Landscaping in the 80's and 1990's

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by longislandlawn, May 8, 2013.

  1. orangemower

    orangemower LawnSite Silver Member
    from pa
    Messages: 2,768

    You "sound" like a lowballer.
  2. Groomer

    Groomer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,681

    It's true that prices probably haven't kept up with inflation. A 40 dollar cut in 1996 isn't going to command a whole lot more than that now. I've been fortunate with respect to overhead. My home has my office, and my second garage houses my rig. In fact, my house sits on a main street, and serves as my advertisement. All my residential customers live within a 3 mile radius, which is a big bonus. Having said all that, the market has changed quite a bit from when I started, and if I were 25 years younger I wouldn't consider starting a lawn biz in this region in 2013, though I still love it.
    Last edited: May 11, 2013
  3. GMLC

    GMLC LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,345

    Not true. In the 90's I was a foreman for a major player. I did estimates and I can tell you prices have not changed much at all. Also, foreman today are still in the $18-$24 range just as they were then.

    Yet all expenses(inflation) are through the roof. Margins are much much lower.
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    Last edited: May 11, 2013
  4. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,285

    When and doing what?

    Besides, what was that company charging per hour?

    Or is this one of those brilliant statements from you that Kiril loves so much?

    PS I started out $2.00 an hour. In the early 80's working for my father. I guarantee he wasn't charging $10\hour back then. Or $20. Which is where the likes of some are today, especially the Brickman types.
  5. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 19,647

    I dont expect pricing to go up either, Ive been underbid on literally everything I looked at this year, I quit looking, because its been a waste of time. Im just sticking with my regular customers.
  6. Keith

    Keith LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,979

    I'll echo everything you have said. Spot on.
  7. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    My whole career was self employment... no lowballing, no excessive overhead, no debt, no employees, no brand new truck... I've actually doubled income since the 90s, mainly because I'm not trying to "Run a Company"... I have excellent equipment nowdays and my profit margins have never been better...

    Business Model, makes all the difference... and working for somebody else is as bad as trying to have somebody working for you... every body loses on that business model because it is heavy on tax and expenses with wasted resources...

    When I charge $1000, I keep most of it rather than waste it on payroll... as long as entrprenuralship is locked into the common business model, most businesses will continue to suffer... I know where the % need to go and they are not that high...
    If the business isn't increasing then why is everyone staying inside that BOX... step outside the box and make money doing the work you love... :)
  8. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Again I wouldn't look at "major players" and their minimum wage for foreman's as the benchmark for the profits in ANY industry... the same could be said for grocery store and steel manufacturing plants... wages have been stagnant for a long time across the country...

    When you ARE the business you control every penny of cost and income, to your personal benefit... the hotdogs that are planning to be giant business men are finding out that becoming another Trugreen isn't done according to college economics business strategies... :)
  9. TLS

    TLS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,943

    I never "Landscaped" in the 80's-90's, but sure did cut a LOT of grass!

    While not the increase I would expect (given inflation on other goods/services), I pretty much tripled what i charge to mow a lawn now, vs in the mid 80's.

    Thing is, now I have much more efficient equipment. Things like string trimmers and blowers were just coming available. The ZTR didn't exist. Belt drive WB's weren't really a common item. It was tractors and some Yazoo 3 wheel riders that dominated the scene.
  10. gcbailey

    gcbailey LawnSite Silver Member
    from WV
    Messages: 2,761

    I started cutting for "summer money" in jr. high back in the mid 90's... I can remember there actually wasn't a lot of lawn care operators in this part back then. I guess now, with the way the economy has been for the past 5 or 6 years EVERYONE thinks they can have a mower and make a dollar.

    You have the guys who are legitimately out of work trying to make ends meet low-balling everyone. The guys who have jobs and mow on the side low-balling everyone else so they can get an extra dollar to blow on something... Then you have us full time LCOs who just shake their heads when Mr./Mrs. Jones want to know why they should pay you $35 when the "other" guys will do it for $20...

    If I had it to do over I probably wouldn't have make a full time go of it. Or at least not play be the rules like 80% of everyone else around here.

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