to be made.
  3. LawnGuy73

    LawnGuy73 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,946

    You have a good point. I have thought about this before and I have seen it dicussed on here before, and yes it is true.
  4. scagwildcat

    scagwildcat LawnSite Senior Member
    from nw. ct.
    Messages: 507

    Your so right, i find myself thinking about this subject everyday!!! with me, its a fine line, do i stay solo, or do i pray for work and expand?? im in northwestern ct. lots of lco's around, i have all new equipment, nice newer truck (lettered) and for some reason, people still think your the local kid with a push mower.... if you search my threads you will see what i mean.....

    TJLANDS LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,668

    I heard the same when I started. I am a firm believer that you can make as much money in this business as in any small business.
    Yes there are many people that fail in the lawn maintenance business, I know several close friends and even relatives that have tried and failed.
    They all just didn't get it, some were lazy, some just couldn't get the work, some just worked to cheap.
    Just take a ride around, there is work everywhere, homes(Americans are just lazy or they are a two income family with no time)) , commercial sites, all of them need service, either lawn and landscape maintenance or snow or in most cases everything.
    Reading the posts on this site you can tell who will make it and who will not.
  6. bullethead

    bullethead LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 273

    You are in an industry with very low barriers to entry (it doesn't cost much to get in the game). It has always been that way; so it isn't some new trend. Like just about any other business, it is hard to make it work. It's just that in this industry you have many new people each year get started as they think it's a cakewalk. If you like what you are doing - hang there - late to bed, early to rise, work like heck and ADVERTISE.
  7. Larry Davis

    Larry Davis LawnSite Member
    Messages: 116

    I know there is some truth in what you say. However, the lawn care business is sort of like a house painter I used to know. One could say anyone can mow grass and anyone can paint a house. Well, here is the story of my painter friend ......... He is German and married an American girl. They went to live in the wife's hometown .... Miami, Florida. He was a house painter in Germany. Now, in Germany things are handled a little differently than they are here. If you want to paint peoples houses for a living you don't just go out and buy yourself a couple of brushes and rollers and start making money. First, you must go to a 1 year long school to learn everything about paint, painting and all of the equipment used in painting. Once you have the graduation certificate a painting company can hire you as an apprentice. Not until you have finished your apprentiship can you finally start making money on your own.

    So, he comes to Miami and becomes a high priced commercial painter at a time when all of South Florida is loaded with Cubans that will paint your home for a song and a dance. He would normally charge three times what the local Cubans charged. How did he make it in such a competitive market? #1: He was not in it to just turn a buck. He totally and completely loved being a painter. It was all he ever wanted to do. #2: He did absolutely gorgeous work. Every home he did was like it was his own personal pallet and his goal was to create this one of a kind original masterpiece.
    He not only has survived in an extremely low priced market but has done very well and continues to do so to this day.

    Eric Elm was the "painter" of LCO's. He truly love his work and every home was his pallet.

    There are some true professionals out there that love what they are doing, don't want to be doing anything else and they will make it no matter what their local market is like.
  8. dkeisala

    dkeisala LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 911

    If you're already second guessing the business, it probaby isn't for you. I have to admit, I've had my doubts but I've stuck with it and I've made huge strides in my business. Patience is a virtue and you can't jump into something and expect it to be huge right off the bat, you've got to stick with it. It takes time to get your name out there and to get recognition. The payoff comes towards the middle and end, not the beginning. Additionally, just because you can mow a lawn doesn't mean you can run a business. Mowing is simply your product and there's tons of people out there with a great product but no idea how to get it to the consumer. You're probably already quite good at mowing now learn everything you can about business.
  9. MTR

    MTR LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 1,280

    Yeah, nice story, seem like fairytale....but did you say 3 times the price of Cubans? Well, if you three times the price in my areas, you will be out of work, nobody hire your service. Every month, old guys with extremely skilled lawn care are out of business cause they can't lower their price, so they get swamped by Mexicans, Haitians, and Vietnameses who do 3 times lower, and one more interesting....thing, how do you compete with Mexican crew who run 60" Lazer on block of million dollar homes for $25 a pop, $100 a month? I am talking estate home... They do very nice job like every pro who been in business very long...but their price are killing you....go ahead 3 times. People don't see in lawn like they see in paint, I guess, as long as grass GREEN, cut and not wasted too much $$$. They go for it.
  10. milo

    milo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,316

    lol this business has no future..

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