Jaw Dropping Rates!!!

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by doitforjohnny, Aug 16, 2007.

  1. GreenT

    GreenT LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 42,962

    You're welcome, now think about this.

    You know that nice little Italian restaurant with the great food and wine right in your town. The one you, and many, many others love to go to. You know the one, you always have to wait for a table, is always packed.

    Do you think the owner is worried that McDonalds sell 99 cents burgers?
  2. Koma

    Koma LawnSite Member
    Messages: 1

    You can't compete with the illegals that will work for next to nothing.
    A dozen or so live in the same house so there's several working and splitting the rent.
    You're not going to be able to compete with that unless you live like that.

    In Oklahoma in the early to mid '80's I did new construction roofing on large condo projects.
    It paid $11.50 per square of shingles which were loaded on the roof where they needed to be placed just right.
    A helper and I both did 30 squares each per 8 hour day. He made $240 a day and I made around $400 after buying the fasteners.

    In '89 I moved to north Texas. The good job I moved here for only lasted about 6 months.
    In need of work I tried new construction roofing. It paid $7.00 per square, not great.
    When I arrived at the jobsite the materials were dumped on the ground from a tilt bed truck.
    Broken bundles and loose shingles are difficult and time consuming to carry up the ladder.
    I completed the 40 Sq. job in 6 long, hot days. It cost $8 a day for gas getting there and back.
    An average of about $38.50 a day after buying gas. I did very little new construction after that.

    The illegals were getting $5.00 per square. 6-8 of them would all show up in an old beat up station wagon or van.
    They would complete a 40 Sq. job in a day, $200.00 divided 6-8 ways and splitting the cost of gas.
    That's an average of $25-$30 a day each and they wire half their pay across the border to their family each week.

    The worst part of it was the illegals were low enough to steal my water jug I kept down below in the shade.
    There wasn't any good drinking water within miles of the job and it was over 100 degrees then, much hotter on the roof.
    I later noticed they stole my cheap clock radio I listened to. A real bunch of low-lifes.

    I'm sure the same applies to lawn care if there's a lot of illegals in the area.
    They bid low to get the job then steal what they can to make up for it.
    They're scrupleless.
  3. IHusky

    IHusky LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 478

    Thats good advice.
  4. JeffW0011

    JeffW0011 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 182

    I don't care if you had 10 fresh Mexicans a day willing to work for $2 an hour....this is impossible!
  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Oh so you're that funny guy's been calling asking about prices!
    Yeah I run all around giving estimates and keep getting these jerks call me for nothing but waste my time and fuel.
    That you?

    Let me clue you in man: Lco's are not stupid.
    Yes I knew the entire time you were either pretending or something is wrong, something very wrong with this dood.
    And if I didn't know it then I at least smelt a rat!
    But what can I do, you ask for the farking estimate...!

    So I haven't a clue what's going on but I do know something is very wrong.
    Because you trapped me and I know it, so I gotta figure something out and fast.

    That's likely why those guys told you what they said.
    Come to think of it that's a great idea, sure would've relieved my anger some at the time.

    Now I'll tell you something so you don't say I'm just the bad guy here:
    Next time just be upfront, you don't have to tell me the whole truth but don't play me.
    And I might not tell you but you stand a far finer chance that one I won't wring your neck, and two I just might help you.
  6. rakeck

    rakeck LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    I understand the effect "illegals" have on trade prices but I have a hard time imagining an "illegal" coming up with the money necessary to get into this business half-way right. I think you can blame the AMERICAN "good-ole-boy" business owner's (lco's) who hire the illegals and probably do not have any type of workers comp and who probably stole (or purchased for pennies on the dollar from someone who did steal it) the equipment some or all of their crews are running. So, we can then begin to see how some feel they can get away with doing lawns for $20-$30 ... because they have no major overhead costs.

    The illegals are here because they are in demand by those striving to increase the bottom line, pure and simple. Also they are practically here at the invitation of our local, state, and federal goverment. So, can you blame them?

    Let's face it, the average home-owner thinks "yard labor" is minimum wage, at best, lets say $5.00 and it sould take no more than 2 man hours to do my "simple" yard and maybe $1.00 worth of mower/trimmer gas (again, this is a average un-informed, home-owner thinking. And this is where it stops .. $10 for labor and $1 for gas equals $11, at a $20 rate I'm getting raped.

    I do not know what the answer is to those who feel they are in a market that is ruined by low-ballers. I feel for you but stick to your preferred rates, walk away from business when it's in order, and wait on the accounts to drift by who understand the cost of doing business here in the year 2007 and beyond.
  7. Big Bad Bob

    Big Bad Bob LawnSite Bronze Member
    from zone 5
    Messages: 1,074

    What he's saying, I think, is that you telegraphed your real intent and the other LCO picked up on it. Do you think you're the first startup who called him, fishing for prices? I would say you blew it but because of inexperience, not incompetence. Better to approach the LCO and just talk honestly to him. Most will give you straight up answers because they don't want you out there lowballing. Believe it or not, there is plenty of work for experienced LCO's from people who appreciate quality and experience. They don't want to hang around to watch that you mow right, don't skip stuff, don't nick up one of the newly planted saplings with your ""weedwhacker" or to pay you each week. Doesn't take a lot of those to work out. Now, instead of spending 30 minutes on their lawn for $30.00 You're spending 1 hour for $85.00, doing a truly quality and manicured job. You will actually work less hours for more money.
    Lawn and landscape maintenance is a luxury. Always aim for customers who feel the same way.

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