New business venture

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by uahomestead, Feb 10, 2006.

  1. uahomestead

    uahomestead LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    Me, my dad and brother moved from Northern Ireland in July of 2005 to start a new garden center retail outlet in Virginia, my dad ran a successful garden center for over 30 years and me and my brother have been full time employees for 5 years now. After many set backs and difficulties we have managed to purchase a 5 acre site with a free standing 12,000 sq ft building. We have recently erected a twin span retail covered area for sales and have ordered a 90x30ft Quonset greenhouse, as Jan & FEb have been the quietest months so far, we have had to do some landscaping work for local housing communites, this has so far been successful, what is your opinion, should we continue persuing the landscaping work when the spring rush begins, or should we stop doing landscape work and continue to focus on establishing our garden center, or should we do both at the same time. I really Dont know?
  2. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,587

    i would think you would want the landscapers to be your customers, not your competition

    while the occasional homeowner might be your customer, the professional landscaper would be your better customer..:)

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,534

    Ditto to Dave,==plus, see if you can contract with a few of the local landsacpe guys to do the installs for you so you can still offer it.

    I hope there is not a Lowes too close to you.
  4. Evergreenpros

    Evergreenpros LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,154

    I would think it would boil down to numbers and personal preference. Only thing you would have to worry about is spreading yourselves too thin between the two operations. I only work to make money so I can do the things in life that I like to do so my decision making process is simple.

    Living in Washington state there are many retail outlets like yours that also are landscaping services. Not sure if they do the work in house or subcontract it out. It would seem to me that it would be the perfect meld between customers needs and satisfying those needs with both the installation and the supplies.
  5. uahomestead

    uahomestead LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    Unfortuntely there is a Lowes store near by, its like about 3 miles from us, we do realise the competition from them, but we offer something they cant and thats personal service!. I think a majority of costumers would rather have personal attention than the hustle and bustle of a 'box store' of course i could be wrong, as for landscapers, well there are local wholesale nurseries near by they offer all the landscapers in the area, plants for the same price we buy them in for, so there's no point selling to them. I would have big concerns about sub-contracting jobs to others, we know we're capable of doing a good job, i think if we got to know a good landscaper in the area then we might consider sub-contracting, that is if our garden center outlet really takes off!!
  6. 2-Cycle Mix Stix

    2-Cycle Mix Stix LawnSite Member
    Messages: 15

    When you say 'purchased' do you mean outright? As in all you pay for is inventory, overhead and property taxes?
  7. uahomestead

    uahomestead LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    Thats Right, we had to sell everything back in Ireland, and we invested everything we had into this business $200,000 to be exact, we had to do this to get a visa, and we still are'nt permanent residents yet!
    But all we have to pay for is stock and taxes etc. we owe nothing, thats the good part, the bad part is we have to succeed or else we're broke!!!
    But we're all determined to do well and succeed.
  8. cwlawley

    cwlawley LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 470

    First, good luck to you. My opinion is to continue building both businesses. Therefore if one is not doing as well as it should you have another there to help you get by. You need to think of a way not to get this landscape business turning off potential customers of the garden supply that see you as competition.
  9. 2-Cycle Mix Stix

    2-Cycle Mix Stix LawnSite Member
    Messages: 15

    Homesteader...Any advice that I throw your way, is not coming from the aspect of a landscaper. I do not work in the green business, but I found this site looking for people to test an ancilliary product.

    I just want you to know where I'm coming from.

    It would appear that you could have a natural advantage if you were to take the landscaping route. I don't know the percentages but probably 1/2 of the competition has to build rent into the equation when they price out for jobs. The landscaper needs to: Cover Expense & Make a Profit. One of those expenses is... rent on the building they are working out of.

    In your (No rent) situation you should be able compete better, based on price, then most of your counterparts. That should be your advantage.
    You just have to make sure that the quality of the work maintains a high standard.

    As for which direction you should go. I'd take a chapter from your own history,[you can stay and starve, or you can jump a boat to the US or UK or AU.]

    If you take the landscaping route, you are taking an active stance against the position you are in. Depending on the market, you can go out and work your tail off and generate a decent revenue stream. The most beautiful thing about Service Work is that grass continues to grow and people will pay for you to cut it.

    there's a saying - would you rather go down like a dog, or would you go out swinging-

    If you go out swinging, you might have more upside potential than just running a retail outlet and hoping the customers go for the service.

    Here is the devil's advocate on the issue -

    January and February are probably going to be your slowest months of the year as long as you are a going concern.

    Given that your south of the Mason-Dixon line, My guess is that Spring starts in early to mid March. The Bottom Line - your darkest days might be over and the sales could open up real soon.

    Good Luck - Keep us posted.
  10. PMLAWN

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,534

    Mix stix- I have a problem with the no rent idea, If they do not pay rent they are losing money big time. You have to cover all you expenses.
    You are right that they have a building, BUT the business does not have it-- they do. If the business does not pay for it, who will. Or do you expect a landlord to invest $200.000 into a building with 0 return. Even if the business owns the building they still have to get a return on the money used to buy it.
    Every business must cover "all" expenses. And all business must know the "true" cost of overhead (including ROI).

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