Keeping your head "above water" in 2003

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by MATTHEW, Oct 13, 2002.

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    MATTHEW LawnSite Senior Member
    from NE OHIO
    Messages: 665

    Been doing some research about expanding services in 2003 (expecting another drought) and I have come up with these 2 areas.

    #1. Tree service. I have 4 tree co's that I use for referrals. Ther are still booked for 4 months into the future.

    #2. Blacktop sealing.

    With the tree service, you need a chipper and a bucket truck. Fairly minimal training. You will go through a lot of chains, but other than that, the equipment will far outlast mowing gear.

    I just paid a guy $20 to seal my apron. He said he set up 5-10 drives in the area recently and made $500 on a sunday.
    He said he gets a 55 gal drum of the stuff for $55 and makes $500 on it.

    I wish I had done this in 2002. The bottom line would have been a little sweeter!:(
  2. cantoo

    cantoo LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,910

    matthew, you are right on track you need a second "job" that fits in with your business and is flexible. You know jobs that don't have to be done on a particular day or time ones that if the grass picks up you can put off for awhile.
    Pressure washing, relevellling interlocking brick, tree work, fence building, driveway sealing, lot cleanups, etc. Take a look at the yellow pages and you will get some good ideas on part time jobs. The other thing is you don't want to lay out big dollars if the equipment will sit for long periods of time when the grass is good.
  3. NC Big Daddy

    NC Big Daddy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 267

    So you're going to cut grass oopps "landscaping" seal driveways and trim trees? I've got another idea. How about learing and growing the trade you're in. I'm sure the guys in those trades are thrilled about another "part time" or as some here like to say "scrub" coming in and screwing up their market like every Tom, Dick and Fireman has in this area. An old saying comes to mind here "Jack of all trades..........Master of none"
  4. Brickman

    Brickman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,249

    Another thing, tree insurance is HIGH.
  5. Minnesota

    Minnesota LawnSite Member
    Messages: 20

    I would have to agree with Big Daddy

    stick to what you know and try to expand

  6. Guido

    Guido LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,087

    Option # 1 (tree work) I would shy away from. To properly prune trees there is a lot more to know then you think there is, there is also a lot more insurance and liability risk then you think. Now, dropping a tree in a wide open yard is a different story. Stump grinding is a different story. I would look into the last 2 options, but leave the pruning to a pro, unless you want to fully educate yourself in that area.

    Option # 2 is a little easier to get into as far as experience goes. You could easily set up a trailer with all you need to seal cracks, seal pavement and even stripe / mark pavements. There is some good money in it also if you manage it right.

    Good Luck!!
  7. Shady Brook

    Shady Brook LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 1,517

    Minor pruning, or like was said, laying down a tree in an open space is one thing.... Insurance is crazy, workmans comp is almost hard to find. I thought of this, but you really need to run a crew year round in order to be profitable. A decent chipper, and bucket truck, chip truck are not cheap if you get something decent, if you skimp, they can be real expensive to fix. Stumping maybe an option, sealing, pressure washing, and better yet something you could do in the winter months would be great.

    Have fun brainstorming.

  8. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,028

    Its always good to think ahead and try and plan for the future even though you have no idea what it will bring. The other businesses you speak of have some positive as well as negatives involved. I have never done asphalt sealing but I do know that the bigger dogs in the biz have lots of bucks invested in machinery. The other thing is that they work in the HOT weather all the time with HOT tar. The other thing about it is that they mostly work weekends and holidays because that is when some of the businesses are closed. (big parking lots) Im not trying to discourage you.
    I have done tree work with a guy that I know real well. He didn't have a bucket truck but he did have a chipper and dump truck. He worked for the city of Green Bay forestry dept. for 10 years to get his initial experience. There is a lot to be considered when doing tree work. It isn't that easy to just cut em down unless you are in the forest. Most tree work is because the tree is in a place it shouldn't be now. They are usually big and close to a structure of some type. It is dangerous and hard work and the bucket truck doesn't always fit in the backyard behind the house where the limb is hanging over the new addition. That means being an EXPERT at climbing. Which leads to the HIGH insurance rates. Once again, not trying to discourage you but if you are serious about it I would try and get on a crew this winter and learn the ropes.

    Just a question for the NC BIG DADDY, Just curious as to if you were just using that second line as a figure of speech?

    "How about learing and growing the trade you're in. I'm sure the guys in those trades are thrilled about another "part time" or as some here like to say "scrub" coming in and screwing up their market like every Tom, Dick and Fireman has in this area"

    Its good to have an opinion but it probably isn't so good to pick out a group of people to equate to a scrub with the limited knowledge you have of who might be reading your posts here. Welcome to Lawnsite, let the learning begin.
  9. awm

    awm LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,354

    well i already do what hes talkin ,and can tell u tree work calls for some real education. having said that,. all this guy is talkin about is a return to the, good all around get it done man. and i think its a good idea. aint to crazy about this idea of knowing what u specialise in and being dumb as dirt in most other areas.
    no offence intended.
    myself im going with buyin and sellin
    used equipment i see around in my wk.. buy low ,sell at a profit. i still get the customer a good deal ,so when he thinks back on the deal ,he feel he has been treated fairly.thts one secrete to good buisiness.. as alway these are my opinions ,i welcome your views. kaplan[owns a tv station] aint got a thing on me:D . this is how he ended his tv commentaries. yaw have a good day.
  10. Gravely_Man

    Gravely_Man LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,075

    You never know what you can do until you try but having said that stick with what you know so you have something to fall back to. Tree work is very hard and requires a lot to insurance, training and equipment. To do tree work you have a much larger start up expense then you do with lawn work. Driveway work may make you some money on the side but I am not sure it people will take you seriously when they see that you do everything. I wish you the best of luck in whatever you decide.

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